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General Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach that are not covered in other Mechanic's Corner categories (ex. refrigerators, water heaters, and compressors).

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  #1  
Old 02-22-2018
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Default Riddle me this one???

I have had the bus locked up for the past two weeks while working on things at home. Prior to leaving the boss I had the battery chargers and solar panels shut off in order to run the batteries down a bit just for the exercise of it. When I left I was supposed to have turn the battery chargers back on again. But when I return to the bus I could not even unlock the doors with the electric locks. I pride my way into The bay I kept my spare keys in and open the door. I immediately went back and turned on the battery charger. Everything came out and when checking the batteries they showed a good solid 12.57 Volts. And everything looked just fine the batteries indicated that they were charged everything looks totally normal.
I shut the battery chargers off again and the battery still show and run as if they were just ever so slightly used. I turned on three different battery chargers one at a time to see what the maximum amount of charge rate the batteries will except and out of three different battery chargers the max the batteries would take was 46 amps all three were within 6 A of each other.
The batteries I am using our 8 each, 12V Lead acid batteries. Not AGM's just good all Fashion lead acid.

Could those batteries have taken enough charge in about 20 seconds to make them read normal?
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2018
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One additional thing there wasn't an alarm going off very weekly when I walked in the door. I assumed it was the gas alarm but the AC was plugged in.
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkYuma View Post
I have had the bus locked up for the past two weeks while working on things at home. Prior to leaving the boss I had the battery chargers and solar panels shut off in order to run the batteries down a bit just for the exercise of it. When I left I was supposed to have turn the battery chargers back on again. But when I return to the bus I could not even unlock the doors with the electric locks. I pride my way into The bay I kept my spare keys in and open the door. I immediately went back and turned on the battery charger. Everything came out and when checking the batteries they showed a good solid 12.57 Volts. And everything looked just fine the batteries indicated that they were charged everything looks totally normal.
I shut the battery chargers off again and the battery still show and run as if they were just ever so slightly used. I turned on three different battery chargers one at a time to see what the maximum amount of charge rate the batteries will except and out of three different battery chargers the max the batteries would take was 46 amps all three were within 6 A of each other.
The batteries I am using our 8 each, 12V Lead acid batteries. Not AGM's just good all Fashion lead acid.

Could those batteries have taken enough charge in about 20 seconds to make them read normal?
My guess. On shore power, chargers on, the batteries are charging. The battery switches only removes the 12V from the coach. That's how our coach is wired...battery chargers to shunts to batteries. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

When I work on the 12V and don't want sparks, I either unplug the chargers or shut the power off at the pedestal, set the battery switches to OFF. Also disconnect the generator battery.
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  #4  
Old 02-22-2018
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Well I believe I have worse news than that.. I had shut the battery chargers off at the circuit breaker. My batteries were in fact completely destcharged. I know this because my battery monitoring system was not functioning at all and it is physically tied directly to the batteries. After letting the batteries charge for a while I could see that the battery voltage was still only in the 12.5 V range. If the batteries were back charged I should see them in the 13 V or better range-someplace.
I turned both of my battery chargers on and the battery seem very happy to except 80 amp hours or better.
If the batteries had been charged the current they would except would have dropped off to almost nothing.
I have never discharged batteries that far before which is why I had no idea what I was seeing.

There is a first time for everything I just hope this is the last for me.
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Old 02-22-2018
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One bad apple WILL spoil the whole bunch..
I'd say you need to test them individually with a load tester. If just one is bad take it off-line since they're all 12V and see how the system acts. The voltage of batteries is no clue to what they'll do under load. My 2¢
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2018
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Mark,
I think you experienced surface charge. Batteries will remain reading an artificially high voltage until a bit of current is drawn or many hours pass following a charge. (4 to 8)
Think of 12.7V to 12.8V @ 70F and after 8 hours of rest as fully charged. But also verify through use of hydrometer.

Measure your car battery when you park and you'll see >13V once the car is switched off.

It is very hard on Lead Acids to be depleted to zero. This reduces overall possible cycles. It is good practice not to run lead acids below 12.0V which is in the neighborhood of 50% discharged... temperature and battery mfg specific.

But $hit happens and can't change the past. You need to interrupt the battery bank's connection to ground to fully disconnect with a switch.

Lead acids take a very long time to fully charge due to their charging profile. You can get to 80% charge rather quickly, but the last 20% will often take much longer. It is a logarithmic curve to approve being fully charged. For a large battery bank, the charging current will be <5 amps.

If possible store them @ 100% full and disconnected.

Here is some good reading material:
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...-other-things/
http://www.technomadia.com/2008/05/r...ry-monitoring/

Doug
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  #7  
Old 02-22-2018
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Randy
Load testing all of all the batteries is on the list of things to do tomorrow morning.
I am going to try to get them up to a higher state of charge by letting them cook tonight and see what they look like tomorrow morning or I may even wait till the afternoon if they look like they're continuing to come up to a full state of charge. Unfortunately I will still need to load test each one to make sure I did not damage any one or more of them.

:-(
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  #8  
Old 02-22-2018
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The battery mfg's suggest doing the gravity / density test with a hydrometer to check individual battery cells. A hydrometer is only about $10 at NAPA.

Doug
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2018
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/Hydrovolt-B...53.m1438.l2649
this is a high quality unit used by many on girder's and me..i also use a refractometer every few months I think its a little better but pricy
mike
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkYuma View Post
...The batteries I am using our 8 each, 12V Lead acid batteries. Not AGM's just good old fashioned lead acid...
When’s the last time you physically checked the battery cell fluid levels? Even if you use an auto-watering system, one “filler” can go bad. Nothing kills a battery faster or deader than a dry or exposed cell. When that happens, the rest of the pack can do some strange things.
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