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Old 10-02-2021, 09:45 PM   #1
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Some newbie battery questions and assumptions

I recently experienced fully depleting my batteries (2x6 V) by unknowingly deploying the run-away break on the hitch while parked in the campsite. I understand this creates a big draw on the battery until put back in place)

My experience was that the combination of solar panel and charging with tow vehicle alternator was insufficient to bring the batteries back to full charge.
Only option was to get to shore power, isolate batteries and use a dedicated battery charger. With a 2 amp charger, and charging each 6V separately this was an all day affair.

Does this sound about right and is it consistent with the experience of others who have depleted batteries?

Thanks in advance!

Dan
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Old 10-02-2021, 11:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Moric View Post
I recently experienced fully depleting my batteries (2x6 V) by unknowingly deploying the run-away break on the hitch while parked in the campsite. I understand this creates a big draw on the battery until put back in place)

My experience was that the combination of solar panel and charging with tow vehicle alternator was insufficient to bring the batteries back to full charge.
Only option was to get to shore power, isolate batteries and use a dedicated battery charger. With a 2 amp charger, and charging each 6V separately this was an all day affair.

Does this sound about right and is it consistent with the experience of others who have depleted batteries?

Thanks in advance!

Dan
Were these Flooded lead acid batteries or Lithium?
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:04 AM   #3
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2-6 volts must be little acid.
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Old 10-03-2021, 10:52 AM   #4
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Ahh that’s correct, they may be toast
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Old 10-03-2021, 11:08 AM   #5
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My guess is you've ruined them. If we had a completely dead battery (<3v for 12v) and gave them a quick charge with an alternator or standard battery charger they were ruined. Too much, too fast!

However, later found out to use a trickle charger for a few days and see if the voltage goes up and then slowly recharge the batteries with a standard charger on low.

Once to +12.2v we would desulfate a few times. We'd do this in an open area, 60 x 100 foot shed, and have the caps off the individual cells. Usually had to add water after running +15v to desulfate. Unless an old battery, it seemed to work every time with any battery under 5 years old.

Learned a lot on the farm.

Enjoy,

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Old 10-03-2021, 11:56 AM   #6
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They are "flooded" lead-acid batteries.
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Old 10-03-2021, 12:08 PM   #7
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Thanks Perry. This is helpful. I am trying to trickle charge them now and will see what comes of it. reading 75% now on display but not sure how accurate that is or whether that will hold.
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Old 10-03-2021, 12:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Moric View Post
I recently experienced fully depleting my batteries (2x6 V) by unknowingly deploying the run-away break on the hitch while parked in the campsite. I understand this creates a big draw on the battery until put back in place)

My experience was that the combination of solar panel and charging with tow vehicle alternator was insufficient to bring the batteries back to full charge.
Only option was to get to shore power, isolate batteries and use a dedicated battery charger. With a 2 amp charger, and charging each 6V separately this was an all day affair.

Does this sound about right and is it consistent with the experience of others who have depleted batteries?

Thanks in advance!

Dan
Running a lead acid battery down that low can kill it. I have had success getting a battery back by desulfating it with a good battery charger. A small trickle charger won't do it as it doesn't have enough power to ensure the desulfate stage works.

https://batteryguy.com/kb/knowledge-...-acid-battery/

This is the charger I have had the best success with.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 10-03-2021, 12:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
Running a lead acid battery down that low can kill it. I have had success getting a battery back by desulfating it with a good battery charger. A small trickle charger won't do it as it doesn't have enough power to ensure the desulfate stage works.

https://batteryguy.com/kb/knowledge-...-acid-battery/

This is the charger I have had the best success with.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Yes, as I said earlier

Quote:
Once to +12.2v we would desulfate a few times. We'd do this in an open area, 60 x 100 foot shed, and have the caps off the individual cells. Usually had to add water after running +15v to desulfate. Unless an old battery, it seemed to work every time with any battery under 5 years old.
I agree, a trickle charger won't desulfate. On the farm we had a floor model that you could also set the charge. While that charger is long gone I still have the timer that we hooked it to so it stopped desulfating in the time limit we chose.

For us it was a three step process. Trickle charge for a few days, standard charge for a day, and then desulfate. Worked great for us.

Chargers have changed a lot since then. I bought a NocoGenius 1 a few years ago, but it doesn't handle lithium or have a readout, and we now carry a Clore Automotive Charge It .

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 10-04-2021, 10:14 AM   #10
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Starting to learn

Ok All this is helping thanks.

While the learn was still on, I ended up buying the Noco Genius5. I now recognize that I should have bought the 10A version since with the 5 will likely be a 36 hr process or so to bring a 225Ah battery to full charge. Slowly but surely however it seems to be working. A little over 50% of the way there after a nights sleep. Will know tomorrow! Next step will be to desulfate and see if they will hold a charge. Stay tuned!

While I'm at it and on a related topic, I turned off the Inverter because I thought it was maybe causing a draw. I notice 3 seetings On/Off/Remote. Can anyone explain what the "remote" setting is all about and if having mistakenly set to that I would have also been creating a draw on the battery?

I am aware that the AC setting creates a draw but that was definitely off.

