Batteries/Battery Charger-yet another question

Submitted: Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:10
ThreadID: 127503 Views:2445 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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G'day all,
Recently on a trip to Alice Springs we had several days of overcast clouds and therefore limited solar imput to the point that we had to connect to 240 volts.
After this we have noted that during the day with good solar imput the batteries charges is up to 14.2 volts. With normal use - fridge, lights, TV - the volts will drop to 13.3 at night.
In the morning the volts will be down to 12.2 but when we activate a LED light the volts will drop immediately to 11.0 or lower on some occasions (10.8) and the load will immediately go to "OFF". The panel will the scroll through the system and 12.2 or more will be illuminated for a brief time prior to dropping voltage as above and going to "OFF". This sequence will continue until there is sufficient solar imput and then system operates normally. The batteries are approximately five years old.
Could this problem be the batteries, the battery charger not operating correctly or some other cause.
If it is the batteries, I note that there have been several posts. What is the best brand/capacities/etc for the BT - 4 x solar panels, 4 x batteries- and does anyone know of a supplier in Adelaide.
With Thanks. Greg
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Reply By: Turist - Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:50

Friday, Jul 22, 2011 at 20:50
95% chance it is the batteries.
Have them load tested with a carbon pile load tester.

Bob
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AnswerID: 582854

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 01:37

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 01:37
Greg,

If you cannot locate a proper Load testing device that Bob has suggested, in the bush if you have a multimeter disconnect the batteries from each other and using the multimeter record the voltage in each battery.
Leave them all sit for 30 minutes and check again, then after another 30 minutes do another check.

You will probably find that 1 battery has dropped a cell and will drop in voltage far more than the others, and if this is the case take that battery out of the storage bank and just use the other 3 batteries that are operating until you can get to somewhere that you can get new batteries from.

Steve Gibbs told me about the above and I have tried it several times with mine and other members vans and found it to work.

Brian
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AnswerID: 582855

Reply By: Turist - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 07:36

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 07:36
If you have an inverter you can simulate a professional load test and get a good result using a method similar to that described by Brian.

Leave only one battery connected to the system and via the inverter apply a 240v load.

1,000 watts of 240v power will put a 100 amp load on the battery and then by checking before and after 12v levels you should get a result.
Repeat test on all batteries.

When using inverters a very accurate quick method to calculate load on the battery is to divide the current draw in 240v by 10.

So an appliance pulling 2400w on 240v will pull 240 amps from your 12v battery bank. Accurate to decimal points.

Regards
Bob
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AnswerID: 582856

Follow Up By: Boystoy - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 08:06

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 08:06
One for the Bog Bible Bob -- Good one!!

Neil
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Reply By: Turist - Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 18:34

Saturday, Jul 23, 2011 at 18:34
More on this subject in the Owners Forum.

Bob
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AnswerID: 582857

Follow Up By: Spirit Gypsys - Thursday, Jul 28, 2011 at 09:21

Thursday, Jul 28, 2011 at 09:21
recently we had one battery that would only collapse when it got down to 12.4 v.
when load tested when it was 12.8 or so it held up fine.
had the battery man with 30 years exp. stumped.
Thanks for the inverter load test, I've filed that one in our book on BT foibles.
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Follow Up By: Turist - Thursday, Jul 28, 2011 at 18:13

Thursday, Jul 28, 2011 at 18:13
Spirit Gypysys
There is a much more detailed procedure on the owners page.
Why not join up, as a BT owner you are entitled.
Or at least tell us why you won't join, is it something that we can rectify?

Regards
Bob
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