From all I've read, both on this listserver and elsewhere, gels are
the best choice for use in a Solectria. Solectria Corp. experimented
over the years with batteries and settled on the gelled lead-acid
batteries with thermal management as the best low-cost, low-
maintenance power source for their vehicles. The gels never need
watering and perform well in a series string. Although gels are not
well-suited for the heavy current demands that DC drives require, the
AC drives used by Solectria (and others) are a good match for gel
characteristics because the max current draw is about 250A, rather
than the 400+A of DC drives.
Gels are more easily damaged by improper charging than other lead-acid
designs. So using a proper charger is essential. When you buy your
batteries, make sure that they are all from the same lot number. This
is to insure that the electrolyte matches in all the batteries.
Examine the batteries carefully for signs of leakage or damage.
Replace any such before installing. When attaching cables, be careful
not to stress the posts which could crack the case or break an
internal connection. I use two wrenches and tighten with a "scissor"
You should follow the instructions in the Solectria Service Manual for
conditioning the new pack. During conditioning, it is worthwhile to
measure the voltage of each battery to verify that they are tracking.
Measure during charging and again during discharging. The battery
guarantee will allow you to swap out one or two faulty ones if you
find them at this time. Once conditioning is done, you should be able
to button up the battery compartments and drive worry-free for years.
Here's a tip for working around the batteries: Only expose 12 volts
at a time. I do this by spreading old towels over the batteries to
cover all the remaining terminals. When checking terminal tightness,
I only expose one post at a time. It's a pleasure working with the
gels because there is no stray acid or corrosion to contend with.
On Oct 13, 2008, at 10:41 PM, toolmanca1 wrote:
> This is very timely as I am about to buy 26 Deka Gel cells. I thought
> I still needed balancers to keep it all balanced. Is this true for
> all gel cells? If so, it's a huge advantage. Sounds too good to be
> true. Anyone have any problems with them falling out of balance?
> --- In email@example.com, Gordon Stallings <genki@...>
>> It has been my experience that monitoring is not necessary. I
>> built a
>> device to monitor all the gel batteries as I drive and it always
>> indicates that the pack is working well together. If you start
>> with a
>> good balanced set of gels, their voltages track very well. So gels
>> have no need for balancers or monitoring. I drove a set of gels for
>> 25,000 miles and they stayed balanced for the entire time.
>> One thing that my monitoring system does show: When regenerating
>> to a
>> fully-charged pack, the voltages climb alarmingly and unevenly over
>> the pack. So it's best to turn off regen until you've taken a few AH
>> out of the pack.
>> Also, it is prudent to occasionally check for tight terminal
>> connections. Aside from that, just keep 'em charged and drive often.
>> On Oct 13, 2008, at 11:35 AM, Mike wrote:
>>> Toy or tool?
>>> With Dekka Gel's do I need to be able to monitor each battery?
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