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Old 08-24-2014, 10:31 PM   #261
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If you have been leaving your trailer connected to shore power wit the Parallax converter on, you probably have damaged the charge retention capacity of the Lifelines.

All lead acid batteries require automatic 3 stage charging to be properly and completely charged, Nd once full, to be maintained in float stage.

You single voltage converter runs at a constant 13.6 VDC. This voltage is not sufficient to fully charge a Lifeline AGM which wants to see 14.2-14.4VDC for a full charge and then 13.2-13.4 VDC for a float charge to maintain them once full.

Your P/lax has either under or over charged your Lifelines, depending on the state of the battery. This condition results in sulfation of the plates, which decreases the charge retention of the batteries and severely shortens their useful life.

I would immediately JUNK your present battery burner for a Progessive Dynamics PD 4655 which has automatic 3 stage charging. You would also benefit from new batteries.


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Old 08-24-2014, 11:13 PM   #262
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Decreased 2 battery system performance

I have a 2012 28ft FC with factory installed solar. At the 27 month point I experienced the same thing as Ray Eklands previous post. My batteries where becoming difficult to charge beyond 70%. I took the Lifeline AGM batteries out and had them load tested. They tested fine. When I was taking batteries out I noticed one of the post clamp bolts was loose. Since reinstalling the batteries I have not had the chance to test the system to see if the loose bolt might have been the cause although I am doubtful. Since the symptom is present with both solar and generator so I am beginning to think about the converter output. The installed Parallax does not have a good reputation! The saga and the investigation continue.
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:54 PM   #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
If you have been leaving your trailer connected to shore power wit the Parallax converter on, you probably have damaged the charge retention capacity of the Lifelines.

All lead acid batteries require automatic 3 stage charging to be properly and completely charged, Nd once full, to be maintained in float stage.

You single voltage converter runs at a constant 13.6 VDC. This voltage is not sufficient to fully charge a Lifeline AGM which wants to see 14.2-14.4VDC for a full charge and then 13.2-13.4 VDC for a float charge to maintain them once full.

Your P/lax has either under or over charged your Lifelines, depending on the state of the battery. This condition results in sulfation of the plates, which decreases the charge retention of the batteries and severely shortens their useful life.

I would immediately JUNK your present battery burner for a Progessive Dynamics PD 4655 which has automatic 3 stage charging. You would also benefit from new batteries.


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CanyonCrazy, I agree with Lew. The problem is probably not with your factory installed solar power charging system. I became aware of the need to replace our two AGM Lifeline batteries when they became 5.5 years old and began having difficulty holding onto a charge. I also agree with Lew that you need to ditch that Parallax converter and get at least a 3-stage converter to best serve your AGM batteries. More notes on how I changed my converter and AGM batteries are seen here.

BTW, if you have not changed your tires by now, I would suggest changing them.

From my experience, I plan on changing tires and AGM batteries every 5 years until I retire from RVing!
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:36 AM   #264
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Amen to the above!
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:13 AM   #265
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AGM Charging

I understand the point and physics of sulfating by over charging but in my case I took the batteries out and took them to the distributor (interstate in this case) and they were able to get them to full charge where I was not. Neither my generator nor solar system would charge them over 70%.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:31 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by rgwatkin View Post
I understand the point and physics of sulfating by over charging but in my case I took the batteries out and took them to the distributor (interstate in this case) and they were able to get them to full charge where I was not. Neither my generator nor solar system would charge them over 70%.
Just because the batteries showed 'full charge' which is a rather ambiguous term without actual voltage readings, it does not speak to the overall condition of the batteries. I have had many folks with batteries at 'full charge' when connected to a charging system, only to have significant and rapid voltage drop in the battery (indicating lack of charge retention) soon after the disconnect.

