New battery technology - longer to charge?
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  1. #1
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    Icon5 New battery technology - longer to charge?

    Late last year we purchased a new supercharge gold battery for my sons 944 Porsche Turbo. It was a maintenance free battery MF 65 B that fits in the rear hatch area.

    Last month he traveled to the US and left the car with me, I started it several times and ran it for him while he was away and when he returned it started and ran o.k. Last week he had an oil light come up on the dash display and put oil in the motor at night without checking the level - appears that it over filled, so he left it at our place for me to remove the excess.

    When I went to start it up, the battery was dead flat. I pulled it out of the car and noticed that the battery indicator was showing red which usually indicates Do not charge, though there is another interpretation that it is still o.k. to recharge (black dot in middle) so I put it on 4amp charge for 24 hours over the weekend. usually with other similar supercharge batteries, that sort of charge would bring it back up to full charge. But in this case it was still showing the red indication!

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    I took it back to Supercharge and they tested it and showed me the test between terminals as "battery good", but the hydrometer reading after removing the charge state tube indicator showed almost dead flat. They told me it would take perhaps 3 days to come up with a 4amp charger, and that I should use my 10amp charger as a better option, but it would still take quite some time.

    I charged it all day yesterday and the indicator was showing clear (no colour) but after a further overnight charge to 4pm today on 10 amp charge, the indicator finally showed fully charged (green) It was suggested that with their newer batteries (calcium content??) this was slower than I was obviously used to in the re-charging process.

    I was also given a number to call if there was any problem as the battery does have a three year warranty on it from date of purchase.

    Has anyone else come across this slow charge when flat. I have always had a good run with their batteries, but in the past would have chucked out a battery that didn't come up to charge in 24 hours! or one that came up clear on the indicator after 48 hours. I think that was the reason we replaced the last battery as he had stored the car in a country location for 12 months while he was in Sweden, and we had to jump start the car to get it going late last year.

    Any definitive information would be appreciated as this is the first time I have encountered this.

    I now have to check and see why it went dead flat - I did ask him if he was sure that it was an oil light that came on and NOT the alternator light, and I was told in no mean terms he knew the difference!!

    Lucky he has another normally aspirated 944, so Dad can take his time!!

    Any information appreciated!!

    Ken

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    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Hi Ken,

    I believe this style of battery uses the calcium "strip grid". It's a diamond perforated grid with less lead in it than a old style battery. It's like a piece of expanded mesh.

    This was heavily researched and developed by Magneti Marelli in the late 70s.

    Manufacturers claim there is better contact with electrolyte. In practice the grids are made in sheet and cut to size to match the battery capacity. A huge saving in manufacture due to less materials and one style of plate for all batteries because they are formed mechanically and not cast.

    Since the plate area is greater and the electrolyte contact area is greater the battery has less tendency to bubble during the charge/ discharge cycle. Hence strip grid batteries can be called a true maintenance free battery. Higher capacity for less mass as well.

    I must say the calcium batteries I have used have been no better than any other "normal" battery.
    They hold their charge about as long as a normal battery. Immediately they are left discharged for any extended period the rot sets in, they will recharge a few times progressively reducing their desire to recharge and then will eventually accept a trickle charge forever but never hold the charge or start the car.

    Unless your battery is exhibiting temperature related charging issues (It's bloody cold in Melbourne for other Froggers) to me it sounds like your battery is at the start of the failure phase. I'd charge it up and crank the engine until it it's discharged. Then recharge again and check if it takes even longer to charge. Specific gravity of the electrolyte is the only way to determine this.

    Batteries fail, plates sulphate up. Fancy grids with diamond patterns can't stop this happening, it's a chemical reaction. That's my take on the situation. Manufactures love to state the extended self discharge time but never mention the number of very low charge to fully charged cyles and the progressive deterioration of same.

    I buy cheap batteries and replace about every 31/2 years.

