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Old 01-31-2007, 02:39 PM   #1
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Let's Talk Batteries

Hi All,
We need to replace both batteries in our 2004, 28' Classic. Have done quite a bit of home work and think I know what the various manufactures are touting: AGM vers. Spiral cell vers. Wet cell vers. . . .

Looking at all of positives and negatives for each it seems the AGM is very well suited for the way we use our trailer (50/50 dry camping/full hook-ups). I've never seen one, other than on-line images, to know if they even fit in the small compartments in the front of the 28' Classic.

This is where I throw it out to all of you. Are any of you using AGM's? Any problems with getting them in the front compartments? What size/s are you using? How about spiral cell batteries? Manufactures you know and trust for each?

Looking forward to your discussions and hearing what you all have to say.
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:06 PM   #2
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I chose MK/Deka Gel batteries, 8G24s, which have advantages that work welll with solar power, however their AGM's would have been good also. The batteries fit right in the stock compartment on our 2005 25' CCD so they should fit your 28' Classic. Take a look at the comparison chart attached below (if I can attach a pdf) and see which characteristics fit your needs. Then buy a Deka or other premium battery. BTW, I see you are in CA. I bought my 8G24s through Solatron in Victorville, CA (877.647.6527). MK/Deka shipped the batteries in 2 days direct to me in Riverside from Santa Ana or Anaheim for about $20. Saved me the trip!
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Behan
This is where I throw it out to all of you. Are any of you using AGM's?
I use the Lifeline AGM and am very happy with it. The 24 - GPL-24T - fits my 16' Bambi, your mileage may vary.

I would also suggest searching for AGM and/or batteries - there are many threads that discuss the pros and cons of different batteries. You can also browse through Airstream Forums > Airstream Restoration, Repair & Parts Forums > Interior Restoration Forum > Electrical - Wiring, Batteries, Satellite, Generators, Phone & Solar.

enjoy,
leo
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:06 PM   #4
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How did you/do you determine what model/size? Many thanks for the suggestions to read through existing threads, I found them very interesting, but it seems that my dilemma about the right size to fit into a 28' Classic has not been broached yet.

The vendor told me a "Lifeline AGM group 27" is L 13.09", W 6.77", H 9.25". My trailer is in storage once again so I'll venture out for a visit to measure the door and compartment. For the time being, anyone out there know for fact what will fit and does a group 27 have enough power?
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:17 PM   #5
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I am hoping to build a Battery Box to fit the West Marine Group 27 AGM Batteries, I would like to use two of them. I like the West Marine Warranty and since I work in the Boating Trade, I got them a discounted price.
You should be made aware that there are different Charging Values for the Different Types of Batteries (Gel Cell, Flooded Lead Acid, and Absorbed Glass Mat). I will be using a Charles Charger to accomplish Charging.
Estimate your usage and double it to get an estimated Amp Hour Rating.
Hope this helps,
Steve
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Behan
How did you/do you determine what model/size?... does a group 27 have enough power?
The specs for Lifeline batteries are at Lifeline Marine Batteries - AGM Marine Battery & AGM RV Battery and other info on their batteries is available elsewhere on their website.

"Does a group 27 have enough power" is a much more difficult question because it depends on how you camp. If you never boondock then your battery size doesn't matter.

VERY generally speaking, one battery will manage a weekend boondock....but it really depends on you. We're only in our airstream in the morning and at night. I removed our TV and CD player, so we just need enough draw for our radio/ipod and lights for an hour or two each night. So if we don't need heat we can last much longer. If you aren't spending much time in your trailer then powering the furnace will be the limiting factor in how long you can boondock. One thing to keep in mind is that if you want air conditioning then you need an electric plug or a generator - they just pull too much power.

Some folk have reduced their draw by putting in low amp lights among other tricks while other folk have added solar power and other generators and yet other folk have just bulked up on the batteries. Details on all these tricks along with how to measure battery performance against draw (and recharge) can be found in the forums.

enjoy,
leo
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Old 02-01-2007, 07:59 PM   #7
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Build It

[quote=piratesteve]I am hoping to build a Battery Box to fit the West Marine Group 27 AGM Batteries, I would like to use two of them.

