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Old 05-24-2014, 12:23 AM   #1
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Suggestions on new house batteries..

The garage where I store told me that my house batteries have gone bad. Apparently the specific gravity is low as well as bubbles on the tops of the batteries..

I would like to replace these with AGMs and would like suggestions on:

- Are AGMs the way to go?
- what size (group? Dimensions are the stock house batteries)
- any brand or model recommended?

Thank you..
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:21 AM   #2
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I have the same unit as yours and did AGM's. I bought the biggest Lifeline batteries that would fit (I still believe they are the best AGM's out there), had the tray customized to hold them, added 120W solar panels, converted every bulb in the unit to LED - and was never happy. I should have been for the thousands of $$ I put into it! Lol. AGMs are theoretically better, but you have to make sure all the settings in anything that charges them knows what they are, etc. After a year of trying to get it right, the batteries eventually got to where they'd go from a full charge to 10.5V / dim lights / etc in less than an hour with only the overheads on. Shop said 2 batteries failed, which explains it, but they should have several years left.

My degree is in electrical engineering, so I don't think I did anything stupid. :-) The only theory I've been able to come up with is that the chassis charging system that charges the house batteries when the engine is running does now know about AGM's, so they never were properly at capacity, and then 2 failed (which is very rare for Lifeline's). So, I just replaced them last month with Trojan T-145 flooded cells with the Trojan water system, reset the charge settings accordingly, and am calling it a day. For me, AGM was a theoretically perfect and in practice pointless quest.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWood View Post
The only theory I've been able to come up with is that the chassis charging system that charges the house batteries when the engine is running does now know about AGM's, so they never were properly at capacity, and then 2 failed (which is very rare for Lifeline's).
That is an excellent point and one of which I hadn't thought.

I went with 4 Trojan T-105's and in four months have not lost a drop of electrolyte. I do have the battery watering system (squeeze bulb type) on them for whenever I DO need to add water.

For these reasons AGM's aren't worth the $$$$ (in my opinion; YMMV).

Boowho??
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:39 AM   #4
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Wow -

I had not considered changes to the charging system. I just assumed they would be the same set up in the cars and motorcycles. This is what makes the forum valuable. I'm going to chat with the RV storage and see if they have any other suggestions..

Is everything working now? Were you able to make the changes and get the batteries replaced?

Thank you!

Alex

Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWood View Post
I have the same unit as yours and did AGM's. I bought the biggest Lifeline batteries that would fit (I still believe they are the best AGM's out there), had the tray customized to hold them, added 120W solar panels, converted every bulb in the unit to LED - and was never happy. I should have been for the thousands of $$ I put into it! Lol. AGMs are theoretically better, but you have to make sure all the settings in anything that charges them knows what they are, etc. After a year of trying to get it right, the batteries eventually got to where they'd go from a full charge to 10.5V / dim lights / etc in less than an hour with only the overheads on. Shop said 2 batteries failed, which explains it, but they should have several years left.

My degree is in electrical engineering, so I don't think I did anything stupid. :-) The only theory I've been able to come up with is that the chassis charging system that charges the house batteries when the engine is running does now know about AGM's, so they never were properly at capacity, and then 2 failed (which is very rare for Lifeline's). So, I just replaced them last month with Trojan T-145 flooded cells with the Trojan water system, reset the charge settings accordingly, and am calling it a day. For me, AGM was a theoretically perfect and in practice pointless quest.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by amarzano View Post
Wow -

I had not considered changes to the charging system. I just assumed they would be the same set up in the cars and motorcycles. This is what makes the forum valuable.
With my Magnum controller, there is not only a setting for AGM versus flooded (regular car type) batteries, but also for which BRAND of AGM you are using.

Apparently, they are that "picky" as to how they are charged.

Another reason I declined them. Once again, JMO.

boowho??
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:41 PM   #6
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So I spoke to the RV shop -

They suggested Wet batteries - BUT

- Also stated there was a setting on the Magnum for AGM
- Said AGM's will cost much more
- Said AGMS will NOT make a mess (which my Wets have done twice (might have been failing for awhile)..
- Also warned about letting AGM's go DEAD - bad thing..

He is pricing the batteries now. They sell Interstate - any idea if that is compatible with the Magnum (brand)? Any idea if an Interstate AGM is a good battery to run? Seems AGM are lower Ah than the wet ones. My current batteries are US BATTERY - 232 Ah and the AGMS seem to be 190 Ah..

Thank you
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:00 PM   #7
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I mis-typed in my prev post. My Magnum battery type can be set to Flooded, AGM1, AGM2 and Custom. Probably in the manual somewhere, it tells what brands match AGM1 and AGM2; but I don't have the manuals in front of me right now.

Custom had all kinds of sub-settings which I didn't bother to decypher. My GUESS would be that if you collect all the specs from your AGM battery manufacturer, you could properly setup the CUSTOM parameters to match any AGM battery.

Finally, IMHO, properly setup charging parameters PLUS keeping them properly watered will prevent you from ever "making a mess" with non-AGM batts.

I've had my T-105 flooded batts installed about 4 months now, not one DROP of liquid/corrosion anywhere in the compartment.

Again, YMMV. The above is working great for me.

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Old 05-27-2014, 11:59 PM   #8
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Deep Cycle Wet cell batteries make the most sense economically for most situations based on a cost per amp hour delivered over their lifetime basis.
This CAN change for virtually full time off the grid living applications...i.e boondocking if you have the right charging set up. In my opinion the very BEST AGMs are the thin plate pure leads made by Odyssey and also under the DieHard Platinum brand for Sears.

