Equalizing VRLA using multi4
Hello, I have the Revolectrix Cellpro Multi4 charger and I want to do an equalizing charge to one of my 12V 24Ah VRLA (lead acid) batteries.
Instead of the standard 2.33V per cell, I want to use 2.5V for this special charge.
I loaded the library preset for 12V Lead acid battery, but when changing the Charge Voltage above 2.35V per cell I get the following in the Error tab:
"CELL DETECT MAX V should be >= CHARGE VOLTS + 50mV (2.405V)".
I cannot find where to set CELL DETECT MAX V so I can up the charge volts to the desired 2.5.
Using PC software version 2.19, charger has firmware V 1.67.
O.K. I have really great news for you! I sent your request over to the design engineer and he had time to do something just for you!
He published a new version of the Charge Control Software for the Multi4 which includes a new preset in the FMA Library of the CCS application.
You can get this new version using one of the following methods:
1) Launch the application, close it, then launch it again.
2) You should get a prompt to update the CCS. Click Yes.
1) Go to the install page and re-install the application.
Once you get the update, then follow these steps to load the new preset into your Multi4.
1) Highlight an EMPTY preset or one you wish to over-write with the new preset he generated for you.
2) From the main menu do this command:
File > FMA Library Presets > Open File to Preset #
3) Browse to the Folder for Lead Acid batteries, and select the new preset titled "Lead 12v AGM Equalize.PST".
4) Now if you check the field Charge Voltage on the Charge tab, you can set the charge voltage higher. The AGM presets do the finishing charge you're looking for.
How's that for service? Let me know if you have any questions.
Now that is AWESOME support!!!
Thanks so much! I updated s/w + f/w and made my equilizing preset :D :D :D
I'll test it ASAP, and report back... will try to CPR my UPS batteries..
I really wish you guys were making other products, like computers, cars, etc... I would buy anything with that good support and reliability!
Ok, I finally found the chance to get my UPS off the grid and try to charge its batteries with the Multi4 charger, using the new settings you created for me!
I experienced something strange though:
Auto cell detection showed 5 cells. Normal charging preset showed 6 cells, which is the correct. Maybe the charger uses the Charge Voltage to estimate/detect cells?
Anyway, changed cell detection form auto to 6 "cells only" but it wouldn't start.
Changed "Stop Cells Change" to No and charge started.
After about 10 minutes I got Safety CODE 120. In the PC software I saw: "SAFETY CODE: Lithium Cell Cnt not Verified".
See first two attached graphs.
Changed "Stop Cells Change" back to Yes and the charge started OK this time!
After a while the 6 cell count became "VERIFIED". See 2nd pair of attached graphs.
Left it charging for 3h. Seems to have worked fine :D
The 2nd battery is in a very bad condition. Charge started but soon enough I got cell overvoltage error. It gives very strange readings with other chargers, so it is damaged, the charger couldn't help her :D
Anyway, thanks for the support, the job was done!
Pb batteries do not like to be over-discharged. They must be maintained, or they will go bad. Even if you just let them sit on the shelf for a couple months without ever charging, it's often not possible to recover them. This is why it read a 6 cell pack as a 5 cell. I have often "cheated" in an attempt to revive a Pb. You found one way to do it. But a simpler method is just to use a Ni chemistry preset.
WARNING: YOU MUST PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING IF YOU TRY THIS. IF YOU LEAVE A PB ON A NI PRESET TOO LONG, IT CAN EASILY OVER-CHARGE AND EVEN OUTGAS.
The idea is to put a little bit of charge into the Pb, then switch back to the Pb preset and see if it detects the cells properly. One could accomplish the same thing using a Pb trickle charger and then moving over to the Multi4 after a short while. The Ni presets don't care about cell count. They'll put constant current into anything that will actually accept a charge. Basically, you just need something to put a low current through the battery for a short while (maybe 10 minutes) to bring it up enough so it will then charge properly on the Multi4 using the normal Pb preset.
But I'll also add that this is a temporary solution. The battery is likely already spent. It may recover for one charge, but soon, you will find that it no longer has any capacity to speak of. It also doesn't always work. If the Pb is completely shot, it's like trying to charge a piece of wood. I do this procedure usually once a year on my lawn mower starter battery. It delays rushing out and buying a new battery when the grass is already 12" high and I really need to get it mowed. This also works for me when my wife is away from the house, my car won't start because I left the dome light on, and it's too far to walk to the auto parts store and return carrying a 30 lb battery. I can get my car started and drive there myself. Just make sure to take tools with you to swap out the battery in the parking lot, or you may end up stranded.
Thank you for the quick reply, once again.
Both batteries were being used in a UPS system, maintained at float charge and discharged at about 60% only once per year or two.
They've been like this for 3-4 years I think. One of them is ok, the other is completely damaged. I've tried the trick you suggested (using a cheap/stupid charger) on both bats, but the bad one's voltage goes up and down, so it's probably just dying.
I'll keep the tip in mind for future cases, though, thanks!
BTW, do you suggest an equalizing charge of a Pb bat (used in standby mode for months) proactively? I mean, should I do it once a year to prolong its life, or just do it when problems appear?
Just asking for advice... We're not on the charger support mode any more :)
You sure you are really supposed to equalize a VRLA? Some sites suggest you don't.
Also that page says "10 percent higher than the recommended charge voltage". Well the charge voltage of a 12v AGM is 14.7v so 10% higher would be 16.17v or 2.695v per cell. What you are calling equalization sounds more like desulfation to me.
I wasn't aware it's an AGM bat!
Is it, really? (pic)
Wikipedia states that VRLA's are categorized as Gel and AGM, so I have to have one of them? I thought I had "normal" VRLAs...
UPS systems are pretty hard on batteries I think because if you never have a power outage they usually never get cycled. Who knows if it's Gel or AGM, it's probably shot either way.
I was more concerned about if FMA did their homework before adding that profile. My NOCO Genius dedicated PB charger has a 13.6V equalizing option and a 16V desulfate option. And both options contain the warning in the manual "CAUTION. USE THIS MODE WITH CARE."
Got my new batteries for the UPS. They also don't say if they're gell or agm.
Is there a third type? Like, plain VRLA?
Is it bad to leave these on float charge forever without ever discharging them? (UPS, alarm systems, emergency lights...)
FMA didn't add this mode. I did. On my charger. They just allowed me (and any user) to raise the cell voltage.
I would guess those are AGM batteries as most stuff indicates that gel is lower charging voltages. As for cycling them not a clue there's so many different opinions on what is best for PB batteries. I would say ask the manufacturer and just do what they say.
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