Thanks all for your help.
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Old 10-04-2021, 10:51 AM   #11
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While I'm at it and on a related topic, I turned off the Inverter because I thought it was maybe causing a draw. I notice 3 seetings On/Off/Remote. Can anyone explain what the "remote" setting is all about and if having mistakenly set to that I would have also been creating a draw on the battery?
Remote setting allows ON/OFF control of the inverter by compatible GoPower controllers. This includes the GoPower PWM-30-UL solar controller that comes stock with the Escape solar package. If you have the solar controller you can turn the inverter on and off by holding down the AC button with plug symbol for 3 seconds.
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inverter control using PWM-30 solar controller.JPG   inverter control using PWM-30.JPG  
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:01 AM   #12
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Remote setting allows ON/OFF control of the inverter by compatible GoPower controllers. This includes the GoPower PWM-30-UL solar controller that comes stock with the Escape solar package. If you have the solar controller you can turn the inverter on and off by holding down the AC button with plug symbol for 3 seconds.
This was one of the useful things in my orientation. I remembered the procedure when testing stuff at the Close by KOA lots of folks go to. Seems that setting the Inverter to 'remote' would be the default when Go Power Solar controller is installed

It didn't work when I first tried it and come to find out it had a GFI breaker. I reset that and all was well.

I was reduced to reading the manual to find out about the GFI. Reading the manual is almost as sissy as asking for directions.
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:18 AM   #13
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Great.Thanks again. First time I have every used a users forum and finding all of this extremely helpful (I guess I should study my manuals better too!)

I'm sure to be back soon!

Dan
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Old 10-04-2021, 03:39 PM   #14
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Regarding the breakaway switch activation:

Extended periods of continuous operation of the electric brakes can cause one or more of the magnets (there's one for each wheel) to burn out. According the the Dexter manual, each magnet uses 3.0 Amps at full voltage activation. The continuous heat generation is what can burn them out.
You can test each brake for function by slowly rolling along on dirt or gravel, activating the brakes with the manual lever on your brake controller, and seeing if the wheels each lock up. It's easy as a two-person test.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:53 PM   #15
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Regarding the breakaway switch activation:

Extended periods of continuous operation of the electric brakes can cause one or more of the magnets (there's one for each wheel) to burn out. According the the Dexter manual, each magnet uses 3.0 Amps at full voltage activation. The continuous heat generation is what can burn them out.
You can test each brake for function by slowly rolling along on dirt or gravel, activating the brakes with the manual lever on your brake controller, and seeing if the wheels each lock up. It's easy as a two-person test.
Just to be clear you should still unplug your 7 pin and test the breakaway switch operation occasionally as per the Owner’s Manual. What you are suggesting does not replace that test which ensures the breakaway unit itself and power circuitry to the onboard battery is functioning properly.
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:51 AM   #16
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OK, so after various guided attempts to recharge/desulfate the batteries it appears they are gone and beyond repair. They will need to be replaced. It seems most people are opting to go the Lithium route as these can withstand a higher DOD and generally have a better lifespan?
Safe to assume that if my current setup from Escape had 2 6V 225mA in series for a total of 12V/225mA then I could replace this with 2 x 12 V Li 100mA in parallel (200A), have roughly the same available current but better DOD and still be balanced with existing solar panels?

Any thoughts?

Thanks
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:59 AM   #17
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In considering the swap from FLA to lithium batteries you'll want to search and review the several threads here about lithium upgrades - there are implications regarding your power-center charging section and the charging from your tow vehicle when underway which may require additional component upgrade due to the lithium's much lower internal resistance and preferred charging profile.

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Old 10-05-2021, 12:24 PM   #18
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OK, so after various guided attempts to recharge/desulfate the batteries it appears they are gone and beyond repair. They will need to be replaced. It seems most people are opting to go the Lithium route as these can withstand a higher DOD and generally have a better lifespan?
Safe to assume that if my current setup from Escape had 2 6V 225mA in series for a total of 12V/225mA then I could replace this with 2 x 12 V Li 100mA in parallel (200A), have roughly the same available current but better DOD and still be balanced with existing solar panels?

Any thoughts?

Thanks
Your existing wifco and solar charger will have lithium profiles but not as sophisticated as some other brands. You will need to insert a dc to dc charger between the alternator out put from the 7 pin. Most people like the victron for the solar charger and dc to dc . The wifco charger is a little crude but will work . There are plenty of people sharing their installs. On the other hand how much boondocking are you planning? It’s not a lot of money to replace the flooded batteries.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:39 PM   #19
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A minor correction -you are using the incorrect term for the battery capacity. mA stands for milliamps, or one one thousands of an amp. The correct term is amp hours when describing battery capacity.

As to the switch to lithium, I agree with John (oldwave). If you don't plan to spend most of your time boondocking, it would make sense to just replace the lead acid batteries with the same.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Just to be clear you should still unplug your 7 pin and test the breakaway switch operation occasionally as per the Owner’s Manual. What you are suggesting does not replace that test which ensures the breakaway unit itself and power circuitry to the onboard battery is functioning properly.

RE: Post 15 and 16:

Thanks, Dave, for the clarification, and the reminder about the test.


When I post, everything makes complete sense in my brain, but the words typically need some review (like, read it over the next day).
The scenario I was thinking of is when the e.brake pin is left pulled out for, say, overnight, so the brakes are left ON for a lonnggg.. time, and have time to fry.
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