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Thread: Battery charging issue

  1. #61
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    I got tired of trying to select a charger a few years back. I bought a 30V 10A programmable power supply. When I need to charge a battery--car, motorcycle or boat--I simply look up the temperature-corrected charging and float voltages and set a timer on my phone. So far it's recovered a PC680 in 6 discharge/recharge cycles in one case and a year later recharged the completely dead 28V battery bank in a 50' lobster boat (a neighbor's) when its ecu drained it while sitting for a month.

  2. #62
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rxcrider View Post
    Any idea why it would stop at 14.4 for the FLA and 14.7 for the Odyssey AGM if they don't have some sort of logic in it? Batteries were charged back to back on the same day and temperature was nearly the same, maybe a touch cooler when charging the FLA. I went back to the Odyssey after the FLA and it went to 14.7 again. Could they just be watching for the voltage to spike and at a certain rate of increase, they select a cut off point?
    No idea yet. I'll see if I can borrow one and put my data logger on it while charging a FLA and AGM. That'll be a winter project.

    Here is a good one from Battery Tender which is why I have so little faith in anything from them, not to mention they are ultra vague when it comes to specs.

    Looking up the Battery Tender Plus which is what you have, the last line states: "Perfect for all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries (AGM and gel cell)".

    Yet they produce a Battery Tender Plus GEL. And on their Technical Info page they state that a GEL requires a reduced voltage (which is why I see a maximum of 14.2V on my R1150 GSA and usually less at 14.0V...voltage measured at the battery). Mind you, the most I have seen on my R1200 GSA LC is 14.1V indicated (14.3V max at the battery) and it has a YUASA AGM.

  3. #63
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Not letting an excessive quest for perfection get in the way of good enough.
    Kevin as I already mentioned, any battery charger/maintainer, provided it does not overcharge the battery, is better than not using one at all.

    And right from the Battery Tender site which is what I also posted earlier in response to a poster who claimed some chargers did not charge his battery where another charger did. Just something to keep in mind since users never read the instructions.
    WORKING WITH A DEAD BATTERY OR A BATTERY WITH A VERY LOW VOLTAGE:
    If you try to charge a dead battery having a voltage below 3 Volts, the Battery TenderŪPlus charger will not start.
    And other brand of chargers may not work at higher voltages. You need a DC power supply attached to the battery to bring them up to a level high enough for the charger to work.

  4. #64
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    I bought a 30V 10A programmable power supply.
    Roger, what make and model is it?

    I lucked into a mint HP lab grade 40V 10A power supply that I got on ebay. I use it often as well, but it isn't programmable (maybe it has an HPIB port...I never checked).

  5. #65
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Battery Tender chat window conversation from this morning - sticking to their story:

    → On the Plus charger, can you tell me how it selects the voltage at which bulk charging stops and it goes into the absorption step?

    Loretta: The micro processor determines which type battery it is connected to.

    →Can you tell me how?

    Loretta: It has to reach about 14.4-14.9 volts before it goes to absorption

    Loretta: How The micro processor works?

    →That I get, I'm trying to understand how it knows what battery it is hooked to and what voltage to select in the 14.4 - 14.9 range aside from temperature.

    →missed your one comment - yes, how the micro-processor works

    Loretta: You may submit an email requesting specific information and we will get it to our engineering department. Some of this information is proprietary.

    Loretta: service@batterytender.com

    →ok - thank you

    Loretta: You're welcome
    __________________________________________________ _____________

    Off goes the email:

    Per a chat window conversation this morning, please forward this question to engineering.

    I have work on a fair number of motorcycles, mostly BMWs from the '90s with a mix of FLA, Gel (BMW / Panasonic), and AGM (Odyssey, Westco...) batteries. I've had two chat window conversations with Batttery Tender representatives regarding the Junior and Plus (My Plus is ~10 years old). In both, it has been stated that the microprocessor determines the type of battery it is connected to and sets peak voltage for the bulk charge and maintained voltage for the absorption step accordingly. (ignoring temperature compensation since it doesn't apply to the Junior). Without getting into proprietary details such as the actual values you use to make the determination, I'd like to know the following:

    1) What parameters are you looking at to determine the type of battery / the peak voltage for the bulk charge and maintained voltage for the absorption step? Is this all done during the initialization step?

    2) If you are adjusting the charging voltage, why float at 13.2V regardless of battery type?

    3) Why is there a standard Plus charger and a Plus Gel? If you are able to determine the battery type and adjust your charging algorithm accordingly, why not cover all common lead acid battery types with a single charger?

