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Old 10-28-2020, 06:58 AM   #1
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Long Lived Interstate Flooded Batteries

The original Interstate Group 24 flooded cell batteries in my 2015 FC30 are testing “good” on all 12 cells with the specific gravity tester. They are over 5 years old with plenty (40,000 miles) of camping. Pretty much all of it at sites with electrical hookup. The batteries are mostly needed for the water pump when using the facilities while on the road, running the furnace and lights and maybe a fan (via inverter) if needed whilst preparing/eating lunch on the road (no Resturants during pandemic), running the tongue jack, and one or two nights per year without hookups where the furnace may be needed. (My experience is that a single night using the furnace in 30 ish degrees will pretty much drain these batteries, even when new).

When not using the AS, the batteries are disconnected and on a Battery Tender. Always.

Heading into winter travels for 2020-2021 and thinking I’ll just keep going with the old batteries since they test good.

Anyone have similar experience? Anyone have good service for 6 or more years on these type of batteries under similar conditions/use? I’ve been so happy with them I’m not thinking of upgrading to AGM or Group 27 when the time comes to replace them. Thoughts?
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:40 AM   #2
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Hey, if that's working for you and your lifestyle, there is no reason to change. I have always gotten 5 years out of my interstates, but they start to lose significant capacity after 5 years, so I change them.
I am going to AGMs next time, only because my "inside the wall" battery boxes are cracked and I want to eliminate them and have the batteries inside.
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:45 AM   #3
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I have the Interstate flooded cells and also have gone with Die Hard as well, using them similarly, with the exception of radio use and doing a good deal of boondocking as well as electric hookup camping.

If RVing in winter, I would get battery "blankets". They fit around the exterior of the batteries and were mostly designed to keep heat out from the engine bay, but my guess is they could easily keep heat in too and act as an insulator from the cold.

Deep cycles batteries hate cold, so in my climate, pulling them in the fall and putting them in the basement (not on direct concrete) after being plugged in when in the RV with a multistage converter, and then replacing them into the coach in the spring, I have gotten 6 to 7 years out of them and roughly 10 days use +/-. They will sit unconnected to anything for about 7 months after pulling them out, then I will put the battery tender on them for the last two months before reinstalling them into the RV.

The only year I did not get long life was after the first year when from this forum I found out that the single stage converters would cook the batteries out. Since replacing the single stage converter with a multistage, my battery life has been extended.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pontzdav View Post
The original Interstate Group 24 flooded cell batteries in my 2015 FC30 are testing “good” on all 12 cells with the specific gravity tester. They are over 5 years old with plenty (40,000 miles) of camping. Pretty much all of it at sites with electrical hookup. The batteries are mostly needed for the water pump when using the facilities while on the road, running the furnace and lights and maybe a fan (via inverter) if needed whilst preparing/eating lunch on the road (no Resturants during pandemic), running the tongue jack, and one or two nights per year without hookups where the furnace may be needed. (My experience is that a single night using the furnace in 30 ish degrees will pretty much drain these batteries, even when new).

When not using the AS, the batteries are disconnected and on a Battery Tender. Always.

Heading into winter travels for 2020-2021 and thinking I’ll just keep going with the old batteries since they test good.

Anyone have similar experience? Anyone have good service for 6 or more years on these type of batteries under similar conditions/use? I’ve been so happy with them I’m not thinking of upgrading to AGM or Group 27 when the time comes to replace them. Thoughts?

You are seeing what these batteries can do when you treat them well. They will probably continue to perform nicely...right up until the time they don't. You're likely get catastrophic failure from a dropped cell (lead electrode breaks off and falls to the bottom of the battery) long before you wear them out. Two things increase the likelihood of this: Extreme temperatures and rough roads. Since you're based in Michigan, the first one isn't a problem. As a Buckeye, I won't comment on the 2nd one.

Since I've moved to Houston, I have learned that I can expect car batteries to start dropping cells at about the 3-year mark. Every month of additional usage I get out of them I count as a bonus. The summertime heat is a battery-killer!
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Old 10-28-2020, 10:49 AM   #5
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My experience with flooded batteries is they work well if you don't used them... Since we boondock 95% of the time they just don't hold up. The time cycle from both AGM and 6V golf cart is 2-3 years simply because again even with almost 400w of solar they struggle (we live in British Columbia). We have finally gone to Lithium 2x100w.
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Old 10-28-2020, 10:54 AM   #6
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Can.I borrow your good fortune? We’ve owned a 2020 Flying Cloud for about 4 months. It is at Airstream for converter check and probable replacement. We suspect the Interstate batteries have been bad since purchase (lot rot?) and overtasked the converter. Why mess with luck. Keep riding the wave and keep the batteries.
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rofsteinmd View Post
Can.I borrow your good fortune? We’ve owned a 2020 Flying Cloud for about 4 months. It is at Airstream for converter check and probable replacemWe suspect the Interstate batteries have been bad since purchase (lot rot?) aent. nd overtasked the converter. Why mess with luck. Keep riding the wave and keep the batteries.
Your likely correct...many of us have had bad experience with "new" AS's and Interstate stock 12V batteries...the good news is Interstate stands behind their product, and will typically test/confirm bad cell and offer replacment free, or credit toward upgrade AGM's...my experience twice and a friends also. But, on our last replacement 12V set on our 2017 28' I immediately put them on Craigslist same day and purchased 2 T105 Trojans 6V batteries...going on 3 years now with no issues. I do have a manual disconnect switch which I use during storage, also a 4 stage converter.
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:31 AM   #8
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Three years with twin interstate batteries. Two good years of usage, this year only short trips. Two 90 watt solar panels on roof have kept the batteries in great condition. Comments about furnace usage is correct. 2-3 times we have come close to drained batteries was cloudy day followed by some furnace usage. Grandson excited to go outside for the bathroom and not use the pump.�� I am actually hoping batteries will die so I can replace with one lithium. Controller has lithium option, will need to replace the convertor. Do I need to disconnect the charging wire from the tow vehicle. It puts out over 14volts at times. Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:36 AM   #9
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Well, my wife and I have an agonizing over this question since we purchased our 2015 airstream a few weeks ago.

