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Old 06-14-2024, 07:19 AM   #1
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Are My AGM Batteries too Old Now?

Hello,

Planning a summer trip in our 2017 FC. It has the 2 original AGM batteries that came with the unit and are charging with solar. I noticed a few weeks ago that they were only charging to 90-95% but after washing the panels they show 100%. Does anyone think it's time to replace these if we are planning to run our refrigerator while we are driving (note: something we are doing for the first time)? This would be a new scenario for us since the batteries are now significantly aged beyond shelf life expectancy. I guess the concern is if we use it to run the refrigerator per above would this accelerate their degeneration and cause possible replacement while traveling or would they be ok given their current charging status?

Your insights/experience would be helpful to know.

Thanks in advance for your time and happy traveling.
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Old 06-14-2024, 07:42 AM   #2
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When you're describing the % charge of your batteries, are you referring to a shunt-based meter like the Victron or Trimetric? Or are you using a voltage-based one? Do you have a DC compressor fridge or a regular gas/electric one, or one of the less-common 3-way units?

You might want to test the batteries if you have time before your trip... Run the fridge and maybe a roof fan for a day and see what state the batteries are in and extrapolate from there. Yours are around the age at which I'd expect to replace AGMs that get used seasonally.
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Old 06-14-2024, 09:45 AM   #3
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If you have the original fridge, it would be an absorption fridge that can run on propane. Running it on propane would be no problem for your batteries. Running it from an inverter it would kill new AGM batteries in 6-8 hours, maybe a little longer depending on how much power you get from solar. If it has a 12 volt option you would get a couple more hours.

If the fridge was replaced with a 12 volt compressor fridge it shouldn't be a problem while driving.
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Old 06-14-2024, 11:04 AM   #4
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Under the best of circumstances these batteries are approaching the end of life. Why take a chance on them messing up your trip?

The way the cost of lithium has come down — and with all of the benefits including lower long term cost — this might be a good time to move to lithium.
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Old 06-14-2024, 11:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by picketoaks View Post
Hello,

Planning a summer trip in our 2017 FC. It has the 2 original AGM batteries that came with the unit and are charging with solar. I noticed a few weeks ago that they were only charging to 90-95% but after washing the panels they show 100%. Does anyone think it's time to replace these if we are planning to run our refrigerator while we are driving (note: something we are doing for the first time)? This would be a new scenario for us since the batteries are now significantly aged beyond shelf life expectancy. I guess the concern is if we use it to run the refrigerator per above would this accelerate their degeneration and cause possible replacement while traveling or would they be ok given their current charging status?

Your insights/experience would be helpful to know.

Thanks in advance for your time and happy traveling.
Running your refrigerator while driving will not draw down the batteries because you will be getting electricity from the tow vehicle to the batteries and also to the refrigerator. You simply need to put the button to “in use.” It will not run down the batteries. And an absorption refrigerator takes very little electricity. The electricity used by an absorption refrigerator while in tow is to ignite the LP. Practically nothing.

If you choose to get new AGMs figure about $800. However, do not get them simply because you will be running your refrigerator while towing. That would be a waste.

I would only get them if they demonstrate they are losing charge quicker than normal or you can’t charge them completely. Especially not necesssary if you are going to be on shore power for most of your trip.

A word of warning. I was going to leave for a trip, and for some reason my batteries (AGM) were dead. I immediately got new batteries since I didn’t have time to wait for them to be charged. When I got back I took the old batteries in to be tested. Perfectly fine. My guess is the trickle charger I had on them went belly up. $800 later I now have two sets of AGMs. A new set and an old set. I guess that’s Ok, because I have a back up.

Should you go lithium? Understand you will have to do more than get lithium batteries. The total cost will be in the thousands since other components will need to be taken out. Do you want to spend that much money?

If you do a lot of boondocking then lithium is clearly the way to go. If not you need to weigh the cost/benefit of that kind of expenditure.

I will agree with what was said above, that your battery life may be limited due to age. The main problem with dead batteries in my mind is raising and lowering the tongue. If you have $800 sitting around you may want to simply replace for peace of mind. But don’t do it because you will be running your LP refrigerator

One other benefit is that lithium is lighter and it will reduce your tongue weight.

