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Old 04-24-2011, 10:40 AM   #15
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Here's the deal...do a search on my name, and you'll see many posts about batteries - I've co-owned a battery supply shop for the past 20+ years, with lots of RV battery systems stopping by for a 'visit'...

A few highlights...

I wouldn't use an old original type Univolt system to maintain AGM/sealed type batteries - the elevated voltage of a Univolt when used for longer periods will 'cook' a sealed battery - overcharging seems to be No 1 killer of sealed batteries that I see in my shop...

Blue top Optima batteries are an OK choice for many deep cycle applications - but NOT in an AS, IMHO - why? They are only rated at 55 amp hours, way less than similar sized flooded cell or sealed type batteries, which usually run around 80 amp hours in the 10 inch long, group 24 size...why give away 40% of your deep cycle capacity with an Optima?

AGMs are a great choice when your batteries are installed inside your AS...much more costly, of course, but no acid issues...look at the companies that have been making AGMs for years, as they usually have the best track record - the Net can overload you with lots of great AGM supplier data....

We've used Lifeline, MK, Concorde, etc...the Odyssey brand mentioned makes a quality product, but it's up there in the 'cost' column! We've been using MK AGMs lately, but they are running about 2-1/2 times the cost of flooded cell deep cycle batteries - trouble is, they don't last 2-1/2 times as long in service life!

I only use flooded cell deep cycles (unless there's an installation requirement for AGMs) along with a good 3-stage converter/charger, to ensure quick recharging, and longer service life...

If you do convert to AGMs, which are compatible with some converter/chargers - it's a good idea to dig out the specs on your charger to make sure it will recharge the AGMs properly without overcharging - especially if you are plugged into AC power for long periods of time...

Happy Boon-docking...
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:56 AM   #16
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This trailer hasn't had a properly sealed and vented battery compartment for 42 years, I don't see myself constructing one now.

My trailer is always stored plugged in to 120v power, to keep the battery charged, and because in the winter I run a small space heater inside to keep the pipes from freezing.

So basically it sounds like you are saying the Intellipower died, the battery got drained, and that killed the battery. So I might have saved the battery if I had disconnected it.
A battery slowing looses charge over time. After about a month some damage has been done. It needs to be kept charged. Letting is sit probably killed it.

The intelipower was no longer under warrenty?

There are many good sealed batteries. It just epends on how much you want to spend. If it is mounted under the goucho and there is no box then heat will not be a problem.

Do you have solar?
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:00 AM   #17
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Stef,
I have been using the Intelipower 9245 with Lifeline AGM for over 4 years now and it has been a very good combination for me. Most batteries have a short life here in the desert with summer temperatures exceeding 115 degrees.

It is not an inexpensive solution...
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the info. A few more details -

No solar panels.

I do have a modern type furnace (like in the new Bambis) that runs on propane but requires 12v for the fan to blow, and it would be nice if whatever battery I get has enough capacity to let us use that heater for at least a few nights in a row when dry camping. That's probably my biggest concern with regards to 12v capacity. How do you tell from a battery's specs what it's capacity will be for running something like the furnace fan?
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
Thanks for all the info. A few more details -

No solar panels.

I do have a modern type furnace (like in the new Bambis) that runs on propane but requires 12v for the fan to blow, and it would be nice if whatever battery I get has enough capacity to let us use that heater for at least a few nights in a row when dry camping. That's probably my biggest concern with regards to 12v capacity. How do you tell from a battery's specs what it's capacity will be for running something like the furnace fan?
Look at the amp hour rating. The larger the number the better. A lot of deep cycle batteries have aH ratings above 100.
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:50 AM   #20
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Measure the compartment and see what size battery you can hold, Stef.

Car Batteries - Voyager
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:05 AM   #21
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no wonder so many folks have battery problems!

Forget the building code - I've been doing it my way for years.

Follow me - I'm an authority. Don't ask questions.

