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andyb

Continued Use of Battery Charger?

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andyb   

Yesterday I went out to fly, after a protracted cold-weather period in St. Louis, and a few weeks without flying due to the holidays.  A day before the flight I connected the Tanis heater.

When I went to start, the OAT was about 9 degrees F.  It was very labored (i.e. the prop turned slowly); the first time tried it I thought we wouldn't be able to get the engine started.  We waited a few minutes, tried again, and it limped its way to starting.  Ran fine after that.

Inasmuch as I had preheated the engine, I assume the problem to be that the battery was compromised due to the cold.  I'm a bit surprised by this, as I would have thought that the heat from the Tanis heater would have helped the battery.

Two questions:

  1. Is my assessment of the origin of the problem correct?
  2. Would this be remedied by my keeping the battery charger running when I'm not flying, during cold weather?  Any problems with doing that?

Thanks much for any input.

Andy

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Anticept   

Many battery chargers do not float the voltage properly and don't keep them charged up.

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Runtoeat   

Corey is right.  Our Odyssey AGM battery requires the correct charger to charge to full capacity.  I recall that Ed posted a way to load test the battery using a 100 amp lamp.  You might try this to see if your battery needs replacing.  You should have had good crank voltage with the above freeezing temps under the cowl.

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Andy didn't say this, but he has a CTLSi, with a Lithium battery rather than the Odyssey. I don't think it would hurt to plug the battery charger in when you plug in the Tanis, but I am not sure about keeping it plugged in all the time. With as cold as it was I doubt the Tanis provided enough heat to warm the battery much. One thing that might help to warm the battery would be a cowling cover to try and retain the heat in the cowling.

I pulled this from the Shorai FAQ page.

A. Down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7C) most users find that they can start normally on first crank. If your headlight comes on at key-ON, it is good for the batteries to flow some current before cranking in cold weather. The suggested headlight-on time before cranking depends on the temperature. If starting at 40F/5C, 30 seconds will help wake the battery and increase cranking performance. If at 0F/-17C, leave the lights on for 4~5 minutes before cranking. The result will be a better first crank, and longer battery life.  If the engine fails to start on first crank, that first crank has warmed the battery, and the second attempt will be much stronger. Other accessories that can be turned on before cranking can also be used for this purpose, such as heated gear, radio, etc...  Insuring that the battery is fully charged after storage also improves first-start performance in cold weather.

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Here is the battery charger I have been using for Many Years and Many Odyssey Batteries.  I swear by this charger as my batteries typically last 4 years or more in this desert heat.  By leaving it on full time, it trickles the battery for about 25 seconds and then send a full 12 amps to the plates for about 5 seconds which clears the sulfides that build of on the plates which over time, kill / short the battery plates.  It has been one of the best $100 investments I ever made for my planes.

odyssey Battry charger.jpg

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I'm getting a new battery today.  Old one still performs well but is 4 years old.  I do keep a 'smart' tender on it.

I keep my Tanis on 24 / 7  for 8 or 9 months of the year.  Works well and easy to do.

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I have kept a charger I got from Lockwood in 2007 continuously plugged in while my plane is in the hangar. I replaced the first battery in 2016 at 9 years old just because. It was working fine, I just figured I was pushing my luck.. My plane does lead a sheltered life. The hangar has never been colder than 50F nor hotter than 80F. 

If you have an Odyssey battery, get the correct type of charger and leave it plugged in 24/7 while the plane is parked. 

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WmInce   
2 hours ago, sandpiper said:

If you have an Odyssey battery, get the correct type of charger and leave it plugged in 24/7 while the plane is parked. 

My conditions are similiar.

i also prefer to connect the charger directly to the battery terminals. I think it provides a more solid connection. This requires me to remove the top cowling, but I am okay with that.

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Runtoeat   

Bill, nothing better than direct to the teminals.  I have found that the very bottom bracket which accepts the lower cowl screw is a really good ground - providing the paint is scraped away for my charger clamp.  This bracket has been welded to the engine mount and the engine mount has, or should have, a large gage wire which runs from it to ground.  Just mentioning this so you might not have to remove the cowl each time you put your CT away and then reinstall the cowl when you go flying - although it's not a bad thing to do because it does allow a good check of the engine before flight. 

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The negative can go on the exhaust pipe because the engine ground wire is attached to the middle airframe screw and if that wasn't a good ground we would have other issues. The positive wire that hangs out the bottom of the cowl goes directly to the positive terminal. There is no real need to attach directly to the battery terminals.

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Runtoeat   

Roger, my CTEK battery charger doesn't like the quality of the ground that the exhaust on my CT provides.  Every now and them it will start blinking, indicating a problem with the charging.   When I go direct to the engine mount I no longer get the bad charging indication.

