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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 12-24-2008
Lee Davis's Avatar
Lee Davis Lee Davis is offline
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Default Battery Minder - desulfator

For what it's worth at a recent FMCA rally seminar by a high powered electrical engineer (had something to do in his real life with developing the laser) he talked about desulfating batteries and making them last 10-12 years or even longer. According to him the way to do that was to desulfate" them either using (as I recall) a cadmium solution to do it (that was a little expensive and required more work) or a little unit that desulfated using some kind of pulse technology. That unit was called a Battery Minder Plus ($49) and also acted as a slow charger. When the batteries are up to snuff and charged, the unit goes into pulse mode (maintenance) and desulfates. For that price, I dove in.

I have no idea if it's actually working, but it takes awhile apparently for the pulse technology to actually work on older batteries, so anytime I am parked for over a week, I hook it up).

Here is the website

http://www.thebatteryminder.com/

And a place to buy one for $43 with an included battery condition meter coupon included

http://autosupermart.com/store/shop/...rycharger.html

I don't know why these links aren't underlined, but that's the way it goes. Just put Battery Minder in Google if you want to see these sites or type them in.

So, who knows, but for that price I am trying it out

Best,
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Lee and Jacque Davis - Full Timers

Lee - 423-292-5767 or Jacque 423-262-9569
or lnjdavis@gmail.com Please call or email instead of private messages


1995 BMC 37
300 HP Cummins 6CTA 8.3 Turbocharged Diesel
Boldly Going Nowhere
http://www.bbirdmaps.com/index.cfm #117
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  #2  
Old 12-24-2008
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tulipvendor50 tulipvendor50 is offline
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Default Desulfators

Great item. Have been using mine for almost a year.

There are many styles, models and manufacturers of these devices. Due to copyright infringement etc. each one might have a slightly different pulse, whether it be in frequency or duration.

You can buy ones that
  • you just leave on, full time, if you are plugged in frequently or drive frequently, this would be a great unit - draw about .5 amp continously.
  • come with or without a charger, and different amount of charging capabilities.
  • have the capabilities of charging many batteries at once, or just one battery at a time.
I purchased the BatteryMinder 12248. I found Northern Tools to be the cheapest place to purchase it.
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  #3  
Old 12-24-2008
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This is an interesting article on battery charging and re-sulphating
http://blog.batterypower.co.nz/2007/...ulphation.html
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  #4  
Old 12-25-2008
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warbucks13477 warbucks13477 is offline
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This is long and I apologize but its important.

I just love it "a high powered engineer says" and now another one that says desulfation and equalization doesnt work that you need an ionization process. Sounds like maybe a salesman

Fellas if you want information on batteries dont you think the major battery manufacturers and inverter/charger manufacturers are the experts on how you should charge and maintain batteries? As a former "high powered electrical engineer", but now retired I am not going to tell you that these ads are a little misleading you decide that.

But Trojan batteries says this: http://www.trojanbattery.com/Battery...qualizing.aspx

And Pfred says: http://www.phrannie.org/battery.html but nothing about these desulfation pulsing products. And here is a fellow from Illinois University that gets into the technicalities further:
http://energy.ece.illinois.edu/Balog.../intelec02.pdf

And how about Xantrex? Here is the manual for the Freedom 458 inverter/charger which I have and it is a 3 stage charger with a CONTROLLED equalization charge:
http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/429/docserve.aspx
Just remember an equalization charge should only be done when you have tested the battery and it needs it. If you have a link 1000 connected to the Xantrex unit it will tell you when. Or a hydrometer to test each cell and see if they are out of tolerance and then you equalize it back to like new condition.

This is why I always propose you get a quality inverter/charger like a Xantrex, trace, Heart or similar. The Freedom 458 2500 watt inverter/charger is a real workhorse at 48# and it keeps your batteries in top shape all of the time with no bull. If you want a true sign wave unit then get a Xantrex prosine like Shane Fedeli has. I was the "high powered electrical engineer" that assisted him when he installed it. My high powered work consisted of sitting watching him work and handing him the correct tool sometimes . And buy a refurbished unit they have the same warranty and are cheap.

