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Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 8:41 AM

I bought a second battery for my boat about a year ago. I charged it up and installed it. I used the boat once then put it in storage. It's been sitting through two Arizona summers.

I've topped off the water and put it on the charger. Is there any thing else to do to restore the original power capacity of the battery?

Thanks.

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#1

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 8:51 AM

What type of battery is it? NI-CD/NI-MH/LI-ION? If it is Li-Ion, you must NOT let it fully discharge, or it will lose almost all it's capacity; if not all. For any type of battery that has not been used in a while, you could try some charge/discharge cycles, just remember if it is lithium, not to fully discharge

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 8:58 AM

Sorry, it's a 12 V lead acid deep cycle boat battery. Thought that would be obvious. That's what I get for thinking!

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 9:14 AM

Recharge the battery for at least 12 hours or until the battery tester hygrometer reads full charge.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 9:29 AM

Hygrometer? What's that? I'm off to purchase one. Mine broke a couple years ago and I haven't replaced it, yet?

Thanks, it's on the charger as I type.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 6:34 PM

Re: the hygrometer -

Be sure to wash it carefully if you're going to use it for home-brew as well .

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#7
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Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 7:18 PM

And, is the home brew ready when the hygrometer reads good, fair or recharge?

I'm sticking to store bought. I can't manufacture enough for personal use without a commercial brewers license, so why bother?

I've sucked little bits of black debris from top of the battery cells as I tested it. I'm hoping it's just plastic from the battery case.

Cheers.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 7:42 PM

" ... when the hygrometer reads good, fair or recharge?"

If it reads any more that "recharge" when you start the brew, then God help you if it gets anywhere near fermenting out all the sugars!

Using ABV ≈ 133(OG - FG), you're looking at ≈ 16%!

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#12
In reply to #8

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 12:35 AM

All these posts and no one has mentioned that a hygrometer is for measuring humidity. All of you really mean hydrometer, which is for measuring fluid density or specific gravity.

I just used mine to verify that my sugar has dropped from 35 to 20% - got to keep it fermenting a while longer - it will be a sweet wine!

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#13
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Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 3:42 AM

- should've known better - slap on wrist - blame it on rusty grey matter.

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#21
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Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 7:42 PM

Oh, that.

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#30
In reply to #7

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/28/2009 1:38 PM

200 gallons per year?? Thats alot of beer. Frankly, if I needed more, I would just keep my mouth shut about it. Of course one does not buy beer... he only rents it.

Just for general knowlege of the group... a hygrometer measures water content of air. A hydrometer measures the specific gravity of a liquid.

Bill

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#20
In reply to #2

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 3:10 PM

A battery is just a way to store energy with a bucket of chemicals. Batteries hate warm temperatures and will self discharge quicker in warm climates. Also, conventional lead acid batteries, even so called deep discharge ones, should never be deep discharged as full rated recharged capacity will be severely compromised. A good rule of thumb for house batteries is never drop below 75 percent of the battery's amp-hour rated capacity. I have a boat in Florida and it seems like every three years my batteries just konk out and need to be replaced. Batteries up north seem to last forever.

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#6

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 6:57 PM

Best battery investment I ever made was getting a "battery tender" style charger/maintainer. (I have the 1.5A Yuasa Smart -Shot).

I refreshed two batteries that my regular charger failed to revive.

 

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 11:55 PM

And, in your location, a solar maintainer charger might be ideal. For deep cycle boat batteries, the best option for long term storage is to disconnect the battery from the circuit by removing the ground (negative polarity) cable and using a maintainer (trickle) charger to maintain full charge or, periodically charge the battery during storage. Storage in this manner almost guarantees a long battery life.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 12:06 AM

"And, in your location, a solar maintainer charger might be ideal."

Yes, I had solar chargers on both batteries. The problem with them is that they accumulate dirt/sand/bird do/etc. and require periodic cleaning, which I didn't do. The output falls off rapidly if left unattended.

People like me shouldn't own a boat.

Thanks.

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#17
In reply to #10

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 12:48 PM

GA from me.

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#29
In reply to #10

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/28/2009 8:31 AM

After reviewing the GA in this thread, I added a GA for your and Pantaz's posts. The new battery tenders which supply programmed charge & load discharge cycles are amazing. My son uses them and swears by their performance. I thought that these suggestions should stand out for future reviewers.

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#9

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/25/2009 11:14 PM

The kicker is going to be the two Arizona summers. Batteries do not like elevated temperatures. The black floaters are not a good sign. If you are really desperate about saving this battery for whatever reason, your best bet may be to try completely changing the acid, although I suspect your plates are pretty well sulphated at this point...

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#14
In reply to #9

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 5:52 AM

Charlie Warner has it pretty much on the button. Internal discharge is a direct function of temperature, thus Lynn must put a trickle charge on for summer storage.

