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Old 09-18-2018, 08:16 AM   #1
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Battery maintenance during storage

I have a 19' 2019 FC with the solar package. As I understand it, with a solar package, you have the AGM batteries installed. I sprung for indoor storage, which is basically a big warehouse with a very few skylights, so I imagine not much charge is received by the panel during storage. The other day, I drove to the storage facility to perform some very minor upkeep, and the battery was so drained that the interior lights would not turn on. I checked the battery percentage, and it was down to about 8.9%. I understand that there are a few devices that require a trickle of electricity even if the battery is switched to the "store" mode (such as the LP gas detector). So my questions: is this normal, and is it bad for the batteries to be run down this much? I seem to remember reading somewhere that the AGM batteries do not need to be trickle charged or maintained in the same manner as traditional lead acid batteries. Is this true? Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:30 AM   #2
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Welcome Aboard!! 👍

I have always removed our AGM's in the AS. After installing an AGM in our boat and leaving it installed & disconnected for the last 4 yrs with no problems,(still above 12.5v in the Spring), I started doing the same with the AS for the last three yrs...plan to do the same with the new BB Lithiums. 👍

Bob
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:32 AM   #3
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Your batteries were probably drained to 8.9 Volts, not 8.9%. In my experience, this level of draw down will permanently damage a battery, but I'm not an AGM battery user. I too murdered my first set of Airstream batteries in a similar way. After about 30 days of non-use, the parasitic loads will begin damaging the batteries. The solution to stop these parasitic loads is to disconnect the negative battery cables when you will not be using your Airstream for more than 30 days.

I installed a battery disconnect post so I can flip one lever to disconnect the batteries. Here is what I installed: https://www.amazon.com/WirthCo-20148...PT3GRJVEZ183S8

This is a picture of it installed: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post2079369

Flipping this lever each time you store your Airstream will solve your battery issues.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:40 AM   #4
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I ran my Classic AGMs down within a week of delivery such that the LEDS flickered. Two years later, still chugging, boondocked this month just fine. I did install twist knob disconnects so can easily remove inverter load and open both for trickle charge maintenance.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:41 AM   #5
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Chugging at x% of original capacity, who knows?
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:19 AM   #6
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As a newbie there are so many things you can avoid by being part of this forum. Thank you to all of you for your expertise and experience. There are also many things you have to find out the hard way. I am in the process of finding out the hard way with my wet batteries that I need to replace after sitting up to 3 weeks at a time in storage. I would've loved to see the battery shutoff as standard. I am going to Amazon now to order it now. Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:23 AM   #7
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I agree with the disconnect approach completely. My experience managing 14 batteries of AGM and Wet format, is that using a smart charger while leaving the battery connected does nothing to enhance the life of the battery. The parasite draw and recharge process may be the cause. One battery that I only use occasionally and is otherwise disconnected has now past 7 years and is showing good performance.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Vlamgat View Post
I agree with the disconnect approach completely. My experience managing 14 batteries of AGM and Wet format, is that using a smart charger while leaving the battery connected does nothing to enhance the life of the battery. The parasite draw and recharge process may be the cause. One battery that I only use occasionally and is otherwise disconnected has now past 7 years and is showing good performance.
I certainly respect but completely disagree with that. I've floated and maintained flooded and AGM batteries for over 10 years on three different campers with success. Airstream, Lance and Tiffin products with Lifeline and other batteries. You do have to manage the parasitic loads or eliminate it but it's easy to manage if you know where it exists but the dusufation cycle does work. There are many members here that have used 4 stage converters for years and still on their original batteries. Some are on their second set of batteries before learning the benefits of multi-stage charging and maintenance. I installed my Lifelines in 2007 and they still work (admittedly getting week.) I keep saying that but my daughter just got married so I keep putting it of
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron P View Post
I have a 19' 2019 FC with the solar package. As I understand it, with a solar package, you have the AGM batteries installed. I sprung for indoor storage, which is basically a big warehouse with a very few skylights, so I imagine not much charge is received by the panel during storage. The other day, I drove to the storage facility to perform some very minor upkeep, and the battery was so drained that the interior lights would not turn on. I checked the battery percentage, and it was down to about 8.9%. I understand that there are a few devices that require a trickle of electricity even if the battery is switched to the "store" mode (such as the LP gas detector). So my questions: is this normal, and is it bad for the batteries to be run down this much? I seem to remember reading somewhere that the AGM batteries do not need to be trickle charged or maintained in the same manner as traditional lead acid batteries. Is this true? Thanks for your help.
Accurate advice will depend on a host of factors, such as your distance from the indoor storage area, your willingness to go there, and so forth. Do you have one or two batteries? Your frequency of use is another important factor. With fall and winter approaching, how often do you intend to hook up and tow?

