My story of three year old batteries and Lifesaver

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  #1  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:14 AM
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Default My story of three year old batteries and Lifesaver

I recently bought a 2002 Club Car DS series cart. The batteries are about 3 years old, stamped C8. The batteries are Trojan T875s and appear to be well cared for, or at least prettied up for sale. The cart was a fair price at $2050 and I assumed it would soon need a new battery pack. I start this thread to share my experiences to date with this pack. I am no expert, but do have a multimeter and a hydrometer. I hope I learn something along the way, if you have thoughts I would love to hear them. One of the best ways to learn is to be corrected by someone with more experiences.

In addition, this thread will continue for a bit as I test out the Battery LifeSaver. I have always to try one, but would never spend money on one . A friend and neighbor lent me his to try out. Info here:

http://www.batterylifesaver.com/

More to come...
  #2  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:33 AM
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Default Battery delsulfator

This is great! Can't wait to see your data. AJ You have 8 6 volt batteries right?
By the time I we make it to TV, buying an electric cart will be a breeze.

Good luck.
  #3  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:33 AM
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Default State of the original three year old pack

Once or twice a year I take a look at my cart's battery packs. It is a good way to spot trends in the pack. When I took ownership of this 02 CC, it went through the same tests. The tests were performed on March 6, 2011. These tests are very formal, requiring my lab assistant Caly and a cold beverage....

My test:
  • Fully charge overnight.
  • Let cart sit for 10 hours after charge has completed
  • Take voltage readings of all cells
  • Take SG readings of all cells
  • Drive cart 10ish miles, taks voltage readings of each battery
  • Drive cart 10ish more miles, take voltage readings of each battery

First voltage check:
1-8.43, 2-8.46, 3-8.42, 4-8.41, 5-8.48, 6-8.42, pack-50.6
First SG readings:
Battery number 3 had readings of 1.17, 1.25, 1.25, 1.26
All the other batteries had cells around 1.25-1.26

After a 10 mile ride, pretty much full throttle:
1-8.32, 2-8.33, 3-8.30, 4-8.31, 5-8.37, 6-8.32, pack-49.9
I then did some stuff around the house for 45 minutes or so and headed out on another ride for 16 miles, so after a total of 26 miles my final voltage:
1-8.00, 2-8.00, 3-7.95, 4-8.01, 5-8.05, 6-8.01, pack-47.9
Pretty good pack based on my first impressions.
  #4  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by aljetmet View Post
This is great! Can't wait to see your data. AJ You have 8 6 volt batteries right?
By the time I we make it to TV, buying an electric cart will be a breeze.

Good luck.
That is my other Club Car. It will get tested before I head north....

This one has 6 Trojan T875s
  #5  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:44 AM
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AJ
I am interested in what results you get with this. I bought a used 2005 Club Car in 2007. The batteries went bad right away. Club Car replaced them under warranty in Nov. 2007. I did maint. for a living and have taken very good care of the batteries. They are now 3 1/2 years old and with multimeter and hydrometer still appear in very good shape. Seems maybe speed is down some, but not bad. I recorded readings when new and use them to compare. Voltage is down some, but all cells still float 4 balls. This is one of the 4, 12 volt battery systems, and I am amazed they have lasted this long. Was impressed by with your changing the 6/8 system to a 8/6. Keep us posted.
  #6  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ajbrown View Post
These tests are very formal, requiring my lab assistant Caly and a cold beverage....
I am applying for the position of assistant to the assistant. I can supply ice for the beverages and biscuits for the assistant. I am available for service on or after October 2011. thank you and have a nice day.
  #7  
Old 05-07-2011, 09:40 AM
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Default The original pack not quite as good as hoped

Based on the numbers, I now know I have a pack that charges to about 90% and I can drive 26 miles before discharging the pack way too far.

Looks to me like this battery pack will be fine until next fall........... sure it will be .

Around April 28, I noticed a drop in performance. I went up to my Dad's in Chatham and back home. I would guess this is about 18 miles round trip. As I was about 3/4 the way home I noticed the voltmeter would drop significantly under load. Something that looked very different to me.