It has the original interstate batteries, which so far seem to be holding up. However, even though we’re new to this we decided to offset our investment in new batteries by going to a set of lithium‘s. Went with the life blue low temps which fit in the existing battery box.

Required some new chargers as well, a big chunk to bite off. But since this is all new thought it was worth the investment.
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Old 10-28-2020, 12:19 PM   #10
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Sounds like Flooded Lead Acid batteries fit your lifestyle. You keep them at 100% and do not put much demand on them. Sounds like they are well maintained. Since you do not boondock a lot and are hooked to shorepower most times, these batteries should last many more years.
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Old 10-28-2020, 12:47 PM   #11
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I have my original Interstate batteries going into winter #5 and they have held up very well. I like keeping it plugged in continuously, checking the fluid levels, and they seem to be in good condition. I expect they may have another year or two but when it's time for replacement I may go with the same Interstates again although I haven't ruled out AGMs.
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Old 10-28-2020, 01:19 PM   #12
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Not all batteries are created equal

Sometimes discussions about battery comparisons are like comparing apples, oranges and even turnips!

Battery manufacturers will built batteries according to the intended usage. A regular 12V car battery is designed to quickly supply enough power to start an engine, in cold weather. A deep cycle industrial battery can be designed for power storage or supplying a regular load for a long period of time (unlike a car battery) and be deep cycled (down to 20% of full charge) repeatedly (hundreds of times).

One if not the main factor which will affect battery life is the positive plate thickness; those are the plates which get eaten away over time with usage and end up as sludge at the bottom of the battery.

The thicker the plates the longer life the battery will have. A forklift battery by Surette-Rolls (the brand I chose for my battery bank for example) will have plates which are 7 times thicker than a regular 12V car battery (.265"). Car battery plates are thin (.040") and there are many of them because many thin plates will discharge power faster than fewer thicker plates, which is what you need to start an engine. But if you deep cycle a car battery you will eat your positive plates real quick and kill your battery.

There are other factors such as the composition of the plates and effect on the rate of gassing (hydrogen), etc.

This means that it's important to understand the manufacturer's specs and charging profile of your batteries. And that is why the OEM converter/charger in my Airstream (of which I have no control) is not used (or very rarely) to charge my battery bank. I use my programmable MPPT solar controller. And because of the nature of my batteries I can deep cycle them far more often, without negative consequences, than if I had automotive batteries.
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Old 10-29-2020, 09:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Sometimes discussions about battery comparisons are like comparing apples, oranges and even turnips!

Battery manufacturers will built batteries according to the intended usage. A regular 12V car battery is designed to quickly supply enough power to start an engine, in cold weather. A deep cycle industrial battery can be designed for power storage or supplying a regular load for a long period of time (unlike a car battery) and be deep cycled (down to 20% of full charge) repeatedly (hundreds of times).

One if not the main factor which will affect battery life is the positive plate thickness; those are the plates which get eaten away over time with usage and end up as sludge at the bottom of the battery.

The thicker the plates the longer life the battery will have. A forklift battery by Surette-Rolls (the brand I chose for my battery bank for example) will have plates which are 7 times thicker than a regular 12V car battery (.265"). Car battery plates are thin (.040") and there are many of them because many thin plates will discharge power faster than fewer thicker plates, which is what you need to start an engine. But if you deep cycle a car battery you will eat your positive plates real quick and kill your battery.

There are other factors such as the composition of the plates and effect on the rate of gassing (hydrogen), etc.

This means that it's important to understand the manufacturer's specs and charging profile of your batteries. And that is why the OEM converter/charger in my Airstream (of which I have no control) is not used (or very rarely) to charge my battery bank. I use my programmable MPPT solar controller. And because of the nature of my batteries I can deep cycle them far more often, without negative consequences, than if I had automotive batteries.
FYI- if your still using OEM single stage converter that came with your 28', you should consider getting a new 4 stage converter with "smart technology" which will maintain ("tend") your batteries if your staying with 12v wetcell technology. Many of us pre-2018 AS owners made the switch to Boondocker or Progressive Dynamics after our batteries went bad due to overcharging. IMHO Also, many of us still using wetcell or AGMs have switched over to a 6V like the Trojan T105's for better service.
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Old 10-29-2020, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
IMHO Also, many of us still using wetcell or AGMs have switched over to a 6V like the Trojan T105's for better service.
Agree, my battery bank is four 6V deep cycle batteries which replaced the two Interstates. As for the converter/charger, since I don't use is to charge or maintain the battery bank, I didn't see the need to replace it; it does a good job feeding the trailer's 12V circuit when plugged into shore power (which we rarely do since we camp off grid most of the time).
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