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Old 04-23-2011, 07:44 PM   #1
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Ruined my battery, need a new one

In 2005 we put a new sealed Odyssey battery in the Caravel, along with a new Intellipower 9140 and Charge Wizard. Everything went fine until last year when the Intellipower went out. I couldn't afford to fix it, and the trailer wasn't being used anyway, so I didn't do anything about it until this year. I finally replaced the Intellipower, and had a fine trip where we were plugged in, but when I tried to use the 12v system in-route, I had no juice. So I tested the battery and showed it only had 3v. I took it to the place I bought it from and they tested it and said it had been overcharged and was ruined. What happened? Is that typical of Intellipowers failing, that they can overcharge the battery?

So now I need a new battery. I'm looking for something sealed because the battery compartment is inside the trailer, under the gaucho. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:11 PM   #2
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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I need to learn more about the pair of batteries we have on board, too. I'm away from the Otter just now, but I think the PO installed the same Intellipower system, with the little blinking Wizard light which tells you the state of charge? The battery was warm but jot hot when I opened the compartment this afternoon, having been plugged in to regular house power for two days via the standard power cord with an adapter on it.

When I unplugged there was no power to anything. Is there a switch I'm missing somewhere, other than the full battery cut off next to the converter behind the sofa?
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:16 PM   #4
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My antique trailer 12 volt has a fuse . . .
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:31 PM   #5
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even a sealed battery should be installed in a proper battery compartment with ventilation.

No battery should get hot during charging - that is a primary indication of excess charging current and potential electrolyte boil-off. This is particularly hard on sealed batteries as they have no way to replace what is lost. -- overheating may indicate that there is a shorted cell in the battery.

The Intellipower with ChargeWizard is set for wet cell lead acid batteries. Some AGM's (like the Odyssey is) may have charging thresholds sufficiently off to cause problems with wet cell values. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for proper charge and float voltages as well as caveats and conditions.

It is very easy to verify that the IP+CW is functioning properly by just checking the voltage. When you say the 12v is fine plugged in you indicate that the IP+CW is doing its thing properly. No energy capacity off-grid indicates a bad battery. I would take the vendor's "overcharge" conclusion with a grain of salt.

While AGM batteries have a low self discharge rate, which means they store well, if it is connected and there are even small loads in the RV, it will discharge over time. That is what the 3v measurement implies: that the battery got totally discharged while the IP was disconnected. When that happens and it is left that way, the battery is at high odds of sulfation or early age death.

Do keep in mind that a main benefit of the IP+CW is battery storage maintenance. It should always be connected to the battery when the rig is otherwise unused in order to assure that the battery is kept at a full charge and sulfation growth inhibited. If you do have to store the rig off grid for any length of time, make sure it is disconnected at the battery terminals so there is no way it will get drained by outside loads.
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Old 04-24-2011, 12:38 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:47 AM   #7
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As long is you have everything turned off that uses 12 volts. You dont really need to be plugged in all the time when stored. If you can charge for 24 hrs once ever 3o days is enough. Batteries will discharged themselves in that amount of time or will be low. If you pump in what ever RV anti freeze it will take there is no need to run the electic heater. The anti-freeze is only about 4 bucks a gallon and sometime cheaper on sale. Id never leave an electic heater unsupervised.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:47 AM   #8
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We have a battery cut-off switch in our Caravel. I leave it off when storing but it has to be on for the breakaway switch to be active. We use a small AGM and it is not vented to the outside. No problems over the past 2 years. We still have the old AC univolt transformer system and I disconnected the charging circuit from the car (no surprise dead car battery). So we charge occasionally with either a large solar cell in storage (from HF) or with a dedicated charger when camping. The charger is a computer UPS unit for the moment because it delivers the correct voltage for my AGM. Eventually I will replace the Univolt transformer with an Iota DLS-30 converter - charger because it has a voltage selection switch to match the lower charge voltage requirement for my battery. I still plan to never leave the battery on float charge when in storage. Works for me.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:53 AM   #9
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So now I need a new battery. I'm looking for something sealed because the battery compartment is inside the trailer, under the gaucho. Any suggestions?
Just buy another Odyssey battery.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:41 AM   #10
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Lots of good advice here. Can I hijack the thread and ask a different question? My PO moved the batteries out of their compartments and into the storage box on the tongue. Actually, he only moved one there so I have been running with one battery. It is not a sealed battery. Is there a favorite brand among folks. I need to get another to make sure I have two batteries hooked up.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:51 AM   #11
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Lots of good advice here. Can I hijack the thread and ask a different question? My PO moved the batteries out of their compartments and into the storage box on the tongue. Actually, he only moved one there so I have been running with one battery. It is not a sealed battery. Is there a favorite brand among folks. I need to get another to make sure I have two batteries hooked up.
A close friend trailer buff aluminaut tells me always replace both batteries at the same time, one good new battery working with one older not-so-good battery quickly equals two poor batteries, or so he says.

I have a service appointment at Jackson Center in a few days, and I need to ask the pros about my pair, for sure.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:59 AM   #12
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Yes...change both batteries at the same time. Same applies to your tow vehicle (diesel guys.)
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:35 AM   #13
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In 2005 we put a new sealed Odyssey battery in the Caravel, along with a new Intellipower 9140 and Charge Wizard. Everything went fine until last year when the Intellipower went out. I couldn't afford to fix it, and the trailer wasn't being used anyway, so I didn't do anything about it until this year. I finally replaced the Intellipower, and had a fine trip where we were plugged in, but when I tried to use the 12v system in-route, I had no juice. So I tested the battery and showed it only had 3v. I took it to the place I bought it from and they tested it and said it had been overcharged and was ruined. What happened? Is that typical of Intellipowers failing, that they can overcharge the battery?

So now I need a new battery. I'm looking for something sealed because the battery compartment is inside the trailer, under the gaucho. Any suggestions?
Hi Stef, I have had good luck with Optima blue top from Costco. The price is good there and the return policy is great at Costco. I had a red top purchased in Seattle go out on my TV in Bozeman and Costco replaced it without a problem.

http://www.optimabatteries.com/optim...etop/specs.php
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:01 AM   #14
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Yes...change both batteries at the same time. Same applies to your tow vehicle (diesel guys.)
Also applies to mo/hos; usually I'll replace all three when it's time, but like I've posted, those AC Delco batteries keep keepin' on!
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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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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.

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