I agree. I went with 2 AGM Group 27 and could not find for the life of me, an off the shelf product to secure them with. So I wound up doing up 4 pieces around their perimeter screwed to the floor and a top rail secured to the perimeter pieces. I got the dual battery wires at McMaster-Carr (McMaster-Carr).
Ed
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Old 02-01-2007, 08:58 PM   #8
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Mike, your compartment will hold group 27. One member stuffed group 31 in his but had to struggle some to make it work. I don't think they were designed for larger than the 27s.
Ed,
That is a very nice and clean installation there. I see quite few people are installing AGMs inside the coach but I can't tell if they are ventilated compartments or not. How ever you define "vented" even AGMs are required to be.
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:29 PM   #9
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Ed,
You can get Battery Hold Downs at West Marine for less than $30.00 each, but your Hold down looks fine!
Even AGM Batteries are supposed to be Ventilated to the Outside of the Trailer, though.
Leo,
A Propane Light like is our 1958 Traveler would also keep the Battery usage Down. Our Heater is a 1958 Vintage Day/Night and does not have a Fan, cool Huh!
Best of Luck,
Steve
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:59 PM   #10
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[quote=piratesteve]Ed,
You can get Battery Hold Downs at West Marine for less than $30.00 each, but your Hold down looks fine!
Even AGM Batteries are supposed to be Ventilated to the Outside of the Trailer, though.

In essense, that's what I built, a dual hold down for the batteries. I looked and looked and found boxes and such, but those didn't fit a dual battery configuration nor did the hold downs. And the battery boxes "vented" either out under the handles or where the wires came through.

I would very much like to see an example of a properly or correctly vented dual AGM battery compartment/box.

Ed
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:07 PM   #11
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Ed,
There are actually pleanty...Any and all Airstreams that came with two battery compartments so long as the hard plastic has not cracked and they are still intact.
I doubt you will find one aftermarket but all stock OEM battery compartments or boxes are vented. You can't just choose a closet or other compartment unless you modify it and seal it to vent to the outside somehow. The boxes you see at part houses are designed for outside storage such as the tongue of a trailer or maybe the bilge area of a boat.
It will require some way to trap and direct the gasses to the outside of the living area.
What happens, or could happen with AGMs is in the case of an overcharge condition or thermal runaway. There is a pressure relief valve that will momentarily open to equalize. Nothing but gas coming out and it's poisonous. With Lifeline, it opens at 2 PSI. You might go 50 years with the valve never needing to open but it could happen tonight particularly with a non regulated Univolt.
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:17 AM   #12
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Ed,
I would look at Battery Compartments and Battery Boxes for Trailers. You seem handy enough to be able to built a sealed in area and then vent that sealed in area. When I was looking I found that the Battery Compartment actually had a Vented Opening (Door) from the Battery Compartment to the outside of the Trailer.
I originally wanted to install the Batteries under the Dinette in the Front of the Trailer or under the Bed over the Axle. After looking and looking and thinking and thinking, I will most likely move the Propane Tanks forward and then build a Battery Box just Behind the Propane Tanks and just in Front of the Trailer. This just seems to be the Safest Place for the Batteries.
I will be watching your progress though! I would much rather Install the Batteries Inside the Trailer and use that area for a Spare Tire. Does anyone out there know what size Tubing would properly Vent a single #27 AGM Battery? I would most likely install one on each side to keep the weight balanced
Steve
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piratesteve
. . . Does anyone out there know what size Tubing would properly Vent a single #27 AGM Battery? I would most likely install one on each side to keep the weight balanced
Steve
The vents (need two, one high and one low) need to be 1.5" tubing.

NEC Art 551.10(D) Battery Installations. Storage batteries subject to the provisions of this Code shall be securely attached to the vehicle and installed in an area vaportight to the interior and ventilated directly to the exterior of the vehicle. Where batteries are installed in a compartment, the compartment shall be ventilated with openings having a minimum area of 1100 mm^2 (1.7 in.^2) at both the top and the bottom. Where compartment doors are equipped for ventilation, the openings shall be within 50 mm (2 in.) of the top and bottom. Batteries shall not be installed in a compartment containing spark- or flame-producing equipment, except that they shall be permitted to be installed in the engine generator compartment if the only charging source is from the engine generator (ed. this seems to prohibit converters sharing the generator compartment with batteries)
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Old 02-02-2007, 11:27 AM   #14
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Great post and your right, the converter needs to be in a separate compartment. That is why marine inverters and converters are so expensive since they have to be ignition protected.
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