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Old 12-26-2019, 05:25 AM   #1
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Battery Load Testing Question

What do I need to properly test my 4-5 year old Interstate STM 24 flooded cell batteries? Is a hydrometer good enuf? Or, should I invest in a load testing gadget? If so, which one? They all seam geared to automotive, cold cranking amps and such, which of course, does not apply to my 2015 FC 30 with original batteries. Im trying to decide if I need to replace them for the upcoming camping season.
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Old 12-26-2019, 07:02 AM   #2
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I use this hydrometer: https://www.amazon.com/E-Z-Red-SP101.../dp/B000JFHMRU It will identify the condition of each cell when used after the battery is fully charged.
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Old 12-26-2019, 10:24 AM   #3
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So, while we are talking hydrometers ... how do you use one?

I have a simple version a bulb and a tube, with different colored balls.

How do I read that to get good info?
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Old 01-05-2020, 05:29 AM   #4
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The way I learned how to use one is I went to the University of YouTube, it is easier in this case to watch a visual presentation than to explain verbally.

Thanks,
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Old 01-05-2020, 07:44 AM   #5
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You need to replace them. That is a long time for flooded cells. You could go up to group 27 when you do for a little more capacity. You do not use the batteries much. Might as well have some reserve though if you do need them.
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:19 AM   #6
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Get a Load Tester

Quote:
Originally Posted by pontzdav View Post
What do I need to properly test my 4-5 year old Interstate STM 24 flooded cell batteries? Is a hydrometer good enuf? Or, should I invest in a load testing gadget? If so, which one? ...
My automotive mechanic recommended this OTC SPX tester. I bought it. No regrets.

zoz

https://www.amazon.com/OTC-3182-130-...SIN=B000F5HU6W
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:48 AM   #7
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The hydrometer is inexpensive and provides and excellent indication of flooded cell battery condition when the battery is fully charged and the cells are equalized and regenerated as much as possible. Check to be sure your shore power charger has an "equalize" mode and that it has been connected for a sufficient time period. Read about this online, if you have questions.

The high amperage automotive "starting battery" testers are fine, but not ideal for testing realistic condition of deep cell batteries because you generally don't use more than 50 amps per battery unless you have upgraded your inverter. A 10-50 amp test is more realistic and accurate. Get one if you want, it will alert you to a weak battery so I suppose it will get the job done.

If your battery has not been run dead more than once, then 4-5 years is not old for a deep cycle battery. Don't replace them until after you have tested them and found them to be weak by say more that 10% or unless you know the group 24 does not have the capacity you need for future camping.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:02 AM   #8
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I have a couple of hydrometers from Amazon that are easy to use or you can get into temperature offsets if you want. Red, white, green, pretty easy.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...rch_asin_title

I also have the HF battery load tester, but I rarely use it. It's good for sealed batteries but most of mine are accessible using the hydrometer.
https://www.harborfreight.com/100-am...ter-61747.html

I have had varying luck with batteries, some dying in a year, some several years old and my favorite, a Panasonic that came in 2003 with my 2004 4Runner. That's 16+ years old and will still charge up to, and hold at, 80%. It's a group 27 starting battery and will crank the V8 4Runner even in cold temps. It's been relegated to the garage shelf because of age but when a neighbor needs a jump I put it on the dolly with the jumper cables and away we go.
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:13 AM   #9
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Thanks for the help

Thanks to all for the help. I ordered a hydrometer. One last question. Will the group 27 batteries fit in the battery box on my 2015 FC 30?
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by pontzdav View Post
Thanks to all for the help. I ordered a hydrometer. One last question. Will the group 27 batteries fit in the battery box on my 2015 FC 30?

You can Google whatever brand/size of battery you want to use and get the physical dimensions. Compare to the battery box on your AS to see if they will fit. There are some on here who have rebuilt/enlarged their external battery box. There are others who have purchased AGM batteries and used them inside (mounted under the bed e.g.) for more amp hours when boon docking.
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:13 AM   #11
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Thanks to all for the help. I ordered a hydrometer. One last question. Will the group 27 batteries fit in the battery box on my 2015 FC 30?
The Group 27s will fit. AS uses AGM 27s when the larger trailers are outfitted with solar chargers
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