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Old 26-08-2015, 16:40   #16
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

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Originally Posted by Ostinato View Post
That's unfortunate. The oldest of these batteries is 2011 and very expensive. In the past I've gotten 7 years out of gels. I'll think twice or three times before I replace them with the same thing.

Good to know though. Thanks.
I had what sounds like the same problem. I had a smart meter that tells me the amp hours present in the battery bank but it seems to need recalibrating as batteries age. Speaking of which you mention: "The oldest of these..." which seems to indicate that you are using different age batteries in the same bank. That to my mind is a no-no. Not sure how it is with gel batteries but with lead acid you never mix different age batteries as the newest will basically last only the remaining life of your oldest battery, having been dragged down by the growing inefficiency of the older ones. I did this and knowing they would be dragged down by the others I was diligent that whenever I was off the boat (more often than not) I disconnected the pair that were older to stop the drain. All to no avail, I got less than half the life out of the new batteries, ended up throwing the lot out and had to buy a complete new set.
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Old 29-08-2015, 13:09   #17
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

In reply to a few of the posts - yes the meter has been synced per factory instructions recently and I have been into a marina in the last couple of weeks for a couple of days.

Based on one of the suggestions I have tried tracking the results each morning over the last few days. I realize in hindsight, this needs to be done better but for the sake of this discussion here are the results -

Day 1 Amp hour reading 425 voltage 12.02 at 0700hrs.
Day 2 Amp hour reading 484 voltage 12.25 at 0750hrs.
Day 3 Amp hour reading 445 voltage 12.15 at 0600hrs.

The voltage was measured after all circuits were briefly shut down. Other than that no opportunity was given for the batteries to recover. Obviously when the engine(s) were last run before bed and the state of the charge at that time should have been recorded too. However it looks like I am burning through about 15 amp hrs/hr which fits with what I am running at night.

The daytime is seldom a problem because of solar panels.

Given that the 445 for instance is about 70% of capacity I still have concerns. Anyone have any more thoughts?
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Old 29-08-2015, 21:56   #18
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

Based on those voltages your batteries are at or below a 50% state of charge.
When was the last time you equalized? Because that bank is on its way out fast at those voltages.
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Old 30-08-2015, 01:03   #19
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

From what I can find Odysessy has no recommended equalization process. They do have a process for recovery from deep discharge but voltage cannot exceed 15v.

http://www.odysseybattery.com/docume...gedODYSSEY.pdf
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Old 30-08-2015, 10:30   #20
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

One of the biggest pieces of info that is needed here is whether the batteries have been taken to a 100% charge, and then, take readings on volts and amp usage. For some reason, I suspect that the batteries are being chronically undercharged. Two days in a marina tied up to shore power with an adequately sized battery charger (total amp capability at least 20% of the amp-hours of the battery bank). And that should be without large draws else the charger should be larger. E.g. 20% of a 600Ah bank means a 120A charger. This size is common with 2000W inverter/chargers, or bigger, but most boats do not have standalone chargers that big - too expensive. This could be achieved with a good sized alternator and a good three stage regulator too with extended running.

But it is starting to look like the batteries may be toast. And a 12.1v reading should be about 50% capacity, not 70% so something is out of whack here too. And the recommendation to recheck the battery voltage with a handheld voltmeter/multimeter is spot on. I need to replace a faulty Newmar (a very expensive one) that came with my boat as it reads almost a full volt different than actual. Needless to say, I don't use that meter to make any decisions.

But you need a clean baseline, especially for AGM batts, so they need to be fully charged with a three stage charge regimen of some sort. And then reset the meter for % of capacity. You all know how much I like that feature but if you are going to use it you have to do it by the book.
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Old 30-08-2015, 14:46   #21
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

I do have two 60 amp Victron chargers which play well together. Good multi-meter confirmed voltage on the Blue Seas meter. This is a cat with both engines equipped with 150 amp Balmar chargers dedicated to the house bank with 3 stage regulators (separate alternators for starting batteries).

We are in the Adriatic right now and we have been powering far more I would like. At the end of a 8-10 hour run, the house bank will usually last the night. However, under normal gunk holing conditions, I need to run an engine for an hour before going to bed and then again in the morning despite 500 watts of solar power with usually clear skies during the day. If I don't do that I get some of the reading reported earlier. (In these conditions, our egg beater is of no value). This is a clear reduction in performance from what my memory says I have experienced in the past. Some of this might be due to the high ambient temperatures we have been experiencing causing the frigs and freezer to work over time.

Nevertheless, I will try what you have suggested when we check in our next marina. I just not very optimistic.
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Old 30-08-2015, 17:35   #22
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

are you getting to shore? sounds like you are not if you are only charging to 90%. get to a dock. plug in for 24 hours. get them fully charged. reset amp meter. do a 20 hour load test. google how.
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Old 30-08-2015, 18:04   #23
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

How many volts is your charging system putting into your batteries If your system is 12V and you have deep cycle batteries you need 14.8 volts to fully charge it even putting 20/30 amps in at 12 volts will only half charge the batteries and at 11 volts your batteries are flat Not half charged. Go and talk to a good auto electrician is what I would sugest Good luck whatever.Bernie
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Old 30-08-2015, 20:15   #24
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

Odyssey batteries provide excellent documentation on how to recharge their batteries when deeply cycled.

http://www.odysseybattery.com/docume...1_0411_000.pdf


It is not just a 'apply any charging source anytime and happy cycling'

It is an' If you deeply cycle this battery, it requires 40 amps per 100 AH of battery capacity/ 40 amps until 14.7v is reached, then 14.7v is to be held for 4 hours.

