Which Battery Maintainer?

D

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Sure glad I don't live in snow bird land. Here we just ride our bikes daily, and that maintains the battery !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess having more obvious seasonal cues makes what I call "riding season" all the more intense and pleasurable -- I enjoy switching modes. I do go through withdrawal for awhile though, before I settle into other activities. And when it's starting to look like a lot of riding will soon be possible here I anticipate with glee : }
 
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670cc

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I went on a mission to improve my battery charger arsenal. Using a 5.5 year old Yuasa YTZ12S as a test subject, I embarked on a semi scientific experiment to see what different chargers could do. The battery is nearing end of life. It had an Open Circuit Voltage of 12.32 volts.

First, I hooked up my old Battery Tender Jr. After 10-15 minutes, the green light is on, indicating full charge. After an hour or two of rest, the battery OCV is still 12.32 volts, so the BT Jr. did nothing for me at all.

I purchased an Optimate 3 and let it go to work. After 2 days of recovery, charge, and test mode gyrations, the best it could do for the battery was get the OCV up to 12.37 volts. So, not a whole lot was gained with the Optimate.

I put the battery on a larger Peak smart charger I have that has a desulphate mode. After 48 hours on the desulphate mode and charging, it managed to get the OCV into the 12.4 to 12.42 range. Still this battery is sitting at about 50% capacity.

So, it seems there is little hope to fully resurrecting the battery. My key takeaways from the test:
1) The BT Jr. may look all happy, but it is too dumb to tell you that your battery is about to die. It will indicate all is well with a nearly end of life battery.
2) The more expensive Optimate shows off a lot of bells and whistles, and is surely a nice charger, but in the end the results aren't all that much different than the BT Jr. or even a $10 Nextool automatic charger I bought from Menards (see post #35).
3) The desulphate mode on my Peak 2-6-12 amp smart charger actually showed some results. I can't find that model for sale anymore, but I'm glad I have mine. It enabled me to keep my motorhome house batteries running for 19 years before replacement.

So I currently have 5 chargers running 24x7, moved periodically sharing time on the 15 batteries I'm maintaining.

I'm replying to my own post here as a way to add follow up.

I had reported several weeks ago that my test battery had only managed an unimpressive 12.42 volts OCV after lengthy desulphate and save mode cycles. The battery has been attached to an Optimate 3 charger since then. I now see an OCV of 12.52 volts on that same battery, with the measurement taken at the same ambient temperature and rest period. Based on that, I'm considering upping my rating of the Optimate 3. Maybe it's doing some good. It claims to come on and check/charge at regular hourly intervals with a safe 13.6 volt offer to the battery, whereas the BT Jr. turns on only when the voltage drops below a threshold.
 

ste7ios

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Only a miracle can remove hard sulfation from a battery... The only way to avoid sulfation is to keep a lead acid battery always fully charged.

In conventional wet batteries we can apply an equalization charge to brake some sulfation. Actually it's a controlled overcharging with voltages around 20V but that causes extreme gassing so the battery needs refilling, and that's why it's prohibited for VRLA batteries (like AGM or Gel cell). They will dry.

A smart charger can be judged as a good one if it keeps the battery always charged without overcharging it. That needs some accuracy (for a CC/CV multistage charging (constant current / constant voltage)). Not all chargers offer that accuracy.

Recently I tried a cheap smart charger of 20€. It's a multistage constant current charger. I tested it with a multimeter and it was really bad. It was sensing 14.4V but in reality was 14.7+. All of its measurements were about +0.15V to +0.25V. And it's not only that... In general it was very abusive for an AGM battery, so I got a refund...

On the other hand an Oxford Maximizer 3800 isn't accurate either. But it's very gentle. e.g. it senses 14.4V but in reality is less, about -0.10V and stg. It will never overcharge a battery, but it does nothing about sulfation that needs more voltage to dilute effectively...

Optimate and ctek must be more than ok!

