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Used AGM Batteries

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  1. #1
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    Default Used AGM Batteries

    I've got a bank of 6x 240ah 12V batteries on a basic system that are expanding (swelling) one by one.

    The batteries were purchased used, and worked for about two months in the system, but now are going down one by one. One every couple of weeks. I estimate the batteries are atleast 6 years old, AGM's.

    When I got them, I also bought a multistage charger/conditioner and ran each of them through a charge cycle before putting them in the system. All were given the AOK.
    The system doesn't get much use, every 2nd weekend only. I started with 6, now only 3 survive. I think they are all the same age. They are the same type, and all measured between 12.7-12.9 volts when conditioned.

    The system is 2x 12V 200w panels, into a 40a MPPT tracer charge controller. The MPPT is only capable of 900AH in the settings maximum. I now have only 3 batteries left in parallel.
    The battery is melting the inline fuse housing (between MPPT and batteries), but not tripping the fuses. I started with 15a blade fuses.

    So my question is why do the batteries swell like this? Are they just old? Are they getting over charged? Is the controller not up to the task given it can only do max 900ah according to the settings?

    Thanks.

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    I hope you have set your controller to Gel and not sealed as it looks to me like you are overcharging the battery. Having batteries in parallel can cause some charging an discharging issues. If you parallel batteries you need to connect one supply/load to one terminal of the closest battery and the other to the furthermost battery in the set.
    As for melting the fuse you have a bad joint as it is causing heating. In line fuses are notorious for that as you can get the blades to go down the side of the holder and without looking you will only have small contact area. Chuck it out and get another and when you put the fuse in pull back the cover and make sure the fuse in inside the contacts not one inside and the other leg outside.
    As for battery age look on the case and you will see a set of numbers which will give you the manufacture date. 090807 – 7th of August 2009

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    Thanks Bros, very much appreciated advice.
    Found the date on the case- feb 2015! So the person I bought them off said 6 years minimum, so that's a bit weird.
    I did set the charger to GEL, but I don't have the supply/load terminals at each end of the batteries, they are both linked to the 1st battery in parallel. Will fix that! The first battery just went down this last weekend, previously the end and middle batteries swelled.
    Is there anything that can be down with the swollen batteries to reverse the issue?

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    The batteries are RITAR RA12-240 VRLA. I'm reading conflicting info about what setting to charge with.
    The MPPT only offers SEL, GEL and FLOODED.
    Is GEL definitely the one to use?

    thanks.

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    Gel

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    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    If by "swelling" you mean that the battery is bulging at the ends, then this is a sign of the battery is sulphated. This is not good.

    If the whole battery is swelling like a balloon and very hot, is is not good either and quite dangerous.

    Are you connecting these batteries in parallel? They are very large batteries to be paralleling up and a prone to problems associated with high-current and low-voltage wiring.

    If these are VRLA AGM, the controller should be set to the appropriate setting. "Gel" is too low for conventional VRLA.

    As you have been experiencing trouble with the wiring (e.g. hot fuse connections) the batteries are probably chronically undercharged and have sulphated. There are some things you can do to try and rescue them but the odds of recovery aren't that good, but you have nothing to lose either.

    I'd be using the old batteries to get the system right before investing in replacements.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisp View Post
    If these are VRLA AGM, the controller should be set to the appropriate setting. "Gel" is too low for conventional VRLA.
    You are correct as I went and looked at the manual on the charger and the other two settings had an equalize charge that only applies to flooded batteries. Using equalize on such a small charging system will end up with it being locked in equalize mode as it will not reach the equalize voltage for the timer to start and subsequently it will be trapped between boost and equalize which will overcharge the batteries.

    You are correct in it could be sulphation or overcharging but looking at it now I am convinced it is sulphation and he needs to seriously upgrade his charging as the best he is going to get out of the two panels combined is 22A so he could add another 200w panel and a 150w panel and work the controller harder which should be more efficient but I still have concerns about the equalize cycle and if possible it should be taken out. Solar panels now are relatively cheap.

    As looks like these batteries could be stuffed it could be beneficial in looking as flooded batteries as they can be more tolerant of overcharging and they are designed for remote solar power.
    Exide make them.

