VDC BatteryMINDer Upgrade
For approximately 5 years I have been using a Model 12112 BatteryMINDer. This model put out a maximum current of 1 Amp with a charge voltage of 14.7 VDC and a float charge voltage of 13.4 VDC. A little history as to how I got my first BatteryMINDer might be appropriate since I still get a chuckle out of it.
When Colleen started full-timing in 2005 we found ourselves in Kissimmee, FL at a large RV retailer. We were approached and invited to attend a seminar about 1000 Trails and if we were to attend we could get a $50.00 gift certificate after the presentation. We both replied, where do we sign up?
Out of the package is the control unit, 2 battery attachment adapters, (ring and alligator – fused) a warranty card (SN on card) and the Owner’s Manual. The cable on the left on the charger is for the temperature sensor. (optional). I was able to register on-line; you will need the Sn# off off of the warranty card. If you buy the 12248 you get a “Free” Battery Condition Indicator direct from VDC.
We attended the seminar and although the presentation was very compelling, we said no thank you and got our certificate and hi-trailed it out of there. We went to the store where the certificate was valid and bought our very first, BatteryMINDer. The net cost was very low and we were pleased to get out the door with a practically free BatteryMINDer.
I mounted the control unit on the curbside wall using 2 screws. Out of the way and secured, the cables are held using ty-raps and achors. The power cord runs forward to a wall plug. The charge cable runs aft to the battery compartment. Note that I disposed of the powder type ABC fire extinguisher and replaced it with a Foam type fire extinguisher.
When we returned to our campsite, I fitted the leads onto the adapter cable that came with the BatteryMINDer and connected the RED to the positive lug in my battery bank and unlike the instructions I connected the NEG lead direct to the battery. On our rig this was necessary since the POS leads go to a single terminal and the NEG from the automotive battery goes direct to a chassis ground. In the instructions it states to connect the RED lead to the POS terminal of the battery and the BLK to the chassis ground. In our case the coach batteries and the automotive battery appear to be connected to GND so I was compelled to clip the BLK clip onto the automotive battery itself. I clipped the BLK on the battery first and then connected the RED last since it was remotely located and if it did spark it would not blow anything up. For these past many years the only thing that was getting charged by the BatteryMINDer was the automotive battery only. The cable adapter that I used were the alligator clips as opposed to the rings which I don’t expect work well on side terminals.
Our coach batteries are being charged by a 55A Iota Inverter/Charger and DLS-55/IQ4 IQ Smart Charge Controller which has its own intelligent charging circuit.
We lived many happy years with the Model 12112 however at this point in time I was trying to remove the clutter of so many wires directly next to the passenger seat. What a nest of wires including the BatteryMINDer (BM), an Inverter, a 120V plug strip & 2 12V wires to power Sirius and the laptop and on occasion a printer. There was also another reason why I wanted to consider an alternate solution because my strategy was to connect and disconnect the BM from the wall and plug it into the plug strip and then back again. This practice found me forgetting to plug the BM into the wall once we got on shore power and due to the parasitic load; I wound up with a dead battery. Thankfully the battery did not remain discharged for a significant amount of time. So I figured that I would fix 2 problems that I have with 1 solution.
I retired the 12112 and installed the new Model 12248. The 12248 solves 2 problems for me, first I can plug it directly into the wall with no weight or bulk on the face of the outlet. It can remain there until the cows come home, I don’t care. 2nd benefit is I mounted the 12248 on the outside wall, out of the way of the rest of the wires that are needed next to the passenger seat.
The new 12248 is like a magnitude in performance above the Model 12112 which was very much out of date electronically since it was no longer listed. The direct replacement for the 12112 is the Model 12118. (See the chart attached below)
The new 12448 BatteryMINDer (48) was ordered from www.rvupgrades.com and it arrived in perfect condition with a new 2011 Product Catalog. The 48 comes in a hinged plastic package which does not need to be destroyed to open the product. The 48 came with the wall mounted charger unit, a pair of alligator clip adapters, a set of ring adapters, a warranty card and an owner’s manual. The battery temperature sensor cable Part Number ABS-248 was previously optional now comes as a standard feature with the 12448 Kit.
