Rant: Glentronics Basement Watchdog Emergency Sump Pump System

The rant subject

Today’s rant is about a Glentronics Basement Watchdog backup sump pump system I’ve installed a while ago. The system overall is relatively simple- a 12V DC pump lives in the pit and is turned on by the controller when the water level rises above a level set by magnetic float sensors. The pump is fed by a big 12V Lead Acid battery that’s always charging. So when power goes out or the main pump fails, I’d have at least some pumping going on for a bit instead of me having to bail out manually.  At least that was the idea.

Front panel

The problem

For the first year or two the system sat there blinking happily. I’d test it occasionally by pressing the test button or moving the floats and the pump would kick in. During one of such tests I noticed that with the pump turning on, I’d also get a low battery alarm. That sounded weird after the system just sitting there charging all the time, so I started digging in. First thing I noticed was that the battery is charged in a pulse fashion- the charger turns on for a bit, then turns off. Looking at the current, it would go into the battery for a bit, then out of it! Upon a bit more thinking, I realized that this is how the unit tests for battery’s presence and relative health. The charge current was very small, and about on the order of discharge current. It was actually taking more energy out of the battery than putting into it. A nice discharger so to speak!
Battery voltage was suspicious as well- at most it was sitting at 12V while always charging. Too low for any kind of charging to actually occur. And finally I remembered that in the two or three years of owing the system I’ve never had to add water to the battery, even though the manual warned that it should be done pretty regularly, based on low water indicator. All this sounded like a system that is not charging correctly. So I called Glentronics tech support. The answer that came back was –  “you need a new battery”. No matter how I tried to explain that I see no meaningful charging ever happening, the tech just kept insisting on his line. So I ran my own test. I disconnected the battery and charged it with a lab power supply, while measuring things with a WattsUP meter. After a pretty long charge, the battery took a good 20AH+ in and was sitting at a much happier voltage, it also ran a much larger number of pump cycles before hitting low voltage warning. So much for bad battery!

“Take it apart”

Well, clearly it’s time to crack it open.

Front of the controller

Back of the controller- not much there. Revision 7!

A very old school design, no micro. Just relay, logic and discretes. Should be pretty reliable once designed and tested well.  Well, let’s see how things are connected:

A simple charge path

We basically have a diode, a TIP32 BJT and a series resistor between input wallpack and the battery. The system has an oscillator that pulses the big BJT to turn it on, while also driving the green “Charger” LED at the same time. Looking at the voltages, around the circuit, one thing becomes pretty obvious early on. Vin is very load dependent. As soon as the BJT turns on and tries to charge the battery, input supply sags quite a bit. That means while the battery is very low it’ll get a tiny bit of charge in, but as it gets fuller, the voltage left after the whole chain of parts is just too low to push any current into it.  A closer look at the power supply that came with a system reveals an unregulated  wallpack. There is our problem! Next step is to use a bench supply and see if that makes things better. At a steady 15V we get a nice charge and at the end of it, the output is never above 13.7V- a perfect value for float charge system like this. So the fix is very simple- replace a wallpack transformer with a suitable switching power supply. I used Cincon TR10R150-12A03 that cost me maybe 10$ at the time for a 15V 0.7A switcher.

Conclusion

My battery is now happily sitting at the proper float voltage of about 13.7V and actually requires adding water every once in a while. It seems that once again beancounters screwed up a reasonably good system, to save a few bucks on the wallpack.

 Edit: There is now a discussion thread over on eevblog 

 

57 thoughts on “Rant: Glentronics Basement Watchdog Emergency Sump Pump System

  1. Good information to have. I recently installed one of the “special” WatchDog systems. It seems to charge the batt OK, and I have had to add water after about 3 months, but the huge unregulated wall wart does seem like it could cause trouble someday. At least your low battery alarm gave you a warning that something was wrong.