    4) Your product descriptions refer to a 4 step charging algorithm. Your technical section on your web site talks about a 5 step algorithm which includes an optional equalization step. Do any of your chargers offer the equalization step? If so, what is the voltage held at during equalization?

    Thanks for your time - Jonathan

  6. #66
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rxcrider View Post
    Some of this information is proprietary.
    That is such BS. I got that reply some time ago asking them about their charge algorithms because at the time, their specs were a joke and not much better now. Puck, all I have to do is connect my data logger which I have done for both my CTEKs ad Optimates to see what the charge algorithms are doing.

    Notice how they didn't answer most of your questions. These things are made off shore to a price point. You should have seen the inside oh my CTEK. Fancy outside but the inside was not much to write home about.

  7. #67
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    I'll withhold judgement until I get the engineering response. I haven't opened my charger up (nor am I sure what it would teach me), but there is plenty of stuff they could monitor before and during charging to adjust their targets. This assumes they have done enough development work to determine which measurable characteristics they can use to somewhat reliably determine what their targets should be. I'll be curious to see if I get a response that makes sense. Maybe then I'll pop it apart and we can see if there are enough components to support their claims.

  8. #68
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post
    Roger, what make and model is it?

    I lucked into a mint HP lab grade 40V 10A power supply that I got on ebay. I use it often as well, but it isn't programmable (maybe it has an HPIB port...I never checked).
    I don't have the make & model with me but it's a generic that I got on amazon.

    I should have said adjustable switching supply with voltage/limit, current/limt with fine/coarse for each--it's not literally programmable. It's my second unit, the first was a linear supply that I blew up after reversing the polarity for a second time.

    It takes some care and feeding but it's worth it for me.

  9. #69
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rxcrider View Post
    I'll be curious to see if I get a response that makes sense.
    So am I.

    When I was working in the lab testing & evaluating chargers, one company made the same claims. It simply did not work as claimed.

    Besides, if a charger can tell what battery it is hooked up to, Xantrex would have done so. Instead, the user has to select the type of battery on the touch panel, that it is connected to.

    We had all the big names lent to us: Schumacher, PulseTech, Midtronics, etc. for evaluation. Simply incredible what they were trying to sell to us at defense and the $$$ they were charging.

  10. #70
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Battery charging issue

    Maybe there is just a lot of variability in what the battery tender does. Or maybe you need to hook up the battery first and then plug it in for it to do its thing. (Whatever that is)

    I tried it again on the Odyssey and it repeated topping out at 14.7 V.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________

    Then I went to the FLA battery (Yuasa 51913) without unplugging the tender from the wall and it topped out at 14.6 V.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________

    I went back to the Odyssey (again without unplugging it from the wall) and got 14.6 V this time.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________

    I unplugged it from the wall and switched to another FLA (East Penn U1 tractor battery) and it:
    - climbed steadily to 14.2 and was still hanging there for a half hour when I had to leave
    (I wasn't paying attendtion to order on this one so not sure if the battery or wall plug was connected first)
    - came back an hour later and it was in float at 13.1V - guess we'll do this again...

    (This is is not the best battery in the world. For being only 2 years old, it doesn't do too well on the 100A load test, dropping to just under 10V after a few seconds, just a day or two after coming off the battery tender. This one may be a good test to see if the Optimate can really work magic.)

    I unhooked the battery and unplugged the tender. I hit the battery with the 100A tester, then let it sit for a couple minutes. That dragged it back to 12.5V. Now I'll start over again...
    - Plug in the battery, then the tender
    - Climbed steadily to 14.3 in bulk and then dropped to 14.2 and I can hear it gassing.
    - It went back up to 14.3 as it switched to absorption and then up to 14.4 and I can still hear it bubbling away.
    - And now bubbling down to 14.3.
    - And after 2 hours, it went into float, the bubbles began to subside and voltage slowly dropped to 13.2 after 5 minutes.
    - After sitting for 20 minutes, I hit it with the load tester again and it held at 10.5V under load. 10 minutes later it had bounced back to 12.6V.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________

    For giggles - lets jump back to the Yuasa at 12.4V.
    - hook up battery, then plug into wall outlet
    - voltage climbed briskly and the battery started to gas at 13.9V
    -within a couple minutes, voltage peaked at 14.4 and the tender switched into absorption, still at 14.4V.
    - Stayed in absorption, slowly bubbling at 14.4V for an hour at which point I disconnected it.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________

