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Old 09-06-2013, 11:09 AM   #15
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2013 & 2014 Extended Lounge Options

Great battery discussions here and in "Parked Battery Life" thread. In my 2013 Extended Lounge there are two options to get more capacity. I could replace the two current Lifeline 12V GPL-24Ts (160Ah total) with two Lifeline 6 V GPL-4CTs (220Ah) for a nice 37% increase. I looked at my battery box/tray and as Protaganist mentioned the GPL-4CTs would aeasily fit in existing battery box. I'd have to stay with no-maintenance AGMs since it is not easy to access these bateries for servicing on the longe model.

In the extended lounge there is an other option that would allow use of the lower cost FLAs, like Trogan 6Vs. The under floor stoage box on the extended lounge would easily hold more batteries and allow easy servicing. The inside dimentions of this box are about 28" x 11" x 11". Converting it to a battery box would however involve some significant re-wiring and the need to add a vent if using FLAs.

My deliema now is that my current Lifeline batteries are performing OK and don't need to be replaced. I do need to increase my solar capacity first so I'm not totaly depended on being plugged in regularily. Once I get more solar I'll reevaluate the need for more battery capacilty.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Lifeline 6v GPL-4CT AGM batteries are rated for 220 amp-hours
Very interesting! Wish I had thought of that before I bought my new 12v's! Just to make sure I am thinking about this correctly, if you wire two 6v 220 amp-hour batteries in series you effectively have one 12v 220 amp-hour battery bank, right? (Still a nice increase over the standard 160 amp hour setup we normally have!)
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:59 AM   #17
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Very interesting! Wish I had thought of that before I bought my new 12v's! Just to make sure I am thinking about this correctly, if you wire two 6v 220 amp-hour batteries in series you effectively have one 12v 220 amp-hour battery bank, right? (Still a nice increase over the standard 160 amp hour setup we normally have!)
You're right. You end up with 220amp-hours of 12v service.

The only downside is that with parallel 12v batteries, if one goes bad you can cut it out of the circuit and still have 80amp-hours of 12v power, but if you lose a 6v battery, you've got nothing.

I don't foresee that as a problem with Lifelines, which come endorsed by no less a personage than Lewster, the AirForums guru of all things electrical.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #18
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I do need to increase my solar capacity first so I'm not totaly depended on being plugged in regularily. Once I get more solar I'll reevaluate the need for more battery capacilty.
Hi Boxter,
FWIW, we just returned from 3 days and 2 nights of dry camping, and with the solar panel upgrade, the batteries were back up to 100% every morning by 9:00. No need to plug in at all as long as you don't need the air conditioner or microwave (and it's sunny). And the only reason I'd want to add more batteries at this point is if I wanted to run the air on battery power by upgrading to a 3000 watt inverter. Try upgrading the solar panels before upgrading the batteries. You may find that's all you need
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:46 AM   #19
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Hi Boxter,
FWIW, we just returned from 3 days and 2 nights of dry camping, and with the solar panel upgrade, the batteries were back up to 100% every morning by 9:00. No need to plug in at all as long as you don't need the air conditioner or microwave (and it's sunny). And the only reason I'd want to add more batteries at this point is if I wanted to run the air on battery power by upgrading to a 3000 watt inverter. Try upgrading the solar panels before upgrading the batteries. You may find that's all you need
David
David,
Have you calculated how much Air Conditioner run time you would get with your current battery bank feeding a 3000W inverter? The Carrier AC on mine draws 13.5A when cooling.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:53 AM   #20
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Bear in mind that the 13.5A is at 120v, at 12v that would be 135A. This's going to kill a battery pack in short order ... unless it's huge.

amps x volts = watts

13.5 x 120 = 1620

I've been thinking about doing it with an upgraded alternator so I can run the roof top air in motion without the generator. Not sure if it's viable even then.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:21 AM   #21
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Even with a huge battery bank and sufficiently sized inverter, you still would have very limited run time for a large load like a roof A/C.

Look up the Peukert Effect, and you will see that battery draw for large loads is exponential, not linear.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:57 AM   #22
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David,
Have you calculated how much Air Conditioner run time you would get with your current battery bank feeding a 3000W inverter? The Carrier AC on mine draws 13.5A when cooling.
Hi Wayne,
No I haven't, but as Lew and Russ points out, it probably won't run the a/c for very long. And realistically, it's probably very difficult to add enough batteries for such a chore with the limited space in our Interstates. I'm going to have to see how Roadtrek does it with their e-Trek (assuming their claim is legit).
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:32 AM   #23
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Even with a huge battery bank and sufficiently sized inverter, you still would have very limited run time for a large load like a roof A/C.

