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Old 03-23-2017, 10:18 PM   #15
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Lifelines seem to be the go-to AGM for quality construction, materials, reliability, longevity, etc.. They are not cheap, but you get what you pay for ...

If you have a stock converter / charger you will what to change that out for a more intelligent 3 or 4 stage charger to care for your expensive batteries....

Progressive Dynamics is one of the go-to converter/chargers that many people install when they make the move toe AGM. It is a drop-in replacement for the parallax unit that Airstream install at the factory.
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:40 PM   #16
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Healthy Batteries can certainly make it through the night with the furnace running. Even if the furnace never shut off, healthy, FULLY charged batteries would last around 10 hours, give or take, depending on the battery capacity.

Second, hooking the generator up to your umbilical and charging through the converter is definitely the way to go, not plugging in a small charger into the generator and then hook that to batteries. I went through this on another post and one of the resident experts even chimed in to confirm this. The generator puts out plenty of AC amperage that your convertor/charger will convert to up to 55 DC amps that it can to charge the batteries.

At about 12 volts, your batteries are 50 percent depleted. (the most you should go). At 10.5...they are at zero capacity. Even from 50%, it could take as many as 20-30 hours to attain a full charge. 4 hours to get to 8o%.

In any case, your batteries are likely shot. New flooded cell batteries should work find, depending on your off-grid needs, if you take care of them. Lot's of info out there on that, including never running below 50%, keeping them charged during storage, and upgrading the converter/charger to a 4-stage unit (about $200 for the part) which has a better charge profile and won't cook your batteries like the stock unit will if left plugged in to shore power for longer periods at a time (like if you are camping with Shore power for a week or more. And definitely if you leave plugged in to shore power at home.
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Old 03-23-2017, 11:15 PM   #17
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You said the batteries were replaced in August when you purchased the 2015 Airstream. They are probably group 24. Group 27 will give you approximately 20% more capacity.

Check the date on the batteries...somewhere on the battery case is a date code. If they were fresh new batteries the battery date should be June or July 2016.

New batteries can sit around for months before used...and completely depleted before being installed and charged. This amounts to the beginning of the end of a short life.

As others have said replace them with a good fresh known brand and never let them discharge more than 50% before fully charging.
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:01 AM   #18
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Thanks for all of the input. I like the sound of an AGM battery. At the risk of starting a war does anyone want to suggest reliable brands and specs?
As others have said, if you switch to AGMs you should also make the move to a smart charger. Depending on your commitment to a longer term solution like this [capital investment of something on the order of $1,000 +/- plus labor -- let's not quibble over exact dollar amounts!], in my personal opinion you should consider sticking with old-fashioned flooded batteries -- Group 27 if they will fit in your battery box -- and learning the ropes for better battery management.

A smaller investment now, which should last for years if you can supervise the single-stage charger most of us have. Make the voltage readout panel your friend, and plug in the shore power, and unplug it, as needed to avoid overcooking the batteries.

This is a "Keep It Simple, Stu" solution that will work for now. We had a used 25' in the 90's with a dumb charger, and the batteries lasted for 7 years, and were OK when we sold her. No prob with good supervision.

Your preferences may vary . . .

Good luck and have fun in the camping season which is now blossoming!

Cheers,

Peter
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:46 AM   #19
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We are picking up a 2017 FC 26U Saturday that has the factory 160 watt optional solar panels and then dual AGM batteries. Does anyone know if the charger is different as well? Or is a smart charger something we should still do?
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:35 AM   #20
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I have seen no posts on this forum indicating that Airstream has installed better charger/converters, except perhaps in the smallest trailer.
Larry
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:41 AM   #21
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2 hours isn't enough time to recharge low batteries, the voltage reading was just a surface charge...charge longer..
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:42 AM   #22
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We are picking up a 2017 FC 26U Saturday that has the factory 160 watt optional solar panels and then dual AGM batteries. Does anyone know if the charger is different as well? Or is a smart charger something we should still do?
Congrats and welcome to the 26U family! To answer your question unfortunately the converter will be the same one we all have. Nothing wrong with it and while your on shore power using your trailer it will charge your batteries fine.

When off the grid and minimal use your solar panels should keep the batteries charged.

Problem is only going to be when trailer is stored...like the rest of us you will need to monitor the batteries and charge when needed or hook up a "Battery Tender" or "Battery Minder" directly to the batteries and unhook from shore power.

Otherwise you will overcharge your nice expensive AGM's.

If I had factory solar with AGM's I probably would spend the money to replace the converter. I plan to on mine but decided to wait until the factory one dies if it ever does. I have learned how to work with it now and it's not a big deal.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:33 AM   #23
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I have a 2017 28' International Serenity with factory solar kit installed. I have it plugged into a dedicated 50 amp circuit at my home. Am I damaging the batteries by leaving it plugged in?
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:40 AM   #24
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Short answer: Yes
Do a search, there are a bezillion threads on this subject. You need to replace your charger, Randy at Bestconverter.com seems to have the right replacements.
Larry
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:47 AM   #25
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Need to get a 4 stage converter and change to 6V AGM, we did this and no problem dry camping
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:40 PM   #26
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Wesair.....You didn't indicate how you charged the batteries from your generator. If you were using a Honda 2000i and used the 12volt battery charging line you were limited to a rate of 8 amps which is a very low rate of charge. In two hours you would have transferred 16 amp hours into your batteries having a combined capacity of approximately 184 Amps. A charge of 16 amp hours is equal to 8.7% of your total capacity and is not enough to make a significant change in the status of your batteries. I would recommend that you purchase a 120v A/C input battery charger capable of charging of 15, 20 or 25 amps and see if that will bring your batteries back up.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:42 PM   #27
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I switched to Excide Edge group 24 AGMs last season and put in the Progressive Dynamics replacement smart charger. It gets cool nights here in Michigan and I've never had a problem running the heat at about 55 over night in spring and fall. If you are going to the expense of new batteries and charger, you might want to consider a monitor to see what might be drawing power. I normally make sure that the sony radio is entirely off (no visual display), the tv signal booster is off, and nothing else is running except an LED light or two if we stay up and read. Good luck.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:59 PM   #28
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Lot of good info. Thanks.
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