    Here is link which talks about the strip grid technology, which is pretty representative of most Pb-Ca grids.
    http://www.batterypower2000.co.za/do...l_brochure.pdf

    cheers


    Rob

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Robmac:

    "Unless your battery is exhibiting temperature related charging issues (It's bloody cold in Melbourne for other Froggers) to me it sounds like your battery is at the start of the failure phase. I'd charge it up and crank the engine until it it's discharged. Then recharge again and check if it takes even longer to charge. Specific gravity of the electrolyte is the only way to determine this."

    An electrical engineer friend of mine designs and manufactures Battery Chargers from 4 amp up as big as you want to go. (Collins Class submarines) They all have one thing in common however, the charge is electronically altered by the ambient temperature. He tells me this is very relevant.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Late last year we purchased a new supercharge gold battery for my sons 944 Porsche Turbo. It was a maintenance free battery MF 65 B that fits in the rear hatch area.

    Last month he traveled to the US and left the car with me, I started it several times and ran it for him while he was away and when he returned it started and ran o.k. Last week he had an oil light come up on the dash display and put oil in the motor at night without checking the level - appears that it over filled, so he left it at our place for me to remove the excess.

    When I went to start it up, the battery was dead flat. I pulled it out of the car and noticed that the battery indicator was showing red which usually indicates Do not charge, though there is another interpretation that it is still o.k. to recharge (black dot in middle) so I put it on 4amp charge for 24 hours over the weekend. usually with other similar supercharge batteries, that sort of charge would bring it back up to full charge. But in this case it was still showing the red indication!

    I took it back to Supercharge and they tested it and showed me the test between terminals as "battery good", but the hydrometer reading after removing the charge state tube indicator showed almost dead flat. They told me it would take perhaps 3 days to come up with a 4amp charger, and that I should use my 10amp charger as a better option, but it would still take quite some time.

    I charged it all day yesterday and the indicator was showing clear (no colour) but after a further overnight charge to 4pm today on 10 amp charge, the indicator finally showed fully charged (green) It was suggested that with their newer batteries (calcium content??) this was slower than I was obviously used to in the re-charging process.

    I was also given a number to call if there was any problem as the battery does have a three year warranty on it from date of purchase.

    Has anyone else come across this slow charge when flat. I have always had a good run with their batteries, but in the past would have chucked out a battery that didn't come up to charge in 24 hours! or one that came up clear on the indicator after 48 hours. I think that was the reason we replaced the last battery as he had stored the car in a country location for 12 months while he was in Sweden, and we had to jump start the car to get it going late last year.

    Any definitive information would be appreciated as this is the first time I have encountered this.

    I now have to check and see why it went dead flat - I did ask him if he was sure that it was an oil light that came on and NOT the alternator light, and I was told in no mean terms he knew the difference!!

    Lucky he has another normally aspirated 944, so Dad can take his time!!

    Any information appreciated!!

    Ken


    Had exactly the same situation with a couple of batteries lately - both were dead (like 3 - 4 volts) when I started and showed no signs of getting better for a couple of days - then all came good with both now showing the green indicator and they are holding full charge easily.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    Originally posted by Robmac:

    "Unless your battery is exhibiting temperature related charging issues (It's bloody cold in Melbourne for other Froggers) to me it sounds like your battery is at the start of the failure phase. I'd charge it up and crank the engine until it it's discharged. Then recharge again and check if it takes even longer to charge. Specific gravity of the electrolyte is the only way to determine this."

    An electrical engineer friend of mine designs and manufactures Battery Chargers from 4 amp up as big as you want to go. (Collins Class submarines) They all have one thing in common however, the charge is electronically altered by the ambient temperature. He tells me this is very relevant.

    Expensive chargers will do temperature compensation. This requires a thermistor or similar on the battery/in the electrolyte. This is beyond the scope of automotive applications. Collins class subs would use diesel alternators to charge the batteries I would imagine, based on the current required to drive a sub motor. Not battery chargers in Ken's sense of a charger.

    However fancy auto chargers can do a staged charged process, usually with four different charge profiles.
    If the battery won't accept the "charge" then all that can be done is to wait longer ie charge at a lower current until the internal resistance increases. I believe the Delkor pdf gives the charge/temperature curves.

