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Thread: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Fremantle, Western Australia
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    297

    Default Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    Iím starting this thread on these batteries as I donít believe they are near as good as they say they are. My previous battery banks were 2 banks of 4 T105 Trojan 6volts lead acid wet batteries. After many years these finally gave up the ghost and I started looking at the alternatives what to replace with.


    Lead Crystal batteries had an identical size battery, physically and with amp hours within a few amps. The spiel from the sales rep made these sound fantastic. When I tried to do research, there was so little actual feed back on the forums, I assumed they were as good as the sales pitch says. So thousands of dollars later I had them fitted in the boat. All is going well. All the parameters on the Victron unit are set to match the information stamped on the side of the batteries and data sheet - voltage, temperature, etc..


    One year later, when I was checking the batteries, as I do regularly, lo and behold, 2 of them are looking like footballs! The batteries had swollen so much, the had stuck together and needed a screwdriver to prise them apart! But phew, only 2 of them had swollen. I get straight in touch with the sales people/supplier who to say the least, weíre not impressed to hear from me. After much deliberation and myself paying for the Victron people to come and inspect all the battery settings, download all the graphs, etc. from the Victron unit, the supplier FaceTiming my electrician, they begrudgingly replaced the 2 batteries out of a bank of 8. They believed we were under charging the batteries as I was ďonlyĒ charging at 100 amps. I was told by the supplier that a battery bank of this size needs to be charged at 200 amps continuously for X number of hours stepping down to 160 for X number of hours, etc.


    The supplier suggested that the other batteries would also all fail now and there is no warranty on them even though they offer a full 3 year warranty. They didnít feel they even needed to warranty the first 2. So in with the 2 new batteries. ďUnfortunatelyĒ I could not set the battery charger at 200 amps as frankly I donít know anyone who has a charger this big. But I did increase to 120amps as my maximum.


    Sure enough, just one week later, the other 6 batteries had all swollen up, even though I was checking the settings and would even go as far as turning off the battery charger when I felt them getting hot. The supplier has left us high and dry claiming itís the Victron electronics that are rubbish not his fantastic batteries made in China.


    So buyer beware. Keep in mind that the charging parameters they expect are huge and that I donít believe our battery bank is excessively big for a live aboard boat. We believe that because these batteries are continuously chasing more amps, even though they are full, the battery charger keeps pushing more power into them. Hence being they are swelling, getting hot and damaging the cells. The supplier will not honour their warranty as you will need to have, on a battery bank my size, a 200 amp charger that can push this in continuously for 5 or 6 hours.


    So if you are considering Lead Crystal Batteries, I would strongly recommend you read my post, do some real research from people on the ground and not the sales pitch of the supplier. My wife found an article on Women the Sail/cruise (?) where they are travelling through the equator area running their engines and fried their Lead Crystal Batteries as well. There were other posts out there as well. They seem to be temperature sensitive in our opinion. I believe that other yacht owners are going to be tempted to give these a go and itís going to potentially be disastrous without the know how of setting these up correctly. In hind sight, we could of set up a Lithium Battery Management System on them to control the over charging and temperature. However, the importers/suppliers have no idea and if you get into a technical conversation with them, youíll soon work this out. Hence being their warranty isnít worth the paper itís written on.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    Sorry to about you woes, at least you were somewhere convenient for replacement. I am always concerned about having new untried tech on board in remote places. That includes Lithium batts. At some point everything fails and depending where you are it may take months or be impossible to replace.

    That aside what size are your batteries? 200 amps for 5-6 hours (1000-1200 amps)? Are you actually using this much power?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    Here is what the supplier asked me to do 12 months later :

    Charging - The charger is significantly undersized for the size of the battery Pack. The XXXXX series of Lead Crystal Batteries need to be charged at 20% of the C10 Rate. You have a 1040 AH pack at C10 therefore needing a 200 Amp charge currentÖMinimum. We understand that you have a Victron Quatro 120 Amp charger that was set on 70 Amps with the ADAPTIVE CHARGE MODE. What this means is that the charger would be producing around 40 Amps at best. This charge current was way too low. Any loads coming of the battery will reduce the available charge current limiting even further the batteries ability to charge up. This basically means the charger will be constantly charging which causes heat to build up.

    Charger Settings - The charger needs to be set as follows

    Bulk 14.6 at 20% of the 10 hour rate of the battery, in parallel the charger should be x 2 of the amps to ensure correct charging in bulk mode
    Absorb 14.7 at 10% of the 10 hour rate of the battery and again same current applies as above
    Float when the boat is dormant should be set at 13.7 and 5 amp max current applies.

    So they are rating them at 1040AH. However, the batteries were stamped with 210AH each at 6v multiplied by 8, you do the math...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    I have to say there is an element of BS or WA (warranty avoidance) going on here.

    I looked at these some years ago, they have been around for a long time. My understanding of Lead Crystal is that they are basically AGM variants using a solid (crystal) electrolyte.

    Your 210AH may well be the 20 hour rating, most common, are they using a 10 hour rating?. Even so you basically have 840AH at 12volt. If you draw these down by 50% then you would only expect to put back 420, 6 hours with your charger set to 70 or <4 at full power 120. 40 is a maybe a bit low >10 hours. If you are drawing them down by say 80% then the voltages could be so low as to cause the connected equipment itself to get hot, motors, pumps etc or dim, lights. You can in theory draw them down below 50% but at voltages that are unusable in the real world <10.5v.

    They apparently have the ability to charge at high rates but I could not get any info on the internal resistance (acceptance). Maybe they do in-fact have a very high internal resistance at certain charge levels <50%, which would bear out that a low charge rate would not be sufficient to overcome it (result heat). Also their claim was that because there is no liquid they could NOT expand. So something does not add up.

    If you are going to deep discharge them this of course makes them next to useless in solar, wind, sporadic engine charging regime of a boat.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    Were you informed about this minimum charge rate requirement BEFORE you made the warranty claim? Is it mentioned in the battery specs?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by 44C View Post
    Were you informed about this minimum charge rate requirement BEFORE you made the warranty claim? Is it mentioned in the battery specs?

    No , I check with the suppliers Explain my system right down to the batteries battery charger etc
    Trying to not have any issues later down the road The first I heard anything from them that my 120 amp battery charger was too small was 12 months later I believe this is bad Business. There only interest is getting the money and getting out of any warranty , I am presently talking to the Lithium battery people and going through the same process this time much much more carefully ď. I really thought this is a warning to anybody considering changing the batteries really need to look long and hard and the more I have posted the more feedback I am getting of similar cases etc .

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    Name of the company, batteries?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lead Crystal Batteries in Australia

    If you weren't informed about this minimum charging requirement, and there's no mention in the literature, then I'd say you should be pushing for a refund, not replacement batteries. For any off grid system, a MINIMUM requirement of 200 amps is simply unrealistic. Clearly these batteries are not suitable for this application, and shouldn't be sold as such.

    I'd suggest that you get advice from the department of fair trading.
    Last edited by 44C; 10th August 2018 at 10:36 AM.

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