There are other reasons than economic for getting AGM's and with PROPER CARE they can be excellent in reliability. Reasons to get them:
1. Your batteries are virtually inaccessible or need to be mounted sideways (or upside down for that matter!) due to space considerations and watering is difficult or impossible.
2. You can't trust yourself to keep checking wet cells and filling them with distilled water.
3. You store your coach in very cold weather for months at a time and hate coming back to dead batteries in the spring.
4. You hate to run your generator for hours and want to be able to charge a lot faster with a big charger...cutting down on time and gas and genny wear and noise.
5. You have some big amp draws on board and you want a battery that can deliver high current without fail when charged.
6. You're willing to pay 2-3x what a comparable wet cell would cost for some or all of these benefits.
****************
Now...how to make them last:
1. They hate heat. If you're gonna have them in a compartment that goes to 110 degrees...faggeddaboutit.
2. They MUST be recharged to 100% every time you recharge them. (or at least once a week!) They don't like constantly being charged to 80 or 90% by owners who then don't want to spend 2 hours putting the last bit in them.
3. They must have a charging routine designed CLOSE to their mfr. recommendations which can vary a bit. Know what your charger can do before buying AGMs.
4. Don't discharge too far. AGM's can go to 40% (some more) but going further can cost lots of life cycles. You need a real battery monitor to take care of your investment.
5. They hate being on trickle/float charge and not used for long periods. Charge them fully...then disconnect them if you're not gonna use them. They will only lose 1% of their charge per month!! 1/10th of a wet cell loss.

Again...I'm not recommending AGM's for most RV purposes. But YOUR use pattern should determine what you buy. I lived on AGM's off the grid for several years with no issues and I LOVED the end of battery maintenance and would buy them again for the same purpose...but I'll have wet cells in my RV by choice.
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Old 05-28-2014, 02:25 PM   #9
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Thank you to everyone who responded. All great and accurate feedback..

Here is what I have decided to do and why...

- I am not going with the AGM's. In my case - I store the RV at an indoor facility. They charge it once a month and start up once a month. I can see them NOT following the below and causing a problem with the AGM not fully charging or fully discharging. I do believe our Magnum will support the charging set up for the AGM and have the electronics in place - for those that are interested.

- I am going with a WET cell. I did look at all the common brands - Trojan's / Interstate / Deka and decided to go with US Battery XC2 - 2200. This is a slightly updated version of the battery that came with the coach.

My decision was based on these factors.

- I know it will fit with no modifications
- They are a USA Mfg'er - i.e. Made in the USA
- They are / were the Mfg'er for Interstate ..

Finally - they were easy to deal with. The distributer in my area quoted me a very reasonable price and will deliver to my home and pick up the old batteries. Can't beat that! (well - if he put them in for me that would beat that.. :-) )..

I did consider the slightly larger US Battery - but the rep stated that it was only a little more Ah and for the additional $80 - you would not notice any change in the run time. This was basically the argument for all the other options that were out there as well.

They also stated the reason I had acid in the compartment was either over filling or over charging. I decided to go with their watering kit - and manage the filling myself - so hopefully - this problem will be solved.

Might try to dig into the Magnum settings to see what the charge rates are set at next week..

Hope this helps..

Thank you!



Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Deep Cycle Wet cell batteries make the most sense economically for most situations based on a cost per amp hour delivered over their lifetime basis.
This CAN change for virtually full time off the grid living applications...i.e boondocking if you have the right charging set up. In my opinion the very BEST AGMs are the thin plate pure leads made by Odyssey and also under the DieHard Platinum brand for Sears.

There are other reasons than economic for getting AGM's and with PROPER CARE they can be excellent in reliability. Reasons to get them:
1. Your batteries are virtually inaccessible or need to be mounted sideways (or upside down for that matter!) due to space considerations and watering is difficult or impossible.
2. You can't trust yourself to keep checking wet cells and filling them with distilled water.
3. You store your coach in very cold weather for months at a time and hate coming back to dead batteries in the spring.
4. You hate to run your generator for hours and want to be able to charge a lot faster with a big charger...cutting down on time and gas and genny wear and noise.
5. You have some big amp draws on board and you want a battery that can deliver high current without fail when charged.
6. You're willing to pay 2-3x what a comparable wet cell would cost for some or all of these benefits.
****************
Now...how to make them last:
1. They hate heat. If you're gonna have them in a compartment that goes to 110 degrees...faggeddaboutit.
2. They MUST be recharged to 100% every time you recharge them. (or at least once a week!) They don't like constantly being charged to 80 or 90% by owners who then don't want to spend 2 hours putting the last bit in them.
3. They must have a charging routine designed CLOSE to their mfr. recommendations which can vary a bit. Know what your charger can do before buying AGMs.
4. Don't discharge too far. AGM's can go to 40% (some more) but going further can cost lots of life cycles. You need a real battery monitor to take care of your investment.
5. They hate being on trickle/float charge and not used for long periods. Charge them fully...then disconnect them if you're not gonna use them. They will only lose 1% of their charge per month!! 1/10th of a wet cell loss.

Again...I'm not recommending AGM's for most RV purposes. But YOUR use pattern should determine what you buy. I lived on AGM's off the grid for several years with no issues and I LOVED the end of battery maintenance and would buy them again for the same purpose...but I'll have wet cells in my RV by choice.
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Old 05-28-2014, 04:59 PM   #10
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Nothing wrong with that choice...sounds like a plan!
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