A Slight 'Twist' on a Gel Battery Question.......

Tootles

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Yea, I know....Gel batteries again,
But........
A friend bought a brand new Canadian made Gel Battery for his tug van. Never used it, and as he is now departing from caravanning, it's now mine. 11o amp hour, vehicle sized......
Now I know there has always been a million tons of controversy about the good's and bad's of Gel Batteries, (mostly on the price of them), and I'm thinking of using this one on our narrowboat....But what I'm not sure of is, can it be used as a starter battery? Much counter stuff on the web about this, and also 'hints' about special charging facilities to be used on a Gel......But no one explains why....
Can a Gel be charged with a standard alternator? I know they give limited 'load demand', but our boat engine is a three cylinder Lister, with very low compression for a diesel, so that's not a problem.
Of coarse I would never buy one, but this is a freebi, and never used.
Ta,

Dave.
 
Jul 5, 2013
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A gel battery has to have a different charging regime when attached to a permanent charger, as you would get with a motorhome with solar, EHU and engine charging. Most decent chargers have a switch for different settings for lead acid and gel. Sorry can't tell you the difference though!
 

jonandshell

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Gel batteries require a lower bulk charge voltage and a higher final absorbsion charge voltage.
The net result of this is lower charging currents and longer charge times than wet lead acid.
It essential to limit the charging current with gel electrolyte because gas bubbles will form in the gel, rendering the gel less capable of conducting electron movement between the plates.
As long as the gel battery is correctly rated for its purpose in terms of maximum currents, their use is universal just like wet cells. Generally, this means a higher Ah rating to do the same job.
 
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Tootles

Tootles

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According to first hand experience of Mr Jaws, fitting a gel battery to bikes gives a short life due to the wrong charging regime.
Thought that might be the case Brian. We already have a small Gel on the boat, it lives in the locker next to the fridge, (inboard). I put it there ten years ago, because the voltage drop on the fridge cables is about 1.3, (at 30 ft, using 10 mm profile cable). What was happening during the night was a reluctance for the fridge to 'fire up', but with the Gel close by, this acts as a booster. Also, because of the voltage drop, the Gel cant discharge into the main battery bank at the back.
This gel has charged OK for ten years from the alternator, but the difference with the new one of coarse is that it will act as the main starter battery, hence my question.
It cost nowt, so might just try it and see.......(y)
 
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Tootles

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It let us down two weeks ago Brian, came to start........Zilch. I have a change-over switch, which allows me to 'slave' the starter battery from the six habitation batteries.
You can bump start them, using a team of horses, pulling at the gallop.....:)(y)
 
Dec 28, 2011
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It let us down two weeks ago Brian, came to start........Zilch. I have a change-over switch, which allows me to 'slave' the starter battery from the six habitation batteries.
You can bump start them, using a team of horses, pulling at the gallop.....:)(y)

Can't you just free wheel down Bingley Five Rise and get enough speed up to start it ? :blush: :whistle2:



.
 
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In our 4th year. Had caravans and VW campers previously
I could borrow your Fowler Showman's Engine...........:):)
If you mean the one in my avatar, 'fraid not.
It's a Burrell.
It is Richard Preston's, of Prestons of Potto Haulage, and it is called Lightning II.
It is the only green Burrell showmans to come out of the factory and was working in the 1950s when there was a fuel shortage of petrol and diesel.

:getmecoat:
 
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In our 4th year. Had caravans and VW campers previously
That's me on a Fowler.
The Iron Maiden, star of the film of the same name.

I was generating the electricity for the Gavioli fairground organ and stage at Pickering at the time.
 

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Tootles

Tootles

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That's me on a Fowler.
The Iron Maiden, star of the film of the same name.

I was generating the electricity for the Gavioli fairground organ and stage at Pickering at the time.
Ahhhhh..... Ididnt realise it was 'The Maiden'. I first saw that engine in the 50's, used by a travelling fair as a generator. They were still fairly common then. Not sure if they moved it under steam, or by low loader, in fact, it could have been running whilst on a trailer, memory fades with time.......:(
I do remember being fascinated just watching the belt driving the genny. :)
 
Dec 28, 2011
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Ahhhhh..... Ididnt realise it was 'The Maiden'. I first saw that engine in the 50's, used by a travelling fair as a generator. They were still fairly common then. Not sure if they moved it under steam, or by low loader, in fact, it could have been running whilst on a trailer, memory fades with time.......:(
I do remember being fascinated just watching the belt driving the genny. :)
If you saw it in the 50s it would have been called Kitchener, it's original name.
The name was changed for the film in the 60s and it has stayed that way since.
It get's moved to rallies etc on a low loader but still does the odd road run.
Not too many now as age takes it's toll and repair costs are horrendous
 
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If you saw it in the 50s it would have been called Kitchener, it's original name.
The name was changed for the film in the 60s and it has stayed that way since.

