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Equalizing Charge


Jaco De Jongh
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I have been searching the battery section for the last Hour and cannot find much on this topic. I know we have discussed this previously, but cannot find it.

 

I found this online: https://www.trojanbattery.com/tech-support/battery-maintenance/ and can get some answers there , but do have a few more for the guys who have done or are doing it on a frequent basis. 

  1. Do you limit the amps on the charger, or just let it go with the flow. It shouldn't be to high taking that I will be charging already fully charged battery's. 
  2. What is the average time you Equalize  the battery's for or does every Equalizing differ in duration? 
  3. Will the normal Hydrometer from Midas / Normal spare shop work, or is there any recommendation from experience.
  4. Any pointer anyone feel I must take into consideration or watch out for while Equalizing? 

 

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50 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Do you limit the amps on the charger

Back when I still had FLA batteries, I never limited the current. Wasn't necessary, a few amps is enough to push the voltage up, because the batteries are already very full.

51 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

What is the average time you Equalize  the battery's for or does every Equalizing differ in duration? 

One hour seems to be a common setting.

52 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Will the normal Hydrometer from Midas / Normal spare shop work, or is there any recommendation from experience.

It's a pretty simple technology, hard to screw up. With my old Trojans on the way out, I started to suspect my Midas-special, so I bought another one with identical results. They seem just fine.

53 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Any pointer anyone feel I must take into consideration or watch out for while Equalizing? 

The Victron controllers needs to reach absorb first, and they have bulk protection: If it remains in bulk too long it raises an alarm. So a damaged battery where the voltage won't rise has some protection.

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On 2018/08/19 at 7:30 PM, plonkster said:

Back when I still had FLA batteries, I never limited the current

I have neglected this for too long... I guess.. Yesterday I waited till the normal charging current was below 10Amps, set both inverters to 64Volt but only reached 60.7V, after 30min I dropped the charging volts to 56V and let it run for an hour. Then took it back to 64V , and this time they reached 61.7Volt, again after 30 min I dropped to 56Volt again for an hour. Took it to 64volt again and maxed out on 61.9 volts. Decided to leave it their as this test was done remotely relying only on the BMV 702 readings to guide me. Every time I went to 64V, the amps shot up to 31-32Amps. 

Then I realised that my bulk charge was always done at 56V because of the limitations of the V series. Although it could charge at 58 volts it use to run very hot, so I dropped to 56Volt. When i replaced the Inverters with the Super 4 kw, I never thought of increasing the Bulk charge to the recommended 59.3Volts.  Today I allowed it to Bulk at 59.3V and 13H30 I remotely raised the charge volts to 64V again.  This time the bank went to 62.2 volts at 21 amps within 15 minutes so I decided to continue the Test on Saturday using the Hydrometer and watching what happens. 

Dont think this remote testing is very wise...  :huh:

One question, Can one improve the condition of the batteries this way. I believe to often will damage them.

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On 2018/08/21 at 2:26 PM, Jaco de Jongh said:

Bulk charge to the recommended 59.3Volts

After 2 days of doing this, I did a quick test today at 13:00. Raised the charging Volts to 64V again for 20Min. The banks Volts went up fairly quickly to 62.8V at around 22 Amps. A small improvement on 2 days ago.  I feel more positive about the bank than when I started these tests on Monday. 

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Think this is my close out on this topic.

Final equalization done under supervision. Again only reached 62.9Volt on inverter and 62.8 on 702. Pulled the plug on the process when Inverter internal temp hit 34 and max component temp reached 70 degree c. I start to suspect that the Super 4kw might not be able to reach 64V as stated. Anyone with Info to prove me wrong, please post it. 

By that time SG did not raise anymore and as a mater of fact it only increased marginally from before equalization charge. Also monitored the Blue balancers from 54Volt and up and the results stayed as follows from the time it switched on till the end of the test about an hour later. 

Balancers.PNG.1f385d177b609f99c19471501bfbbf08.PNG

 

Pretty relaxed now and will include a equalization charge every month a day or two after the water topup. 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Pretty relaxed now and will include a equalization charge every month a day or two after the water topup. 

I would do that every 3-6 months, depending on battery use.

Equalizing does put a strain on the batts.

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1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

I would do that every 3-6 months, depending on battery use.

Thanks I will keep that in mind, got some mixed messages from the two Links below. Video gives three reasons to do Equalization and the PDF basically gives one.  

Trojan Equalization Charge Video

Trojan Battery Maintenance PDF

Guess the best would then be to measure the SG on water top-up day and then decide if its needed using the info given in both the links. 

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2 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Guess the best would then be to measure the SG on water top-up day and then decide if its needed using the info given in both the links. 

Jip, that is a very good plan!

My controllers are set on x time to auto equalise ... for the live of me I cannot recall what I set them at ... not connecting them to Victron Connect software to check. :-) 

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1 minute ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

My controllers are set on x time to auto equalise

I helped a guy a while ago to streamline his self build system. He had a fully flashed Victron system, Just blue wherever you looked. Went through some settings with him and found the Blue chargers set up for an equalization charge once a day. Cant remember the options, but it had a few. Once a day, a week, a month. Really cant remember all, but we then set it to the once every 30 days. 

He kept on fighting me about it, said that the supplier told him to set it to once a day. It was less than 2 years after installation and we were trying to optimize his  system because the Batts were under performing. Guess it was related then. The second problem was that all the panels were in parallel and  charged the bats for less than 3 hours a day. His Charge controllers can only start charging when PV volts is 3 (?) volts higher than Battery volts, and with his 18 Volt panels that condition was only satisfied for almost 3 hours a day. 

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17 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

... equalization charge once a day ... Charge controllers can only start charging when ...

O my ... there are no pills for that!

The 2 years I would think was more to do with the 3 hours per day.

Don't see how the equalization could have kicked in long enough, if it did start per day.

Victron has some nifty code behind that I would think.

Like mine does not equalise every month, T&C must be met for that to run.

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1 hour ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

His Charge controllers can only start charging when PV volts is 3 (?) volts higher than Battery volts, and with his 18 Volt panels that condition was only satisfied for almost 3 hours a day.  

5V above Vbat it starts charging. It continues as long as you have Vbat+1V. So indeed, it can only start charging if you have around 17V and VBat is 12V.

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1. A full charge is achieved when the hydrometer says so i.e. 1,280. Length of absorb time will vary from system to system and therefore the voltage the bank is charge at should be set using a hydrometer not a set stock voltage. 

2. Equalizing is NOT a timed event, and is done when cell SG’s fall out of tolerance, this will vary from site to site. (refer Trojan batt for these tolerances). 0.030 I believe it is!

EQ is complete when the SG in the cells have stop rising for at least an hour. This can be achieved in 2 hours or 10 hours. One hour is typically not long enough to fully perform a good EQ. Assuming the ref above re tolerances between cells.

N.B. The better the battery bank is charged daily, will greatly reduced the need to EQ your batt bank. I saw a voltage of 56v mentioned. This is far to low of a charge voltage unless it’s crazy hot. 

There are more variables. Thats the nutshell version.

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4 minutes ago, LivSol said:

N.B. The better the battery bank is charged daily, will greatly reduced the need to EQ your batt bank. I saw a voltage of 56v mentioned. This is far to low of a charge voltage unless it’s crazy hot. 

That was the one interesting difference I noted when switching from a locally-made MPPT to the BlueSolar, and also charging with the Multi from the grid: It stays in absorb so much longer. When you watch just how low that tail current comes down when you do it this way, you realise just the mistake made by other chargers by going to float after a static (configured or hard-coded) time period. And not just any voltage, proper 14.5V on a 12V battery.

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