It is recommended that the temperature sensor be used if the battery is in a challenging environment where temperatures fluctuate. Where my battery is mounted, it is subject to the free air so the battery goes through whatever outdoor temperature variations are occurring at the moment. The temperature sensor’s task is to monitor the temperature of the battery and adjust the charge rate. The ABS-248 temperature sensor provides automatic temperature compensation. The Sensor can be used to detect and adjust charger’s output voltage depending on temperature, extending battery life and performance by more than 100%.
The 48 was easily mounted however it did not come with screws. The 48’s box has 4 rubber feet located 1 in each corner and it provides for stable mounting on the wall. I secured the 48 to the wall using 2 – #8×1.75 sheet metal screws which were screwed directly into the luan paneling. The 2 screws pulled the unit up snug to the wall quite nicely and I don’t expect that it will go anywhere. I used some sticky ty-wrap anchors to hold the charge cable in place down low on the wall as it goes off to the battery box. I have a little wiggle room in the hatch cover and the charge cable fits without a pinch. I chose to use the alligator clips again and clipped the negative terminal on the battery and the positive clip on the wall post of the battery enclosure. The 48 was then plugged into a free open receptacle next to the passenger seat and the 48 came to life for the first time in my coach. The default was 2A, Gel Type, a green power light, green condition, and green charge LED were visible.
View of the battery compartment showing the automotive battery (right) and 2 Trojan coach batteries connected in parallel (left). Note the positive post on the back wall. The black clip is connected to the automotive battery (top right of battery)
After a few minutes the Charge Status LED went into a Float mode where it began blinking. Using the 48’s controls, you can turn off the unit by using the Stop/Restart button. Turning the 48 off I can now change my charge rate and battery type. Using the Charge Rate button you can choose between 2A, 4A and 8A. A 4A rate of charge is acceptable for a single battery and it’s what I chose to use.
By pressing the Battery Type button I was able to change the battery type from the default Gel to Flooded. AGM is the 3rd option. Once the settings are chosen, the Stop/Restart button is pressed again and this restores operation of the unit. The 48 will resume charging or automatically go into maintenance or float mode. If the LED is a solid green its charging if its blinking its in float mode. In the right vertical row of LEDs the middle LED shows the battery condition. If its green the battery is good. If its yellow the battery is either weak or no good. The top LED should be green and if its red that means that you have the change clips reversed or the battery has less than 3 volts and is deeply discharged.
This chart show the effect and resolution of the battery being sulfated. Left is the sponge like quality of a new plate. Center is the crystalized appearnace of a sulphated plate. Right is a conditioned and restorred battery plate with the sponge like properties of the new plate. (left).
The biggest benefit of having a BatteryMINDer is the desulfasion which maintains or restores a battery if possible to like new condition. Desulfasion can best be described as restorring the plates in the battery from a disabling coating of sulfate crystals that separated from the sulfuric acid. The BatteryMINDer’s electronic circuitry does not knock off the crystals but dissolves them back in the sulfuric acid and restores the performance of the electrolyte and assures that the plates remain absorbent and able to accept a charge.
Moving from a Model 12112 to the new 12248 is like moving from a tent to a motorhome in technology. I expect that the new BatteryMINDer will serve us well as did the old one however we now have a lot more capability, better technology and better options.
My “First” YouTUBE Video !!!
Produced & Directed by: DriVer
For more information about the BatteryMINDer Model 12248
Tech Support: 800-379-5579 x 206
147 D Woodbury Road
Huntington, NY 11743
The attachement below is the BatteryMINDer Comparison Chart. (3 pages)
See Part2 of this Blog continued here …..
BatteryMINDer Installation – Finishing Touches