FF battery always flat?

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TBreezy
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Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:11 pm

Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:07 pm

Hey yo.

I’m after some advice, maybe someone who knows the ins and outs of electronics can help.

I power my FF with your standard sealed lead acid battery, I’m sure you know the ones.

My FF is a Lowrance hook 4.

I bought a voltmeter to check the voltage on my batteries before trips, because I am finding that they quite often only last 5-10 mins before dying out on me, which is a bit frustrating.

I use a 12v ‘arlec’ battery charger.

I bought a battery when I got the sounder a couple of years ago. I was also given two more batteries by a mate who had some surplus from a job. I figured I’d just rotate between the 3 of them. Use one til it dies, put it on charge and use another one and so on.

After charging, the volt reading is usually somewhere between 12 and 14V but often the unit dies after a few mins.

Do these batteries lose their charge over time if unused?

Also, my FF makes a beeping sound on startup that sounds suspiciously like a flat battery alarm, although the manual doesn’t mention anything about it and I couldn’t find an answer online.

Has anyone else experienced this?

How long do you store your batteries before using them? Sometimes mine will sit a month or more after a charge.

Thanks.

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:52 am

Are you using a proper SLA charger (with spade terminals), or a bog-standard car battery charger (With croc clips)?
If the latter, you have probably cooked the SLA.

SLA's will slowly lose charge over time, especially if they're "Pre-Loved". I always give mine a pep up the night before a trip.

It's common to have a nice high voltage straight off a charge, this will drop away a bit as the battery settles down. Check the voltage inline while the battery is under load, such as a reasonable wattage 12v bulb.
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TBreezy
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:56 am

Had no idea there was a "proper" SLA charger.

I'm using this: https://www.bunnings.co.nz/arlec-compac ... _p00213750
It has croc clips.

Would something like this be more suitable? (prevents overcharging): https://www.bunnings.co.nz/arlec-12v-4- ... _p00101084

So, you can charge one of these batteries too much then?

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:59 am

This is the sort of thing you're looking for, most electronic stores should have them, about $25 from memory.
221.JPG
221.JPG (23.85 KiB) Viewed 1453 times
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AndrewRawlingson
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:18 am

SLA batteries are crap compared to modern alternatives. It might be time to think about lithium batteries. They sell them on the Viking website. Not cheap, but probably comparable cost in the long run. If you want to stick with an SLA, then a more sophisticated charger may prolong their life. I used a C-TEK.

TBreezy
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:31 pm

Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:59 am
This is the sort of thing you're looking for, most electronic stores should have them, about $25 from memory.
221.JPG
Awesome, thanks for your help.

What makes these chargers favourable over the other ones?

Was looking at lithium batteries as an upgrade but just want something to get me through the summer at this stage.

Thanks for your input, guys.

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:34 pm

Bit of bedtime reading :)
https://www.powerstream.com/SLA.htm

I get my batts free every two years with only light duty cycling during their life in an industrial UPS. Slap two 9Ah's together with a blob of Epiglue and a couple of leads and I have all the juice I need for a solid days fishing without any of the potentially nasty issues that surround LiPOs.
Phoenix Hornet - Specialty Assault Craft

Dad! Dad! Look at his fish! It's way bigger than anything you've EVER caught! - Nosey 7-8yo boy on opening my icebox to father strapping down his $XXX Stabicraft 759(?) - Gold. Pure Gold.

TBreezy
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:14 pm

Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:34 pm
Bit of bedtime reading :)
https://www.powerstream.com/SLA.htm

I get my batts free every two years with only light duty cycling during their life in an industrial UPS. Slap two 9Ah's together with a blob of Epiglue and a couple of leads and I have all the juice I need for a solid days fishing without any of the potentially nasty issues that surround LiPOs.
Nice, thanks dude, gripping stuff :rofl:

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AndrewRawlingson
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:50 pm

You can leave batteries "charging" continuously on a CTEK when the battery is not in use. It will only charge the battery when required. Takes a lot of the guesswork out of SLA management.

TBreezy
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Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:02 pm

AndrewRawlingson wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:50 pm
You can leave batteries "charging" continuously on a CTEK when the battery is not in use. It will only charge the battery when required. Takes a lot of the guesswork out of SLA management.
Yeah that’s the go I reckon. Cheers for your help lads, I’ve got a new SLA for the time being and will maybe suss out a better battery setup or get a better charger.

Either way I have some idea of what the hell is going on now.

Have a good Christmas

matwould
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Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:26 pm

Also (and without reading the powerstream links above) it's my understanding that you're not supposed to drain SLA batteries until they're dead. You're only supposed to go to approx half way before charging them again.

Anyway, this post is handy for me too as I'm having similar problems with mine. I've got a pretty modern FF (bought brand new from Will at NavStation maybe 1-2 years ago) and I'm finding that it's not staying on for very long. I'm not sure if it's the FF or the battery. I have charged my battery fully the night before but I'm not sure if the battery's been previously cooked so it's not holding charge properly, or whether my FF turns off when it gets really hot (the times it has turned off it seems to be really hot). So I'm a bit confused.

Also, I note that when I plug my charger in, the LED charging light turns off, and when I unplug the charger the light turns on. Go figure. ???!!!??? |(

Any thoughts appreciated.

TwoSpoons
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Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:37 pm

Yep, never let an SLA go under 11V. They will permanently lose capacity after that. Lithiums are the same but worse - which is why they have built in protection to prevent over-discharge.

You can keep an SLA on trickle charge (13.8V) more or less indefinitely, so its always ready to go, and in top shape.
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TBreezy
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Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:52 pm

So I ended up getting this SLA charger: https://www.marine-deals.co.nz/car-batt ... h8EALw_wcB

It has protection from overcharging (float charge I think it's called). Matwould, if it's the same as mine, when you have the battery connected the light goes off when it's charging and comes back on again when it's fully charged. It's also really small compared to my last charger which is great for reducing space when packing all your shit up to go away somewhere.

We'll see how it goes. I probably won't get to test it on a trip until after Christmas but that's cool. Hopefully I can get a few hours out of it at least!

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