I charged the pack overnight and late the next day took some readings and ran my previous test:

First voltage check post charge:
1-8.40, 2-8.42, 3-8.32, 4-8.38, 5-8.43, 6-8.40, pack-50.3
First SG readings:
Battery number 3 had readings of 1.10, 1.25, 1.25, 1.26
All the other batteries had cells around 1.25-1.26
As I want to learn, I continued my voltage test even though I had a suspect battery....

After a 10 mile ride, pretty much full throttle:
1-8.24, 2-8.26, 3-8.07, 4-8.24, 5-8.29, 6-8.26, pack-49.4
I then did some stuff around the house for 45 minutes or so and headed out on another ride for 10 miles, so after a total of 20 miles my final voltage:
1-8.14, 2-8.15, 3-5.66, 4-8.13, 5-8.18, 6-8.14, pack-46.5
I have now confirmed two ways I have a shorted cell in battery three in the pack by both the voltage after load and the SG readings......

Of course my wife's sisters will arrive on May 6th and the must have a cart, which I am being reminded of hourly and I sure do not want to spend money on batteries before I head home..... Houston, Alan has a problem
  #8  
Old 05-09-2011, 09:26 AM
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Default Sorry, this is long and boring....

Of course it is boring, what did you expect, it is about golf cart batteries for goodness sake

I have only owned electric carts since buying a place in TV in 2007 and knew zero when I got my first cart. With the first cart, when the range decreased I looked at the batteries and said. I guess I need a new set. I will never know the exact reason I needed a new pack, did I discharge too much, did I have a bad battery, etc? They were three years old, so I just forked over $725+ for 8-6 volt batteries.

This time I know more than a fifth grader (but not much) from reading sites like this or:
http://www.buggiesgonewild.com/
http://server1.buggiesunlimited.com/...forum.php?f=11
It is amazing the number of threads that address these issues every day. Range, how deep to discharge versus life, testing, etc. Please understand, I am not an expert, just relaying my experience. When I use words like “my thinking is” you could easily replace them with “my guess is”.

Back to my issue. I have one bad battery and five that have the potential to go 25+ miles without discharging the pack too greatly. I am headed north soon and I sure do not wish to buy a new pack for $625 and as importantly I have sister-in-laws en route.

My Dad is currently rebuilding a CC to hold 8-6 volt batteries so he has a few 8 volt batteries in the garage and offers one to me. FYI, my Dad is smarter than a fifth grader and most anyone else I know and at 79 years young to be stripping a cart down to the frame, moving batteries, designing a space for two new batteries, adding a lift kit, rewiring the entire 12 volt system, etc. is inspiring IMO .

I get my Dad’s battery home and see that it is stamped E5. Ok, beggars cannot be choosers, but six years old Dad? It has 8.01 volts. I drive the cart around for a bit to discharge the other batteries, then I replace the bad battery with Dad’s in the pack. After a full charge cycle, the five are holding voltages of 8.38 – 8.43, about 90%. Dad’s battery is only at 8.11

My thinking is that the charge cycle is too short for this battery as it starts out with a much less voltage than the other five. At this time I do not even know if this battery can hold a charge. I decide to try something I have never done before by charging that battery individually. I borrow a friend’s 12 volt Diehard charger and refer to some threads on buggiesgonewild.com. It is my goal to charge this battery by itself to see if it can hold a charge over 8.40 volts. Some things I knew or learned:
  • It is ok to charge an 8 volt battery with a 12 volt charger.
  • You do not need to remove the battery from the pack.
  • You can check the voltage while charging
  • You should charge it with lowest amp setting on the charger. This charger had a 2 amp setting
  • Set the charger to manual
  • Monitor for heat, check the wires, check the battery case (do not just let run while you go to happy hour!!)

In my case the charger and charger wires got somewhat hot. Nothing that was worrisome. The battery case never had a heat issue. My goal was to get the battery up to 10+ volts during charge. When I started I would only charge for about 30 minutes. As I got more confident, I allowed to run for an hour while I monitored. I did not document how many times I did this, but eventually the battery was reading 10 volts while on the charger. My guess would be around 3 hours of charging. In the end, I never could get the battery to hold more than 8.21 volts (less than 70%), so this is not going to be a solution for me.

