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Old 01-14-2010, 09:24 PM   #15
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Great info, Ray, thanks. FWIW, the Iota DLS-45 is NOT compatible with Optima Blue Tops...In the summer of 2007, I woke up in the middle of the night to the smell of rotten eggs and a loud hissing noise. At first, I thought it was a gas leak, but then found the source in the battery compartment...that hard pumice-like little safety valve popped. At the time, I didn't know that it was the Iota that was the culprit, but Optima #2 did the same thing early last winter.

So, this begs the question: is the Iota DLS-45 compatible with wet-cell batteries? I'm looking at replacing with either Sears or Interstate.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:13 PM   #16
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Sting...

Looks like you can upgrade your converter/charger with a accessory 'smart charge controller'...check this out:

IQ Smart Charger for DLS Series Battery Chargers from IOTA Engineering

I suspect your 'standard' DLS-45 unit overcharged your batteries over time if you were hooked to shore power for extended periods...

One of the first things I upgraded on our 78 Ambassador was to replace the original Univolt with a 3-stage converter/charger from Best converter...I haven't had to add water to our three batteries in the 18 months since this upgrade!

Your DLS-45 should work fine with flooded cell deep cycle batteries, but I'd sure look into the 'smart' charge controller - it will probably pay for itself by allowing for extended battery life!

Regards,
Ray
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Old 01-15-2010, 06:04 AM   #17
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Battery Lesson

Mexray-Thank You for the battery info. This forum is so helpful....Tim
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:32 AM   #18
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It all comes down to cost. A starting battery of the correct physical size is the cheapest, but will not work very well. A good deep cycle battery will cost a lot more but will give more power over a longer time. Lead acid batteries have one main flaw: if you run the battery all the way down, it will never recover to it's full charge again.
If cost was no object, you could get a lithium ion battery system that will give more power over a longer period of time and last over ten years. Those batteries run over $2000.00 and the battery managment system is extra. The benifit is to be able to go 4X longer without a recharge and the batteries will not fail for at least ten years!
I get a good quality deep cycle battery (about $120.00) and try not to let it go flat. If I'm lucky, I'll get three years out of the battery. This summer my battery got shorted out and I had to buy a new battery after only six months.
I've found that with proper power management, you can run the heater all night long and not run the battery flat. The battery will have to be re-charged avery day. I have increased the size of my battery from the original installed by Airstream. I now have about 50% more power than the trailer was designed for. This gives me just enough power for boondocking over night.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:19 AM   #19
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I am still a little confused. So what would you reccomend for my 66, which didn't have a battery when we bought it( still doesn't)? I have the original uni-volt, and mostly original wiring and fuse panel.

Thanks,
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:36 AM   #20
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When we purchased our AS, it needed batteries. The PO had let them discharge and they froze and busted. I shopped and shopped till I found Group 27's Service type,Deep cycle bat's at AUTO ZONE. They were about $80 bucks each.They are now going into thier 3 season,with no problems yet. I believe they are warrantied for 5 yrs. I do check them every 30 days,when they are installed in the trailer.Pop the caps and check the fluid,add distilled water if needed.I found this was the most economic way to go,at least for me. Only problem I have with them is,THEY ARE HEAVY.About a 100 lbs for the pair,I do take them out in winter and put them on a trickle charger in the basement.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:55 AM   #21
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airstream66 - you should really start a new thread; it's that complex!

The uni-volt should go - and if its been run without a battery for any amount of time may have already gone or be almost out; it requires the load of a battery to clamp & balance its old style technology outputs.

The fuse block incorporated in the uni-volt can be removed with power tools and reused - as long as you keep the fuses as provided, including the heavy primary off the battery the old wire is fine excepting if corrosion has eaten the lugs off the battery cables or brittle and frayed wire at the lugs where the small circuit wires leave the fuse block..

No one can say if there is mouse chewed wires in the ceiling yet no one can tell you to swap all of the wiring in trailer out - its a process to see what works as long as you have the original size fuses inline you should be good.

I'd really encourage you to get a 'starter' battery, using the measurements of the tray - compartment provided just slip in a cheap Sam's Club or Wal-Mart deep cycle and then don't fret if it gets somewhat neglected etc. so when you know more about the whole system and your needs to can make the decisions to keep from over-buying or buying twice, thrice, etc..

Just keep it with a charge on it - low or flat batteries freeze and that's usually the end of it..
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexray View Post
Sting...

Looks like you can upgrade your converter/charger with a accessory 'smart charge controller'...check this out:

IQ Smart Charger for DLS Series Battery Chargers from IOTA Engineering

I suspect your 'standard' DLS-45 unit overcharged your batteries over time if you were hooked to shore power for extended periods...

One of the first things I upgraded on our 78 Ambassador was to replace the original Univolt with a 3-stage converter/charger from Best converter...I haven't had to add water to our three batteries in the 18 months since this upgrade!

Your DLS-45 should work fine with flooded cell deep cycle batteries, but I'd sure look into the 'smart' charge controller - it will probably pay for itself by allowing for extended battery life!

