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Unread 02-03-2012, 12:16 PM   #1
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Default How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

I am considering an electric cart for transportation at a marina where I dock my houseboat. The cart parking area does not have any electrical outlets. What I would do is drive the cart to my boat and charge it from an outlet on the dock while parked in front of my boat. When I leave on Sunday mornings the cart would have a full charge and drive about 900 feet to my car. The cart would then be stored in the parking lot with no electricity until next trip which might be one or even several weeks.

My basic question is how much do batteries discharge over time. I would hate to pull up to the cart and find it dead and have to get it pushed or towed to get to the charger.

Any input would be appreciated.

Rick
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Unread 02-03-2012, 12:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

What you're proposing will not be good at all for the batteries! They will sit partially discharged, which is a no no for cart batteries. There is a chart for loss of charge over time, and I'll try and find it for you. Rule of thumb on carts is once used, charge afterwards.

Additional info: According to Trojan Battery, self discharge is 4% per week at 70F.
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Unread 02-03-2012, 01:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

I disagree, 900 ft is NOTHING to the battery pack. As long as the terminals are kept corrosion free and the battery cases themselves are kept clean and dry, your usage schedule will be fine. If left for longer than a month the pack should be charged ASAP after driving to the boat.
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Unread 02-03-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

Would some type of solar charger help keep the batts topped off?
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Unread 02-03-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

Yes it would. problem solved perfect!
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Unread 02-04-2012, 08:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

Quote:
Originally Posted by simple man View Post
What you're proposing will not be good at all for the batteries! They will sit partially discharged, which is a no no for cart batteries. There is a chart for loss of charge over time, and I'll try and find it for you. Rule of thumb on carts is once used, charge afterwards.

Additional info: According to Trojan Battery, self discharge is 4% per week at 70F.
Thanks for the info.

So, if I let the cart sit for 4 weeks it would discharge 16% which would leave 84% capacity. What is the lowest capacity that you never want to go below?
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Unread 02-04-2012, 09:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

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Originally Posted by Rickochet View Post
Thanks for the info.

So, if I let the cart sit for 4 weeks it would discharge 16% which would leave 84% capacity. What is the lowest capacity that you never want to go below?
70%

I'd measure the voltage with a DVM a battery cable before letting it set and again before charging to verify self-discharge rate.
Also, I'd disconnect the battery to eliminate any parasitic discharge.

Here is the Trojan User's Guide. Storage info is on Page-11
Attached Files
File Type: pdf TRJN0109_TRJNUsersGuide.pdf (689.0 KB, 6 views)
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Unread 02-04-2012, 10:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

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70%

I'd measure the voltage with a DVM a battery cable before letting it set and again before charging to verify self-discharge rate.
Also, I'd disconnect the battery to eliminate any parasitic discharge.

Here is the Trojan User's Guide. Storage info is on Page-11
Very good info, John! I noticed in the manual, it says not to charge a frozen battery. I would like to know why not?
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Unread 02-04-2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

The electrolyte can't circulate and the chemical reaction gets hot and can explode.
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Unread 02-04-2012, 10:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: How Much Do Batteries Discharge While Not Being Used

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Very good info, John! I noticed in the manual, it says not to charge a frozen battery. I would like to know why not?
In addition to what DOOmsman said:

Water expands when it freezes, so the case is probably cracked and the battery will leak nasty stuff when it thaws.
The SG won't be very high, or it wouldn't have frozen, but it is still acidic enough to damage concrete, not to mention skin and clothing.

Also, the expansion could have caused the plates to move and you might damage the charger if they are touching.

Even if the battery didn't explode or leak or kill the charger, it probably would be much of a battery anymore.
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