R12-Battery -dry=die = why ?
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  1. #1
    Member MarkButler's Avatar
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    Default R12-Battery -dry=die = why ?

    Hi Friends, as a total MORON & also a very LAZY,low,LOWLIFE-Renault-Maintainance-type of R12 driver,

    (whose motto is; "If its goin-don't touch it")= I have a query re;BATTERIES?

    I acquired my 1974 R12 'TRAK BLUE' sedan in JULY 2009 & despite my above much exaggerated

    'moto-motto', I have NEVER bothered to look to check this R12's BATTERY electrolyte-levels since

    JULY, 2009!


    This really IS something I normally do every fortnight BUT since 2008, my life has been somewhat

    'different' & as this car was VERY well maintained & a real CREDIT to it's last owner-

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    (hear that Jeff?), I simply didn't get around to checking the battery.

    [ "WOT AN IDIOT!" I hear you say? .... I agree! ]


    Upon discovering the car wouldn't start yesterday & with the Alternator-gauge showing ZERO & no

    response apart from the RED-LIGHTS on, I found the Battery completely EMPTY of ANY liquid & after a

    lifetime of playing "MAD-MUSICAL-CARS", I think this was the very First time I've seen a battery so

    damn DRY !

    Luckily I didn't even try to top it up with 'demineralised water' & jump start the car.

    I simply removed the battery, topped it up & put it on the 'Battery-Charger'.


    Sadly the world's WORST battery-charger with NO dials,etc, simply 2 LED red-lights & when one

    switches the charger ON; IF both lights come on ? = it means (1): the battery is fully-charged...

    or (2): it is utterly STUFFED!


    If when 1st connecting to said 'SUPACHEAP' charger only ONE red-light comes on there is hope, as this

    may mean the battery is FLAT & may be charged-up when BOTH red-lights are on !??

    BRILLIANT concept hey?

    IF I hadda been able to actually SEE inside the BATTERY-CHARGER's BOX when I bought it, I would

    NOT have been so STINGY, ie @$25) & paid 3 times that for a "proper" ARLEC-type charger but I

    was still "livin' in the past" .... as usual !



    Thanks for reading all this BORING-BS & now can anyone tell me WHY this battery drained so DRY?


    I'd NEVER had any problems with it OR this car apart from changing the STARTER-MOTOR a couple of

    months ago & as any early R12 owner knows, the dash guages can play 'silly buggas' at times due to

    the no doubt, shoddy-wiring-setup when assembled & I've always found the post 1975-R12s much

    better, re; accurate-dash/guages/wiring-type-stuff.


    NO signs from the ALTERNATOR &/or REGULATOR indicating the battery/charging/electrics were

    "overcharging" as I've heard that can cause electrolyte-loss or anything at all amiss was evident.


    I've little hope of this battery 'charging-up' BUT it is worth a try as I'm not rollin' in $@present & the

    "elcheapo" SUPACHEAP batteries that were $35 only 4 years ago now seem to cost about $100+ .

    I live a fair way from the nearest town & 2nd-hnd batteries from local wreckers are unlikely to be any

    good- (in my district anyway & they probably want $75 for the TRASH!)




    ANY advice, ideas as to why this battery 'dried & died' so suddenly would be gratefully appreciated &

    while I shoulda checked the LEVELS regularly-(I've spent 40 years doing so but went

    totallySTRESSED & NUTSO a coupla years ago & have NOT been myself

    since - and....... (NO! I'm not Napoleon Buonaparte,Cleopatra,Madonna,JESUS,Tarzan, Batman or Jim

    Morrison or even John Lennon ...yet!) BUT who knows what lies around the next bend ?!


    I'm no doubt up for a NEW battery but I've learnt another lesson from my "auto-slackness" & shall

    PAY accordingly!:


    Many Thanks for your patience, dear readers & may you all stay DRY & SAFE!


    See ya, Mark4everbatts!

  2. #2
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkButler View Post
    Hi Friends, as a total MORON & also a very LAZY,low,LOWLIFE-Renault-Maintainance-type of R12 driver,

    (whose motto is; "If its goin-don't touch it")= I have a query re;BATTERIES?

    I acquired my 1974 R12 'TRAK BLUE' sedan in JULY 2009 & despite my above much exaggerated

    'moto-motto', I have NEVER bothered to look to check this R12's BATTERY electrolyte-levels since

    JULY, 2009! Many Thanks for your patience, dear readers & may you all stay DRY & SAFE!


    See ya, Mark4everbatts!
    They will generate a bit of gas even with the charging system on the mark, and that removes water. I"m not particularly surprised after 1 1/2 years and, yes, it may not charge up - after all some of the plate area has probably been dry for at least a year as the electrolyte level fell.

    I'd get the charging system checked out nonetheless, to make sure it isn't over-charging. You don't know whether it has happened progressively or rapidly after all. And I'd check the battery a bit more regularly, but you'll have decided that......
    JohnW

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  3. #3
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    Always a pain when a battery dies!

    Some evaporation is always occuring in a battery. If the vehical gets hot you would expect more evaporation.
    My guess is that as the electrolyte drops then there is less plate area to conduct the charge so you get increased gassing and water loss as the alternator will charge at the same rate but with less plate area.

    Newer batteries boast calcium which seems to reduce the gassing and decreases the required maintenance. They also seem to require large amounts of current for a long time (probably because of the reduced gassing) which I think is a contibutor to the alternator failures in my 19's.

    Put a new battery in but make sure its charged first. Then find someone with a DC clamp meter or a moving iron meter (both of these just go around or on the battery lead) so you can measure the current and check it is rolling off properly.

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget View Post
    Always a pain when a battery dies!

