Equalizing battery as maintenance? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-06-2017, 01:46 PM   #1
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Equalizing battery as maintenance?

While getting our Casita ready for an upcoming trip in a couple weeks, I decided to check the battery charge (with multi-meter and with hydrometer) and water level. I also checked the Trojan battery website for the 100 percent charge as I can never remember the numbers for a full charge. (Full charge is 12.73 volts.) I also noticed their website mentions a battery should be "equalized" periodically to reduce stratification and reduce sulfate crystals. (Greek to me). They gave the instructions how it should be performed. I am electrically challenged when it comes to most of the 12 volt side of the camper. SO my question is, do you periodically equalize your battery for longevity? If so, how frequently.

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Old 01-06-2017, 02:11 PM   #2
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Can't answer, but could you post a link to the part of the Trojan site that you found, because I read it once and have never been able to find it again?
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:23 PM   #3
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Thanks Glenn,
Not sure how to edit, but here is (I hope) the link to the Trojan battery maintenance info. I'm also very computer and tech challenged. lol.The information on equalizing is about 3/4ths of the way down the list of information.

Battery Maintenance | Trojan Battery Company

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Old 01-06-2017, 02:32 PM   #4
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Thank you. The information I had from the site was in a video. Suggested that you could do the equalization by charging with a regular charger, then unplugging the charger and plugging it back in. Problem is, it didn't say how long to unplug.
My mechanic has a charger that can be used for desulfurization, but said in his experience it didn't accomplish much.
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Old 01-06-2017, 02:49 PM   #5
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I was just curious. I did a search on the forum and couldn't find anything even remotely close to the "equalizing" topic. Thought if it was something really important someone would have brought it up. Guess I'll wait and see what others have to say also. But I do always check the water level, charge, etc. right before a trip and several times a year. Also just purchased a float charger and will use it periodically. Also I use a battery cut off switch so the detector doesn't drain the battery....found that out that hard way.

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Old 01-06-2017, 05:21 PM   #6
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Equalizing Charge For Stationary Batteries – Battery University

"An equalizing charge is nothing more than a deliberate overcharge to remove sulfate crystals that build up on the plates over time."

Some smart chargers and converters have a preprogrammed or selectable equalization mode. For example, Progressive Dynamics converters with "Charge Wizard" will automatically spike the float voltage to 14.4V for 15 minutes every 21 hours. Iota converters with IQ4 charge controllers have a similar mode, but does it every seven days.

My automotive smart charger can also equalize, I use to do it once a year. My Gr27 Delco Voyager is like 12 years old and still has a fairly good capacity, which I understand is unusual for a battery this old. Not sure if it has anything to do with equalization.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:37 AM   #7
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jon,

Look at this Trojan info on float and equalizing voltages. This chart is for flooded batteries which I assume you have.

Charger Voltage Setting 6v 12v 24v 36v 48v
Bulk Charge 7.4 14.8 29.6 445. 59.3
Float Charge 6.7 13.5 27 40.5 54
Equalize Charge 8.1 16.2 32.4 48.6 64.8

It sounds like your batteries sit a lot of the time and are not usually on a charger. I recommend you do equalize them at least once and then keep them on a smart battery tender all the time. Don't leave them connected to an old fashioned ferro-resonant charger for any longer than necessary and don't leave them sitting for long periods disconnected.
They will become sulfated when sitting around at less than full float voltage. The smart tender will prevent this.
You can read their specific gravity and their voltage, but it won't tell you about being sulfated. If they are sulfated their useful amp-hour output will be reduced. Sometimes to where they are useless, even though they will still charge up. The best thing to do is have them load tested and compare the results to their rated output.
For best results, find a "smart" charger that has the ability to equalize flooded batteries at 16 volts. Good chargers have options for both flooded and AGM type batteries as they need different float and equalization voltages. Battery tenders can be a very small units and their output will be very low at maybe 1 amp. Costco has some very nice tenders for about $29. Walmart has some low cost smart battery chargers. If you want a high quality built in style charger, look at marine chargers.

I've never worried about stratification and it should never be a problem with batteries that are installed in vehicles that get moved around. Equalizing stationary batteries will stir them up while bubbling during the process. That may be why equalization is recommended to be done so often. Don't know.

I have finally decided to take care of my many batteries by using tenders, but I don't have an equalizing charger.......yet. I've lost a lot of them to sulfation.
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:48 AM   #8
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Sorry about the voltage chart. It won't copy and paste very well. Adjust as needed.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:31 AM   #9
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I hope this link carries over OK. It is the product support page for Crown deep cycle batteries showing the different charging parameters. We have their 12 volt GC-155 battery in our Scamp. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...t_Brochure.pdf

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Old 01-07-2017, 12:32 PM   #10
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Great information you shared Dave and John. Sounds like I need to invest in a smart charger with equalizing feature. I regularly (6-8 weeks) check the charge with the hydrometer and multi-meter and then water level. I only float charge it if necessary but I guess I need to change my maintenance schedule with a smart charger.

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Old 01-07-2017, 12:55 PM   #11
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Jon,

I HIGHLY recommend the "maintenance/maintainer" chargers like the Battery Tenders or a step above those and I have both- the Battery Minder. It has the desulfating cycler. I keep a Battery Tender on all my unused batteries (Lawnmower in the winter, Scamp battery, etc). Keeping these chargers on your battery works! Someone mentioned the "Wizard" by Progressive. I like that one too but you have to leave your Scamp plugged in continuously and you dont with these external chargers- plus you can use them elsewhere.

RV Battery Maintainer | Motorhome Battery Charger | BatteryMINDers
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:31 PM   #12
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I thought I was beginning to understand the equalizing information until I looked at the Battery MINDer literature on line. It states " full-time automatic high frequency pulse desulfator (not high voltage)".

One of the other brands state it spikes the float voltage to 14.4V for 15 minutes every 21 hours. Or it may be programmable.

What is the difference and is one better than the other for a flooded battery like we use in our FG camper? Is one better for cars, trucks, tractors, etc?

Now I am really confused.
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:37 PM   #13
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I believe the "Minder" uses a "reverse voltage" jolt or similar. All I know is, that from the reviews and online information, it works. I've never had another moment's trouble after using this charger AND the Battery Tenders.

I wouldnt be without mine.
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