    Below is a link to to maintenance of Fullriver AGM batteries where parallel battery connection are shown and the take off points.

    I disagree with your reasoning for fuse overheating as I have seen this happen in inline blade fuse and they are rubbish unless you are careful with them. If he increases his solar panels normal blade fuses will be to small as the bases will not be able to carry the current.


    https://www.dropbox.com/s/mihy7rs2ls...02016.pdf?dl=0

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    Just a point of interest, if an AGM won't charge up, don't consider it stuffed. Get a good charged up battery in parallel and connect to a charger until the voltage of the flat battery is high enough to accept a charge. Disconnect the good battery and continue charging the other.

    Also, paralleling batteries is not a good idea unless they are equal and new.

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    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    I disagree with your reasoning for fuse overheating as I have seen this happen in inline blade fuse and they are rubbish unless you are careful with them. If he increases his solar panels normal blade fuses will be to small as the bases will not be able to carry the current.
    Maybe I haven't phrased it well. I'm taking the 'hot fuse' as a symptom of poor wiring or a poor connection. I didn't intend to infer it as a cause.

    However, the hot wiring or fuse will result in a voltage drop. I don't know the wiring arrangements of the charging and load circuits, but as a guess, I suspect that the load is wired seperately to the panel/charge controller. If so, the battery will not be getting sufficient charge if there is a load on it as the charge controller will be sensing the voltage on the high side of the fuse.

    The low charging or chronic undercharging, and/or chronic over-discharging is probably the cause of the sulphation. The battery bank may simply be too big for the panel, or the load too great for the panel.

    Bulging batteries are generally badly sulphated batteries and irreparablely damaged. But having said that, and depending upon the application, there is nothing to lose in attempting to recover them even if the capacity is significantly down (which it will be).

    I would suggest that the OP sort out the problems before putting new batteries in to service as there is a good chance that they will fail prematurely too.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisp View Post
    The battery bank may simply be too big for the panel, or the load too great for the panel.
    In all this that is the one thing we haven't heard about the Load. Incorrect connection of the parallel batteries will also cause some batteries to be undercharged and some over discharged.

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    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Ritar are reasonable quality batteries & treated righter quite capable of giving 10 years+ service. As others have suggested, it does sound like they are being overcharged . I have a smaller bank of 3 x DC120Ah Ritars & have the bulk charge voltage set as per wet batteries (14.4v).

    Blade fuses are notoriously unreliable & prone to overheating/melting in solar systems. It only takes a small sheen of oxidation on the blades for resistance to build. Circuit breakers are a safer option.

    Blade fuse problems in caravans

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    Sorry for the delay getting back to you all, been away with the holiday period.

    Batteries are bulging in the middle and top, not the ends. However given the size, weight and position of batteries in the box, swelling up is the logical way they distort.

    Regarding the load, I have 2 x 15w fluro lights which I run for a few hours at night (5 hours?). A water pump (750W) which kicks in when I run the taps (max 30 mins a day total).
    An iphone charger and a 15w speaker for maybe 5 hours/day. That's it. A 2000W inverter comes off the battery bank. I turn off the inverter when I leave the property, so no load during the week from it.
    I did purchase a small fridge (12v/240v/LPG), but haven't used it in the system yet. As mentioned this load might happen 2 days in a fortnight.

    I used the system without these issues with 3x used AGM 12V 100ah batteries. But they would run down and not supply enough for the inverter on the second night in winter. No swelling issues with the 3 x 100ah in parallel. Or fuse issues.

    So, is this charger not up to the job? Seems to be conflicting views on the setting for battery type.

    The fuse/wire melting point seems to be at the wire connection point. The blade seating itself I don't believe is the issue. It has happened twice, replaced the holder and fuse each time.

    Thanks.

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    Given this current setup, what size circuit breaker would you recommend?

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    2000w inverter is a bloody big inverter and you sure need some battery power to drive it and keep the batteries topped up. Have you ever thought of going to 12 v on all your appliances as you can nearly run everything off 12v now days. Your 12/240/LPG would not be the best for the system as they draw up to 12 A all the time and are not very efficient, a compressor fridge is a better choice.

    The CB between the controller and batteries would be a 50 A one provided the cables are rated to that. As for the load side depends on your load and cable size but you could never accommodate that humongous inverter.

