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#4537356 - 10/08/17 05:23 PM Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%)
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Vehicle: 2015 Legacy 2.5i, 33k miles (new to me as of a month or so ago)

Battery: Group 25 (pretty small, compared to the size of the tray)
-----Previous owner says it's stock and that she doesn't recall it ever dying

Battery Died: car was being worked on - had to be jumped when I picked it up 3 hrs later
-----Immediately drove home 25 minutes and pulled the battery for charging

Charger: Solar Pro-Logix PL2520 - Will charge at full amperage, then go into desulphate mode (~13.3VDC) then turns off
-----Read 12.8VDC when I hooked it up and 90% charged (yeah, right; surface charge)
-----Still charging at 14.5+VDC on 10A setting 3.5 hrs later, when I went to bed
-----Fully charged (charger turned off) and indicating 13.0VDC when I woke up the next morning
-----Between then and now I've tricked the charger into continuing by turning it off and then restarting it 3 times --> each time, the charger would indicate full within 10 minutes and switch to desulphation mode, which it would operate on for hours (I did not measure the exact time.)


Specific Gravity: while still on the charger @ 13.2VDC I checked the specific gravity with my cheapo hydrometer and found the following:

1. 1.237 (the hydrometer has a big gap between 1.225 and 1.250, so, by eyeball it was nearly halfway between the two)
2-5. ~ 1.265
6. 1.237 (by eyeball, it was closer to 1.250 than 1.225, but still in the unmarked space)


I also load-tested it:
https://youtu.be/kT5BCAVqHHc

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#4537371 - 10/08/17 05:46 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
I'm wondering if I should hookup my dumb charger and give it a good equalizing charge. The problem, is that it will creep up beyond 15+VDC and gas pretty aggressively, so I'd have to keep an eye on it.

I don't think I can equalize by tricking the smart charger to continue to charge @ 13.3VDC across all 6 cells, right?

Any recommendations?

Also, should I turn off the charger each time I check the SG?

Goal: Equalize each cell prior to placing the battery back in-service, if possible.
-----Now that I have my cheap hydrometer, I think I'll pull the 4 year-old battery in the Forester and do the same tomorrow.

I've been feeling very unwell for the past few weeks and, now that I think I'm past the hump, I want to knock out a bunch of chores that I haven't been able to tackle, like simple vehicle maintenance. Luckily for me, the oil change isn't due for another 1.5k and 4k for the Legacy and Forester, respectively.

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#4537388 - 10/08/17 06:12 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5744
Loc: Illinois
Fully charged should be around 1.265 per cell. Can be higher or lower but they should be even. If it's gassing there is too much current.
_________________________
2008 Hyundai Accent 1.6L 5 sp manual hatchback
2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Track 2L Turbo 6sp manual

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#4537395 - 10/08/17 06:24 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: SHOZ]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Originally Posted By: SHOZ
Fully charged should be around 1.265 per cell. Can be higher or lower but they should be even. If it's gassing there is too much current.


Like the title says, 4 out of 6 cells are fully charged, based on specific gravity. The two cells on each end of the battery are still low, 75-80% fully charged.

The battery will gas slightly while initially charging. Batteries will typically gas given an equalizing charge. This does NOT mean there is too much current, depending on the charge scheme.

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#4537438 - 10/08/17 07:16 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Ok, so I hooked up my dumb charger and found the following:

1. 6A Setting: Voltage rose to and stabilized out at 15.9VDC
-----2.65VDC/cell - likely higher for some of the cells
-----Too high

3. 2A Setting: Voltage lowered to and stabilized out at 14.40VDC
-----2.40VDC/cell
-----A little low for an equalizing charge, but it may work, and it's better than float voltage...

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#4537441 - 10/08/17 07:19 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
joeparker54 Offline


Registered: 04/25/17
Posts: 12
Loc: MI
a couple hours on a manual charger @ around 14.5-14.8V would be the best way to continue to try to recover - that or a pulse-type desulphating charger. Unfortunately, thats most likely the best you are going to get it on couple year old battery - it looks right in line with what i see most of the time.

What has most likely happened is that a small portion of the lead plates that were sulphated (discharged) has either been shed or broken/cracked off the rest of the plate. Once this happens, it's no longer part of the battery and there's no way to put it back - if electrical current doesn't pass through it, it doesn't shift back into lead, lead dioxide, and sulfuric acid - hence the lower gravity. Another way of looking at it is that those cells are approximately 20% worn.

