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How do I equalize / condition my Lifeline AGM battery?

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#1 Old Crow

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 06:50 PM

I'm pretty sure I need to condition the Lifeline GPL 31T the previous owner put in my Hawk.  Trouble is, I can't figure out how to do it.  If anyone has experience with this or suggestions, please chime in (or PM me).

 

Here's what I've learned (which I provide here for others who may run into this)....

 

The Lifeline Tech Manual ( http://www.lifelineb....com/manual.pdf ) on page 20, tells me I'm to charge the battery fully, then apply a conditioning charge of about 15.5 volts for eight hours (I say 'about 15.5 volts' because it varies a bit by temperature--see the chart for details).

 

So how do you do that?

 

I have three chargers and was considering a fourth.  Two of them don't have conditioning settings. Once they charge the battery to FULL, they're done. That's it.

 

Next up is my Xantrex TrueCharge2.  It does have an Equalize setting. But, you can't select that if your battery is an AGM battery. And Xantrex specifically warns that the process will damage an AGM or Gel battery. And it only conditions for an hour.

 

So I looked at others...

 

Next up is a CTEK 7000, the charger recommended on the Lifeline web site (at RV Batteries | Battery Charging Equipment).  That one has a Recon setting which will charge at 16 volts for "0.5 to 4 hours".  I believe that means it will decide when the conditioning process will end, apparently by some measurement.

 

Next up is a CTEK 7002. It must be the replacement for the 7000 and I only mention it here because the engineers apparently decided the 'right' conditioning voltage is 15.7 volts instead of 16. Again for 0.5 to 4 hours.

 

Next I gave Lifeline tech support a call.  "Dude, how do I equalize my battery?" (I didn't really say that, by the way).

 

The guy told me he has been getting this same call for years.  The battery charger folks and the battery manufacturing folks all have their own ideas and there's little consistency.  In my case, he suggested setting the Xantrex to the 'Flooded' setting, which allows the Equalize button to work. When I said it will only go for an hour, he said I'd have to monitor it and start another cycle as soon as the last one stops. It's important to keep a consistent temperature during the process.  I didn't think to ask about voltage.  I see the manual says the voltage 'will not exceed' 16 volts.  I guess I get what I get. I do have a temperature-compensation sensor for that charger so will use it during this process if I decide to go this way.

 

  -OC


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#2 Old Crow

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 01:39 PM

I'm perusing the Noco Genius manual ( http://www.geniuscha...gual_Manual.pdf )

for their 26-amp model this morning, still looking for a solution for recovering my battery. I was at first drawn to the word 'Equalization' on page 9.  But that charges at 13.6 volts and I'm looking for something in the 15.7-16.0 range per my Lifeline's tech manual and what other chargers seem to do.

 

Page 11 shows a "16V Boost" and says:  "The 16V BOOST mode is used to recover battery capacity from a stratified (sulfated) battery by applying a specialized high 16.5V (17V Max) voltage to soften and melt down sulfate from the battery plates so that the material becomes usable again." 

 

And then I get really confused.  The diagram of the front panel shows LEDs labelled with two 16-volt modes-- 16V Boost and 16V Equalization.  But the background color of the 16V Equalization LED says "13.6V".  Must be a typo. (Either that or I'm just not smart enough to see what's  "Wicked Smart!" about it.) <----- (That's a snarky comment about their liberal use of that phrase throughout the manual and their promotional material). 

 

The other confusing thing about this is they also sell a micro jump-starter box they call a "Genius Boost Jump Starter".  The word 'boost' makes sense to me for that but I don't get why that word is used on the charger's battery-recovery function.

 

The Genius's '16V boost' is turned on by holding down the MODE button for three seconds and is turned off by pressing it three times.  That suggests it's manually controlled, meaning it would be possible to do the eight-hour conditioning cycle recommended in the Lifeline manual.  

 

I think what's going on is their engineers suggest I do a monthly 13.4 volt 'equalization' charge to prevent / reduce sulfation and if/when there's evidence of reduced performance (reduced reserve capacity), then do the 16.7-17V 'boost'. 

 

Noco Genius conclusion:  At this point I'm afraid of a 16.7-17V recovery when my Lifeline tech manual calls for voltages of 15.5-15.7 range (in the 60-80 degrees temperature range). 

 

-OC


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#3 JaSAn

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 04:50 PM

Might want to peruse this:

http://www.pbase.com...battery_charger

in panel 5 he talks about setting a custom (temp compensated) "conditioning" cycle for Lifeline batteries.

 

I have used (once) a 40A bench power supply with settable voltage, but the battery needed to be monitored for temperature changes.

 

jim


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#4 Old Crow

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 02:04 AM

Thanks, Jim.  Great link, particularly the portion you cited regarding a custom profile for a Lifeline.  That's exactly what I'm trying to do.

 

That led me to search further for a similar feature on my TrueCharge2.  Turns out it can run a custom profile.  The bad news is the profile must come from Xantrex and my  first attempt to deal with Xantrex tech support (by email) didn't even get a courtesy response.  I need to get over it and contact them again to see if that leads anywhere.

 

-OC


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