Your batteries will never receive a 'full charge' from a Parallax converter with it's 13.6VDC output as Lifelines need 14.2-14.4VDC. I can't address the capabilities of your solar charger, but if your batteries have sulfated, it is highly unlikely that the solar charge controller and a 50-100 watt solar panel will have the amperage capacity to fully charge the battery.
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:39 AM   #267
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AGM Battery Charging

My Lifeline AGM batteries show full charge on the controller when the voltage is in the range of 12.4 to 12.6V as verified by a digital dvm. Once the batteries were charged at the battery shop they were left for 24 hours to ensure stability. Results showed no change over a 24 hour period.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:14 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by rgwatkin View Post
My Lifeline AGM batteries show full charge on the controller when the voltage is in the range of 12.4 to 12.6V as verified by a digital dvm. Once the batteries were charged at the battery shop they were left for 24 hours to ensure stability. Results showed no change over a 24 hour period.
If you read the technical manual from Lifeline: http://www.amsolar.com/shop/images/Lifelinemanual.pdf you will see that 12.4-12.6 is NOT A FULL CHARGE! 12.8VDC-13.2VDC is considered to be a 'full' charge. On Page 28, there is a chart detailing state of charge (SOC) at certain open cell voltages (OCV) and 12.5VDC is listed to be 75% SOC, NOT 100 % SOC, which is listed at 12.8VDC or higher.

Perhaps you have issues with your controller?
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Old 08-25-2014, 12:13 PM   #269
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Really good information. Interesting how they define a full charge "as when the charging current drops to <0.5% of rated full battery capacity, ie perhaps 100Ah. I suspect the controller does not look at this but only voltage.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:03 PM   #270
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Better quality solar charge controllers are 'smart' in this area. They adjust the charging amperage as the batteries fill and taper it down accordingly.

This is all accessible from a Blue Sky iPN remote with the battery monitor feature.


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Old 08-25-2014, 03:44 PM   #271
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Sorry for the temporary hijacking, I have a question:

I'm thinking the standard batteries that came with my trailer are not taking or holding a full charge and should be replaced under the AS warranty.

I've replaced the 7355 battery boiler with a PLax 4655, and have a Zamp 150 watt solar panel with a temp sensor. The best I can get out of my battery after fully charging the unit at home and driving to the campsite for a couple of hours in plenty of direct sunlight is 12.3-12.4 volts, as measured by the Zamp controller with the trailer in the shade. By evening it's down to 12.2-12.3 and in the morning it's 12.1. Nothing on but the fridge and the hot water heater for the most part.

I'll get out my own volt meter to be sure, but I strongly suspect this indicates that in the several months my unit sat on the lot waiting for me to find and buy it, the batteries were treated less gently than they deserved (e.g. they were allowed to sit in a discharged state for an extended period of time). I don't think I need any fancy capacity test...I probably just need new batteries.

I know I can just replace those std batteries with another pair, toss in a pair of AGMs (maybe AS will let me pay the difference), or re-jigger the battery box so it will hold a couple of 6volt golf cart batteries. Given our storage compartment is in front and opens down onto the battery box, I'm thinking it's probably not realistic to raise that box a couple of inches for the 6V batteries.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:41 PM   #272
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LIftline AGM Battery

More data....as I was having some controversy with the Lifeline dealership..basically Interstate, I called Lifeline directly today. Lifeline is manufactured by Concorde Battery Corp. located in West Covina, Ca. I talked to a very helpful tech/engineer. He basically told me that the magic number for a lifeline battery being fully charged is 12.85v. Inasmuch as my batteries are 12.7 (75%) and 12.2 (50%) charged that the batteries are severely sulfated. He recommended "equalizing" them by charging them at 15v+ for 24 hours to see if the sulfate could be burned off. So..that is my next plan of action albeit it is going to take me some time to accomplish given the logistics of my trailer and the folks that can do it. I talked to him further about precautions of sulfating, and he said far and away the most important thing is keeping them charged while in storage. Interestingly...he was not too concerned about the charging regime, ie single stage vs. 3/4 stage.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:39 PM   #273
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Be very careful when applying what we call a 'conditioning' charge to Lifeline batteries. If you push them to their out-gas threshold, the one way safety valve in the batteries will open and cause an irreplaceable loss of electrolyte, effectively ruining the batteries.

I would only have a shop that has specific experience in this area perform the conditioning.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:42 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by Silvery Moon View Post
Sorry for the temporary hijacking, I have a question:

I'm thinking the standard batteries that came with my trailer are not taking or holding a full charge and should be replaced under the AS warranty.

I've replaced the 7355 battery boiler with a PLax 4655, and have a Zamp 150 watt solar panel with a temp sensor. The best I can get out of my battery after fully charging the unit at home and driving to the campsite for a couple of hours in plenty of direct sunlight is 12.3-12.4 volts, as measured by the Zamp controller with the trailer in the shade. By evening it's down to 12.2-12.3 and in the morning it's 12.1. Nothing on but the fridge and the hot water heater for the most part.

