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Old 10-17-2019, 11:10 AM   #1
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AGM batteries already bad?

I just came from my trailer that is now in storage in Dallas. It has a battery charger hooked directly to the batteries and shows a full charge (It's shut off). No shore power.

On my CVzone screen, it shows batteries at 12.14v. My Victron shows 12.7.

I unhooked the charger (Neco smart charger) and the Victron stays at 12.7. If I plug in the charger it starts to charge and says that batteries are at 25%. Victron goes up to 13.20v. Czone shows 12.97v.

If I disconnect the charger, Victron drops to 12.7 and czone drops to 12.21.

I called Jackson Center and service said to use the Czone number. They also believe that the AGM's are gone. Some of you may remember I just added to more factory panels to the trailer a few months ago. The panels pretty well mask the battery problem as they kept charging every day. The storage I am in right now has a roof over the trailer and no solar. That's why I bought the charger.

I have never gone below 12.3 for the life of the trailer.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:02 PM   #2
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I just talked to DFW Airstream and they can get me in late December. Thanks, Airstream. Service tech Heckter said this is the first year we are really swamped with repairs. Hmmmm, no kidding Heckter, wonder why?

I have to take the batteries out and they will swap them if they test bad. I may have to have them tested elsewhere if they can't do it.

Lifeline dealer?
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:47 PM   #3
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Hi

The only "legit" way to solve the argument between the CZone and the Victron is to go grab a multimeter. Probe the batteries at the posts and see what the real answer is. Even a dirt cheap multimeter will be better than 12.7 +/- 0.5V. Indeed something that says Fluke on it *is* worth the money. It's not really needed to answer this question.

December is a long way away. Those are *really* heavy batteries to pull out and put back in. I'd spend the money ($20 ??) on a multimeter.

I'd bet at least half a warm beer on the Victron being right . The FireFly voltage read out is pretty much nonsense.

Bob
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:06 PM   #4
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I just got back from the trailer. The charger has been on all day. It was at 75%. After shutting off the charger and turning on a few lights and the fan for a few minutes, the batteries are showing 13.2 on the Victron and 12.8 on the Czone.

Of course, I forgot my multimeter at home but remembered I do have one in the trailer. The secondary meter under the sink! It read 12.8. I have a theory about all this.

I believe my batteries needed a good solid charge for several days from a standard charger like I just bought. My charger can be used on up to a 200AH battery bank, but I'm sure it will take days to reach 100%. I also tossed the battery clips and hard wired the charger to the batteries. It is clearly working better than the clips. The solar does pump in a lot of power when the sun can see the panels. Right now it is blocked.

Airstream of Dallas/Fort worth said the batteries are not covered under their warranty. I called my salesman and he said the same. So I called Lifeline. Jason told me to measure the voltage and get the serial numbers. If it doesn't hold a charge, just call back and they will send me to a dealer in Dallas to replace them. Thank you Lifeline.

But tomorrow is another day and they may reach 100%. I can then buy a multimeter and test them with that, but my guess is the Czone is not very reliable and does read low compared to the Victron. I have the BT dongle and the battery sense module that hooks to the battery and they both read the same voltage.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:41 AM   #5
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I'm looking at my Airstream connect app this morning and I see the battery at 12.81. I believe it finally is on trickle charge. That is three days on the charger to reach full charge. That may be a realistic number for a two battery bank and a 7 amp charger with 8 stages.

Will test with multimeter today.
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:18 AM   #6
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AGM batteries already bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by turk123 View Post
I just talked to DFW Airstream and they can get me in late December. Thanks, Airstream. Service tech Heckter said this is the first year we are really swamped with repairs. Hmmmm, no kidding Heckter, wonder why?



I have to take the batteries out and they will swap them if they test bad. I may have to have them tested elsewhere if they can't do it.



Lifeline dealer?


I had a similar issue with my lifeline AGMís. They have excellent customer service. Link to my experience below.


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...rt-194265.html
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:20 AM   #7
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Hi

There are a surprising number of things on the trailer that are covered under manufacturer's warranties rather than the Airstream warranty. The brakes, tires, awning, fridge, stove, and microwave all fall into this category. In some cases the warranty is shorter than the Airstream warranty (brakes). In some cases it is longer.

=====

Indeed a outboard charger *will* take quite a while to fully top off a battery. The fancier ones even spend time waiting before they final part of the process.

There *should* be no need for an external charger to get the batteries "right". Between the Victron solar and the converter / charger their needs should be met. Stuff happens so one can never say "never needed". ( = maybe a good idea to check the converter / charger if you stop by the dealer).

=======

Having even a junk millimeter as part of the trailer toolkit is a pretty good idea. Usually problems come up when you are a billion miles from nowhere and have no cell service. Yes, you also need a working battery for the multimeter If it's the only thing that uses a 9V battery that *can* be an issue ..... I have data on this ....

