Location: RV Batteries Affect Charging

How the Chemistry and Manufacture of your RV Batteries affect Charging Times

Based on the type of batteries you are charging, the math, time, and amperage are greatly affected. Even though Gel, AGM, and flooded batteries are all basically lead acid batteries, the methods for charging each is a bit different. Based on the type of batteries you are charging, the math, time, and amperage are greatly affected. Even though Gel, AGM, and flooded batteries are all basically lead acid batteries, the methods for charging each is a bit different. The battery chargers listed in the parts list are easily set up to accommodate each of these issues, make sure yours is too. Failure to properly set up your battery charger can lead to under charging, or over charging your system. Each leads to premature failure, some are catastrophic. Below is a list of the basics for each of the battery types. Be sure to check with the manufacturer of your batteries for specifics, and to make sure these things apply to your battery.

AGM Batteries
13.1 v Float
14.4 v Bulk, and Absorption.
Bulk Amps to charger Max
100 ah batteries + 50 amp charger = 2 hours to charge, 1 hour to finish with absorption Equalization not necessary for normal operation.

AGM Batteries, the Ferrari of batteries, have the least internal resistance, but you can't add more fluid to their sealed design. Due to the internal resistance you can charge these batteries at any amperage, as fast as you like in BULK charging mode, but you must not overcharge them as it burns off the electrolyte.

For the same reason, never Equalize an AGM battery, unless you already kissed it off as dead. It may recover the battery, but you will boil off much of the water inside the system.

A good computerized charger, and the proper selection of 2 stage charging under loaded conditions are critical. To really protect these batteries and extend their lives, dial down the voltages to charger minimums by setting them for really warm battery charging conditions no matter the temperature...

GEL Batteries
13.1 v Float
14.4 v Bulk, and Absorption.
Bulk Amps to Manufacturer SPECIFICATION!
100 ah batteries + 50 amp charger = Burned Batteries
100 ah batteries on 5 amp spec charger = up to 20 hours to charge, 1 hour to finish with absorption
Equalization will damage these batteries too!

GEL Batteries are lead acid batteries with a Gelling substance added to the sulfuric acid. The jelly is great at keeping the acid in the box, and making the system safer. However, the stuff really makes charging the battery a headache. If you charge the system to fast, you burn the jelly, leaving a void in the battery, which leads to corrosion. Equalization charging makes lots of these voids, and is not very productive.
A good computerized charger, and the proper selection of 2 stage charging under loaded conditions are critical for long term use of GEL batteries. To really protect these batteries and extend their lives, dial down the voltages to charger minimums by setting them for really warm battery charging conditions no matter the temperature, and size the charger according to MANUFACTURER SPECIFICATION...

FLOODED Batteries
13.1 v Float
14.4-8 v Bulk, and Absorption.
15.5 v
Bulk Amps to Manufacturer SPECIFICATION!
100 ah batteries + 50 amp charger = Boiled electrolyte and possible fire!
100 ah batteries on 20 amp spec charger = up to 5 hours to charge, 1 hour to finish with absorption.
Flooded batteries, being the most tolerant to charging conditions, are also the most common. Flooded batteries make no effort to contain the gases generated use, which leads to an odor, and requires venting as it is explosive. Take care not to tip over flooded batteries as they will leak acid. These batteries require a quarterly equalization charge, or forced overcharge to bring them up to 100% charge.

Flooded lead acid batteries may or may not have removable caps to add water to the electrolyte mix. If there is a manner to add water, do cover the plates with water as directed, never add acid to the battery after placed in service. This addition of water keeps oxygen from contacting the plates and corroding them, shortening the life of the battery.



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