One way out of the current problem, although not a complete solution, is to equalise the battery. This means charge it up to 15.5V and allow it to gas vigorously for a few hours (about 4hrs should be enough). It knocks the sulphate off the plates and will restore some of it's former glory, but it will never be what it should have been.

Needless to say this should be done in a well ventilated space as the gas given off is highly explosive. No sparks, no smoking.

If, as is almost certain, sulphation is the problem then the hydrometer will tell you little. The reason for this is that the electrolyte is in a charged condition but the sulphation will not allow it sufficient access to the plates. You should see a correctly charged battery voltage,12.6V @20ºC but it will fall off immediatly you attempt to put a load on.

regards

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#15

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 10:51 AM

Personally I would never trust a lead acid battery that has been left for a long period in an uncharged state and allowed to sulphate, you could end up stranded thinking you had full capacity when in reality the baterry is knackered, invest in a new one.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 11:35 AM

Very valid point Lemmy,

I was assuming that this battery was for service load (house battery in US parlance) since Lyn states it is deep cycle battery which would not normally be used for starting the engine(s). I woul also guess that it is a lake boat as Arizona is landlocked and is at least 150 miles from the ocean.

Chas

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#18

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 12:55 PM

When you buy the replacement battery.....you have some good advice here.

I take my battery into the cellar from our caravan, i can look after it much better there.....make up a transport box and get the muscles in training!!!

Do not use a normal "cheap" charger on the new battery, they ruin batteries every day of the year.... you need one that shuts off well before gassing starts....

As you can see, I think you need a new battery.....

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 1:29 PM

Andy-Help, help, I use car batteries for my backup system here in the tropics. I have a cheap charger, it drops off amps as the battery charges, but they do get warm. I don't see a lot of bubbles. My truck battery died in one cell just because I left it dead for a while when my back was out. Really dead I presume, won't come up. Another battery only has surface charge, all cells show good electrolyte, but no real longevity. Deep cycle batteries cost a fortune here, gel cells no cheaper, a good car battery $100. I have a maintainer, do I use it to bring up a discharged battery?

My backup system is a 450AT ups (APC) with a computer fan to keep it cool, and the car battery hooked up to where the gel was. It protects my computer, tv, vcr, etc. from the power company here that has no shame.

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#25
In reply to #19

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/27/2009 7:56 AM

A good charger, with a cut off at say 13.4 volts is simply a must for ANY LA or SLA Battery.

Not "Over" discharging, even if a deep cycle battery, is also a good idea.....car batteries are very sensitive to being below 12.6 volts for any length of time, sulfation starts below 12.6 volts.

I personally would only use a Gel battery where I did not have the possibility to get rid of any gas. Before anyone says it, even SLA batteries can gas under bad circumstances, they have a safety valve to make sure that they cannot explode...!!

I have heard good reports for some years about these small electronic units that are placed across the battery (permanently) and that using the battery power (a tiny amount), give it a high voltage "jolt" every few seconds. I have one over the caravan battery, the battery works like new and it is a 5 year old, unsealed deep cycle battery that rarely gets deep cycled....120 AH..

But whether this battery "saver" has helped or not I cannot categorically say, sorry.....

Car batteries are very sensitive and need to be recharged immediately. They are made in a special way to give high "Cranking" amps......not for deep discharge.

In the RN we learnt how to recover a failed battery, but its complicated and dagerous and you need a properly designed workshop, proper clothes, equipment and safety equipment.....also modern batteries do not lend themselves on an individual cell basis for either testing or repair....

If I can help further just ask.

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#22

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/26/2009 7:47 PM

This Battery zapper workes for me, a cheap soloution to revitilize lead acid batteries, if this does not do it nothing will other than bying a new battery and looking after it, trickle charge etc, never let the go dead flat.

http://www.siliconchip.com.au/cms/A_104827/article.html

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#23

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/27/2009 1:01 AM

How long did you charge it for?

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#24

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/27/2009 6:31 AM

The Lead Acid batteries must be stored in the form of Dry charged.

What dry charge means is as follows :

First you should fully recharge te battery prior storing. ( Check the acid density to know if fully charged.(1.6 Kg/L) or more

Then remove entire electrolyte in the battery box and eliminate it in accordance with the local limitations.

Leave the plugs open and let the Plumb electrodes inside the battery to dry for a while.

Then place the plugs on the box and keep all in a weather proof nylon bag.

Now the battery is dry charged You can store it for a few years.

Whenever you like to put the battery in the service, you must add fresh electrolyte in the recommended density (such as1.6 Lt/kg).

The battery will be ready to feed an engine starter for a few attempt.

However an extra trickle charge could be useful.

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/27/2009 7:59 AM

I always wondered how a battery was "Dry charged" now I know! Thanks.