Look up the Peukert Effect, and you will see that battery draw for large loads is exponential, not linear.
How does RoadTrek manage it on their E-Trek? They clain up to 9 hours of A/C use from a single charge.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:00 PM   #24
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How does RoadTrek manage it on their E-Trek? They clain up to 9 hours of A/C use from a single charge.
A bank of EIGHT house batteries, coupled with a 245-watt solar panel, 5000-watt inverter, and an engine-driven generator in place of a separate propane generator.

Even then, their web page proudly advertises:
Quote:
Eight Auxiliary AGM Batteries: These are designed to give you "off the grid" power for hours, depending on what you run and environmental factors. They will charge quickly and easily from solar and the engine generator due to a comprehensive charging and electrical control system.
Off-the-grid power for hours. Not days. And that's with four times as many amp-hours.

I'm not impressed, despite the hype.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:05 PM   #25
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Off-the-grid power for hours. Not days. And that's with four times as many amp-hours.

I'm not impressed, despite the hype.
Yeah, I'm not too impressed either. There's a point of diminishing returns and I may be at that point with the solar panel upgrade. I think I'll just live with not being able to run the air off of batteries.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:11 PM   #26
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Interstate Battery Upgrade, inverter/charger issues

We replaced the batteries in our 2010 Airstream Interstate with 2 lifeline high capacity 6V batteries. The new batteries upgrade the capacity substantially and are model number GPL-6CT. These batteries fit perfectly in the existing battery box, the only modifications required were cutting a 3/8" piece of plywood to fit in the top cover of the battery box acting as both a hold down and an insulator to the top of the box since the the top cover of the battery box could create a short. The end of the positive cable was also cut off and terminated to a ring terminal instead of a clamp and the battery salesman did that for free in a matter of minutes. This upgrade has given us 300 AH of capacity versus the 160 AH from the factory batteries. This translates to over double the minutes due to the large plates of the 6V deep cycles.

in terms of Tripp Lite inverter/charger switch settings, this write up has it correct with one very important caveat applicable to all batteries connected, factory or otherwise. Switching to the higher charge rate (11A vs 55A) has a potentially unintended consequence regardless of the installed batteries since it is before the load shedding circuitry. In the 11 amp position the inverter/charger will supply no more than 11 amps to the batteries regardless of the battery state of charge. Similarly in the 55 amp (apparently 45 in some models but my part number is 55 amps) position the inverter/charger will limit the battery to 55 amps max.

The potential problem is that if the batteries (whatever is installed) are run down and draw a high current the inverter/charger will not have enough power remaining to run the AC or the oven, when the generator is on. So, if your batteries run down (as is normal camping), you start the generator and then turn on the AC or the oven or anything else high draw, then the generator will kick off. This is because the generator can't supply the 55 amps for the battery charge and the other appliances. The cure is simple, if this happens switch the charge dip switch back up to limit the battery to 11 amps. Don't let this impact your trip or go to a mechanic, just flip the switch...

The only downside is that it will take longer to charge the batteries back up. For example, the new batteries at 50% discharge (150 AH) would take over 13 hours to recharge (13.6 hours x 11 Amps) versus 2.7 hours in the 55 amp position. This is a rare anomaly but has caused many owners to interrupt their trip to chase down a non-existent failure, sometimes at great expense. Of course this only happens when you are camping and run the batteries low causing them to draw a high recharge current. It's an easy fix, flip the DIP switch to 11 amps and carry-on if this happens. The generator won't cut out and everything will work normally again. If this is too hard to remember leave the switch in the 11 amp position and suffer long recharge times. This is the factory default and the reason many people never get their batteries back to full charge, they just don't plug-in or run the generator long enough, even with the 160AH factory batteries.

Also it is very important to ensure the batteries are fully charged prior to any storage. We have the factory solar panel which is sufficient to keep the batteries charged but not sufficient to recharge them. We keep the Airstream at home and plug it in overnight after each use with the switch in the high charge position. If we ran the batteries completely down and had to recharge in the 11 amp position it would take about 27 hours (300AH/11A = 27.3 Hours). In the 55 amp position it is just about 5 1/2 hours to recharge. This is also important to know if you stop for one night at campground and want to fully recharge, the 55 or 45 amp position is required for an overnight recharge.