I'll get out my own volt meter to be sure, but I strongly suspect this indicates that in the several months my unit sat on the lot waiting for me to find and buy it, the batteries were treated less gently than they deserved (e.g. they were allowed to sit in a discharged state for an extended period of time). I don't think I need any fancy capacity test...I probably just need new batteries.

I know I can just replace those std batteries with another pair, toss in a pair of AGMs (maybe AS will let me pay the difference), or re-jigger the battery box so it will hold a couple of 6volt golf cart batteries. Given our storage compartment is in front and opens down onto the battery box, I'm thinking it's probably not realistic to raise that box a couple of inches for the 6V batteries.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
Some folks have a new battery box fabricated with a lower floor to allow the use of golf cart batteries. others simply place the new AGM batteries inside a storage compartment or under a bed. I have done many like this with great results. It also moves some of the battery weight back toward the axles, neutralizing the weight increase from using heavier batteries.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:28 PM   #275
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Thanks for the idea. I'd love to drop a couple of AGM batteries under the bed to move the weight a little closer to the axles.

Meanwhile, I of course had a typo in my last post. The battery boiler was a PLax 7355 and the converter I replaced it with is a Progressive Dynamics 4655. Love that 4655 in comparison.

So, would you agree that what I'm seeing indicates my current batteries were probably damaged beyond repair before I got the trailer?
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:54 PM   #276
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Well my wife ran the house vacuum in the EB with the inverter and batteries and with no shore power, now the electric outlets for the inverter are now not working. The lights and radio still function.
Did she blow a fuse?
We have factory solar and she thought it would be okay.
Has this happen to anyone else with factory solar?
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:19 PM   #277
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Well my wife ran the house vacuum in the EB with the inverter and batteries and with no shore power, now the electric outlets for the inverter are now not working. The lights and radio still function.
Did she blow a fuse?
We have factory solar and she thought it would be okay.
Has this happen to anyone else with factory solar?
You should find the inverter fuse on the DC wiring block, which, IIRC, is located under the bed in the front curb side corner. At least it is there on the FC27FB. You will be looking for a black plastic cover that pops right off revealing a barrel shaped class 'T' fuse that is 110 amps in value. Take a multimeter and check for 12VDC on both sides of the fuse with the positive probe and the negative to the ground bus.

Continuity is not a reliable test here, as the fuse may have blown but some still show continuity.

Also check the 120VAC output circuit breaker on the cable end of the inverter. An over draw situation may have popped that one too.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:48 PM   #278
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Thanks Lewster, I was going to start with the fuse box, still in the learning stage. Appreciate your input.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:43 AM   #279
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With respect to the "condintioning" charge recommended by the factory engineers for de-sulfating. It is recommended to use 15.6V at no more then 5% of rated capacity current and....to limit the temperature of the battery to no more then 130deg.F. If the temp is exceeded let cool and restart the process.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:03 PM   #280
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Thanks to all for your replies. Still not sure what is going on, but here are some more observations: On Sunday I ran 2 fantastic fans and the ceiling lights for 3-4 hours with shore power unplugged. Battery capacity dropped to 75%. Solar charge amps showed 0 in strong daylight. Later in the day I switch the battery disconnect to "store". Fast forward to today. Batteries read 100% on solar charger readout. Battery voltage reads 13.2 V (verified by digital VM), and solar amp hours reads 11.6. Sometime over the last couple of days, the solar charge controller sent charge to the batteries. Apparently the controller still works, somewhat. But why would the circuit not charge when capacity was low the other day? Oh well, we will use the trailer this coming weekend, and if there is a battery capacity problem, then it will rear its ugly head over the long weekend.

If I do have a battery problem, then:

My 2 Lifeline AGM batteries have a rated capacity of 80 amps hours ea. or 160 total (when new). if I have to replace them, I could place 2 lifeline 6 volt batteries (in series) into the same battery box with only an easy modification to the top of the battery box to make it fit. That would give me 220 amp hours capacity for only a little more money and minor mods to the box. Has anyone gone from 2-12v batteries in parallel to 2-6v in series? I have a feeling this must have been discussed before - I'll start searching.
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