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Easy way to add electrolyte to batteries

Les Hurdle

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Pretty cool.  I use my hydrometer to suck up any excess….and a flip top water bottle.  Looks like it will work. Just make a dipstick to consistently fill properly…

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I use a turkey baster, measure the amount the first couple cells take on the batteries that are out front,then give the same or a little less so I don't over fill,takes about 20 minutes and done


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It is recommended to charge the batteries prior to adding distilled water.  Don't know why, but I read it on the Interweb.

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  • Tom Cherry changed the title to Easy way to add electrolyte to batteries
1 hour ago, 6Wheels said:

It is recommended to charge the batteries prior to adding distilled water.  Don't know why, but I read it on the Interweb.

Here is a screenshot of the Trojan Battery maintenance manual.

In reality, here is what many of us do….and we get 7 plus years out of our house.  We exercise or discharge them about 3 times to around a 50% State of Charge.  We do this maybe twice a year.  That keeps the cells “in good shape”.  

As to the “add water”, if you maintain the batteries and keep the electrolyte level mid way between the bottom of the fill well and the top of the plates, then you should never run the risk of exposed plates.  Randomly charging a deep cycle battery without  electrolyte at least 1/8” above the top of the plates is a great way to damage them.  Likewise, letting them sit, unused for a year ot so with exposed plates is almost a 100% way to really damage them.

The rationale, for the Trojan statement is that folks panic and overfill and then boil or evaporate off the electrolyte.  That come straight from talking to a few tech support folks at Trojan.

The method that most of us use is to check the electrolyte level before we exercise.  i have attached the Battery 101 file.. it has simple instructions for making a “dipstick” which is easy to use.  I check the specific gravity….record it by battery by cell.  The values and variations with the 3 cells of each battery are an indicator of  how “physically fit” each is.  Then I know, from experience, if I need to do all 3 cycles.

Major comment here.  Trojan says ONLY IN EXTREME CASES, should you equalize….and if so, add a little more…maybe 1/8” of electrolyte.  They do not recommend annual equalization as it decreases the life expectancy….Magnum says more often….most of us don’t ever equalize.

Final comment.  The folks that get max life use the Water Miser caps (Amazon).  i rarely add an Oz of electrolyte per cell….



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We all have our favorites but after 31 years with coach batteries, this is what I like best. It is a one gallon HDX sprayer from Home Depot or Amazon. You  put in the distilled water, pump it up a little and you can add just the right amount water without spilling a drop. I like to keep the top of the batteries clean and dry. The handle and hose allow you to reach even the very back cells. Note that I have cut off the spray tip of the nozzle and bent it a little so it fills just perfectly. 



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The POINT of adding Electrolyte is that not every battery and dimensions from the top of the plate is uniform.. There is not an SAE or industry standard.  Trojan recently or has two designs out there.  YES, the “oil cans” with special spouts work.  Yes a pump sprayer might be neater.  

BUT, with over 60 years…actually going on 65 years of being a gearhead and a curious little kid that adored (and was named) after his favorite uncle, who was a “master tech”, I learned that I can’t “see” a magic or mythical line that is exactly “halfway” between the top of the plates, and covered and the bottom of the well.  Trojan used to give out “dipsticks” actually a piece of plastic that you put in the cell and you knew where the magic halfway line was.

SO….KISS - shadetree style.  Measure the distance from the top of the cell to the plates,  measure the distance from the top of the cell to the bottom of the well.  Subtract….Divide by 2.  Add a sixteenth or so.  Mark that on a wooden dowel and check like you do oil.  If I get the new Trojans, they will already have it in the new design.  GOD…what a concept…FILL HERE.

But, If I had one of the “Amazon” cans, then would use it…but, also make a quick dipstick and then if it worked….drive on. Same for all the fancy watering systems,  

BUT, from talking to Interstate and Trojan and a LOT of members….the key to not having to add or only add a little electrolyte…as well as never worrying about getting too low or boiling over….use the Water Miser Caps.  They are like a mini distallation tower….you boil or turn water into vapor.  Then it condenses and drips down back into the cell.  NOT 100%….but those that converted all say that instead of adding (measured in many cases) 2 - 3 OZ, you only add an ounce and fhe the levels stay constant.

Whatever works for an individual….and has been great…GOOD.  But if one is starting out and wants to get Max Life.  Buy a Hydrometer (there is one called out) and get a dowel and a flip top water bottle…or use a turkey baster or whatever…but preventing electrolyte loss and condensing the vapor is the best way to prevent issues and make’s maintenance easier and you get years…as in 7 or 8…going on 9….and the batteries, when exercised….are still capable of a 100% SOC.

Understand the fundamentals….use them, if you care…and then decide what works for you and if you want to get the max life….

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As per the manual, I leave the coach plugged in. In hot weather, I need to top them off once a month. It looks like they might take a couple of cups in total. The newer the bateries are the less they take. In winter every 2 or 3 months is suficient. Same for my trailer that has solar.

I leave a gallon of distilled right in the bay and it takes only a minute.



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