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Old 12-12-2011, 15:00   #1
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Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

I'm still exploring the steel project boat I have.

Today I finally tracked down the house batteries.

I have 8 Trojan 105's. They are wired in groups of 2 and then into 4 perko on/off switches and then into a 5th 1/2/all switch.

And a separate group 24 starting battery.

The trojans appear to be from march of 06.

OK, so I have not yet figured out the charger on this boat, but suffice to say it ain't workin. These things have been completely dead for at least a full year, maybe two.

They do have water in them though.

So... What's the best way to try and save them? Or is it completely pointless?

And what is the collective wisdom on having batteries that can be isolated individually VS one big bank? (I don't really like the complexity or the look of so many switches.
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Old 12-12-2011, 15:12   #2
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

If the batteries have been flat for a year, they are toast.

I don't like the complexity of all of those switches. I would wire 8 new GCs in series/parallel as one big bank with one isolation switch. If you want the ability to isolate a bad battery (0r pair of batteries), make up a couple of jumper cables.

David
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Old 12-12-2011, 15:23   #3
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

The batteries are most likely heavily sulfated. There are ways of salvaging them.
If there is a full service battery vendor nearby, I would take them there to be serviced.

There are electronic battery restorers that can de-sulfate then. They use a high voltage spike at regular intervals to 'convince' the sulphates to go back into solution.

I read an online article quite some time ago about restoring batteries with one of the ingredients of orange soda, but can't find it now
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Old 12-12-2011, 15:35   #4
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

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Originally Posted by stevensa View Post
The batteries are most likely heavily sulfated. There are ways of salvaging them.
If there is a full service battery vendor nearby, I would take them there to be serviced.

There are electronic battery restorers that can de-sulfate then. They use a high voltage spike at regular intervals to 'convince' the sulphates to go back into solution.

I read an online article quite some time ago about restoring batteries with one of the ingredients of orange soda, but can't find it now
Congratulations, Steven. Almost 100% hogwash! Urban legend! Only the first sentence is accurate, IMHO (the batteries are heavily sulfated).

The batteries are toast. Not worth fooling with.

As for the desulphators....I did an 18-month controlled experiment using 10 different brands/models and a variety of golf-cart size batteries. The short finding: they're snake oil!

I have 8 T-105's on my boat, and 4 at home, all of which have been watched carefully for upwards of 7 years. One 7-year old pretty much died last week. Right now I'm giving it a rejeuvenation charge, then will try to equalize it, but I'm not expecting much. And, it's stinking up my basement shop...my wife is gonna raise hell, I'm sure :-)

The advice to lose all the switches and make up one large bank is a good idea. Much simpler and cleaner. And, in my experience, the likelihood of one battery or one cell going bad during the average service life of T-105's (4-6 years) is low, providing they have been treated properly.

Before you get the batteries, think about how you're going to charge them and, as important, how you're going to keep them well charged.

Bill
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Old 12-12-2011, 17:10   #5
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

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The advice to lose all the switches and make up one large bank is a good idea. Much simpler and cleaner. And, in my experience, the likelihood of one battery or one cell going bad during the average service life of T-105's (4-6 years) is low, providing they have been treated properly.
Wait! No! Bad advice - don't get rid of the switches - they are a brilliant addition. If I understand it right, the switches are not breaking the bank up into little banks, they are just there to isolate any particular set of cells. It is called a star-formation.

I wired ours this way. The best part about it is the charging sources enter the switch bank and are distributed evenly to each set of batteries instead of just one. In other words, the charging does not enter on any single cell of the bank (our negatives are taken off similarly, only without switches). This is a superior way of bringing charging sources to your bank.

The added brilliance to this is that one can do work or analysis on a group of batteries without shutting off or bringing down the whole system or doing any rewiring. For example, if you want to load test a set, just turn off their switch and go in situ. Or if you want to get a resting voltage from a set, turn them off overnight and measure - again, in situ. The rest of the bank keeps working.

And if you do have a problem with a battery, you can isolate it by simply turning it off without removing it or fussing with any of the others. We had this recently from a lightning strike, where one set of batteries shorted and was boiling. I simply flipped the switch and it all stopped and the house kept running.

Leave the switches.

