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Old 11-10-2018, 13:35   #1
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Equalize?

I have 3 year old FLA. 420Ah in 3 140 Ah batteries. Boat is kept on a mooring, but brought to a dock a few x a summer and is plugged in for a good 12 to 36 hours.

I also have 550 W of solar. Boat is mostly used during the weekend. On a few longer trips, there is a fair amount of motoring.

I have never seen V below 12.4.

There is a 40A Cristec OEM charger on the boat.

I have never equalized the batteries, there is a dip switch under a cover to do this.

On my Victron solar controllers I can also do an equalization. Should I do this prior to leaving the boat for the winter? If so, any special steps , aside from checking the water levels. Thanks.
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Old 11-10-2018, 14:58   #2
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Re: Equalize?

Why not? It certainly can't hurt unless left un-monitored although I doubt it would make much difference at this point. Most battery manufacturers recommend periodic equalization.
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Old 11-10-2018, 15:43   #3
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Re: Equalize?

I'm not %100 sure, but I think your Victrons have been equalizing you batteries every 30 days. I think that is a default setting for the FLA setting on the rotary dial.

I will see if I can confirm this (I would be interested to know for myself).
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Old 11-10-2018, 15:45   #4
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Re: Equalize?

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
I'm not %100 sure, but I think your Victrons have been equalizing you batteries every 30 days. I think that is a default setting for the FLA setting on the rotary dial.

I will see if I can confirm this (I would be interested to know for myself).
Victron smart solar controller, no rotary dial I know of....Shouldn't it be plugged in to do an equalization though?
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Old 11-10-2018, 15:46   #5
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Re: Equalize?

Should have been done all along say monthly.

Only do it manually.

Best to monitor with an ammeter.

Can follow Deka's or Trojan's protocol

6vdc Trojan T105 (225ah) Equalization

if you can't get one from your batt maker.
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Old 11-10-2018, 15:52   #6
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Re: Equalize?

so if i am plugged in, can i run this from the victron solar controller, or do I need to the cristec charger to run it. easy to do with the victron as it is BT via the phone, the cristec i need to get under a berth and get to some hard to reach switches.
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Old 11-10-2018, 15:56   #7
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Re: Equalize?

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Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
Victron smart solar controller, no rotary dial I know of....Shouldn't it be plugged in to do an equalization though?
Hhhmmm.. unless you have a Victron BlueSolar controller, it should have a rotary dial near the wire terminals. (its a very small dial that requires a "jewelers screwdriver") Here is a link to their controllers, does one of these look familar?
https://www.victronenergy.com/solar-charge-controllers

No, you do not need to be plugged in for the solar controller to equalize. It will use the sun to do the equalization. Of course the battery needs to be sufficently charged for this to happen. Probably a good idea to do it after the boat has had a period of non-use. Or when its brought to the dock and sat on the charger overnight (so the batt is %100).

On Victron controllers the equalization can be initiated via a Bluetooth dongle, or by switching the rotary dial to #1 or #2.

(A quick google search show that it may not default to "Auto Equalization".)
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Old 11-10-2018, 15:58   #8
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Re: Equalize?

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Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
so if i am plugged in, can i run this from the victron solar controller, or do I need to the cristec charger to run it. easy to do with the victron as it is BT via the phone, the cristec i need to get under a berth and get to some hard to reach switches.
Never mind 1/2 my other post..

You can kick off the equalization process via Bluetooth. However, being fully charged is a good idea.

You can also use your cristen charger.. 6 of one, or half dozen of the other.
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Old 11-10-2018, 16:19   #9
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Re: Equalize?

To Victron Blue Solar controllers on my boat defaulted to equalize every 30 days using the default led acid battery profile. However to kick off the equalization the batteries must be in float with no current draw. All this is in the manual which can be downloaded.

My batteries were not equalizing automically due to the tiny current draw from the always running vent fan on the Air Head. I pulled the fuse on the fan and the batteries immediately went into equalization. wallah.
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Old 11-10-2018, 17:59   #10
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Re: Equalize?

All equalizing should be done

from shore power not solar, with an appropriately adjustable charger

strictly following the detailed protocol spec'd, ideally directly from the manufacturer, including starting from 100% Full as per endAmps and water topped up

manually, never automated, unless you have very sophisticated trustworthy gear configured to follow that specific protocol (never seen such)

Yes, compromises are sometimes necessary, but making the process as "convenient" as possible will make it more likely you will do it regularly, in some contexts even more than weekly is called for.

