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Old 06-08-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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AGM Batteries

For what its worth, I've been doing some research here on the forums regarding rv batteries since I need to replace my OEM's. I found the O'Reilly auto parts have a "SuperStart" heavy duty AGM battery for $147. I printed off the stats and compared them to the Lifeline AGM battery and they pretty much lined up on every measurement, except price.
So if somebody can double check that and see if my eyes are aligned I might give that a try.
Also, I would putting them into a 2007 Safari 23ft. Will the existing converter and charger be able to handle that battery?
Thanks for your help!
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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I'd look into whether your battery manufacturer has a spec chart like this one from eastpenn-deka:

http://www.eastpenn-deka.com/assets/base/0139.pdf

Refer to page 11, which shows charging and float voltage vs. temperature.

I have the West Marine AGM (visually identical to eastpenn-deka). I have operated them with the standard Parallax 7355 converter. But I am aware of the chart in the PDF above and will disconnect the batteries from the converter during high temperatures (I believe the 7355 charges and floats in the mid-high 13 volt range). With that in mind they have worked great over the past couple of years.

Also regarding the 7355 Parallax- I think it is a good converter but fast battery charging isn't its forte. When I need fast charging I clamp a 40 amp Xantrex portable automotive 3 stage smart charger on the batteries. It is also possible to replace the converter with other units with a 14.4 volt initial charge rate.
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:51 PM   #3
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Starting batteries and deep cycle batteries are designed differently. Starting are designed to give lots of current for short durations. Deep cycle are designed to give much lower amounts of current for longer periods.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:22 PM   #4
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The consensus is Lifeline batteries are the standard other AGM batteries are compared to. Also American. I bought a Universal brand battery and saved some money. No complaints, still working after 3 years, but I found out after the fact it is Chinese.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:42 PM   #5
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re: "Starting batteries and deep cycle batteries are designed differently." -- not so much anymore. The basic design, structure and components are essentially the same. There may be a slight difference in antimony content and so forth but the differences are more a matter of degree than kind.

The basic trade-offs are between cost, energy density, and 'ruggedness.' The differences are close to those you can find in individual batteries due to temperature, cycle to cycle variances, age, or use profile.

The question with AGM batteries is what you are going to get for a doubling of cost. They might last 50% longer if you treat them right. They can handle larger currents if you need to power an inverter at kilowatt levels (but you can only do that for a very short time in a TT battery bank!), They still need (at least per code) a proper vented battery box.

Look for hard data in making battery buying decisions. Cost is one item. Warranty another. The spec sheet another. Brand does not mean much unless it comes with a warranty.

Buy from a retailer who sells a lot to folks who use them like you do and will stand behind what he sells.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:46 PM   #6
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This battery is made by Eastpenn-deka for O'Reilly. It is a deep cycle battery for marine/RV applications. So I figure that even if its not the same as a Lifeline, its got to be better than buying the oem battery or equivalent and its roughly half the cost. I think for our type of streamin, this is a good fit.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:04 PM   #7
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There are alot of good quality deep cycle AGM batteries. I worked in the medical industry and we used the MK sealed deep cycle batteries in our wheelchairs and scooters. This is a High tech battery that works best with computers and lab equipment. MK has several different models that are AGM and sealed, check them out on the web.
My suggestion would be that one buy the sealed style as they don't require the maintainance that the filled battery do, and also they do not spill acid all over.
As for the life of the battery, the more and harder they are used the longer they last.
Leaving them set and "hooked up" for long periods the shorter the life. My wheelchair patients that worked the batteries hard would get about 2-3 years out of them; those that just used them to get around in the house would get 1-2 years of use. This was based on the group 24 battery.
Again. check the MK web site, it contains alot of info that one can base their decision on. And yes, they are pricey.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:34 AM   #8
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re: "As for the life of the battery, the more and harder they are used the longer they last." -- I'd like to see how this is measured. All I have found to date is that AGM's, like all lead acid batteries, suffer if used 'hard' (if hard means frequent deep discharging). The lifespan data does not show this either in retailer (e.g. NAWS) advice nor in warranties.

re: "buy the sealed style as they don't require the maintainance that the filled battery do, and also they do not spill acid all over." -- These attributes are the product of proper maintenance and use and apply to wet cells as well as sealed lead acid.

re: "This is a High tech battery that works best with computers and lab equipment." -- AGM's are no longer 'high tech' and should not be confused with gel cells which are most common in the UPS and electronics market due to their float characteristics.

When you check web sites, do be careful to discriminate between "info" and data. Much 'info' tends to be subjective, marketing hype, or unqualified assertion and really isn't worth much. There is a lot out there so be sure to use multiple sources and figure out the why behind what is being said.
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