Care of Deep Cycle Batteries
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Home > Articles & Tips Index > Flying > Care of Deep Cycle Batteries

[Courtesy of Allen B. MacDiarmid [alleyb "at"], November 1998]

Hi, I'm new to electric flight, having given up models somewhere around 1948 or so and am now picking up again. I am an RVer, though, so know something about deep cycle batteries.

We don't kill them, we murder them. If you don't give them an equalizing charge now and then they are not going to last the ten years that they should.

An equalizing charge is done after the battery is fully charged. Put in about 10% of the rated AH in amps for about 15 minutes. It should bubble the electrolyte.

Boats have smart chargers that do this automatically. I have one on my RV as well, although it is awkward. My understanding is that if you do not leave the battery discharged, and run an equalizing charge once a month, the battery should last 10 years.

I am assuming that you are using a regular (not gel) deep cycle or semi deep cycle battery, like a Trojan. If it says RV battery, it is probably not a deep cycle battery in the first place. The only true deep cycles that I am aware of are the telephone batteries, but they are a bit large (read huge) and you need 6 of them to get 12V.

In any event, make sure you check the water because a lot of supposedly trickle chargers will boil the water out. There is also a gizmo that zaps batteries to keep the sulfate off the plates. I have forgotten the brand, but I guess I could look it up.


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