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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2012
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jimbonich jimbonich is offline
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Default Need AGM Battery Advice

I have decided to replace my eight house batteries with AGM batteries. My "low maintenance" flooded batteries are going to be due for replacement soon and I would appreciate some advice/help for these questions:

1) What is the correct way to evaluate one AGM battery against another--CA, CCA, or reserve capacity? I would like to get the highest capacity batteries I can find, if the price is within reason. Camping World sells Exide, and they apparently have two AGM batteries in the 31D configuration that I need. Both have a 200 minute reserve capacity but one costs $20 more and has a higher CA and CCA ratings. Is this what I should be looking at, or do they have same storage capacity based on the identical reserve capacity?

2) I had thought the price difference was even greater, but Amazon's price (with free shipping) is only $180 and $200 each for the two Exide AGM batteries they sell. "Regular" flooded cell batteries cost around $100-130 in the 31D configuration so the price difference is less than I had assumed (I thought the AGM's were 3x more expensive, or more). Do these seem like good prices and/or am I looking at the right batteries?

3) Does anyone know of any brands/distributors with better AGM batteries and/or better prices?

4) One of my reasons for spending the extra $ is that my domestic refrigerator draws my flooded batteries down to 50% overnight, and I'v been told not to draw them down below that. I recently upgraded my electrical system by adding a second ProSine 2.0 inverter with three-stage charger, and networked both ProSine's to get 210 amps of charging capacity so that I can down on generator useage when dry camping. However, the eight flooded cell house batteries will only accept that full charging amperage for 30 minutes or so and then the chargers scale back to 100 amps or so, which is what I had with one inverter/charger before adding the second one. After talking to Xantrex tech support this is apparently because my existing batteries develop enough internal resistance that the chargers cut back the amperage before the batteries even reach 60-65% state of charge. Am I correct in assuming (or reading somewhere) that the AGM batteries should be able to take a higher charge rate for a longer period of time?

5) I have also been told that drawing the AGM batteries down to 10-20% won't shorten their life in the same manner as a regular flooded cell battery. If this is true then I should be almost doubling my useable storage capacity. Is this correct?

Any help/advice/suggestions will be welcomed....
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2012
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rselin rselin is offline
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If these are house batteries I would look primarily at the ampere-hour (A-h) rating. Are you sure you are looking at deep cycle batteries and not starting batteries? Deep cycle batteries generally only have an A-h rating. Starting batteries have CCA ratings.

Lifeline is considered by many to be the best.
http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2012
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I don't have the answer to the technical parts of the questions, only my own experience. I've used 3 Optima deep cycle batteries for 4 years as combined house and starter batteries without any problems. They've been used on cold nights with all the furnaces running while watching satellite TV and spun the motor over just fine the next morning with cold 40wt oil. I found out accidently that just one of the batteries will start the engine, but it was on a warm day.
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Old 04-01-2012
Robert Britton Robert Britton is offline
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Wasn't there a forum member that is a distributer for LifeLine Batteries?...my battery of choice.
http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2012
George Roberts George Roberts is offline
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I am no expert, but here are my thoughts.

1) AH Amp/hour is the key rating for a "deep cycle" battery which is what you need for coach. CCA or cranking capacity isn't key for coach batteries.
2) $200 sounds a little cheap. I would think you are mostly in the $300 range for a good quality deep cycle AGM.
3) There are some in depth post on this subject on this and many other RV forums. A lot of knowledge has changed hands.
4) By the work you have already done, you already know a lot.

Optima, Deka are two names I see a lot. If you are close to a big city you may just call and ask their advice. I have found some of these people are very customer focused and will exchange the batteries at no charge etc. That would have saved my back 3 weeks of recovery.

Please let us know what you end up doing and why.
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2012
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Thanks for the input. I looked up the Optima 31D AGM deep cycle batteries. One place sells them for $379 each with free shipping so they are definitely more expensive than the Exide batteries I was looking at.

If anyone has the contact info for the guy (Tom?) that is a POG/WOG member and sells Lifeline batteries I would appreciate it. I've looked through the thread that talks about it but never saw his contact info.
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2012
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I have used Deka AGM house batteries and have had them last over 10 years if you use a float charger and do not draw them down excessivly.
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  #8  
Old 04-02-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbonich View Post
Thanks for the input. I looked up the Optima 31D AGM deep cycle batteries. One place sells them for $379 each with free shipping so they are definitely more expensive than the Exide batteries I was looking at.

If anyone has the contact info for the guy (Tom?) that is a POG/WOG member and sells Lifeline batteries I would appreciate it. I've looked through the thread that talks about it but never saw his contact info.
I think this is it:

http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.co...ad.php?t=12008
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  #9  
Old 04-02-2012
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Optima have a good reputation, but are expensive. Check out COSTCO as they sell Optima and some others. But be sure you're looking at the deep cycle batteries and not the regular ones. Optima batteries with Yellow Tops are the deep cycle model.

I had Deka batteries in my coach when I purchased it ... performance led me to believe they may have been mishandled (and damaged) the several months the coach was in the hands of various dealers (it was a trade in at a dealer in Oregon and I purchased it from a dealer in Texas). So I replaced them with Full River brand (warning, in the 4D size I purchased, these were over-size and required modification of the battery hold-downs, etc.) http://www.fullriver.com/products/dcglist.htm

I bought the batteries from http://www.dcbattery.com/ located in Florida, but their shipping was "free". This dealer also sells Optima brand batteries. I do not know if they are currently competitive in price, or not.

The Full River batteries proved to be of reasonable quality, but (this is important), I did NOT significantly extend my service time with the home-type refrigerator in my coach. I eventually realized that it was the very significant power draw of the refrigerator rather than the batteries that was the problem.

While AGM batteries can be pulled down to a lower voltage than flooded cell batteries, such use still shortens their eventual life span. Just like flooded cell batteries, it is "ideal" to hold your discharge to 50% but you can probably drop to 40% (frequently) without significant life-shortening effects. Dropping below 40% will cause life-shortening effects that are cumulative.

AGM batteries need a "different" charging profile than flooded cells. Be sure that your new inverter/charger(s) can be adjusted to use an AGM profile. (The P.O. of my coach had installed a Link 2000R controller that managed the chargers AND the alternator to supply "proper" voltage. The Link 2000R controller was somewhat of a pain to program (being totally non-intuitive), but once programmed, could then be left alone.)
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteaeonix View Post
While AGM batteries can be pulled down to a lower voltage than flooded cell batteries, such use still shortens their eventual life span. Just like flooded cell batteries, it is "ideal" to hold your discharge to 50% but you can probably drop to 40% (frequently) without significant life-shortening effects. Dropping below 40% will cause life-shortening effects that are cumulative.
This is different than what I have been told (that AGM's can be drawn down to 10-20% without shortening their life). Does anyone else have any info or input on this?

Also, is a charging regulator like the Link 2000R needed to preserve the AGM's and maximize their charging from the alternators?
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