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Old 11-10-2019, 07:33 PM   #1
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Batteries-So Confused-What's easy to swap to?

Batteries and the many different set ups people use seem confusing to me.

We have a 2019 Flying Cloud 27.

We aren't having great performance with the batteries that came with the rig.

If we want to change them out, can someone explain in simple terms what the options are?

(We don't have solar in place (rig does have factory pre-wire))

Is there a better type of battery that can be changed to that doesn't need to have water added but that will fit in the battery box we have and work with all of the components we have now?

If not, what are the options?

What makes some options better than others?

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Old 11-10-2019, 07:42 PM   #2
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Easy swap is AGM batteries where you don’t need to worry about adding water. Lifeline is a great brand and so is Fullriver (what I have). My suggestion is to get (2) 6v batteries from either company and wire them in series to get 12v. While you are at it, install a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor so you can see what is using all your amps! It has Bluetooth and can display on your IPhone!
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:47 PM   #3
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Are Battle Born batteries also an easy drop-in replacement?
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Jones View Post
Are Battle Born batteries also an easy drop-in replacement?


Well, sort of. Electrically, yes. However, most people put then “indoors” as they don’t like to be charged in freezing conditions.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by billrector View Post
Easy swap is AGM batteries where you don’t need to worry about adding water. Lifeline is a great brand and so is Fullriver (what I have). My suggestion is to get (2) 6v batteries from either company and wire them in series to get 12v. While you are at it, install a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor so you can see what is using all your amps! It has Bluetooth and can display on your IPhone!
Thanks.

If we change to AGM 6 volt batteries are they a direct replacement, or do they need anything else to make them work?

Do they fit OK in the current battery box?
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:39 PM   #6
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PB - install like for like Interstates. If yours are within warranty the exchange should be free. See Interstate. Install a battery disconnect switch or disconnect cables when storing. Keep water in batteries and never discharge below 12.2 volts. For normal use the 80 amp hrs will work well.

If you find that you need more capacity, upgrade to 6 volt golf cart batteries. That will get you ~ 110/120 amp hrs. Should drop in the existing box.

If you need more capacity, you can install a four cell bank inside the trailer. That would double the capacity to ~ 220/240 amp hrs. The cost to relocate the bank will vary depending on how much labor you provide. You will need to purchase AGM batteries so they will not outgas in the trailer.

The move to Lithium reduces the weight of the bank, allows faster charging and with onboard Battery Management Systems and a battery monitor, control gets very easy. Two 100 amp hr cells will give you 160 amp hrs of capacity. Four will get you 320 amp hrs.

The key to battery management is to not discharge below critical voltages. That would be 50% discharge for wet cells and AGM. It would be 80% discharge for Lithium cells. A battery disconnect switch and a battery monitor gives visibility and stops parasitic discharge when the coach is stored.

Note, letting the cells discharge below critical does not immediately kill them. It just reduces the life of the cell. On a cold night, maybe you sacrifice the batteries to stay warm for an extra couple of hours sleep. If this is a rare event, maybe lower priced cells should be your strategy. Replace them with same every year or two as needed for your camping style. If you regularly have a higher amp hr budget, you need more capacity. All depends on your use.

Spend some time reading the battery threads. If you really can't assimilate the info, go to one of the first two solutions above and reduce your power consumption to a minimum. Pat
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by billrector View Post
Well, sort of. Electrically, yes. However, most people put then “indoors” as they don’t like to be charged in freezing conditions.
They require the addition of a lithium compatible converter. That is one which will charge at 14.4 volts. At lower voltage charging, they never get a full charge.

Mounted in the outside box means they will discharge, but not charge below freezing temperatures. If discharged too far, they will be damaged. Most places warm up when the sun comes up and you can charge them then. For folks that camp below freezing through the day, the bank should be moved inside or facilitated with auxiliary heater.