Mark
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Old 12-12-2011, 17:13   #6
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensa View Post
The batteries are most likely heavily sulfated. There are ways of salvaging them.
If there is a full service battery vendor nearby, I would take them there to be serviced.

There are electronic battery restorers that can de-sulfate then. They use a high voltage spike at regular intervals to 'convince' the sulphates to go back into solution.

I read an online article quite some time ago about restoring batteries with one of the ingredients of orange soda, but can't find it now
As Gord would say, "welcome to CF stevensa"

As I would say, "Orange soda? Really? Did you even think about that before posting it?"

Mark
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Old 12-12-2011, 17:24   #7
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

Mark,

I agree with most everything you said about the switches and the star formation.

For the knowledgeable and prudent mariner who's really going to pay attention to his batteries, and who has both the will and the wherewithall to deal with the added complexity, I'd agree that it's maybe a good idea. The only downside -- apart from the complexity -- is the added points of resistance in the circuit (a minimum of twelve, with four ON-OFF switches, including the switch contact points) which over time in the marine environment could cause trouble.

What you've described is a good system for a "professional" electrical system steward. In my experience, however, most boaters these days lack the interest and sophistication to make use of such a system. Taking that into account, it's sometimes better to keep things very simple and straightforward.

Bill
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Old 12-12-2011, 17:25   #8
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

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"Orange soda? Really?
I know a guy who removes the mustache from the waterline on his bow with Pepsi.

Swears it works faster than oxalic acid.
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:51   #9
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Mark,

I agree with most everything you said about the switches and the star formation.

For the knowledgeable and prudent mariner who's really going to pay attention to his batteries, and who has both the will and the wherewithall to deal with the added complexity, I'd agree that it's maybe a good idea. The only downside -- apart from the complexity -- is the added points of resistance in the circuit (a minimum of twelve, with four ON-OFF switches, including the switch contact points) which over time in the marine environment could cause trouble.

What you've described is a good system for a "professional" electrical system steward. In my experience, however, most boaters these days lack the interest and sophistication to make use of such a system. Taking that into account, it's sometimes better to keep things very simple and straightforward.

Bill
Well, OK, but it already exists! Why tear it down? I don't agree that it is really added complexity (well, once it exists - wiring it is a little more complex), and don't agree that it is just more points of failure. I guarantee that there is more resistance in all other wiring connections EXCEPT battery switches in every boat out there.

The switches don't require any more specialized knowledge, prudence, attention or maintenance than the switches on the fuse/breaker panel. And they require as much interest and sophistication to use as the fuse/breaker panel - I mean, turn it on, turn it off is the entire textbook on it.

And they don't even require the high level mental and physical acuity of working a light switch. You just leave them alone unless there is a problem, at which point you turn the problem one off. Those darn light switches need to be turned on every time you want to see in the dark, and don't get me started on turning the lights off...

Personally, having experienced a run away battery, I view them as a safety item.

Mark
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Old 12-12-2011, 20:38   #10
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

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Well, OK, but it already exists! Why tear it down? I don't agree that it is really added complexity (well, once it exists - wiring it is a little more complex), and don't agree that it is just more points of failure. I guarantee that there is more resistance in all other wiring connections EXCEPT battery switches in every boat out there.

The switches don't require any more specialized knowledge, prudence, attention or maintenance than the switches on the fuse/breaker panel. And they require as much interest and sophistication to use as the fuse/breaker panel - I mean, turn it on, turn it off is the entire textbook on it.

And they don't even require the high level mental and physical acuity of working a light switch. You just leave them alone unless there is a problem, at which point you turn the problem one off. Those darn light switches need to be turned on every time you want to see in the dark, and don't get me started on turning the lights off...

Personally, having experienced a run away battery, I view them as a safety item.

Mark
Thanks guys.
Firstly, I'm PROBABLY going to replace ALL of the wiring. It's got a fair amount of corrosion on it.

There's nothing wrong with the switches, cept I think they are ugly. Adding four Blue sea's switches would be easy enough, but wasteful so I'm going to have to get over it I guess.
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Old 13-12-2011, 06:16   #11
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Re: Can 5 yr old golf cart batts be saved & wiring question

As Mark predicted; I send greetings and welcome aboard the CF, to stevensa.
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