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Old 01-05-2015, 12:19 PM   #1
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House battey question

Ive got a house battery that I think might be giving up on me. I just wanted to get some opinions on whats going on.
I have been noticing the battery wants to drop in volts quicker than normal under some rather simple conditions. When fully charged (12.9-13 plus volts) it takes a matter of a day or so and Im dropping down to around 12.5-12.6 range with nothing more than a couple of the simple leds from the carbon monoxide detector and the solar charge controller. I currently have the battery out (lifeline) and I put it on a charger for about 6-8 hours and again with no load on it at all it reads about 12.6 with in an hour or so. I did take it to an auto parts store and they did a load test, they said it passed.
The battery is going on its 3rd season so its not real old. Now I do know for a fact that it was pulling double duty for awhile. My start batteries were absolutely shot, I don't know for how long so the house battery was doing the starting for some time. From the condition of those start batteries I would guess for at least a year.
Normally my van is parked outside so the solar panel is always doing its job and I guess I never noticed any problems, This year I have been keeping it in my heated building, so I don't have to drain down my fresh water system. Of course the solar panels now are not doing their job and Ive been just keeping an eye on battery levels and charging when needed with shore power or just driving it.
Are the above numbers ok or should I consider a fresh house battery?
If Ive left out any info that's needed just ask and I will fill in the blanks.
TraceyAZ
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:35 PM   #2
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Re: House battey question

Are you using a good voltmeter to test the battery and are you testing on the posts?
12.7-12.8 is considered 100% so if it sits after a charge and the float level drops off to 12.6 W/I an hour or so, it sounds like you possibly lost the top end SOC of the battery. I'd say it's probably OK but many auto stores are testing for cold cranking amps which is different than a 20 AH test. You can search for how to do a 20AH test and do it yourself. Also you might call Lifeline and discuss it with a tech. Those batteries do have a good warranty and you might score a new one for a reasonable price. More than likely they will tell you to put a good couple day charge to it and test it again. I'd run it in the field and see where you stand.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:28 PM   #3
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Re: House battey question

Yes, I'm using a good volt meter directly at the post. I was a bit skeptical of the auto store and the procedure they were using, I was more curious of what they could do. I will look up the amp hour test your speaking of and see what that does. I don't think the battery is shot completely, I just don't believe its at the top of its life anymore. I do appreciate your advice, thank you
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:36 AM   #4
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Re: House battey question

The auto store should have kept the battery for several hours in order to test it.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
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Re: House battey question

Try equalizing it. They need to be equalized about once a year. It might bring some back.

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Old 01-19-2015, 04:33 PM   #6
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Re: House battey question

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexGX
Try equalizing it. They need to be equalized about once a year. It might bring some back.

TexGX
There are pros and cons to doing that with a AGM battery depending on the manufacture. Some will tell you that equalizing might void the warranty so it's always best to check with the manufacture. Lifeline told me that doing so with their battery is a last resort but that was only one of their techs views on the subject. I never got a second opinion.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:36 PM   #7
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Re: House battey question

daveb,

I attached the manual for the batteries. It does recommend conditioning(equalizing) if the battery shows loss in capacity. It is section 5.5. What would be the negatives? My charger has this function and recommends every year.

http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/manual.pdf

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Old 01-19-2015, 07:22 PM   #8
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Re: House battey question

I don't know, just that one of the Techs from Lifeline told me not to do it on a regular basis and only do it if the battery has shown definite damage. I had read the same thing about conditioning the battery but he made it clear that most times a Lifeline battery will recover from several deep discharges w/o the need to equalize the battery and that most of the time people undercharge the battery after taking it so low. I understand the process and that it can help with sulfation. My point is some manufactures might void the batteries warranty. The question came up for me when I took my battery down to 9v after Ford had the vehicle in the shop for a couple of weeks and they didn't turn off the fridge at my request. Lifeline told me to put it on a hard charge for 3-4 days. If it didn't come back and hold a resting charge of about 12.5v over several hours then it might be time to equalize the battery. Now this was only the point of view of ONE tech at Concorde/Lifeline.
I would call the battery manufacture before gambling with a 600 dollar battery and get their blessing before taking action. I mean if the battery is toast and they tell you to do it, that's great if it works like it's supposed to.

Tex, if you or anybody else finds something different I'd certainly want to know.

[Edit] BTW I tried it on an old battery and it didn't do much. I think it's more important to keep your batteries up at the proper level whenever possible, and not to overcharge at high amps causing the battery to over heat especially in hot weather. My methods have been good to me so far but any added info such as equalizing as scheduled maintenance would be nice to know.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:01 PM   #9
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Re: House battey question

Thanks for the full answer. I truly wanted your opinion. I was only going off the manual. I will not plan on equalizing every year. I do keep mine plugged in anytime it is not being used to keep it fully charged. Got to love the information we share on this forum. Learn something every day.

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Old 01-19-2015, 08:16 PM   #10
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Re: House battey question

Won't hurt to call again to see if somebody else there has a different answer. Take insurance for example, I've almost never got the same answer from agent to agent and I still don't know where I sit with my policy
Maybe I'll call Lifeline again tomorrow and report back. If I can get a few more years out of a 1000 dollar battery bank, I'm all for it.
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