Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-08-2010, 10:37 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
stephenh2's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Tyler , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 108
spend big now on AGM or wait?

So, I priced the "blue top" battery today at Sam's Club. It was $155 and the lead acid on the shelf was about $70. I need to replace my original Univolt but am not ready to tackle it yet.

1. Do I wait until I replace the Univolt before buying the high dollar battery and bridge over with a lead acid?

2. Is the blue top a decent value for the money?

thanks,

Stephen
__________________

__________________
Home again in Tyler, Texas

Please visit any time!
stephenh2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2010, 10:54 PM   #2
4 Rivet Member
 
SafariSS's Avatar
 
2005 30' Safari
Houston Texas , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 475
my blue tops..

I am not sure what others have experienced with the Optima blue tops, but my experience has been not as good as I had hoped. I have always had over the top good luck with the red tops in my cars, even had one go 7 years in my old land cruiser.

My original lead acid group 24s went down in charge quality after they approached 2 years old on my Safari 30 from new. I bought two new blue tops and installed them in 8/08. I sit here now today as I type this in a National Forest campground in colorado and have had my two 115w solar panels charging all day in direct sun, at times I had nearly 20a of charge available (obviously it was only charging around .2 amps once fully charged). At dusk my meter said 12.6, an hour before it said 13.3v. By morning with no furnace use, and only one light on for an hour to read by I will be down to 12.1 or 12.2.

I have maintained these batteries, removed them from the unit when not being used etc. I think after this summer I will go to the large battery that Rich Luhr is using, or maybe even two of those as I camp off the grid mostly and want to maximize my solar panels usability. Not sure if the blue tops are really the best value. I think maybe some group 27s and a good maintenance program would serve you better if you did not want to spend 400 bucks on a battery.

One guys opinion.....
__________________

__________________
SafariSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2010, 10:56 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
vswingfield's Avatar
 
1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,772
Images: 32
I replaced the Univolt on my Excella. The battery upgrades are still in the future. I certainly would not submit an expensive battery to the boat anchor otherwise known as Univolt.

I know they were state of the art at the time, but converters are one area where there has been a lot of progress.

When I do upgrade the batteries, I will go with new lead-acid deep cycle ones the same size. They are good for my purposes and much more affordable.
__________________
Vaughan
vswingfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 12:50 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Mexray's Avatar
 
1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,583
Being in the battery sales biz for many years, I would NOT recommend the Optima Blue Top DC battery for your AS....

Reading the label carefully, you'll find the BT only has a 55 Amp hr rating! That flooded cell DC battery you looked at probably had close to an 80 Amp Hr rating - that's for a group-24, 10 inch size - the group-27, 12 inch size has about an 105 Amp Hr rating...

The greater the Amp Hr rating, the longer you can run your 12 volt stuff - kind of an electron 'fuel tank' - greater capacity keeps running longer before needing to be 'refilled/recharged'...

If you get around to deciding on an AGM (MK, Lifeline, etc), completely sealed battery 'investment', check out the regular shaped, rectangular types, as they have much greater capacities than those circular celled Optimas...if in doubt, look at the bottom of an Optima and you'll see all the 'void' areas between the circular cells - there's no battery plates in those voids, hence the lower Amp Hr ratings - a rectangular battery has much more plate area spread across the entire battery case, without any 'voids'...

Hope that helps...Ray
__________________
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
Mexray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 01:50 AM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Hephzibah , Georgia
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 43
If you have an O'Reilly auto parts nearby, go there and check out their Super Start AGM yellow top battery. Its the same as a Deka intimidator battery.
__________________
nti06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 03:38 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
The first thing to spend money on is your converter. Upgrade that to one that has an intelligent multiple stage charger and also has a maintenance mode that uses a desulfation technique.

