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Old 06-13-2018, 05:16 PM   #1
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Interstate Batteries: AGM or Standard Experiences

Costco is selling Interstate batteries. I did not see the Marine AGM sealed batteries, but they seem to cover about all automobile sizes.

I purchased two Interstate Batteries recently for our 2014 25 foot International recently. I had 'issues' with a pair of Interstate batteries and the company was fair and I begin with a new beginning.

We have a Panasonic sealed battery in our 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser since new and still doing well. Ten years.

Our 2006 Safari with a small solar panel had two Interstate AGM batteries and they were excellent when we sold it in 2014. Eight years.

Our 2014 International... Interstate batteries were not doing well after our purchase. It was NOT INTERSTATE's batteries, but the dealership let them go dead and would roll out this jumper cable dolly and 'connect to the trailer's batteries' like you would to jump start a vehicle when the battery is DEAD to demonstrate the trailer under 12 volt power.

I do believe with the large number of trailers, RV's and other campers with batteries sitting for a long time on a dealer's lot... many batteries are already dead on arrival... that is AFTER Arrival you are sold a trailer with dead batteries.

I am keeping tabs on these two Interstate Batteries that I purchased from Costco. They had a brown sticker with the date that the batteries were charged to sell, which was several months after the manufacturer's date stamp in the battery cases.

If this Thread has no interest, I will not go through the trouble to get the Case Dates, when they were charged before going to the shelves at Costco, and my purchase and installing them.

At the same time I am running a 100watt Solar Panel when Boondocking to maintain the batteries, in addition to the tow vehicle and last resort... a Honda generator.

All of this going on to maintain my new Interstates.

What is your experience with Interstate or any other brand (other than Lithiums, which would be outside my experience).

Is there an interest? What is your experience? Any tricks to keeping our batteries going on, and on and on...

I toss it out to you. If you do not care... then I do not, as well and will keep my own notes and recording how my new batteries are working out.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:46 PM   #2
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Alot of folks blame it on the batteries --- but, I'd blame the short battery life on the single stage Parallax OEM converter (except in 2018 models or newer) which fries batteries no matter what brand battery you're using.... "done that, been there -- until I upgraded my converter".
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:15 PM   #3
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Hi

Just to be clear - the single stage converters bit the dust 20 years ago. Everything has been multistage for a *long* while. Take a look at the spec sheets and read up on what the devices do.

Bob
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:21 PM   #4
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OK. I'll put it another way ___ The Paralax series converters WILL FRY batteries --- I don't care if they're single, double, triple, quadruple, stage converters! I HAVE read the specs and that company exaggerates..... I even heard them speak out of the sides of their mouths at a Alumaploosa forum -- and they would agree there are limitations. Based on many, many, readings here on the forums from the past 4 years,,,, alot of folks would agree with me. I'm speaking from experience...... Ask a battery expert or Best Converter --- they will agree!!!
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:33 PM   #5
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I am an electrically challenged individual. I could test can and paper capacitors in Wurlitzer 1940's jukeboxes... but had to visually see a resistor burned, to find it and replace. Never had someone teach me any fundamentals.

Uncle Bob and flcmranger are beyond my ability to follow their discussion... so I would ask a favor of both of you to describe what our Airstream from Jackson Center. have in their 12 volt electrical system. How in the spectrum of 'converters', where does it compare to other converters, than can easily be installed... by a E.C.I., Electrically Challenged Individual.

Uncle_Bob has covered this on another Thread recently. This is important as to maintaining an Interstate or other brand AGM or a standard acid 'car' battery in our trailers.

Once everyone understands the principles and purpose, we can all be on track to follow the conversations.

Considering, ourselves, we rarely are connected to electrical power... how does a converter help someone with one or more Solar Panels? Otherwise is the converter of any value to someone like myself in your previous discussion?

In my simple understanding... the converter is ONLY for 120volt converting it to 12 volt at 13.7volts for internal use of the trailer? Other than the 120 volt outlets.

My 100watt solar panel is connected directly to the batteries with a controller that will disconnect solar once the batteries are near full charge. How does a converter help someone that is a Solar Power Pauper at an Off the Grid Campsite? This 'controller' cannot weigh more than four ounces with a yellow, charging and a green, fully charged LEDs.

Do factory installed Solar Panels that run through the Airstream's wiring... does the controller have any purpose, other than disconnecting the Solar Panel(s) from charging the batteries directly, or is it done through the controller, indirectly?

Thank you for participating. I would thank you and Interstate would also appreciate saving a few of their batteries from bad information.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by glcmranger View Post
OK. I'll put it another way ___ The Paralax series converters WILL FRY batteries --- I don't care if they're single, double, triple, quadruple, stage converters! I HAVE read the specs and that company exaggerates..... I even heard them speak out of the sides of their mouths at a Alumaploosa forum -- and they would agree there are limitations. Based on many, many, readings here on the forums from the past 4 years,,,, alot of folks would agree with me. I'm speaking from experience...... Ask a battery expert or Best Converter --- they will agree!!!
Hi

What you actually have is a whole bunch of people talking in an echo chamber. They agree with each other because all they hear are the echos. This is a very common issue on internet forums. If you have read the spec sheets and watched what the converters do with a meter, then you know they are "multi stage" and not single stage devices.