Hope that helps. Pat
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:43 PM   #8
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Can you tell us a little about your performance concerns and your type of usage?

For example, are you off grid for a week and the batteries only last 2 nights and the furnace is running both nights.

Would be good to know how old the batteries are, there are dates on the top of them.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:28 AM   #9
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I have been thinking about batteries also. I do not think there is an easy way to significantly upgrade you battery capacity. Two 6 volt batteries of the correct kind will give some improvement. But...you will likely have to modify the battery boxes. Two lithium batteries will certainly upgrade, but they cost a lot and you will have to change the power converter and probably do some rewiring. Just switching to 12 volt AGMs will probably require and upgraded converter also. You will get a bit more power and will not have to add water. Maybe the way to go but not a big increase in capacity, if any.

I do not think you should give up on upgrading the capacity. I do think you should give up on it being easy and cheap and think out the best upgrade for your use. If you can deal with the significant cost the lithium along with a new converter gives a big boost in capacity.

For now I have settled on the lead acid, change them every 1 or 2 years, and run the generator almost every day. That is the "easy" way for me. I check the water about 4 times a year.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
Batteries and the many different set ups people use seem confusing to me.

We have a 2019 Flying Cloud 27.

We aren't having great performance with the batteries that came with the rig.

If we want to change them out, can someone explain in simple terms what the options are?

(We don't have solar in place (rig does have factory pre-wire))

Is there a better type of battery that can be changed to that doesn't need to have water added but that will fit in the battery box we have and work with all of the components we have now?

If not, what are the options?

What makes some options better than others?

Teach me your ways!
Batteries of the same amperage capacity can have different sizes. Your stock batteries are likely Group 24. Our battery box allows for two Group 27 (which have more amp/hours.

IMO the advantage of a few more amp/hours by installing 6V batteries in series is offset by the difficulty change in wiring and in finding replacements if you are not in a major city.

Here are the dimensions of a Trojan 6V AGM (20-Hr Rate 200 amps - Usuable 100ams:
Length10.28 (261)Width7.08 (180)Height10.74 (273)

Here are the dimensions of a Trojan 12v AGM (20-Hr Rate 89 amps - Usable amps 89):
Length12.05 (306)Width6.84 (174)Height9.32 (237)

Note how much taller the 6V batteries are. Be sure and check your battery box dimensions to see what will fit.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:13 AM   #11
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I don't think there is an "easy" way to upgrade the batteries but believe it must be done if you want to overnight without shore power while using the furnace.

First I believe you must replace the stock converter. My 2018's stock converter was useless to charge my batteries since it only bulk charged up to 13.6V or float charged at 13.2V. I never saw it get over 13.6V which is required to fully charge any battery that will be used to dry camp. If you only camp while connected to shore power, or never use the furnace while dry camping, the stock converter may work for your needs. I replaced my stock converter with a PD4655L, which is a lithium capable converter. http://www.bestconverter.com/PD4655M...ote_p_616.html

Next you need to choose how much you want to spend on batteries for the capacity and convenience you desire:

1) The most-powerful, least-convenient, and cheapest choice is a pair of 6V wet cell batteries at $250 for a pair. These can be Trojan T105's or Duracell EGC2's. A pair of either of these will fit in your battery box and will provide enough power to run your furnace all night plus your typical 12V power needs. https://www.samsclub.com/p/duracell-...lp_product_1_3 . You must change how the jumper wires between the batteries are configured to use 6V batteries. Your stock 12V batteries are wired in "parallel" and a pair of 6V batteries need to be wired in "series". https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/arti...-tutorial.html

2) If the convenience of not adding water is desired, a good choice is a pair of Lifeline AGM, 6V batteries at around $800. https://www.amazon.com/Lifeline-Mari.../dp/B0029XJ1U6 These also need to be "series" connected. These do not require watering like a wet-cell battery, but for that convenience some capacity is given up. I would not discharge an AGM battery as deeply as I would discharge a wet-cell golf cart battery. I've never had AGM's, but know by the depth of discharge I do on my Duracell EGC2's that a pair of AGM's would not work for my needs. I would need four 220AH AGM's to do what my pair of Duracell EGC2's can do. Other's will disagree, but I frequently discharge my EGC2's to 11.8V and it has not damaged them in 250 days of use. I would not consistently, or ever, discharge an AGM to 11.8V and therefore would not choose them.

