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Old 18-08-2012, 02:45   #1
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Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Hi from Gibraltar..
My battery monitor just started beeping and saying my house bank (5 140Ah batteries) is 14.9V
I am plugged into shore power and solar panels charging as well.
I unplugged the shore power so now just the solar panels are charging.
It still went off after the shorepower was unplugged as well.
This hasn't happened before.
Any ideas? is 14.9 V seriously too high or should it be ok?
I just boiled the kettle on the inverter to reduce some charge and its now showing 13.0V..
any suggestions much appreciated
Monte
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Old 18-08-2012, 03:23   #2
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

That is not a normal charging voltage. I would find out which one of the chargers is getting the voltage that high and disconnect it for troubleshooting. Some chargers have a function they call 'equalizing' that brings the batteries to voltages of 15 V or so, but they don't do this without intervention. On the other hand the solar system needs a regulator to keep the voltage to an acceptable level when the sun is high. Could it be if it failed the voltage would go that high? In any case, the batteries are probably starting to boil at that voltage, stop the charge to save them.

Plenty more to read on bluesea.com and victronenergy.com and lots of people here who really know their electrics.
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Old 18-08-2012, 03:37   #3
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Monte, what sort of batteries do you have, how old are they and which mains battery charger is fitted? The reason I ask is our Sterling Pro Digital charges at 14.8v because it's set to flooded lead acid batteries. However, we could change the setting to AGM or gel to reduce the charge current if we wanted at the expense of a longer time to charge.

There are those who like fast charging (Mr Sterling) and those that don't. I like his view point but that's a personal opinion.

This is what we have so you can see the charging regime.

http://www.sterlingpowerproductsbam....ators/PDAR.pdf

This is worth a read and explains the idea:

http://www.sterlingpowerproductsbam....edcharging.pdf

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Old 18-08-2012, 05:06   #4
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

You don't mention what type of batteries you have, but 14.9 is too high for a regular charging voltage at the higher temperatures Gibraltar must be at this time of year. If the alarm went off with only solar charging used it must be the solar regulator that is causing the problem. I can see several possibilities for this problem.
1. The battery monitor it is reading voltage slightly incorrectly. It is not unusual for their calibration to drift out. Check the battery voltage with a multimeter (2 would be better as they also go out of calibration) make sure the multimeter/s have new internal 9v batteries
2.The solar regulator has no temperature compensation and is set for say 14.8v bulk charge. OK for a wet cell battery, but not when it's hot
3. The solar regulator is performing an equalisation charge. Some do this automatically say every 30 days. An occasional over voltage equalisation is a good idea in some types of battery. You may never have seen this before, but because shore power is keeping the batteries charged solar now has enough capacity to raise the voltage.
4. The solar regulator is defective. Some of the cheap ones fail frequently. It may not be regulating at all.
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Old 18-08-2012, 14:55   #5
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Thanks
They are standard wet cell batteries. I left the shore power off for the day. The batteries and the boat are 3 months old.
There are 2 battery monitors on board, the original in the panel and a new victron I added, both read 14.8 - 14.9 V
The regulator is a tristar 60A MPPT controller. It has an automatic selector for 24 or 12v systems. I tried to set it to 12V via the dip switches but it wouldnt allow me. so I have left it to read Automatically. It seems to work and normally the input drops from 30A to 4 or 5A when the batteries are close to charged in full sun.
its settings are
absorption 14.15V
float 13.7V
equalize 14.4V (automatic every 28 days)

The AC charger is a cristec 40A. It says the factory settings are 13.8V and it has a boost function which operates for 4hrs maximum at 14.4V

Will keep updated on it tomorrow, thanks again for the replies
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Old 18-08-2012, 16:14   #6
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Monte,

The TriStar 60 is an excellent controller.

FYI, 14.4 volts is not nearly high enough to "equalize" a flooded battery. And, in fact, the TriStar documentation shows settings which run 15.1 to 15.4VDC for equalization of flooded batteries, and even 16.0VDC for L-16 flooded batteries. See page 58.

The 14.4 volts "equalization" is for sealed batteries, i.e., AGMs or gels. It's really just a "repeat absorption" voltage, to use Victron's term.

I wouldn't worry about seeing 14.9 VDC with flooded batteries, unless the temps are really high. With an average high of 84F (29C) in August, Gibraltar is unlikely to be all that hot.

Most charging voltages are very conservative and, IMHO, are way too low for effective charging and for keeping the dreaded sulfation at bay.