I now wonder if battery dealers have used batteries. It makes sense to me that they should, as most folks replace a pack like mine and there are 5 batteries that have some value left. I call the two local big name battery folks. Battery Boys was one of them and they had some in stock. They charge $50 for the used one if I bring my dead one to their shop. Terrific guys, but as I mention to Dave, I question the intelligence of anyone that selects black as a shirt color for a business in Florida. Black is for solar collectors, not guys working outside . Battery Boys are now on my short list, good guys, good business. I found them on TOTV and the experience was all positive.

I drop the used US Battery into my Trojan pack and head out for a ride. This is better already as six batteries are sharing the load. I can see the difference in the battery meter on the dash as heavy load does not move the needle hard left. I allowed the new battery a couple of charge cycles, then I took numbers as I always do:

After charging and resting 9 hours:
8.42, 8.45, 8.46 (used), 8.42, 8.46, 8.41, Total: 50.62
Immediately after 11 mile ride
8.31, 8.32, 8.29 (used), 8.31, 8.36, 8.32, Total: 49.91
Immediately after additional 14 miles (total 25)
8.11, 8.11, 8.07 (used), 8.10, 8.15, 8.12, Total: 48.66
Rest 45 minutes after ride
8.17, 8.18, 8.17 (used), 8.16, 8.21, 8.16, Total: 49.05
Now I have a pack I can test the Battery Life Saver on……..

Last edited by ajbrown; 05-09-2011 at 12:49 PM.
  #9  
Old 05-09-2011, 10:40 AM
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Default batteries

AJ
Your doing great!

Lot's of great info and a tip for that one battery that goes bad!

By the time I come down you'll be a guru and I'm just sopping this up.

Have a great a summer.
  #10  
Old 05-09-2011, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ajbrown View Post
Now I have a pack I can test the Battery Life Saver on..
Anxiously awaiting your report of your experience with the Battery Life Saver ...

John
  #11  
Old 05-09-2011, 01:48 PM
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Great information AJ. I wish I had the nerve to take my streetrod apart and add two batteries when the time comes to purchase new.

I just ordered a Datel Digital Voltage Gauge from Scottyb's Carts Unlimited. Mounts in dash and gives a constant accurate pack voltage digital read out. There's a lot of information about the guage on Buggies Gone Wild. With this guage you would be able to tell, according to the chart put out by Trojan, exactly where you are on battery usage. In other words be able to tell when the pack is near 50% discharge etc. I'm hopeing the digital guage will be better than the yellow warning light or the red and green colored needle guage.
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Last edited by dgammon6; 05-11-2011 at 09:01 AM.
  #12  
Old 05-09-2011, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dgammon6 View Post
I just ordered a Datel Digital Voltage Gauge from Scottyb's Carts Unlimited. Mounts in dash and gives a constant accurate pack voltage digital read out. There's a lot of information about the guage on Buggies Gone Wild. With this guage you would be able to tell, according to the chart put out by Trojan, exactly where you are on battery usage. In other words be able to tell when the pack is near 50% discharge etc. I'm hopeing the digital guage will be better than the yellow warning light or the red and green colored needle guage.
Great thing to have, IMO much better than the meters you mention. I have read alot about it. Look forward to seeing it installed.

I often ride down the street with my volt meter alligator clipped to the pack or one suspect battery. A suspect battery will really show its colors pulling out of a tunnel. The problem is I need to get out of the cart, clip the meter into another battery to compare.

What I need is a nine voltmeter panel, can view up to eight batteries and the pack total at once
  #13  
Old 05-11-2011, 08:41 AM
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Default BLS installed, now we wait.....

