Can I use float charger in this situation?

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-25-12, 02:12 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
Can I use float charger in this situation?

I have gate opener, converted to solar panel charging. Control board has proper terminals and it all works OK.
Opener motor runs off deep cycle battery, 12V. I have, also, 2nd battery connected to the 1st one, for larger capacity, as we live in frequent blackouts area and I am getting obsessed with everything being backed up and fail proof.
When I bought that solar panel, it was - the usual - heavy overcast day and it produced decent 18V current. I keep panel clean.
Before, gate was running off a/c transformer, and a/c outlet next to it is still functional.
Well, the way it is here, it's been raining non stop and heavy overcast for several months and will be like this into maybe May or so.

My question is - can I set a float charger onto the 2nd battery (as a just in case backup?) and have it hooked up to the a/c outlet? They are not expensive and turn themselves off when battery is charged fully..

Just to make sure, solar panel is connected to the gate motor control board; control board charges batteries off that power. 2 deep cycle batteries (large marine) connected to control panel.

No obvious problems so far, it just sometimes/occasinally looks like that gate is running slower than usual. Also, I am board. Always looking for something to do.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-25-12, 03:13 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
Also, I am board.
Hello Mr Board

I'm guessing (hoping) you're using a solar cell charge controller.
You say the opener is connected to main battery and second battery is connected to main battery.
How will you connect a float charger to just the second battery ?
 
  #3  
Old 12-25-12, 03:52 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
Oh, Mr Pundit, it's bored.
What's wrong with simply installing it onto terminals? Like regular chargers do?
Amazon.com: Battery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V Battery Charger: Automotive
and then connecting THAT to a/c nearby?
I have no idea how control board works. It has 2 sets of terminals, one for transformed 12V and one for solar panel. Manual says NOT to use both at the same time.
I do not want to mess up opener though. It has been a total pain since 2005, when we bought the house. This is the 3rd unit installed, and it started running half way decent only after I switched to large size/capacity marine deep cycle batteries.
My concern is - it can be very low luminosity here, and for many days. Clouds may be very dense, and rain no stop. I just can't get over the thought, that that solar panel at some point in time will not produce enough voltage to keep batteries charged.
 
  #4  
Old 12-25-12, 03:55 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
Did I mention, that a/c transformer used, lasts about a year. Because it is some sort of unusual transformer voltage and wattage wise, you can not buy it locally. So, it's online order, and they are pricy. I tried lower wattage same voltage cheaper versions - no good. Won't work.
Hence the solar panel.
 
  #5  
Old 12-25-12, 07:11 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
Do you know what the voltage and wattage factors are ?

Only reason I say to use a charge controller is because of two reasons.
One is it wont overcharge the batteries and kill them.
Two...it will isolate the float charger from the solar panel.

So you have the two batteries tied directly together.
The float charger can go to either battery then.
 
  #6  
Old 12-25-12, 07:31 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
For transformer? That's what they say:
Replacement Transformer (RB570)
This is the standard 18 Volt AC plug-in transformer that is included with the FM500/502, FM350/352, and FM200
Mighty Mule gate openers for charging and maintaining battery backup.

Can't buy local, I tried several times.
Don't float charger have charge control built into it?

Mine are connected parallel. Read somewhere it doubles capacity.

So, charger shouyld be connected like this:

Parallel Connected with a 12 Volt 1 Amp BatteryMINDer

Batteries of the same type only (engine starting, deep cycle, sealed, gelled, AGM, maintenance-free) can be charged at the same time in parallel (+ to +, - to -).

When you connect the batteries in parallel, you are keeping the total voltage the same. For example, if you connect two 12 volt batteries in parallel, the voltage of the combination is 12 volts.

When you connect multiple batteries in parallel, connect the + of the first battery to the + of the second battery. Then connect the - of the first battery to the - of the second battery. The + of the first battery and the - of the first battery connect to the BatteryMINDer if possible; otherwise, connect to the accessible battery.

Connect each battery to one another using 18 gauge (lamp cord type) insulated wire. Strip at the points where you wish it to be in electrical contact with the posts of each battery, then use ring or clip connectors. VDC Electronics, Inc. does not provide any type of wire harness to accomplish this, due to the many variations in size and terminal configuration.

