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Old 31-12-2014, 09:47   #1
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Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Hello,

Our boat came with two new GPL-4DA Marine batteries that have never really performed well at all. I suspect maybe they were "flat" from the get go. We have found doing anything simple, even just having the lights on drains them extremely fast. They just do not seem to hold a charge and drop really fast below 12v. In once case they fell to 10.3v overnight with almost nothing on. That morning we rushed to get shore power and left them charging with the built in charger (also came with the boat) for nearly 24hrs. They seemed to recover only to their former lackluster self.

We now have a wind generator going and do not let them go below 12v. However they have almost no ability to deliver power for more than a couple of hours under what I'd call very light loads.

These appear to be very expensive and good batteries (wired parallel for 12v bank). It's a lagoon 410s2 and there are also starter batteries wired into this system although I'm under the impression they are somehow separated from the house bank somehow. The boat (ex-charter) came with zero manuals of any kind. When the batteries went low the first time we asked the seller who said they ran the engines 3hrs a day and suggested we do the same. Hence the Sunforce 600W wind turbine was added. We do not want to become a diesel power plant for 3+ hrs a day or we'd have looked into power boats from the get go

I read a while back about batteries something about dead is not always dead. They are either sufided up or just in need of conditioning charging. Unfortunately for us our Sunforce MPPT controller kicks off at 15v the voltage Lifeline says I need to maintain for 8hrs to condition them.

Before I spend more money trying to condition charge these batteries can anyone help me understand what options I have? These seem fairly common batteries in a fairly common arrangement. Our friends who bought their ex charter boat when we did have the same batteries. They have a solar panel setup with a controller that will do the conditioning charge (fortunately for them as their batteries are outperforming ours but below their expectations).

Also, if anyone is considering the Sunforce 600W wind turbine be advised that's only 600W with 24v battery setup not 12v. It's advertised a bit misleadingly as 600w but they fail to mention you'll only see 400w if you have a 12v system.
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Old 31-12-2014, 10:21   #2
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Check with "Lifeline " about the charge status for that battery.. We have the 4 Ds in our boat, have had for 12 years.... They are fully charged at 12.8 and at 50% they are at 12.2... We have never seen below 12.6 on ours........
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Old 31-12-2014, 10:24   #3
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefastdaddy View Post
Hello,

Our boat came with two new GPL-4DA Marine batteries that have never really performed well at all. I suspect maybe they were "flat" from the get go.
I am sorry about that. I have exactly the same batteries on my own ex-charter boat. I am afraid the info you provide is not enough to determine whether the problem is insufficient charging or low capacity of the batteries due to and and/or sulfation.

I can help you further if you do as follows:

a) Charge the batteries as you usually do every day
b) Once batteries as charged at their peak for the day, disconnect positive terminal of one of them for two hours (that way you keep the other battery in use).
c) At the end of the two hours measure the "rested open circuit voltage" between the two terminals of the battery that is disconnected and report what this voltage is. Then reconnect that battery
d) Repeat a, b and c with the other battery.

This will give us an idea of the daily peak % State of Charge in those batteries. Once we know that then we will worry about either your charging system or battery capacity and the possibility of equalizing/conditioning charge.
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Old 31-12-2014, 10:39   #4
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
I am sorry about that. I have exactly the same batteries on my own ex-charter boat. I am afraid the info you provide is not enough to determine whether the problem is insufficient charging or low capacity of the batteries due to and and/or sulfation.

I can help you further if you do as follows:

a) Charge the batteries as you usually do every day
b) Once batteries as charged at their peak for the day, disconnect positive terminal of one of them for two hours (that way you keep the other battery in use).
c) At the end of the two hours measure the "rested open circuit voltage" between the two terminals of the battery that is disconnected and report what this voltage is. Then reconnect that battery
d) Repeat a, b and c with the other battery.

This will give us an idea of the daily peak % State of Charge in those batteries. Once we know that then we will worry about either your charging system or battery capacity and the possibility of equalizing/conditioning charge.
Thank you very much for this reply. I will do this. Give me a couple days I'll write back the results.
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Old 31-12-2014, 10:54   #5
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefastdaddy View Post
.

Also, if anyone is considering the Sunforce 600W wind turbine be advised that's only 600W with 24v battery setup not 12v. It's advertised a bit misleadingly as 600w but they fail to mention you'll only see 400w if you have a 12v system.
I will not comment on your point on 12V vs 24V because that would depend on the type of MPPT regulator.

The 600W rating is based on a wind speed of 14 meter per second, or 27 knots. In a Caribbean anchorage you should not expect to get more than 10 knots (5 meters per second), which will give you about 70W. This is less than 6 amps, hence less than 144Ah per day **assumming you have good wind all the time***!

I am taking data from http://sunforceproducts.com/prodinfo...nual092311.pdf

If you measure the A draw and runtime of your fridge/freezer you will probably find that much or most of that 144Ah/day goes into the fridge/freezer.