While AGM's are nice batteries, they really aren't cost effective in RV use. They tend to cost twice as much but can only be expected to live maybe 50% longer than a wet cell. They still need a proper, vented, battery compartment. They may need some special attention to charging and float voltages. And they are still lead acid batteries that will suffer greatly if not properly used and maintained.
__________________
bryanl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 04:00 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
nick6930's Avatar
 
1979 Argosy 27
1969 21' Globetrotter
1953 25' Cruiser
Front Royal , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 402
Blog Entries: 9
Spend the money on a new converter. The intelli-Power with charge wizard was sooo easy to install, less than 15 minutes and done. the 2 two wires from the univolt and plug in, screw done in place and done. Then when finances allow go buy a lifeline AMG, you can drain them dead and charge back again. I have gone 5 days boondocking and no issues I dont even know how long I can go beyond that.
nick6930 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 04:56 PM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
stephenh2's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Tyler , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick6930 View Post
Spend the money on a new converter. The intelli-Power with charge wizard was sooo easy to install, less than 15 minutes and done. the 2 two wires from the univolt and plug in, screw done in place and done.
So do I have to remove the fuse panel from the Univolt, or did you just leave the whole thing in place and move the wires? I haven't even begun to look into how to replace it. I am sure I can do it, I just haven't learned how, yet. Maybe there is a thread I can find that gives the details.


Thanks everyone for the input. I think for now I will take the less expensive battery. The battery in there now is completely dead or I would just go ahead and put in the new controller. I need a battery just to check out all of the systems and get me up and running. I sure don't want to risk an expensive battery on the Univolt.

Thanks,
Stephen
__________________
Home again in Tyler, Texas

Please visit any time!
stephenh2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 05:00 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
TouringDan's Avatar

 
1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,470
Stephen

I agree completely with Ray and Stephen. You can buy a new intellegent converter and two marine batteries for about the same price of two blue top batteries. It is a no brainer. contact www.bestconverters.com.

Dan
__________________
TouringDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 05:07 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
TouringDan's Avatar

 
1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,470
Stephen

Sorry, I meant that I completely agree with Ray and Nick. My univolt was completely separate from my 12 volt panel, so I just removed the old univolt and replaced it with the Intellegent converter. There is lots of help here on how to replace your specific univolt on your Airstream.

Dan
__________________
TouringDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 05:59 PM   #11
3 Rivet Member
 
stephenh2's Avatar
 
1974 31' Sovereign
Tyler , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 108
Okay, so I can get this:

PD9280R 80A Intelli-Power Electronic Power Converter - Shipped for $229.

Is 80 amps acceptible for my '74 Sovereign or do I need to buy something smaller? This is a lot less money that I thought I would have to spend.

Stephen
__________________
Home again in Tyler, Texas

Please visit any time!
stephenh2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 06:20 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
vswingfield's Avatar
 
1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,772
Images: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenh2 View Post
Okay, so I can get this:

PD9280R 80A Intelli-Power Electronic Power Converter - Shipped for $229.

Is 80 amps acceptible for my '74 Sovereign or do I need to buy something smaller? This is a lot less money that I thought I would have to spend.

Stephen
You could go with something smaller, like a 70 amp one. The original Univolt in my Excella was a 70 amp unit. I went with one of the 80 amp Inteli-Power converters and have been pleased, but you need to be aware that the AC power plug on the 9280s will not fit the plug in your Airstream without an adapter or changing the outlet.

There is some discussion of this and photos of the installation, including the adapter I used, at http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...0-a-57567.html. I got mine at BestConverter.com, and it included the Remote Pendant, also in the photos. If the price you quoted doesn't include the Remote Pendant, you probably will want to get one.

Also, Randy at BestConverter is 68 Overlander here on the forums. He's a great source of help and advice.
__________________
Vaughan
vswingfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 06:56 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
TouringDan's Avatar

 
1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,470
Stephen

I only have one battery, so I installed a 45 amp converter. 80 amps sounds about right for 2 batteries, but I am really not sure of how converters are sized. Other electrical types on this forum can help with the sizing.

Dan
__________________
TouringDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2010, 09:18 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
you will need to remove the fuse panel and mount it appropriately elsewhere. You may also have an indicator light lead or some such to ignore. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

As for size, you should only charge a pair of batteries at about 40 amps so a converter with more than that really isn't necessary unless you have a lot of DC loads that you need to use when in the first phase of battery charging.
__________________

__________________
bryanl is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How much will you spend this year? Andy R Community Polls 76 02-01-2009 09:22 AM
place to spend winter briandg On The Road... 5 08-05-2008 09:16 PM
What else do you spend your money on? Ultradog Off Topic Forum 42 04-16-2006 09:20 AM
Here's your chance to spend someone else's money. guy99 Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 27 03-04-2006 01:46 PM
How much did you spend restoring your AS? Boondocker Our Community 24 09-06-2005 06:26 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.