    Some evaporation is always occuring in a battery. If the vehical gets hot you would expect more evaporation.
    My guess is that as the electrolyte drops then there is less plate area to conduct the charge so you get increased gassing and water loss as the alternator will charge at the same rate but with less plate area.

    Newer batteries boast calcium which seems to reduce the gassing and decreases the required maintenance. They also seem to require large amounts of current for a long time (probably because of the reduced gassing) which I think is a contibutor to the alternator failures in my 19's.

    Put a new battery in but make sure its charged first. Then find someone with a DC clamp meter or a moving iron meter (both of these just go around or on the battery lead) so you can measure the current and check it is rolling off properly.
    Have your voltage regulator checked. It sounds to me like the alternator is charging full bore, all of the time and boiling the battery electrolyte away.

    The so called "sealed" (in fact minimally vented batteries or "low maintenance") can last for a few years without any top up at all. Because they are almost sealed, the electrolyte vapor formed during charging, condenses on cooling again. Therefore practically no liquid is lost.

    The longevity of any battery is determined by a proper charging system and electrolyte level/purity.

  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger!
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    G/DAY MARK,
    If you need a new battery spend the extra and get a supercharge gold they are billiant ive got one in my R10 thats 7 years old sits for up to 6 months at a time and then has no trouble starting it up, Karlie has had one in her R12 for 5 years suffered the cold at armidale uni for 2 and is still going strong.
    Cheers Peter

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts alan moore's Avatar
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    Certainly overcharging will cause the electrolyte to boil off. Your charging voltage should be between 13.9-14.2V. I have found though that as lead acid batteries are getting old and tired they will "use" more electrolyte in normal use until they are unable to provide the necessary starting current.

    The gel type sealed batteries are great but will not stand overcharging very well. Probably just as well to buy a normal unsealed lead acid battery for your use.
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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Default Beware of gel batteries in cars

    Quote Originally Posted by alan moore View Post
    The gel type sealed batteries are great but will not stand overcharging very well. Probably just as well to buy a normal unsealed lead acid battery for your use.

    Alan,

    FYI gel type sealed lead acid batteries require a very different charging process to "wet" type batteries being lead acid or so called calcium.

    Sealed L-A are used extensively in alarm, fire, medical equipment, wheel chairs, golf buggys but not very often in cars.

    Gel batteries can be charged a few ways: (my example is for a nominal 12 v battery)

    So called "float" which applies 13.6 volts all time across the battery at all times. The load is also connected across the battery. This is not ideal for multi- cell batteries because the cells can have have different internal resistance and thus some cells won't full charge or overcharge. However it's still widely used.

    The optimum way is a three step process:

    First: A constant current charge at a current of around 1/4 of the amp hour rate of the battery

    Second: When the battery reach 14.4 volts, absorption charging which is a constant current of 1/20 of the battery amp hour rating

    Finally: The battery goes to 13.6 volts float charge.

    The above is off the top of my head so the voltages may not be quite right and I recall that there is temperature compensation to factored into the charge voltage. All in all a very fancy charger.

    Also sealed L-A gel don't like very high current demands like a starter motor - this can melt the cell bridges and terminal internals.

    The basic point I'm making is that Sealed Lead acid gel battery is NOT a suitable drop-in replacement for a typical car application.

    And overcharging can cause pyrotechnics and bits of battery and unpleasant toxic gel all over the place: another reason no to use them in cars!

    cheers


    Robert

  8. #8
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    The recommended charge rate of a lead acid battery is the 10 hour rate ie. 10% of the AH over 10 hours to avoid sulphation. Learnt this as a battery specialist in the Air Force.
    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Alan,

    FYI gel type sealed lead acid batteries require a very different charging process to "wet" type batteries being lead acid or so called calcium.

    Sealed L-A are used extensively in alarm, fire, medical equipment, wheel chairs, golf buggys but not very often in cars.

    Gel batteries can be charged a few ways: (my example is for a nominal 12 v battery)

    So called "float" which applies 13.6 volts all time across the battery at all times. The load is also connected across the battery. This is not ideal for multi- cell batteries because the cells can have have different internal resistance and thus some cells won't full charge or overcharge. However it's still widely used.

    The optimum way is a three step process:

    First: A constant current charge at a current of around 1/4 of the amp hour rate of the battery

    Second: When the battery reach 14.4 volts, absorption charging which is a constant current of 1/20 of the battery amp hour rating

    Finally: The battery goes to 13.6 volts float charge.

    The above is off the top of my head so the voltages may not be quite right and I recall that there is temperature compensation to factored into the charge voltage. All in all a very fancy charger.

    Also sealed L-A gel don't like very high current demands like a starter motor - this can melt the cell bridges and terminal internals.

    The basic point I'm making is that Sealed Lead acid gel battery is NOT a suitable drop-in replacement for a typical car application.

    And overcharging can cause pyrotechnics and bits of battery and unpleasant toxic gel all over the place: another reason no to use them in cars!

    cheers


    Robert

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Rose View Post
    The recommended charge rate of a lead acid battery is the 10 hour rate ie. 10% of the AH over 10 hours to avoid sulphation. Learnt this as a battery specialist in the Air Force.
    This is for a conventional lead acid battery? I.E. A lead /sulphuric acid battery? Yes?

    You will never get that kind of charging in car because of high intermittent current demands and an alternator with a very high peak charging current. Perhaps for a charge from fully discharged out of the vehicle?

    AFAIK not appropriate for a sealed lead acid gel battery? Which are a different animal altogether and need either float or "tapered" charging?

    Not trying to be difficult - just interested to learn!

  10. #10
    Fellow Frogger! MIKEEE's Avatar
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