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-   -   Battery Auto-fill Systems (http://www.buggiesgonewild.com/electric-golf-carts/88557-battery-auto-fill-systems.html)

cartboy 12-08-2013 12:05 PM

Battery Auto-fill Systems
In a thread:


I have referred to battery auto-fill systems not working.

I am starting this one in case anyone wants to discuss them, and to make it clear that in my experience those using these systems for golf course fleets do not pay attention, or know, if they are working or not.

I say that because I inherited the maintenance on two fleets, an EZGo RXV fleet in 2009, and a fleet of 1-year-old Club Cars in 2012. In both cases there were auto-fill systems that were not working, so that cells were either overfilling or not filling at all, leaving them dry, and in both cases my predecessor in charge of the fleets had not made any mention of it. So, I will assume did not realize they were not working.

The first wound up costing thousands of dollars in failed batteries because the dealer did not respond properly and I don't know the outcome to the second, since I am not involved with that fleet any longer. It did take me three months to get the dealer to take a look, at which time they acknowledged what I had been reporting.

On the first fleet, the auto-fill systems on the 2012s that replace them also had failures, but they are being taken care of now that I have involved both the cart manufacturer and the auto-fill manufacturer in that problem.

It is also my experience that the others who are maintaining our batteries when I am not there also are not noting, or noticing, or whatever, failures, except for those people I have personally worked with to kn ow what to watch for.

I don't think it is a case of people not being diligent, but more a case of not being instructed on these systems, and being lulled into complacency, with the assumption that these systems are self-contained, fool/foul-proof, and do not require maintenance.

If you ignore this problem, you will wind up with ruined batteries and if you are in charge of a fleet at a golf course, you need to pay attention and document everything. For instance, now, whenever a cart dies on the course, either myself or others I have trained, take a voltage reading of every battery before the cart goes on the charger, and another reading of all the batteries after it's been charged. We then note what we believe to be weak battery(ies).

The manufacturer's tech has to use a different system to determine bad batteries, but so far both systems have led to the same results, so that the tech has confidence in what we are doing. So much so that he calls me and asks how many batteries he needs to bring, even before he has done his testing.

sonnysmith 12-08-2013 08:12 PM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
How do you know if they are not working. I have a fill system and hook it up to the filler till the little wheel stops spinning. Is there another way??? Without removing the caps, In which case I don't need the fill system.


gornoman 12-08-2013 08:40 PM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems

Originally Posted by sonnysmith (Post 964180)
How do you know if they are not working. I have a fill system and hook it up to the filler till the little wheel stops spinning. Is there another way??? Without removing the caps, In which case I don't need the fill system.


And there's the rub. In order to verify it's operation, ya gotta use your own eyes. So what's the point of installing it? It's an elegant solution to a problem that never existed to begin with. More idea than need.

cartboy 12-09-2013 07:23 AM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
Whether it's working or not is a matter of experience, which the point is, is hard to get just taking care of one cart. It's a matter of knowing how long the water runs, and hearing those valves click shut, and knowing (sensing) when one didn't.

Of course, then you can see the overflow from that cell.

If the valves shut early, the little wheel will stop spinning but the fluid level will be low. But, yeah, that's what I'm trying to say, that people think it's working right when the little wheel stops spinning. Chances are it is working right, but you still have to listen for those clicks, look for overflows, and what I mention below.

Let me go see if I can borrow something from Flow-rite . . .

Well, can't find it.

But, the operating manual does say to pull all the caps off and check the fluid level after you have used the system a few times. I've had the systems on three fleets now, and never received a manual for any of them.

When you pull those caps, have some safety gloves on, and wash everything down good when you're done.

cartboy 12-09-2013 07:47 AM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
Disregard the reference to 6-volt and the hand pump . . . that's just what I grabbed, but, can you see how folks are misled by this hype?

Fill up to six batteries in seconds from a single fill point
Fits all standard 6V lead acid batteries.
Eliminates need to remove vent covers to fill.
Automatically sends water to low cells only.
Installs in minutes, no tools required.
Safer and more accurate than conventional filling.
Improves battery life and performance.
Hard to reach batteries are as simple to fill as batteries on a workbench.
Several batteries can be connected and filled at the same time.
Automatic shut-off prevents over or under watering.
Simple hand pump operation.
Use with any distilled water container.
Quick disconnect feature allows supply to be attached in a snap.
No need to remove vent covers.

- - - - - -

When the displacer in each cell rises to a predetermined level, it shuts off water flow to that cell. Within seconds every cell in the bank of batteries is filled to within 1/16 inch of optimum level. You can't over or under fill.
- - - - - -

Automatic shut-off prevents over or under watering
Provides electrolyte level accuracy within 1/8"
Proper electrolyte level improves battery life
Proper electrolyte level improves battery performance
Elimination of acid bubble out on charge to prevent loss of battery performance

cartboy 12-09-2013 08:04 AM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
Here's a caution:

Caution: Do NOT operate the watering system on brand new
batteries. Batteries should be in service for at least 4
weeks or have been used for at least 4 rounds of golf.

- - - - - -

Here's another one:

Flow-Rite recommends that new batteries
be checked once a month and older batteries be checked weekly until you
get a feel for your water consumption rate.

- - - - - -
Here's what I was looking for:

3. Electrolyte Levels
Flow-Rite recommends checking the electrolyte level in each cell for
accuracy after the system has been installed and operational for three

How ya gonna check em without pulling the caps off?
- - - - - -

CAUTION: If at any time during the filling process you have a
valve failure disconnect immediately and refer to
the troubleshooting section.

- - - - - -

If you notice reduced run time on your vehicle check to see that each cell
is filled to the proper level. In the event that a cell is not showing water,
connect system to its water supply. Recheck the level of low cells. If they
are still low call for service.

In the event that a valve does not shut off, qualify water supply to ensure
that it is producing 2GPM (measured through the purger). If the water
supply qualifies, call for service. If it does not qualify, perform Maintenance
procedures and requalify. If it does not qualify after performing
Maintenance call for service.

cartboy 12-09-2013 08:12 AM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
So, do the operating instructions in Post 6 match up with the product claims made in Post 5?

cartboy 06-30-2014 05:07 PM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
Starting with our next battery watering, we will be using a water deionizer.

I have been averaging about a dozen stuck valves, on 64 carts, each servicing.

It's been going on since I first started using auto-fills, 2009, and on three different fleets. On one of them I used distilled water and still got stuck valves.

cartboy 09-07-2014 05:10 PM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
23 of the 63 carts I watered batteries on today had at least one valve failure/cell overflow.

That's pretty much normal.

cartboy 09-08-2014 10:07 AM

Re: Battery Auto-fill Systems
The only reliable way to water batteries is to pull the caps off and fill each cell with distilled water to the appropriate level.

For most here, with one cart to take care of, and that do not have them running 4 to 8 hours every day, so that battery watering would be relatively infrequent, that would not be much work, like what I do with our boat dock solar electric system.

But, with 60 or 90 carts, like a golf course has, and several hundred battery cells, and battery watering every 2 to 4 weeks, an autofill system is almost required nowadays (forgetting what was done before about 6 years ago).

Since they don't work 100%, there's gonna be problems.

FWIW, what I did do until about 6 years ago, the last time with a fleet of 2005 Club Car Precedents, was to use a hose-end filler, one designed to shutoff when the fluid got to the right level, like the filler at the gas station does.

And with those, the operative words are designed to, same as autofills.


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