    I disconnected the tender from the Yuasa and hooked it up to the 12.9V Odyssey without unplugging the tender from the wall.
    - It went quickly to 14.4V in bulk mode and switched to absorption at 14.4V

    I unplugged the tender from the wall and disconnected it from the Odyssey as well
    - put 100A load tester on the odyssey for 10 count
    - voltage recovered to 12.8
    - reconnect to tender to Odyssey, then plug into wall.
    - bulk charge voltage climbed steadily, peaking at 14.4 then switching to absorption.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________

    I unplugged everything and tried it on a smaller AGM (Everstart / Johnson Control ES9BS)
    - hook up battery, then plug into outlet
    - started gassing around 14V and it peaked at 14.40, then switched to absorption at the same voltage. It was late so I unplugged it and put it back in the bike without waiting for it to go into float.

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________

    I'm dumbfounded by their supersmart charging. It almost seems like it randomly changes the charging voltage; whatever they are sensing certainly isn't foolproof. If you keep it plugged in and swap batteries, it appears to keep going with the settings from the previous battery. Alternatively, I guess their voltage regulation could just really stink and it can end up anywhere in the 14.4V - 14.9V range, but it seems to like 14.4 & 14.7 and then a float setting of 13.2.

    Side note: The battery tender SAE plug volt meter seems to read a bit low or maybe just not round up. When it reports 14.6, I've seen my Fluke display as high as 14.67.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________________

    2016-09-28:
    Optimate 7 select delivered and I picked up a couple U1 riding mower batteries that have been sitting at under 5 volts for a day in one case and for a few weeks in the other. Let the games begin.

    After using it to trick the optimate into charging battery #1 below, I put the FLA Yuasa 51913 on the load tester at 13.1V. It ran 10V @ 100A (at least in terms of what it is rated for current draw, not measured) and then popped back to 12.4. I put it on the battery tender and left it for a while as voltage slowly climbed. When I noticed it in absorption, it was at 14.5V and climbed to 14.6V while I watched; so much for steady voltage. After over an hour, it was still gassing away in absorption and back down to 14.5V. After ~1.5 hours it went into float at 13.3V. I disconnected it and after a minute, it was still showing 13.2V.

    Odyssey at 12.9V
    10.6V on the 100A tester
    Then back to 12.7V
    Hook up to battery tender, then plug it in
    8:43pm 13V
    8:50pm 13.5V
    9:19pm 14.5V in absorption
    9:34pm 13.2V in float

    That is enough playing with the Battery Tender Plus. It does stuff, but who knows what, when, why or for how long. Maybe the engineering department that hasn't responded to my email.
    Last edited by rxcrider; 09-30-2016 at 12:59 PM.

  11. #71
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Battery charging issue

    Battery #1
    East Penn U1 150 CCA
    Went to the scrap bin yesterday, but maybe it has been sitting discharged longer than that.
    Built in March of 2015
    -0.14V

    Piggybacked on Yuasa 51913 to get optimate to recognize a battery present and start charging.

    The pair clear the bulk mode and go into absorption in under 10 minutes.

    disconnect everything

    U1 at 12.48 V
    That was too quick - can't be good
    Reconnect to optimate by itself
    Plug optimate in
    Runs tests and diagnostic lights indicate a deeply discharged battery.

    Optimate goes into save (NOT turbo save / desulfate) after initial tests
    6:10pm 14.8V constant
    6:27PM ~13 -16V pulsing @ ~1hz
    7:11 pm ~13-15.5V pulsing @ ~1hz
    8:10pm ~13-14.5V pulsing @ ~1hz
    8:30pm ~13-15.5V pulsing @ ~1hz
    8:45pm past the charge step and onto optimize: ~13-14.5V pulsing @ ~1/2-2hz
    9:20pm ~13-14.5V pulsing @ ~1/2-2hz
    11:11pm in float; rapid pulse ~13.2-13.6V
    Diagnostic light indicates battery is capable of 60-80% of what it should be

    Unplug optimate and then disconnect battery

    12.7V
    1V @ 100A load
    Returns to 11.5V
    Then slowly to 12.5V

    That isn't 60-80%

    I'll give it another go later
    ___________________________________

    So the Optimate is looking for some resistance value to decide if it is hooked to a loose battery or one installed in a vehicle. If it thinks it is installed in a vehicle, it won't go into turbo save / desulfate mode, even if it thinks the battery needs it. I hooked it up again this morning without a volt meter attached in case I was impacting the charger's performance. We will see if can work miracles, but this battery really should be toast.