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/27/2009 11:42 AM

Why do you suggest discarding the the electrolyte? Couldn't it just be stored in an appropriate container, and returned to the battery when needed?

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/28/2009 6:26 AM

Of course, the electrolyte can be used later. It is the same chemical. However it appears dirty in general.

During the electrolyte is boiling (During charge and discharge) , or during transportation (vehicle batteries) , some remnants of the Plumb Sulphur is soften and got drop down from the plates. They form a sedimented clay at the dip of the battery box. Therefore used and removed electrolyte is always brownish dirty. It's not a good idea to store it in a container and use again in the next service time. Fresh electrolyte is not expensive.

I also strictly advise to wash the inside of the battery with (soft) hot water just after the electrolyte is removed. This rinsing operation will clean the clay of remnants below the plates. This clay is conductive and the cause of battery self discharge even not in use. You can also estimate the remaining battery amp/h capacity. Capacity decreases by the sedimented clay of plumb, of which is seperated out from the plates. (Plates are getting thinned because of the sedimentation during strong (Quick) charges and vibrations of the off roads.)

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/28/2009 3:15 PM

Very interesting. I'll experiment with some sick batteries I have. One has one dead cell, it only reads 10.5 volts, and the electrolyte in the last cell is much weaker than the rest. I left it totally discharged for a week, my back was out. What happened to the electrolyte in that cell? Would replacing that electrolyte help renew the battery? I can get new electrolyte at the hardware store. What is that liquid that is sold not as electrolyte, but as battery rejuvenator? I usually buy distilled water for topping off.

The second battery shows 12.5 volts, but doesn't put out for very long. The electrolyte measures ok (I only have one of those five floating ball testers). It ran my monitor ok for a test, but won't drive other stuff very long.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/28/2009 5:31 PM

Hi Mike

Manufacturers are always recommend to top off the batteries only with distilled (pure) water.
Water evaporates (not acid) and you top it off with pure water.
Pls. bear in mind, When you add water, the electrolyte,in the battery cell is diluted. Therefore density of the acid/water mixture will dropdown.
The needed sulphur content, to convert water into H2So4(acid) is existing in the active material, in the (cages) of the battery plates.
When you charge the topped battery, the density of the mixture increases again. It shows acid formation, because acid is heavier than the water. It would rise up to 1.6 Kg/l or 28 Baume. At that point you may consider the battery is fully charged. You can check it by using a suction type of hydrometer (We call it Areometer)
All I said above is valid for normal Lead Acid batteries. Not for problem batteries.
In some cases one or more cells of the battery does not accept charging. (Such as your case) Then we call it "One cell is dead"
Emptying the battery case, washing and rinsing with hot water to remove the clay formation at the bottom of the battery case, and filling with fresh Water/acid solution (Not pure water at this time) can be temporarily useful sometime. This single cell can be charged seperately at that point for one time to reach the correct voltage. We call that balance charging.
However never think you have repaired your battery by this way.
In reality the problem is at the active material in the plates. It appears no acid formation could be achieved. Because there is no sulphur content remaining at the plates.
The plates are in the form of Pb cages and the active chemical is pressed inside those cages to save more surface connecting with liquid (electrolyte.) When the liquid level is low, they connect with oxygene in the air. This is an irreversible reaction. Thefore oxidized partitions are dead. You can only use below portions of the plates by refreshing the electrolyte. Of course the cell's amp/hour capacity decreases accordingly.
On the other hand, strong currents, passing from the plates during engine starting are creating mechanic stresses, causing some active material, to loose and dropdown from the cages. They are sedimented below the liquid. They are conductive and discharing the plates from night to morning. Internal resistances of those cells get higher, to limit the passing amps, and also get warmer.
Hope above information is useful.
Regards
Nezih.

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 4:07 AM

Well put.

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#33
In reply to #28

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/28/2009 5:32 PM

The sediment will, if it reaches the bottom of the plates, short out that cell.....a common fault on car batteries that have not have correct usage/maintenance.

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#44
In reply to #28

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/31/2009 12:53 AM

Plus, there might not be enough...and it's critical that the electrolyte filling process not be interrupted for any reason...including rushing to the battery store to purchase another (plastic) container-full when the first container runs short.

And, the electrolyte (H2SO4) is cheap...as in, inexpensive enough that purchasing new is better than the hassle of storing old fluid...better to let the store (and the recycler) store the stuff instead.

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#34

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/28/2009 7:40 PM

I gave nezihozfirat a GA for the excellent post 32.

However the advice may be valid for a company suitably equipped to deal with the electrolyte but it is not very advisable to try these restoration methods at home. One or two drops of acid on your clothes will ruin them and remove all profit from attempting to save a lost cause anyway.

http://www.abbey-chemicals.co.uk/MSDS/BATTERY%20ACID%20MSDS.pdf

regards

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#40
In reply to #34

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 9:42 AM

Capblanc is very right. Thanks for the reminder.