  2. It sounds like yours is at least charging. I’d still take a peek at it with a voltmeter every so often just to see where the battery voltage “lives”

  3. I have the “Special” Watchdog system and I’m running into a similar issue. The “battery” alarm has been going off frequently. I have swapped the original battery with a regular marine deep cycle from Walmart. The first battery lasted 6 months before the “battery” alarm started going off. Swapped it under warranty and the second one lasted also about 6 months. Now the “battery” alarm is going off once again with a third battery after about 3 months. Load tested the battery and looks ok. Battery takes a full charge from a battery charger, so I’m suspecting the system is not charging the battery adequately anymore. I checked to see where I could buy the switching power supply you have been used to no avail. Could you recommend one? Is the connector a 5mmX2.5mm one?
    Thanks

  4. The plug is indeed 2.5×5. The outer overmold was a big large, so I had to enlarge the opening on the back of the unit to make it fit. Mouser suggests TRG10R150-12E03-Level-V
    as a replacement, but it is not clear which plug you will actually get. One place says 2.5 the other 2.1. I suggest you check with them first. http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Cincon/TRG10R150-12E03-Level-V/?qs=%2fha2pyFadujZskwyXqxD%2f2EeW%252b6KiOkmFtvl8T4iyR%2fmpA%2faqQNXZH4LgOHgjc%2f3

    • Hello reagle!

      I am having the same problem with my 2.5mm plug on the new Cincon charger. The overmold was too big to fit the Watchdog unit. How exactly did you enlarge the opening? Alternatively, is there any way to cut down the overmold?

      Thanks

    • Fellow victims–Not sure how you got onto the CINCON power supplies ETC. Did any of you check the fact that the wall mounted power bricks output voltage is 15VAC?? The CINCON outputs up to 15 V but it is rectified and therefore DC.
      Not sure if the board simply ignores this OHHSHITSKI or lays an egg.
      I called 11/18/16 these cheating cretins and the fellow I spoke with told me that they have NOW a switching PS system that charges the battery only-on demand- once a week( finally understood what/why a switching power supply does) –no longer COOKS the battery. YOU know that they are MORE than happy to sell you a new one–after all-they manufacture these. Are you feeling the finger in your nether regions??
      I am going to the store and see if their NEW owners manual states this. If NOT-lets get together and SUE!

  5. Looks like I’m out of luck with the TRG10 series as the plug is a 2.1mm. There is a TRG15 series with a sligthly higher max current output (15v with max load of 1amp or 1.67amps) that offer the 2.5mm plug:
    15v 1amp – http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Cincon/TRG1515-A-12E03-Level-V/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMuep2RzTrr6lTm6Re87d9%2fDpggZhKkjL7g%3d
    15v 1.67amps – http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Cincon/TRG250150-A-12E03-Level-V/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMuep2RzTrr6lTm6Re87d9%2fDQsWdXIbW9SA%3d
    Would you consider those suitable for this application? Thanks.

    • Stand corrected. Cincon has a 2.1mm (TRG10R150-11E03-Level-V) and a 2.5mm (TRG10R150-12E03-Level-V) version of the same power supply.

      • Luis-
        I just purchased a Watchdog pump (DFK961), I’m getting considering buying the battery for back-up (not acquired yet). After reading many posts about the issue with the batteries discharging, can you specify which charger and plug I need? The picture of the Circon units seem to be for a special plug–I assumed they plug into a standard wall receptacle type–which I have…. can you clarify?
        Thanks in advance for any and all replies.
        Mick

  6. Nice write-up. The “special” is different design, although I’m sure similar. For me it was boiling my batteries and ruining them after 1 year. My solution was 1) unplug unit 2) remove annoying buzzer from the board 3) use a nice smart charger on the battery.

    • Jim,
      how did you remove the buzzer from the board?

      I found it and if I place my thumb over the top it gets really quiet. but it seems to be really soldered in there. thinking of just filling it with something to deaden it….elmers glue maybe.

