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549Battery conditioners, monitors and solar...

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  • Andrew Foss
    Jul 1, 2002
      Force folks,

      Has anyone and experience or opinions about battery conditioners, so
      called "de-sulfators"? I'm wondering, if that's not a worthwhile, step
      before replacing my lead acid batteries, which are showing their age.

      My Solectria Ammeter just broke and it's back in MA. getting fixed, but
      I'm also wondering about using the Emeter Link 10 or Trimetric? Ideally,
      I'd like to be able to monitor each battery individually, but it sounds
      easiest to just monitor the whole pack.

      Does anyone know what the amphour ratings of the force lead acid
      batteries are? It sounds like SLA batteries can be continuously trickle
      charged w/o a charging controller if the current is less than 1.5% of
      the amphour rating.

      I've done some quick math on using the Unisolar flexible solar panels,
      which are so popular on boats. The hood, roof and trunk of the force
      would support 13 11 watt panels. Each panel can deliver an average of
      2.6 amphours/day(average 5.1 solar hours at SF latititude). Across 13
      panels with 70% battery efficiency that's 23 amphours/day or nearly 20
      miles/day. It's far from being truly self-sustaining, but these panels
      are reasonably inexpensive now I wonder if it would be good to help
      reduce the deep cycle discharge a bit, keep the batteries individually
      and more evenly trickle charged and even in a real pinch 2-3 days in the
      full sun and you can be fully recharged? Any way it would just feel good
      to be able to carry some free charging cabability on board!

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