3) The next choice is Lithium batteries. These are convenient in that they do not need water and they can be deeply discharged. I think their biggest advantage is that they can be discharged at high amps and still provide nearly their rated amps. But their is a high cost to all these advantages and therefore I do not have these batteries. The lowest cost option I would consider is the Renogy Lithium at $1600 per pair: https://www.renogy.com/renogy-lithiu...12-volt-100ah/ The better option is a pair of Battleborn's at $1900 per pair: https://battlebornbatteries.com/shop...cycle-battery/

I chose the $250 pair of Duracell EGC2's over the $1600-1900 pair of Lithiums because they are capable of powering all my 12V needs overnight while dry camping in cold weather. My second choice would be a set of Lithiums if I did not want to add water to the batteries or if I wanted to use appliances that require high Amp draws. I would not choose the AGM's because they would not meet my power needs.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion based on my power needs, experiences and analysis. We all have different power needs and therefore make different choices and will offer different opinions. Each of us needs to determine our power needs and budget before making the choice of which type of battery works for their needs. There is not a best solution for everyone, only a best solution for your needs and budget.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:54 AM   #12
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Irrespective of what batteries you choose add a battery disconnect switch that completely disconnects your batteries from all loads to avoid parasitic loads potentially draining your batteries when not in use and shortening their lifespan. See link below for a good option-- Frank

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sea-Syst...77&sr=8-7&th=1
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:17 AM   #13
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Call Randy at Best Converter for battery and converter questions.I purchased a new converter and Lifeline agm batteries from them and they shipped to my door.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:27 AM   #14
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PB, I am with you. My head starts to spin as I read through these threads. Someone asked a good question, tell us about your actual situation. Discharging below 12 volt will damage the batteries. I have 2 24's and do have to watch them. I replace them at about 4 or 5 years, bring them inside for the winter and trickle charge them in the basement.


Before I spent a whole lot of money on waterless batteries I would try the two 6 volt approach. Someone warned about the difficulty if wiring these. WHAT? If anything, wiring two 6 volts is easier that connecting 2 12 volts in series.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:29 AM   #15
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it should be noted that Battle Born batteries are made here in the United States and have a TEN YEAR Warranty. Average out the cost per battery over ten years and the decision makes sense. Plus the weight!!! 27 lbs apiece.

I have been using them for four years now, extensively. They only charge up to 13.5 these days, but they live at 13.3 where they should be for easily the next five years. I have 400 watts on the roof and 400 amp hours under my bed. More than adequate.

I had been contemplating an upgrade to a Globetrotter, but after considering all the upgrades, wheels and tires, solar (Not AS) and batteries (Battle Born), inverter/converter, etc. I am not sure but I am considering a massive upgrade in my existing FC.

In fact if anybody has suggestions for renovation I am open to ideas. (This time around it won't be done at the mothership).
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:37 AM   #16
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Hi

The biggest question is indeed "what's wrong with what you have?". Batteries that came with a 2019 trailer still should be in good shape. That's not a guarantee, it's just a guess. Unless there has been significant abuse, they should work "ok".

What you have depends a bit on the trailer options. Solar gets you an upgrade to AGM batteries. Usable amp hours for the "normal" batteries is about 80AH. With the AGM's that goes up to about 100AH.