To get through the next 6 months or so, the difference between AGM and flooded cell batteries is not all that relevant IMO. You are not able to keep the batteries charged at all, so you probably need to pull the batteries and trickle charge them in a convenient location. The most you could expect the batteries to last is 2 weeks, without charging, IMO.

Again, this depends on your lifestyle, intended use, etc. etc., so please fill in the blanks for better advice.

Happy trails!

Peter

PS -- Great resource for general info: http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/ba...hool.cfm?TID=0
PS2 -- This thread in the Batteries etc. sub-forum would also be good to check out: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ge-185428.html
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
I certainly respect but completely disagree with that. I've floated and maintained flooded and AGM batteries for over 10 years on three different campers with success. Airstream, Lance and Tiffin products with Lifeline and other batteries. You do have to manage the parasitic loads or eliminate it but it's easy to manage if you know where it exists but the dusufation cycle does work. There are many members here that have used 4 stage converters for years and still on their original batteries. Some are on their second set of batteries before learning the benefits of multi-stage charging and maintenance. I installed my Lifelines in 2007 and they still work (admittedly getting week.) I keep saying that but my daughter just got married so I keep putting it of
I am reflecting my experience. Replaced 5 batteries this year, none of which were ever allowed to sit more than a day without being on a 4 stage charger. And where then known parasitic loads like inverters were present, they did not sit more than 15 minutes.
My guess and that's all it is that battery life is no longer more than 4 years because of poor material ( including Lifeline) or only certain chargers are really up to the job they advertise. I am prepared to accuse Battery Tenders of being seriously deficient to their claims as an example.
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Old 09-19-2018, 12:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
I have always removed our AGM's in the AS. After installing an AGM in our boat and leaving it installed & disconnected for the last 4 yrs with no problems,(still above 12.5v in the Spring), I started doing the same with the AS for the last three yrs...plan to do the same with the new BB Lithiums.

Bob
Bob, may give you piece of mind that I happened to reach out to Battle Born the other day on this very issue as I will be storing my trailer soon. They said to expect no more than 3% self discharge per month so I will be unhooking them completely and storing them with my trailer for 5 months.
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Old 09-19-2018, 12:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
I certainly respect but completely disagree with that. I've floated and maintained flooded and AGM batteries for over 10 years on three different campers with success. Airstream, Lance and Tiffin products with Lifeline and other batteries. You do have to manage the parasitic loads or eliminate it but it's easy to manage if you know where it exists but the dusufation cycle does work. There are many members here that have used 4 stage converters for years and still on their original batteries. Some are on their second set of batteries before learning the benefits of multi-stage charging and maintenance. I installed my Lifelines in 2007 and they still work (admittedly getting week.) I keep saying that but my daughter just got married so I keep putting it of
I agree with Randy that floating the battery with the "correct" charger is a good option if you have a power source. I use my suggested battery disconnect switch when I cannot float my battery with my converter or solar. I replaced my converter with a PD4655, from Randy, but predominantly use my Victron 100/30 and solar to maintain my batteries. I leave my solar on in storage because I have adequate sunlight.

Here are some items that can murder batteries:
Chronic “PSOC” Use – Partial State of Charge Operation
Temperature Abuse- Heat MURDERS BATTERIES.
Poor Charging Practices
Absorption voltages set too low
Inadequate absorption voltage duration (under absorbing or premature floaulation)
Incomplete or Under Charging
Over Charging – Old school non-smart chargers
Improper Charging – Poorly designed battery chargers, there are MANY.
No Temp Compensated Charging – If a battery charges at 14.4V this is max at 77F, not at 90F or 100F plus
Lack Of Maintenance – Exposed plates sulfate in short order
Contamination – Happens when batteries are not properly serviced and external contaminates get in
Improper Flooded Battery Orientation
Improper Bank Wiring – Poor wiring practices can cause interbank imbalances
Lack of Proper Equalization Charges –
Batteries Sitting at Less Than 100% SOC – Especially for for days or weeks
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Aaron P View Post
I have a 19' 2019 FC with the solar package.
. . .
Wondering if you could fill in more details, per Post #9?

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:14 AM   #14
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The drive to my storage facility is about 20 minutes or so. I am retired, so getting there regularly would not be a problem. I have two AGM batteries in the trailer, and the facility does offer to put batteries on a trickle charge if you ask for that service. With winter coming (I live in MD), I do not expect to be using the trailer much after November until the spring. I suppose I could disconnect the wires connected to the negative poles on both batteries to prevent the parasitic drain, but of course I would have to do this every time I store the trailer. Or I could install a disconnect switch.
Again, I seem to remember reading somewhere that AGM batteries do not need to be kept on a trickle charge to prevent damage or shortening the life of the batteries, but apparently that's not the case.
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