Then add (or substract ) the loss in regulation, which is not allowed for in the spec. In summary, that wind generator is not enough for your boat. You will need lots of solar or engine time or a genset, even if you are very thrifty with consumption.
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Old 31-12-2014, 11:24   #6
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Update:
About 15min ago I saw the wind turbine had turned off...the 12v DC current was 15v so the MPPT controller turned it off. The voltage by the time I disconnected the + terminal on the left battery was 12.99v (probably 5min had passed). At 2pm I had disconnected the terminal and with a voltmeter probe on the +/- of the disconnected battery showed 13.1v.
The wind generator came back on a minute or two later (timeout period had expired so it re-enabled itself)...that was 15min ago. However, even with the wind generator going steady I see the voltage on the 12v, as read by my LED voltmeter tapped into the 12v line at the nav station, was down to 12.4v. Crazy.
The FM radio is on playing quietly. The AIS650, AIS100 are powered. I have a 12v DC charger going for a MacBook air. The charger says it outputs 14.5v at 3.1A. If I disconnect it. The voltage jumps only a little. Now the wind has picked up and in the last 5min the voltage has risen to 13.1v again.
So, that one battery is behaving quite a lot like the two were together. As soon as the wind generator goes off or the wind dies down the voltages start dropping fast. Oh, one last thing. Checking the panel I see my Amp meter shows about 4-5A draw. It's nearly impossible to read it as it has 15a increments so I'm estimating quite a lot. Just seems not much draw.
Does this help? I'll still measure the disconnected battery in 1.5hrs.
On close inspection both batteries really do look new and the same age/condition. This would mean they are 3mo old basically.
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Old 31-12-2014, 13:06   #7
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Ok, at 2hrs that disconnected battery was at 12.8v it was 12.99 2hrs ago.

So, I'm going to try this on the other battery. I have re-connected that one (left one) and now have the right one disconnected. The voltage is 12.8 at the time I disconnected it. I had to disconnect both the + and - since the - was overlapping requiring it to be disconnected to allow the + to be disconnected.

I'll check the voltage in 2hrs on this right one.
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Old 31-12-2014, 13:14   #8
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
Check with "Lifeline " about the charge status for that battery.. We have the 4 Ds in our boat, have had for 12 years.... They are fully charged at 12.8 and at 50% they are at 12.2... We have never seen below 12.6 on ours........
That's good info, thanks for that, it is nice to hear. What's your typical use? We are a lagoon 410s2 with halogens in the kitchen (8 of them if all the switches are on), just a VHF, FM radio, and not much else to drain the batteries. Biggest user of electricity is the water pump and we avoid using that much these days in our current situation.

This may soon be a discussion on how to size properly a battery bank for replacements I fear. Sucks because these were not inexpensive batteries and we did not abuse them. I'm pretty sure the Moorings will tell us they can't do anything but from day we picked up the boat (after sitting on shore power for days) the voltage was low, probably 11.5? I remember mentioning it to them that seemed odd. Honestly though for what we paid for this boat and the amount of things they did replace even if we have to buy new batteries I'm not going to whine about it. I just want to be able to experience that great convenience of having power again and move on.
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Old 31-12-2014, 14:14   #9
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

get yourself a battery monitor. it'll help you understand what's going on.


and you can compare AH drained with volts. maybe you are drawing more then you think, maybe you are never fulling charging. or maybe it's just bad.


but even with good batts and no issues every boat should have one.




two 4d's isn't a big bank for a boat that size
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Old 31-12-2014, 14:56   #10
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
I will not comment on your point on 12V vs 24V because that would depend on the type of MPPT regulator.

The 600W rating is based on a wind speed of 14 meter per second, or 27 knots. In a Caribbean anchorage you should not expect to get more than 10 knots (5 meters per second), which will give you about 70W. This is less than 6 amps, hence less than 144Ah per day **assumming you have good wind all the time***!
I have to disagree, some disconnect here:
1. I was simply parroting back what the manual says. It says the max output is 600w for a 24v system and 400w for 12v. Just saying that's what the manual said. They didn't specify wind speeds or any Math. let's just stick to what I have please. The Sunforce 600W marine wind turbine with MPPT controller that ships with it in the box. I think maybe you thought I bought the two separately or something.

