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Old 08-05-2021, 03:29 PM   #1
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Is This a Good Battery Maintainer?

What I have: Two AGM batteries. 180W AS factory solar. Factory inverter. Factory converter.

How I use my camper: We very seldom boondock. We camp once maybe two weekends a month. We will take two - 10 day trips per year.

When not using the camper (currently): I have a covered storage place, it gets no solar. I have access to 120 volt power. I have been turning off my battery disconnect and plugging in a Deltran Battery Tender. I have been leaving this on 24/7. My goal is to maintain my batteries the best possible way and also get the best life out of them.

What I think I have learned: I think I'm doing most everything correct, except for the Battery Tender (I've been reading these are maybe not so good). I'm thinking the first thing I'm going to do is get one of these,: NOCO GENIUS5, 5-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger, 6V And 12V Battery Charger, Battery Maintainer, And Battery Desulfator With Temperature Compensation. What do you guys think? Start with this?

If ya'll see anything I should do differently, please let me know. Really, I want to know. Please school me.

Thanks
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:09 PM   #2
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Two thoughts...

The 5 amp output of this charger may not be enough to maintain your batteries, depending on how much parasitic load you have while the trailer is parked. Sometimes it's higher than you think.

The other thing is voltage. It seems to me that the number one way to kill batteries is to charge at the wrong voltage, usually too high. This is what's wrong with lots of OEM chargers - they continue with a higher voltage after the batteries are fully charged and essentially boil out the water.

I looked at the literature and cannot find where they specify the voltage output from this charger. Once the batteries are fully charged, you want something around or just above 13.2v to maintain them. The will need higher voltage to bring up the charge if they are discharged.

If it were me, I'd just swap out the OEM charger/converter for a good multi-stage unit like those from Progressive Dynamics and leave it plugged in 24/7. They will drop to a storage voltage of 13.2v and keep things where they should be.
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Two thoughts...

The 5 amp output of this charger may not be enough to maintain your batteries, depending on how much parasitic load you have while the trailer is parked. Sometimes it's higher than you think.
How much Parasitic load can I have? I always turn the disconnect off or store mode.


I keep seeing here on the forums the 13.2 voltage number. Every time I go to my camper I check the voltage on the monitor panel and it always reads 12.7 to 12.9. Whats up with that? Should it be 13.2? This is when it has been stored for a while with the Battery Tender on it.
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Old 08-05-2021, 05:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by nitzo View Post
How much Parasitic load can I have? I always turn the disconnect off or store mode.


I keep seeing here on the forums the 13.2 voltage number. Every time I go to my camper I check the voltage on the monitor panel and it always reads 12.7 to 12.9. Whats up with that? Should it be 13.2? This is when it has been stored for a while with the Battery Tender on it.
Hi

The use/store switch does *not* disconnect the batteries from the parasitic loads. If that's what you are using, there is enough drain to flatten the batteries in under a month.

There likely *is* a full disconnect switch on your trailer. If you use it, there is no need for anything else. As noted above, most of these battery "fixer upper" gizmos are not aimed at new batteries. They are designed to "beat up" a worn out battery to maybe get another few months of use out of it.

If you want to run something, attach your gizmo once a month and let it run for a few hours. Then pull it off and leave it on the shelf for another month. AGM's are quite happy when you do this.

Once a year / once every couple years you *might* want to do something fancy to the batteries. Best to check the manufacturer's web site before you do. Some AGM outfits like the idea, other are *very* explicit about not doing it.

Bob
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Old 08-05-2021, 05:24 PM   #5
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I've used a BatteryMinder set at 4 amps for years with no problem. My batteries have lasted seven years.
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Old 08-05-2021, 05:31 PM   #6
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You need to have a battery maintainer that is for AGM batteries. I use a CTEK.

Here is the selector chart link.

https://smartercharger.ca/pages/charger-selection-chart


I use the MXS 5.0

https://youtu.be/84jg8spF7oU
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
I've used a BatteryMinder set at 4 amps for years with no problem. My batteries have lasted seven years.
Important to note that it's not the amps that will kill a battery, it's the volts. Chargers don't really 'push' amps, the batteries will 'pull' them, and only if needed. A 4-amp charger or battery minder just means that the most the batteries can pull from it is 4 amps.