    Home from work and once again, diagnostic light indicates battery is capable of 60-80% of what it should be

    Unplug optimate and then disconnect battery

    12.7V
    3.5V @ 100A load
    Returns to 11.7V
    Then slowly to 12.5V

    Calling it Kaput
    Last edited by rxcrider; 09-30-2016 at 02:03 AM.

  12. #72
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Battery charging issue

    Battery #2
    East Penn U1 275 CCA
    Built Nov 2010
    6.49V

    Hooked up battery & plugged in optimate

    Test indicates deep discharge and into some sort of save mode it goes. We'll see what it does tomorrow.

    The morning dawned on a flashing red light on one of the test indicator lights. I'm not sure if that means it is still testing or if it has failed miserably. I unhooked it and went back to battery #1 with the optimate. I'll read the manual again tonight and load test the battery.

    Home from work and

    10.4V
    5V @ 100A load and bubbling
    Returns to 8V

    Flashing red during test period indicated that voltage was dropping rapidly.

    Stick a fork in it.
    Last edited by rxcrider; 09-29-2016 at 11:12 PM.

  13. #73
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Battery charging issue

    Battery #3
    East Penn U1 230 CCA
    Built February 2015
    12.45V
    Drops to 10V with 100A load tester.
    Not sure why this was on the scrap battery skid

    5:05 pm Optimate says 40-60% charged and goes straight into charging

    6:30pm in optimize mode

    7:07 flashing green test light for 30 minute voltage decay test. Battery at 13.0V

    7:39 solid green indicator for good battery
    Had already started float cycle so voltage is up above 13 and slowly falling
    10.6V @ 100A
    Recovers quickly to 12.6V
    Charged up nicely
    Last edited by rxcrider; 09-29-2016 at 11:46 PM.

  14. #74
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Battery charging issue

    Battery #4
    Yuasa 51913 FLA
    This one will give me a comparison against the battery tender.

    9/28: After using it to trick the optimate into charging battery #1 above, I put the FLA Yuasa 51913 on the load tester at 13.1V. It ran 10V @ 100A (at least in terms of what it is rated for current draw, not measured) and then popped back to 12.4. I put it on the battery tender and left it for a while as voltage slowly climbed. When I noticed it in absorption, it was at 14.5V and climbed to 14.6V while I watched; so much for steady voltage. After over an hour, it was still gassing away in absorption and back down to 14.5V. After ~1.5 hours it went into float at 13.3V. I disconnected it and after a minute, it was still showing 13.2V.
    -----------
    9/29 7:00pm:
    12.5V
    10V @ 100A on load tester
    Came back to 12.2V quickly

    7:48pm: Optimate indicates a weak battery @40-60% charge and goes straight to charge w/some gassing, but significantly less than battery tender.

    9:07pm: the Optimate is optimizing w/ the occasional bubble still rising up.

    9:43pm: flashing green for good battery in 30 minute decay test. 13.0V

    9:52pm: solid green for good battery- disconnect and let it sit to load test tomorrow. 13.2V

    9/30 3:50pm:
    12.5V
    10V @ 100A on load tester
    Came back to 12.3V quickly

    Essentially the same result as the battery tender which is ok for a used FLA battery pulled out of a bike for replacement because it cranked slowly at times.
    Last edited by rxcrider; 09-30-2016 at 07:55 PM.

  15. #75
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Battery charging issue

    Battery #5
    Odyssey PC680

    9/28 on the battery tender
    12.9V
    10.6V on the 100A tester
    Then back to 12.7V
    Hook up to battery tender, then plug it in
    8:43pm 13V
    8:50pm 13.5V
    9:19pm 14.5V in absorption
    9:34pm 13.2V in float and time to disconnect it
    ---------
    9/29 @9:52pm:
    12.9V
    10.8V @ 100A
    Recovered to 12.7V quickly
    Set optimate to 14.7V and hook up.
    Optimate indicates a good battery and goes into charge mode.

    10:50pm: optimize mode

    10:54pm: flashing green in 30 minute decay test.

    11:42pm: green light for a good battery in float charge mode. Disconnect and let it sit 'til tomorrow for a load test. 13.2V

    9/30 3:57pm:
    13.0V
    10.8V @ 100A
    Recovered quickly to 12.7V

    Again, no better than the battery tender. If it is truly better at long term storage / float charging on an AGM, I have no intention of finding out.
    Last edited by rxcrider; 09-30-2016 at 08:04 PM.

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