Bob
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

There are a surprising number of things on the trailer that are covered under manufacturer's warranties rather than the Airstream warranty. The brakes, tires, awning, fridge, stove, and microwave all fall into this category. In some cases the warranty is shorter than the Airstream warranty (brakes). In some cases it is longer.

=====

Indeed a outboard charger *will* take quite a while to fully top off a battery. The fancier ones even spend time waiting before they final part of the process.

There *should* be no need for an external charger to get the batteries "right". Between the Victron solar and the converter / charger their needs should be met. Stuff happens so one can never say "never needed". ( = maybe a good idea to check the converter / charger if you stop by the dealer).

=======

Having even a junk millimeter as part of the trailer toolkit is a pretty good idea. Usually problems come up when you are a billion miles from nowhere and have no cell service. Yes, you also need a working battery for the multimeter If it's the only thing that uses a 9V battery that *can* be an issue ..... I have data on this ....

Bob
In this case my trailer is under a large roof and has no solar. Plug provided was 110v. I did not want to leave my 50 amp cord out for easy pickings. So the charger is on.

I actually own a Fluke meter and it is still sitting on my workbench at home, ready to be put into the trailer. Want to bring it down to me? My house is on your way!

I just bought one from Amazon ($19) . It will work for what I need. Splurged and paid $5 for same day delivery.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:08 PM   #9
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Get readings directly from the battery with nothing else connected. That will be your starting point.

To go one step further, disconnect the batteries from each other and measure each battery independently.

You will then proceed to the troubleshooting of "Process of elimination"
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:07 PM   #10
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Turk, that’s ironic, I went thru almost the same thing last week. I put the Classic in my barn for storage and unhooked the batteries in June. Went back this fall to pick the unit up, hooked up the batteries, and all was fine. Batteries at near full charge. Knowing that I would not pick it up for a week or so, and having left my 50 amp cord at my residence, 60 miles away, I put a small charger that I had there directly onto the battery posts, put the unit in away mode and left. Went back a week later to pick up the unit and the charger was in disconnect mode and the batteries where flat.

I suspected that in away mode, and still parked in my barn, ( so no solar charging) I still had background draw that pulled more than the small charger was putting in? Router, ect? So while my situation was most likely self induced. I have a similiar issue that I am chasing out now that the batteries have been charging for several days, in seeing how much damage was done to the batteries.

That discovery is still in progress as I write��.

We are south bound on Sunday, but no plans for boon docking this trip!
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:34 PM   #11
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Turk, thatís ironic, I went thru almost the same thing last week. I put the Classic in my barn for storage and unhooked the batteries in June. Went back this fall to pick the unit up, hooked up the batteries, and all was fine. Batteries at near full charge. Knowing that I would not pick it up for a week or so, and having left my 50 amp cord at my residence, 60 miles away, I put a small charger that I had there directly onto the battery posts, put the unit in away mode and left. Went back a week later to pick up the unit and the charger was in disconnect mode and the batteries where flat.

I suspected that in away mode, and still parked in my barn, ( so no solar charging) I still had background draw that pulled more than the small charger was putting in? Router, ect? So while my situation was most likely self induced. I have a similiar issue that I am chasing out now that the batteries have been charging for several days, in seeing how much damage was done to the batteries.

That discovery is still in progress as I write��.

We are south bound on Sunday, but no plans for boon docking this trip!
Hi

Depending on what mode you left your Classic in, it will drain the batteries flat in 4 days to 4 weeks. There is enough "parasitic drain" on modern trailers that without a full disconnect switch, the batteries don't have a chance.

Bob
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:47 AM   #12
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A question I had on this , When the batteries are discharging, does the pms cut them off at a certain voltage level and isolate them from the continued draw of the trailer system or do the batteries go till completely flat? Why I ask is the battery maintainer I was using showed being not connected to the batteries when I returned a week later. I would have thought it would still have been trying to charge them even though it wasn’t keeping up with the draw?
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:03 AM   #13
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A question I had on this , When the batteries are discharging, does the pms cut them off at a certain voltage level and isolate them from the continued draw of the trailer system or do the batteries go till completely flat? Why I ask is the battery maintainer I was using showed being not connected to the batteries when I returned a week later. I would have thought it would still have been trying to charge them even though it wasnít keeping up with the draw?
It does not isolate them and they will go flat. I don't believe Airstream can allow the propane and smoke detector to stop running no matter what.

