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Author Topic: How often do you top off flooded batteries?  (Read 406 times)

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Kyle Ewing

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How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« on: October 31, 2020, 11:54:56 AM »

I have four golf cart batteries (Duracell 115 amp hour from Batteries Plus) charged by Xantrex Truecharge 40.  This season I didn't have to add any distilled water.  Previous seasons rarely.  Is this your experience? 

Main difference between this season is I didn't discharge the batteries as deeply.  Even though I used the boat more for day sails I used it less for overnight trips.

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Kyle Ewing
Donnybrook #1010
Belmont Harbor, Chicago
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Ron Hill

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2020, 12:57:21 PM »

Kyle : I'm not a flooded battery expert at all, but I've always been told never to let the plates become exposed and always use distilled water to bring up the fluid level!! 

Personally, I always add water when I see the level is below the indicated full mark. 

A few thoughts
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Jon W

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2020, 06:13:33 PM »

I top mine off with distilled water on a regular basis. I use a handheld automatic battery filler can that I bought at NAPA. An example PN I found online is BK 7001161.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 06:14:39 PM by Jon W »
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Jon W.
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Ken Krawford

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2020, 03:42:14 AM »

I have the same battery filler and love it.  Just place the spout in the battery opening, push down  and hold until it stops gurgling and the cell is perfectly filled.

I top mine off with distilled water on a regular basis. I use a handheld automatic battery filler can that I bought at NAPA. An example PN I found online is BK 7001161.
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Ken Krawford
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Jim Hardesty

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2020, 03:42:48 AM »

I check my batteries weekly.  Top off as necessary often only once a season.
Some of the things I was told about batteries when I was a kid I am now told is wrong.  ie don't store batteries on cement floor.  So I may be incorrect.  Was told to top off the batteries before charging, not after.  Don't add a lot of water without charging.  Always use distilled water.  Top off to just below or at the plastic ring/slot that's about an inch below the battery top.   Keep the cells at the same level.  It's been my experience when batteries start needing filled more often they are getting tired and will need to be replaced soon.  Here is some good information about flooded cells, voltage and hydrometers

https://rollsbattery.com/public/docs/user_manual/Rolls_Battery_Manual.pdf

Jim
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Jim Hardesty
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Kyle Ewing

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2020, 05:05:55 AM »

Thanks, all.  My water check is to make sure water is "just above" the plates and to add a little water when close.  The Rolls article Jim shared reminded me "just above" is really 1/4-1/2".  I ordered a filter to be more precise with water level.

The idea that batteries need more water when tired is also good information.  It explains why I'm not adding  as much water to these newer batteries as I was to my previous seven year old batteries.

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Kyle Ewing
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scgunner

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2020, 06:55:47 AM »

Jim,

I've heard most of these things over the years as well, I can't say for sure weather these ideas are good advice or old wives tales. Other than keeping the water level above the plates I can't say one way or the other if any of these things really make a difference. BTW, I check my batteries monthly and top up as necessary.
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Kevin Quistberg                                                 Top Gun 1987 Mk 1 Hull #273

Noah

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2020, 08:09:22 AM »

Occasionally equalize them. How often is in dispute, (one month to once a year) depending on who/what you read. After 6 years and gradually dwindling performance, I finally equalized mine yesterday using the 4-hour Equalize setting on my Pronautlc P 1250 charger and they appear to be back to 100% efficiency.
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scgunner

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2020, 02:07:36 PM »

Noah,

That's a new one on me, I've never heard of equalizing batteries before.
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Kevin Quistberg                                                 Top Gun 1987 Mk 1 Hull #273

Noah

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2020, 03:32:05 PM »

To the best of my knowledge, you an only equalize “flooded, lead acid” batteries.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 08:42:23 PM by Noah »
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1990 hull #1014, San Diego, CA,  Fin Keel,
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Jim Hardesty

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2020, 04:49:38 AM »

Quote
Occasionally equalize them. How often is in dispute, (one month to once a year) depending on who/what you read.

I equalize when the specific gravity (hydrometer) readings vary between cells.  And every spring.  Years ago I bought a good hydrometer, glass with the little floating gage, then made up a good case from plumbing pvc parts.  I think the specific gravity readings tell a lot about the health of the battery.  Fits well in the space outboard of the water heater, along with distilled water and filler.  For a filler I use a plastic squeeze bottle that's kept in a plastic zipbag to keep clean.
Jim
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Jim Hardesty
2001 MKII hull #1570 M35BC  "Shamrock"
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scgunner

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2020, 07:05:24 AM »

I've still got the original Lewco battery charger that came with my boat, so there's no equalize setting. I always thought when hooked to shore power the charger would just bring all batteries up to topped up level, so in effect all would be equalized, I could be wrong though.
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Kevin Quistberg                                                 Top Gun 1987 Mk 1 Hull #273

Noah

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2020, 07:48:31 AM »

Gunner- here is an article on “Equalizing” why and how, that you and others may find helpful.
https://shop.pkys.com/Battery-Equalization_ep_44.html
Much more info out there. Check your battery brand’s website too.
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Ron Hill

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2020, 01:54:29 PM »

Guys : I switched to AGM batteries and have been able to forget about all of the fluid and maintenance - other than making sure of good battery connections!!

A thought
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Ken Krawford

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Re: How often do you top off flooded batteries?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2020, 02:24:49 AM »

Jim, what brand hydrometer did you buy?  The only one I could find was cheap and I never could get the same reading twice when checking a cell.

Quote
Occasionally equalize them. How often is in dispute, (one month to once a year) depending on who/what you read.

I equalize when the specific gravity (hydrometer) readings vary between cells.  And every spring.  Years ago I bought a good hydrometer, glass with the little floating gage, then made up a good case from plumbing pvc parts.  I think the specific gravity readings tell a lot about the health of the battery.  Fits well in the space outboard of the water heater, along with distilled water and filler.  For a filler I use a plastic squeeze bottle that's kept in a plastic zipbag to keep clean.
Jim
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Ken Krawford
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