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Old 27-03-2016, 00:50   #1
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Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

Have two battery banks. House bank is two, soon to be four, lead acid Golf Cart Batteries. Starter battery is Group 27 deep cycle gel cell. Have 260 watts of solar as well as engine alternator for charging.

Problem is the starter battery is not charging off the alternator or the solar. The GC batteries charge just fine. When switched to the start battery, the charge controllers, both for the alternator and solar, just cycle between 12 something to 14 something volts. It's the same indication when the battery is disconnected. Seems like the charge controllers think there is no battery there. The amp meter shows no amperage going into the battery.

Have charged the battery with a car charger off the inverter but seems to take forever to charge up. Yesterday after 6 hours on the 6 amp charger, the charge indicator was still stuck on 25% charged where it had been from the beginning. Left the charger on overnight and showed 100% charge 18 hours later. Voltage on the battery when I started charging was 12.6 volts. Voltage settled at 13.1v after a couple hours off the charger. Had no problem starting the engine with the battery before I hooked up the car charger so it wasn't discharged much.

Any ideas what the problem could be. Have been trying to avoid pulling the battery and taking it to the dealer. My back isn't what it used to be and those Gell Cell batteries are damned heavy.
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Old 27-03-2016, 00:58   #2
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Re: Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

I would take out the gel deep cycle and put in a flooded starting battery...


27's are not heavy. probably lighter then the GC's.


as for the not charging from alt or solar, but takes amps from other charger. sounds like another issue. I'm not sure what you mean by the switch. the solar should be straight to the house and shouldn't be going to the start battery anyways. unless you combine both banks. the alt depends on how things are wired. maybe the 1-2 all switch is bad if your alt and controllers are wired on the load side.


with a 6a charger the charge time of 15+ hours of a dead group 27 is about right.
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Old 27-03-2016, 02:15   #3
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Re: Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
I would take out the gel deep cycle and put in a flooded starting battery...


27's are not heavy. probably lighter then the GC's.


as for the not charging from alt or solar, but takes amps from other charger. sounds like another issue. I'm not sure what you mean by the switch. the solar should be straight to the house and shouldn't be going to the start battery anyways. unless you combine both banks. the alt depends on how things are wired. maybe the 1-2 all switch is bad if your alt and controllers are wired on the load side

with a 6a charger the charge time of 15+ hours of a dead group 27 is about right.
The switch is the battery switch 1, 2, both, off. The solar back charges through this switch so can charge either #1, #2, both or none depending on the switch setting. The switch tests good with a multimeter and seems to be working unless there is something that goes haywire when it actually has battery voltage running through it. Don't know how I'd test for that as it checks out with the meter. Borrowed a new battery switch and will try that tomorrow to rule out the switch as a cause for the problem.

The Gel Cell wasn't dead when I started charging it. At 12.6 plus volts it probably wasn't down much at all. Putting 36 amps into the battery seems like it would have brought it above 25% charge. Haven't dealt with a Gel Cell before so don't know their charging curve.

Yes it seems there is something weird going on though I don't have the slightest idea what it could be except a bad battery or some quirk of Gel Cell batteries. That doesn't seem to be the case, at least as far as it holding a charge.


FWIW, Gel Cells weigh more than lead acid batteries. At least it sure felt that way when I hauled it aboard. Have the companionway torn apart so have to lift the battery up to shoulder level to get it on deck and then on shore with bow tied to the dock like a Med Mooring. Not easy maneuvers.
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Old 27-03-2016, 13:35   #4
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Re: Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

anyone??
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Old 27-03-2016, 14:41   #5
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Re: Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

Could be a LOT of things i am afraid and not easy to tell from distance.

Bad connections, corrosion. To check connections touch them (under load) if they get hot it means (too much) resistance.

An odd phenomenon that I am into myself is our batteries are apparently approaching the end of service life.... And me, the clever trouble shooter, suspected faulty charge controller, solar panels etc.

Fact is, when the batteries can't accept a charge any longer there will be (almost)
No current. I read 2-3 Amos solar instead of 7-9. Yesterday I noticed that the windgenerator was spinning in a 10 knot breeze, normally about 5 Amp into the battery, but read 1 on the analogue Ampmeter....that's when it finally dawned on me that the batteries are shot!

Slow processes can go unnoticed a long time without reaction from operator

Just dig out the DMM and start at the source and check everything. Guess we better do it every couple of years, but then diving and socializing is more fun!

Good luck!

P.S. Could still crank the engine, though starter spun slower. D.S.
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Old 27-03-2016, 16:20   #6
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Re: Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

Could it be that you overcharged the Gel battery ?

If it was, the Gel separates from the plates and it is shot.
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Old 27-03-2016, 23:00   #7
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Re: Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

The cable from the battery from the positive terminal on the battery to the switch appears to be toast. The cable terminals are clean without corrosion, firmly attached to the cable and the cable itself has no breaks in insulation or sign that it is not continuous but it's only allowing a low voltage/amperage through. Discovered it by taking the leads off the battery switch for the umpteenth time and the #1 battery finally started taking a charge. Reassembled all the wires to the switch and screwed it into the bulkhead and, once more, no charge. Got the bright idea to run a jumper between the switch and positive lead on the battery and all worked again. Checked the switch out and it appears to be working.fine with the jumper in place. Will make up another cable tomorrow and hopefully it will stay fixed.

I guess if you take something apart and put it back together enough times it will eventually fix itself. Mahalo for your help.
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Old 28-03-2016, 11:31   #8
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Re: Gell Cell battery not charging, lead acid batteries charge fine.

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