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Old 01-11-2014, 21:20   #1
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Winter in NJ for Batteries

Hi everyone. I am summoning the cruisers forum wisdom on what to do with my batteries for this winter. The boat is an ericson 32-2. Starting bank is interstate run of the mill starting battery (I assume it is closed agm as I can't open it for topping with distilled water). The house has two sets, both flooded lead. One is a Trojan 105 and the other is interstate two 6 volt golf cart batteries connected in series.

I have two solar panels. 60 watts mono each, with genasun mppt regulators. The plan was to connect one of the panels to the starting bank. Then I would connect the other to the house bank (the two golf carts which act as one 12v battery, plus the Trojan 12v) in parallel so they act as one bank. The other solar panel would charge this bank. Does that sound ok, or am I doing some big faux pas?

And if everything looks ok electrically, the big question- should I worry that the cold winter will freeze these batteries? It's truly a pain in the butt to take them off the boat so I would rather leave them over the winter layup in this setup, but if it is better to take them inside I will. Last winter was harsh in nj with temps reaching -10. This boat is new to me hence I am curious what others think. Many thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 01-11-2014, 22:22   #2
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

I believe that you batteries would really prefer to be sent south for the winter. They are likely to freeze their little posts off up there in the frozen north.

Or, check with Trojan, but I believe they will be fine as long as they are kept fully charged.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:21   #3
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

A fully charged (LA) battery will not freeze until -76F; however, a fully discharged battery could start to freeze at 32F.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:55   #4
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

They should be fine as long as nothing drains them which raises their freeze point and nothing goes wrong with your charging system. Worst case is your panels get covered in snow and wont charge and there is some type of parasitic draw pulling down the batteries then you could loose them
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:02   #5
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Last winter I fully charged my batteries [4 golf cart ] in November then disconnected them. They sat thru a Vermont winter and showed 12.6 volts in March when reconnected.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:08   #6
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

To answer your question: Don't give it another thought. If your batteries are charged they will not freeze in NJ. No different than your car battery. Your solar panels will keep them charged.

It's not clear whether you have one MPPT controller or two. You should either have a second controller to regulate and prevent overcharge, or put both solar panels on one controller. If one, you could get a voltage sensing relay (battery combiner) as an alternative.

Also most MPPT controllers have temperature sensing in the controller, and the better ones have an option to add an external sensor that is attached to the battery casing. If you don't already have temperature compensation built into your MPPT controller, an upgrade would be to add it. Without temperature sensing, your batteries will be undercharged in cold weather, and overcharged in extremely hot weather, because the ideal charge voltages are higher when the temperature is lower. But this only affects battery life and sulfation -- and will not be enough to cause a freeze concern.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:16   #7
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Are your solar panels outside the shrink wrap?

If it is that easy, then I would leave them on the boat disconnected from everything but the solar. The batteries will be fine.

I'm up in Boston and I store my fully charged batteries in the shed for the winter with no solar. No problems.

Caveat: I equalize my batteries before storage. I believe that the SOC is an important factor in preventing freezing. The lower the state of charge, the more dilute the H2SO4, the more likely to freeze. I always check the specific gravity before storage. If it was below 85% I would store them in a heated space or use the solar.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:29   #8
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo View Post
... I believe that the SOC is an important factor in preventing freezing. The lower the state of charge, the more dilute the H2SO4, the more likely to freeze...
Indeed.
According to Trojan, a battery with an 85% SOC (SG 1250) will freeze at about -62 deg. F.
http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/WP_...orage_0512.pdf
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:55   #9
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Fact checked my post.

The H2SO4 in a battery at 75% SOC has a freezing point of -30F.

The record low in New Jersey was in 1904 at -34F. Factor in global warming and you have nothing to worry about.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:23   #10
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Thanks everyone. Seems like I will go ahead with the plan... Hopefully the snow won't be too bad tone obliterate the sun on the panels. I will also start off with fully charged banks.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:41   #11
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

all you need to do is after a good charge, disconnect the negative cables and leave the batteries on the boat. they will be fine if they are in good condition.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:10   #12
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Just disconnect the Neg or Pos post from each Batt for the winter.As long as they are fully charged when u disconn. the,no problems.I wouldn't leave any charger hooked to them,as there is always a possibility of overcharge,due to a fault in charger. Good batteries will last a year or more,sitting,if fully charged & will not freeze. If u find a dead or low one in spring,it is a dud battery & needs replacement.
Wet cell batteries are all refillable.Sometimes the fill caps are hidden a bit to try to convince u they are "maintenance free" (read:throw away).Just need a screwdriver,knife,etc to pry out the cell caps & top up the water.
Cheers from the Great White North!
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:16   #13
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Sleep well my friend. Your batteries will do well. If it makes you feel better sweep the snow off the solar panels, when you have some.
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Old 07-11-2014, 15:52   #14
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Fully charge your batteries and then disconnect the negative ground terminals. Enjoy your winter.
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Old 07-11-2014, 20:34   #15
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Re: Winter in NJ for Batteries

Ok thanks this is all very useful information. We will charge everything before layup for the winter. I got the solar panel almost hooked up we will see how that works.
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