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Old 07-19-2017, 02:40 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
You do not charge one of the 6 volts, you charge both of them since they are in series, it is one big battery, positive on battery A and negative on battery B.
Normally yes, but if there is a problem with one of the batteries it is likely that the batteries are not at an equal state of charge; separate charging can resolve a mismatch, and as Dale said, it can help isolate the issue. If a 6-volt charger is available, it makes sense to charge each of them separately then hook them back up as a 12-volt bank.

We have a 24-volt mobility device with two 12-volt AGM batteries in series; the batteries are normally charged together in series as one 24-volt set. When a battery has trouble, charging each 12V battery individually (with an automotive 12V charger) to a matched state (fully charged) can get the system working again. This is the same setup, just at half the voltage per battery and total.

Connecting a 12-volt charger directly to one 6-volt battery is definitely not good: a modern smart charger will refuse to charge because it doesn't see a valid starting voltage, and a less-smart 12 V charger will apply too much voltage for the battery.
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Old 07-19-2017, 02:45 PM   #32
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Makes me wonder if that is not what has happened since there have been so many attempted fixes to these batteries.
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:53 PM   #33
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We have an old 36-volt electric golf cart utilizing six 6-volt batteries wired in series. It can be a real headache when one cell of one of the six batteries decides to start acting up.
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:54 PM   #34
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I know it sounds simplistic but is the battery cutoff / isolation switch in the "on" position? It's located in our trailer in the dinette area and is a big toggle switch. From experience we learned that if it was in the wrong place the batteries did not accept a charge nor was their power accessible.
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:16 PM   #35
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One of the problems with all the new fangled stuff is it sometimes will not do what you want it to do. Take for instance a battery charger. Modern ones are smart, if the voltage is too low it will not do anything. The real purpose of that feature is to prevent it from doing anything if you hook it up reversed or short the clips. Most look for at least 2 volts positive voltage. Some look for more. I have an old Sears charger 6/12 volt 3.5/12 amp selectable with slide switches. It has a voltmeter and an ammeter on front. It will try to work in reverse as it is stupid. But unlike the smart chargers it will attempt to bring a flat dead battery back. Once the battery is showing more than a few volts the battery tender or smart chargers can bring it the rest of the way. Here is a link on resurrecting a completely dead battery.
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:57 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by wetzk View Post
It will try to work in reverse as it is stupid. But unlike the smart chargers it will attempt to bring a flat dead battery back. O]
They did more than try, they succeeded. When I was a kid I had an Austin that wasn't running right. Since they were positive ground it wasn't uncommon to find batteries that had been charged with reverse polarity. I turned on the headlights and waited for hours until it was completely discharged. Then I charged it correctly. The intermittent miss caused by the reverse polarity disappeared. I use dumb chargers at home. I've tweaked them a bit.

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Old 07-20-2017, 05:49 AM   #37
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power dead in my 19'

Quote:
Originally Posted by wetzk View Post
Modern ones are smart, if the voltage is too low it will not do anything.

I didn't know this about 12V batteries.

I do this with my Enelope rechargeable AA and AAA batteries. If the voltage is too low my smart charger won't change them. I bridge the battery with a fully charged one for a minute and it will charge again.
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:09 AM   #38
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As a retired mechanic my first question would be, "What is the specific gravity of the battery. Cells?" Specific gravity will tell a lot. If it is zero in all cells you may have to give it a boost to get the battery to charge. If it is 1250 or 1275 all the way across then you should look at fuses or breaker problems. You probably have straight water in your battery since you ran it flat dead and all the sulfates are in the plates so you may have to cook them out till the water has enough conductivity.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:56 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by AKCamper View Post
Specific gravity will tell a lot. If it is zero in all cells you may have to give it a boost to get the battery to charge. If it is 1250 or 1275 all the way across then you should look at fuses or breaker problems. You probably have straight water in your battery...
For those not familiar with interpreting specific density readings:
It won't be zero, ever; I assume that this was intended to be something like 1.0. Specific gravity (in this case) is the ratio of the density of the electrolyte to the density of water, so plain water is 1.0. The electrolyte is never plain water; the acid solution of a completely discharged battery runs close to 1.1, and when the battery is charged it is higher. The other numbers mentioned were presumably intended to be 1.250 and 1.275 (the specific gravity when almost fully charged).

Useful reference:
Battery Maintenance | Trojan Battery Company
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:28 PM   #40
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Brian,
You are correct, I left the decimal points out of the numbers and called 1.000 zero, I guess I am lax about my terms, but the "point" is that the FIRST thing a person should do when an issue like the one first described is to check the specific gravity if the battery has removable caps like the Interstates do. If the battery doesn't then a voltmeter and load tester is in order. Also a voltmeter would be a good tool if you don't have a hydrometer
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