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Old 18-05-2018, 13:17   #1
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Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

Would you disconnect the individual batteries in a triple bank of Group 31 conventional batteries before using the Equalize feature of a charger ? Do them one at a time ? I only have the one charger.
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Old 18-05-2018, 13:22   #2
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Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

I never disconnect mine.
Probably shouldnít, but I still use everything in the boat during the equalization phase, everything seem to tolerate the higher voltage.
Do so at your own risk of course.

Are your batteries allowed to be equalized?
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Old 18-05-2018, 13:47   #3
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

Could be wrong but I was under the impression that pretty much all wet cell batteries should be equalized now and then.
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Old 18-05-2018, 14:01   #4
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Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

Som say you can and should, a few say you canít.
Then it seems voltages vary as well as methods.
Iím sort of in the camp that a flooded acid battery, is a flooded acid battery.
Without guidance from the manufacturer, what voltage and how long, plus there seems to be more than one way to equalize, some want you to hold the current down, others donít?
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Old 18-05-2018, 19:42   #5
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

You equalize when the SG's are more than x% (everyone has their tolerance level). It's called that because you equalize the SG between the cells...
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Old 19-05-2018, 06:29   #6
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

Breaking the bank apart is not necessary, however you may want to consider taking the bank offline and not using any of your DC devices unless you have determined that they can tolerate the high DC voltage that is part and parcel of equalizing.

There is a lot more to equalizing a FLA battery bank than meets the eye. Note that the charging source should produce charging current that is <5% of the rated capacity of the bank. So with 3 x Group 31 FLA @ about 100Ahr per battery the charging source should output no more than 15A during the process. In my opinion, it would be safer and less stressful to equalize your bank at between 10 and 12A. That all said, I suggest you review the requirements from the battery manufacturer and check with the technical documentation for your charger to determine how the charger and the bank will match up.

This is not a "plug and play", "set and forget" operation. If done properly, and safely, it takes a significant commitment of research and time from you. The batteries are going to produce copious amounts of hydrogen gas, they are going to get warm, and if not done properly, the evolved gas will transport droplets of electrolyte (dilute sulphuric acid) on the battery tops, etc., etc. And you are going to have to take temperature compensated hydrometer readings of each cell (18 total cells) every half hour to determine when the equalization process has completed.

There is a lot to this but, as always, "The Devil is in the Details...but so is Salvation"
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Old 19-05-2018, 06:48   #7
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

I would do each batt individually myself, but if that's too much trouble for you then don't, certainly better to equalize regularly rather than rarely.

A good quality battery maker should give you a detailed protocol spec to follow. And has knowledgeable tech support staff readily available to answer questions.

I've never come across a FLA batt that shouldn't be regularly conditioned. Lifeline is the only AGM maker that still recommends it, but real precision is required there.

Not sure I would trust a canned routine programmed into a charger.

16.25V may fry consumers that are fine with 15.25V

If you don't get an "ending spec", I like Deka's:

Amps acceptance changes less than .1A over one hour, with a max of 12 hours.
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Old 19-05-2018, 07:19   #8
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Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Lifeline is the only AGM maker that still recommends it, but real precision is required there.


I have a lifeline bank, and I guess I love to argue, but equalization is dead simple, one step. Simply push one button which takes the charger to 15.5 V for five hours, I usually terminate early as 5 hours isnít needed based on observation of acceptance rate. If a battery gets hot, you have waited way too long to equalize in my opinion, but your right, itís best to observe them to ensure they donít get too hot.
However, you can get a real good idea if anything is going to get hot by watching the amp meter, less than 5 amps isnít going to get 300 lbs of lead very hot for example, but if your drawing more than 10 continuously, maybe it bears watching, cause all 10 could be going into one battery.

Good charger makes it real easy.

I equalize when Iím on the hook about once a month, but I often as in twice weekly get to 100% fully charged on the days I run the generator to make water, wash clothes etc.
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Old 19-05-2018, 07:36   #9
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I have a lifeline bank, and I guess I love to argue, but equalization is dead simple, one step. Simply push one button which takes the charger to 15.5 V for five hours, I usually terminate early as 5 hours isnít needed based on observation of acceptance rate. If a battery gets hot, you have waited way too long to equalize in my opinion, but your right, itís best to observe them to ensure they donít get too hot.
However, you can get a real good idea if anything is going to get hot by watching the amp meter, less than 5 amps isnít going to get 300 lbs of lead very hot for example, but if your drawing more than 10 continuously, maybe it bears watching, cause all 10 could be going into one battery.