What I do believe is your charger may have got confused as did with lower voltage. I bought a new Necco smart charger (8 stage) and after a half-day, it thought the batteries were completely charged. I restarted it and they were at 25%. It may have something to do with having two batteries instead of one. My charger states that it can handle up to a 200ah battery bank
but it must have gotten confused. Your trickle charger may have only half the ability to charge with two batteries. The first charger I used at 2 amps (dumb charger) did very little and would have taken weeks to charge. It did not let the batteries go down any further.

Who knows? Electronics!
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:08 AM   #14
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How does one determine the health/damage to a battery after it discharged past recommended.
Thanks
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:11 AM   #15
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I just looked at the Airstream app and my voltage is at 12.56v.

Yesterday the batteries were floating between 12.67 and 12.82. I assume it was the battery maintainer keeping the voltage up. This morning the voltage has dropped.

I will be over there later this morning to see what is going on. I have my multimeter! I'm guessing since the Czone reports low that I'm closer to 12.6 or even higher. I'm getting closer to getting the Battleborns all the time. If I can find someone in Dallas . . .
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:16 AM   #16
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I just l;ooked at the Airstream app and my voltage is at 12.56v.



Yesterday the batteries were floating between 12.67 and 12.82. I assume it was the battery maintainer keeping the voltage up. This morning the voltage has dropped.



I will be over there later this morning to see what is going on. I have my multimeter! I'm guessing since the Czone reports low that I'm closer to 12.6 or even higher. I'm getting closer to getting the Battleborns all the time. If I can find someone in Dallas . . .


To get a good reading with a multimeter the battery should have no load for at least an hour, so Iíam told!
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:47 AM   #17
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OK! Just got back from the trailer in storage. The Czone reports 12.56, the Victron reports 12.74. My multimeter reports 12.72. Czone is consistently lower and not a reliable source for these numbers just as Bill said.

I put a larger load on the system and let it run for a while. It drops into the 12.64 range. After taking the load off it goes to 12.72v on Victron. I'm gonna use Victron numbers from now on as it can graph the voltage and temperature while operating.

I talked to Lifeline and they said that I should do a de-sulfate run with my Neco Genius 7200 even if it is performing OK. It has been a year on these batteries and I have never done one. You set the charger to AGM/Cold and then set "repair". It will run for 7 hours and slowly bump the voltage up toward 16v. Lifeline says it is the only way to remove the sulfate from the plates and should be done with their batteries. Lifeline says not all AGM's can go through the de-sulfate process. Lifeline said if you are not getting 12.8v-12.9v the plates may have sulfate crystals covering 8-10% of the plates. He told me to do the repair.

My batteries are still on a slight load so the Victron reading should be a little higher than the 12.74v reported. I believe my batteries are alright.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:25 PM   #18
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Hi

If you want to really be careful, disconnect the batteries from the trailer before you do the reconditioning run. The voltages you will see doing it are a bit above the max input voltages on some "12V" electronics .....

Bob
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Old 10-20-2019, 06:24 AM   #19
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OK! Just got back from the trailer in storage. The Czone reports 12.56, the Victron reports 12.74. My multimeter reports 12.72. Czone is consistently lower and not a reliable source for these numbers just as Bill said.

I put a larger load on the system and let it run for a while. It drops into the 12.64 range. After taking the load off it goes to 12.72v on Victron. I'm gonna use Victron numbers from now on as it can graph the voltage and temperature while operating.

I talked to Lifeline and they said that I should do a de-sulfate run with my Neco Genius 7200 even if it is performing OK. It has been a year on these batteries and I have never done one. You set the charger to AGM/Cold and then set "repair". It will run for 7 hours and slowly bump the voltage up toward 16v. Lifeline says it is the only way to remove the sulfate from the plates and should be done with their batteries. Lifeline says not all AGM's can go through the de-sulfate process. Lifeline said if you are not getting 12.8v-12.9v the plates may have sulfate crystals covering 8-10% of the plates. He told me to do the repair.

My batteries are still on a slight load so the Victron reading should be a little higher than the 12.74v reported. I believe my batteries are alright.


Turk, I agree on the .20 volt variance on between the c zone and multi meter direct off the battery. Got the same measurements yesterday here. I also got similiar voltage readings yesterday on the batteries under load. Was only unplugged for a few hours after dark last night, seemed fine. Will get a better feel, over the next few weeks of use most likely.

For a guy that is just only entry level in understanding batteries and electronics. I always struggle each time I commission my unit to get back into the groove of commissioning basics and maintenance practices. Not using the Camper for months at a time, I tend to get in an, out of sight out of mind situation. Focused on all other things other than RVing lol.

I appreciate these threads and you and Uncle Bob giving high quality feed back and comments to the issues as they emerge. Thank you for sharing your issues and offering constructive feed back to us all.

Happy camping!
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:42 AM   #20
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How does one determine the health/damage to a battery after it discharged past recommended.
Thanks
Hi

Use it and see how it does.

Bob
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