Replacement batteries

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 23:54
ThreadID: 129249 Views:1968 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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Well my 22 month old Ritar batteries are on their last legs. We're currently camped at Genoa in Victoria (east of Orbost) and are heading west.

Can anyone suggest where I might get 4 new batteries for the BT without having to go right into Melbourne. Thanks for any replies.

Regards,

Col and Diane
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Reply By: Spydor - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 03:59

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 03:59
Hi Col & Diane,
Sorry I can't help with a supplier close to you. (we are based in WA ). However, I would be looking at your 12 volt system prior to just going ahead and purchasing new batteries. We are using Ritars and they are still performing well after 4 years. It appears that there may be a gremlin in your system. Our van is used regularly and even when parked at home, I leave the solar on and the fridge running, So that we can take off at a moments notice.
Cheers
Spydor & Robyn
P. S. Given the cost of batteries these days. I would be VERY disappointed with only 22 months from a battery bank.
Spydor
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Follow Up By: Col & Diane - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 06:01

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 06:01
G'day Spydor and Robyn,

Thanks for your reply.

No, I'm not impressed at all with only 22 months out of these Ritars, and yes I have been worried about the charging system as well.

However I had a long conversation with an Alco supplier on the NSW south coast and he was not unfamiliar with the problem we have, and is of the opinion that the issue is with the batteries themselves. Unfortunately he didn't have any of the Alco's Discovers in stock (and it would have been over a week to get them in) or I would have just replaced the Ritars with them.

He gave me a long and detailed explanation of what he believes the problem is with the Ritars, but essentially what happens is that the batteries are not really stuffed but suffer what is similar to a memory issue, so that a 100AH battery (in time) is reduced to say 40AH, and it is caused by them sitting and not being used for long periods of time (our van was used for 4 months in the last 12, and has just sat there for the last 8 months). The van was in the open with full solar and I regularly connect to 240V, as advised.

He also said that the batteries could be recovered by connecting a small load (a light say) to each battery and totally discharging it, and then recharging it, several times. If I was at home I would try this, but it is not a viable option while travelling.

No doubt other battery "experts" around the place will disagree with this theory, but it makes sense to me. Spydor, in your case, the "regular use" may be a reason why your Ritars have performed well, or maybe it is due to differences in one batch to the next.

Regards,

Col
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Reply By: Gone Bush - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 06:03

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 06:03
Col, I was starting to feel the same about my Ritars but I have come to the conclusion that they need a dose of 240volts quite often to allow the charger to burn off sulfation.

If I left mine just on solar or vehicle, they sulfated and struggled to last the night. When placed on 240v and the charger takes over you can see/hear it really pumping the amps in to clean the plates up. Then everything's fine (til the next time).

Col, I just read your followup, above.

I also took my Ritars to Alco in Perth and got them to rapidly discharge them all down to very, very low volts, then charge them up again.

This was the advice from Alco in Maroochydore, where I bought them, and seems to have helped considerably.

I have the Projecta 50amp charger and I regularly set it to "Maintenance" to exercise the batteries.

I would try all of the above before replacing them.




Stephen
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Thru' the pouring rain,
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Follow Up By: Col & Diane - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 07:25

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 07:25
Certainly if I was at home I would spend some time trying to get some more time out of these Ritars, but we are travelling and will be for probably the next six months, so I just want to sort it out now.

Interestingly the Alco bloke I talked to said that sulphation was not the issue. He did explain why, in detail, but by this time my little pea brain was beginning to overload.

Regardless Stephen, thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

Regards,

Col



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Follow Up By: Gone Bush - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 08:29

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 08:29
Col, what charger do you have?

Probably doesn't matter really, but if you plug into 240v and your charger really has to pump in the amps (my Projecta was working hard, getting hot, turning off to cool down and then doing it all again) then you have sulfation.

Having said all this, I agree that the Ritars are not as good as expected, unfortunately. When mine give up, I will be replacing them with Full River AGMs. I have never heard any owners of Full Rivers having a bad thing to say about them.

Stephen
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Reply By: Col & Diane - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 08:47

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 08:47
We have the original Omegalec BC190. Its been running every morning and night but no issues. Possibly the technology is getting old, and I should look at updating down the track.

I'd be happy with Fullrivers if I can find them near here.

Regards,

Col
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Follow Up By: Bobrovin - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 09:50

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 09:50
If you want the next set to last a bit longer than this set then throw that BC190 POS as far as you can.
Even Steve has finally admitted on his site that it is not much good and should be replaced.
In fact if you replace the charger first you may be able to get a bit more life out of the current batteries.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 10:17

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 10:17
Yep, ditch the Omegalec. Here is a link to my post on replacing the Omegalec with a Projecta:

Link
Stephen
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Follow Up By: Harry & Jan - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 15:27

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 15:27
The new charger that Bushtracker are fitting is (ePOWER) charger supplied by Enerdrive. They are in Brisbane. This charger is supposed to be able to be set for charging ( Lithium, Flooded, AGM, or Gel). They come as 20A, 40A, or 60A. If anyone is thinking of replacing there charger then perhaps this could be the one, especially if you are thinking of converting to Lithium down the track. I have no association with this company just found them very helpful.

Enerdrive
unit 11, 1029 Manly Rd Tingalpa 4173
Ph 1300 851 535 Fax 07 3390 6911
Email: sales@enerdrive.com.au
Web: www.enerdrive.com.au

Regards
Harry.
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Reply By: Spydor - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 17:18

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 17:18
Col & Diane,
The sentiments listed above in respect to a GOOD battery charger are correct in every respect. Regardless of what batteries you purchase. You will need to update your charger to the newer "smart charger" type. As stated above, IF you fit one now and run it for a few days, you may find that the batteries will rejuvenate themselves considerably. We are running the Projecta charger in our van. However, there are numerous good charging systems out there to suit all budgets.
Good Luck
Cheers
Spydor & Robyn
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Reply By: Col & Diane - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 19:36

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 19:36
Thanks for all the replies. I'll replace the batteries and the charger. We'll just have to find more gold this year.

Regards,

Col and Diane
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Reply By: Spydor - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 00:03

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 00:03
Col & Diane,
I will do a deal with you !!! I will tell you where to buy a good charger. IF, you tell me where the gold is?
Cheers
Spydor & Robyn
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Follow Up By: Col & Diane - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 05:44

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 05:44
Not a problem Spydor and Robyn .........Western Australia !!!

Regards,

Col & Diane
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