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Old 06-09-2021, 09:35 AM   #1
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2019 33' Classic
Fort Wayne , Indiana
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Lifeline battery question

I was getting CZone battery voltage variant messages and had Woodland Airstream check them. They gave this cryptic report and advise replacements.

“ BATTERY HEALTH - P/S 2% & D/S 15%”

These are Lifelines and their price is very salty.

Two questions:
1. Can anyone interpret their assessment?
2. For someone who always uses shore power and stores in a climate controlled space with electric hook-up, should I even bother replacing the batteries with either Lifeline, Interstate, or Costco equivalent?
3. If I don’t replace at this stage, given my needs, should I consider upgrading to LiIon?

I don’t know if I got them in this state with a used trailer or I forgot to disconnect or connect as appropriate.

Thanks,
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:44 AM   #2
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If your batteries need replaced and you are on shore power 90% of the time, I would head down to Costco and purchase their 12v deep cycle batteries.
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Old 06-09-2021, 11:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randonneur View Post
I was getting CZone battery voltage variant messages and had Woodland Airstream check them. They gave this cryptic report and advise replacements.

“ BATTERY HEALTH - P/S 2% & D/S 15%”

These are Lifelines and their price is very salty.

Two questions:
1. Can anyone interpret their assessment?
2. For someone who always uses shore power and stores in a climate controlled space with electric hook-up, should I even bother replacing the batteries with either Lifeline, Interstate, or Costco equivalent?
3. If I don’t replace at this stage, given my needs, should I consider upgrading to LiIon?

I don’t know if I got them in this state with a used trailer or I forgot to disconnect or connect as appropriate.

Thanks,
Hi

Whatever that test is reading, it's not a common set of numbers.

If indeed the batteries need replacing, they *should* still be I warranty if they are off of a 2019 trailer.

https://lifelinebatteries.com/produc...ine-batteries/

Normally people get the warranty start point adjusted to the date they took possession of the trailer. They could be worth 40 to 60% of the cost of new ones.

Bob
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:47 PM   #4
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Bob,
Thanks. However, according to their website the warranty is not transferable, and I am the second owner.
I have written to the dealer to ask them to explain these numbers. We shall see what they say.
I am uncertain as to whether I even need to replace them, given that under normal circumstances they will be connected either to the tow vehicle or to shore power.
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Old 06-10-2021, 07:31 AM   #5
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Hi

If you are the second owner that may complicate things. The PO may have nuked the batteries before you ever got the trailer. Normally AGM's are pretty rugged.

If indeed you never go off shore power, watch the Costco ads for deep cycle marine batteries. As long as they are deep cycle (and not "dual use") they should do fine. Get whatever is dirt cheap on sale. On batteries that are never / ever used, there is no need to go with anything beyond cheap ones.

Bob
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:45 PM   #6
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Thanks. The P/S is passenger side and D/S is driver side. Either way, not good. The Lifeline are $590.01 each. Interstate AGM about half.
I am not sure that it would be such a bad idea simply to hold off on doing anything.
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:05 PM   #7
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Contact Lifeline

They're an amazing company and really stand behind their products.

Jeff
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Old 06-10-2021, 07:55 PM   #8
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We got two deep cycle 12 volt acid batteries from Batteries Plus for about $200 total. To date we've plugged in all the time so really don't need the batteries for much. Want to get a LiION set-up but will wait until the prices come down more and we actually do some boondocking.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Randonneur View Post
Thanks. The P/S is passenger side and D/S is driver side. Either way, not good. The Lifeline are $590.01 each. Interstate AGM about half.
I am not sure that it would be such a bad idea simply to hold off on doing anything.
Hi

Ok, but what are the percentages referring to? They could be saying you have 2% of the rated amp hours based on a 10 hour test. They also could be saying something completely different.

Taking the two numbers as capacity, you would have about 8 AH of usable capacity. Turn on the fridge and a few lights, an hour or three later the battery is dead. That's a really terrible result for a not very old AGM battery.

I think I'd have somebody check the converter / charger ....

If indeed the batteries are that low, they aren't enough to properly run the breakaway function on the trailer. Simply put, you are into the "unsafe to drive" region here. You do need to do something ....

Bob
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:20 AM   #10
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Since they both seem be bad that certainly points to someone doing something bad to them. I am also trying to decide what kind of batteries to get this year. Wide range of choice and prices. I know that for me flooded cell works fine but....I hate flooded cell batteries. Irrational, probably.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:41 AM   #11
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Hi

There are no perfect answers to the battery question.

As you look at prices people toss around, realize that lead acid batteries have a lot of lead in them. The prices rise and fall with the commodity price of lead (set in London of all places ....). What was a fine deal three years ago may be a very different thing today.

By far the biggest question is your intended usage profile.

If you never / almost never are on battery power, get whatever Costco puts on sale in the "deep cycle marine" category. They usually are dirt cheap ( like $150 for the pair). In 4 years figure you will throw them away and get new ones. Flooded cells (of any sort) will always need watering from time to time, they also aren't very "indoor" compatible.

If you do a lot of off grid camping, then lithiums make a lot of sense. You get a lot of power in a small / light / (expensive) package. They should last a long time, if you get a good brand.

AGM's are sort of stuck in the middle. Like all batteries, they aren't all created equal. LifeLine is "near top of the heap" for AGM's. You most certainly can get cheaper (though maybe not better) AGM's. They don't last as long as lithiums, they are way more expensive than the Costco cells. You get some reliability. As this thread proves, no battery is perfect.

There are other ways to go that are a bit more exotic. They each have their advantages and issues.

Bob
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

There are no perfect answers to the battery question.

As you look at prices people toss around, realize that lead acid batteries have a lot of lead in them. The prices rise and fall with the commodity price of lead (set in London of all places ....). What was a fine deal three years ago may be a very different thing today.

