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samson

charging multiple batteries

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samson
I would like to know if its possible to charge say 5 batteries at once over the winter. The tractors will sit there until spring and I hate to take them all out and charge one at a time. Is there a way to do this?

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BLT
Roger you can do them all with a single charger. It does take some wire and clips however. I would recommend a charger that has a a float feature. You can do an Internet search. Also take off the tractor ground wire to each battery post for insurance. BLT

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Guest
You can charge them all in parallel as BLT mentioned as long as they are all fairly well charged when you start. If several of the batteries are badly discharged, the combined amperage draw can easily exceed the limits of a typical charger, causing damage to the charger. If that is the case, just charge the low batteies individually for a day each, then go ahead and hook them all up in parallel to maintain them over the winter. As BLT mentioned, a float charger is best because it will self-regulate and not over charge the batteries.

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PatRarick
I saw an old battery maintainer at an auction sale not too long ago that held charge on eight batteries at a time. It came from an old service station and was used to keep the charge in new batteries. The cables from the charger were "branched" so that each battery had it's own seperate cables. There was a diode in the positive cable for each battery to prevent a shorted battery from taking all the charge and drawing down the other batteries. Might be something to think about, particularly when trying to maintain several used batteries.

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LOKI_130
MARINE ONBOARD CHARGERS ARE DESIGNED FOR THIS. I BOUGHT A 5 BANK CHARGER FROM WEST MARINE FOR $100.00 AND IT WILL CHARGE AND MAINTAIN THE BATTERIES IN PERFECT CONDITION. I JUST CUT OFF THE EYE TERMINALS AND REPLACED THEM WITH ALIGATOR CLIPS. THEY ALSO MAKE SMALL SINGLE BANK MAINTAINERS THAT YOU CAN INSTALL PERMANATLY ON YOUR TRACTOR, AND JUST PLUG IN WHEN YOU PARK IT. ALSO, MULTIPLE BATTERIES SHOULD NEVER BE CHARGED IN PARALEL. I DESIGNED AN 8 BATTERY SYSTEM FOR MY CABIN CRUISER AND DID ALOT OF RESEARCH, NEWER BATTERIES REQUIRE DIFFERENT RATES OF CHARGE, AT DIFFERENT STATES FOR THEM TO MAINTAIN PEAK PREFORMANCE. MANUFACTUERS ARE NOW RECOMENDING INSTALLING A CHARGE CONTROLLER BETWEEN THE ALTERNATOR AND AND BATTERIES ON DUAL SYSTEMS, SO EACH BATTERY GETS THE CURRENT IT NEEDS. IF YOU KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENT WILL SIT FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME, LOOK INTO MARINE "GEL" OR "FLOODED GLASS MAT" STARTING BATTERIES, (NOT DEEP CYCLE, AS THEY DON'T HAVE HIGH CRANKING AMPS) THEY ARE EXPENSIVE, BUT CAN HOLD A CHARGE FOR A VERY LONG TIME, EVEN IN EXTREME CONDITIONS.

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joshuaareed
Right now harbor freight tools has float chargers on sale for $4.98 with a coupon. or $7.98 without the coupon. It might be cheeper to just buy 5 of them. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=42292

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Juggler2
Here's how I wired up 3 grp27's on my travel trailer. My battery's are the same age, type, and size. Just ignore the inverter, and replace the converter with your "smart" battery charger. WARNING there is enough "juice" here to arch weld! Be careful, wear goggles, and respect those battery's! [IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v160/Juggler54/misc/my3batterybank.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v160/Juggler54/RVing/batterypics020.jpg[/IMG] Start off with all the battery's up to full charge, as Old Prospector said. The battery maintainer DeltaBravo recommends is a good one. But it will struggle with 5 battery's unless you start off with a full charge in all 5. I really don't think you'll be happy though, unless all 5 bat's are the same size.

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DMedal
Unless the batteries are identical in type and age, and already fully charged it won't work well to hook them up in parallel (where one charger does the whole stack). Even if identical a parallel bank won't last as long as a single battery. Invariably one cell will be a little different and the charge then winds up distributed unevenly. Moreso on long trickle charge than a short term high current charge up. If you want to leave them trickle all winter it would be worth it to go with one of the units described that handles multiples. But you shouldn't have any need to do so. Just charge em up good and stash it in a cool dry corner of the basement up here or garage where you live..

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bobjohn
Connecting high current batteries in parallel without proper isolation is very dangerous. The entire top of a battery can be blown away if a cell connector melts. And the acid can cause a lot of damage, including blindness. There are several ways of isolation, but a diode configuration is common with fuse protection. connecting two or more lead/acid batteries in par. without current limiting protection is inviting disaster, and I would suggest that it be changed. bob

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DMedal
quote:
Originally posted by bobjohn There are several ways of isolation, but a diode configuration is common with fuse protection. connecting two or more lead/acid batteries in par. without current limiting protection is inviting disaster, and I would suggest that it be changed. bob
Right on advice! Diodes in series with the charging current to each battery (assuming they are separate) and fuse in series with each before they connect in parallel. At work we use 100A and 200A fuses with the battery banks that keep systems running when the power goes out. No parallel connections happen without the fuses. This helps with two things: the problem Bob mentioned should a cell go bad. When the first cell in the array goes bad all the energy winds up going into that bad cell, and that bank has LOT of energy. I saw an electric car burnt to ashes from that kind of failure. Within about 5-10 seconds it was spraying boiling acid all over. The other thing it helps with is the arc welding if something pinches your hot cable maybe where it enters the camper. You don't often need the fuse but when you do, it is priceless. -Don

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bobjohn
One other bit on safety. the battery box should be contained on the top and sides and the bottom should be the weakest point, should an explosion occur. The box should not be sealed, to allow the gasses to escape during charging and discharging (as they will ignite with a flame or arc), and an opening in the bottom should be large enough for the boiling gasses to escape in case of a meltdown. bob

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