In terms of battery life, the GPL-6CT batteries are rated at over 1100 cycles and if you read the curves, in our usage pattern of weekend camping running the generator once for about an hour, recharge before storage, they will provide about 5000 cycles. This compares with 200 or so cycles with Trojans or other "wet" batteries. In addition, when fully charged they only self discharge at 2% per month so they store very well. Just be sure to turn off the big red switch and the fridge thermostat to ensure everything is actually off. Also these batteries have a 5 year warranty, are Mil-Spec, are not harmed by being totally frozen and can be completely discharged multiple times (which should be avoided) without damage. They can be purchased for about $340 each locally in southern California including installation. This is expensive but you double your usable power and increase the lifetime by a factor of ten and get a 5 year warranty.

This is a great upgrade, which now allows us full weekend camping and no worries running the tank heaters overnight!
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:24 PM   #27
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Were you able to use the existing cables to connect the batteries in series as opposed to the original parallel hook up?
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:20 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain View Post
We replaced the batteries in our 2010 Airstream Interstate with 2 lifeline high capacity 6V batteries. The new batteries upgrade the capacity substantially and are model number GPL-6CT. These batteries fit perfectly in the existing battery box, the only modifications required were cutting a 3/8" piece of plywood to fit in the top cover of the battery box acting as both a hold down and an insulator to the top of the box since the the top cover of the battery box could create a short. The end of the positive cable was also cut off and terminated to a ring terminal instead of a clamp and the battery salesman did that for free in a matter of minutes. This upgrade has given us 300 AH of capacity versus the 160 AH from the factory batteries. This translates to over double the minutes due to the large plates of the 6V deep cycles.

in terms of Tripp Lite inverter/charger switch settings, this write up has it correct with one very important caveat applicable to all batteries connected, factory or otherwise. Switching to the higher charge rate (11A vs 55A) has a potentially unintended consequence regardless of the installed batteries since it is before the load shedding circuitry. In the 11 amp position the inverter/charger will supply no more than 11 amps to the batteries regardless of the battery state of charge. Similarly in the 55 amp (apparently 45 in some models but my part number is 55 amps) position the inverter/charger will limit the battery to 55 amps max.

The potential problem is that if the batteries (whatever is installed) are run down and draw a high current the inverter/charger will not have enough power remaining to run the AC or the oven, when the generator is on. So, if your batteries run down (as is normal camping), you start the generator and then turn on the AC or the oven or anything else high draw, then the generator will kick off. This is because the generator can't supply the 55 amps for the battery charge and the other appliances. The cure is simple, if this happens switch the charge dip switch back up to limit the battery to 11 amps. Don't let this impact your trip or go to a mechanic, just flip the switch...

The only downside is that it will take longer to charge the batteries back up. For example, the new batteries at 50% discharge (150 AH) would take over 13 hours to recharge (13.6 hours x 11 Amps) versus 2.7 hours in the 55 amp position. This is a rare anomaly but has caused many owners to interrupt their trip to chase down a non-existent failure, sometimes at great expense. Of course this only happens when you are camping and run the batteries low causing them to draw a high recharge current. It's an easy fix, flip the DIP switch to 11 amps and carry-on if this happens. The generator won't cut out and everything will work normally again. If this is too hard to remember leave the switch in the 11 amp position and suffer long recharge times. This is the factory default and the reason many people never get their batteries back to full charge, they just don't plug-in or run the generator long enough, even with the 160AH factory batteries.

Also it is very important to ensure the batteries are fully charged prior to any storage. We have the factory solar panel which is sufficient to keep the batteries charged but not sufficient to recharge them. We keep the Airstream at home and plug it in overnight after each use with the switch in the high charge position. If we ran the batteries completely down and had to recharge in the 11 amp position it would take about 27 hours (300AH/11A = 27.3 Hours). In the 55 amp position it is just about 5 1/2 hours to recharge. This is also important to know if you stop for one night at campground and want to fully recharge, the 55 or 45 amp position is required for an overnight recharge.

In terms of battery life, the GPL-6CT batteries are rated at over 1100 cycles and if you read the curves, in our usage pattern of weekend camping running the generator once for about an hour, recharge before storage, they will provide about 5000 cycles. This compares with 200 or so cycles with Trojans or other "wet" batteries. In addition, when fully charged they only self discharge at 2% per month so they store very well. Just be sure to turn off the big red switch and the fridge thermostat to ensure everything is actually off. Also these batteries have a 5 year warranty, are Mil-Spec, are not harmed by being totally frozen and can be completely discharged multiple times (which should be avoided) without damage. They can be purchased for about $340 each locally in southern California including installation. This is expensive but you double your usable power and increase the lifetime by a factor of ten and get a 5 year warranty.

This is a great upgrade, which now allows us full weekend camping and no worries running the tank heaters overnight!
Thank you Rain very interesting.
I will dot hat when my batteries need to be replaced.
Peter
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