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Old 13-05-2020, 04:12   #1
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Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Now that I'm stuck with lead acid batteries for a few more years, I'm thinking about hydrocaps.


Watering my batts is a bit of a PITA. Now that I'm on 6v rather than 12v batts, there will be half the cells to do, but still I have to take up floors, take up my bunk, open battery boxes -- bleh.


Anyone using hydrocaps and does it help?


Alternatively I guess I could consider the Trojan watering system.


Any comments or experience to share?


I note that hydrocaps are strongly recommended by the UK distributor of Rolls batts.
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Old 13-05-2020, 05:16   #2
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

I used Hydrocaps on my old boat, before the age of cheap solar, and they worked, but, I would fast charge with a big alterntor and didn't trust them to keep up when I was over heating the batteries. And so still felt the need to access the batteries and check water levels on a regular basis. I rarely needed to add water.
On the current boat I'm using the Flowrite fill system and am happy with the ease of watering up using it. My batteries are pretty inaccessable and without this it takes about an hour to check and water, using this takes about 10 minutes to top up two banks.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 13-05-2020, 05:19   #3
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

They seemed expensive for what they were.

We have as many cells to fill as many (940ah) and agree it is a bit of a pita. IMO there is a disadvantage to the watering systems, since you then miss the observation of water usage in each cell. While not fool proof, excessive water loss in a cell would cause concern of a potentially bad cell.

To minimize the pain of adding water to the batteries, I made a "watering device" similar to what is used for forklift batteries. It's actually just a 1 gallon weed sprayer w/the tip removed from the wand (get one w/the bent tip). Just pump it up and use the wand to easily/without mess fill the cells.

Now the biggest pain is taking the caps off/on every 1-2 months to check the water level.
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Old 13-05-2020, 05:58   #4
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

The old automobile garage way of topping batteries was a pitcher of water with a spout and tube - you pressed down the spout on the battery and it filled to the right level. I have not seen one of those in at least 50 years; let me check if they still exist.
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Old 13-05-2020, 05:59   #5
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Yeah, here they are:

https://www.amazon.com/Performance-T...e%2C190&sr=1-2
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Old 13-05-2020, 06:01   #6
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
The old automobile garage way of topping batteries was a pitcher of water with a spout and tube - you pressed down the spout on the battery and it filled to the right level. I have not seen one of those in at least 50 years; let me check if they still exist.


Theyíre everywhere


https://www.google.com/search?q=jug+...&bih=454&dpr=2
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Old 13-05-2020, 06:04   #7
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

We have the fill-rite caps. With only 4 gc-2 batteries to fill it wasnít very expensive, but what a relief!! Our batteries are in the cockpit lockers. To access them for filling requires emptying both cockpit lockers, removing the partitions, and then the batt box covers.

I can see the batteries from the cockpit, just canít get to them.

Now I can see at a glance what cells need water, and fill all of the batteries at the same time from inside the salon!
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Old 13-05-2020, 06:24   #8
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
The old automobile garage way of topping batteries was a pitcher of water with a spout and tube - you pressed down the spout on the battery and it filled to the right level. I have not seen one of those in at least 50 years; let me check if they still exist.

They do; I used them back in the day, and they are great. I actually ordered one from Amazon yesterday.


Helps a lot with filling but doesn't help with getting at the batteries
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Old 13-05-2020, 08:25   #9
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
We have the fill-rite caps. With only 4 gc-2 batteries to fill it wasnít very expensive, but what a relief!! Our batteries are in the cockpit lockers. To access them for filling requires emptying both cockpit lockers, removing the partitions, and then the batt box covers.

I can see the batteries from the cockpit, just canít get to them.

Now I can see at a glance what cells need water, and fill all of the batteries at the same time from inside the salon!
Did a google search and got no results for Fill-Rite. Found Flow-Rite but that didn't seem to offer the option of seeing individual cell water levels. That to me is a significant advantage.

Could you clarify the name or spelling or where to find Fill-Rite?

Thanks
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Old 13-05-2020, 08:36   #10
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Watering caps seem to be expensive to buy from some retail sources. but Ironically they are considered "Non-inventory items" in the battery distribution and industrial battery business...I.E. they are so inexpensive that they don't worry about stock counts! The company I used to work for used to order them by the bin full ( think of a pallet with walls about 30 inches tall). When we services forklift batteries we just tossed the old ones and installed all new ones. I got mine free. I'd bet if you went to an industrial battery place you could get them fairly cheaply!!
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Old 13-05-2020, 08:40   #11
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Did a google search and got no results for Fill-Rite. Found Flow-Rite but that didn't seem to offer the option of seeing individual cell water levels. That to me is a significant advantage.



Could you clarify the name or spelling or where to find Fill-Rite?



Thanks


Iím sorry, youíre absolutely correct.

My brain was multitasking and failing.

We had looked at flo-rite, but dismissed them.

Ultimately we installed battery watering technologies fill valves. They have a level indicator.


https://www.batterywatering.com/prod...valves/vb-tbu/

Iíve been watching storm systems near the Bahamas where our boat is in quarantine.
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Old 13-05-2020, 08:41   #12
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

I tried some of the catalytic caps that someone gave me when they went to AGMs. They seemed to reduce the required water, but got hot at high charge rates. Eventually the plastic got brittle and they started cracking.

When I compared the cost of new ones with the cost of a Flow-Rite watering kit, it was an easy decision to not replace them.

Youíre also supposed to remove them when you equalize the battery.
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Old 13-05-2020, 08:53   #13
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

Yes hydro-caps do seem to work but it is always better to fix problems rather than cover them up. The real solution is to improve access to batteries. Regular checks include checking connections are clean and tight, tie downs are OK etc. I like to check batteries at least monthly even though watering is normally only at the start and finish of the season. Not being able to check batteries would, to me be like not being able to get at the dipstick on the engine.
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Old 13-05-2020, 09:14   #14
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

We use 6 T-105s, with hydro-caps installed. Although we've been using Trojan batts since 2003, we've only been using the hydro-caps since about 2010....and yes-they do make a big difference in the watering. We also have, and use, the auto-fill jug. Just fill about 2/3s with batt water, press the end down onto the hydro-cap until the flow stops, and move onto the next cell....works good, hard to screw it up, and no overfills. 'Course our batts are in the salon, just under one of the seats-low, on centerline, and access is pretty easy. And every time we change batts, I just remove the caps and install them on the new batts-so it's a one-time expense.
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Old 13-05-2020, 09:17   #15
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Re: Hydrocaps -- Worth While?

i have an old hydrometer battery checker. get a bulb full of water and squeeze it into the cell. no spills. about 10 or 15 minutes of work every few months. wish my access was better
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