I wonder about technologies like PulseTech's and BatteryMINDER's desulfation system. Unlike the usual high voltage pulse charging, they continuously pulse the battery with a low voltage of high frequency... I've read some interesting reviews but I can't be sure without trying...
 

ST/SV

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I've been using Deltan Batterytender Plus since 2004. Bought my first one for my Honda ST1300 and used it on it all the time. Battery was still cranking it 7 years later till I decided to replace it just for a cross country trip to make me feel better. At one point a few years latter I owned 4 motorcycles and 3 scooters and all the motorcyles had a Deltrans on them when they were in the garage. My 2008 Kawasaki Concours battery was replaced in 2015 before a cross country trip and it was still cranking it when I replaced it. Haven't replaced a dead battery yet since using them so I'm a believer in maintainers. We have 2 Waverunners also and both batteries lasted one year but for some reason I never put them on a Deltran. They are now. If anyone is near a Costco I bought my last 2 Deltrans for the Waverunners from them but they are not the same ones I have been using on the motorcycles. The ones from Costco were only $39.95 for the first one and second one I got for just $29.95 a few months later. The only difference is they have a plastic case but I did notice they are 2 amp and made in China instead of the metal case ones I have for the bikes that are 1.25 amp. I have used a Sears motorcycle maintainer and a Schumacher which look similar but don't like them as much as the Deltran.
 

showkey

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Ste7ios, A number of year ago When pulse chargers first became common place we did some testing. From what I remember we used a scope to actually see the pulsing. A conventional volt meter just smoothed out the pulse and gave an average reading.
 

ste7ios

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That's right, only an oscilloscope can measure those pulses. I wonder if a Fluke with true RMS can catch them... (Just wonder because their price is too high for my amateur usage :D ).
 

showkey

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^^^^^^^ it was years ago........from what I remember Fluke 88 DVOM ( pretty much the gold standard of the auto shop) was not up to the task and we used the Fluke 98. I do recall we never came to any good or bad concluesions on the sulfation reversing of several smart chargers. At the time we had a fleet of 50 cars that were used regularly but also sat for long periods of time. We ordered batteries by the pallet.
 

670cc

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Well, I have a Fluke 87 III with 1 msec sampling min/max record, and I have an oscilloscope. But, what are we looking for? If they say there are pulses on the charger, I'm pretty much okay with it.
 
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DCTFAN

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Me too! Just scientific curiosity! :D
I'm curious to know this:
Rather than hooking up a dubious cheap 'maintainer'
would it be better to disconnect (-) from the battery?
Don't all manufacturers ship OEM batteries this way?
 

ste7ios

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Disconnecting the battery doesn't solve the problem, and storage is just one case.

All batteries suffer from self discharging. This is about up to 10% per month (about 3.3mV per day) at 77ºF. For every 18ºF increase that doubles... In a cool storage it's less. Temperatures affects the speed of chemical reactions that cause sulfation and corrosion.

To have an idea:
924407599_805.jpg

The above diagram is for deep cycle batteries. The limit for SLI motorcycle batteries is much less because they're more fragile and sulfation will kill them much faster.

Other cases are, parasitic drain (by an alarm or other devices), short distance travels / city riding that is not enough to fully charge a battery.

To remind you again, the goal is to stop sulfation and that happens only when the battery is always fully charged.


After the OEM shipping the batteries must be maintained with a charger according to a schedule...
 

anglachel

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There is also the possibility of the battery freezing, that is the liquid inside turning to a solid, expanding, and breaking things in the battery.

Fully charged lead acid batteries will have the liquid inside freeze around -70f or -60C (roughly) batteries that are below 12v can start to freeze up around 32F or 0C.

I know that isn't a problem for people in warm climates, but it is a concern for those of us where it gets below freezing and stays there.
 
D

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Let's see now: I have an Optimate for the EarthX (LiFePO4) battery in my WR, and a non-Jr Battery Tender on my NC, and a Die Hard Maintainer that gets shared between my rider mower and a car that mostly sits around feeling neglected. They all work well, and are perma-mounted with lead hanging down for instant connection when each gets parked.
 
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