It get's moved to rallies etc on a low loader but still does the odd road run.
Not too many now as age takes it's toll and repair costs are horrendous
I think my step-dad told me that some years ago, hence where I got it from. I cant remember who's fair it was, but it was seen by me during a 'Wakes'Week, probably around 1955, at Eccles, Lancashire.
 
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Tootles

Tootles

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How many showman engines did Fowler make?? I know their main business was in ploughing pairs, and road rollers. Our local council ran an Aveling roller for many years, well into the sixties.
 
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Can a Gel be charged with a standard alternator?
This is largely guesswork on my part, but ....

I think the answer is 'Yes'. Why? ....

One of the problems with charging a habitation battery from the alternator via a simple split charge relay is that the alternator will provide the bulk charge capacity, but not the voltage to fully charge the battery. Around 80% is the usually quoted figure. It requires an intelligent charger - either mains or battery-to-battery - to get to full charge. This is where the wrong voltage can kill a battery.

The fact that a starter battery never gets to 100% charge doesn't really matter much. It's the ability to deliver a high current for a short time that is important. So long as the engine starts reasonably quickly, very little of the total battery capacity is used & it's quickly replaced.

So alternators are usually set up to stop charging at a relatively low maximum voltage - around 13.6V I believe. I haven't checked, but I suspect this is below the maximum charge voltage of any battery type in common use, including Gel.

The other question is - how long has this battery been sitting about unused & was it kept charged during this period? If it was allowed to self-discharge in storage & spent months sitting flat, it may not be much good now.
 
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Tootles

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This is largely guesswork on my part, but ....

I think the answer is 'Yes'. Why? ....

One of the problems with charging a habitation battery from the alternator via a simple split charge relay is that the alternator will provide the bulk charge capacity, but not the voltage to fully charge the battery. Around 80% is the usually quoted figure. It requires an intelligent charger - either mains or battery-to-battery - to get to full charge. This is where the wrong voltage can kill a battery.

The fact that a starter battery never gets to 100% charge doesn't really matter much. It's the ability to deliver a high current for a short time that is important. So long as the engine starts reasonably quickly, very little of the total battery capacity is used & it's quickly replaced.

So alternators are usually set up to stop charging at a relatively low maximum voltage - around 13.6V I believe. I haven't checked, but I suspect this is below the maximum charge voltage of any battery type in common use, including Gel.

The other question is - how long has this battery been sitting about unused & was it kept charged during this period? If it was allowed to self-discharge in storage & spent months sitting flat, it may not be much good now.
That I don't know.....Really I mean, however, My lead-acid starter battery has gone t**s up anyway. I cant do a load test on the Gel, as it's sealed, and wouldn't 'bubble' a dead cell anyway. I do have an alternator booster fitted to the regulator, with a max cut off at 15.5, (just below the theoretical gassing point), but I wouldn't use it on the Gel.
The good point, (it seems), about a Gel, is that it holds it's charge far longer then a wet cell battery.
 

peter125

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hello sorry to barge in on your post but i have just replaced a single gel 85ah battery with 2 110ah acid batteries do i need to do any thing about charging , hope someone knows the answer
 
Dec 28, 2011
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How many showman engines did Fowler make?? I know their main business was in ploughing pairs, and road rollers. Our local council ran an Aveling roller for many years, well into the sixties.


Main article: John Fowler (agricultural engineer)
John Fowler was an agricultural engineer and inventor who was born in Wiltshire in 1826. He worked on the mechanisation of agriculture and was based in Leeds. He is credited with the invention of steam-driven ploughing engines. He died 4 December 1864, following a hunting accident. After his death, John Fowler & Co., was then continued by Robert Fowler and Robert Eddison. In 1886 the limited company of John Fowler & Co., (Leeds) Ltd., was formed. It merged with Marshall, Sons & Co., Ltd., of Gainsborough in 1947 to form Marshall-Fowler Ltd.
Although not well known for them, Fowler also built a small number (117 has been claimed) of steam wagons. These were vertical-boilered, with an unusual single-crank cross-compound vee-twin engine. At least one was preserved, as part of the Tom Varley collection.
During the Second World War, the Hunslet factory also produced Matilda tanks for the Army. Production finally ceased in early 1974.[1]

Fowlers made over 20,000 engines. The main ones were Agricultural, Rollers, Ploughing Engines and they did make internal combustion towards the end.
 
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Steve

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lots of do's and dont's. just use the blo-dy thing. far to much tech.talk. in a years time let me know hos's it doing. or not
 
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