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Inverter issues


Utopia
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Good morning. I recently replaced my batteries and they work fine running the 12v devices but when I switch to my Victron inverter just charging a laptop drains the batteries in about 5 minutes. Before I would easily get a couple of hours of 240v power before any issues. The solar panels charge the batteries fine and I have a battery monitor so can see I am fully charged. I am not running anything else on the 240v. Just trying to charge a laptop. Am I missing something or doing something dumb?

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More info required:

 

Make and model of Victron (it may be a charger inverter that is set to charge the batteries from the batteries).

 

Make and model of battery monitor - some tell downright lies that ruin batteries unless the owner really understands them and sets them up properly or ignores certain display modes.

 

Battery voltage about half an hour after dark or about an hour after all charging has been switched off or otherwise stopped.

 

 

Edited to add: Jen beat me to it, You may now guess two of us suspect you are being mislead by your monitor and may have ruined your new batteries.

 

Edited by Tony Brooks
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3 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Welcome to the forum. A couple of questions for you. What sort of battery monitor do you have? Make/model? How does it tell you the batteries are fully charged? Tail current, or a charge % indication?

Jen

Battery monitor is BM-1

 

Inverter is Victron Phoenix Multiplus 12V 1600/70

Just now, Utopia said:

Battery monitor is BM-1

 

Inverter is Victron Phoenix Multiplus 12V 1600/70

Forgot to add % indicator for monitor

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7 minutes ago, Utopia said:

Battery monitor is BM-1

 

Inverter is Victron Phoenix Multiplus 12V 1600/70

Forgot to add % indicator for monitor

Then you have probably killed your batteries. The percentage mode is complete bollocks. You must use amps going in and voltage to ensure you are fully charged. If you are relying only on solar you may not be getting what you need, how much solar have you? 

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4 minutes ago, Utopia said:

Battery monitor is BM-1

 

Inverter is Victron Phoenix Multiplus 12V 1600/70

Forgot to add % indicator for monitor

 

That is almost certainly the problem unless you really understand how to set up, use and re-set that monitor. The % charged scale in most boaters' hands lies and the longer between resets the bigger the lies.

 

Forget the % charged scale.

 

Keep charging by the engine until the ammeter function reads about 1% of battery capacity at around 14.4 volts.

 

While it is till dark read the voltage with no electrical loads on. Then use that voltage to infer the state of charge.

 

If using a shoreline to charge, as soon as the charger goes into float mode, turn it off and on again until it drops to float within seconds of being turned on. Or use the amp reading while the voltage is around 14.2 or more

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See the pinned Battery Charging Primer thread, near the top of Boat Building & Maintenance for more on this and how no-load voltage relates to state of charge. Battery monitor state of charge indicators are the work of the devil and have deceived many new boaters, including me! My theory is that they are sponsored by battery manufacturers to increase sales as people wreck their batteries believing what the % charged gauge is telling them. 😃

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16 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

See the pinned Battery Charging Primer thread, near the top of Boat Building & Maintenance for more on this and how no-load voltage relates to state of charge. Battery monitor state of charge indicators are the work of the devil and have deceived many new boaters, including me! My theory is that they are sponsored by battery manufacturers to increase sales as people wreck their batteries believing what the % charged gauge is telling them. 😃

Thank you. Will have a look.

 

Just so I am clear, is the issue that I failed to fully charge the batteries in the first place because I relied on the monitor to tell me they were fully charged when I replaced the batteries. Should I have run the engine for much much longer to have fully charged them.

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28 minutes ago, Utopia said:

Thank you. Will have a look.

 

Just so I am clear, is the issue that I failed to fully charge the batteries in the first place because I relied on the monitor to tell me they were fully charged when I replaced the batteries. Should I have run the engine for much much longer to have fully charged them.

 

Almost certainly yes and yes. Plus, you have discharged them far more than you thought you had.

 

I suspect you will need to run the engine at 1000rpm plus for maybe 10 hours or more. Rev it up gradually until your ammeter function stops rising. Over the next hours the ammeter will start to drop. When it does, reduce the engine speed until the ammeter just drops a tad. Repeat until you are on tickover, and then I fear you will need several hours more running. When the meter reads about 1% of battery capacity and the voltage is around 14.4 stop the engine and recalibrate the idiot battery destroying meter.

 

I hope you have not done too much damage to the batteries.

Edited by Tony Brooks
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2 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

Almost certainly yes and yes. Plus, you have discharged them far more than you thought you had.

 

I suspect you will need to run the engine at 1000rpm plus for maybe 10 hours or more. Rev it up gradually until your ammeter function stops rising. Over the next hours the ammeter will start to drop. When it does, reduce the engine speed until the ammeter just drops a tad. Repeat until you are on tickover, and then I fear you will need several hours more running. When the meter reads about 1% of battery capacity and the voltage is around 14.4 stop the engine and recalibrate the idiot battery destroying meter.

 

I hope you have not done too much damage to the batteries.

As I recall I did as instructed by the battery manufacturer to the letter running the engine and gently reducing the revs after certain amounts of time that charge the batteries. It seems odd their own instructions would lead to this situation.

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47 minutes ago, Utopia said:

As I recall I did as instructed by the battery manufacturer to the letter running the engine and gently reducing the revs after certain amounts of time that charge the batteries. It seems odd their own instructions would lead to this situation.

 

That was to give what is known as a freshening charge to make up for the self discharge during storage or for it being dry charged and thus not completely charged when filled, but I don't think that is your issue. Putting any time on how long you need to run the engine for is of little use. The last part of charging from say 80% to 100% takes an exceedingly long time in most cases. How long depends on too many factors to be exact, but from well discharged you may well be talking of over 10 hours. Most of that time is likely to be at only a few amps.

 

I, and it seems others, think that you have been misled by your battery monitor and have been consistently undercharging the batteries and by the symptoms in your first post over discharging them so even if the manufacturer's instructions did get them fully charged I very much doubt they have been again. It's not what the manufacturer told you to do, but more what you have not done since (fully recharged the batteries).

 

I don't think anyone can say more until we get the voltage reading I asked for in my first reply. As long as that is with nor charging taking place and rested for an hour or so OR having a moderate load on for a while and then turned off, we can infer the state of battery charge and tell you.

 

Now - your inverter is both a charger and inverter that will, if so set and the mains fails, use battery power to supply the mains to the boat. That is all well and good unless it is set to use the mains to run its charger, and if so it will be drawing battery power to charge the batteries. That will never work and will flatten the batteries. You need to look at the manual and make sure it is set so it can't do this.

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