By far the biggest question is your intended usage profile.

If you never / almost never are on battery power, get whatever Costco puts on sale in the "deep cycle marine" category. They usually are dirt cheap ( like $150 for the pair). In 4 years figure you will throw them away and get new ones. Flooded cells (of any sort) will always need watering from time to time, they also aren't very "indoor" compatible.

If you do a lot of off grid camping, then lithiums make a lot of sense. You get a lot of power in a small / light / (expensive) package. They should last a long time, if you get a good brand.

AGM's are sort of stuck in the middle. Like all batteries, they aren't all created equal. LifeLine is "near top of the heap" for AGM's. You most certainly can get cheaper (though maybe not better) AGM's. They don't last as long as lithiums, they are way more expensive than the Costco cells. You get some reliability. As this thread proves, no battery is perfect.

There are other ways to go that are a bit more exotic. They each have their advantages and issues.

Bob
This is a very lucid response. I went through this exercise last fall. I am a tweener camper. I sometimes am off the grid for a few days.
I had another concern fo LA. My front battery doors and the plastic compartments were cracked and leaking. I wanted to eliminate the doors and bring batts inside. That necessarily moved me from LA to AGMs, at a minimum. The needs vs value equation kept me out of lithium, for now.
The price quoted for lifelines above is high. Shop online. I paid a bit over 800 dollars for 2 group 31, 125Ah lifelines, including free shipping to my door by fedex.
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:08 AM   #13
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How would the Lifeline warranty work if you buy the batteries online, say from Amazon. Would you end up with a lot of shipping charges on a warranty replacement?

I am pretty much trying to decide whether to spring for the Lifeline 125 amp or the Dura Cell 105 amp hour from Batteries and Bulbs. I do like the 20% gain in capacity.
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
How would the Lifeline warranty work if you buy the batteries online, say from Amazon. Would you end up with a lot of shipping charges on a warranty replacement?

I am pretty much trying to decide whether to spring for the Lifeline 125 amp or the Dura Cell 105 amp hour from Batteries and Bulbs. I do like the 20% gain in capacity.
Hi

First question appears to be "do you get a warranty if you buy them from Uncle Bob Batteries online?". In some cases, the warranty on this or that *only* applies if you buy it from an authorized dealer.

Next up *is* the question of having to return them to the dealer you bought them from for testing. Again, read the fine print.

One of the things you *are* paying for with the more expensive batteries is a more liberal warranty policy.

Around here, any time you fry a battery, it needs to be recycled. That typically involves a $35 a battery charge. In some cases when you "trade in" a battery, you get a $30 (or so) *credit*. Effectively there's a $65 incentive to do the deal locally ..... ( Yes, PA is nutty in a lot of ways .....)

Bob
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Old 06-11-2021, 09:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi



First question appears to be "do you get a warranty if you buy them from Uncle Bob Batteries online?". In some cases, the warranty on this or that *only* applies if you buy it from an authorized dealer.



Next up *is* the question of having to return them to the dealer you bought them from for testing. Again, read the fine print.



One of the things you *are* paying for with the more expensive batteries is a more liberal warranty policy.



Around here, any time you fry a battery, it needs to be recycled. That typically involves a $35 a battery charge. In some cases when you "trade in" a battery, you get a $30 (or so) *credit*. Effectively there's a $65 incentive to do the deal locally ..... ( Yes, PA is nutty in a lot of ways .....)



Bob
My vendor is a lifeline distributor out east, not an obscure net ghost. In Illinois, I just drop off batteries at back door of batteries +, unless it is a car battery with the mandatory core charge.
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Old 06-12-2021, 05:40 AM   #16
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I spoke to Lifeline and they assured me that I had no standing for any warranty on the batteries, not being the original owner. So, to end this saga, I purchased new batteries and will spend some time looking for information on how to avoid this issue going forward. Note to self: check batteries during warranty period.
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Old 06-12-2021, 05:52 AM   #17
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Download lifelines 30 page white paper on care of their batteries. The stock chargers in AS trailers and especially the stock solar controllers really don’t comply with Lifelines best practice recommendations for bulk charging voltage and times… went through all of this and just installed two new lifelines in a 2018 International and upgraded to a Blue tooth enabled Victron solar controller. The victron has an app that lets you customize the bulk charge amperage and time period based on Lifelines specs…. Keep in mind these values will shift seasonally based on ambient temps.
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:30 AM   #18
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I am working through the manual now. Thanks for the advice.

Changing the topic slightly, I am finding that the Smart app does not work as it did before the new battery install. The app thinks the batteries are disconnected but will not allow me to reconnect them in the app. At the unit I can use the Battery Disconnect button at the door, no problem.
I’m beginning to agree with the manager of the dealer service center when she told me I should have kept the Flying Cloud.
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:44 AM   #19
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Hi

Grab a multimeter and start at the batteries. You should see 12V between the posts *and* 12V to any handy exposed chassis metal. If the first check is ok and the second not so much, there is a disconnect switch open.

Next stop is the 12V distribution bus. It's up front "under something" You should see 12V on the main bus bar, again both to the negative bus and to the chassis.

You should see either a fuse heading towards the solar controller or a breaker. Either way, check for 12V on the other side of it.

Next go to the *output* terminals on the controller and check for 12V there.

Assuming all this checks out, the controller is hooked up and should show a battery present. If it doesn't show a battery, check the controller manual for the reset procedure. ( it's something like disconnecting all the wires for 30 seconds .... been a while so that may not be 100% correct ).

It's not unusual to have to reset things after the 12V is fully shut down by pulling the battery.

Bob
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:55 AM   #20
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Thanks. Disconnected from shore power, correct?
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