Battery pack replacement at 4 Years boating


Electri-Cal
 

Just as a note on battery life.  The oldest pack of 2 bi-Mart # 27 deep cycles would have hit 4 years in December this year.   Those came from my cabin cruiser to Surprise -- so I'm going by the sale stickers on the case.  That's fine as I probably powered up too fast a lot over the years.  What I would say is that I got good service from them with no problems, at a price of under $100 bucks each.   Planning on doing the next oldest pair soon, then I'll be ready for the coming season with max. cruise range.   That's a reasonable cost for electric boating, with zero other problems.

The why now ?? Question.  I had a malfunction on my trickle charger, it shorted out somehow, and just maintained a full on trickle for about a week, 24-- 7 on .  Overloaded the cells to death, than sat there with warm batteries way too long,  First time for that, but it was on my 4 battery pack so all need replaced before any major use.  For now i'll use the old 2 battery and 2 packs system, like over several years.  Sending back the 24v.  battery minder for service, find out what went wrong.

Just a note for battery cost ideas, be seeing you ---- Cal


David Luckhardt
 

Thanks for all the excellent data on electric power, Cal!  Sorry to hear about your charging malfunction -- that's gotta be one expensive experience!

Somewhat inspired by Master Kohnen's lady's Sprinter RV at Paulina years ago, we've managed to pick up a high-mileage 2011 short wheelbase Sportsmobile Sprinter Class B and have already used it to tow Goblin up to Humboldt plus a primitive camping trip up Hwy 4 near the crest of the Sierras.

It is all-electric, which was well ahead of the current all-electric trend in small RVs, but means that the original battery bank of two Interstate 62 Ah batteries plus the starter battery isn't enough to heat up the small 6 gallon electric water heater.  The house batteries are ancient and need replacement, so once that's done we'll have more juice and might be able to take a shower without having to run the diesel for 20 minutes.

 

We don't have Bi-Mart down here, but do you have any other recommendations for 100 Ah AGM house batteries for a small RV?  The starter battery under the driver's feet provides all the cranking power we need, so these can be used for running the fridge, water heater, and interior LED lights.  We're using a propane stove and Mr. Heater Buddy for now, as the vehicle has no heat of any kind other than what the dash in the cab provides. The two old house batteries are 62 Ah but I'm hoping the system can handle upgrading to two 100-115 Ah deep cycle AGMs without problems.

 

I'd LOVE to move to the sexy new LiFeP04 batteries, but the complexities of the alternator charging and solar input are putting me off -- as well as the cost of changing out the solar controller, possibly the inverter controller, possibly the alternator charging system or adding another controller to avoid over-charging the LiFeP04 house batteries, etc etc etc.

 

Cheers!


Myles Twete
 

Yeah Cal, be careful with battery maintainers.

I bought two GEN4 “Genius” multi-battery charger/maintainer blocks---one with 4 outputs, one with 3 outputs.  I hooked them up 4 years ago to 14 golf-cart 6v batteries on my 1920 Milburn after driving the Milburn to a new storage facility.  They’re good for 10amps output, so I was pretty excited about using these as both charger and maintainer.  Well, that was November.  I didn’t make a trip to the storage facility to check on these and then by late January I was having coronary bypass surgery, so I didn’t get around to checking on the old car until April or so.  Well, I got there to find the car not plugged in, which upset me a bit, but when I found the car wouldn’t really budge under its own power, I later realized that all the cells were very dried out.  I literally added about 8 gallons of distilled water to the cells in the car that day.  So  I think they were pretty dang dry.

Anyway, I have since spent a lot of time at times getting these batteries back up to snuff (now 9 years old) and a year ago easily drove the car 16 miles to Fairview a couple times where I worked at the time.  With CV19 and a funky 2020, I haven’t gotten the car out much or paid much attention to it (again)---at least this time it is in my driveway under cover, so…anyway, I found that even without charging the batteries in months, the cells were quite dried out.  I added about 3gallons of water just to get the levels up a ways above the tops of the plates.  And I’ve been blasting the batteries with some good charge to wake them back up (desulfating), which I’m pretty confident will bring them up pretty well for 9-yr old lead-acid.  Last year after doing this, I checked the electrolytes and found them disappointing until I really hit the batteries with some serious current (50amps charging).  After, every cell was reading in the GOOD range.  So I’m going thru that again---I know the drill…

 

This will likely be the last I will be using lead-acid.  My boat pack is all lithium as is of course my 2011 THINK (same batteries).  And I’m likely to be replacing the Milburn pack with the same lithium batteries in the coming weeks/months.  It’s funny though---these lithium batteries are actually slightly older (2010) than the lead-acid batteries in the Milburn now.  Still, except for the 1-in-50 or so cell pairs that are leaky, droopy or otherwise drift low before the others, the minimal maintenance requirements for the lithium pack really make it a big plus.  I can literally go months without checking my pack on my boat and I know that it is ready to go when I get out there next…that was never the case before.