  7. I bought the Basement Watchdog battery and pumps (BW4000) and installed them in Feb 2013. I didn’t question the system until I recently discovered that the system charges for 60 minutes, and then “drains” for about 90 minutes. When charging, the voltage across the battery rises from 12.66V to 15.25V in about 20 minutes, then stays at 15.25V for another 40 minutes. The charger then turns off and the battery drains to 12.66V in 90 minutes, at which time the charger turns on again. Without the charger connected to the battery, (I disconnected it right after a charging cycle) the battery voltage drops from 15V to 12.78V in somewhere between 3 and 11 hours, then has stayed at 12.78V for a few days, so far. I called Glentronics and asked if it was normal for the system to drain the battery while checking it. I was told there is no drain on the system and he hung up on me.

    Is there anything detrimental to the battery to keep applying 15.25V for 10 hours a day? Is this the way others’ systems work? Will I have the same problem reagle had in a year or two, or perhaps a different problem because I have the BWSP (“special”) model? I would appreciate any insights or recommendations.

  8. I ran my Glentronics Basement Watchdog Emergency Sump Pump System for the last four years without any problems by removing the original Glentronics power supply and connecting a BatteryMINDer Plus Charger/Maintainer/Desulfator-1.3 Amp 12V #12117 right across the battery.

    The control unit continued cycling the green light and the power red light stayed on continuously, the battery is five years old and load tested good, it takes small amount of water about once a year.

    I will install the 15VDC power supply next week disconnecting the BatteryMINDer Plus, I’ll use this setup for one year and let you guys know how it works.

    • So, did you keep the leads the Watchdog Special comes with connect to the watchdog control and just not connect the power supply to the Watchdog system (just have power connected to the battery directly from the BatteryMINDer Plus Charger/Maintainer/Desulfator-1.3 Amp 12V #12117)? I’m having the issue that it keeps telling me the terminals are corroded. Cleaned them and have a brand new marine deep cycle battery attached (as it was cheaper than the Watchdog system). Just want to make sure I understand this that it’s just as simple as not connecting the power supply that comes with the Watchdog Special, and then directly connecting the BatteryMINDer Plus Charger/Maintainer/Desulfator-1.3 Amp 12V #12117 to the battery. Need to get this fixed as the alarm is driving us crazy.

      Thanks,
      Jason

  9. I’ve had the same battery prob as well, changed out the battery, but now the pump is gone. I have a newish battery and bad pump. All my attempts of emailing them about just getting a new pump have gone unanswered. So I just bought a 1000/750 watt invertor and was planning on plugging in a 2.5 amp 115 volt 1/3 hp 1350 gph submersible. The problem is I can’t read any of the labels on the Basement Watchdog (blue) battery anymore and have no idea as to its specs, i.e. CCA (or peak amps) or its amp. hrs. Again, no info on the site, anyone have their “blue” battery and know those specs? I know I should expect to lose about 10%-15% in conversion or will their be more? I looked for 12v bilge pumps, but haven’t had any luck for anything over 3-6 gpm and that just won’t do it for my sump, it fills continuously except for some times in late July. Anyone out there with some ideas?

  10. I tried the Cincon 15V 0.7A charger listed above. My Basement Watchdog system failed to recognize it, and it would not charge the battery. Did not work.

    I had to use the 12V charger bundled with the package, which was putting out 13.4V at the wall with no load when I measured it with my voltmeter.

    I decided to charge the battery initially with my auto battery tender, then hook it up to the system when it was fully charged.

    • most likely it had a different connector at the end of the wire and did not make good contact. There isn’t really much to recognize there- it either supplies power or not

      • Same here. Used a Cincon 15V 0.7A charger with my “Special” Basement Watchdog and it is definitely making contact because the green led goes on indicating system operating, but it instantly has the red power alarm led blinking indicating the system things the power supply is not working properly.
        The original wall charger says it has an output of 1.6A so I am wondering if the circuitry could be detecting the lower current output and thinking there is a malfunction… Maybe try a 15V and 1.67A charger also by Cincon?

