Battery choice

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Dogface

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Jan 30, 2011
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Grass Valley, Ca
I've had my 2000 Aluma Scape fiver for a couple years and dunno the age the batteries were when I bought it...but they just died.  I was thinking of buying Optima deep cycle batteries but dunno if they are worth the extra money.  Don't really wanna run golf cart batteries but I know that's a popular choice and I know why.  As far as 12v deep cycle batteries go, what's the best way to go.  I park under a shed cover so my solar panels won't charge ... I just have a cut off switch to disconnect them.  I may be allowed to hook up a small solar maintainer but in winter it won't do that much good. 

Thanks in advance for suggestions.  ;)

Mark
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Your choices are as follows:

Flooded wet cells: Best bang for the buck, MOST power for least money HOWEVER need regular checking, cleaning and watering.. I watered mine yesterday in fact.

Maintenance free: Low gas, No watering, Low cleaning  Slightly higher cost

AGM: Lifeline (Specific brand) AGMs can take higher re-charger rates which, if you have the charger, may be of value, ALL AGM's can be mounted without respect to "THIS SIDE UP"    That said they still more expensive.

For all of these batteries a specific size (Group 29 I think) is about 100 amp hours

OPTIMA, is the most expensive.. That same size battery will only have 60 amp hours (Source Optima web pages)

So you are paying a very high premium for only 60% of what you'd get if you bought Lifelien

Optimas, Like the Lifeline, are AGM batteries.

NOW: If you are installing in an off road vehicle like a Jeep or a 4-Runner or a Wave Runner that is going to be bouncing over rocks and ditches and logs and other hazards.. OPTIMA can take a lickin and keep on tickin as they used to say of Timex.

But if you drive your motor home like that.. You gonna need one very big dustpan and broom (Front end loader size dustpan) to sweep up the pieces of motor home.

If you really want AGM... Go with Lifelien or MK or Deka.  You get more capacity for less cost than Optima (less you get a real deal on the Optima).
 

Dogface

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Grass Valley, Ca
John,

Thanks for that reply.  I think that Optimas also require a specific charge rate and I will not be equipped for that.  Does that apply to all AGM batt's ?  I have AGM in my boat for the trolling motor...good batteries, but my solar panel will charge at up to 5 amps in bright summer sun.  Also run a Yamaha gen/inverter...2000 watt when I need 110v power.  Will this be OK for them ?  You're correct...Optima is too spendy for what you get...  Do all AGM's require constant/frequent maintenance charging ?
 

Ned

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The only practical difference between AGM and flooded cell batteries is AGM batteries should have a float charge of 13.2-13.3V, while flooded cells use about 13.5-13.6V.  The higher float voltage will shorten the life of AGM batteries so be sure your charger has a AGM profile.  Another benefit of AGM batteries is they will take a higher charging current for a longer time and will be recharged faster than the equivalent flooded cell batteries.  But you have to decide if they are worth 2-3x the cost of flooded cell golf cart batteries.
 

John From Detroit

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Dogface said:
John,

Thanks for that reply.  I think that Optimas also require a specific charge rate and I will not be equipped for that.  Does that apply to all AGM batt's ?  I have AGM in my boat for the trolling motor...good batteries, but my solar panel will charge at up to 5 amps in bright summer sun.  Also run a Yamaha gen/inverter...2000 watt when I need 110v power.  Will this be OK for them ?  You're correct...Optima is too spendy for what you get...  Do all AGM's require constant/frequent maintenance charging ?

I am not aware of any special charge rate for the optima, though I can say this.

Xantrex for MOST battery types (Gel is the exception) recommends a charge rate that is no more than 30% of the 20 hour amp hour rating of the battery (yes, I know that's kind of applies/oranges but)  That is for a 100 amp hour (At the 20 hour rate) battery, no more than 30 amps (Watch out for wal-mart ratings, more in a bit)  This includes AGM's but read on:

For LIFELIEN,  I read where Lifelien wants that same 30% as a MINIMUM.

For gel it is lower but big gel's are kind of hard to find any more, AGM being way better.

Optima is AGM.

I see one of the others spoke of the different voltage requirements.

And of course for any given size class Optima is only 60% of the others so they charge at 60% of what the others do,  that 100 amp hour Retangular battery takes 30 amps, but the same size optima only 18 To remain at the 30% point).

ONE of my converters is fully programmable.
 

catblaster

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Kissimmee, Floriduh
I hope the Optimas in the RV hold up as well as the one in our old Gravely mowers, alot of vibration and heat, the gravelys don't have a charging method so batteries are always running till they are dead. just replaced them, one was 6years and the other was 8.

We did put an optima in the wrangler but the RV came with them. It seems the previous owner was the factory rep. :D
 

Mopar1973Man

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New Meadows, Idaho
I tend to side with wet cell batteries since my stick house is powered by eight 6V volt batteries and they last over 13-15 years vs. any maintenance free battery that typically have short life spans. As matter of fact I did that last night is pop the 24 cell caps and poured about 1 to 1.5 quarts of water into all the batteries total. Once a month thing. I run on a 820 Ah battery bank.

http://i56.tinypic.com/30wxo94.jpg

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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All AGM type batteries have pretty much the same parameters for charging. The optimum rate will be a bit lower than for flooded cells, but they don't give any info as to the effect of a less-than-optimum number.  I have AGMs in my own rig (right from the factory) and the Xantrex 3-stage charger does not have an AGM charge profile. Not sure what the long term effect will be, but the original batteries didn't last as long as they might have - 4 years. I have almost 5 years on the replacements, though.

If you want a  non-AGM, 12v deep cycle, the gold standard is the Trojan. e.g. the 27TMX or 30 XHS (different capacities, same design). But Trojans are pricey too. Yo can get a decent quality 12v deep cycle at Walmart of a heck of a lot less. A Group 27 size "trolling motor battery" (deep cycle) with the Everstart Maxx or MinnKota brand name is under $100 and the Group 29 size right at $100.
 

Dogface

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Grass Valley, Ca
Mopar Man:

I have the same batteries in my solar set up.  They are too heavy for an RV and likely would not take the bouncing around....great for solar though ;)

I'm on the Lifeline site now just trying to choose what amp/hr rating I can get away with...I dry came a lot but have solar panels that put out 5amps in full sun...  The more amp/hr the better but there's the weight to contend with. 
 

Mopar1973Man

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Yeah weight is a issue. But What I was pointing out is the fact flooded cell is much easier to get long life from a battery compared to a sealed maintenance free battery. As long as you take the time and check electrolyte every month flooded batteries should last at least 10 years or more. Heck even the stock OE batteries in my tuck made 10 years I gave up on them not wanting to push my luck but still I traded in 2 perfectly good truck batteries for 2 new WalMart Batteries. So far every thing I got that's got a flooded cell battery typically I get 10-12 years from a battery. The only exclusion to this is small batteries like ATV, Motorcycle, Generator (starter), etc these little batteries I can get between 3-5 years but that about it.

It all comes down to what kind of life you give your batteries do you heed the limitations or discharge and charging? Do you keep them watered up? Do you charge them promptly after being discharged? Do you equalize your batteries (over-charge)? All these tidbit fact in the life of a battery.
 

Bobtop46

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Mar 11, 2011
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Bronson FL
If you have money try these:

http://www.lithionicsbattery.com/rv.html

They are weigh a whole lot less and could save you some gas money.  Are suppose to last a very long time, recharge much faster, and can be discharged deeper.  Wish I had the money to try one.
 
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