Hello Technodave,I can comment on the batteries but i have no little to no experience with asian made electronics, I bought 2 EPsolar Tracers, when they trashed my batteries i disposed of them and bought all high quality controllers and chargers that are fully programmable and do not refer to generic types for setting. I therefore cannot comment on settings for a particular controller, I can tell you what the battery manufacturers state.
The display on the Tracer only shows what is put into the battery and what is taken from the battery from the output terminal of the tracer.....IF YOU HAVE ANY CONNECTIONS DIRECTLY TO THE BATTERY THE TRACER CANNOT “SEE” that current.
A true battery state of charge indicator MUST have a current shunt right at the battery where it can measure TOTAL CURRENT both into the battery and out of the battery......IT must also measure the voltage right at the battery
The original TRUE STATE OF CHARGE monitor is the BOGART ENGINEERING TRI-METRIC, Victron makes one that does this but it only works with a full VICTRON system, if you have equipment from others in the mix the Victron will have non accurate information.
In any case the true state of charge is read by a hydrometer or a refractometer.
WHAT IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS TO ME.......You do not have a proper charger that is capable of doing a full equalization charge, The charger should not be in eq before the Bulk phase has finished. Go back and do bulk or Adsorb phase until each battery hits its terminal voltage......then move on to e.q. phase
Even though i do have high quality controllers and chargers, i verify the voltage and amperage settings with an external device that is specialized to that purpose, Personally all my meters are FLUKE or others in the same quality range, that can be calibrated by a calibration laboratory to NIST standards. My choice FLUKE 87V NIST......about $500.00, i use several Fluke 77 IV DVOM ($360) as my bench meter but i verify that against the 87V which is verified by a Fluke lab standard.
It is not a simple proposition to simply charge up a battery to recover from a very low s.g. reading. For now only believe your refractometer, they basically cannot go out of calibration unless you smash the device hard enough to not be able to see the scale. Yours has a built in calibration set point with the “water” line at the very bottom. To verify get some good quality distilled water that has very low T.D.S. (total dissolved solids) such as Arrowhead Puritas and check your refractometer with that. it should read 0.0 , the water line on your refractometer, but unless really abused, its fairly impossible for them to be not accurate.
The meter readings in the Tracers are “approximate guesses“ as they are not taken right at the battery terminals , not to be relied on....
For now.....with the units that you do have in possession do keep charging those batteries with no load on them, only use the refractometer and do get, beg, borrow , i cant suggest “steal” a reliable voltmeter and verify the voltage at the Tracer terminals, I think that you will find that the tracer readings are WAG’s......wild assed guesses....
Thank you Tecnodave,@Simonbr2
Very good, thank you. Now i can tell you that you do not have a dead cell, all cells are within .020 or so .
First off calibrate your spectrometer, very simple, test good quality distilled water, it should be on the water line.
Assuming that your spectrometer is accurate......
This is what is happening.....you are not charging nearly enough for the loads that you have, first thing get some auxillaty power to recharge that pack , keep your loads to a minimum, and apply a steady 40 amps for at least 5 hours, then retest, record results, if s.g. is starting an upward trend, do it again, set the charger to bulk mode, it should stay there. This may well take several days of recovery to see good results.
Do not under any circumstances listen to anyone who says to put epsom salt in a battery.......that is old wife‘s hearsay.
The only thing to add to a Flooded Lead Acid battery is good quality distilled water.....NO not reverse osmosis, OR rainwater, OR filtered water, There are better sellers of distilled water, if in dought go to a major pharmacy and see what they sell.......its widely used in the medical field.....for medical prep, they will not be selling grandamas fififofo water. In California there are Arrowhead Puritas and Calistoga who do it right, anyway, its a bit more expensive.
No dont throw away your investment in those batteries, that is the best lead acid for solar use, you are going to learn that making your own electricity is way more complicated than just buying it from the POCO, if you give up that easily you are in for a nightmare when it comes to lithium, they are technically far more demanding....
Ive said before that i can get more than 20 years on that kind of battery, but that comes with scheduled maintaince. I did state that I have two separate banks of L-16 batteries, one reason is shutdown and service time. I use large marine switches (Blue Seas) to isolate systems for service. You might consider having a backup set. The common GC-2 golf cart battery is built to the same standards as the L-16 traction batteries and will work well is parallel, its not ideal but you should have a standby just in case
My spectrometer is new and came with a small vial of distilled water to be able to calibrate. I did make sure the device was calibrated to 0 before first use.
Currently at my camp the only option I have is my Abso inverter/charger when running my generator, but I believe this is not a proper charge for the batteries I have. It does a 55a charge but I don't know at what voltage (i guess I can check with my multimeter if needed). I can also reduce in the options to 35amp instead of the 55a, but nothing in-between. Does the charge voltage matter? I can always purchase a 40a charger that I can connect to my generator and charge my batteries using this, I just don't know if the voltage matters (i know on the SCC its set to 14.7v).
The batteries I have are 420aH and 10% for the charge is 42 amps, my current load (fridge and RV) is about 7amps at least 30 minutes out of an hour the loads are at the full 7 amp and the other time at least 1 to 2 amps. For this reason I was wondering if it would be better to have a 50amp SCC, this would allow a full 42amps minimum to the battery as well as a little extra for the load being used. I know when the fridge will be idle, it will not need the extra amperage and it will be going to the battery.
I currently have a shunt with a volt/amp meter along with a digital multimeter(Klein Tools MM100).
I had not heart about the salt but I can promise you that I am not putting anything in the batteries other then distilled water (from the pharmacy or the battery store).
I wish I could get a second pair as backup but its not really in my budget, the CG2 pair I was going to purchase is still in the $600 range and its a little much for me.