The fact that you've had success with your means that most likely the voltage being sent it within the proper specs and not high enough to do any damage.

If one has a good multi-stage charger/converter there should be no reason to use a separate minder/maintainer. My Progress Dynamics will charge at the proper level of 14.6v for a while, then drop to 13.6v to complete the process. Once the batteries are charged it goes to the storage mode of 13.2v and stays there. But, once a day for about 15 minutes it will jump back up to 14.6v to prevent the batteries from becoming sulfated.

If your batteries are only at 12.7 to 12.9 with the charger you have connected, it's not putting out enough volts to do the job properly. Might be time to start shopping for a new charger/converter and not just a minder.
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Old 08-05-2021, 07:13 PM   #8
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I use the NOCO 5 amp charger. There is a setting for different types of batteries. I’ve had no problem. I do connect 2; one for each battery. So far my batteries have lasted 3 years. I have Interstate wet cells.
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Old 08-05-2021, 07:20 PM   #9
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I used Deltran for years but decided to switch to something that would go into storage vs float. NOCO is not very forthcoming with information about their units and I believe they are marketed at people who don't care to know the specifics, I couldn't even find what the final voltage was on their chargers or if they go into any kind of zero current storage mode. They are more concerned with mass marketing and profit, for the money you don't get much since you are paying for all that advertising (kinda like Bose). I recently switched to Victron, which has a storage mode that monitors the battery and only applies current when needed. It also has a recondition mode and can detect what type of battery and will use the proper algorithm. Plus you can go in with Bluetooth and see history, current status and create any custom profile you want, for instance I created an equalizing profile for my lead acid bank and was able to dial in the exact numbers that the battery manufacturer recommends for equalizing my particular batteries. I went with a 5 amp for my chassis battery and a 15 amp for my coach, I keep them plugged in all the time when not in use and I keep the battery switch off, although I have left it on for days and the charger kept them topped off with ease. So you get a lot more with Victron and they are marketed at the more knowledgeable consumer.
I like the Victron IP65 series as they have detachable ends so you can switch from alligator to eyelets. I used 6' extensions so I just plug the chargers into the extension where I fixed them at the edge of the frame.
https://www.amazon.com/Victron-Blue-...a-772946189238

Note: the 5 amp version is priced very close to the 5 amp NOCO but you get so much more
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Old 08-06-2021, 09:37 AM   #10
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AGM (dry cell) batteries are different that the regular wet cell batteries, so they don't require the same maintenance. We've used a battery minder on wet cell and it does help keep them maintained, still. Go to the Bettery Tender website and using their recommendations (for vehicle, amps and battery chemistry) you'll find they only have one for AGM!
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Old 08-06-2021, 01:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ITSNO60 View Post
Note: the 5 amp version is priced very close to the 5 amp NOCO but you get so much more
I like this. Which should I go with, 5, 7,10, 15? I do want it where I just hit my use/STORE switch, plug in the Victron and let it do its thing until I come to use the camper again.

Thanks
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Old 08-06-2021, 04:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitzo View Post
My goal is to maintain my batteries the best possible way and also get the best life out of them.

What I think I have learned: I think I'm doing most everything correct, except for the Battery Tender (I've been reading these are maybe not so good). I'm thinking the first thing I'm going to do is get one of these,: NOCO GENIUS5, 5-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger, 6V And 12V Battery Charger, Battery Maintainer, And Battery Desulfator With Temperature Compensation. What do you guys think? Start with this?
I use the NOCO Genius 3500 on my lead acid batteries. It does a lot, seems well thought out, and best of all it's outlasted my Deltran Battery Tenders. My one small gripe with the NOCO is they show clamps and ring terminals. Well, the ring terminals are attached to screws on the clamps, so it's one or the other. I just bought the optional harness and leave it on the batteries (across both).
(Deltran, which is near the Daytona track, claims to have a lifetime warranty. But I was required to send it in, along with $10, and each unit needed to be sent separately, I gave up)
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Old 08-06-2021, 04:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitzo View Post
I like this. Which should I go with, 5, 7,10, 15? I do want it where I just hit my use/STORE switch, plug in the Victron and let it do its thing until I come to use the camper again.

