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Unread 08-10-2010, 08:24 AM   #1
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Default Balancing Battery Pack

I have a 6-month-old pack of Interstate batteries that had very little range before pooping out. A load test showed that the #1 battery was defective. The dealer has agreed to replace the battery at no cost to me.

How do I bring the new battery's charge into line with the other five batteries or is that even necessary? I do not have an 8-volt charger.
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Unread 08-10-2010, 08:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

I found this on a tractor forum

Do you have a 12v cahrger that will do 1.5 or 2a on the trickle setting? If so, hit radio shack and pick up a single 25-pack of 'assorted' silicon rectifier diodes. solder or crimp 6 in series, then do another 6.. parallel those..then put that in line with your 12v charger. make sure you lay them out so that the stripes all face the same end. connect ground clamp to battery ground, and positive clamp to the end of the diode array with no stripe.. connect the other end of the array to the positive battery post. this is a cheap and dirty 1-st year high school electronics regulator project. The diodes will set you back about 3$.. but you can safely charge up an 8v battery on this setup...

if your charger is 3a trickle, then do another 6 and parallel those.. if 4a, then another 6 and parallel those.. that will use 24 of your 25 diodes. the pack costs a couple bucks and is radio shack part number 276-1653

Other option is to find a cig lighter adapter that drops 12v in a car down to 9v.. or find an old wall wart that has a DC output of 9v.. ( or an ac 9v output.. then use 4 diodes to build a full wave bridge. then add gator clips after cutting off it's plug.. that will give you a trickle charger.. etc.
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Unread 08-10-2010, 08:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

From what I have read the easiest and safest way is to use a 6v charger.

12v chargers will cook the battery unless you sit there and watch the voltage.

here is a post scotty b put up


You can charge an 8 volt battery with certain 12v chargers but, you have to be very careful not to cook your battery... The charger MUST have a 2 amp setting and you must watch it carefully monitoring the actual battery voltage. Never let the side of the battery get more than just warm to the touch and never let the charging voltage read over 12v .... 30 - 60 minutes of this is enough ..... Again, it is not recommended and if you try this at home, at your own risk remember, it is not for amatures.

I also found a site where someone took a 9v power supply and cut the plug off the end and used it as a trickle charger. You know one of those "bricks" you use to power a printer etc.

I hope this helps.

Cheers
Galloway
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Unread 08-10-2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

lead acid batteries self regulate their voltage untill fully charged, then boil over

galloways trick does work, but it will take a while to charge up
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Unread 08-10-2010, 04:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

Although none of you guys came right out and said a new battery ought to be charged before joining the pack, I gather that y'all think so. Maybe this is elementary.

I have a 12-volt charger with a 2 amp trickle and will use that while also monitoring the voltage. I will not leave it unattended and I'll feel for temperature after each beer.
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Unread 08-10-2010, 04:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

ya it would work best to try and equalize it before putting it in the pack.
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Unread 08-10-2010, 04:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

From experience I would keep watch over the other 5 batterys as some have been found defective in batches? Check date code and see if all built in same month may give you a clue?
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Unread 08-10-2010, 11:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

That's a good tip. Now that I have a load tester, I'll check all the batteries. I'm also going to go to NAPA and buy a good hydrometer so I can test real charges.

There seems to be a lot more science to this cart business than I had anticipated.

I'll report the results to benefit our group.
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Unread 08-20-2010, 07:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Balancing Battery Pack

The battery dealer did replace the battery, but not with an exact match to the other five. He said the batteries labeled deep discharge had been discontinued.

I used a 12v charger set to trickle 2 amps, but its meter said it was pushing 35 amps. As I watched, it charged several hours before rising from 8.2v to 10v within another hour. Once it seemed on the verge of boiling, I quit there and added it to the pack. I allowed an hour to let the battery settle and used the cart's charger for a couple hours until it automatically cut off.

During test runs, all seemed good and all seemed good during the first golf round including a 4-mile round trip to the golf course. The pack was recharged using the Club Car charger.

A couple days later during another round of golf, the gauge dropped so fast during the first 9 holes, we switched to a buddy's cart to finish. I barely made it home from the course. Using the load tester, the new battery read only 6v and almost nothing under load. The other five batteries still tested 8.2v and 8v under load.

I told the battery dealer that the replacement did not do the job and he reluctantly agreed to find an exact replacement. An exact replacement, located from another dealer's stock, arrived.

I precharged the new battery as described above and added it to the pack. I golfed yesterday using the cart for 18 holes and transportation to the course and ran a couple errands and still have more than half of the gas gauge left.

Again, I hope this is the end of the saga. The next set of batteries will be Trojans, but I hope not for a couple of years.
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