        • I have the 1.6A version and right now the unit is cycling between charging and having both the “Water” and “Battery” alarm lighting up. The battery has water filled. Should I let it go like this for a while?

  11. I bought the Watchdog Special sump pump and battery three years ago. Everything seemed to be working fine until about a year ago. I got a battery alarm. When I checked it, the battery was dry. I never got a low water alarm from the sensor. I filled the battery and it charged back up and worked for another year. Last week, I got another battery alarm and found it dry again. Again, no low water alarm was received. Now the battery will not hold a charge. It’s probably shot and is just three years old. Seems like there is a definite problem with the charging system and warning system with this product.

  12. I’ve got one of these Watchdog 12v battery backed pumps which I inherited from a previous homeowner.

    I disconnected it to work on one of the PVC joints that the previous residents had poorly installed and was leaking. When I reconnected it, it runs and pumps…. but doesn’t shut off. The floats are down, and there’s nothing to pump. Tapped that switch a bit to see if something was sticking or maybe to knock loose corrosion etc. No dice.

    At first I tried to search for a replacement float/switch and/or battery charger part, but I cannot seem to find it anywhere. Just the whole damn package, and I’m sure not buying this model.

    Can anyone recommend a really good battery sump pump system? Ideally one I can find parts for and fix? Fortunately, my deep cell battery is in good shape. Thank goodness for that…

    • Per manual, float starts pump and controller runs pump fo a minimum of 30-40 seconds. Got 9 years with original battery, never added water. Unit always got me through power outages, but I do wire up portable generator for outages longer than 4 hours. Agree with evaluation charger is marginal, battery floats at 12.3 VDC and charge cycle is nominally higher, 12.5. Note my AC/DC plug in supply, standard with unit measures 16.1 VDC while not charging.

  13. I am a beginner. Marine store says my battery tested good, but low voltage even after charging for weeks. I have a different system than watchdog, 12v deep cycle battery but never supposed to add water. I cant determine if charger working properly or really need new batter. Charging unit has no doc, no specs, just a black box. Any idea how to confirm if charger working? I bought an ohm meter but no idea how to use it? Want to test output of charger. Any ideas that can be explained in childlike manner. Never used ohm meter before. Output of charger is around 750 at setting of 200m on ohm meter if that is helpful. Thanks for any help at all – Dave

  14. Hello all!

    I bought the Cincon charger with a 2.5mm plug. The only problem was the overmold was too big to fit the Watchdog unit. How exactly did you enlarge the opening? Alternatively, is there any way to cut down the overmold?

    Thanks!
    Carl

  15. I recently bought a house with Watchdog already installed. @ months after moving in battery exploded raining plastic and acid 6 feet away from battery. Called Glentronics Tech. Answer was I must have done something to cause explosion. Wonderful customer service!

  16. anyone else having a problem with their charger on their Basement Watchdog? if i held the charger into the back of the jack, the system operating light came on. otherwise, it would lose contact. i bought a new charger and the same thing happens.

  17. I’d appreciate if any of you that have been “around the block” on this could let me know the following – I’m now getting a bad battery warning on my Watchdog “special” and given the track record am not too keen on dropping $150 for a battery and acid. I’m thinking about pick-up a marine deep cycle battery – do I just drill one of the caps to insert the low-water sensor? Can it somehow be bypassed? (I’m good with performing periodic manual checks)

    • Pretty sure manual says to connect it to positive electrode, but check me! Though if alarm stops once you connect all is good (of course you will not be monitoring battery electrolyte level)

        • Ended-up hitting my local Interstate Battery shop….picked-up a marine deep-cycle blem for $50.
          675 CCA; 845 MCA; 19.5hrs @ 5 amps; 6hrs @ 15amps. May get 2 years, maybe 5 or more….will be better off than the $150 with just about anything.