    Personally I use the float charge method which involves applying around 15-16 volts for a few hours and being sure not the boil away electrolyte.

    I'm really surprised your mate associates himself with the Collins Class subs, especially in view of the bad press:

    "ANDREW DAVIES: We've seen examples of diesel failures, the generators have failed not so long ago, batteries have been problematic and we've seen leaks there."

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-2...review/2802402

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    Default Thanks everyone.

    Thanks for the replies and Robmac for the link to the battery information sheet - just about says it all.


    I keep a large battery on charge as a spare to start anything that has been stored for a while and that is on a trickle charger that doesn't sulphate batteries, then I have some2-4amp battery chargers and a real old ten amp one that hums as it charges.

    On Fuego batteries I have to watch when using the 10 amp as it will bubble the electrolyte after a while, so I prefer the 2 to 4 am chargers as they are more gentle. I have found the 10amp will sometimes revive older batteries with a short initial charge.

    Supercharge say their batteries can be charged at 15 amps without any worries. and that is just a bit over what the alternator does in service I suppose.

    Ken

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    Originally posted by Robmac:

    "ANDREW DAVIES: We've seen examples of diesel failures, the generators have failed not so long ago, batteries have been problematic and we've seen leaks there."

    No mention of problems with the charging circuitry here and, for what it's worth I think this is Robert's site:

    http://t-tech.com.au/
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Thanks for the replies and Robmac for the link to the battery information sheet - just about says it all.


    I keep a large battery on charge as a spare to start anything that has been stored for a while and that is on a trickle charger that doesn't sulphate batteries, then I have some2-4amp battery chargers and a real old ten amp one that hums as it charges.

    On Fuego batteries I have to watch when using the 10 amp as it will bubble the electrolyte after a while, so I prefer the 2 to 4 am chargers as they are more gentle. I have found the 10amp will sometimes revive older batteries with a short initial charge.

    Supercharge say their batteries can be charged at 15 amps without any worries. and that is just a bit over what the alternator does in service I suppose.

    Ken
    http://www.landiss.com/battery.htm

    This is another good site. Make sure the alternator delivers 14 volts plus to fully charge the battery in the first place.

    If you apply the "float charge" voltage across the terminals and it is from a regulated supply it can be left indefinitely on charge of charge with zero ill effects. This is the method used in alarm , fire and other essential service backup batteries.

    The float charge voltage varies for the various battery types.

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    bob
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    G'day Ken,

    my Fug has one of those new [read expensive] calcium batteries. Last time system failed on me a few weeks ago I noticed that it took over 24hrs before the green indicator arrived. This battery is not very old, been replaced under warranty probably six months ago.

    Service style is probably murdering the poor old batteries, if car was used every day I reckon that it wouldn't be a problem.

    Like robmac, my next one will probably come from woollies :-)

    cheers,
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob View Post
    G'day Ken,

    my Fug has one of those new [read expensive] calcium batteries. Last time system failed on me a few weeks ago I noticed that it took over 24hrs before the green indicator arrived. This battery is not very old, been replaced under warranty probably six months ago.

    Service style is probably murdering the poor old batteries, if car was used every day I reckon that it wouldn't be a problem.

    Like robmac, my next one will probably come from woollies :-)

    cheers,
    Bob
    I believe the problem may be an issue of fully charging. If the alternator is set up for 13.6 to 14.2 volts charging the voltage is too low.

    Many the older vehicles are only charging at 13.5v, that is marginal for L-A but far too low for Pb-Ca.

    Pb-Ca batteries are not good at deep cycle. The don't like constant heavy discharges or to deliver high current from a discharged state. They like loads which are few percent of their AH capacity and to immediately be recharged to full SG.

    EDIT: The indicators atop the cells indicate specific gravity of the electrolyte. SG will vary depending on the amount of electrolyte in the cell. SG also varies depending on temperature.

