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Old 09-30-2008, 11:44 AM   #1
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AGM Battery Equalization, Xantrex and things of that nature

Has anyone equalized their AGM battery with a Xantrex or non-xantrex powerinverter? Ether with a 4D or 8D battery.
Equalization is a process that supposed to bring back the battery amp capacity. It's a mode on the Xantrex Link 2000.. that's to be used only once a month or once in while when the capacity held seems lower.

I basically want to find out if anyone has done it and has any good or bad comments on the whole process of Equalization at 15.5V for 8 hours..

Here is what Xantrex says:
4) Equalization

Equalization is a controlled overcharge intended to dissolve any recently accumulated sulfation on the battery plates, regaining more of the battery's original capacity. When the small recessed button is pressed the TRUECHARGE first completes a regular charge cycle to establish a charge state reference point. The TRUECHARGE then charges at 5A (TRUECHARGE 20) raising the battery voltage to maximum 15.5V. The operator is then to test the battery cells specific gravity every hour, and take the charger out of equalize mode when the cells are no longer equalizing. If the operator does not take the charger out of Equalize the TRUECHARGE will exit Equalize and go into float mode after 6 hours.

My symptoms is that my new AGM is not holding enough amps then I'm used to or just isn't getting enough charge or it's going bad.
I've purchased a Xantrex Link 10 and it's on it's way so I'll find out eventually what the deal is.

I'm also shedding all house 12V when I'm on shore power charging the battery to find out if that's the issue also that is confusing the 3 stage charging process.

Lifeline actually recommends to equalize the battery once in while from what I gathered!

http://www.bdbatteries.com/mcharging_procedures.php

Comments?
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:36 PM   #2
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hmm... you learn something new every day. As I start to tear apart my electrical systems looking for my ground problem, I'll probably do this as I put everything back together.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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I just want to add that if you do equalize, be sure to watch the temps! Preferrbly with a built in temp feedback monitor aka Xantrex..or similar.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:51 PM   #4
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I remember equalizing charges for Pba batteries, but is that a normal practice for AGM batteries?
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:01 PM   #5
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Little long winded but I think I got it!

'For Folks trying to understand what the hell I'm talking about: this discussion is all about the house battery you may have and nothing to do the starting battery(s).'

Can't wait till I get the Xantrex Link 10 to prove my issue to myself.

I think I know why I'm not getting the full charge even though my inverter thinks so.

This is what happens on a typical week:
One a typical work week, Tuesday-Thursday, it's all good, 90%-100% Charged for the next day. Meals can be nuked for lunch and sometimes for dinner.

But not so on a new Monday over a long weekend docked at home (not going anywhere weekend):

Here is some data: On Friday's, after work, I dock and hook up to shore power to re-charge.
It charges for about 2-4 hours going through the 3 stages:
Stage 1: 14.76volts Bulk Charge
Stage 2: 14.16volts Absorb Charge
Stage 3: 13.56volts Float Charge

So by Friday Night, I'm all charged like on any other typical day.
So here's the kicker, how come when Monday rolls around and I'm at work and not on shore power and I nuke a meal for lunch, it's like at 50%-70%, even with the solar panel going?

Answer:
I have 12V house devices have "stolen" my house battery amp capacity without the powerverter knowing over the weekend.

The powerverter only knows to start the cycle when you hook up to shore for the first time, once it's on float/trigger charge it doesn't know about all the other 12V house-side devices sucking up the juice from the battery(from the backside).

So, to cut to the chase, when docked and starting the charging process from 110V shore power, I need to turn off or auto-switch the 12V house-side devices when it's charging or add a 12V relay that switches all the 12V devices hanging off the 12V Fuse breaker fuse box over to a separate dedicated 12V converter/power supply also connected to 110V shore power.
Getting the 12V devices off the house battery that are on will help the powerverter charge it up as much as it can and doesn't trick it also.

Now I'm looking for a small converter power supply that can do about 15 to 30amps 12Volts.

Something like this:
http://cgi.ebay.com/350W-12V-30A-Regula ... 286.c0.m14


I guess it's similar to what I have done with the Solar panel already. Solar Panel has a relay in line to the battery, to switch off when I'm docked and charging. I used a small transformer to trigger the relay when docked to shore power.


Here is a list of some of my 12 V House-Side-always-On 12v Devices:

12V Light's if you use them on the weekends (I have swapped all to florencents and LEDs)
12V Tablet/PC with charger/ USB devices (Temp)/ Linksys Wireless AP/Switch
12V Lots of Cams/ Video Quad Splitter and 5w IR Emitters, 2 (12V) DVR's
Other 12V gadgets
12V Fridge would be another example but I have a 12v/110V/Propane Fridge and ruled it out.

We measured the amps off the 12 fuse panel from each fuse holder and it adds up. From as low as 3amps to as high as 6amps (all the House Lights on).

The Xantrex Link 10 should prove that's the case with it's amp gauge.
If not, I just can't believe the new battery is lame already; can't be since it's all good from Tuesday to Fridays.

By the way, I found a good 30A Equalization Charger that doesn't break the bank that I'm thinking of rejuvanating(equalize) my old batteries(8D, 4D and a few Optimas) that I thought were half bad:

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/st ... sku=232563

And I was going to Zap (Equalize) a perfectly good AGM for nothing..
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg In Austin
I remember equalizing charges for Pba batteries, but is that a normal practice for AGM batteries?
Researching around, I saw a few articles and discussion mentioning that you need to do it if the battery is not charging 100%.

This is from Lifeline Batteries:
Equalizing should only be done when the battery is showing symptoms of capacity loss or from inadvertent deep discharges. In the event equalization is necessary, make sure to go through the normal charge cycle. Once the battery is fully charged, begin equalizing

In my case, I'm going to try it on a old 8D batteries that might have been prematurely swapped out for a new one..

Can't believe that the manufacturer of LifeLine AGM batteries actually mentions it to do!
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:07 PM   #7
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I just went back and re-read the instructions for the Blue Sky Controller and it says that equalization should only be performed on vented liquid electrolyte bateries. AGM batteies do not have a liquid electrolyte and are not vented. It goes on to explain that the equalization process is essentially a controlled over charge of the battery and can cause the battery to heat up and outgas. This would lead me to believe that equalizing an AGM would be very dangerous and at best may ruin your batterty and worst case may cause a fire or explosion.

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Old 10-01-2008, 01:03 PM   #8
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I equalized with the 8D system for several hours never saw a change. Annoying that you cannot set it to equalize for X hours but have to keep returning and reset.

I get constant Temp sensor faults and recently found my voltage does not read correctly.

However the equalization didn't hurt anything either as far as I can tell.
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:28 PM   #9
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A Xantrex tech told me not to equalize a AGM even if it is banked with a wet cell group and to do it to a AGM battery or bank can damage them. On another note, a friend who owns a parts store said he has brought back Optimas using a high amp charge. I would never try this unless the battery is shot and is outside away from anything that can be burned or harmed. Maybe I'll give him a Optima that holds only about 70 % after a full charge and report back. A battery that does not hold a full charge is worthless to me.
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:32 PM   #10
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Yeah, I've heard that to. So after SMB said to do it, I talked to the battery manufacturer. Basically if your battery is bad you will completely ruin it. If it's not you can't hurt anything- things might not get better but it won't hurt anything.
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