One downside is that lithium doesn’t charge well in cold weather.
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Old 06-14-2024, 11:48 AM   #6
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We are equipped with a SunExplorer II 40 Amp Charge Controller and Display (shunt). The fridge is the Electric/LP. I’m thinking that maybe there is still some AGM life as the only real use of these original batteries was for operating the tongue jack. I can surely test them as suggested and see how much juice is used for a certain time and how they recover on solar, then decide.

Good consideration when testing “I would only get them if they demonstrate they are losing charge quicker than normal or you can’t charge them completely. Especially not necessary if you are going to be on shore power for most of your trip.”

Won’t be boondocking but if I keep w/ original AGMs and they go bad on the trip I guess my only main concern is turning on the lights before plugging into shore power, as well as, operating the tongue jack which can be done by keeping plugged into the truck or manually cranked.

Again thanks for the insight, feedback and advice.
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Old 06-14-2024, 03:19 PM   #7
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I haven't researched these for fit/compatibility, for the guy/gal that wants to stay with AGM, what do y'all think???

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/c...+battery&pos=0
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Old 06-14-2024, 04:38 PM   #8
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I haven't researched these for fit/compatibility, for the guy/gal that wants to stay with AGM, what do y'all think???

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/c...+battery&pos=0
They claim to be Group24 so they should fit the battery box.
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Old 06-14-2024, 05:46 PM   #9
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I am wary of the battery shown in the link. It says Start on it and has a high CCA rating. What you want is a deep draw battery as would be used for a trolling motor. More like this battery

SLI24MAGMDC
Duracell Ultra BCI Group 24M 12V 80AH 530CCA AGM Deep Cycle Marine & RV Battery

The Batteries plus website is a good place to peruse batteries for a while and I ended up buying mine there. I trust that their ratings more than I do a lot of other places.

At leas took at the difference ins starting batteries and deep discharge batteries.

And yes, I would change your batteries before the trip because of the age,
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Old 06-15-2024, 08:04 AM   #10
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I am wary of the battery shown in the link. It says Start on it and has a high CCA rating. What you want is a deep draw battery as would be used for a trolling motor. More like this battery

SLI24MAGMDC
Duracell Ultra BCI Group 24M 12V 80AH 530CCA AGM Deep Cycle Marine & RV Battery

The Batteries plus website is a good place to peruse batteries for a while and I ended up buying mine there. I trust that their ratings more than I do a lot of other places.

At leas took at the difference ins starting batteries and deep discharge batteries.

And yes, I would change your batteries before the trip because of the age,
Thanks Bill. I will eventually be buying 2 AGM's, and saw on here pricing of 800 bucks for a pair.....thinking there may be a wee bit less expensive option out there
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Old 06-15-2024, 11:28 AM   #11
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The AGM's I referenced above are $230 each at Batteries Plus.
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Old 06-16-2024, 06:37 AM   #12
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Thanks Bill. Per my original post and testing I will possibly replace my two Lifeline GPL-24T to recommended SLI24MAGMDC Duracell Ultra BCI Group 24M 12V 80AH 530CCA AGM Deep Cycle Marine & RV Battery. Decision to going with the latter is mainly immediate availability at Batteries Plus store.

My main concern to not stay with the original Lifeline batteries is fitment in the box but I am assuming group 24s will fit. Did you have any issues with any slight size differences especially height?

Also, I have solar panels but I don't think there is a requirement issue for this.

Regards
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Old 06-16-2024, 07:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picketoaks View Post
Thanks Bill. Per my original post and testing I will possibly replace my two Lifeline GPL-24T to recommended SLI24MAGMDC Duracell Ultra BCI Group 24M 12V 80AH 530CCA AGM Deep Cycle Marine & RV Battery. Decision to going with the latter is mainly immediate availability at Batteries Plus store.

My main concern to not stay with the original Lifeline batteries is fitment in the box but I am assuming group 24s will fit. Did you have any issues with any slight size differences especially height?

Also, I have solar panels but I don't think there is a requirement issue for this.

Regards
Group 24 is a standard form factor, so there should be no size-compatibility issues.

What you do have to watch out for is post diameter/placement/orientation. Some batteries are sold with different post options. Just make sure what you purchase is the same as what you have, otherwise you may have to extend or modify some of the cables.
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Old 06-16-2024, 08:52 AM   #14
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Have you had a “load” test done on your existing batteries. We just completed 3 week, 2700 mile trip with our 10 yr old Lifeline AGMs. Took them to our repair shop, and had the load test done. Tech said they were fine. Mid uou trailer iscalways plugged in, and we go from shore post to another. We also have LP/ electric Dometic frig in our 1962 Overlander, restored
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Old 06-16-2024, 09:33 AM   #15
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BikeCamper -

Thanks for the heads up on the post diameter/placement/orientation.

