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Old 06-01-2017, 12:30 PM   #1
chuckinnc
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Default Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

I have 36 & 48 volt carts and need a more accurate way to check the batteries
both have had one battery go bad recently, cheap Harbor freight load meter always say's there ok. Looking for a better way to keep up with individual battery condition.
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Old 06-01-2017, 01:17 PM   #2
scottyb
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Default Re: Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractometer

This is the only bullet proof analysis I found.
HF testers are garbage made for cars not GC batteries.

However there are other good indicators, especially when 2 or more of these indicators are used together.
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Old 06-01-2017, 04:59 PM   #3
PingEye3
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Default Re: Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

A hydrometer and a separate thermometer is the best way to analyze the battery along with a Voltmeter. But, like Scotty says, you can't go to Harbor Freight to get a quality one. Try your local Trojan or US Battery dealer and get what they use.
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Old 06-01-2017, 05:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

If you are serious, get the refractometer. I see the price is now way below the $150 I paid yrs ago. It sure takes any guess work out of state of charge readings.
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

Not cost effective for individuals, but a "download" machine like Lester's MUST be at a golf car repair shop, or there just not a true golf car repair shop!
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Old 06-01-2017, 10:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

I see the value of the proof offered by a hydrometer (and I have a refractometer that I rarely need). I really feel that a volt meter will tell you everything you need to know if the measurements are taken correctly, with reasonable measuring equipment. The specific gravity tells you when a cell in a battery is bad, or out of balance, so you can do what? Change that individual cell out of that battery? They don't come out individually at the dealer/repair level of service. Yamaha & Ezgo seem to at least partly agree with this, they only require specific gravity readings for battery warranty under few circumstances. Like unusual failures, and very young batteries, but the requirements are not well defined (fill out this form, we will get back to you if we want SG readings). Yamaha is a little different about fleets, they want SG readings for those, because they want you to grade all batteries​ (A, B, C, D) and group like batteries together in carts. I agree about the "Lester Discharge Tester", anyone who will be regularly servicing carts, or calls themselves a golf cart shop needs one. If I were operating a fleet, I would want one too.
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Old 06-02-2017, 06:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

A accurate volt meter in the right hands is really all you need. Batteries are really not rocket science. If you understand the numbers you are looking for, its very simple.
If checking batteries is not your business a good volt meter is all you need.
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Old 06-08-2017, 05:50 PM   #8
bayareamtnbiker
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Default Re: Hydrometer or Voltmeter for analyzing batteries

I've had weak cells in brand new Trojans. Detected w/cheap hydrometer. Got replaced under warranty. This was after noticing that my brand new batteries seemed to be short on range, and weren't breaking in normally.

What about those $20 refractometers? If they work, that would be better than fooling around sucking acid from a battery cell.
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