Swallow the marketing hype and don't try to find any objective definitions for the terms describing batteries. Empirical and relevant measure? bah - who needs such trash ...

re: "A lot of deep cycle batteries have aH ratings above 100" -- all lead acid batteries have an energy capacity of 45 watts per kg or a usable capacity of about 12 watts per pound.

re: "it would be nice if whatever battery I get has enough capacity to let us use that heater for at least a few nights in a row when dry camping." -- the furnace runs at maybe 100 watts or so. A typical RV battery weighs about 60# so it has maybe 800 watt hours of available energy. 800/100 means you have about 8 hours of furnace runtime on a typical RV battery. Lights, water pump, detectors and other stuff also need some electrical energy so they'll shorten the available furnace runtime some.

The fact is that you just can't carry enough battery in your RV to live like you'd do in an on-grid house. Typical household use is about 30 kWh/day and that'd require something like 2500 pounds of battery. (this is why a lot of the 'discussion' about increasing battery is rather like pickin' nits as even doubling a TT battery capacity won't make much of a dent).

Interesting human factors problem, it is.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:16 AM   #22
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Just wondering what battery most people use. We have a 23ft International with solar panel. Our current batteries (Lifeline) don't seem to be holding a charge. Suppose we need new ones....which is strange as they are only three years old.

Any thoughts on Optima vs Lifeline?

Thanks,
Marvin
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:35 AM   #23
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Just wondering what battery most people use. We have a 23ft International with solar panel. Our current batteries (Lifeline) don't seem to be holding a charge. Suppose we need new ones....which is strange as they are only three years old.

Any thoughts on Optima vs Lifeline?

Thanks,
Marvin
See post 15 above.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:53 AM   #24
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Just wondering what battery most people use. We have a 23ft International with solar panel. Our current batteries (Lifeline) don't seem to be holding a charge. Suppose we need new ones....which is strange as they are only three years old.

Any thoughts on Optima vs Lifeline?

Thanks,
Marvin
How old are your batteries? My lifelines lasted almost 5 years.
The price difference between the Optimas and the Lifelines was not that significant. I went with another set of Lifelines.
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:11 AM   #25
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A wet cell battery properly used and maintained should last about 4-7 years. An AGM might go for 7 or 8 (re NAWS FAQ)

If you are getting substantially shorter life than this, then the issue is with use and maintenance, not battery type, voltage, or brand.

Heat does a job on batteries so avoid the summer sun.

Running the battery down also shortens battery life. Avoid taking the batteries below 12.0v as measured after they have been resting with no significant charge or discharge for at least a half hour.

Leaving batteries sitting with a partial charge is not good, either. Recharge promptly with a modern 3 stage charger rated to provide proper current to the battery. (providing a vigorous charge is where most RV solar systems tend to be deficient)

When not in use, apply a maintenance charger to the battery which will maintain a top charge and implement a sulfation inhibiting technique.

As for which battery: get your batteries from a retailer who sells a lot to folks who use them like you do, offers a good warranty, and will stand behind what he sells.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:24 PM   #26
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Just to conclude this thread (because I hate looking this stuff later and not seeing a conclusion) I ended up calling everyone in the area to see what they had in a deep-cycle group 27 battery, and spent $140 on one at our local Tire Factory. It had the best specs I could find before heading up into the $200+ batteries. It's made by Decca and has a 2 1/2 year warrenty. One of my main reasons for buying there was because the Tire Factory is a local business who knows us well, so as soon as I asked about RV batteries they knew it was for my Airstream, and I like to support those guys.

I got the battery installed today and everything is looking fine. I think the main change I am going to make to the system is to install a cutoff-switch for when we're not using it to prevent battery drain, which is probably what killed the last one, along with whatever the old Intellipower did before it crapped out.

So - new Intellipower, new battery, and a cut-off switch for when we're not using it. I hope that's the last I have to think about it for a while.
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