 

Surplus lithium car batteries/modules of many stripes are out there.  I considered buying an entire THINK pack recently (at ½ the price I paid for one a few years ago), but just don’t have the room to dissect it---and I only need 4 of 8 of the pack’s modules for my Milburn…and I know where I can get these locally, so not much incentive.

 

Anyway, with your stressed batteries, Cal, add water to them if you can (hard to do with AGM) then give them some good hard charging currents, but watch them (and smell them) to make sure they aren’t overheating and emitting hydrogen sulfide.

 

And if anyone is looking for up to 14 golf cart batteries that have low # of cycles but 9years old, let me know---I can give you a sweet deal.

 

-Myles

 

From: oregoncoots@groups.io [mailto:oregoncoots@groups.io] On Behalf Of Electri-Cal
Sent: Sunday, November 8, 2020 2:56 PM
To: oregoncoots@groups.io
Subject: [oregoncoots] Battery pack replacement at 4 Years boating

 

Just as a note on battery life.  The oldest pack of 2 bi-Mart # 27 deep cycles would have hit 4 years in December this year.   Those came from my cabin cruiser to Surprise -- so I'm going by the sale stickers on the case.  That's fine as I probably powered up too fast a lot over the years.  What I would say is that I got good service from them with no problems, at a price of under $100 bucks each.   Planning on doing the next oldest pair soon, then I'll be ready for the coming season with max. cruise range.   That's a reasonable cost for electric boating, with zero other problems.

The why now ?? Question.  I had a malfunction on my trickle charger, it shorted out somehow, and just maintained a full on trickle for about a week, 24-- 7 on .  Overloaded the cells to death, than sat there with warm batteries way too long,  First time for that, but it was on my 4 battery pack so all need replaced before any major use.  For now i'll use the old 2 battery and 2 packs system, like over several years.  Sending back the 24v.  battery minder for service, find out what went wrong.

Just a note for battery cost ideas, be seeing you ---- Cal


Electri-Cal
 

Sort of a reply, an update of sorts.  I called the battery tender folks and got good advice on the trickle part.  IF your battery is older, like my 4 and 3 appx. year ones, they do more than just lose charge ability.  They also do not allow for "float" at full charge.  As I got it, without a stable full charge voltage, or fluctuation info., the trickle charger does not read to shut off.  It is also possible that if one of the 4 in the pack takes a dive, it senses that, and goes after all batteries in that pack somehow.  Possibly variable plate or acid levels on older batts. could get involved, balanced pack is the surest way to go.

Very nice lady with good info., and if it doesn't auto reset after setting it to rest , then it can be returned.  There is no fuse, but the circuits are decently tough.  I did that, and the battery minder now plugs back in and checks out on the two battery 24 volt packs left in place.  So I will get one more pair and be good for some years, with care.  On to another part of this episode, in battery types cheaper than the latest ones, but more cost efficient.
 If you do not have bi Mart, or even if you did, here is my budget assessments.  I have had good luck with Interstate deep cycles, similar to any, or most any good marine battery, still lead acid types.  I use the water add possibility types, so I can see if any have "blown" the cell and overheated.  Also this type is cheaper, and allows fast, if not as deep a draw down.  Heresy for sure !!

I like the Interstate forklift marine  " M " series is very heavy duty, at 7 lb. heavier, but same case size, more power is their claim.  They cost about 50 % more than Exide at bi Mart on sale.  For that you get heavier duty, better materials and longer run time from the yard manager.  No " boaty and marine " tag, so lower price for that type.  Mine are new, so I won't know now, but at around an extra $50. per battery instead of some at $ 150 to $200 bucks each, it seems a good choice if you can deal with the weight.  Made for marine winches and net haulers, so they have to be tough.  If they last over the standard 4 to 5 years, i'd be happy, same if I reach that 89 years also !!!

I hope this helps a bit, suffice to say the battery minder, which also balances the pack is a good idea for batts.  Do keep watch on Distilled, not tap, water, careful charging or discharging rates, for long life.   There are many types to get the power, everybody, and their wallet decides for themselves.  I don't mind spending $100. to $150. per unit, still gets to good bucks for a couple packs, about my limit for what I do with Surprise yearly.


Dinner Calls,   Cal