      • Thanks and yup – connecting to the positive turned that light off. Their website has a 6 month water-check reminder feature but I’m going with a quarterly smart phone reminder.

  18. So like you all I have the same Watchdog pump! Question for you, can i just connect my Noco G3500 Battery charger up all the time? Have both Watchdog charger and the Noco?

    The watchdog is barely charging the battery and if the battery does get to 100% the noco will then just maintain the battery.

    Right now I test the battery monthly and place it on the charger if it seems low.

    Thanks

  19. I have a 2013 model Basement Watchdog Special, BWSP used with a Diehard marine battery, in use at a vacation home. I rigged the fluid detector to the positive terminal since the battery had lids for three cells at a time. The charger seems to activate quite often and boils away the water. I’m not always there to keep up.

    Anyway, my battery is already shot and I’d like to replace with an AGM battery for less maintenance and longer life. I’d wire the fluid monitor to the positive post to silence the low cell water level alarm.

    However, the product manual says the BWSP system is incompatible with maintenance free batteries. Does this just mean gel type starter batteries? Or, will an AGM battery also not work. Will the Basement watchdog alarm if I use an AGM battery? Will it overcharge or damage the battery? Your thoughts?

    • By now most of you have realized that these crooks want all of you to but your-replacement/burned out- batteries from them–all the time. They are manufacturing them and the BUILT IN OBSOLESCENCE practice is employed here.
      The thing to do is to limit the charging to 2 times a day.
      When I called one of their snot nosed grade school engineers it became very apparent that they are NOT YOUR FRIEND,
      Will let you know how to change the timing frequency.
      I am positive that some board level soldering will be required!

  20. By now most of you have realized that these crooks want all of you to buy your-replacement/burned out- batteries from them–all the time. They are manufacturing them and the BUILT IN OBSOLESCENCE practice is employed here.
    The thing to do is to limit the charging to 2 times a day.
    When I called one of their snot nosed grade school engineers it became very apparent that they are NOT YOUR FRIEND,
    Will let you know how to change the timing frequency.
    I am positive that some board level soldering will be required!

  21. Hello Reagle and company;

    Like all the others here I have the same problem as you. However, I have been through two of these units and ONLY because they are the only company making this product. I have searched and cannot find any other outfit that makes a battery operated emergency backup sump pump system.
    The first unit I bought was the one with the smaller yellow pump. That one failed after a few years, so I then replaced it with the “Watchdog Special” (much more expensive) unit. After a few months that unit stopped working and I got the company to exchange the electronics module with a “remanufactured” unit. That one stopped charging the battery in a few months and when I called their support people, I was told that it HAS to be the battery. I replaced the battery and the remanufactured unit still sounds the alarm every day telling me that the battery is supposedly “bad”. The battery is topped off with water and the battery is only one month old- it is not the battery.
    The unit will activate the pump if the water level sensor is lifted or if the yellow button on the panel is pressed, but will sound the alarm every day (once a day) complaining of a “bad” battery.
    So, I disconnected the Watchdog unit from the power and the battery, and connected a trickle charger to the battery. It showed that the battery was less than 80% charged, but that of course is because the Watchdog unit does not do the job of charging the battery! I now plan to keep the battery on the trickle charger until it is needed and then reconnect the unit to the battery when and if the power goes out. I might try the Cincon charger listed above, but I am thinking that both the electronic module as well as the Watchdog power adapter are bad (the part that gets plugged into the wall outlet).
    I wish there were another manufacturer that makes a similar product; these Glentronic outfit needs some capable competition.