Watched the video - First off, WOW - can't believe they only use a 360CCA battery. According to dekacatalog.com the OE battery is supposed to be a 490CCA. I don't see any special notes stating that it's anything special, but it might be built more like a dual purpose deep cycle (higher capacity, lower CCA) - a little googling has people saying its a 48AH, which is really high for such low CCA on a typical starting battery. Secondly, while the load tester you have does a great job of simulating starting load (under which, holding 10+ Volts is good), it doesn't tell you the whole story. I prefer a good ole fashion 800-1000A Carbon Pile load tester. There's plenty of batteries that pass a basic cranking test, but when you do a full 15-20 second load test, you can see them start to fail. Sometimes, if there's one or more weak cells, you can actually watch the voltage fall down in steps as they give out. EDIT - Just want to clarify I understand you're not trying to recover or diagnose a bad battery, just trying to get some weaker cells recovered - just throwing out as much info as I can because I'm bored as [censored].

On such a small CCA battery being used from the factory, I would expect to replace it in the next year or so depending on what your buying situation was - A LOT of wear and tear on factory batteries occurs in shipping and at the dealership before it even gets to you due to lack of driving to keep charged. BTW, I may be incorrect, but I would assume that the B5 sticker on the battery corresponds to February 2015.

LAST EDIT, I SWEAR - the two outside cells being the weakest is extremely common. I don't know why, but I would assume because they are the most exposed to heat and cold cycling.


Edited by joeparker54 (10/08/17 07:31 PM)

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#4537447 - 10/08/17 07:30 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
bbhero Offline


Registered: 03/20/15
Posts: 4616
Loc: Virginia
My thinking would be to possibly buy a larger battery with the correct polarity obviously. My car calls for a group 35 but a group 24 actually fits as well. If possible I bet you could a much better battery with much higher reserve capacity, and higher CCA as well.
_________________________
Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 5w30 Federated Auto 4612ex
"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."

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#4537453 - 10/08/17 07:37 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
joeparker54 Offline


Registered: 04/25/17
Posts: 12
Loc: MI
group 25 is pretty tiny - not a lot of options in that size. you could stick a group 26 in there but it's smaller. Otherwise, most any aftermarket replacement will have considerably higher CCA. The one I carry that covers 90%+ of the market is an extremely conservatively rated 550CCA and is made by East Penn (Deka - the best batteries period).

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#4537462 - 10/08/17 07:49 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: joeparker54]
bbhero Offline


Registered: 03/20/15
Posts: 4616
Loc: Virginia
Well a group 24 has the exact same height and width... Length is 10.3 long vs the group 25 at 9.1 inches long. So if the tray has the length available in extra room over 1.5 inches.. Group 24 would be a possibility here. I would bet that tray is just like mine was... It had more than enough length wise to fit a longer battery.
_________________________
Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 5w30 Federated Auto 4612ex
"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."

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#4537465 - 10/08/17 07:53 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
joeparker54,

Thank you for the great response.

1. I'll keep it on the dumb charger until I go to bed tonight, checking the voltage every 15 minutes to see if it creeps back too high. I'll then check and report back the specific gravities. It will be very interesting to see if the low cells raise or, if like you say, they're erroded to the point where it's simply not possible.

2. The Solar charger supposedly, when it finishes bulk-charging, the literature says it will sense if there is sulphation and extend charging to desulphate, as indicated by a blinking charger indicator. Voltage during this transition will shift from 14-15VDC to 13.2-13.4VDC (float charge.) The thing is, every time I trick the charger by turning it off and then back it will bulk charge for a very short period, but will enter and maintain a float charge for what seems like the same period of time.
-----So, it's obviously not that smart, if it completes the desulphation (float charge) cycle, but can be tricked into doing it again, over and over again.

3. Load test: yea, it's a very cheap tester and gives only a very rough picture of the battery's condition. For instance, I kept the four year-old battery out of my old Civic and it shows as "weak" using this load tester. Do you know where I could find a good carbon pile load tester? I'd like one of these. I'd like to also build my own power supply, so that I'm not trying to jury rig a situation in which I can get a proper voltage for equalization.

4. Subaru batteries are known for their comically low CCA. I've always wondered why, to be honest. I hope it's more about durability than them cheaping out. The battery in our Forester is now 4 years-old and does well, except during REALLY cold starts (e.g., -10F or lower).

