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Old 10-13-2009, 08:48 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
when a new/improved/32 stage/temperature/altitude/climate/gender compensated unit will be available soon...
Will it have a stick with rope attached?

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Old 10-13-2009, 10:54 AM   #16
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and they all become electrically charged mud wrestling.
yep, actual measure often takes a back seat and there are many complicating factors and that is a recipe for mud wrestling.

AGM's are nice batteries, especially if you need large currents in or out or have unusual mounting requirements. Their low self discharge rate is a help if you have to store them for a month or two without proper care. They may last up to 50% or so longer than flooded (see the Az Wind Sun FAQ)) but they are sealed batteries and need due precaution against overcharging.

GEL's are better for float service and tend to be rather picky about charging and large currents. They have gone out of favor for RV service.

The thing to keep in mind is that battery life has more to do with use and management than anything else. See Basic battery guidelines. Spend your money and your effort where it counts most. Since RV's often spend a lot of time out of service, a good storage maintenance charger that keeps a top charge and inhibits sulfation is a good bet. When using the battery system, make sure not to discharge too far and recharge promptly. Get those factors handled and the make, model, brand, type, voltage, and so forth become minor issues.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:14 AM   #17
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So far I have no clear idea why a multistage charger is or is not necessary with AGM's. I e-mailed Parallax about them and got this answer:

"We have not offered "3 stage charging" in our units due to the following reasons.

"The issue we have with "smart charger technology" (when used in an RV) lies more with the application of the technology than the technology itself. In a typical RV 12 volt electrical system, the converter/charger and the battery or battery bank is connected in parallel with the rest of the 12 volt distribution system.

"In "parallel" means where the charging source (converter/charger) positive and negative output is electrically connected to both the battery bank positive and negative, and the 12-volt distribution system positive and negative, at the same time.

"The voltage output of the converter "smart charger" is based on a "detected" battery voltage. The converter "smart charger" claims to "monitor" and respond to battery condition while connected to the entire 12 volt system. Unless the charging source (converter) has a separate or isolated charging output, we do not agree that a converter or charger can effectively differentiate requirements of the batteries from other loads while simultaneously connected to the rest of the 12 volt distribution system in the RV.

"Detected use or voltage change on the RV 12-volt load system (i.e. lights, pumps,etc being turned on) generally keeps these devices at a 13.6 -13.8 "float" voltage. This raises the question whether any real additional benefit is being provided to the battery bank unless the coach remains in a completely "non-use" storage condition. When the battery temperature is above 70 degrees, the "rule of thumb" is for every 20 degrees of temperature rise, the float voltage should be lowered by .5 volts. This leads to the need to check water level more often if the battery is continually "seeing" temperatures above 70 degrees F. Inversely, for every 20 degrees of temperature drop below 70 degrees the voltage should be raised by .5 volts.

"The ability to adjust battery charge voltage needed as a result of the battery temperature is a feature that is also not typically found on RV converters marketed as "smart chargers" from other RV converter/ charger manufacturers.

"If a converter "smart charger" is only connected to the battery bank and can therefore monitor only battery voltage and current, and is not also connected "in parallel" with the 12 volt distribution system, we have no issue with the operation or application of "smart charger technology" other than the fact they still do not address battery temperature concerns.

"We plan to have an upgrade available for the 500 and 7300 series units around the first of the year that will provide a temperature compensated output voltage.

"This upgrade unit will have a temperature sensor cable that would need to be run and connected to a battery negative post. The output converter output voltage will then be continuously adjusted based on the detected temperature at the sensor. This will provide a more appropriate "float" voltage to the battery system based on the voltage the battery needs for the temperature the batteries are experiencing. Maximum voltage to the 12 volt system and the batteries will be about 14.5 volts DC and minimum voltage will be around 12.5 volts DC making the system voltage safe for use with the other 12 volts loads on the 12 volt system.

"This temperature compensated output voltage will not be affected by 12 volt load use or while the RV is in storage.

"The upgrade will also have a 4 hour timed "boost" mode for faster recharge after initial power on.

"The upgrade will replace the present converter section and cannot be added to the present converter section.

"Look for more information on this upgrade to be added to our website at Parallax Power Supply in the near future.

"Marty Redd
RV Technical Support and Training
Parallax Power Supply
A Division of Conecticut-Electric, Inc."
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:51 PM   #18
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I have no clear idea why a multistage charger is or is not necessary with AGM's
It is just a matter of time to recharge with some considerations for proper exercise and storage.

