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 Fully charged SLA's and 'smart' chargers

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PostSubject: Fully charged SLA's and 'smart' chargers   Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:04 pm

Since Lead Acid Batteries are yesteryear's technology, this post is probably irrelevant to most of the community, but I thought I'd share my experience anyway:

I'm using a pair of Odyssey PC625 Absorbed Glass Mat batteries in my HW 'Gruff'. After having them sit for about a month I put them on a smart charger set to AGM. (I think) the vent caps opened on one of them and if i put my ear close to it I could hear rumbling inside the battery (Not good). Taking it off and starting the charge over again I checked the voltage: 16.9V (Worse). After trying several things and contacting the manufacturer(which wasn't that helpful) I realized that maybe the batteries were still fully charged from before. Sure enough, they displayed 12.8V after load testing them, and after running the 'bot on full power for a few minutes they took a charge fine, and the charger didn't go above 14.7 V.

My theory is that the smart charger determined that not enough current was flowing into the nearly fully charged batteries, and was trying to step up the voltage to get more current flow.(By the way, the charger manufacturer told me that this action was fine, that the charger was 'testing' the battery to see if it could take a higher charge or not, but i don't believe it. After hitting 16.9V the charger displayed OL as the voltage which I can only assume is 'Overload' and not something the charger was designed to do)

In summary: This may sound obvious, but if you're not sure of a batteries state of charge don't put it on the charger and think it will figure it out. Test it first.
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