They are the Super greedy AGM. They are not a good low and slow recharge battery, not a good solar only recharge battery when deeply cycled.

One cannot expect them to last when their charging parameters are not met.

So can you feed them 40 amps per 100AH of capacity? That is a lot of amps.

Can you hold them at 14.7v for 4 hours? Most charging sources cannnot/will not.

The extreme price of Odyssey batteries does not make them immune to chronic undercharging or improper recharging, and if anything AGMS are less resilient when their charging demands are not catered to, compared to flooded deep cycle batteries.

I deeply cycle a 90 AH Northstar AGM battery, whose design and claims as to performance is very similar to Odyssey. If I allow 200 watts of solar to replenish this battery, day after day, to full charge. Meaning is brought upto and held at 14.46v until amps taper to 0.425amps, on the fifth night of a solar only recharge, I notice that the voltage held for the same amp hours removed has dropped drastically compared to the first night.

The Next day i will apply my 40 amp adjustable voltage power supply from its most depleted state, until 14.46v is reached and held long enough for amps to taper to 0.425a.

This restores lost performance. Voltage held under load returns, the ability of the battery to smack my engine to life super quickly is returned

I know the low and slow trickle charge crowd is still vocal in the lead acid battery world, but AGMS, when deeply cycled, crave high amp recharges. It is not that they 'can' accept huge charging amps, it is a requirement. Some AGM brands, will say to limit bulk amps to no more than 0.3c, 30 amps per 100Ah of capacity. Still, they benefit from currents approaching this maximum

To the OP, I would recommend being able to recharge the battery's individually, at a high rate until they reach 14.7v, and hold them there for ~ 4 hours.

0.4c is 40 amps per 100AH of capacity.

This might allow you to get back some lost capacity, or it could be too little, too late.

Lifeline AGM recommends 0.2c minimum when deeply cycled.

Voltage is certainly important, but with AGMS initial Amps applied from a depleted state is also Key to their longevity in a deep cycle application.

Increase the diameter of your cabling from alternator to battery, and aim a fan at the alternator. This should help the next battery bank last longer.
AGMS are great, when their high amp recharge requirements can be met every so many deep cycles. If not, the end user will not get their money's worth
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Old 30-08-2015, 22:36   #25
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

Ahhh OK Sternwake you put it so much better than Me and I did realise I hadn't quite got it right. Cheers Bernie
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Old 31-08-2015, 00:26   #26
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

Ok - Let's assume these batteries are toast. Given that I cannot routinely meet the charging requirements for AGMs and that wet cells are not an option, then my next set should be gels?
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Old 31-08-2015, 05:31   #27
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

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Ok - Let's assume these batteries are toast. Given that I cannot routinely meet the charging requirements for AGMs and that wet cells are not an option, then my next set should be gels?
I might have seen this answer earlier in the thread but short term memory has blanked it out if I did.

How come no standard FLA (liquid filled or wet cells)? That is definitely the most bang for the buck, assuming you can find Trojan T105s or equivalent 6V, deep cycle, golf cart type batteries. If access is an issue you can buy replacement caps that minimize water loss (I'm sure someone can remember the brand name of these) so you won't have to check them that often.

If FLA is just not what you want then gels are the best option, in fact just about the only option.
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Old 31-08-2015, 06:41   #28
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

You know, it seems like money is not the major driving concern here as it often is.
Based on that, you may be one to investigate a Life-Po bank.
I am NOT the one to tell you how to go about it, but Gels have not so good a reputation, I believe you may be jumping from the pan into the fire so to speak going to gels
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Old 31-08-2015, 06:44   #29
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

Money wise, Life line batteries as an example are about 300% per amp more costly than Sams Club GC-2's.
Myself I'm torn between the life line batteries due to battery box size constraints, or cutting out the existing box and building one to accept GC-2's

But I wouldn't consider Gels
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Old 31-08-2015, 09:39   #30
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Re: I can't figure what's going on

I have zero experience with Odyssey batteries. If they need 40amps of charge for every 100Ah, that is indeed a greedy/needy battery. My Lifelines did not seem to require as much, and I got many years out of them. But one thing I have learned is that the real story is in ALL the details when it comes to battery maintenance and longevity. It seems that you have a reasonably good charger setup with 120A of shorepower battery charging. That would normally be enough power to handle Lifeline batteries IF you fully charge them routinely and not just rely upon solar to keep them within "workable" range.

Heavy amp demands, such as big reefers/freezers in hot climates, autopilots, radar, stereos, can easily keep the batteries in an "almost" charged state. It then takes extended high amp charging to get them to full charge.

I am not a fan of gel nor wet cells. I hate the acid and maintenance of wet cells and really like being able to put AGMs in any position without having to look at them and put water in the little holes all the time. But for sheer cost per Ah they are the best. If money is not the biggest driver then I would go AGM Lifelines, and then keep them well charged. Not every day full charge, but frequent. And then you have to be able to keep your amp usage down. Either that or get a big genset and run it for hours at a time. More batteries actually works against you. Basic laws of physics and chemistry at work here.

I truly wish you luck with your batteries but they seem very sick.
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