    I backed away from my Gel setting on the charger and suggest the same as for wet cell the only issue I have is the use of the equalizing charge which in AGM is not designed for AGM batteries.

    Have you looked at the link I gave which has some good info about Fullriver batteries which you can use with Ritar batteries.

    The best place to get DC circuit breakers is here

    https://www.sparkydirect.com.au/c/28...-breakers.html

    or here

    http://stores.ebay.com.au/On-Top-Ene..._pgn=1&_ipg=48

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    I had visions of using a coffee machine originally hence the large inverter. Then I came to my senses...
    However as it rarely gets used above 800w, I know it's big but short of the load factor not sure it's doing any harm. I don't want to replace everything yet, this was a budget setup- my first go at a weekender offgrid. As I mentioned the 3 x100ah used batt system was fine, just the batteries were very tired.
    The fridge cost me $50, and the lpg option made it a no brainer.

    The cable from controller to batteries in 4mm (55A?) A 50A breaker sounds large? The max fuse I have had in there so far is 20a, a 15a did blow once I believe.
    I didn't mention the fuse on the battery to inverter side is a slow burn, think it's a 200a in there but would have to check again.

    Thanks for the link to the Fullriver batts.

    I contemplated a 12v system, just not so sure of the water pump for the rainwater tank. The 750w/240v works nicely and gives me options in the future.
    I'd rather get what I have got working in the short term.

    Sorry still checking for clarification on this; SEL, GEL or FLOODED setting?

    Thanks Bros.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    The cable from controller to batteries in 4mm (55A?) A 50A breaker sounds large? The max fuse I have had in there so far is 20a, a 15a did blow once I believe.
    I gave those figures not knowing the system. I did so in the expectation you would buy more panels to upgrade the charging system. Run another 4 mm in parallel and it will be OK.
    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    I didn't mention the fuse on the battery to inverter side is a slow burn, think it's a 200a in there but would have to check again.
    Good size.


    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    I contemplated a 12v system, just not so sure of the water pump for the rainwater tank. The 750w/240v works nicely and gives me options in the future.
    I'd rather get what I have got working in the short term.
    You can get good 12v pumps but they are low flow and no good for watering the garden.

    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    Sorry still checking for clarification on this; SEL, GEL or FLOODED setting?
    For your controller the only option is SEL as gel is to low but flooded would be OK but it has that equalize function that is best to avoid. So Sealed it is as the equalize voltage is only 0.2v above boost where flooded equalize is 1 volt above the boost voltage for sealed.

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    Really appreciated Bros-thank you, and happy new year.

    Garden watering is high on my list of priorities at the bush block, and it's why I chose the tank/pump combo I've got. You're on the money there.

    Will modify things this week, wiring and circuit breaker and check back in the near future.

    cheers.

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    4mm cable most certainly does not sound large to me, & is almost certainly too small & getting hot. Forget the 'amp rating' for cable in low voltage situations & instead look at the size of the cross section of copper in sq.mm. If you have a look at the chart in the following link you will see recommended cable sizes for solar. You will see that cable size depends upon both the current it has to carry AND how far it has to carry it. The thinner the cable & the further it has to carry it the greater the losses (to heat). You can translate the cable size requirements your system needs from the table. I think you may be surprised at what you need.

    Motorhome and Caravan Info Australia » Blog Archive » Calculating the cable size for wiring solar panels

    Note also there is cable & cable. 4mm sq copper is just that. 4mm auto cable is probably no more than about 1.6mm copper (the insulation is counted as part of the size with auto cable).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    Note also there is cable & cable. 4mm sq copper is just that. 4mm auto cable is probably no more than about 1.6mm copper (the insulation is counted as part of the size with auto cable).
    Good point, I was assuming real 4mm not the fake stuff.

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    So many variables.
    The 4mm in question has never even been remotely 'warm'. When I was setting up the system I questioned this part of the system the most, as given the cable sizes I was using at the back end, this looked tiny by comparison. Am I showing my ignorance here?
    I will measure it with my calipers though. Bought as solar wire when setting up the system, not auto stuff. About 4mm wire not including insulation, but will check.

    Ta.

