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Unread 09-16-2019, 09:18 AM   #1
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Default Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

Ok, my 48 volt pack has some age. Date codes are 2013 & 2014. Recently my PD charger is going much longer in a charge cycle. I had the cart unplugged for a week, checked the pack voltage and it was 50.4v. I plugged the charger in and 14 hours into the charge cycle, the pack voltage is stuck at 59.2 and batteries bubbling. I'm going to let it charge until it shuts off and see if I get the amber light. If I do, I guess it's time for a new pack.

BTW: I do have a working OBC and did a reset before this charge cycle.
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Unread 09-16-2019, 11:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

16+ hours charging, pack holding steady at 59.2 volts and amp meter on charger hasn't moved off of 6.5amps. I'm pulling the charge cord at the 17hr mark.
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Unread 09-16-2019, 02:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

At 5-6 years old, it's probably time for a new pack. With those batteries being mixed they've probably been out of balance for quite some time and one or two are not charging at the same rate as the others. That usually leads to longer charge times as the OBC tries to maintain the last charge phase until the voltage stabilizes at a certain point to balance the pack. Eventually it's just not able to bring the pack into balance anymore.

Your voltage is close. The OBC has to get the pack above 58.3 I think is what Tahoedawg said. But checking the voltage of each battery while driving will show if any cells are significantly out of balance by showing lower voltage than the other batteries in the pack when under load.
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Unread 09-16-2019, 04:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

depends on what your situation and need is and how much money you have to throw around. I like long charges but not that long. I have more problems with short charges. Yeh, disconnect them all them check the cells, and load test. Mine from my yamaha are 2012's and still going great. The abused ones from my CC I'm still playing with mainly because I like the challenge. I even go so far as dong a little "alchemy" on batteries sometimes and it works but I'm a chemist too and you need diligent scientific-like skills and it's just too much to explain. For example sometimes you do need acid, especially with very old batteries but usually people who do that make them worse because more acid will produce more sulfate crystals too, the main killer of batteries. So, there is some diligent calculation and other considerations that need done with stuff like that. Epson salts imo is only good to have a charge median to try to buzz the plates off. Baking soda is the same, it's an attempt to fizz the plates off to remove sulfate. More experienced people used special adjustable chargers and pure water pressure to knock sulfate off. I have a last resort method which will work every time unless the plates are damaged but it's usually too time consuming. Those are the one extreme for you as for "how much time." If someone had a business doing restoration it might be practical but for guys like me it's just maybe a hobby or challenge.
I'd like to find some facts on the "mixing" factor fairtax rightly mentions. I want to find some science on that some day when I get time unless someone knows but I think about that a lot. Until then I'd rather have my batteries as close to the same as possible. I just put in two new batteries with the 6 1/2 year old ones hoping I could get a couple more similar ones to match before I ruin them. They were in my 36V cart so I had to add two. The difference is 6.45V on the new ones to 6.38 on the old. Something is dragging them down over 5 days from 50.9 to 50.6 just sitting with the mains disconnected. I assume that may be what it is.
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Unread 09-16-2019, 04:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

Keep in mind the first charging cycles after resetting the OBC will take longer as the OBC is creating a baseline for the pack.

After the baseline analysis is finished the OBC will use the energy counting method for future charging cycles which will only be long if the batteries are failing.

Let the charging cycle finish.
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Unread 09-16-2019, 04:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

You're probably spot on Fairtax. I was trying to get this pack to hold out until I converted over to lithium but the drop-in replacements are not there yet for me. I may take the DVM and do some load testing just to know the condition of each battery. I'm giving it the 12 hour rest after I pulled the plug to get static volt readings.
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Unread 09-17-2019, 09:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

Ok, I let the pack rest for 18 hours and took both resting & load voltage readings. Here is battery info:

Date Codes:
B1) Nov 14
B2) Feb 14
B3) Aug 13
B4) Aug 13
B5) Aug 13
B6) Jun 13

Pack Voltage after rest 52.1v

B1) 8.67v
B2) 8.72v
B3) 8.69v
B4) 8.73v
B5) 8.69v
B6) 8.69v

Performed 6 sprint runs from stop to full pedal of approximately 200' and measured voltage sag on each battery.

Pack Voltage dropped to 43.5v

B1) 7.69v
B2) 7.70v
B3) 7.58v
B4) 7.35v
B5) 7.40v
B6) 7.35v

Pack voltage at rest after test runs = 51.1v
Plugged PD charger in and it cycled on as normal and will monitor this cycle and let it finish. They may be some life left in this old pack.
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Unread 09-17-2019, 10:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

Well, went back to check on cart 1.5 hours into the charge cycle after test runs and the charger was off and the voltmeter was reading 54.2 volts. My cart has never charged that fast so I thought it may be an AC failure with the extension cord I use. I unplugged the DC charger plug from the cart and checked the AC power and it was good. Plugged the charger cord back into the cart and the charger had a delayed start but it didn't do the cycle start. Watched the voltmeter climb to 60v while charging so I left. Went back 30 minutes later and the charger is off. I guess things are acting normal and maybe I'll get a few more months out of this pack.
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Unread 09-17-2019, 10:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

That is the normal behavior after the OBC has established the pack baseline health.

Disconnecting the DC plug and reconnecting after 20 seconds without driving the cart will start a charge and by-pass the testing cycle.

If You ever disconnect the batteries for more than 10 minutes the OBC will again to the long dV/dT charging cycle.
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Unread 09-17-2019, 11:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Battery Pack-Should I start shopping?

Do you use the cart for fall hunting season? I'd probably run it as is for the rest of the season and look into some new batteries in the spring. Depending how much you use it you may get another year of use out of that pack, but those are getting pretty tired. They're not exact, but close enough in balance that they should be OK at least for a little while longer if they make it through the cold season.

Keep an eye on those three with the lower voltage. If any of them start to drop into the sub 7v range under load they would probably need to be swapped out pretty soon. A used battery or two might limp the rest of the pack along for a little while longer until you figure out which way you want to go with the lithium setup.

I've had two packs this year that were border line like that at the beginning of the summer. Resting around 8.3 - 8.4V, and around 7.4-7.7v under load. Three of the batteries started dropping into the upper 6V range after about 2 months of almost every day use.
One of those pretty quickly went from normal rest voltage, to resting at only about 7V. Under load it fell flat to about 1v.
The other two basically would still rest at around 8.3V, but would drop to 5.5 or so under load. I just swapped them around with some used batteries I have here at the shop. Already put new packs in 2 carts earlier this year, and I wanted these two to last through the end of our season. One of those carts may not make the cut for next year anyway. Poor things have been ragged on pretty hard for 22 years. At some point the frames just fatigue to the point they're not able to safely be used anymore.
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