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It should be a direct ground source. I would remove and clean that ground on the engine mount, put a little dielectric grease on it  and make sure it is tight. I would make sure the ground terminal wires themselves aren't lose. You should be able to grab the negative wires at the terminal and try and move them. If they move then it's a poor ground. All this needs is a small washer under all the wires that sit on top of the terminal. FD made the electrical connection end too big and it slides down over the battery terminal. I see at least 50% of the CT's that come into the shop with loose wires that can be moved by hand. 

I haven't seen anyone have a problem with the exhaust and positive wire hook up so long as all connections are tight and corrosion free.

 

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Runtoeat   

Roger, perhaps my CTEK might be too sensitive and it refuses to charge? All connections are tight.  When i connect the CTEK ground clamp to the lower cowl bracket, I always get a "green" charging light.  When I check resistance with my VOM from the exhaust outlet to where the engine mount has it's connection to the grounding system on my plane I see resistance.  I show no resistance when I run continuity from the last cowl fastener to the same grounding point.  I think the route thru all of the exhaust slip joints must result in a build up of resistance, on my CT anyway.  I recall John Vance also indicating he found the same when he checked his exhaust for continuity to ground.  Maybe the dry conditions where you are results in better continuity thru the exhaust joints?  

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17 hours ago, Runtoeat said:

Roger, my CTEK battery charger doesn't like the quality of the ground that the exhaust on my CT provides.  Every now and them it will start blinking, indicating a problem with the charging.   When I go direct to the engine mount I no longer get the bad charging indication.

Mine did the same so I threw it away and got a new genius charger and its happy with the exhaust .

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Runtoeat   

Ed, my Genius (G1000?) does the same thing as my CTEK.  I show resistance in the exhaust system from the exhaust outlet thru to engine ground connection.  I note another thing about using the Genius on my car that is stored in my hangar.  I cannot leave the charger on - it will overcharge my battery due to the small constant drain caused by the anti-theft and the EPROM controller.  I mention this for those who might have small constant drain from their CT instruments. The Genius charger will keep going into charge mode when it senses voltage drain. Thinking this wasn't correct, I called and spoke to the owner of the company.  He said this will occur and recommended that I disconnect the battery from the vehicle system.  Can't do this or will loose all programmed driving modes on my car.  This voltage drain does not occur on my CT due to no glass instruments.  All my gages are steam and zero current drain occurs while sitting in my hangar.

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I discovered that my CTEK 4.3 charger had a bad connection. The alligator clips can be exchanged with a ring-terminal cord, and these both plug into the unit through an in-line connector. I accidently bumped that connector one day and noticed that it had stopped charging (again), and I could start & stop charging by wiggling it.  I ended up cutting that connector out and soldering the leads together. I’m limited to the alligator clips now, but it seems to work consistently now.  I use the cowl bracket for the negative but haven’t tried the exhaust since I made the change.  If you’re using a CTEK with that feature, you might want to check that connection. 

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I have a question about charger settings. My CTEK has a ‘snowflake’ setting that is supposedly for use in cold weather and/or AGM batteries. This setting charges at 4.3A. The ‘motorcycle’ setting is for smaller batts and limits to 0.8A. What do other chargers deliver, and what’s appropriate, especially in warm conditions after a flight?

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3 hours ago, Runtoeat said:

Ed, my Genius (G1000?) does the same thing as my CTEK.  I show resistance in the exhaust system from the exhaust outlet thru to engine ground connection.  I note another thing about using the Genius on my car that is stored in my hangar.  I cannot leave the charger on - it will overcharge my battery due to the small constant drain caused by the anti-theft and the EPROM controller.  I mention this for those who might have small constant drain from their CT instruments. The Genius charger will keep going into charge mode when it senses voltage drain. Thinking this wasn't correct, I called and spoke to the owner of the company.  He said this will occur and recommended that I disconnect the battery from the vehicle system.  Can't do this or will loose all programmed driving modes on my car.  This voltage drain does not occur on my CT due to no glass instruments.  All my gages are steam and zero current drain occurs while sitting in my hangar.

I figured a 'Genius' might not be but should a least be 'smart' enough to not overcharge.  Why can't today's smart charger stop charging?

 

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Runtoeat   

Hi John.  Thanks for the info on the CTEK.  The CTEK you have is higher charge amperage than mine but I'm thinking it will just throttle back into a trickle charge and will work OK?  We need Kurt (chanik) to give his "charging 101" class again!

Ed, it's pretty bad when a "Smart" charger tells me I'm dumb for leaving it on!

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Odyssey engineer told me to use snoeflake setting for their PC 310 battery but not to charge it directly after flight. Told to wait until surface charge had dissipated before connecting charger so that charger would not think surface charge was actual charge state.

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To any who may be interested, I came across what looks to be a good resource on batteries. There is a section on charging lead-acid batteries that answered a lot of my questions.  The web site is shown below. This may be old news to some. 

batteryuniversity.com

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