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    Check the link I posted.
    At 12v a 4mm2 cable is good for carrying up to about 24 amps over 2 metres or 15 amps over 3 metres, or 8 amps over 6 metres.

    What is the cable distance between your regulator & the batteries? Your panels are probably capapable of generating something between 20 & 25 amps.

    As said thin cable/long runs results in current losses/voltage drop. You would not necessarily have cables which feel warm to the touch, but the loss in efficiency (less amps getting to the batteries) means the available charge is going somewhere else other than to the batteries. This is where heat comes into the equation. I am not suggesting this heat to be the cause of the problems you have experienced with melting fuses & expanding batteries. That is almost certainly occurring due to high resistance connections & overcharging respectively.

    If the charge setting on your regulator is set to the appropriate setting for you batteries then it is quite possible that your regulator is faulty. Batteries don't swell of their own accord. Overcharged AGM batteries can go into 'thermal runaway, where the voltage goes into an ever increasing rise. This can make batteries swell, or even catch fire. For that reason you would be wise not to leave them connected in your absence until you get to the bottom of what is happening. I'm not sure but would wonder if the voltage is rising due to overcharging/ thermal runaway whether this is also causing the fuse issue. I'm guessing that if you had a circuit breaker rated the same as the fuse that it would disconnect in the circumstances. Likewise a good quality fuse (not a blade fuse) would likely blow. Either would just be an indicator that there is a problem. The melting fuse holder indicates the same, but is also a problem as it represents a fire hazard in it's own right.

  22. #22
    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    ....
    Regarding the load, I have 2 x 15w fluro lights which I run for a few hours at night (5 hours?). A water pump (750W) which kicks in when I run the taps (max 30 mins a day total).
    An iphone charger and a 15w speaker for maybe 5 hours/day. That's it. A 2000W inverter comes off the battery bank. I turn off the inverter when I leave the property, so no load during the week from it.
    I did purchase a small fridge (12v/240v/LPG), but haven't used it in the system yet. As mentioned this load might happen 2 days in a fortnight.
    With battery energy storage systems, it is usually easier to work in Ah rather than W.

    Going through your lists of loads (and taking the Wattages at face value) and working out the daily energy requirements:

    Lighting: 2.5A for 5h = 12.5 Ah
    Pump: 62.5A for 0.5 hr = 31.25 Ah
    Phone and speaker: 0.5A for 5 h = 2.5Ah

    The daily energy requirements are roughly 46.25 Ah, let's call it 50Ah to simplify typing.

    If this was used daily, you'd need a system that can store 50Ah and a solar panel (or whatever charger you are using) to be able to replenish the 50Ah each day. Your battery system is truely big enough and in my opinion it is oversized. Your solar system is also well and truely large enough.

    As thus is a holidayer, and only used 2 days out of 14, you can use a fortnightly calculation rather than a daily calculation.

    Over a fortnight, the load is 100Ah (i.e. 2 days). If you choose to use a smaller charger on the assumption that it can be used to recharge the pack over 14 days, you need to ensure that it can deliver 100Ah/14day = 7.2 Ah on average each day. You will need to ensure that the battery pack has a useable storage capacity of 100Ah. This needs to be 'derated' as you will shorten the life of a battery using it at 100% depth of discharge (DoD). Try and keep it to less than 50% with new batteries to allow a little head room.

    As a rough ballpark guide, I would suggest:


    • Battery pack: ~200Ah (or use one 240Ah that you already have)
    • Solar panel that can deliver 2A for 4 hours a day. (You have this well covered, but make sure that the "12V" panel can truely deliver 14.4V to 14.7V after the regulator. This will usually require 16V-plus from the panel.
    • Retain your inverter. Hopefully, it is a type that will completely shutdown when the load is below a threshold?
    • Fix up your wiring. Voltage drop in low-voltage systems is very problematic.


    Monitor the battery voltage with a multimeter. You need to be seeing something like 14.4V when charging is near complete. If you are only getting 12V or so, the battery won't be recharging correctly and will be poorly equalised and will prematurely fail.

