12 volts...hydrometers and chargers - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-24-2015, 04:54 PM   #1
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12 volts...hydrometers and chargers

humm...as I'm still playing/learning about things 12volt (charging, solar, capacities, etc) I wonder if anybody else has come across this....

the hydrometers you buy at auto parts stores must be specific to start batteries or something....on one side the scale reads "recharge, fair, good" and there are actual numbered values on the other side....

as it turns out my batteries are fully charged if the reading is just slightly into the "good" scale....sort of misleading I thought.... if somebody was just taking a quick reading....he'd think his battery is only 2/3 charged when it is actually 100% charged....and that is even temperature compensated!!! (see pics)

On another related subject...My trailer no longer has a converter....I have two GC batteries and a charger period....As a Xmas present to myself I decided to upgrade my simple three stage charger with something better (and with no fan)

Went shopping and came back with this charger that can do just about anything except make coffee!!! probably overkill but the next model down stated that it could recharge batteries up to 120Ah (my bank is over 200) this one, with a few more bells and whistles, says it will recharge batteries up to 230Ah.....not quite sure if I understand why/how this rating difference is arrived at (don't make sense to me) but I decided to go for the higher rated model as it had a few more functions that could come in handy in the future...

so the plan is to install it as a permanent fixture in the trailer (whenever the trailer gets plugged in it will power up).... but in such a way that I can easily take it out of the trailer and use it for something else if need be (it has a plug on the DC side to swap from battery spring clamps or eye terminals....the eye terminal part will stay with the trailer)

merry xmas
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:52 PM   #2
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Confucius says, man with one watch always knows what time it is, man with two watches never knows what time it is. Too many cooks spoil the stew. In other words unless you understand battery chemistry every time you add another measuring device you add confusion.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:56 PM   #3
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Byron's postulate. People obsess over things they don't understand rather than rely on the wisdom of other's experiences.

Now that we've created a mountain out of a mole hill, it's simple. Does your battery last long enough when charged by the tow vehicle. If you're a typical week-end camper, probably.
Longer stays might require charging some, a simple volt meter will tell you enough to know when to recharge and when the battery is charged. All the other stuff is simply there to confuse the unknowing.
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:06 AM   #4
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understanding....

well understanding battery chemistry is what I'm trying to do....I guess...

when I started driving cars I spent a lot of time figuring out what made the car go...my sisters on the other hand were quite content just knowing where the gas went and how to twist the key......and they still are fifty years later...LOL... so maybe you have a point

my DPO didn't think too much about batteries...when the lights got dim he just ran his truck for a while....one of the first things I had to do after getting the trailer was buy two new GC batteries ($$$)...don't plan on doing that again for a long time
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:06 PM   #5
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My new to me trailer did not have a converter, just an old battery charger. 2 days ago I put in a Noco 7200 to replace the old charger and replaced the old battery with a larger Trojan group 27 battery. Though a converter would have been nice for resale, etc., I don't plan to pay to plug in at campgrounds and installing a converter would have been more difficult. We have a week off from work and are headed to Sunset state beach to camp for a week. I plan to use a voltmeter for the first time to monitor my battery making sure it doesn't go below 50% and recharge with a little Yamaha 1000 watt generator (that was included with the sale of the trailer) when needed. This summer I hope to buy a 100 watt solar panel to use instead. I am wondering/ thinking about using the 7200 charger to trickle charge my battery during the rest of the winter unhooked to my trailer sitting on my work bench in the garage. If I don't go that route I might just buy a cheaper smaller Noco trickle charger to do that.
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:58 PM   #6
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same charger.....

so you're like me....a "go big or go home" kind of guy.....LOL...as far as battery chargers are concerned anyway

the user guide is quite clear....you can leave this charger hooked up to your battery bank INDEFENITELY.....it evaluates the battery on a regular basis and takes appropriate action....as far as I can figure from reading the user guide

and used as a substitute for a converter, like I am and you too if I got that right, it says that the charge LEDs "dynamically track the batteries state of charge when a load outpaces the charge current"....even if you unplug the trailer it remembers the last setting it was on and when it "sees" power again it starts up on that same setting ("12V norm", as an example)

the LEDs....if you remember the "code" (flashing or not) can take the place of a voltmeter even

from my experience with a 40W solar panel (permanent on the roof) and another 40W (deployable)....I'm thinking with a 100W you will probably be putting that generator up for sale after a while....I don't have a tv or a microwave....my furnace is the biggest power hog when in use.....My truck does not send power back to the trailer...I'm getting to the point where I don't think I need it....it's another can of worms as far as I'm concerned and might just confuse the issue/me further ...I'd rather keep them seperate

this year I'm going with 70 on the roof...and I don't expect to use the deployable much...unless I'm in the shade.

happy trails
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Old 12-25-2015, 01:17 PM   #7
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The hydrometer will tell you if you have a bad cell. This is most important because there is no other way to do this with today's batteries and the cost in around $5.

The Charger: I am no fan of the new computer chip controlled chargers. Have burned through 2 of them and they had all the bells and whistles. The old chargers with a transformer and selinum stack with a timer worked for years and did the job.

Charge your battery on the low setting for a full day then test each cell with your hydrometer. If everything is in the green you are good to go. If you find a cell way lower than the others, then you have a problem.

Make sure you always top off the liquid with distilled water that you can buy at the super market B 4 you charge to battery and check the fluid lever from time to time.

Use anything but distilled water and you run the risk of damaging the battery.
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Old 12-25-2015, 08:30 PM   #8
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yep....

yep, that's my understanding too Darwin....the hydrometer test is to find, or not, a bad cell....with a weak cell the voltmeter will read 12.6 after a charge but the available power will be a fraction of what a healthy/normal battery bank can/would deliver

distilled water? yeah sure, I'm a big fan of distilled products anyway
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