    So I wonder what ambient temperature the indicators give an accurate indication ?
    Also what happens to the accuracy of the indicators if the cell is a bit low in electrolyte?

    Melbourne weather has been quite extreme lately.
    Last edited by robmac; 21st July 2011 at 02:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    I believe the problem may be an issue of fully charging. If the alternator is set up for 13.6 to 14.2 volts charging the voltage is too low.

    Many the older vehicles are only charging at 13.5v, that is marginal for L-A but far too low for Pb-Ca.

    Pb-Ca batteries are not good at deep cycle. The don't like constant heavy discharges or to deliver high current from a discharged state. They like loads which are few percent of their AH capacity and to immediately be recharged to full SG.
    I am guessing that the Porsche is mainly used to go to and from his work and then used for night excursions, so in the winter it doesn't get much extended charging time from an alternator of the same vintage era as the Fuego.

    Plus like all young drivers, it is mandatory to have all the sound systems at full on capacity whenever he is in the car and those systems draw quite a deal of current and if parked with music blaring, I suspect this wont help and of course it has the system where the cooling fans run for a time once parked then shut down. Even while standing there is a residual current drain on the battery, as it sparks when the terminals are connected to the battery.

    Anyway I will have a look at it today when I re-install the battery and see how long this charge lasts!!

    Ken

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    From someone who should know about batteries:

    Lead-acid = 14.4V terminal voltage

    Lead-calcium = 14.7V terminal voltage

    *Note: Calcium batteries that have been deeply discharged and will require an equilisation charge to restore a full electrolyte reading.
    *To do this, feed in a constant current 2A (up to 16V terminal voltage) for no more than 12 hours.

    A high-tech battery charger with a selectable calcium mode & absorption mode (constant current) is a useful tool.

    Ken, I'd say the battery was deep discharged and will take ages to restore a full electrolyte reading with a traditional type battery charger.

    Cheers
    spiz

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    bob
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    Thanks Robmac & Spiz,

    all the more reason to go back to the oldies :-))

    cheers,
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiz View Post
    From someone who should know about batteries:

    Lead-acid = 14.4V terminal voltage

    Lead-calcium = 14.7V terminal voltage

    *Note: Calcium batteries that have been deeply discharged and will require an equilisation charge to restore a full electrolyte reading.
    *To do this, feed in a constant current 2A (up to 16V terminal voltage) for no more than 12 hours.

    A high-tech battery charger with a selectable calcium mode & absorption mode (constant current) is a useful tool.

    Ken, I'd say the battery was deep discharged and will take ages to restore a full electrolyte reading with a traditional type battery charger.

    Cheers
    Do you work with Telstra?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiz View Post
    From someone who should know about batteries:

    Lead-acid = 14.4V terminal voltage

    Lead-calcium = 14.7V terminal voltage

    *Note: Calcium batteries that have been deeply discharged and will require an equilisation charge to restore a full electrolyte reading.
    *To do this, feed in a constant current 2A (up to 16V terminal voltage) for no more than 12 hours.

    A high-tech battery charger with a selectable calcium mode & absorption mode (constant current) is a useful tool.

    Ken, I'd say the battery was deep discharged and will take ages to restore a full electrolyte reading with a traditional type battery charger.

    Cheers
    Damn - does that mean I need to invest in a new charger!!

    What do they cost - arm and leg???

    Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Damn - does that mean I need to invest in a new charger!!

    What do they cost - arm and leg???

    Ken
    How about this dude http://t-tech.com.au/ (see post #7)

    He is Kim's mate.

    With a referral like that he is sure do a red hot deal on battery charger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Damn - does that mean I need to invest in a new charger!!

    What do they cost - arm and leg???

    Ken
    For a charger that can handle calcium, do absorption (equalisation) & rejuvenation, around $90 for a 4A version, $120ish for the 8A version.

    Batteries last ages if looked after. A common mistake is topping up the electrolyte when the battery is flat, which will push a marginal battery over the edge.
    Charge fully first, then top up electrolyte.