With voltages that high, though, you really need to keep an eye on the electrolyte level, and top off with distilled water (ONLY) when needed. HydroCaps or WaterMiser caps help to reduce the need to add water frequently.

Bill
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Old 18-08-2012, 16:50   #7
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Is your charger equipped with a temp probe? If so, and the battery compartment is a bit cool (running AC while at the dock maybe?), then it may be deciding to push the charge up a bit. So, if your alarm is not temp compensated then it will go off.

Similar thing happens on my boat when the charge voltages exceeds 14V (my high voltage alarm setting) which happens sometimes in cooler temps...although 14.9 would concern me a bit.

You might also check the charge profile setting on your charger and see if you can lower the upper charge voltage limit a bit. Some chargers also have a temp compensation setting which you can change to keep the charge voltages lower (cooler battery temp charge profile).
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Old 18-08-2012, 16:55   #8
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by monte View Post
Hi from Gibraltar..
My battery monitor just started beeping and saying my house bank (5 140Ah batteries) is 14.9V
I am plugged into shore power and solar panels charging as well.
I unplugged the shore power so now just the solar panels are charging.
It still went off after the shorepower was unplugged as well.
This hasn't happened before.
Any ideas? is 14.9 V seriously too high or should it be ok?
I just boiled the kettle on the inverter to reduce some charge and its now showing 13.0V..
any suggestions much appreciated
Monte
Shut off the charging system!
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Old 18-08-2012, 17:46   #9
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
Shut off the charging system!
Agree! Put a DVM on the shore power charger and the solar regulator to see what's putting out this high VDC. I would suspect the solar regulators, as the panels will put out raw voltages ~20VDC.
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Old 18-08-2012, 18:51   #10
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Yep. Also my guess. Possibly a solar issue. Also because persists while shore disconnected.

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Old 19-08-2012, 01:08   #11
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

thanks again for the replies
it wasnt that hot, about 10am in the morning, 20 degrees or so
my controlers dont have temperature sensors
After I pulled the shorepower and ran the kettle the voltage dropped and I left the solar on all day with no issues. Plugged the shorepower back in last night and no issues so far.
One othe rthing I noticed, the shorepower voltage on the meter is showing 250V. Seems higher than usual, can this be a problem?
I will try connect to tthe triistar to check the daily log and see if it gives any clues. Ill post an update shortly.
Thanks again
BTWTed, I tried to name my yacht Little Wing as well but the name wasnt available in Australia!
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Old 19-08-2012, 07:25   #12
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

just an update
it seems the solar charger does equalization mode every 28 days.
I think its been 3x28 days since it was installed so I assume it went into equalization mode. The manual says equalization mode will charge to 15.2V
I did notice as well, 28 days ago, that I could smell the batteries gassing. Ive been concerned since and smelling them often, but now it makes sense why.
I think I will disable the equalization mode and just do it manually every few months instead. I dont like the idea of gassing when they are not well ventilated. They are under the rear cabin bunk with no ventilation. Either way Id like to add some ventilation to the area. I guess I could run a 3" pipe up to the cockpit and place a vent there or something.
Thanks again for all the input. any other ideas or suggestions much appreciated..
BTW, I tried to access the log file of the contoller with an ethernet cable connected to my PC, but couldnt connect. Something to do with my computer DNS , I also tried with the MSView software from tristar but couldnt connect. If anyone has a tip how to configure the PC to connect id love to hear (I tried with 2 laptops, same results)
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Old 19-08-2012, 07:41   #13
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Manual equalization is much better. You can keep an eye on the batteries. It is also a good idea to disconect other electronics. They don't like the high voltages.
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:46   #14
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Manual equalization is much better. You can keep an eye on the batteries. It is also a good idea to disconect other electronics. They don't like the high voltages.
I agree, automatic equalization I think is a really bad idea. Maybe useful for a remote unmanned installation, but not for a boat. Good way to fry electronics. I would turn that feature off.
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Old 19-08-2012, 10:17   #15
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Re: Battery Alarm going off at 14.9V charge, what should I do?

Ok I turned it off and trying to equalize now manually
One question, the controller has 3 options for charging wet cell batteries. I couldnt find any info on the manufacturers site but the batteries are exide 1403, 140Ah.
Which of these setting would be most suitable?

apsorption stage float stage equalize stage

1 14.4 13.7 15.1
2 14.6 13.5 15.3
3 14.7 13.5 15.4

Thanks again
Monte
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