Thanks
I chose the 5 amp for my chassis because the alternator keeps that one charged so just needs maintaining but for the coach I figured I'd get the 15 since there may be times when they get drawn down a lot and I may want to charge them faster, plus the 15 can be used for other things as well, it's the one I carry when travelling.

Or maybe you want to mount it permanently to the RV and don't need the versatility of the IP65 in which case you could get the IP67 series and save a few dollars. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TJK34K6...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
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Old 08-06-2021, 04:23 PM   #14
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You might consider installing a Victron SmartShunt on the negative terminal of your battery bank. It is bluetooth and will provide state-of-charge info but more importantly, you will be able to see how much parasitic draw you have in watts or amps. It also provides a way to determine actual real-time draw of appliances by looking at the data and turning on/off the appliance. All while looking at your smartphine.
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Old 08-06-2021, 05:00 PM   #15
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Alright everyone, thanks so much for the help. I went with the IP65-15A, arriving tomorrow.

Again, thanks.
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Old 08-09-2021, 04:11 PM   #16
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Ok guys, Heres what I did. I installed the IP65 yesterday afternoon, I set the mode to normal and it went to ABS on its own.

I came back today and found this, first photo is how I hooked it to my battery, which I think is right:

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This is how I found the IP65:

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I left my disconnect on "store":

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This is what my panel read, why am I only showing 12.6/7 volts. Shouldn't I have more?

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Please explain what is going on here and what I need to do, if anything to improve my voltage or just whatever ya'll see I should do.


Thanks
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Old 08-09-2021, 07:44 PM   #17
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How are your panels getting fed the power to read voltage? I'm wondering if there isn't something causing resistance in the feed to the panels, and that's why you're seeing lower voltage.

Do you have a multimeter you can use to verify the voltage at the batteries?
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Old 08-09-2021, 07:54 PM   #18
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12.7 is just about fully charged, 12.8 is the number for your AGMs I believe. To get the true voltage use a multi meter right at the battery with all loads turned off. The battery indicator on mine is always a bit lower than actual voltage measured at the battery terminals which is caused, in my case anyway, by the battery switch being turned on in order for the display to work. Once the battery switch is turned on there are some small loads that will bring down the voltage on the display. The only way to get a true voltage reading on a battery in use is to use a shunt based device.
Also since the Victron charger is in storage mode you will not see the voltages in the 13's like you saw with the Deltran because the Deltran never gets out of float and is constantly applying a small charge, which over time is not the best for your batteries. The Victron is not applying any charge, it is just standing by till it's needed.
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Old 08-09-2021, 08:00 PM   #19
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Also if you get the Victron Connect app and log into the charger you will be able to see the voltage. In storage mode it will show zero current but the battery voltage will be displayed. Once the Victron goes back into a charge mode you will see the voltage rise in relation to the charge current being applied.
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Old 08-10-2021, 02:26 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ITSNO60 View Post
12.7 is just about fully charged, 12.8 is the number for your AGMs I believe. To get the true voltage use a multi meter right at the battery with all loads turned off. The battery indicator on mine is always a bit lower than actual voltage measured at the battery terminals which is caused, in my case anyway, by the battery switch being turned on in order for the display to work. Once the battery switch is turned on there are some small loads that will bring down the voltage on the display. The only way to get a true voltage reading on a battery in use is to use a shunt based device.
Also since the Victron charger is in storage mode you will not see the voltages in the 13's like you saw with the Deltran because the Deltran never gets out of float and is constantly applying a small charge, which over time is not the best for your batteries. The Victron is not applying any charge, it is just standing by till it's needed.

Thank-you!!! This is just the explanation I was looking for. You made it easy for me to understand. I seems all is working as it should.

I will be checking it with my meter right at the batteries and also use the app.

Also, thanks to everyone else for the help.
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