Good luck and make your choice and wait and see how it works.

If you read the xantrex manual for the Freedom 458 inverter/charger you will know everything you need to know about charging and maintaining your batteries. It works well.

Check any of the manufacturers sites for batteries, Trojan, Johnson controls and Interstate (the 3 largest manufacturers of batteries) and see if you can find one single mention of any other kind of device to desulfate your batteries. Then if you know a chemist friend ask him if any other device works.
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  #5  
Old 12-25-2008
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Lee Davis Lee Davis is offline
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Default Battery Minders

I have to admit I wish I was as certain as Warbucks about everything, but as a former scientist (chemist) and salesperson, I have noted that the scientific community is often not in as much agreement as one would expect about many issues (see for example http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.c...d-6e2d71db52d9


I also realize that technology makes advances occasionally, and I found this article and this guy's credentials interesting enough that I decided to try one of these Battery Minders. (credentials at the end of the article)



http://www.thebatteryminder.com/a_add/pdf/Nov_07_BatteryMinder.pdf

And here is where he tried several and decided he like the Battery Minder best.

http://www.thebatteryminder.com/batt...tions-a-4.html

So I decided since my coach batteries are about 4 years old and probably on borrowed time, I figured what could it hurt at this point, so this is why I decided to try it.


Anyway, this could all be hooey, or perhaps a technology advance that works to some extent, I'm not sure which. I haven't boiled my batteries yet and they said it would take awhile so I assume that means it's not too aggressive. We'll see.


I also might add that having been involved in business myself for several years, when companies talk about things that may actually extend the life of their products in a negative or skeptical way, I become a little skeptical of their comments myself. After all, if I am a battery producer, why do I want my products to last twice as long. Look at car batteries. They used to offer 5 year warranties. Now they self destruct in about 2. Sure they are cheaper now, but I believe many companies count on "planned obsolescence". Again, I really do not know if this product will extend battery life, and am not recommending it, but thought it was worth mentioning.



And Warbucks, as usual it's always good to see both sides of an issue offered on the Forum. You make good points. Thanks
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Lee and Jacque Davis - Full Timers

Lee - 423-292-5767 or Jacque 423-262-9569
or lnjdavis@gmail.com Please call or email instead of private messages


1995 BMC 37
300 HP Cummins 6CTA 8.3 Turbocharged Diesel
Boldly Going Nowhere
http://www.bbirdmaps.com/index.cfm #117
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  #6  
Old 12-25-2008
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Bill Pape Bill Pape is offline
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Bill's 2 cents

Many forum members shy away from the battery, tire, Cat, 6V,8V debates, There really is no perfect answer.


Well, there is tons upon tons of battery info available. Very technical at times. But I see batteries as very simple. They die from old age, overcharge, & mostly undercharge ( operating below 12 volts for too long)
So, I use an inexpensive Intellipower 3-4 stage charger, and an inexpensive Cobra 2800 watt inverter. Many times I still use a the original battery boiler charger, These are great transformer chargers, if used correctly.
Just plug it into a timer, 1/2 hour per day or 4 to 6 hours per day under usage.
Six 6 Volt batteries, with three copper knife switches all tied together.

If one watches usage, monitors the volt/amp meters on the dash occasionally, batteries will last 5 to seven years.

We dry camp a lot, we use the inverter to charge phones, computers, make coffee, watch TV etc. all with modified sine wave. Ice is made by the Dometic Frig......On long driving days we also use a crock pot.

If concerned about starting the engine, isolate 2 batteries. We also use the Onan, which has its own alternator and additional battery.

More technology is not always better, more $$$ is not always the answer.

Bill's 2 cents: because this works for us 5 to 8 months per year.
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  #7  
Old 12-25-2008
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Lee its easy enough to see if your battery minders do their advertised job. Let them do their job for a couple of weeks and then check each cell in your batteries with a hydrometer and see if the specific gravity is consistent within less then .050 of each other and note the percentage of charge each battery shows. I bet they wont be fully charged and not within .050 specific gravity of each other. Thats the proof and not something that some high powered engineer tells you .