  22. I also have the BWSP about 5 years old. Have been thru 3 batteries, Marine Deep Cycle, at $120. Found out like others charger goes on for 1 hour then drains battery for 1 hour. amp meter had 110 milliamp drain. Had to add water every 2 months. Got the Radio Shack electronic solder iron out and removed the buzzer. Buzzer removal does not effect the operation of the other circuitry. Purchased a 5 amp Battery Tender to replace the Basement Watch Dog power supply. All is well with a float charge to the battery. BWD does offer a replacement controller that also supports AGM for $125. I decided on this route because AGM are pricey and I’m sure the new controller from BWD would ruin any battery.

    • Scott, how do you have the Battery Tender hooked up to your BWDSP? Do you have the system controller disconnected while using the Battery Tender to maintain the battery? I have the same system and now trying to decide if I am going to “upgrade” to the “new” AGM capable controller and dealing with $125 for the controller and another $180 for the AGM battery costs or use a smart charger and stay with wet-cells.

  23. My BWDSP is going on 5 years old now. The BWD battery lasted 4 years and I didn’t want to spend another $150 on another one from Home Depot. On a trip to Costco I noticed they had deep cell batteries. Same size and output for $75. They are made by Interstate.

    After 12 months the alarm would go off for “Terminals corroded or battery defective. Clean termimals or replace battery.” I looked at the terminals and no corrosion. My multi-meter showed 13.71 volts. I also checked each individual cell and they all showed ok. I put some di-electric grease on and it lasted a week before the alarm went off. Again no corrosion and the battery checked out ok.

    I decided to call Glentronics and to my amazement they were in Northern Illinois where I live. They told me to bring the head unit in and they would test it out. After 3 hours I received a phone call back and they told me it was a bad resistor 442 ohm – 1/2 w – 1%. There was no charge which was a relief. While I was there I noticed the sign said a flat $70 to repair sump pumps. I am very happy they fixed my unit for free and everything is working great again. They also told me not to use di-electric grease so I cleaned it off.

    Hope this helps for anyone have the same issues I did.

  24. Hello Dan – I have had my system for 10 years, replaced battery only last year.

    I think I have a similar issue, my battery has been replaced once, it’s 1 year old and I can’t get the sensor alarm to stop, says “Terminals corroded or battery defective. Clean termimals or replace battery.” The terminals are very clean, water level is fine, 20 amp fuse is good. This happened after the main pump failed, I replaced the AC bump and all is well with that. However, the BWDSP light and alarm remains, also the “Charger Operating” light is not on.

    Can I simply hook the battery up to my car and charge with cables? If so, for how long?

    I really want to avoid purchasing a new battery for $150. I am open to ship them my control box if they can trouble shoot, I live in NJ.

    Thanks

  25. I have the Basement Watchdog Special BWS, the charger has Input at 120vac 60Hz 26w. The Output is 12VAC 1.6a . Anyone got any idea what regulated wallpack this would take. The one listed that started this forum is a smaller amp, like .4a So it seems the Cincon TR10R150-12A03 would be to small for the Basement Watchdog Special BWS, I do not have the plus but it looks to be the same Output is 12VAC 1.6a .
    Also I see all the Watchdogs are 12VAC output and all the regulated wallpacks seem to be 12VDC out, can you use a VDC out in a VAC out in the 2.5mm ?? Thanks

  26. I’ve had my Watchdog Emergency system for over 10 years and never replaced the battery.
    I have a 1/3 HP AC pump in another corner of the basement which is the main sump pump.
    Last week the Watchdog alarm sounded. The red Battery alarm light was on and flashing.
    The Water alarm was not on. I checked the battery and it did need distilled water. It needed over 3 cups of water. I added the water but the alarm would not stop even with the Audible Alarm switched off. I left the battery all hooked up and just let the alarm sound with a towel muffling the sound a little.
    After two days the alarm stopped and the Battery Alarm is no longer lit.
    The green Charger is lit and blinking.
    I checked the pump by hitting the white Test button and everything seems to be working.