    Don't work with Telstra, just somewhere where there are a lot of batteries that get the occassional accidental deep discharge.

    Cheers
    spiz

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    * I suspect it could be the stereo that is still drawing current when the car is switched off as I recall feedback noise through the speakers when I disconnected the faceplate one time. (Think it was the turbo car).
    Aus
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    The bottom is the area that runs out of oxygen first, it is where the most oxygen is used........"



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    ....beginning to look a bit frightning isn't it.

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    Icon6 Kenfuego polluting the environment !!

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    How about this dude http://t-tech.com.au/ (see post #7)

    He is Kim's mate.

    With a referral like that he is sure do a red hot deal on battery charger.
    Thanks for that Robmac, but Spiz had sent me a reference on internet that I just forwarded to my son to buy, and he has apparently bought one for delivery. Not sure which one he purchased (probably the cheapest knowing him) so I will wait until its delivered and then see if I buy one for myself with a larger capacity/range, thanks for the thought, I didn't get back to A/F as I have had a few dramas with the Porsche.

    I wanted to start it up and park it over a gutter so that I could get under the damn thing and remove some oil, put the battery in and as soon as I connected the terminal the radiator fans kicked in, even though the radiator is dead cold!! Source of battery flatness discovered!!

    Then I tried to start the car up to move it, started o.k. but smoking like an old steam train and as I tried to turn it around in the street in a cloud of oily smoke it the motor conked out, several attempts to start it meant more smoke, but wont run uphill!! rolled it back into the kerb, blocking half the road. Decided to tow it with the Laguna so got my good lady organised sourced a wire tow rope and then went to find the tow points on the Porsche - damn the Turbo doesn't have chassis hitches like the fuego or his other Porsche. and no sign of anywhere for a pintle tow eye front or rear.

    By this time I've "had" Porsches too XYZ#@!! and I rope in a couple of tradesmen to help push the Porsche back to the kerb with my profuse thanks!! My wife rang my son and he looked up the internet and kindly sent me some pictures that show the spot in the centre of the grille for a screw in Pintle towing eye - Now where have you got that vital piece of equipment err I don't have one!!! says he. (Dad

    Oh well now as I am a very calm person I assemble all the tools and bits and pieces and after a bit of a search I find the jacking point on the front of the chassis, jack it up, chock the wheels and get under the car undo the sump drain plug and empty some engine oil into a dish, clean up hands and check wiring fuse box, work out that the big silver box at the rear of the circuit board controls the fans, take that relay out and when the battery is connected no fan noise from the front.

    Then tried to start the car - wont go, back to workshop grab some "Start Ya Bastard" (how appropriate) and a plug socket and extension bar etc, remove three plugs all black and cruddy and dripping with oil, squirt them with cleaner and wire brush then and squirt SYB down each plug hole, and also replace relay and locate the fuses instead that control both fans, then the big moment and yes it starts and runs albeit in a huge cloud of smoke, let it run and warm off the oil that was all over the motor, while all the time looking over the shoulder for an EPA guy to suddenly appear to make my day!!

    After most of the smoke settled down I then drove it back and parked it - removed the battery and put it back on charge (4 amp) overnight, still showing green in the sight glass tube.

    I did notice that the amp gauge was showing about 13 volts, there was a red light i at the top of the dash and yes the red oil lamp had come on after it ran for a while, though still showing oil pressure.

    He only got it back from the Porsche service place just before he took off for America, they replaced the clutch and a few other things and emptied his wallet, as Porsches do, but I was surprised they didn't put in new spark plugs - horrible condition.

    So he has got a few things to do as I am not working on the damn thing Well not till I relent!!

    I feel a bit like the adventures of Shane (DC) after all that.

    Thank you for your help!!


    Ken (thinking about sleeping in front of the television!!)

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    1000+ Posts dino's Avatar
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    I belive it was VE commonwhoere that had lots of issues with their calcium batteries,...as charging system couldn't bring them to capacity...
    A nice 7 stage charger from Projecta is a fine tool...plug and play...



    dino

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