Six Months Of 48Volt BatteryMINDer Use Provides Useful Consumer Information - An Open Letter From Bill Woods
From Bill Woods, VDC Electronics, "Home of the BatteryMINDers"
The following comments are derived from the experiences thus far of seven (7) people in The Villages to whom we gave the BatteryMINDer to test six months ago.
The first of these was The Villages Golf Store's Don Knopf, whose extensive background in industrial batteries proved to be a major help, as he understood the concept and technology that BatteryMINDer represented. He went on to prove to his satisfaction that the 48-volt BatteryMINDer really worked. Within a month we began our exclusive relationship with The Villages Golf Stores, who, to date, have sold more than three hundred (300+) BatteryMINDers.
Based on nearly six (6) months of testing by The Villages Golf Car Stores, BatteryMINDer has so improved the life and performance of so many batteries that The Villages Golf Stores no longer automatically replaces three (3) year or older batteries in the trade-in cars they then resell. Instead, they put the BatteryMINDer on the batteries, along with the Original Equipment Charger that came with the car, for a period averaging three (3) days (72 hours). They then test to determine if batteries meet 85% or more of their original capacity. If not they replace with new batteries. They also recommend the 48-volt BatteryMINDer to the purchaser of the used car to ensure the longest possible battery life.
I believe Glen Ottley at their Super Store in Spanish Springs would attest to the fact that the vast majority of otherwise "failing" batteries have been restored by using the 48-volt BatteryMINDer charger / maintainer/ desulfator to remove sulfate and fully charge the battery, without ever overcharging.
From the very inception of the 48-Volt BatteryMINDer we envisioned its greatest contribution to be best realized if it were to be used simultaneously (in tandem) with the cart's original supplied charger. In this way both chargers, working together, reduce total charge time while allowing the BatteryMINDer to continuously supply a safe maintenance charge, as well as dissolve harmful sulfate in the batteries. In addition, the negative affect we have seen in many cases, that of overcharging by the original main "bulk" charger, is minimized as it is now ON for less time.
However, we did not know but have since learned, many of the Original Equipment supplied chargers are overcharging batteries to such an extent as to cause "boiling out" of the caustic battery electrolyte water. We then recommended they only use the BatteryMINDer without the original charger when doing "short trips". This has proven at times to be the wrong advice-recommendation as the time the BatteryMINDer is ON is not long enough to fully recharge the batteries, without the help of the main charger. Our advice now is to use both chargers simultaneously, unless the original supplied "stock-bulk" charger has been overcharging the batteries when used by itself or is causing excessive water loss* -- another indicator of excessive life-shortening overcharge.
(*More than 2 pints (total) every two (2) weeks in a typical 6-Volt x 8 battery setup or 8-Volt x 6 battery arrangement.)
We have also learned, from speaking with both battery companies and golf car manufacturers, they recommend periodic "overcharging" (also known as Equalization or Finishing charge) in order to maximize the running time, i.e. "range" the batteries can provide between charges. The problem is, this overcharge will give somewhat longer running time, but at the expense of battery life. Batteries not subject to frequent equalization will last considerably longer when not consistently overcharged-equalized, yet still provide as long "range" over a much longer life time.
The short term expectations of many users are also something we need to clarify. Some expect to see a higher voltage after using the BatteryMINDer for even a few days. This will be true if the batteries are already showing their "age". When given enough time, typically a week, if the BatteryMINDer and the main charger are both used together (at the same time) and BatteryMINDer is left plugged in continuously every night, higher voltage will be seen. Example: When voltage of the entire group of batteries measures 50 volts after a full night's "rest,"* the batteries are only at 50% of their capacity, not the 100% they were able to provide when new. A "healthy" set of batteries will show a "rested" (overnight) voltage of 51.2-V or slightly higher. Any voltage reading below 51.2 simple means you now will be getting less range and power than when batteries were new.
BatteryMINDer has the ability to increase rested voltage and increase life and power when used correctly and for sufficient time to rid (dissolve) the sulfate that develops in the normal course of use. When batteries are free of sulfate and have not reached the end of their potential life, BatteryMINDer can improve capacity by as much as 50% from the low of 50-Volts (50% of original capacity) referred to above, to 90% of full capacity represented by a rested Voltage of 51-V. Note: When batteries reach the end of their full rated cycle life, no product can make them go beyond. The task is to do whatever is possible to ensure they have the chance to reach their expected "end" and not be short lived due to improper treatment.
Because there are so many different conditions (variables) a "one size fits all" solution will not work.
- Weight of car, gearing, speed, terrain
- Weight of normal passenger and driver load
- Battery capacity (Amp Hrs., size and number of batteries)
- Range typically covered daily, weekly
- Depth to which batteries are typically discharged to (>50% or more will significantly shorten battery life)
- Temperature (environmental and high temps. generated by "on-Board" chargers, especially if the seat is not raised during charging to let heat escape
- Charging (over or under will decrease life as much as typical depth of discharge)
- Improper maintenance (water level, keeping connections clean)
Lastly, VDC Electronics, Inc. is an eighteen year old privately owned company, considered to be the experts in battery technology and products related to Lead-Acid storage batteries. We are the only company recommended by the two major aviation battery makers in the U.S. for maintenance charger-desulfators designed to properly "tend" aviation lead-acid batteries. Aviation batteries are very similar to golf car batteries when it comes to proper care and ensuring maximum life and performance. We have taken the knowledge gained from our aviation products and applied it to the BatteryMINDer model 48021 48-V maintenance charger-desulfator.
Please use the comment page on our website to provide any additional input that could be helpful to all of us. Thank you very much.