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Old 10-03-2011, 10:57   #1
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Rapid Fluid Level Drain

Hi... I have a pretty simple set up on my 36' sailboat. 2 deep cell batteries and 2 solar panels and a switch to preserve one battery for cranking (1,2, off or both). All went well for about 4 years. All of a sudden the fluid levels in the batteries was being drawn down. I bought a new set of batteries last week and the same thing. I asked at a battery shop and they said it might be a blown diode/anode in the solar regulator that was letting the batteries drain back out at night...?? Well... I am not familiar with this opinion. If true would that deplete the fluid levels?

How do I find out what is wrong. Is there some measuring device?

I have very limited draw right now. Just interior lights and notebook computer off the inverter. No refrideration etc... I have been at anchor over the winter so not using radar, depth sounder.

thanks..
Gary
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:21   #2
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Re: Rapid fluid level drain

If you are losing battery fluid, your system is overcharging and boiling the electrolyte out. Since your primary charging system is your solar panels my first check would be the charging voltage coming from the regulator. You might have a blown regulator which could be charging at too high of a voltage which will boil the electrolyte out. I don't really buy the panel sucking the voltage out, because that wouldn't explain the loss of fluid.
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:26   #3
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Re: Rapid fluid level drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancerbye View Post
If you are losing battery fluid, your system is overcharging and boiling the electrolyte out. Since your primary charging system is your solar panels my first check would be the charging voltage coming from the regulator. You might have a blown regulator which could be charging at too high of a voltage which will boil the electrolyte out. I don't really buy the panel sucking the voltage out, because that wouldn't explain the loss of fluid.
+1

If you don't have a leak then it's over charging. Don't go back to that battery shop, they know nothing!
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Old 10-03-2011, 14:29   #4
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Re: Rapid fluid level drain

Gary,

The guys at the battery shop may be on to something: do you actually have a solar charge controller in your setup, or are the solar panels wired directly to the battery bank? You didn't state if you have one.

Have you changed the wiring at all, to move the solar panels while working on the bimini, perhaps? It's very easy to mistakenly hook the wires back up to the panels backwards - in essences changing the panels from parallel 12V (17-19 volts peak) to series 24V (34-38V peak). That would cook your batteries quickly...
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