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Old 02-24-2014, 05:59 PM   #1
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Magnum settings for LifeLine Batteries

I invested a fair amount of research into my battery questions so thought I'd share with the community. I have a 2013.5 Extended Interstate. This model is when Airstream shifted to the Magnum inverter paired with group 24 LifeLine batteries.

I found some settings for the Magum that were set incorrectly from the factory. In my case it was nothing serious, but a good idea to confirm your settings (using the remote Magnum display).

AGM1 for type of battery
50amps in - (mine was set to 30amps)
100% charge rate - (mine was set to 50%)
Equalization off

I called Lifeline to confirm these settings. They love the Magnum so hats off to Airstream for upgrading to this model. I learned right from the experts that equalization is rarely needed, but completely fine to do if you suspect your batteries have sulfated from regular undercharging (common for boondock scenarios).

In my case, the reason I called was because I had let my bank go dead a few times becoming familiar with the parasitic drains on my unit. I learned this is not horrible so long as you don't go below 10.5 volts and get it back on a charger within a day or two. It seems it isn't so much going dead that is the issue, but how long it stays in that undercharged state (allowing sulfation to occur). Severely depleting your battery is still of concern however, as the internal resistance becomes to high for a normal charging scenario to work and usually the batteries have to be pulled out and bench charged.

Lastly, I had questions about leaving mine plugged in too much. I enlarged my garage when we purchased it and it stays plugged in 24x7 (except for my experimentation which led to dead batteries in very short order of 2 or 3 days). The Magnum is smart enough to not overcharge the batteries and it is good to keep them plugged in all the time. There is no need to periodically unplug it, and in fact it only shortens the life as every charge/recharge cycle is wear and tear.

Hope this helps someone as it was a fair amount of reading to put these simple facts together.

Brian
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
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Good advice on both checking settings and calling the battery manufacturer.
The people at Lifeline have always been helpful.
Thanks,
Bruce
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:50 PM   #3
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Talking to the Lifeline folks is good, but a call to the Magnum Energy folks is far better. If you had called Magnum, you would have been told that the factory default settings are 80% charge rate and 30amps.

The ME-RC manual for the remote control states that the maximum rate of charge settings should follow the C/5 rate, or total amp hour capacity divided by 5. Magnum sets this at 80% as a factory default, as the great majority of the ME and MS-2012 inverter/chargers go into motor homes with a 400 amp/hour battery bank (+/-). 400/5 is 80. You should set this according to the actual amp/hour capacity of your battery bank.

Proper charging profiles for Lifeline batteries are the AGM 1 setting. The equalizing setting of AGM 1 is 15.5 VDC, which is perilously close to the maximum voltage a Lifeline battery will accept before going into thermal overload or outgassing thru it's one-way valve. Once this occurs, there is no way to re-enter the lost moisture into the battery, and you have permanently decreased the battery's capacity. Battery sulfating rarely occurs when a battery is kept properly charged. It generally happens if the battery is left in a state of deep discharge for extended periods.

"The shore power maximum setting ensures that the inverter AC loads receive the maximum current available from the utility/generator. When the total current used to power the AC loads and charge the batteries begins to approach the Shore Max setting, the current that was used for charging the batteries is automatically reduced. This ensures the AC loads have the needed current" (Magnum ME-RC manual)

What this means is that you should never set the maximum shore power setting higher than the wire/circuit breaker that supplies 120VAC to the inverter 'HOT IN 1' port. Since most inverters run from a 30 amp circuit with 10AWG cable, you would use a 30 amp Shore Max setting. Only 'HOT IN 1' is monitored and as such, should have a 30 amp maximum setting. Using 50 amps for the setting will result in over amping the circuit breaker to the inverter and will cause repeated tripping.

Other settings for more complex HOT IN 1 and HOT IN 2 tandem usage are contained in the manual.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:05 PM   #4
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Thank you Lewster, your answers on this forum and the why behind them are invaluable.

I stand corrected. The defaults of 30amps in and 50% charge rate are correct for the inverter given you don't want to overload the AC circuit breaker you are plugged into.