Dealing with pure powerful acids is the business of chemists, of which are well acquainted, having proper background. Otherwise severe burn and hazards may occur.

Especially dealing with pure smoking Suphuric acid is like playing with a smoking gun.

Exposing pure acid with water causes splashing and you may lose your eyes or you can burn yourself.

What we are speaking in this forum is the Battery Electrolyte, the diluted form (30% acid to 70& pure water). This is less harmful, if you use eye protecting goggles and surgeon type rubber gloves.

I have damaged many of my Jeans even I know this. It is not remarkable immediately. But a week later you can see small holes on the cloth.

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#35

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 3:51 AM

Let's deal with your immediate problem: a deep-cycle battery gone dead from overlong storage of the battery itself.

It's going to take a considerable amperage for a considerable duration (as defined in a moment) in order to get your battery going, charging up to full charge in any reasonable amount of time. While there are home (12V) chargers with deep cycle setting these are inadequate for the battery restoration you require. But, commercial automated (computer controlled) battery testers-chargers of the kind that would get it done are not within the $means of a home user...but are available to home users of batteries through numerous, major chain auto-parts outlets and battery distributors--and the benefit of their use is free!

You need to approach the solution like this:

Take the battery in to your auto parts store (something like Auto Zone, for example) and tell them you would like the battery tested to see it it's okay, but...but the battery is discharged so would they be kind enough to charge it first so it can be tested....if you leave the battery with them until tomorrow? They will agree. (They hope to sell a battery...or have you come back when you need a battery.)

The next day, at the appointed time, return to see if the battery has completed charged and has been load tested. If charged only, they can load test it in just a few moments while you wait.

More likely than not your battery will test out in fine condition.

If you ask them to check the amperage setting (which is self setting under computer control) on their charger, you are likely to find that 60, 70...and more amps was required over at least several hours, perhaps 6 or more up to almost a day. Examine the battery for any fluid (electrolyte) overflow and ask them to clean it up before you take it home.

Hence forth, if the battery is discharged turning the prop, or simply by sitting, be sure to charge it up periodically (say, monthly or not less than bi-monthly) using an automatic charger with deep cycle setting that you will purchase. If you buy a hygrometer, you are likely not to use if much if at all, and the specific gravity means of testing is not always that reliable...compared with simply getting your battery sales store test it for you. There are also handheld load testers which don't cost much...probably better than hygrometer...but, in either case, testing specific gravity of electrolyte or load testing better will only be effective on a fully charged battery.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 3:59 AM

Another thing: "topping off" the water (by which I assume is meant, adding distilled (not spring) water to the full lines) is advisable only to the degree needed to just cover the plates...but no more to the caps as used to be done.

If you did fill it up to the cap tubes, it is likely to have overflowed during charging at the store. So it's more likely you will need to let the battery come to room temperature (it will be very warm if they just took it off the charger) before wiping it and transporting it in your vehicle.

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#38
In reply to #36

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 4:10 AM

If a battery leaks, just wiping off is not enough, the acid needs to be neutralized in some way as well......

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 9:18 AM

Exactly. The Sulphuric acid , spilled anywhere must be neutralized.

The most common stuff is Caustic Soda. It is an alcaline. Mixing Soda with acid is simply resulting a neutral Salt,

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Anonymous Poster
#41
In reply to #38

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 4:03 PM

Was referring to overflow, not leak, but, otherwise point well taken. Since baking soda for neutralizing electrolyte (H2SO4) overflow is not likely to be available at the merchant location, wiping excess with paper towels might be the only ready option; take along a plastic box, like a litter box, to ensure protection of car during battery transport. (Also, the part about not transporting hot battery is noteworthy, since some electrolyte near the fillers cover will be drawn back inside as the cells cool.) Once home, a wet paste of water and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) can be wiped over the battery (do not remove filler covers/caps), followed by a general rinsing and wiping dry of the battery case. If desired, wet the "clean" battery case and lightly sprinkle baking soda over it: to neutralize any remaining acid; or to ensure all acid removed...by the fact that the baking soda does not react to (does not foam up) remaining aced...followed by re-rinsing the (baking soda off of) the battery.

Nuff said? Thanks (to both of you) for the insightful correction.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/29/2009 4:22 PM

Hey, folks are paying extra money for jeans with holes eaten or cut into them. I'm considering the damage 'value added'.

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#43

Re: Recharging a new/old battery

10/30/2009 12:33 AM

Thanks to one and all for the excellent advice. I didn't find any advice that I'd say was off base.

I've made a command decision, and am buying a new battery for the boat.

I'm putting the old boat battery on my flat bed trailer to supply power to the winch, now running off the vehicle battery. That lets me run smaller wiring back from the alternator to the remote battery.

Thanks for the intelligent responses.

Lyn

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