An AGM is like any other lead acid battery. First you need to give it an appropriate amount of current to bring its voltage up without overheating it. Once you get the voltage up you need to keep it there to let it absorb charge until it is fully charged. Once the battery has fully charged, you need to maintain the top charge without overcharging but with appropriate concerns for stratification and sulfation. A smart charger does these things in an optimum manner.

You can just use a moderately high float voltage to charge the battery as many RV converters do. It just takes a lot longer to bring the battery up to full charge (like ten or more times as long as a 'smart' charger). Then, if you leave it charging, the odds are that it will overcharge the battery and boil off electrolyte depending upon temperature and other factors.

It is good to keep in mind that charging the battery is different from maintaining its charge during periods when it is not used. A temperature sensor is used because the proper float voltage is highly dependent upon temperature. Converters like the WFCO and ChargeWizard use a different technique to achieve a better result.

The optimum voltage for the switch between bulk and absorption depends to some extent upon battery design. An AGM may be a tad different from wet cells as far as the concentration of the electrolyte so it may have a slightly different optimum voltage for charging than a flooded lead acid battery might have. An AGM tends to have a lower internal resistance so it can handle higher currents without getting too hot.

Even with a good smart charger it can take 12 hours or more to fully charge a lead acid battery properly. A typical RV converter can take a week or two to do the job.
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:14 AM   #19
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bryanl, I'm having trouble understanding all of this. Thanks for trying to educate the stubbornly ignorant. The possibility of overcharging and it's results are the easy part—

Is a smart charger the same as a 3 stage charger?

Does the upgrade Parallax will offer sound like the right thing? I think most recent Airstreams have a Parallax converter, so a modification, if it works well, may be the best thing for us.

It seems to me avoiding serious overcharging the OEM batteries is fairly manageable, but there are many warnings on various threads an AGM must have a 3 stage charger—that leads me to wonder whether an AGM is more sensitive to overcharging. So, is it absolutely necessary to have a 3 stage charger before converting to AGM's, or do you just have to be more (or the same) careful?

I'm thinking of the future and what I should be doing before my OEM batteries die. Should I get a modification to the Parallax? Should I replace the Parallax with another, better brand before it dies (which seems to come all too often)? Should I wait until the batteries die, get AGM's, be more careful with them and get a new converter some other time? Do I worry too much?

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Old 10-15-2009, 10:36 AM   #20
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I am on my 4th year with blue Optima AGM's and they perform as new. I could never get more than 3 years out of flooded cell batteries.
AGM's appear to be worth the extra $$.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:21 AM   #21
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two more cents: I did power wheelchairs and scooters for 15 years-retired. I converted to all sealed batteries (agm) because public transportation did NOT allow lead acid batteries on board due to the HYDROGEN gas given off that could cause explosion.Keep them vented to the outside. Keep the batteries in a battery box!! Also the going up and down ramps and hill can cause spilling. Good reason for AGM's Another was the didcharge sin wave (not applicable to trailers) was taht the discharge was fllatter in the agm and did not affect the computers of the wheelchairs.
One has to USE the batteries, the more aned harder they are used, the longer they would last. 2-3 years. if use in the house 1 or 2 times a day, maybe 1-2 years. think of boondocking.
charging- all of the newer chairs came with the fractional chargers; this too 110 and gave small bursts of electricity to charge the batts and took about 8 hours to charge a 80% discharged batt.
This is another use for the batteries and could food for thought for your camper.
aand yes they do cost more.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:00 PM   #22
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I converted to all sealed batteries (agm) because public transportation did NOT allow lead acid batteries on board due to the HYDROGEN gas given off that could cause explosion...
'tandem...

agms ARE lead acid batteries and they CAN vent battery gases and DO that occasionally.

the water is ABSORBED into a GLASS MATRIX/mat, instead of a freely floating POOL of water, but they still have water inside.

it's true they don't SPILL water and can tolerate positions that FLOODED LA batteries cannot.

http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
... there are many warnings on various threads an AGM must have a 3 stage charger...
not from ne1 USING agms. unless they are just repeating vendor babble...

need examples of vendor babble echo on any of a dozen parts issues ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
...that leads me to wonder whether an AGM is more sensitive to overcharging...
CONTINOUSLY PLUGGED IN (as in for weeks and weeks) without a 12v draw there can be issues in HOT weather.