    Note, if the batteries are very flat (below 10V), they will be in a high-resistance state and they won't accept charge very well. You can usually spot these as the voltage will quickly jump to the top-of-charge-voltage but they won't draw much current from the charger. They can give the impression of being charged when they are empty! If you suspect this, leave them on the charger for a while and you should see the voltage drop as they charge (and then begin to slowly rise again).
    Last edited by chrisp; 2nd Jan 2017 at 12:18 PM. Reason: typo
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    I believe he should go bigger on the solar side as energy consumption seems to grow over time. I have a friend who has a holiday house and he seems to be adding more solar and more batteries over time. Remember he said garden watering gets done as well as household uses so that on its own adds more demand.

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    Thanks Cuppa and Chrisp.
    Fire hazard has been my main concern, especially in the bush. I'm available more in the 'holiday' month and will monitor it more. I've been turning the whole system off since the second battery went down.
    The cable run from the panels to the mppt about 6 metres, the mppt to the batteries about 60cm's with the blade fuses on each line to the batteries, both 4mm cable. But both cables are going to the 1st battery as mentioned in an earlier post, will change to the 1st and last.
    Sorry I thought I posted this, but it's not showing up.
    I think the minimum voltage I've ever read (with a multimeter) was 11.3V. I've never got anything like 14.4V though either. Even when using the conditioner before putting in the system. All 6 were between 12.7V-12.9V.
    I also have another/smaller 30a mppt charger of the same brand which I can switch out. One step at a time though me thinks.

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    I wanted a system I could upgrade and kept that in mind even with this modest setup. That's why I bought the 2000w inverter. But panels are clearly more important it seems.
    Looking from the wrong end maybe
    FYI panels, mppt, cable and inverter were new. Batteries 2nd hand.

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    Can you post some pictures of the batteries and the wiring in general? The forum members can pick up a lot of info from pictures.

    Also, as others have mentioned, thermal runaway is a possibility here. A picture might help us identify this. Old batteries, and batteries of particular brands can be more susceptible than others to thermal runaway. Very hot batteries is a sure sign that something is not right.

    I would strongly suggest closely supervising the operation of the system until you are fully confident that it is operating correctly.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    I wanted a system I could upgrade and kept that in mind even with this modest setup. That's why I bought the 2000w inverter. But panels are clearly more important it seems.
    Looking from the wrong end maybe
    FYI panels, mppt, cable and inverter were new. Batteries 2nd hand.
    The only reason I said more panels is they are cheap and today it might be a good day and tomorrow not so good as far as sun is concerned and you have the regulator capacity. The voltage you quote can be rubbery as you can see a lot of charts on the net of voltage vs capacity and no two are the same the only thing they can agree on is where flat is.

    In my shed I have a 200Ah AGM battery I got on the SH cheap 10 years ago and it is stuffed. I use it to winch my caravan into my shed and I have to put the charger on it when I want to use the winch If I charge it with my 6A Ctek charger is quickly goes to half charge then after 4 hrs it is full and the charger cuts off.

    You can systematically go through your batteries and get an accurate check of your battery capacity.

    To do this get two 50 w globes from Super creep solder a couple of wired on the back of each so you have to separate loads. Charge the batteries to capacity and switch off the charger. Before you go to bed connect up the two lights and a voltmeter one battery and let it go. Time when you start and when the battery gets to 10.5v and the load x time will give you the Ah capacity of the batteries. The aim is to discharge the batteries in around 20 hrs.

    If the batteries are good immediately recharge.

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    I'm going to the property tomorrow, will get some pictures and post online happily.

    I knew I needed more panels, probably regret going with a 12v system as 2nd hand is harder to source panels it seems.
    As a cameraman I have 100w bulbs a plenty! Can easily do a test if needed.
    I also have a second shed which will need some basic solar soon, so the old batteries are already planned for it.
    The conditioner/charger I got is Ctek also. Unfortunately there is no mains power at the property though. So any battery conditioning means lugging the 80kg battery back to Sydney. Times 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    The conditioner/charger I got is Ctek also. Unfortunately there is no mains power at the property though. So any battery conditioning means lugging the 80kg battery back to Sydney. Times 3
    I can't see anyway around it as you need to find the battery capacity. I hope the 100w lamps are 12v incandescent. Anyhow it will keep you off the streets.

