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Old 09-23-2016, 03:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
Yeah, similar question here. If all those batteries are connected to each other via those nice fat 4/0 cables, how are you measuring the voltage on each battery? Given good connections, I'd expect them to all measure the same...unless you're disconnecting them before reading them. So, if they are giving you different readings while connected, I'd take a good close look at the cables connecting those batteries....
The individual batteries might read different voltages, but the sums of the two batteries in each series string should be the same since the two strings are connected in parallel. Since they don't appear to add up the same, one or both of the parallelling jumper cables must have "high" resistance. If true, it could be affecting charging as well as discharging.

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Old 09-24-2016, 11:17 AM   #16
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Good news! All fixed!

Good news! Well, starts off as bad news then turns into good news...

I pulled all the batteries yesterday to get them replaced under warranty. As I'm unhooking all the batteries I notice that some of the bolts attaching the power leads were loose. Didn't really think anything of it because I was sort of in a hurry to get the batteries out.

I get all the batteries out only to find out that they are NOT covered under the 3 year warranty like I thought but instead covered under just a 1 year warranty. Too bad I bought the batteries 1.5 years ago.

Begrudgingly, I decide to put all the batteries back in to keep the stuff in the fridge/freezer going until I decided what to do (need 12v for the fridge controls even though the cooling is done with propane).

I put the batteries back in in reverse order (battery 4 went in position 1, battery 3 went in position 2, etc...) to see if I could get some more charge into the seemingly bad batteries.

Today I am happy to report that I am NO LONGER experiencing the voltage drop issues that I described in the OP! Resting voltage on the bank was 13.2v when I tested it, and under load it was 12.4v. Individual battery voltages were consistent (within 0.02v of each other) under both full and no load scenarios. The load consisted of 16 LED lights, 1 incandescent light, 4 ceiling fans, 1 hood vent fan, stereo, refrigerator on DC power (NOT on propane or AC), inverter with multiple Ryobi battery chargers, and pretty much anything else I could find to add to the load. The point is that I threw everything I could at the battery bank and it never went below 12.4v. Compare this to before where just 3 fans would drop the whole system to 10.8v.

I suspect that some bolts came loose while towing over the last couple years and not all batteries were getting equal charge/current, leading to the extreme voltage drops I noted in the OP.

I also suspect that some of the batteries may be permanently damaged but I'm just grateful the bank is working for now (going across country in a few weeks; didn't want to have to replace batteries, or upgrade to lithium, before then).

Thanks for all your help everyone, and to those who suspected fault connections, YOU WERE RIGHT! (go ahead and pat yourself on the back)
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:23 AM   #17
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A deep discharged battery, 8 out of 12 volts, will shorten the battery life. I recommend you get 4 new GC2 batteries and put off expensive LiFePo for another round of education. In the near time, get a equalization charge in your bank.
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:27 AM   #18
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Wow. I just magnified your photo. I wanted to see if you were using wing nuts. Hex nuts that is good. Lock washers and torque wrench is good. But that is way too many cables on that positive terminal. You need a Buss Bar.
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Old 09-24-2016, 12:02 PM   #19
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Flange nuts for the connecting cables also be a good idea. Less likely to come loose, but definitely a good plan to check the tightness of those bolts on a regular basis. Making a note to self to do the same.
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Old 09-24-2016, 01:03 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Your charger is not going to charge some batteries OK and the others not; it puts out voltage and current, period.

Who did your connections? 4/0 is usually crimped for solid connection. To solder you would need a torch to get all of the wire hot enough to hold rosin core solder and the lugs would be glowing red during that process. I did not see burned insulation so I wonder about those cables.

Larry

That's exactly what I did, except I didn't burn the insulation. I melted the solder in the lugs then stuck the wire in the lug before it cooled.
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Old 09-24-2016, 01:06 PM   #21
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ABYC has a 4 cable limit on any post or terminal block connections. More than that needs a terminal block or 2.

Also, the use of wing nuts us limited to trawling motors with a maximum cable size of 8 AWG.

Stainless flange nuts are all I use on the majority of my connections, but Lifeline AGMs and Victron lithiums use their own bolts.


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Old 09-24-2016, 01:09 PM   #22
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If you did not heat the lug, too, then you have a cold solder connection that eventually will be high resistance. Especially with the shaking that an Airstream gets. I hope you did not just stick the hot wire in the lug, as you said. You have to flow solder into both the hot wire and lug simultaneously.
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Old 09-24-2016, 01:47 PM   #23
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If you did not heat the lug, too, then you have a cold solder connection that eventually will be high resistance. Especially with the shaking that an Airstream gets. I hope you did not just stick the hot wire in the lug, as you said. You have to flow solder into both the hot wire and lug simultaneously.

Larry

Agreed Larry. I torched the lug with the solder inside, melted the solder that way and then stuck the cable in before it cooled.
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Old 09-24-2016, 02:05 PM   #24
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Whew!
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:10 PM   #25
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A proper crimp connection is much better and easier to make. Vibration eventually crystallizes solder and makes a bad joint.


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Old 09-25-2016, 06:25 AM   #26
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Quote:
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ABYC has a 4 cable limit on any post or terminal block connections. More than that needs a terminal block or 2.

Lew Farber
I have a Duracell bank. While true about 4 cables, I bet that top terminal bolt is only 1/2 way on the threads. If not less.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:36 AM   #27
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I have a Duracell bank. While true about 4 cables, I bet that top terminal bolt is only 1/2 way on the threads. If not less.

I'd say more like 3/4
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:49 PM   #28
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I have my battery cables made up from welding cable and crimped on loop terminals. Works fine... just fine... the individual conductors are very small to enable flexibility... they also carry plenty current... :roll eyes:

That way I don't have to 'settle' for stock cables.. I have done this on golf carts, relocated batteries in marine and auto.. and when I have a problem with my stock wires, they will be upgraded too.
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