Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Battery D is dead, probably.

I gained access to a decent battery charger last night and let the battery.  I let it charge at 10A and when I checked on it a few hours later, it dislayed F01.  I looked this up and it means "F01 Internal Shorted Cell Battery - Cannot be charged. Have battery checked by certified auto service center."  

So this week, I'm going to drop that battery off at the vendor and see if they can get it working.  Apparently, this is one of the first two batteries I got in Oct of 2009.  It's been going bad all summer, so hopefully I can get them to replace it if need be. 

On another note, I finally finished up the leftover tank of propanee from last year.  Yesterday and today I've been running the propane heater quite a bit.  Yesterday I ran it for over an hour during the day, and this morning I let it run for 30 minutes as it warmed the van from 25F to 50F.  So a new canister is in and I have 3 remaining.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Battery Saga continues

In my previous post, I commented on battery C dragging down the system. Since then, I recharged battery C and put it back into the array. For the first day or two, things were fine. However, when I returned the next week, the entire array was again reading 19V. I ran the battery equalizer function on the charge controller and this failed to resolve the issue.

I didn't do anything else with it right away, and then I went on vacation. Today however, I went ahead and investigated the batteries again. A&B had 12V while C&D had 7V. As a test, I decided to rotate the batteries, moving battery C to A's spot and battery A to C's spot. B & C paired together nicely, but when I went to pair A & D together, I got sparkage. A little sparkage isn't an issue, so I held the wire on. The contact area maintained an electric glow and after a few seconds, battery D began bubbling.

Now, I then tested each battery individually and found D holding at 7V while C had 11V. I also checked the specific gravity and D shows as being "fair" with some wells being "good". I don't like the sound of bubbling battery acid in my van, so I am going to take D home and charge it with the trickle charger. Alternatively, I might just take it to the store I got it from and ask them to check it out.

In the mean time, I connected two of my good batteries in series. At least this way, I have enough power to run the inverter because it will shut off if the voltage dips below 19V and 19V is about the maximum I can get out my system with the bad battery in.