5. I'm at the point, where I'll replace either battery at the first sign of slow cranking. I put my batteries on a charger every month or so to keep them topped up, but that doesn't amount to a hill of beans in most cases, since batteries don't play by our rules...

Originally Posted By: joeparker54
LAST EDIT, I SWEAR - the two outside cells being the weakest is extremely common. I don't know why, but I would assume because they are the most exposed to heat and cold cycling.


Haha, no worries. I honestly never knew the outer cells were commonly the lowest. Learned something new today, thank you!


Edited by gathermewool (10/08/17 07:55 PM)
Edit Reason: Read Joe's edited post

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#4537468 - 10/08/17 07:56 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: bbhero]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Originally Posted By: bbhero
My thinking would be to possibly buy a larger battery with the correct polarity obviously. My car calls for a group 35 but a group 24 actually fits as well. If possible I bet you could a much better battery with much higher reserve capacity, and higher CCA as well.


Originally Posted By: bbhero
Well a group 24 has the exact same height and width... Length is 10.3 long vs the group 25 at 9.1 inches long. So if the tray has the length available in extra room over 1.5 inches.. Group 24 would be a possibility here. I would bet that tray is just like mine was... It had more than enough length wise to fit a longer battery.


I asked the previous owner if she had the battery replaced, because the battery looked tiny in the tray! Turns out, group 25 is the stock size.

Group 24 will fit and is commonly what people use. I plan to use this when I replace the battery. If this thing gives me any trouble as it gets colder it's getting replaced with a group 24 immediately.

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#4537474 - 10/08/17 08:05 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
bbhero Offline


Registered: 03/20/15
Posts: 4616
Loc: Virginia
Good deal. I'm glad that the group 24 will work. I greatly respect your head work and trying to make the old battery work. I do think that's pretty cool. I just would likely not have the patience for it.
Ohh and I am glad that you are feeling better. I understand how that can be as well. I hope that you continue to do good and feel good to do what you like to and want too. So, I'm pulling for you BIGTIME in that.
_________________________
Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 5w30 Federated Auto 4612ex
"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."

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#4537490 - 10/08/17 08:26 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
bbhero,

Thanks, brother. The past few weeks have been pretty rough, but things are getting better. I've had great support from everyone around me, which has helped tremendously.

I typically spend way too much time on things I don't fully understand. Once I figure it out and find a good path forward I usually throttle way back.

In this case, I'm messing with the old battery on the weekends and my in-service batteries every so often to see how they respond. If my janky equalizing charge shows positive results I'll add it into my PM schedule somehow. Battery University says that an equalizing charge could be anywhere from monthly to every six month, but then goes on to say that it should be done if the specific gravity differs by 0.030, which sounds like a good plan to me. I'm currently at 0.028, which is why I thought it would be a good candidate for this test.

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#4537530 - 10/08/17 09:11 PM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5987
Well, it looks like my dumb charger, on the 2A setting, will lower voltage to 14.10VDC. So, that's too low for a proper equalizing charge, but I wonder if, over an extended period of time, it would provide some equalization. What do you guys think?

Does it make sense to leave the dumb charger on over night, so long as the voltage settles in the low 14's?

The 6A setting still raises the voltage to 15.9VDC very quickly, which I think is too high, even for short durations. Any suggestions on whether this high voltage will work if used in short bursts, or will it only result in excessive corrosion with no real benefit?

//

UPDATE: I only had time to check one cell, but the specific gravity seemed to not have changed. I probably should have had my wife take a picture from before to now to see, but it's still in the between area on the hydrometer, so not it hasn't risen much, if at all.

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#4537619 - 10/09/17 12:30 AM Re: Battery Specific Gravity (4 @ 100%, 2 <80%) [Re: gathermewool]
oilmutt Offline


Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 429
Loc: Connecticut 06033
Dont waist your time,go straight to Costco pick up AN, INTERSTATE BATTERY WITH AFULL 42momth free replacement.Costco is only second to REI when it comrs to returns,dont look BACK!
_________________________
'05 Chevy Malibu 6cyl,119k, Syn. Oil (owned)
'16 Toyota Camry,4cyl 25k Syn oil (leased)
'92 Ford Tempo ,4cly 26k Conv oil (managed)

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