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Old 27-12-2009, 14:24   #1
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Batteries Not Charging Properly

I have a bank of 4 year old 1050 amph Lifeline AGM batteries, powered by two 60 amp Hitachi alternators and a 12 kwatt Norpro generator running through a freedom 20 Charger/Inverter and a Link 1000 controller.

Recently, regardless of power source (alternators, generator, or shorepower), my batteries jump from Bulk right through Accept and to Float very quickly (20 minutes) and the volts reading is very erratic. It runs up over 14.6 (this is why it jumps out of Bulk) but then drops down to the 13's and jumps around between 13.0 - 14.6.

Needless to say I am only getting about 40 amps back into the batteries in the first 30 minutes of charging and after that it takes HOURS to make any progress charging. I am currently on shore power trying to get topped up so I can do an equalization and see if that helps.

Does anyone have any other ideas what could be wrong or tests I could do to try to get the batteries to take a charge better?

Thank you in adance

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Old 27-12-2009, 14:32   #2
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Old 27-12-2009, 14:39   #3
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I'm not familiar with this setup but with anything like this the first thing to check is the connections. Disconnect the connections to/from the freedom 20 charger/inverter and batteries and look for corrosion, clean the terminals, and reattach everything.
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Old 27-12-2009, 15:18   #4
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Make sure your voltage sensor wires are connected directly to the battery bank rather than between the bank and the charging source. One way to check this is to put a volt meter directly on your batteries and compare it to where you're getting your 14.6 reading from. Good luck. Randal
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Old 27-12-2009, 16:16   #5
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I had the same problem and after a long diagnosis process it turned out to be corroded contacts on the main battery switch.

Start a charger and check the voltage on each side of the switch to see if you have a bunch of resistance over the switch.

I hope that this helps.

Ansley Sawyer
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Old 28-12-2009, 04:18   #6
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Thank you very much to those with constructive replies. We are currently in the Exumas and tied to shore power (rare for us) and with a good internet connection so it is great to be able to reach out.

I will check all of the connections today for corrosion and voltage drops.

Thank you again,
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Old 28-12-2009, 12:15   #7
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Originally Posted by Silpe View Post
. I am currently on shore power trying to get topped up so I can do an equalization and see if that helps.

I didn't think it was desireable to do an equalization charge on AGM's. ??
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Old 28-12-2009, 12:47   #8
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I do not know where that general beliefe on the street came from but, and I can only speak to Lifeline AGM's, which recomend an equalization every 30 days. When i spoke to them about this issue it was also the first thing they recomended. I was very pleased with the service from Lifeline and would recomend them from this standpoint.
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Old 28-12-2009, 13:05   #9
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Yes, Lifeline does recommend equalizing but unless they've changed something it's only as required, not every 30 days. From their manual:

"Equalizing should only be done when the battery is showing symptoms of capacity loss or from inadvertent deep discharges."

Problem is, when you equalize sealed batteries -- and Lifeline recommends 15.5VDC for 8 hours -- you're risking loss of electrolyte and irreversible damage, so you don't want to do it more than necessary. However, you DO want to fully charge the batteries at least once a month to avoid sulfation.

Silpe, I think you need to check ALL connections -- to the batteries, to the regulator, to the alternator, etc. I'd start right at the batteries, though, because it seems you have the same problem irrespective of charging source. Make doubly sure the contacts are clean, the connectors are well attached to the cables (were they done professionally?), etc. Also, check the battery voltage sense wire. Check the cables and connections which connect the various batteries in the bank together.

Also, your first post said you have 1050AH. Is that right????? If so, an AGM bank of that size could very easily take 800 amps of charging current or even more. Two 60-amp Hitachi alternators would be woefully undersized for an AGM bank of this capacity.

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Old 28-12-2009, 18:30   #10
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Bill is absolutely correct...those 60Ah Hitachi's are little toys. You need to consider some real alternators with external regulators w/temp sensing, etc.
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Old 29-12-2009, 11:43   #11
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thank you all again for your comments and advice.

The equalization did the trick and I am all set now.

My Lifeline manual does state every 30 days but I have not been doing that since I am rarely near shorepower for that.

All of my connections were very clean and tight.

I had planned on getting brackets to install additional high output alternators but could not get it all coordinated before I left the country. My primary charging is from the generator or a few hours of motoring here and there. I only use 250 - 300 amph per day but the boat came with this large bank. The mortoring or 2 - 3 hours of the generator usually takes care of me.

Thanks again to everyone.


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