On the low side just means lesser results

on the high side, can mean damaging the bank.

Do not equalize AGM except Lifeline.
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Old 11-10-2018, 19:54   #11
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Re: Equalize?

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All equalizing should be done

from shore power not solar
Again.. John shows the fact that he has never actually lived aboard or off grid.

Pretty strong statement "ALL EQUALIZING SHOULD BE DONE". Who says? We equalized on solar every 20 days for almost 3 years. Why would it be any different on solar power than shore power. Please enlighten me. Do the batteries care where the amps are coming from?

If the batteries have been sitting, not used and floated on solar for weeks. Then please tell me how equalizing with shore power is any different than on solar.
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:39   #12
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Re: Equalize?

Not wanting to get in the middle but why cant you use solar to equalize?
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:33   #13
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Re: Equalize?

From: https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...limited-EN.pdf
My understanding is as long as our batteries are used in light DoD (say living between 70% to 100%), are often charged back to "full", low charge/discharge current, then equalization is not needed.


I am relying mostly on solar and my VRLA get back to 100% (or very close to) almost everyday. I never bothered to equalize. I could be wrong, I tend to follow Victron's advices.


If I were to equalize I would easily do it from the victron MPPT. Would not pay a Marina berth for that.


EDIT: from the link above:
"Batteries will in general reach their fully charged state, including equalization,
during the absorption charge or when float charged for a sufficiently long period of time.
If they have been used in partial state of discharge mode for some time, they will recover by:
- repetitive cycling and charging with the appropriate absorption voltage and time
- an absorption or float charge during a longer period of time
- a real equalization charge, see below."
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:32   #14
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Re: Equalize?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
I have 3 year old FLA. 420Ah in 3 140 Ah batteries. Boat is kept on a mooring, but brought to a dock a few x a summer and is plugged in for a good 12 to 36 hours.

I also have 550 W of solar. Boat is mostly used during the weekend. On a few longer trips, there is a fair amount of motoring.

I have never seen V below 12.4.

There is a 40A Cristec OEM charger on the boat.

I have never equalized the batteries, there is a dip switch under a cover to do this.

On my Victron solar controllers I can also do an equalization. Should I do this prior to leaving the boat for the winter? If so, any special steps , aside from checking the water levels. Thanks.

Measure the specific gravity of the batteries as well as the voltage of each battery separately. If outside manufacturers specifications then equalization should be performed. Specific gravity of the batteries needs to be checked during the equalization process to determine when to stop. Batteries which tend to be on a float or trickle charge without heavy use are more prone to equalization requirements that batteries that are heavily discharged and then recharged at a high rate. Purchase a good hydrometer and follow the instructions when taking samples to make sure the solution is well mixed.



It is also critical the batteries be wired to common positive and negative buss terminals, all with the same length cables. All loads and charging sources should be connected to these same buss bars to ensure that current draws are evenly distributed within the battery bank. I believe that this is one of the most important factors in extending battery life and maximizing total # of charging cycles from the batteries.


Equalization can be performed from any charging source which can supply the required current at approximately 16 volts. With 420AH battery bank I couldn't envision more than a few hundred watts being required so there should be no problem with solar as long as you start with 100% SoC at 14.8v.
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:50   #15
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Re: Equalize?

Quote:
Originally Posted by undercutter View Post
Measure the specific gravity of the batteries as well as the voltage of each battery separately. If outside manufacturers specifications then equalization should be performed. Specific gravity of the batteries needs to be checked during the equalization process to determine when to stop. Batteries which tend to be on a float or trickle charge without heavy use are more prone to equalization requirements that batteries that are heavily discharged and then recharged at a high rate. Purchase a good hydrometer and follow the instructions when taking samples to make sure the solution is well mixed.
It may be true but is the exact opposite of what Victron suggest, see my previous message. Who says that ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by undercutter
It is also critical the batteries be wired to common positive and negative buss terminals, all with the same length cables. All loads and charging sources should be connected to these same buss bars to ensure that current draws are evenly distributed within the battery bank. I believe that this is one of the most important factors in extending battery life and maximizing total # of charging cycles from the batteries.
Agreed, and that I experienced myself. There are several ways to connect batteries in parallel. The one usually advertised here is not the best.
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