and simply left on LOW voltage trickle charging for weeks n weeks in COLD weather the batteries can be chronically UNDER charged.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
...So, is it absolutely necessary to have a 3 stage charger before converting to AGM's, or do you just have to be more (or the same) careful?...
clearly it is NOT "absolutely necessary" and in many ways one can be LESS CAREFUL with agms since monitoring electrolyte levels isn't done

AND the agms can accept higher BULK charge voltage without boiling or overheating.

so the notion of 'careful' is STILL a part of owning/using agms, but the parameters 2b 'careful' about shift.

a/s has been supplying agms with the solar package and p-lax C/C for a long time.

while they aren't rocket scientists, they have thunk this out.

MOST of the p-lax bashing here is akin to the gym tire bashing.

with the same NON-DATA to support the failures and fueled by an occasional vendor supplying incomplete technical info...

then a few folks showntell their aftermarket upgrades (which may NOT be upgrades) and how LIFE is so much better post oem.

and the "i need one of THOSE, my oem is crap" syndrome hits...

without ANY real understanding of the primary issues (b.bank size, pv panel size, wiring needs and EXPECTED usage n storage style)

we tend to believe that changing a part of to something with a few more features, means THINKING LESS about the issue...

when most of the time it just means ADDING new issues to think about, understand and monitor.

it is the WACK A MOLE game played with money and parts...

and as i teased about new C/C coming (which u found), unless the oem p-lax DIES today,

there is no need to tear it OUT a few weeks before the trayla goes into hybernation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
...Is a smart charger the same as a 3 stage charger? ...
basically NO and explained elsewhere, but the term is often misused to confuse...

'smart' relates to add ons that can exercise the battery while in storage and reduce the risk of sulfation...

also explained in other threads.

br' has given u ALL the essential info WITHOUT vendor hype. your task is to really understand each TERM used in the explanation.

and most of the terms have good explanations recorded here already.

cheers
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:28 PM   #23
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Thanks 2air. That's a lot clearer.

I'm trying to get answers about the interaction between solar and converter charging systems, but that's even more off topic than even I may be able to tolerate.

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Old 10-15-2009, 02:55 PM   #24
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...I'm trying to get answers about the interaction between solar and converter charging systems...


the wiring FROM the pv panels comes INTO a separate charge controller gizmo...

it is NOT a 3 stage charger (the red/yellow/green lights are LEVEL indicators)

the unit a/s uses is VERY BASIC and does NOT include mppt technology...

but not everyone NEEDS mppt, again it depends on panel size, b bank and usage.
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here is a picture of the gizmo (it is NOT made by zettler)

http://www.airforums.com/forums/439986-post6.html

the gizmo maker changed owners and is back in biz, they've got a website and tech support too.
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the key is it's a 25 AMP unit matched to the panel output MAX.

go read in this section...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448/

the 'sticky' there is a nice idea but FULL of incorrect or misleading info on the factory system or customized upgrades.

stickies imo SHOULD be concise, edited, accurate and NOT vary from the focused topic, then CLOSED to new posts...

so instead use the LONG list of threads in gen/solar...

RANK the threads by replies or views and READ the bigger threads in the section...
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or use any of the most reliable vendor sites for detailed info and MORE confusion....

cheers
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:01 PM   #25
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I have an aftermarket solar system with a 3 stage charger that was installed by the dealer. I'll look up the name later, maybe much later. I haven't traced the wiring and I doubt it is temperature sensitive. It works well so long as I remember not to park under a tree.

It does have the pretty green/yellow/red lamps and a voltage read out which reads the same thing as the lamps. I think it's 96 watts.

Gene

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Old 10-15-2009, 05:20 PM   #26
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I have an aftermarket solar system...
and how many planets were included in the deal, did u get the FULL gravity edition ?

u may wanna channel carl sagen for help with that or his earthly voice, artstream...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...tem-38227.html

cheers
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:16 PM   #27
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Everyone should look at the Deka battery, they are offered in Flooded, GEL and AGM. I have them in my bass boat and they are great....plus they are USA made.

http://www.eastpenn-deka.com/
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:59 PM   #28
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and how many planets were included in the deal, did u get the FULL gravity edition ?
Pluto is still a planet in mine and strangely, Kansas is missing, though I believe it may be in Uranus.

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