Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-01-2014, 12:36 PM   #85
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Are there any experienced opinions concerning the battery option that would provide reliable and consistent power over many years? As you can tell. I have just begun to explore battery options. I believe I am on the right track with the AGM battery, but is this track a dead end? Or not.
First, I have no real experience with AGM batteries but lots of experience with conventional flooded cell batteries in RV applications, mostly golf cart types.

It is my firm conviction that with a proper 3 stage charger and some moderate care not to run the batteries down and leave them discharged, or let the water level drop below the plates, that flooded cell ones are just as reliable and long lived as any AGM's and are much lower in cost.

The three stage charger is fairly critical to avoid water loss. Since adding them to my RV's, I now find that I rarely need to add water as the batteries don't overcharge. Once a year I check them and usually only add a small amount of distilled water. So, that prevents one maintenance item.

When I store the RV's I disconnect the battery negative terminal and leave them in place. That prevents any discharge possibility over 5 months of storage in a cold northern climate. Batteries will in fact have much lower self discharge rates at low temperatures than at higher ones, so cold storage outside is not a problem. I have run tests on this over a cold season, and the batteries have very little recharge need in the spring, like maybe 5 to 10% discharge over 5 months.

In my Argosy, I had 10 seasons of use on one set of Trojan T105 golf cart batteries . They were beginning to have capacity issues in the start of the 11th year, so I replaced them. They were never allowed to deeply discharge and not be recharged within a few days, but were used almost exclusively in boondock applications. I rarely camp with hookups available. The plates were never allowed to become exposed due to water loss. The tops of the batteries were always clean which also prevents self discharge.

I am sure that AGM batteries are also good and can last a long time, properly charged and maintained. But they cost 3 times the cost of a flooded cell battery which can also give very good service, if not abused by letting it overcharge and have plates exposed, or sit discharged for any length of time.

This is my experience over a long time period. If you abuse any battery, flooded cell or AGM you can ruin it rapidly. I think the reason AGM batteries have a reputation for longer life is more tied to the fact that people who use them have proper 3 stage charging equipment. Thus they automatically wind up with better charging. Often they have solar systems which keep the batteries recharged even out camping on boondock trips. They never have to check the water.

Those with flooded cell batteries often have poor single stage chargers, overcharge batteries and don't check the water level and thus ruin the batteries. Then they also may go camping, and then come home and leave them discharged (don't hook them up to power) and add more abuse to them. The typically don't have solar systems. They don't disconnect their batteries from ALL loads when storing them. So, in 2 to 4 years, they kill their batteries. Treat an AGM battery the same way, and I am sure you can also ruin it in 2 to 4 years.

Those who switch from flooded cells to AGM type often make charger changes at the same time. They may add solar too. Often they are made aware of how to treat their new expensive batteries. So, they get more life out of them and attribute all the additional life to the battery type, not the change in how they are treated.

Just my comments and observations.
__________________

__________________
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 12:52 PM   #86
Rivet Master
 
PharmGeek's Avatar

 
2014 30' FB FC Bunk
Hoover , Alabama
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,377
My 4 stage PD converter replacement will arrive in a couple days for my single stage boiler ....I mean converter

I leave mine plugged into 15 amp at home for a small dehumidifier to run and keep batteries charged - determining soon if my batteries were damaged

I have for now a honda generator I bought primarily for home backup but to double for airstream use for camping/travel and for backyard use for occasional houseguests

Would love a nice solar setup one day - solo with generator for now

This weekend will be a short boondocking weekend at a buddy's property

Solar looks amazing - want it a bit down the road


Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums
__________________

__________________
“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them...We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”


PharmGeek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 02:14 PM   #87
one of those
 
Gringo's Avatar
 
2011 27 FB International
'03 F250 PSD , Airstream summers, Catalac winters
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,091
We made one three day weekend with the Zamp 200 watt solar, then the weather went dark and we moved down a few thousand feet to a KOA to regroup. Came back up this past weekend are are still here, but we did run back to town on Sunday afternoon based upon the forecast, and bought a new Honda, too.