For fun, go back in the posts a few years ( say to 2012) and look at what some of your experts were saying. Ultimately they simply gave up rather than fight the echo effect.

I'm certainly *not* claiming that the stock converters are the best thing ever invented. All I'm pointing out is that 99% of the time, they get blamed for something the most certainly did not do. Their biggest fault is that they are to conservative in how they charge so the battery is *less* likely to be damaged. It also is less likely to be at 100% capacity.

Bob
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:37 PM   #7
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My interstate experience.

Picked up our brand new AS June 2015, a 27 FC FB. Over the moon about finally getting a AS. Took it from the dealer, directly to a RV park, with full hookups, to test for the night. Everything went well and we put her into storage (use/store switch in store mode) for about two weeks until we went camping again. First night out this trip was dry camping, and when the sun went down we had no lights and the batteries were dead. Swell. Next day moved to full hookups and everything seemed ok. Had the batteries checked at Airstream dealer and they said they were fine. Did not figure out until much later that the group 24 batteries in the AS would run down to alarming low levels in under ten days in storage. I kept having battery probs, and the AS dealer kept saying the batteries were fine. I found this site and started reading about batteries and chargers, and replaced my parallax with a progressive designs converter charger. Exactly 13 months after I bought the trailer, and the batteries have a 12 month warranty, they died for good. The dealer said, essentially, "bummer dude". So I bought Trojan wetcells, which cost more than interstates, but have a three year warranty.

It may not be interstates fault. I have no idea, how long my AS sat on the lot, batteries discharging, and being damaged by not keeping a proper charge on them. But there are clearly better batteries than wetcells with a measly one year warranty. I expect the Trojans to last at least four years, (I take very good care of them now that I know) and the next set will either be 6 volt AGMs or lithiums if the price comes down. I'm pretty sure they won't be made by interstate. YMMV

Mike
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:32 AM   #8
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"Alot of folks blame it on the batteries --- but, I'd blame the short battery life on the single stage Parallax OEM converter..."

True, those converters aren't great, regardless of how many stages they have or claim to have. But I'm inclined to agree with Ray on this one: "with the large number of trailers, RV's and other campers with batteries sitting for a long time on a dealer's lot... many batteries are already dead on arrival." This makes sense to me, because at the dealerships I've visited, the vast majority of trailers on the lot were not plugged in, so the converter was not a factor. My trailer wasn't plugged in, and its Interstate batteries died soon after delivery.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:04 AM   #9
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Yes, I would be interested.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glcmranger View Post
Ask a battery expert or Best Converter --- they will agree!!!

Best Converter? The website that sells aftermarket converters? Shocking they would recommend you replace your OEM with one of theirs.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:22 AM   #11
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Best Converter? The website that sells aftermarket converters? Shocking they would recommend you replace your OEM with one of theirs.
How many times have you spoken to Randy?
FWIW... He also sells the suspect P-lax. Shocking. 🤪

Bob
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Just to be clear - the single stage converters bit the dust 20 years ago. Everything has been multistage for a *long* while. Take a look at the spec sheets and read up on what the devices do.

Bob
From Parallax site;
The Parallax units today are descendants of the original 3 current stage converter/charger dating back to the early 70’s, though they may not have used the “marketing” term that is used today by other manufactures, the companies that the Parallax technology evolved from were among the very first adopters of the technology for RV use. Since their inception, solid state converters manufactured by MagneTek and Parallax have used Bulk, Absorption and Float current modes or “stages” to charge RV batteries at a rate designed to maintain and promote battery life and safety.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
How many times have you spoken to Randy?
FWIW... He also sells the suspect P-lax. Shocking. ��

Bob
����

Just kidding! I thought I bought a pretty sweet trailer until I started reading these forums. Now I know better! Once I replace my OEM vinyl flooring, outdoor shower, water pump, fridge, furnace, A/C unit, wheel bearings, and LED lights with better aftermarket stuff, I'll do the converter.


Again, just kidding, these forums are great and I've learned a ton here and put it to use already. As far as the Paralex converters, is it a case of how all of them work of a case of they work ok as long as you don't get a lemon? The batteries in my trailer are a couple years old and charge 100% using the OEM converter.


Sorry for the thread derail. Looking forward to the battery life info Ray!
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
Yes, I would be interested.
I'm also interested in any battery info wrt COSTCO supply.

I miss the Sparky's who would take care of all the electrical side of underway equipment. They knew about battery care and feeding. Of course, our batteries were only 1.5v, although we had 167 of them.
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