Most deep cycle applications have some sort of charging system already installed for battery charging (e.g. solar panels, inverter, golf car charger, alternator). However, there are still systems with deep cycle batteries where an individual charger must be selected.
When changing between Flooded, AGM and GEL type batteries the existing charger may need to be changed and/or the voltage cutoffs reset. Chargers installed by most high quality original equipment manufacturers have selector switches built into their systems that allow the user to change between Flooded and GEL type batteries.
What follows will help in making a proper selection.
There are many types of chargers available today. They are usually rated by their voltage and there start rates or the rate in amperes that the charger will supply at the beginning of the charge cycle. When selecting a charger, the charge rate should be between 10% and 30% of the battery’s 20-hour AH capacity.
For example: a battery with a 20-hour capacity rating of 100 AH should use a charger rated between approximately 10 and 30 amps (for multiple battery charging use the AH rating of the entire bank to determine the charger rating required.
We recommend using a charger from one of the high quality charger manufacturers Discover® has approved. OEM chargers with Discover® approved charge curves prolong battery life and enhance performance. Alternatively we recommend using a 3-stage voltage compensating and temperature sensing charger. These chargers usually have three distinct charging stages: bulk, acceptance, and float. Some chargers that claim to have an equalize mode or stage should not be used on AGM or GEL batteries. Discover® approved chargers have Balance Charge modes included in there single cycle charge algorithms. Balance Charging is similar to an equalize charge but is performed using specific temperature adjusted current, voltage and time data.
Warning: Do not equalize charge GEL or AGM batteries.
Equalizing is an over voltage-over charge performed on flooded lead acid batteries after they have been fully charged. It helps to eliminate stratification and sulfation, two of many conditions that can reduce the overall performance and life of a flooded battery. Laboratory designed, specific to Discover®, balance charge algorithms have been designed and are included in all Discover® recommended Industrial Commercial charges offered for sale wherever our Discover® VRLA products are sold. Visually the Balance Charging curve is similar to an flooded equalize charge curve in its finishing voltage, but it is strictly controlled to promote active material conversion and not to prevent acid stratification. Discover’s® Balance charging algorithms are highly recommended for batteries being installed in strings, larger batteries using taller plate groups and/or with batteries constantly being subjected to high rate deep discharges.