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Battery conditioners (desulfator)


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RogerDat

I found this, apparently this IS needed to maintain marine, and other deep cycle batteries.https://www.emarineinc.com/Batteries-Maintenance-101

 

Battery conditioners (desulfator) are an alternative to equalization. Battery conditioners use a sweeping pulse of energy emitted into a battery bank that eliminates and prevents this life limiting process. The frequencies at which these pulses are emitted are tuned to excite the structural components of the sulfate deposits. This process enables sulfation to revert back in to the electrolyte.

 

is needed because of

Equalization is the controlled overcharging of a fully charged battery. This overcharge mixes the electrolyte, evens the charge among varying battery cells and reduces permanent sulfation of the battery plates. It is energy invested in lengthening the life of the battery. We believe that as a rule of thumb, equalization should be done every 60 to 90 days.

Equalization will take your batteries to 15 volts or higher (30 volts on a 24-volt system), so make sure any DC loads are disconnected before you begin. The equalization process consumes water and produces gassing. Make sure your batteries are well ventilated during this charging. The batteries should be monitored closely during this process. Check specific gravity of all the cells at the start, noting any low cells. Keep checking electrolyte density during the process, until you receive three readings of 30 minutes apart that indicate no further increase of specific gravity values.

The fumes produced during Equalization can be very destructive to fabric and upholstery if the batteries are located in the living area of a boat. The area needs to be well ventilated.

Edited by RogerDat
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Paul

Join THIS FORUM and search for threads (or, just search for threads) on "Battery Desulfators". You will find pro and con views on them. So far, I'm not sold on them.

 

My MPPT controller provides all the maintenance my batteries need.


Better yet. Contact big name battery manufacturers and ask them what their views are on these little jewels. They may be fine with them, I don't know. That may be a good start for you.

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Mikala
Join THIS FORUM and search for threads (or, just search for threads) on "Battery Desulfators". You will find pro and con views on them. So far, I'm not sold on them.

 

I've looked at them and found that I don't like 'em. I prefer to do my own equalizing charging. My new battery bank is VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead-Acid) cells though, so I just run 'em to failure. Been in service a few years now.

Edited by Mikala
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RogerDat

 

 

my own equalizing charging

Please give a brief explanation of how U do this, thanks, will check the forum later that Paul suggested.

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Mikala

Please give a brief explanation of how U do this, thanks, will check the forum later that Paul suggested.

 

This procedure from Rolls Battery (my flooded lead-acid battery manufacturer) is what I use, but I check the specific gravity (SG) of all cells before and after the charge. Note: I have 2 battery banks on my ranch. One with VRLA cells and one with flooded lead-acid. No maintenance on the VRLA cells, but a limited life of about 5 years or so.

 

Equalization - Corrective

Corrective equalization needs to be performed if symptoms arise such as a constantly running generator (low capacity) or the battery bank will “not hold a charge”. These symptoms are typical of a heavily sulfated battery. If a battery is not being fully charged on a regular basis or limited equalization is performed using a generator, sulfation will occur from “deficit” cycling. This undercharge condition can take months before it becomes a major and noticeable problem. This under charge condition is caused when batteries are deficit cycled. The bank receives less of a charge each cycle and starts to sulfate. Eventually the sulfate will cause a resistance to charge and a “false high voltage” reading will occur. The “false high voltage” is measured by the charge controller, which further lowers the charging current to maintain the voltage set point. This further increases the undercharge condition. This is one reason why specific gravity measurements are so important as “false high voltage” readings can be misleading.

 

Amperage hour meters can compound the problem and cause people to believe they are returning the correct amount of energy back into the batteries to maintain a good state of charge. Amp-hr meters should be thought of as simply a fuel gauge that does not measure state of charge directly but indirectly. The state of charge is determined by using an equation (Peukert's equation). Sometimes there can be fundamental errors with factors used in these calculations. You should always confirm, at least initially, state of charge by taking a specific gravity measurement of one cell when it is thought the bank is fully charged.

 

Corrective Equalization - Method

Corrective Equalization can take a very long time depending on the degree of sulfation. It is not recommended to equalize with a generator as some generators produce low grade AC that is not properly filtered by the inverter. This is especially true at higher voltages.

  1. If you have hydrocaps remove during equalization.
  2. Set Equalization voltage according to system voltage (see recommended charging parameters). If the bank is severely sulfated or available current is very limited, charge control can be removed or by-passed. Temperature should be monitored very, very closely and keep below 125ºF.
  3. Charge at a low DC current (5 A per 100 AH of battery capacity). If grid power is not available use solar panels or a good DC source when possible. At high voltages, charging with a generator can be difficult and hard on the inverter.
  4. Once an hour, measure and record the specific gravity and temperature of a test cell. If the temperature rises above 115ºF (46ºC) and approaches 125ºF (52ºC) remove the batteries from charge. (For temperature measurement choose a center cell, if applicable).
  5. If severely sulfated, it may take many hours for the specific gravity to rise.
  6. Once the specific gravity begins to rise the bank voltage will most likely drop or the charging current will increase. The charging current may need to be lowered if temperature approaches 125ºF (46ºC). If the charge controller was by passed, it should now be used or put back in line.
  7. Continue measuring the specific gravity until 1.265 is reached.
  8. Charge for another 3 hours. Add water to maintain the electrolyte above the plates.
  9. Allow bank to cool and check and record the specific gravity of each cell. The gravities should be 1.265 ± 0.005 or lower. Check the cell electrolyte levels and add water IF necessary.

To avoid this situation it is recommended that a specific gravity reading of one pilot cell is measured and recorded on a regular basis when it is thought that the bank is fully charged. The measurement should be compared to previous readings. If the measurement is lower than the previous reading a longer absorption time and higher voltage setting should be used. Note as stated above, the longer the absorption time and the higher the bulk voltage, the more water will be consumed but less equalization will be required. Note: the specific gravity should rise as the cells use water. Look for trends in the specific gravity over a period of time and make very small adjustments as necessary.

Edited by Mikala
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thebob

I've looked into these desulfators and haven't been convinced by any of the hand waving and mumbo-jumbo that seems to surround them.

 

I think your system is fine and I'd just leave it to do it's job, but check it from time to time. Buy a hydrometer and keep a note of SG adding water or acid as appropriate. Try not to run them too low, but if you do just slow trickle charge back to full, don't boost charge them and boil them when they are weak.

 

Your battery is a good one, you don't need to worry about it.

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Paul

That's 3 votes against, so far.

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Paul

 

 

Buy a hydrometer

 

Midnite Solar sells a really good quality one. Locate one of their retailers - EcoSolar, Northern Arizona Wind & Sun (the people who run the forum I linked to, above), etc., to buy one if interested.

 

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Woolf

That's 3 votes against, so far.

 

 

+ 1 more

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RogerDat

I did note the US Army was very interested in the use of these gadgets, and had been watching them for years. That should be a tip off something is not up to speed.

i will try Belmont for the hydrometer.

Edited by RogerDat
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Oz Jon

I've used them to get a bit of life back into rejected "dead" batteries (which have been discharged too long and sulphated up).

Many times you can get "some" life back, but never back "like new".

Sometimes, dead is dead!

 

I don't believe that they are the best choice for maintaining a good battery bank.

 

Proper routine maintenance with good chargers, occasional equalising (monitoring temperature)  and SG measurement is the way to go.

Edited by Oz Jon
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