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    For sure, was just whinging. 100w/12v's I've got. And I need to be kept busy..
    Ta.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Window575 View Post
    I think the minimum voltage I've ever read (with a multimeter) was 11.3V. I've never got anything like 14.4V though either. Even when using the conditioner before putting in the system. All 6 were between 12.7V-12.9V.
    Based on those voltages, which sound far from healthy, (dependent upon when they were measured) I have another hypothesis about the swelling batteries.

    If correct, I would suggest that some, or all, the batteries are 'stuffed'. In a single battery if a cell in a battery has gone bad the charger/regulator will read the battery as 'low' & continue trying to charge it. Result is the remainng cells get overcharged, get hot & cause the case to swell.

    Alternatively if one battery within a bank of batteries is no longer able to be charged properly this can cause the other batteries in the bank to be overcharged, similar to a single battery with a bad cell.

    I suggest that the first thing you need to do is to ascertain the health of your batteries, without first doing this any other checking will be unreliable.

    To check them you will need to separate the battery bank & charge each battery individually on a mains charger, preferably a multi stage charger with a float mode.
    First thing will be to see if each battery is capable of reaching 'float'.
    Second, once float is reached, disconnect the battery & let it sit unconnected for an hour or so & then measure the voltage across the terminals. If healthy you should expect a reading of 12.6v or higher.
    Third you need to do a load test with something like a 60w headlight globe. Connect it & leave it on for 30 minutes or so. This will draw around 2.5 Ah. The voltage will drop whilst the load is connected, perhaps by 0.2 or 0.3v, if it drops down to 12v or less the battery is cactus. Once disconnected should in a healthy battery rise slowly again, so after having let the battery stand disconnected again, for a minimum of 30 minutes, more is ok, & again check the voltage across the terminals. Voltage should be back up to what it was prior to connecting the load, or at least to within 0.1v of it.

    It's a time consuming process doing this with each battery, but is the only way you can check if the batteries are healthy or junk. Doing anything else is chasing your tail.

    Regarding your cable size from regulator to batteries - sounds ok, but would want upgrading if you increase your solar input in the future.

    Regarding efficiency the cable between panels & regulator needs to be 6 B&S (13 Sq.mm copper) - & will need increasing if you substantially increase solar input.

    Regarding increasing solar input, I agree with others you will probably want to do this, but it's not the cause of your problems, & I think you would be wise to get those sorted first.

    Hope this helps.

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    When I got the batteries earlier this year (2016) I did a charge, condition and load test on each and they all read above 12.7v. They all reached float mode on the charger. I have a load tester.
    Depending on how I go today, might bring them home to go through again.
    Thanks.

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    I don't know how good load testers are with batteries with reduced capacity as to weather they would tell you the exact capacity of the battery. On a discharge test that I have outlined they may come up as 100Ah and could be suitable for other uses. You said you have another system to use them on but you should know the capacity of them. If you find they are only 50 Ah well the dump is the only place for them.
    If they came up as 100AH I would not parallel them with a new 100Ah battery best to keep same size, type and age for paralleling.

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    Senior Member Cuppa's Avatar
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    Bros is on the money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    If you parallel batteries you need to connect one supply/load to one terminal of the closest battery and the other to the furthermost battery in the set.
    Can you expand on this Bros ? I'm just about to put two extra batteries in my ute and have struck this advice before on a few other forums. I've consulted 2 auto sparkies and 2 electronics techs and all of them say it's rubbish and makes absolutely no difference at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Can you expand on this Bros ? I'm just about to put two extra batteries in my ute and have struck this advice before on a few other forums. I've consulted 2 auto sparkies and 2 electronics techs and all of them say it's rubbish and makes absolutely no difference at all.
    I doubt it would make a lot of difference in a vehicle as the charging system is pretty rough and they don't take a battery to 100% unlike a solar system where you want the batteries at maximum. Solar systems have a better charging system and can fully charge batteries.

    Fullriver make batteries and have a good idea of how to connect batteries so check out my link at post 7.

    My caravan batteries are cross connected as it is supplied by a good multi stage charger and solar. My vehicle is just parallel.