Always desulphate each battery separately for 2-3 days if they are connected in parallel. Otherwise, they will not be equally desulphated. (And in my case, to battery farther away from the gate opener control panel, to use closer one as a shunt?)
 
  #7  
Old 12-25-12, 07:41 PM
Halton's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 337
.



I have an idea for a solution but just need to clarify a couple of points.

"Before, gate was running off a/c transformer"

So.....was this powering the opener or just charging the batteries?

"It has 2 sets of terminals, one for transformed 12V and one for solar panel"

So.....these terminals are strictly for a choice of charging methods?

And.....the batteries are connected to their own dedicated terminals?


.
 
  #8  
Old 12-25-12, 07:43 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
Don't float charger have charge control built into it?
Yes but you're missing my point.
When you connect solar panels to batteries....you can connect the panels directly to the batteries.
If you do that .....there is no solar charge regulation happening AND your solar array is not isolated from the batteries.
Now if you connect a float charger it can feed directly into the solar panels. That is bad.
Do you understand now ?



Standard 18 vac wall wart chargers are limited to like 40 watts and they can run hot.
If I was having an issue with them I would buy a regular 18 volt transformer that came in its own enclosure. Maybe like a 3 amp jobber. That would give you a little over 50 watts.
 
  #9  
Old 12-25-12, 08:13 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
1. gate opener motor is running off batteries
2. yes, it's choice of 2 battery charging options; charging is done via control board built into opener motor. It's choice of power supply to that board.
3. battery is connected to the control board via separate set of contacts. Apparently same connection is used to charge battery and to run motor.
 
  #10  
Old 12-25-12, 08:40 PM
Halton's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 337
.


I have an idea using a relay that probably would work.....but.....the simple and easy solution may be to just disconnect the solar cell and connect a 2 amp automatic charger directly to the batteries.

The opener doesn't run all the time and in reality is not a huge overall power hog......so no big enviro-disaster by not going solar.....

Use an automotive type charger.....this will keep the batteries topped-up at the proper level and you won't risk any conflict that exists now with the solar panel or the opener circuitry.

If you eliminate the solar cell from the equation everything is simplified and the opener won't know any different and as stated......just connect the charger directly to the batteries.


.
 
  #11  
Old 12-26-12, 05:23 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
OK, just to get to the bottom. This is how it's all connected. No direct to solar battery connection. Control board inbetween. Question is - can I set Battery Minder on that battery? My concern is not solar, but control board.

 
  #12  
Old 12-26-12, 05:54 PM
Halton's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 337
.


I really can't fathom why it wouldn't be ok to put the charger directly to the batteries.

It's voltage has a max....so as I stated the opener won't....in a sense....really know it's there.

The power supplied by the batteries will still be the same consistant 12 volts

The batteries are on the high amp power side of the controller.

Essentially they go directly to the motor only through the control circuit.

I would just remove the solar as it would become a second unneeded charging source.


.
 
  #13  
Old 12-26-12, 06:53 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
I think I might just do that. Though it's 2nd winter with solar power source and the previous one was much more snow and cold, and I had no problems. But this one is just - very little light. Continuous heavy clouds blanket.
For 30 bucks I may simply put battery minder onto the 2nd battery for the time being. Then take it off when it clears a bit. Likely May or so.

Btw, anyone knows, how long do those solar panels last?
 
  #14  
Old 12-26-12, 06:59 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
You can put the battery minder on the batteries with no problem. You have a charge controller board inline....which is what I asked about in the beginning.

Depending on the quality of the solar cell system....it could last many years.
Solar cell panels lose on an average of 1/2 of 1% of efficiency a year.
 
  #15  
Old 12-26-12, 07:25 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,208
OK. Thanks all. ................................
 
  #16  
Old 12-27-12, 02:39 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Near Buffalo, NY
Posts: 4,239
The charger can be connected to the 2nd battery but it will charge both. That brings up another potential issue: If one battery fails to hold a charge, the other will be overcharged causing it to fail prematurely.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'