Page published 14 February 2021

This post was originally made on 21 September 2011 on what used to be "The Blog".

It's Just Volts?

Today the new battery I had ordered arrived. It was cheap! The advert on eBay had warned:

These batteries are shop soiled ie. they have scratches on them, some are faded from sunlight and some have blemish marks on them from being on display, but they are in 100% optimal working condition and carry a full 2 year warranty. These batteries are from different manufacturers and come in different colours and different handle configurations, some have 1 handle others have 2, some have rope handles.

The new battery

My shiny new battery sits in the boot of the car. It's just been tested and is showing 12.61 volts.

However, when I opened up my package I was to find a battery just like the one on the photograph in the advert, with a casing in brand new black shiny unmarked condition. It appears I should have no complaint, but after all those warnings I wonder what I'm missing. I put my multi-meter across the terminals and it read 12.61 volts, which my book tells me is what I should expect from a brand new fully charged battery. Where's the catch?

The new battery in its box

I had plenty of cable available so it didn't matter that the polarity of the terminals was different to my old battery. It's remarkable that it is so much smaller than my old battery. Does that mean it won't last so long?

This evening I took it down to the boat, removed the old battery and connected up the new one. It's dark outside and I am working with my head torch strapped to my forehead, but when I turn the switch the navigation lights shine brightly, illuminating Rhiannon, the SeaHawk moored astern of me.

That's a good start, but then I wonder why the charge controller LED is still blinking red. However, I look again at the unit and see that it shouldn't glow green until it is above 12.8 volts. I guess it's not going to do that unless the solar panel is actually pushing out a charge and at this time of day it's not going to be doing that.

Just 17 under floodlight

After the job I have a drink, leaving Just 17 bathed in yellow light from the pub's floodlights.

I do have one worry and that is whether the charge controller is still working as it should. When visiting Just 17 on a couple of afternoons last week, I have noticed that the separate green LED, which is supposed to indicate the solar panel is charging, hasn't been lit. I decided it must indicate that controller wasn't getting enough feedback from the battery to indicate a charge was being received, rather than a fault in the charging system itself. I suppose I have to wait to the morning to see if that theory will stand up. I really don't want to have to replace the charge controller as well!

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