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    Cool. On that note there is also the ongoing debate of VSR's vs dc-dc chargers. But that's for another thread I guess. My farm solar uses a 20 amp mppt controller, 1x 250 watt household panel with 37ish OCV and 1x 150 ah ac delco semi cycle calcium battery. Works awesome. The most I've seen it pump out was 15 v and 14.8 amps. Ahhh the beauty of mppt controllers.

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    I have the batteries (3 x 120AH AGM's) in my camper connected in the No.3 pattern in this link. SmartGauge Electronics - Interconnecting multiple batteries to form one larger bank
    Whether it makes any difference to battery life is something for folk to enjoy a good argument about, but it did help in making the installation a bit neater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    I have the batteries (3 x 120AH AGM's) in my camper connected in the No.3 pattern in this link. SmartGauge Electronics - Interconnecting multiple batteries to form one larger bank
    Whether it makes any difference to battery life is something for folk to enjoy a good argument about, but it did help in making the installation a bit neater.
    I like the link.
    There is no middle ground between facts and fallacies - argumentum ad temperantiam

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    Awesome link Cuppa. Exactly what I was after. Oh Bros, your link wont work for me. I even tried to download direct from the website but my putes had a hissy fit about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    I have the batteries (3 x 120AH AGM's) in my camper connected in the No.3 pattern in this link. SmartGauge Electronics - Interconnecting multiple batteries to form one larger bank
    Whether it makes any difference to battery life is something for folk to enjoy a good argument about, but it did help in making the installation a bit neater.
    I guess doing any installation using the correct methods will be difficult in the ute. 2 batteries in the tray ( one either side) and the cranking battery at the front. Some mighty long cable runs. Although using method 3 I could run the cables to a central point of equal distance or close enough but make the cable lengths exact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    I guess doing any installation using the correct methods will be difficult in the ute. 2 batteries in the tray ( one either side) and the cranking battery at the front. Some mighty long cable runs. Although using method 3 I could run the cables to a central point of equal distance or close enough but make the cable lengths exact.
    Is it worth it in a ute?

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    Mine are in a ute, albeit with the camper batteries inside the rear canopy.

    The default charging is via solar or dc to dc charger, but with the possibility of paralleling them directly with the crank battery in the engine compartment (manual switch of the type which ensures the alternator is protected if switched with the motor running) ......

    This allows extra capacity for winching purposes as well as the possibility for faster bulk charging should the camper batteries ever get severely discharged & a means of getting some charge into the camper batteries were the combined dc to dc charger/solar regulator to fail a long way from anywhere.

    A mains charger can also be used to charge all batteries together id desired. Because of the current draw when winching the connecting cable had to be pretty heavy, but cable flexibility & routing options were a constraint, so 70mm2 was the best compromise.

    Although it is quite possible that under full noise the winch can be pulling between 450A & 500A, the fuse (megafuse) is rated at 225A. Initially I had a 450A fuse, but later understood that the nature of a slow blow fuse & the intermittent load used during winching allowed for a lower rated fuse giving a greater safety factor.





    Last edited by Bros; 3rd Jan 2017 at 10:34 AM. Reason: Paragraphs making easier reading

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    Like the Tvan!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bros View Post
    Is it worth it in a ute?
    What do you mean ? Dmax, canopy, draws, winch, fridge, farm, cape, kimberly etc....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    Mine are in a ute, albeit with the camper batteries inside the rear canopy.


    I like it, certainly a lot of thought and money went into that setup but as you are trying to maximize your energy storage levels. With your setup you obviously go to real remote camping where you need to be self sufficient. This setup would be prohibitive and expensive to the great unwashed who just wanted a dual battery to run the beer fridge on weekend trip with the vehicle running every day. Their system would just require a VSR and second battery.

    The system I have on my caravan is 2 x 120 solar 2 x 105 Ah batteries which with our use is overkill but I can also parallel up the ute aux battery to take advantage of the excess storage and charging I have in the van.

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    Here's a interesting conversation re fuse sizes and why it makes no sense in heavy cable runs.

    View topic - what's the difference between dual battery kits?? | Australian 4WD Action

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    What do you mean ? Dmax, canopy, draws, winch, fridge, farm, cape, kimberly etc....
    Huh??

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    One still only requires a smart VSR for hard core remote touring. Some sort of aux charging device either genny or solar for when the vehicle is switched off.

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