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Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 5:30pm

Post Subject: Battery Power

We have a bank of six batteries (3 of which are gel) all deep cycle and all 3 years old, plus 2 x 50w solar panels, through a 3kw Victron inverter. The only usage is a 12v fridge and a AAA+ freezer plus lights, and water pumps. Last year we could moor up for at least 30 hours before needing to recharge. We now can scarcely last over one night. We have been told that one of the problems could be the combination of gel and acid batteries, but they have worked perfectly well for the last couple of years. Any suggestions or do we have to replace them all?


Posted: Wed May 18, 2011 7:10pm

Post Subject: Battery Power

An inverter ONLY converts 12v from the batteries to mains but yours may be a combi-unit that combines a battery charger. However I do not think I have seen details of a combi-unit that includes a solar input so I suspect you also have a solar controller. If your panels are connected directly to the batteries there is a chance they might have destroyed the bank by overcharging. You will have to test each battery to see. You do not tell me what type the non-gel batteries are and this is important because although some/a few AGM batteries require a lower charging volatge like the gels the modern ones may not and any wet open cell batteries or sealed maintenance free ones will almost certainly not. If you have any solar controller or a combi-unit set to gel batteries there is every chance you have destroyed the others by sulphation caused by never charging them enough. If the settings are for ordinary battery types you have probably destroyed the gel batteries and in this case may well have cause one or more cells to short circuit. If you have they would tend to flatten the whole bank. I do not know what form of charging you have or, as I said, the type of non-gel batteries. If you tell me (I need details about the charger including any you may have at home) I will suggest how you can test the but it will be a drawn out job, charging the whole bank, removing one battery, letting it stand for 24 hours and testing it. Even then it may not find a sulphated battery that is in otherwise good condition. Whatever else you do please do not mix battery types or at least if you are going to please ensure each type has the same maximum/recommended charging volatge. If you have a modern battery charger at home you can test one battery at a time using that to fully charge each battery. You have also not told me how you know when it is time to recharge. Far too may people kill their batteries by over discharging them and thus running out of cyclic life. Tony Brooks

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