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Old 08-18-2014, 11:38 AM   #29
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I could see where difficult access would make AGMs more desirable, although I still question the design that makes access challenging.

Say access is good, are AGMs worth twice the money?

I say this as a person who has bought quite a few high end AGM batteries, but doesn't anymore.
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:47 AM   #30
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Say access is good, are AGMs worth twice the money?
Generally, I'd think not. As long as the wet cell is a deep-cycle battery, properly vented to outside, and isn't likely to spill or freeze, anyway.
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:54 AM   #31
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Wow, it feels good to find agreement on a contentious subject!

Just in case it isn't obvious, I am a little put out with AGM batteries right now. I have a stack of take outs in my shop.

In my experience AGMs do not tolerate the occasional unintentional discharge nearly as well as traditional lead acid batteries. It seems pretty much like two strikes and they are out.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:04 PM   #32
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Just a (slightly surprising) tip:
When shopping for replacement batteries, take a look at Batteries-Plus. I have found their prices for AGM batteries to be very reasonable, and you can't beat the convenience.

Are their batteries any better or worse than other brands? Who knows? But there aren't that many actual battery manufacturers in the world, so a lot of brands are coming from the same assembly lines. In any event, I've had good experience with their stuff, FWIW.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:47 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
I could see where difficult access would make AGMs more desirable, although I still question the design that makes access challenging.

Say access is good, are AGMs worth twice the money?

I say this as a person who has bought quite a few high end AGM batteries, but doesn't anymore.
The access issue is about getting a completely self-contained RV unit into a van......you can't have everything, and losing convenient access to some areas is inevitable.

I just replaced with the AGM battery because ours is located under the passenger seat and is not vented to the outside.


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Old 08-18-2014, 01:41 PM   #34
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I've a firm believer in AGM since my prior 40' bus, 15 yrs old, had 6-8D's. Originally wet cells and while mounted right behind a large open side door, getting to the cells and filling the back ones was a bear and 8Ds are not simple to lift out.

Switched out to AGM's probably after 4-5 years. Replaced them after 6+ years and now when I sold it last summer the AGMs were still in great shape.

It all has to do with the kind of charger and how you maintain them. My 8-Ds were in quality 4000 watt inverters and had 3 levels of automatic charging and with being plugged into shore power when not in use or auto-start on generator those batteries probably never got down to 50%.

The new Airstream uses a Magnum 1000 watt inverter with 3 stages of charge and we never let the batteries get to 50% before I turned on the generator.

But its a little like I like Chevy p-ups and others feel GMC p-ups are built "better." Freedom of choice is what still makes America great.
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:05 PM   #35
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Contentious issue? Not really.................

As one 'in the business', I use Lifeline AGMs on a regular basis for my solar installations. There are many reasons why they are a superior product to a liquid cell battery (and most other AGMs as well). Longevity is the one, total lack of outgassing and the associated corrosion issues another, 5 year warranty another....I could go on.

I have Lifeline AGM battery banks going on 10 years of service and still are at or above 95% of their original capacity. These batteries are in rather inaccessible locations and have not been touched since installation.....an impossible feat for a liquid cell battery.

I have had folks draw Lifelines to 60-70-80% depth of discharge on occasion and with a full re-charge in short order, no appreciable effects on battery health were noticed. ANY battery that has been depleted and left in a discharged state for an extended period WILL sulfate, resulting in the decrease of usable plate area and associated decrease in charge retention. Why do you think dealers have to replace the stock Interstate brand batteries (other than they are NOT a quality battery) that Airstream uses on delivery of a new trailer after that unit has sat on the lot for a while with no charge connection?

It all comes down to how you use your batteries and what your tolerance is for maintenance. Many folks have enough to do with their RVs and do not want to mess (double entendre intended ) with their batteries.

And if you think that AGMs are 'not worth the added expense', wait until the new lithiums become generally available. I'm presently beta testing a new lithium formula battery (LiFePO-4) that shows great promise for depth of discharge, extreme longevity and light weight (under 30 lbs for a 100 amp/hour battery). These can be drawn to 80% depth of discharge, or 80 usable amp/hours for a 100 amp/hour battery rather than the standard 50% for any lead based unit.

These batteries promise 3000-5000 usable charge cycles vs 1000 for Lifelines at 50% depth of discharge and 400-500 for liquid lead acid types and could easily become the last battery that you ever purchase! The only down side at present is the price........almost 3X the price of Lifelines.

It's all a matter of your budget and tolerance level for maintenance and as always....YMMV!
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:43 PM   #36
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I am not really saying that AGMs are not better in many respects, what I am saying is that I don't necessarily think they make as much economic sense as old fashioned obsolete lead acid batteries, areas that can not be easily vented excluded.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:14 PM   #37
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I know we all bought an Airstream because of quality. Don't anyone yell, I am just posing a question. I trust and believe the answers I get here.

I was just reading Consumer Reports and, in particular, the battery ratings.

Their report was Interstate AGM's had the highest rating at 83 and Walmart's Everstart Maxx (type 24 as in my Airstream) was rated two, at an 82. The weight and amp/hr are the same.

I am a retired businessman and college professor so I pose a lot of questions (my wife often gets mad at me because I will answer questions with questions.)

So, why not an Everstart Maxx?

(Lifeline and other batteries mentioned here were not listed or rated.)
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:13 PM   #38
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I'm not a battery expert but I think that Walmart and Sam's batteries may have different labels but are made by Johnson Controls. From a seat of the pants perspective, lift a Lifeline 24GPL and almost any other AGM and it's noticeably heavier.

I replaced my Discovery AGM's with Lifeline 24GPL's three years ago and was very happy with them. Since we like to camp off grid, I just replaced those with two Lifeline 6CT's which almost double my capacity. I took the 24GPL's to a Lifeline dealer for conditioning and they're now 100%. I'm considering trying to add them as an additional bank but otherwise I'll sell them. Hopefully I'll have solar soon which will take good care of the batteries.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:51 PM   #39
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Check this link out. http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/rvflyer.php?id=1
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Old 08-19-2014, 07:35 AM   #40
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I contacted Lifeline for a an area dealer (shipping is in excess of $100.00 per unit) and they suggested a distributor in Terre Haute, IN. I called them and, of course, they didn't have what I needed in stock but suggested a North Star 24 AGM with 75 amp hours, a 48 month guarantee. It weighs 59 1/2 lbs and is $293.00.

Would this be an acceptable alternative? Or should I continue to look for Lifelines?

Phil
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:14 AM   #41
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Another thing to keep in mind after you spend a lot on batteries is that the Tripplite inverter/charger cannot be plugged in continuously or you'll boil your new batteries. I had mine on a timer before I changed over to the Magnum inverter/charger which is designed to properly maintain expensive Lifeline batteries. I bought my 6CT's from Best RV Supply which competively priced and were drop shipped from Lifeline.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:22 AM   #42
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What periods did you use with your timer? I was thinking the same thing.
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