Regards,
Ray

Ray,

I have the IQ-4, so I don't know what's going on then. Maybe the unit is crap. I would expect it to last longer than two years, which is how long it was installed, when the first Optima went out....both were installed at the same time, when the coach was redone.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:53 PM   #23
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Thanks Wabbiteer,

I was thinking of doing that exact thing, with the cheap battery. I only use the trailer 3-4 times a year, and rarely boondock. Really doubt I will ever go through and replace the wiring. Don't know enough about the uni-volt to tell if it is actually working. The land line and the generator light it up just fine.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:46 PM   #24
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I'm 99% certain batteries are returnable at WalMart and Sam's IF there is no evidence they have been connected; the clerk will study the connections to see if there is a sign they had lugs tightened on them - so find out IF the battery won't squeeze in the appointed space before doing anything else... I tried fitting one into Kohler DC generators that needs a off-size and they took it back NQA...
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:43 AM   #25
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Sting...

I read all the info about the IQ-4, and I now see that it mentions if you're plugged in for more that a week, it will go into an 'equalization charge' mode...

An equalization charge is actually a programed routine that elevates the voltage to the battery up to or above 15 volts, to try to reabsorb the sulfate that accumulates on the plates as a battery discharges...

Problem is, an equalization charge routine is fine for flooded cell batteries, but sealed AGM or GEL batteries can't survive such high elevated voltages - about 14.2 volts is as high a voltage these sealed batteries will tolerate...

As an elevated charging voltage (equalization) heats up the battery plates in a flooded cell battery, the fluid actually migrates around the plates, in effect protecting them from damage - if the higher charging voltage isn't subjected to the battery for an extended time, of course...

Sealed AGM and Gel batteries, with their 'thickened type' electrolyte held against the plates by their special separators, can't 'migrate' as in a flooded cell, and actually will 'boil' away from the plates if subjected to higher charging voltages - you should never try to 'equalize' these batteries...

You definitely need a 'sealed battery' compatible converter/charger to allow this type of battery to live a useful life...

I would give Steve a call at Bestconverter.com - tell him what model converter/charger you have, and he may be able to provide the info you need to allow your batteries to 'live' - He's an expert with this stuff...

Cory - as to your question about a battery recommendation...
First you need to see what Group Size battery will fit in your model AS - G24=10 inch long, G27=12 inch long, etc...

Then I would always advise using a Deep Cycle model in your AS - 'Starting' type batteries have much thinner plates inside, and different separators between the plates than Deep Cycle's - as you discharge/recharge the battery in an RV environment, the plates expand and contract repeatedly, and the plates in a 'starting' battery just won't hold up to this 'stress'...

Think about the two types for a minute - your TV's starting battery releases it's energy for only a few seconds to start the engine, not really discharging it to any great degree - then the alternator rapidly tops it off again as it (the alternator) provides the electrical needs for the TV...

The AS's Deep Cycle 'house' batteries are designed to provide a gradual discharge over many hours/days during those times when you're not hooked up to shore power - then the converter/charger runs for several hours to full charge these batteries when AC power is available...the thicker plates and special separators hold things together inside the battery during this process that's repeated many times during their active life...

Don't put a cheap 'starting' battery in your AS - you're just wasting your money if you do...IMHO...

Once you determine what size battery will fit in your AS, it's then a matter of how much you wish to spend...I would recommend the flooded cell type Deep Cycle batteries for the most 'bang' for the buck!

Ray
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:01 PM   #26
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Thanks, Ray. I'll call Tuesday, as I'm sure they're closed for MLK Day. The place that did the refurbish/resto riveted a patch over the vent hole and tossed the original battery box, so if I go back to a regular deep cell wet battery, I'll have to get creative.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:54 PM   #27
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I've enjoyed reading this thread but I think a couple things need to be further explained.
I agree the Optimas are a poor choice for deep cycle applications because of there low capacity. I just rule them out but don't own them so those that do can debate that.
As for charging AGMs, I'm not at all onboard with what I've read here.
AGMs can be safely charged up to 14.8 volts and there is an overwhelming surge on this recommendation in the marine industry that rely on them.
Many of the battery manufactures are now recommending 14.8 as a bulk charge, Trojan and Concorde included.
The Iota was probably not responsible for overcharging and causing gassing in the case above unless it was defective. They are a great charger for AGM.
The "equalization charge" mentioned is not accurate. Its a simple 15 minutes of 14.4 volts that will not damage ANY battery and its not an equaliation charge like the Xantrex and other high quality charger do. Its a brief and quick attempt to mix the electrolyte to prevent stratification, that's all. Same with the Progressive Dynamics.
AGM batterys SHOULD be equalized when they show evidence of capacity loss, but not just for the sake of doing it. Think about it, there is nothing to lose when they have lost the ability to hold a charge. It works. The cause is usually abuse or 7-10 years of heavy use.
We have hundreds of customers that have equalized AGMs with success.
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:45 PM   #28
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Nowhere in the factory paperwork I received with the Lifeline AGM grp27 batteries did it say that they required a three stage charger.

From the Manual:
"Equalizing= with constant voltage charger, charge @ 15.5v for 8hrs.....
bulk charge=14.2--14.4v
advised for ALL chargers 1,2 and 3 stage, DO NOT OVERCHARGE.

The only time they are on a float charge is after removal for Winter storage

Last Spring when I installed them I also installed a Zantrez 60a covnerter/charger, one of the exalted three stage units, it lasted two weeks. Went back to the factory unit, it worked very well for the remainder of the year. I believe that if you monitor properly you can adequately maintain any style battery.There is no need to leave them unattended on a 24-7 charge when on shore power or an extended genset run, they hold a charge very well and re-charge quickly.
I check the 12v about once a week when not using, and charge when needed.
If I know they will not be used for an extended period, the neg terminals come off slid into a piece of heater hose.
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