Brian
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:08 PM   #5
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Brian,

No charge, as usual!
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:01 AM   #6
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Per Lew above the 15.5 V equalization for Lifeline is perhaps too high. What is the recommended safe eq voltage for Lifeline? Wondering if perhaps Lifeline eq is better acheived by temporarily setting the battery type to GEL and doing a GEL eq at 14.1 V? Or maybe do an Lifeline eq under the eq mode of AGM2 at 14.5V. Just don't forget to set it back to AGM1 when done!!!

Also, wondering if anybody knows what does and does not turn on the inverter when the search setting is 5W? 20W? Magnum has a whole gob (technical term) of features - just am not sure how to use all of them.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:47 AM   #7
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There is really no need to equalize a Lifeline if it is kept properly charged. In the event that it's not, we prefer the term 'conditioning charge '.

I would never bring a Lifeline past 14.8 VDC. Anything higher would risk damage. Also, a Magnum set on 'AGM-1' will use 14.2-14.3 VDC as the bulk and absorption charge, so any gel setting will be ineffective.

I just replaced a set of Lifeline 8-D AGM batteries (yes, the 175 lb behemoths) that were 11 years old and STILL retained 85% charge.

Of you have a Magnum charging your Lifelines, be sure it is set properly and just leave it connected. The charger will do the rest. If you don't have a Magnum, I would strongly suggest getting one if you have Lifelines.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:30 PM   #8
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Lew... I may be wrong but... I do not see a way to change the voltages with the Magnum MMS1012. I had the temperature probe installed this week and (as expected) I am seeing the charger responding with voltages that differ from the default non-compensated voltages, and the batteries are acting much better. Other than changing battery type settings...is there something I missed in my charger manual. I have it set for AGM1 for my Lifeline batteries as it directs.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toskeysam View Post
Lew... I may be wrong but... I do not see a way to change the voltages with the Magnum MMS1012. I had the temperature probe installed this week and (as expected) I am seeing the charger responding with voltages that differ from the default non-compensated voltages, and the batteries are acting much better. Other than changing battery type settings...is there something I missed in my charger manual. I have it set for AGM1 for my Lifeline batteries as it directs.
Voltages can be set with the ME-RC remote. If you don't have one, then you can only use the basic settings….like AGM 1……………which is perfect for Lifelines.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:37 PM   #10
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Oh well....The AI Interstate Ext came with the ME-MR remote. No adjustment....
Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:58 AM   #11
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It's easy to upgrade if you like. Same communication cable. Just a slightly larger panel opening.
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:26 PM   #12
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Lewster, I am heading back to the shop for another "tweak" of the charging system. I am having them install the ME-RC controller, along with the battery monitor. They are also going to keep my EXT for a couple of days to run a bench test on the batteries. They did improve with the addition of the temperature compensation, but still can't seem to "get there" and stay there for more than about 15 minutes. I would put it on shore power for 4-5 days, and then watch the charge drop in a matter of minutes to about 85% (12.5-12.6v) when I took it off. Had a long talk with tech.....at least this time, with the help of folks like yourself in this forum, I can follow along and intelligently discuss our plans.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toskeysam View Post
Lewster, I am heading back to the shop for another "tweak" of the charging system. I am having them install the ME-RC controller, along with the battery monitor. They are also going to keep my EXT for a couple of days to run a bench test on the batteries. They did improve with the addition of the temperature compensation, but still can't seem to "get there" and stay there for more than about 15 minutes. I would put it on shore power for 4-5 days, and then watch the charge drop in a matter of minutes to about 85% (12.5-12.6v) when I took it off. Had a long talk with tech.....at least this time, with the help of folks like yourself in this forum, I can follow along and intelligently discuss our plans.
Sounds like your batteries have had the capacity reduced for some reason. Lifeline has a 'conditioning' regimen that involves bringing them to 15.5 VDC for 8 hours, but under CONTROLLED voltage and amperage conditions. Call Lifeline first, and then find a qualified Lifeline dealer in your area that has the equipment to do this conditioning of your batteries for you. It's not something that I would try at home without specialized charging equipment.

If this doesn't work, you may be eligible for pro-rated warranty replacement from Lifeline.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:23 PM   #14
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My coach batteries were "down" twice that I know of. Once before we took a test drive, and the day we picked it up. It also sat on the lot for a long time. so who knows how long they sat at a reduced charge. Since I have had the van for 4 months, the tech said we are looking at "replacement" not pro-rate...... hope so , if they are indeed "gone".
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