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Old 04-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #1
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Replacement of stock batteries with AGM's

Well, the time has come to replace the orginal batteries in my AS. I have been waiting for this day as I want to go with the AGM's.

The Lifeline batteries are $500 for two but I can get get Optima batteries at Costco for much less and I like their exchange/return policy plus Costco's are everywhere.

BTW, I do have solar panels and charger.

Your feelings on this?
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:30 PM   #2
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We've had two Costco blue-top Optimas in our 2005, 19-foot Bambi since 2007 -- No problems so far. The OEM batteries only lasted 18-24 months.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:31 PM   #3
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I too replaced my batteries last week. I first went to Batteries Plus and asked them about the Optima. They said you don't get much for your bucks. I have had two Sears Die Hard batteries in this rig one for 6 years the other for 5. If you get much more than that in Arizona you are doing good. These batteries are being used 6 months of the year so they are getting plenty of use. I will stick with the Die Hard ($89 + tax)
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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Have you then decided on AGM batteries?
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:55 PM   #5
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ya gotta remember, though, that even though the optima's are half the money...they're also half the amp-hour capacity.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:35 PM   #6
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Chuck's got that right. Very important that you check the amp-hour capacity. That is the key element ESPECIALLY if you are using a solar charging system. You then need to match your battery capacity to your solar charging capacity in terms of amp hours so that you do not constantly drain down the batteries and shorten their life. The AGM's are the way to go, but there are a lot of different levels in terms of amp hour capacity.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:22 PM   #7
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Yes, though this is true, keep in mind for what you are going to spend on AGM batteries over the course of the ownership of your Airstream, compared to that of lesser batteries, you can pickup a very nice generator, and and LP generator at that which will top off any batteries very nicely.

If of course you plan on only owning your Airstream for 5 or 6 years, then yes, either way the investment of higher grade batteries or a generator is not worth it....but if you use the RV and don't want to spend $500 every 5 years (about), then spend about $200 on lesser capacity batteries, but pickup a generator and don't worry about how long the batteries will last while out boondocking.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:31 PM   #8
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Or, if you are like us and you are interested in reducing your nasty carbon footprint and the noise you create in camp, GO SOLAR!
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:35 PM   #9
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AGM's

I went for the Optima AGM batteries a year ago when my OEM wet cells fizzled. I am very happy so far.

I priced them at Sams, then went to Interstate Battery store and got a better deal since I was buying two of them.

Dwight
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:35 PM   #10
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I agree solar and wind are good things, but in reality if you are like me in the woods, there can be great sunlight above the treeline, and wind, but not as good on the ground. Getting and LP generator is not as bad as a gasser and if you get a inverter type they really are not all that bad in terms of sound. I will be the first to admit you go out and get a gasser that is 3000 watts and 6-8hp, you might as well not go camping, but my Yamaha 1000 is a really small, very efficient unit with eco-controls meaning it doesn't always run full bore does a great job and is quiet. I have had mine running for well over 20 hours and have yet to empty one 20lb tank.

I get 1000 watts out of it if needed, but if you boondock and have very ample sunlight, then yes, solar would be good and would do a fair job. 1000 watts good? I don't know, but solar is silent and zero emissions.
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:36 PM   #11
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Good points Silvertwinkie, and I appreciate your efforts to reduce your noise and footprint. Solar and wind are not always readily available or practical. However, if you balance your batteries, and reduce your needs, you can live remarkably well with little or no impact on the environment. I do happen to agree/think that if you might as well not go camping if you are going to pull into camp, fire up a huge generator, watch your TV and light up the microwave! Try going outside, firing up the campfire, listen to nature and taking a deep breath of unpolluted (i.e. no generators) air!
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:13 PM   #12
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In the spirit of having long lasting power supplies and eco-friendly devices, I am also trying to replace commonly used lights with non-incandescent type bulbs. All exterior are now LED. Since LED is still expensive and not as good as florescent for inside lights, I've been starting to replace the interior lights with florescent.

Part of the equation is having efficient draw for the needs you have.

I did some very basic research and found that the standard incandescent bulbs not only run hot, but just drink the 12v like it was candy.

I can run all of the trailer running lights with a 2a fuse off the batteries of the trailer.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:27 PM   #13
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More good points! Interior LED's which greatly influence your battery usage (as opposed to running lights which generally are running off your TV) are rapidly going up in output and efficiency, and coming down in cost. Here is a good source for interior high output, low cost LED's:

12 Volt LED Interior Lighting

While florescent light are more efficient, they still measure draw in amps, averaging about 10 amps per fixture. LED's measure draw in milliamps. Almost too little to measure! We are replacing all of our interior lighting with LED, and will draw less current total than one of our florescent or incandescent lights did previously.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:30 PM   #14
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PS- We may be going "off topic" a bit here, but I think it all relates, and I am passionate about the subject!
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