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Unread 10-20-2014, 06:42 AM   #1
Not Yet Wild
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Default winter battery storage

Hello,
I have a 36v 1989 marathon which I use at camp, This winter I will unable to bring cart back home, I will have to store it at camp, I'm not sure what to do with the battieries, should I fully charge them and then let them sit all winter or should I take them out and store in my basement? There will be no power at camp over the winter. Thanks for any ideas.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 06:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: winter battery storage

. . charged batteries won't freeze . . that said, depending on condition of batteries will dictate if they survive a winter of neglect . . . some people have no problems, others do . . . personally, I would not leave them unless I was nearing a decision to replace them anyways . . . JMHO . .
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Unread 10-20-2014, 07:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: winter battery storage

Letting the batteries sit unattended for several months will most likely kill them, whether they are at the camp or in your basement.

Cart batteries self-discharge at about 1% per day and nearly irreversible damage occurs when the SoC (State of Charge) drops below about 70%, so they need to be recharged about every 30 days or so.

Since there won't be any electrical power at the camp, bring them home and keep them charged, or lose them.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 10:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: winter battery storage

JohnnieB,

I'm curious about winter battery maintenance. Is there a downside to taking the batteries home, connecting them in parallel, and using a (very dumb) 6V charger to keep them float-charged?

Would it be a good idea to leave it on all the time, or better to cycle it - on one night, off 2 or 3 nights, back on again, etc.?

My dad used to keep a couple of old 6V batteries charging all the time. They supplied power to a tube-based Monongahela Power Co. mobile radio - he liked to keep tabs on the dispatchers when there was a power outage. As I recall, he kept the caps off of them and topped 'em up with distilled water on a regular basis. I still remember the sound of them bubbling in his shop.

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Unread 10-20-2014, 11:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: winter battery storage

You could do that, but keeping them in a gassing (bubbling) state every day may not be the best way to store them if they will see no use whatsoever. If you will no longer be able to take them home every year, this may be the time to build a solar powered float charger to keep them topped-off (if you have a window to put a solar panel in that will get some light. You could get a harbor freight solar panel, and build one of the LM317 regulator variants to precisely control voltage. The solar panel is reletively cheap, and the regulator could be built for less than $5. If you have steady power, you could build a plug-in version of this too. Either way, they would be better off removed from the cart, and stored inside. If you put them in parallel (like your dad did) you could use a cheaper 12v panel, and with a regulator, precisely control the voltage. Also will provide the oppertunity to clean & paint the battery tray. If you have zero interest in building any electronics, i could help with the design, or construction. If you keep them charged, but below gassing voltage (with a regulator), they would consume virtually no water. I have been storing a 48v pack this way for a while, and water use is very very low.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 11:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: winter battery storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlw View Post
JohnnieB,

1. I'm curious about winter battery maintenance. Is there a downside to taking the batteries home, connecting them in parallel, and using a (very dumb) 6V charger to keep them float-charged?

2. Would it be a good idea to leave it on all the time, or better to cycle it - on one night, off 2 or 3 nights, back on again, etc.?

3. My dad used to keep a couple of old 6V batteries charging all the time. They supplied power to a tube-based Monongahela Power Co. mobile radio - he liked to keep tabs on the dispatchers when there was a power outage. As I recall, he kept the caps off of them and topped 'em up with distilled water on a regular basis. I still remember the sound of them bubbling in his shop.

RLW
1. The biggest downside is that they are heavy to carry around.

They self-discharge less when they are cool or cold, so garage is probably better than basement and either is better than a well heated room.

A "Very Dumb" 6V charger doesn't float charge. It would be more like a trickle charge, so it could overcharge them if left on all the time.

A "Float" charge is a constant (regulated) voltage charge above the 100% SoC at-rest voltage, but below the "Gassing" voltage. In other words, above 6.37V and below 7.0V

2. It depends on what the self-discharge rate is and the output current of the charger is. If the voltage gets close to or climbs over 7V, let them rest for a day to two.

A T-105 that self-discharges 1% per day looses 2.25AH per day, so the discharge rate is about 0.1A and six in parallel would be about 0.6A, so if the 6V charger's output is over 1A, the batteries might eventually be overcharged.

3. They were being overcharged.
If you can find a 3W or 4W 6V incandescent bulb, put it in series with the charger output. That will limit the current to 0.5A and 0.67A respectively. (Incandescent light bulbs can be used as crude voltage regulators)
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Unread 10-20-2014, 12:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: winter battery storage

fellow Pittsburgher

i am no help because i take my cart home and usually plug in the charger once or twice to top them off. GL
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Unread 10-20-2014, 02:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: winter battery storage

why not take them home, then connect them up in series and use your regular cart charger and every couple of weeks top them off.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 05:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: winter battery storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1sikcart View Post
fellow Pittsburgher

i am no help because i take my cart home and usually plug in the charger once or twice to top them off. GL
hello fellow Pittsburgher that's what I did last year kept covered in the driveway and charged every few weeks
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Unread 10-20-2014, 05:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: winter battery storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Nuke View Post
why not take them home, then connect them up in series and use your regular cart charger and every couple of weeks top them off.
Sir Nuke, this is what I am leaning toward doing just trying to figure out how to hook my charger up to them
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