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Old 24-01-2009, 09:36   #1
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Equalization Question

Is it possible to safely equalize a maintenance free flooded cell battery?
It is sealed or appears to be, but I have not tried to remove the caps.
Any guidance is appreciated.

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Old 24-01-2009, 10:19   #2
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NO...don't try it.
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Old 08-02-2009, 15:32   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
NO...don't try it.
Thought so.
I guess I just needed to here it.
Don't know why.

Thanks,
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Old 08-02-2009, 19:52   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
NO...don't try it.
I understood that the equalisation cycle was an integral part of charging any marine battery with a smart charger. Sealed batteries usually have a pressure release valve for safety reasons so the only variable to worry about is the voltage used during the boost/bulk & equalise/acceptance mode.

Sterling Power products recommend the following for 12 volt batteries:
Open lead acid: 14.8 volts
Sealed lead acid/AGM: 14.4 volts
Gel: 14.1 to 14.4 volts, as recommended by manufacturer
all with a float voltage of 13.6 volts.

I wonder if you are confusing equalise with the de-sulphation mode that some chargers have where the battery is taken for a controlled time to 15 volts or so.

As an aside I used for six years or more Freedom Leisure sealed lead calcium batteries. Documentation indicated they could be equalised at 14.6 volts, so I adjusted my Victron charger accordingly. They were remarkable in having a very high internal resistance when fully charged. Even if I re-cycled the charger, after they had been charged it was difficult to get the 420 a/h bank to draw more than 1 amp with 14.6 volts applied. No energy was ever wasted therefore & they never got really warm.

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Old 14-02-2009, 11:34   #5
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I have lifeline 8ds According to there web site then can be equalized, apply 15.5 v for 8 hrs, well my Smart charger will only run equalization cycle for 1 hr So If I keep reseting the cycle will that work? Can;t always get to it exactly on the hr??
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Old 16-02-2009, 12:54   #6
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Richard ...I believe you may have normal 3 stage charging confused with EQ'ing a battery. The three stage process is BULK, ABSORBTION/Acceptance and FLOAT...though the numbers you quote from Sterling are a bit high compared to other mfrs. of open wet cells...they do represent those 3 stages. EQ is a separate function generally performed on open lead acid batts at 15.5V or so for 8 hours or so to repair sulfation. Each mfr. will have their own parameters based on their construction and materials formulation.

Now...as to the issue of SEALED wet cells (as opposed to sealed AGMS/Gels...they operate on the prinicples of open wet cells and use a large sealed chamber to hold extra elecrolyte so you don't have to fill them with water. This normally works well but since there is no way to get more water in...you have to avoid boiling off the original electrolyte which is what EQ'ing will do to them. The result is the same as not adding water to your open batteries...exposed plates and battery death.

MOST AGM mfrs. discourage eq'ing as well for similar reasons. Probably legal departments are responsible for this for if you talk to people, they will tell you that you can do it but only if you follow their parameters and keep an eye on things while you are EQ'ing. If you do EQ and ruin the batteries...you should not expect the warranty to be honored. Lifelines are different in terms of recommendations but I would still be careful and keep an eye on them.

motion - Running the EQ in 1 hour increments should not be a problem IF you can get the 8 cyles in REASONABLY close to each other without being fanatical about it!
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Old 16-02-2009, 16:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Richard ...I believe you may have normal 3 stage charging confused with EQ'ing a battery. The three stage process is BULK, ABSORBTION/Acceptance and FLOAT
Cam, having had chance to read a little more on the subject, I agree there is technically a difference between the absorbtion cycle and equalise. However it seems a large number of power equipment manufacturers confuse/blur this issue.

My Victron Combi for example only has boost, equalise & float modes described in their manual and displayed by mode indicating LED's i.e. it assumes to equalise at their quoted nominal 14.5 volts as part of the normal three stage IUU charge process.

Sterling mentions that equalisation happens during the absorbtion phase, and that sulphation can be minimized by cycling the charger into absorbtion mode at least once a week if on continuous shore power.

It seems there is further confusion over equalise and de-sulphation modes. The former is to compensate for the inevitable difference in charge requirements from one cell to another even when new. The battery as a whole is deliberately "overcharged" such that cells not fully charged become so whilst the others dissipate the excess charge in heat/gassing.

The latter is to remove the sulphation which can build up as a coating on the plates due to lack of use, extended periods at low charge etc. thus reducing efficiency. As this requires over 15 volts to be applied for a limited time it should be done with caution & maybe a process not all batteries are suited to.

Reading between the lines whilst these modes are technically different, it seems there is a large degree of overlap i.e. your batteries will remain well charged and sulphate free if they are regularly connected to a smart charger set to match your battery type.

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Old 23-02-2009, 21:06   #8
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So it is possible to regain some life by equalizing some AGMs? My house bank is pretty shot and I'm not sure I've got anything to lose if I did damage it worse.
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