If you thought the previous posts were dry, you have not seen anything yet. As I start to collect data, I came to the realization, I am no scientist, I am just a guy in a garage with a multi meter. Scientist are meticulous about tests and observations. My initial collection techniques have a flaw. As you may know, batteries build up a surface charge during charging. This charge can take up to 12 hours post charging to dissipate. Measuring a batteries voltage right after charging will give voltages higher than the actual capacity of the battery. You need to wait at least 12 hours for an accurate reading or at least take a sample at the same time. In my initial readings which follow in this post, I have waited a long period of time post charge, but I do not know how long The Villages Florida. I can say, the charger is off and cool at 7 AM and I took the voltages after 4 PM. This is a mistake which I will rectify for future readings with the Battery Life Saver (BLS). I will collect voltages through the day to look for trends. The important numbers will be voltages after a ride with my LAB assistant. I am sharing these numbers with the technical folks from BLS for advice.

All voltages below are 8.xx, I am only showing the two digits (xx) to the right of the decimal point for the individual batteries in these charts.

May 4, 2011 Voltages after charge, cart has sat 9+ hours
Code:
??:?? pm             42     45     46     42     46     41     50.6
Battery Lifesaver Installed on May 4 after usage and before overnight charge

May 5, 2011 Voltages after charge, cart has sat 9+ hours
Code:
??:?? pm             43     46     47     42     47     42     50.6
May 7, 2011 Voltages after charge, cart has sat 9+ hours
Code:
??:?? pm             43     45     46     41     47     42     50.6
May 9, 2011 Voltages after charge, cart has sat 9+ hours
Code:
??:?? pm             37     40     39     35     42     37     50.2
No conclusion drawn here. The problem is, exactly when did I take the May 5 and 7 readings compared to the May 9 readings? In theory, this could cause an issue, although 4 tenths of a volt is quite a swing that I would not expect. I am suspicious that the BLS is pulling the voltage down during the day, but I have been told the amp draw is very low. I have no evidence of this yet and will save that test for later.

Now we wait.......

Last edited by ajbrown; 05-11-2011 at 11:30 AM.
  #14  
Old 05-12-2011, 08:26 AM
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Default BLS has been installed for a week.

All voltages are 8.xx, I am only showing the two digits (xx) to the right of the decimal point for the individual batteries in these charts.


May 10, 2011 Voltages after overnight charge taken throughout the day
Code:
07:30 am             41     44     43     40     46     41     50.5
10:30 am             40     43     42     39     45     40     50.4
12:45 pm             39     42     42     39     44     40     50.4
03:30 pm             39     41     41     38     43     39     50.3
May 11, 2011 Voltages after overnight charge taken throughout the day
Code:
08:30 am             40     43     43     37     45     41     50.5
10:30 am             40     42     42     39     44     40     50.4
02:00 pm             39     42     41     37     44     40     50.4
04:30 pm             38     41     41     37     43     39     50.3
ROAD TRIP! The Villages Florida

Miles are being measured by a free Black Berry application called GPSlogger. I then verify by looking at google maps.


First jaunt was 9.14 miles. Voltages taken as soon as possible upon arrival.
Code:
28     30     28     28     33     30     49.7
Second leg was about an hour later and was 16.25 miles.
Code:
06     07     05     06     12     09     48.3
48.3 is as far as I would like to ever discharge a pack of mine. I am very happy with 25 miles. In addition, the pack seems pretty balanced which is good. I can draw no conclusion yet about the affect of the BLS. Last night's numbers in fact look worse than the ride before the BLS. 48.3 now versus 48.6 then (see end of post #8). There are many factors involved in a range test like this, so we still will collect data and watch for trends.
  #15  
Old 05-27-2011, 05:41 AM
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Default BLS still churning......

I wanted folks to know, the BLS is still in this cart and working away. The BLS was installed on May 4 and has been doing its thing for over three weeks. As of yesterday, I have not seen any measurable difference in the battery pack. I am in contact with a gentleman at BLS updating him with information I gather. He is extremely responsive and interested in results; it is clear he believes in this process. At this time he is of the opinion that some packs react differently and take longer.

I shared with him that the only measurable difference that matters to me is how far the cart can travel before the pack is at 48 volts. I will continues to use this as my true measure of success.

I have one more month to complete this test.

Alan

Last edited by ajbrown; 05-27-2011 at 05:48 AM. Reason: dummy typer
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