Good charger makes it real easy.

I equalize when Iím on the hook about once a month, but I often as in twice weekly get to 100% fully charged on the days I run the generator to make water, wash clothes etc.
BTW LifeLine recommends 8 hours. 😉
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Old 19-05-2018, 07:50   #10
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Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
BTW LifeLine recommends 8 hours.


Your right, and that is what I have programmed, just forgot. They also call it conditioning.
I was also looking where in the manual it says that less than 8 hours is acceptable based on tailing charge rate, but didnít see it. I may be getting that from conversations I have had with them in the past.Click image for larger version

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Old 19-05-2018, 08:00   #11
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
BTW LifeLine recommends 8 hours.
No, that 8 hours is a maximum.

And the recommended voltage varies **very widely** with ambient temperature.

Very few chargers would be pre-set to any specific battery's requirements.

Full adjustability of the voltage, and a human monitoring the trailing amps level, are required for accuracy. Since very low amps are involved, a cheap power supply would do fine, or use a Sterling BB series DCDC charger in order to equalize off grid.

An informal blog post:
http://lifelinebatteries.com/2015/10...agm-batteries/

The actual protocol specs are detailed in the Lifeline user manual, in the section titled "Conditioning"
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Old 19-05-2018, 08:07   #12
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

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Your right, and that is what I have programmed, just forgot.
What charger?

Does it automatically temperature-adjust from your 15.5V setting? That voltage is only correct for 77į

> may be getting that from conversations I have had with them in the past

Yes, getting the current best practice directly from the maker's engineering department is the way to go when their published documentation is incomplete.

In the meantime the Deka spec above is a good generic endpoint.
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Old 19-05-2018, 08:09   #13
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
No, that 8 hours is a maximum.

And the recommended voltage varies **very widely** with ambient temperature.

Very few chargers would be pre-set to any specific battery's requirements.

Full adjustability of the voltage, and a human monitoring the trailing amps level, are required for accuracy. Since very low amps are involved, a cheap power supply would do fine, or use a Sterling BB series DCDC charger in order to equalize off grid.

An informal blog post:
http://lifelinebatteries.com/2015/10...agm-batteries/

The actual protocol specs are detailed in the Lifeline user manual, in the section titled "Conditioning"
Where do you see that in the LifeLine doco? I see 8 stated as a fixed time. The 15.5V is specified at 77F with variation based on temp.
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Old 19-05-2018, 08:40   #14
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Re: Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

From the manual itself, rev E dated February 2017

"If a routine conditioning charge is used, the time duration should be less than the 8 hours specified above."

Probably does little harm though.

http://lifelinebatteries.com/wp-cont...cal-Manual.pdf

___
But if you want optimal, use .005C as endAmps if you don't like the above Deka spec, adjusted to a maximum of 8 rather than 12 hours.

Or go to "the horse's mouth" and give Concorde / Lifeline a call; if you can't get through to Dave V, ask for Dave or Justin Godber

From the above blog post (probably written by Dave): "Your equalizing routine will depend on a lot of factors. We are here to help you custom design a custom equalizing routine based on your application and habits to make your batteries last as long as possible."
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Old 19-05-2018, 09:03   #15
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Disconnect bank before Equalizing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
What charger?

Does it automatically temperature-adjust from your 15.5V setting? That voltage is only correct for 77į

> may be getting that from conversations I have had with them in the past

Yes, getting the current best practice directly from the maker's engineering department is the way to go when their published documentation is incomplete.

In the meantime the Deka spec above is a good generic endpoint.


I use my Magnum MS 2812, yes it is temp compensated and it gives you the banks temp at the push of a button. I have never had more than 1deg temp ride from equalization, and even then it may not have been a whole degree, it could have been right at the change over to the next degree.
I have had quite a bit of conversations with Justin and Dave, but usually on the Aircraft batteries, but some on their Marine too.
I could use my Sterling Pro Charge Ultra, itís temp compensated but doesnít display the banks temp.
All my charge sources are temp compensated, itís not just equalization voltage that changes with temp, but regular charge voltages too.
I think itís Dave that is best contacted by email as he has a hearing loss? Not sure but think so.
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