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Saving my Diesels batteries..

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 6.2LTrailblazer84, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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    I have a diesel Blazer that I need to keep running at my apartment complex to keep it. But I rarely drive it.. so I am wondering what I will need to do to keep the batteries in top condition. Also.. I think I may have an alternator issue because I had new batteries previously and they seemed to discharge even though I would take the vehicle on long drives frequently to keep the batteries charged.

    I do have a battery charger though.. would it be best to disconnect the batteries and just use them to start my vehicle once in awhile and then use the battery charger to keep them charged up? How frequently would I need to put the charger on them?
     
  2. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    My truck rarely moves as well. It's not a diesel, but I don't see why that matters. Every weekend I start it up and let it get up to operating temperature to make sure the battery is nice and charged.

    If it sits long enough, yes the small drain will kill your batteries.

    Nothing wrong with a charger either, but personally I think it's better for the drivetrain to get up to operating temperature.

    If your batteries don't hold a charge very long (a week should be no problem) either the batteries are bad, you have a bad drain, or the alternator isn't doing much good. From my experience so far, it's the batteries that are always the problem. Most excessive power draw problems I've seen rarely let the batteries survive even overnight.
     
  3. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I've seen small solar battery chargers here. Plug into the cigarette lighter IIRC and the small panel sits on the dash. Provides a trickle charge for every hour there is sun and seems like a great way to keep the batt's fully charged, without the hassle of extension cords and all.


    Rene
     
  4. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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    It's not a diesel, but I don't see why that matters. Every weekend I start it up and let it get up to operating temperature to make sure the battery is nice and charged.

    Thanks for the reply, dyeager535.

    I thought I heard that diesels discharge faster because theya re connected and I guess one will discharge the other.. or somehting like that? I don't know. :crazy:

    tRustyK5, that solar charger thing sounds really cool. Do you know where you can pick those up? In Southern California those should work like a dream. :D

    I recently got a digital multimeter but have never used one before.. going to try to figure out how to check to see if my alternator is working properly.. anyone know how to do this?
     
  5. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    Just Google "solar battery charger" and you should find more than enough choices...
     
  6. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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    I was just curious if tRusty knew of a specific brand that was good, but I will just look around. :D
     
  7. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Put the multimeter on the 20V DC setting, and touch the red wire to teh back of the alt and the black to a good ground. Should be 14v ideally, but high 13's will do.
     
  8. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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    Thank you, Dhcomp!
     
  9. Maltesejeeper

    Maltesejeeper Newbie

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    Get yourself a Battery tender (brand name) and leave it hooked up. It will keep your batteries charged but not over charged. They cost about 40.00 and are well worth the money. ;)
     
  10. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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    http://www.bakerprecision.com/battend.htm

    This thing sounds perfect... but the only problem is I live in an apartment complex. If I had a house this would be perfect though.

    If this one is this expensive the solar one must cost big bucks though. :eek1: :(
     
  11. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    The Army, at least in some cases, is using that solar piece on the HMMWV's, that might help you search and find it?
     
  12. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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  13. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Living in Canada the brand I might give you might not be available. I do recall they're about $30 for one here though...so that price seems right to me.


    Rene
     
  14. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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  15. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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  16. tx_sub

    tx_sub 1/2 ton status

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    I hate fo hijack this thread, but here it goes. I've done some research on photovoltaic cells and some types will consume power if they are in shadow. Now this could be negligible compared to its power generation, but this issue came up about large PV cells (like for houses). If this is the case, when it is dark or the cell is obstructed, it could drian your battery. Unless there is a controller in the charger to prevent the power drain. I like the idea of an essentially free battery maintainer, but like many am skeptical.

    To get a bit back on topic...your target.com links are dead ends. i like froogle.com from google to find the best prices.

    Now that I think about it, my uncle may have used one on an old C10 service truck.
     
  17. 6.2LTrailblazer84

    6.2LTrailblazer84 1/2 ton status

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    I was reading on one of the chargers FAQ and it said it had a diode that prevented discharging when not in the sunlight.. good point though. I will make sure if I get one it has that feature.

    I tried both those links and they worked for me. Is anyone else having problems with them?
     
  18. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    truthfully, I've had no problems starting up my truck after 3 months of sitting, as long as you dont have a energy leak somewhere.

    However, I'd certainly consider possibly getting the 15W charger with charge controller. For only marginally more (150), you do get a charge controller as well. It is bigger, but 15W is a huge leap.

    The tiny ones will still work, but it really depends on the sun- plus also depends on how you mount it. In reality, a solar panel only gets a fraction of its potential- think about the variables- panels are rated at 100% clear day power generation. Put it on your dash instead of outside, and you've already reduced light input by 30%. Take into account that you will only be getting sunlight for 3-4 hours a day, and having 0 of those hours at full brightness, (nor directly on top) you start to realize that those smaller 30 dollar ones dont really do you much good.

    A roof mounted one will do you wonders however. if you mount that 5watt roof mounted, it should be more than adequate to keep your batteries at a static charge. Move up to 10 watts for best results.
     
  19. Kiwi John

    Kiwi John 1/2 ton status

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    Solar chargers do work. I got a good one for my work vehicle from Northern Tools. (we have them in UK now) Brand was HCP i think. They do a charge controller too to prevent that drain problem.
    The point about mounting on roof - (not behind windscreen) is valid. You could hold it on with elastic straps (Bungees/Stretchys) as it would save the problem of running a cable from Apartment. It has alligator clips so it would be easy to unhook before you drive.
    The little dasboard clock is one source of drain. Pull the fuse.
    BAtteries tend to fail due to lack of work. They dont like sitting for long periods and actually benefit from the work done starting the engine, then recharging. My diesel sits for 2-3 weeks and starts fine (especially now that I rebuilt the starter motor at midnite last week!)
    Multimeter is good tool BUT DON'T Use to check charging AMPS, only VOLTS unless you use a 'shunt' as it can't handle more than 10amps.
    Use it to check thru fuses on Volts setting.: Probe mm across each fuse and where a voltage shows there is a live circuit. Clock will be one of these.
    Best to get batteries fully charged then have them load-tested. You may be better to buy 2 new batteries and start afresh.
     
  20. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    some sources...

    Northern Tool sells many solar "Battery Maintainers" for different prices..some are less than 50 bucks....note they are not "chargers"--they only "maintain" a fully charged battery--you might need one for each battery!...I've seen them for sale at marina's--many boats use them--if you have a marine salvage yard in your area,it might be a good place to look--a friend of mine scored a 3000 watt inverter to make 110v ac from 12V at one,for only 50 bucks!(he uses it to power a house air conditioner in his pickup truck!)..I've seen solar 12v power supplies that put out 7 amps!--but they cost 300 bucks! :doah: --you might score a used one cheap though...

    I've heard if both batteries are not identical,one can discharge into the other too--but I have 2 oddball Duralast batteries in my diesel(one is a "Duralast Gold,one isnt,different amp ratings)..but my truck has sat for a month or more and starts right up!...so I'm not sure if its bull or not--one defective battery WILL drain the other one if it has dead cells..that I'm sure of!..

    I've been tempted to take one of my spare GM altenators and mount it to a board,and use an electric motor to spin it,or an old gas engine I have off a go-kart so I can "boost" my batteries without starting the truck and wasting gas or diesel..but it IS good to run the motor once in a while too I suppose--I might still make that setup--it would be handy to be able to "jump start" your truck without another vehicle!..either that or buy one of those "jump starters" that have a battery in them you can carry around--but I hear they dont last that long...and the cost as much as a new battery!.. :doah: :crazy:
     

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