Going with fancier lead acid setups might get you to 120AH of usable capacity. That's not a giant leap over the numbers above. All these numbers assume you are at summer temperatures and running to a 50% point on the batteries. How well lead acid handles discharge past 50% is a "that depends" sort of thing. Go down to freezing temps on any battery and capacity will drop. Capacity is load dependent, running the inverter to power a hair dryer for 15 minutes is not the same as running the fridge on propane for a day. Both pull the same amp hours, the first takes down a lead acid battery much quicker.

In the same volume (but by no means the same money) lithiums will roughly double your usable amp hours at 200 usable amp hours. They will require (at the very least) a ~$200 converter upgrade.

Unless you take up more space in the trailer, that's about it. If you are "dead" right now in 1 day of furnace usage, you will be dead in 2 days with the "best of the best". If your trailer is dead after a couple weeks in storage, it still will be dead after a month in storage.

The battery monitoring resources in a typical trailer are pretty basic. They will give you a rough idea of what's going on, but that's about it. They may suggest that a battery that is at 80% charge actually is at 100%. If it's very hot or cold out, they could be off by quite a bit. Battery composition impacts temperature effects so there is no easy way to work that part out without information on your specific batteries.

Converter / chargers need temperature information to really get batteries "full" at temperature extremes. The stock units do not have this capability. Even with feedback, it's good to *assume* that 24 hours will be needed to fully charge depleted batteries. Yes, it may be less. With the basic monitoring gear on a stock trailer, there is no way to really know.

Lots of places to spend money. It very much depends on just what problems you have run into.

Bob
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:38 AM   #17
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We upgraded to 2-6V trojan T-105 which was the best for us as it did not break the bank. Added the flo-rite system for maintenance (we also have 200w solar- just saying). 90% of the time we boondock so the trojan's work great. BUT they are a bit higher so the battery box does require a mod. Lot of info on the forum about this. Half the price of pure AGM but equal with amps ($400 cdn vis $800 cdn - 1/4 the price of Lithium ($1200-$1400cdn each!) .... (just because I have an AS doesn't mean I'm loaded with money)
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:05 AM   #18
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Short Answer: Go to dealer and let them know you want AGMs. Done!
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:40 AM   #19
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They require the addition of a lithium compatible converter. That is one which will charge at 14.4 volts. At lower voltage charging, they never get a full charge.



Mounted in the outside box means they will discharge, but not charge below freezing temperatures. If discharged too far, they will be damaged. Most places warm up when the sun comes up and you can charge them then. For folks that camp below freezing through the day, the bank should be moved inside or facilitated with auxiliary heater.



Hope that helps. Pat


I thought the beauty of Battleborn was that they don’t require a lithium compatible converter.

From their website: “You do not need a special charger to charge your LFP deep cycle battery. As I mentioned above the battery prefers to bulk charge at 14.4 volts and float at 13.6 volts. Most standard chargers can handle these settings. There are some made for lithium chargers available on our store page and they will charge faster than a regular charger in most cases”
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:52 AM   #20
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I thought the beauty of Battleborn was that they don’t require a lithium compatible converter.

From their website: “You do not need a special charger to charge your LFP deep cycle battery. As I mentioned above the battery prefers to bulk charge at 14.4 volts and float at 13.6 volts. Most standard chargers can handle these settings. There are some made for lithium chargers available on our store page and they will charge faster than a regular charger in most cases”
Hi

The BB's will work ok with a charger that gets above 14.2V. The stock converter / chargers in most Airstream's do not do that. Indeed there is a lot of debate about that point. Bottom line is, you can't depend on it.

The "ideal" charger (as far as we know so far ....) would get them up to 14.4V as part of the charge cycle. It would then drop back to an "idle" state at around 13.6V. Terms like bulk / absorption / float stir up a bit of excitement with lithium since they really do charge a bit differently. ( = there is no need for float ).

Given that the BMS protects you from a variety of issues, (cold weather charging, over discharge, battery shorts, over voltage charge....) they are a bit more rugged than a lot of people seem to think. You *do* still need to charge them

Bob
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