Boondocking got a whole lot more fun when I stopped obsessing over how many amps the solar was pumping out. Now, with the Zamp AND the Honday, we're laughing.
__________________
A Blog from the Devil's Triangle
http://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Gringo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 02:20 PM   #88
Rivet Master
 
blkmagikca's Avatar

 
1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,131
idroba, AGM batteries are less forgiving than regular flooded cells. They don't take quick discharging and if they drop below a given point, then they are toast. True, they cost 3 times as much as golf cart batteries. However, they can be used inside the trailer whereas flooded cells must be externally vented. Currently, I have 4 AGM batteries - 2 in the regular battery boxes behind the front plate (externally vented) and the other two inside beside the battery boxes. This was the way the PO set it up, and I find that the extra capacity is necessary for using my CPAP machine at night. What I'm looking forward to is the day when Lithium Ion batteries come down in price, as they have much better capacity and a lot less weight, plus venting isn't an issue with them. With more electric/hybrid cars on the road, there will be more Li-ion battery production and development which will bring the price down. My Xantrex inverter/charger and the Blue Sky MPPT controller I have can be adjusted to whatever the charge settings will be (I think).
__________________
VE3JDZ
AIR 12148
1987 Excella 32-foot
1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
blkmagikca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 02:31 PM   #89
BAB
Rivet Master
 
BAB's Avatar

 
2015 30' Classic
2012 28' International
Greensboro , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,574
Since I will move (hopefully soon), into my new 30' Classic, I am beginning to weigh what I learned with the 28' Intl CCD. One of the things I learned is you really have to think about HOW you will use your trailer. Because I didn't do this with the 2012, I am doing it with the 2015. I will definitely add solar right away, and plan on a minimum of 400W (I'll count on my friends at AM Solar for this project, just like the first time). The solar does NOT supplant a generator if you're out in the southern climes in the south and off the grid. So, I have the (almost) brand new Honda 3000 Handi for that. I will change out the usual A/S cheesy converter with a PD, will add a PI A/C monitor surge protector, and go to Lifeline's when I do the solar. With this trailer I don't have to "up fit" with 16" wheels and Michelin LT's as the Classic has them already. Again, I think you have to plan for the HOW you'll use the trailer and make economic choices accordingly.
__________________
_________________
"SilverLeaf II" 2015 30' Classic
2014 RAM 2500 Laramie 4x4 CC w/6.7L Cummins
ProPride 3P
AIR# 58452
WBCCI # 3430-Unit 21
BAB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 05:30 PM   #90
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,279
Ok, I agree with some of what has been written and definitely disagree with other points. Over the last 10 years, I have installed over 100 Lifeline battery systems, and have several that are in their 10th year of service.

The keys to battery longevity are PROPER CHARGING and temperature compensation on the charge voltage. You will also find that the less you draw down any battery, the more charge cycles (longer battery life) you will get. This applies to any battery, as charging in hot ambient temperatures will certainly input excessive voltage to a battery.

I do not agree with the statement about the fragility of AGM batteries in general and specifically the amount of discharge that they can handle. I have yet to see a Lifeline battery bank respond poorly to a deep, heavy amperage draw to the point of damage. In fact, their specific tolerance to this very situation is one of their strong points

Proper care and maintenance of any battery system will prolong it's useful life.

I have 2 new 100 amp/hour lithium phosphate (LiFePO-4) batteries in my Sprinter service van and will be doing their final connections to my new 500 watt Photo-Flex solar array and Magnum MS-2812 inverter/charger at Balloon Fiesta this weekend.

Lithiums do show great promise, but there are several very specific caveats to be aware of.

Improper charging will kill a lithium in short order. The cells require external electronics for proper cell balance while being charged by a constant current/constant voltage power source ONLY and most importantly.......over drawing a lithium will kill if immediately.

There are no power converters presently available that can charge a lithium. Quality solar controllers and inverter/chargers with the proper software integrated into their remote control modules are the best way to charge lithiums in an RV at the present time.

The industry is working on these problems but their engineering is still a ways off. I'll let you know how my new LiPo's work out.




Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
541-490-6357
__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 06:41 PM   #91
Rivet Master
 
blkmagikca's Avatar

 
1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,131
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post

I do not agree with the statement about the fragility of AGM batteries in general and specifically the amount of discharge that they can handle. I have yet to see a Lifeline battery bank respond poorly to a deep, heavy amperage draw to the point of damage. In fact, their specific tolerance to this very situation is one of their strong points


Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
541-490-6357
Lew, I experienced the failure of my AGM batteries last winter while camped in the Mojave Desert. It was a bright sunny day, and I decided to warm up a bowl of soup in the microwave. I had the Xantrex 3000 switched on and when I glanced at the control panel, I saw that the draw on the batteries was 134 amps. It looked like they recovered, but at 1:00 am all systems failed (including my CPAP machine) and the monitor registered 3.8 volts. Four days later I dropped $1,200 to Interstate of Las Vegas for 4 new AGM batteries.
__________________
VE3JDZ
AIR 12148
1987 Excella 32-foot
1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
blkmagikca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 09:10 PM   #92
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,279
Wow! You are the first incident I have heard. Were they Lifeline batteries?


Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
541-490-6357
__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 11:37 PM   #93
Rivet Master
 
blkmagikca's Avatar

 
1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,131
They were Interstate batteries. The PO had something else in them (installed around 2000), but he had let them discharge while he had the rig up for sale (it was just parked with a "for sale" sign for 2 years without being plugged in and the solar controller was broken). I bought the rig in 2011, and in January 2012 the 4 AGM (unsure of brand) failed. I had been camped at Lake Mead NRA, so I hustled into Las Vegas and went to Interstate's main distribution center and bought 4 AGMs. These were the ones that died on me in January 2014, and I just happened to be near Pahrump NV, so I went back to Interstate. There was no warranty on them, so I was out another $1,200. I really didn't have the option to hunt around for any other brands, as I absolutely need power at night for my CPAP machine, or I don't sleep.
__________________
VE3JDZ
AIR 12148
1987 Excella 32-foot
1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
blkmagikca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2014, 09:50 AM   #94
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,279
Still a bad situation, but in my experience, Interstate batteries are definitely not at the top of the battery food chain. If that had happened with Lifelines, their 5 year warranty would have helped you out.

On a technical note, what was the low battery cut-off set at for your inverter? If it was set below 10 VDC for transient level, that might have added to the problem.


Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
541-490-6357
__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 10:04 AM   #95
Rivet Master
 
blkmagikca's Avatar

 
1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,131
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Still a bad situation, but in my experience, Interstate batteries are definitely not at the top of the battery food chain. If that had happened with Lifelines, their 5 year warranty would have helped you out.

On a technical note, what was the low battery cut-off set at for your inverter? If it was set below 10 VDC for transient level, that might have added to the problem.


Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
541-490-6357
I believe it is at 10.2 volts - I'll have to check it again.
__________________
VE3JDZ
AIR 12148
1987 Excella 32-foot
1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD Diesel
blkmagikca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 12:27 PM   #96
Rivet Master
 
mefly2's Avatar
 
2015 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Western , ** Big Sky Country ** Montana
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2,283
Thank you for the pics, GM. Very nice!
We are considering the same possibilities.
__________________
mefly2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 11:21 PM   #97
Rivet Master
 
gandttimes's Avatar
 
2014 25' FB International
2007 20' Safari SE
2005 19' Safari
Qualicum Beach , British Columbia
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 802
Quote:
Originally Posted by mefly2 View Post
Thank you for the pics, GM. Very nice!
We are considering the same possibilities.
PM me if you need more info. It was a fun and easy project.


George
__________________
gandttimes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2014, 10:07 AM   #98
1 Rivet Member
 
Petaluma , California
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 8
There is a place for both. I'd probably use something like Zamp or Goal Zero for solar and have the two Honda EU 2000i series like TBRich described. This thread was a good read for me since I haven't bought my first AS yet. Ray makes some good, valid points in his posts regarding positioning for passive solar as well as thinking with common sense.
__________________

__________________
TobyR is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Web site for us Boondockers DumOleBob Boondocking 11 11-03-2014 06:54 PM
Oregon Boondockers Unite BrandonJenna Boondocking 100 06-29-2014 11:15 AM
New Boondockers Club Boondocker Other Rallies & Events 66 05-16-2011 05:25 PM
Michael's Boondockers Cafe ArtStream Stella's Kitchen 9 08-19-2009 10:27 AM
tank sizes for boondockers urbanfood Boondocking 10 05-19-2009 02:13 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.