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Old 27-03-2017, 09:20   #1
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Sterling Charger will not equalize

Dear Skippers,

I am soliciting your help with a problem I am having with my Sterling Pro Charger Ultra that is about 3 years old. It is a 60 amp 12VDC unit. The unit works in Ďopen-flooded-lead acidí mode and does a fine job of keeping my 6 12V batteries charged. My house bank consists of 3 group 31 batteries in parallel with 2 group 27 batteries. (I plan to replace them with 5 matched cells in the very near future.) A single group 27 start battery is used to start the auxiliary engine. All the batteries are open lead acid and are about 3 or 4 years old and have lost significant capacity. The batteries are probably heavily sulfated since I have never equalized them. The batteries, when topped up and being floated typically accept about 0.3 amps of current. There are no abnormally hot cells to make me suspect internal shorts. The batteries are mounted in the engine room of my boat which is kept in Florida. It is no surprise that they are in need of replacing. During the past 10 years Iíve typically had to replace the batteries every 3 years or so; again, not surprising.

Now for the problem: I canít get the charger into de-sulfate mode. When I follow the instructions in the manual, partially inserted below, I cannot get the charger out of open lead-acid mode and into de-sulfate mode. The manual says that if I hold the setup button for 10 secs or more, LED lights will start to flash, enabling me to toggle the de-sulfate LED light so that it too lights up and starts to flash. Once the de-sulfate LED is flashing, pressing the up and down arrows simultaneously should cause the de-sulfate LED to go solid which would indicate that the charger is in de-sulfate mode. I cannot get the LED lights to flash no matter how long I hold down the setup button. What am I doing wrong? Has anyone else had this problem? I donít want to buy 6 matched cells if I canít break them in by equalizing them first. By following Maine Sails advice (aka RC) and equalizing my new batteries once a month, I hope to get an extra year or two out of new matched batteries.

Help would be greatly appreciated.

Ralph
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Old 27-03-2017, 10:40   #2
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

Had same problem. I called Sterling andthey told me that the equalisation feature had been removed, although they had not ammended the instructions.

Best fix is to use one of the custom settings. I think you can adjust charge voltage up to 15.5V.. Just dont forget and leave it at that voltage.
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Old 27-03-2017, 12:38   #3
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

ProMariner and Sterling both -- usually (often? always?) the same products, just with different branding -- seem to not understand that users expect words in the manual or on the equipment to actually mean something.

Our ProMariner inverter charger includes a "custom" profile. According to the manual. NOT. Called them. "Oh, they didn't implement that." Great.

The inverter is pure sine wave. Faceplate on the remote says quasi. Called them. "Oh, it'd cost more to make two versions of the remote." Great.

The thing seems to work OK; too new to tell. OTOH, the folks there seem to be a litlle blind to the the marketplace. Reading both the ProMariner and Sterling manuals for the same product... is sometimes useful... if you can read between the language difference.

-Chris
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Old 28-03-2017, 00:15   #4
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

had a lot of problems with Sterling - got one of these chargers and tried to install it and get it to work - a no go - tried a couple of different electricians in the Caribbean and they could not get it to work - sailed across the Atlantic and tried in Italy and Turkey - still a no go - wrote Sterling and they said sorry out of warranty your problem but we will give a discount if you want to buy a new one - what nonsense -
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Old 28-03-2017, 00:42   #5
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

We use a Sterling as well, works a treat but will not equalize even when it's properly set to do so. I gave up and use my panels.
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Old 28-03-2017, 05:43   #6
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

I have just checked the instruction manual which came with my charger (purchased in 2012).
It makes no mention of how to get the charger into equalisation mode, even though the charger has an equalisation indicator light.
Maybe Sterling have now enabled this function with later models.
Well worth an email to Sterling. No harm in asking
charles.sterling01@gmail.com



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Old 28-03-2017, 08:48   #7
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

rather than 'equalizing' I turn the charger off and run some heavy duty stuff for about 15 min to nock the voltage down then turn the charger back on. This repeatedly bumps the charger to it's high V setting 14.8v. Do this for 1-2days (depending on battery state). I find this works well to de-sulphite batteries. I get 10yrs + from batteries doing this once per year. If you are only getting 3-4yrs from batteries you either have a charger issue or are using lightweight batteries
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Old 28-03-2017, 12:42   #8
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

All, thanks for your comments. I have no doubt that something is wrong with the charger. If you read my original post you will see that I can't get the charger out of open-lead-acid mode; in other words, I can't even change to a different battery chemistry mode.

Thanks to the person who posted the link to sterling email. I will send off an email. It will be a shame if I have to send the unit to sterling. Sending it in will probably force me to by another charger. At this point, I don't think I want another sterling; according to mainesail they are suppose to be good units. Go figure
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Old 29-03-2017, 10:06   #9
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

Sterling has not removed the EQ/Desulfate mode. I tried it on my own boat this morning and a customers boat about 15 minutes ago.

#1 Make sure the charger is set to open lead acid in the pre-set list #1 not pre-set list #2

#2 Press the Set Up/Enter button for approx 7 seconds.

#3 At about the 7 second mark RELEASE the Set Up/Enter button

#4 The LED's should begin to blink. If not, try the press then release for a 5 second hold count or a 10 second count etc.. The charger does not enter set up until you release the Set Up/Enter button. (oh and this needs be done on the main unit not via the remote)

#5 When the LED's begin to flash, you can even scroll before it flashes in some cases, you now use the scroll up or down buttons (down in this case) until you get to the desulfate mode orange LED.

#6 Now briefly press both the up and down arrow simultaneously and release and it will boot into EQ.

#7 The easiest way to get out of EQ is to simply toggle the breaker off and re-boot the charger. It will re-boot to open-lead acid pre-set 1 not in EQ mode.
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Old 30-03-2017, 06:35   #10
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

Maine Sail, your instructions worked the very first time I tried them. Once again I am in your debt. Thanks.
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Old 30-03-2017, 06:41   #11
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

Quote:
Originally Posted by snotter View Post
Maine Sail, your instructions worked the very first time I tried them. Once again I am in your debt. Thanks.

Good man that Maine Sail

Must try this method myself, as my instruction manual does not even give a clue how to get into the equalisation mode.
When I asked Charles Sterling about this, he just said they had removed the feature as there are had been some "incidents".

With luck, the only thing they may have removed was the instructions.
We'll know tomorrow.
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Old 31-03-2017, 09:44   #12
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

I am also in his debt. Just tried that method, and it worked.
And thats after Sterling telling me the mode had been disabled.
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:23   #13
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Re: Sterling Charger will not equalize

I called Sterling Power UK this morning to discuss this issue, and they confirmed that they had at one time removed the instructions on how to get into the equalisation mode, but the actual equalisation mode had not been disabled from the charger.

They also kindly pointed out that they have made a short video on how to get into the equalisation mode.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nhte0o1b2z...42636.mp4?dl=0

Interesting that the model shown in this video is the older model with the grey lower cover (same as mine) as opposed to the later model with the red lower cover.

About a month ago, I found that one cell on the engine starter battery had an SG of 0.05 less than than the others. After maine sails description, I managed to get the charger into equalisation, and all cells on the battery are now at 1.32.
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