2. I am in the Caribbean and have been since Sept 18th when we bought this boat. We get 20kts for days on end around here. Probably average about 10-15kts though. I am just saying I am here and WindGuru etc is a good thing to check but I remember many times it saying one thing and my wind gauge saying something double or more. Whitecaps etc confirming. It really depends where you are. Around islands you can get interesting wind effect.
Based on the past 3 Months I highly recommend wind turbines for anyone living aboard considering just how windy it is outside the marinas. If you live in a marina then all bets are off yes do not get one it's not windy enough in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
I am taking data from http://sunforceproducts.com/prodinfo...nual092311.pdf

If you measure the A draw and runtime of your fridge/freezer you will probably find that much or most of that 144Ah/day goes into the fridge/freezer.
Who said I was running my fridge/freezer? I didn't mention it on purpose. It's off. That's an AC unit only. The only time I can run that is if my engines are doing 1800+RPM (yes both) or I'm on 220v 50A shore power. Please remove the idea of Fridges and other things being in this equation. Power is off to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
Then add (or substract ) the loss in regulation, which is not allowed for in the spec. In summary, that wind generator is not enough for your boat. You will need lots of solar or engine time or a genset, even if you are very thrifty with consumption.
Huh? You've assumed way too much here. Please update your Math. I'm not dreaming of a 12v fridge/freezer or running the inverter off battery yet. I don't remember if I mentioned it but at the panel I'm showing 4A current draw. Probably 8A with all the halogen's on. 8A is not asking a whole lot from a dual 4D 440Ahr bank.

Once I sort out the batteries yes, I'd love to look at adding more and possibly powering that fridge off it for a few hours a day.

For giggles and more info I have run the engines for several hours a day before. I do not wish to run them for 8hrs straight to try and condition charge these batteries but I guess since I don't have shore power in the future maybe it's a thought. I'm currently on a free mooring in Culebra, PR. I'm probably going to let out a big secret here but in Puerto Rico all moorings are free and they are in locations you wouldn't believe. Amazing, beautiful places you want to stay in. After being in BVI and USVI this is heaven.

But, alas, I may have to go either to Puerto Rico or St. Thomas to get this resolved with new batteries or shore power and a charger.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:25   #11
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Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

I maybe in some luck here with the new year.

I looked up my installed battery charger. It is a dolphin 12v 40A unit. Reading the manual I checked the charge position selector and found it was set to wet cell, "scanning charge". I believe it should be set to "AC delco" based on the profile given for each type.

To attempt to recover I see there is a setting for "sulphate recovery program". I will get to shore power soon and:

1. Charge using the AC delco setting
2. Charge again with the sulphide recovery setting

Hoping for some luck that they recover enough to use. But it seems I will only need to use shore power to attempt this and not have to buy anything.


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:05   #12
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

You wrote that you believe the water pump to be the largest electricity user. If you have a fridge (and perhaps a freezer as well) I would venture to say they are the main users.
As to the start batteries: original Lagoon installation would have them separated with an option to connect them in parallel to enable engine start if the start battery/ies go flat. There should be a large switch on the front of a berth in one of the aft cabins to do that.
The batteries you have boast of a very low discharge when not under load and afaik promise 5 years guarantee. If yours are new and not operating properly you may be able to claim (you will need the purchase documents).
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:35   #13
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

Do also check the date code on the batteries. It is usually stamped or embossed somewhere near the top edge, often intentionally concealed under a larger label.


If they are the original 2006 batteries....eight years of anything less than stellar care and they will simply be overdue for replacement from cumulative damage.
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Old 01-01-2015, 22:02   #14
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

never mind wrong thread
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Old 02-01-2015, 08:38   #15
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Re: Lifeline GPL-4DA Marine Battery Questions/Help

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Originally Posted by meirriba View Post
You wrote that you believe the water pump to be the largest electricity user. If you have a fridge (and perhaps a freezer as well) I would venture to say they are the main users.
True but not in my current situation. My fridge/freezer is AC powered no DC. I have to actually turn on an inverter to make AC and use that power. That switch is almost always off. It's not in this discussion ATM as I'm not using it (using bags of ice in the freezer to keep things cool and save power).

Quote:
Originally Posted by meirriba View Post
As to the start batteries: original Lagoon installation would have them separated with an option to connect them in parallel to enable engine start if the start battery/ies go flat. There should be a large switch on the front of a berth in one of the aft cabins to do that.
Correct. Well mostly. The batteries all of them (2 house 4D and 2 12v starter batteries) all share a common ground. The positive terminals on the house are connected to make them in parallel. The positive on the starter batteries are to switches as are the combined positive from the house. Allowing me to separate the house from the starter batteries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meirriba View Post
The batteries you have boast of a very low discharge when not under load and afaik promise 5 years guarantee. If yours are new and not operating properly you may be able to claim (you will need the purchase documents).
Indeed, I've seen those boasts on the Lifeline website as well. Mil-spec etc. Unfortunately the Moorings whom I purchased this boat from seems to keep no receipts of any kind. I've asked when picking up the boat for documentation on the items added, which included the new 4D batteries, and only got a puzzled look. I'm not sure how they do accounting but it has to be creative. No receipt and I'm not going to be able to get one for these.

Thanks for your ideas. My best hope at the moment is when I get to shore power then can do some charging. With a 41' x 26' wide cat it's not so easy or inexpensive. I need 220v 50A which I'll go find and take it from there.
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