Coloradobus -

Thanks too. I didn't get a chance to load test yet and maybe needs to wait until the upcoming heat wave this coming week passes. I did notice that prior to yesterday our SunExplorer II 40 Amp Charge Controller and Display was at 100% and yesterday showed 70% when I opened the door and while running a fan it dropped to 60% and then settled to 65% and right before leaving 80%.

I took pictures of the other readouts:

Battery Voltage = 12,1
Solar Voltage = 20.8
Solar Charge Amps = .0
Solar Amp Hours =124
Charging Status = n _ c

Not sure yet how some of this relates.
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Old 06-16-2024, 11:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by BikeCamper View Post
Group 24 is a standard form factor, so there should be no size-compatibility issues.

What you do have to watch out for is post diameter/placement/orientation. Some batteries are sold with different post options. Just make sure what you purchase is the same as what you have, otherwise you may have to extend or modify some of the cables.
This is one of the reasons I bought two new Interstate AGMs when I realized my batteries were dead. That’s what I had in there, and didn’t want to deal with cable issues.

I had 2 wet cell Interstates when I bought the Camper, and when I changed to Interstate AGMs the post sizes were different and I had to get cable ends drilled out so they were bigger.

So whenever anyone gets different batteries than what you have had this can be an issue. Not a big one. But still one has to consider and be prepared for.
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Old 06-16-2024, 12:10 PM   #17
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Thanks. Don't want to go through mods if I can help it and your post prompted me to look at this: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/15...-24T-Rev-B.pdf and check out height of posts, etc.
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Old 06-16-2024, 12:22 PM   #18
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More readouts

Using this tread to somewhat document my battery readouts and it may be interesting to some and appreciate add'l observations as I ponder final decision to buy new batteries. btw I needed to go back to get new tongue weight after loading more gear and used the the e-trailer tongue weight scale a second time and am impressed w/ ease of use.

Today's Reading:

Battery % Remaining: 85%
Battery Voltage = 12.4
Solar Voltage = 20.0
Solar Charge Amps = chr
Solar Amp Hours =135
Charging Status = 'Red LED'

Yesterday's Reading:

Battery % Remaining: 70%
Battery Voltage = 12,1
Solar Voltage = 20.8
Solar Charge Amps = .0
Solar Amp Hours =124
Charging Status = n _ c

Thanks
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Old 06-16-2024, 12:38 PM   #19
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I have an older trailer. I was able to slide 100 amp, group 31 batteries into the battery boxes. I think group 24 batteries are all the same as to sizes and connections. I doubt you will have a problem.

My battery usage is considerably different from yours. Sure...the ones you have will probably operate the tongue jack for quite a while. And...you can replace batteries while on the road almost as easily as at home, depending maybe upon where you are at the time.
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Old 06-16-2024, 01:35 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
I am wary of the battery shown in the link. It says Start on it and has a high CCA rating. What you want is a deep draw battery as would be used for a trolling motor. More like this battery

SLI24MAGMDC
Duracell Ultra BCI Group 24M 12V 80AH 530CCA AGM Deep Cycle Marine & RV Battery

The Batteries plus website is a good place to peruse batteries for a while and I ended up buying mine there. I trust that their ratings more than I do a lot of other places.

At leas took at the difference ins starting batteries and deep discharge batteries.

And yes, I would change your batteries before the trip because of the age,
So, the linked battery recommendation from O'Reilly's concerns you with its "high" 525 CCA rating, and you recommend a more expensive battery with 530 CCA? The more expensive duracell has only 1 amp-hour more capacity, and most of the AGM and flooded group 24s labeled as "Marine" or "Deep Cycle" are compromises; "hybrid" batteries with the ability to start an outboard as well as run a trawling motor on a boat or your lights and fans in an RV. "SuperStart" is O'Reilly's brand name for batteries, like Duralast at AutoZone, rather than an indication that it's intended only to be a starter battery.

To be sure you're getting really low-rate high-amp-hour batteries you'd need to look more at a pair of 6v battieries to run in series, which are hard to find in Group24. However, poking around just now I found this 6V Group24 AGM that's not insanely priced but painful shipping so they net out to about 320 each delivered... pushing the price of some of the LiFePO4s like Sok.
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