  27. “Warning”, this “Rant” article appears to be about “The Basement Watchdog Emergency” (model number BWE) which uses a much different charge controller and charge controller scheme than the larger basement watchdog systems. As an example the BWE model uses an unregulated wallwart power supply that has a DC output rated for 12 Vdc, 400 mA. On the other hand “The Basement Watchdog Special” (model BWSP) uses a wallwart power supply that has an AC output rated at 12Vac 1.6amps as I recall.

    This week I replaced the battery (battery model 24EP6) on my neighbors BWE system that had been in service for over 5 years (old battery had what appeared to be a shorted cell), and was amazed that the water level was perfect even though they had never added water to it over the years. I thought this was odd until I made both voltage and current measurements on the wallwart power supply as well as the charge current going into the battery and also had discussions with the Basement Watchdog customer service department.

    The wallwart power supply on my neighbors BWE system is Model DC120400, and here are the measurements I did on it to confirm it was operating within the name plate specification of 12 Vdc, 400mA.
    Open Circuit = 16.61 Vdc
    30 ohm load = 12.33 Vdc (note used 30 ohm 10 watt load to confirm the power supply could deliver 400 mA at 12 Vdc, which it did since the voltage was slightly above 12.0 Vdc when connected to the 30 ohm load).
    I also tested it with a 60 ohm load, and it measured 13.51 Vdc which would be 225 mA (not an unusual condition for an unregulated wallwart).

    On my neighbors BWE system, the new battery when fully charged is sitting at 12.64 Vdc which I thought was low based on my previous lead acid battery charging experience (I have past experience designing solar charge controllers for SLA batteries), but it turns out this 12.64 Vdc is within spec for the BWE system per the engineering department at Basement Watchdog as they said “the control panel should maintain the voltage anywhere between 12.5 Vdc and 13 Vdc. Anything outside of that on a fully charged battery would be abnormal”.

    The lower 12.64 Vdc battery terminal voltage explains a lot regarding why my neighbor never has had to add water. This lower than expected battery terminal voltage while being charged in conjunction with the lower maximum charging current that this system uses explains a lot in regards to little to no water consumption over the years.

    While we can debate the merits of using the unregulated DC power supply that Basement Watchdog uses on the BWE model, this is not at all uncommon for simple lead acid battery charging in which the charger is connected all of the time, as it provides a crude method of charge current limitation when the battery is at a discharge state, as well as providing a trickle charge when the battery has reached a higher percentage of charge.

    Since the BWE charge controller is actually doing a continuous on/off pulse of the charging cycle, this likely helps in regards to the overall health (life) of the battery. While the battery terminal voltage was sitting at a constant 12.64 Vdc, I was able to measure very short 0.194 amps (194 mA) spikes in the charge current every time the green charge light tuned on using the very very very fast peak picker on my Fluke model 87V multimeter, whereas the average charge current measured only 8 mA. As the “Rant” article mentioned, current goes into as well as out off the battery while connected to the charge controller, but this is normal based on the design of the BWE charge controller. It’s also impossible to tell if the average charge current over a long period of time is positive or negative unless you have a very special multimeter that can do averaging over a long period of time. The only way I was able to confirm the charge controller was indeed putting more energy into the battery versus out of the battery was to use the averaging feature on my Fluke 87V multimeter. The total charge cycle on the BWE controller that I tested was approximately 0.83 seconds on, and 1.66 seconds off for a total cycle time of 2.49 seconds. The “average” current when the charge was on (Green light on) was was approximately +61 mA, and -22mA when the charge was off (Green light off), but as I mentioned above the actual average “continuous equivalent charge current” was equal to a positive 8 mA and I was only able to determine this using the long time averaging feature on my multimeter (this results in not much positive energy, but apparently enough to maintain the battery terminal voltage at 12.64 Vdc).

    Note: My warning about the “Rant” article has nothing to do with the recommendations within the article, but rather the fact that some folks that have posted on this blog need to understand that the Basement Watchdog company sells different models, and therefore this “Rant” article does not necessarily apply to all models.

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