As for using battery boilers, intellichargers etc its your right to do it. But dont expect that they will maintain your batteries at peak performance for the longest time possible. They are made to last far more then 4 years but if you abuse them it may be even less. Just remember there is no free lunches. And you are right there are many that shy away from these discussions simply because they get glassy eyed from all of the hype and cant tell what is true and what is false. Learn how to check your complete charging and inverter system and then you will not be hoodwinked by some of this far reaching advertising. Good luck and attend a BB rally where these things are discussed and we show you how to check them out with real data.
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  #8  
Old 12-25-2008
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Lee Davis Lee Davis is offline
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Default Testing the batteries

From Warbucks....."Lee its easy enough to see if your battery minders do their advertised job. Let them do their job for a couple of weeks and then check each cell in your batteries with a hydrometer and see if the specific gravity is consistent within less then .050 of each other and note the percentage of charge each battery shows. I bet they wont be fully charged and not within .050 specific gravity of each other. Thats the proof and not something that some high powered engineer tells you ."

My question is this. Can you do this while you are plugged in to shore power and your normal battery charger (Freedom 25) is working as often as needed and get meaningful data? Being full time I can't just cut off my batteries for a few weeks with just the Battery Minder hooked up.
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Lee and Jacque Davis - Full Timers

Lee - 423-292-5767 or Jacque 423-262-9569
or lnjdavis@gmail.com Please call or email instead of private messages


1995 BMC 37
300 HP Cummins 6CTA 8.3 Turbocharged Diesel
Boldly Going Nowhere
http://www.bbirdmaps.com/index.cfm #117
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  #9  
Old 12-26-2008
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warbucks13477 warbucks13477 is offline
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Lee the best way to evaluate any kind of product that advertises claims that it does these kinds of things to a battery is just to test it. And you can do that setting the magnets on the top of the batteries (yep there are those kinds of products) or pouring the liquid into the batteries (and there are those products also) or connecting the product and letting it do the rumba with the cells in the batteries (battery minders etc) or charging and equalizing the batteries like the Freedom 25 and then after a couple of weeks (should be able to do it in 24 hours or so but just to be fair give it more time) test the batteries and see if the stuff works.

Lets do it two ways. Turn off the battery minder and the Freedom 25 and let the coach set for an hour.

1. Actually measuring the voltage of each cell in each battery. Using a DC voltmeter. First get two short lengths of wire to connect to each of the voltmeters probes since you are going to insert them down into the electrolyte. Write down a number for each battery so you can keep track of the results.

Wrap a piece of wire around the positive and negative probe. Touch the positive probe to the positive terminal of the battery and insert the negative probe down into the first cell and write down the voltage. Then put the positive probe into the 1st cell and the negative probe into the 2nd cell and measure that voltage. Then the positive probe into the 3rd cell and the negative probe on the negative battery terminal and measure that voltage. Do the same with each battery

2. Now use a hydrometer measure the specific gravity for each cell of each battery and write those results down for each battery. Correct the readings to 80 degrees F. But I dont normally do it.

Using this chart you can determine if each battery is fully charged or not.

http://www.trojanbattery.com/Battery...e/Testing.aspx

Remember that during this 2 week period (or what ever you chose) that you were letting the battery minder/freedom 25 charge the batteries the Freedom 25 was not equalizing the batteries however the battery minder was working at desulfating the batteries. So what ever reading you got above was due totally to the battery minder. If the readings for specific gravity were not within .050 then the battery minder was not working. Then equalize the batteries using the Freedom 25 following the instructions in the manual that came with it. When its done you will find that the specific gravity is now all the same and if you turn off the battery minder and let the freedom 25 charge the batteries for say 6 hours and test the batteries again they will be all fully charged.

I have ran this test before with Iota chargers and the results were always the same, they do charge but they do not keep the batteries at peak performance and do not equalize the batteries.

Bottom line is that I like to do the research before I buy anything. Its always paid off for me and saved me from throwing my money away on things that really sounded wonderful at first but in the end were just hype. So far the best system I have found are the Xantrex units and the Link 1000/2000/2000r etc to monitor them. Really takes the stress off wondering what is going on with my batteries and how long they will last while dry camping with everything running.

good luck and hope this helps someone.
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