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Old 02-13-2007, 04:24 AM   #1
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Anyone have any opinions on which AGM batteries are the best? Lifeline, Trojan, etc... Or is there really any appreciable difference?
Thanks,
Alan
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:24 AM   #2
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Anyone have any opinions on which AGM batteries are the best? Lifeline, Trojan, etc... Or is there really any appreciable difference?
Thanks,
Alan
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:42 AM   #3
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Don't know of any empirical testing comparing AGM batteries. For an anecdotal report, my 18 month-old Lifelines seem to be as well as when new and they have been in maybe 20 or 30 deep-discharge situations. I wasn't even aware that Trojan made AGMs but Trojan the company has a good reputation.

So, in conclusion,
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Old 02-13-2007, 05:17 AM   #4
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Alan, will be watching your post also. I am thinking about the AGM batteries and have found many manufacturers out there. Universal Battery, Concorde, Lifeline, Douglas Guardian, and Trojan. All have the AGM deep cycle.
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Old 02-13-2007, 05:59 AM   #5
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I replaced with Trojans AGM's last year and they seem okay, BUT I am not a camper as I am plugged in to shore power 99% of the time. They were expensive though as I remember I paid over $600.00 for three of them.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:57 AM   #6
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Pat

I have a 2002 Ultimate Advantage which will probably have the same recharging equipment as your's does. Did you have to make any changes in the recharging equipment on your coach when you make the change out -- like voltage being given to the batteries or anything like that. Or did you just make the replacement without making any changes? Would be curious to know.
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:34 AM   #7
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I just replaced my chassis batteries with the new Optima Yellow Top AGM abtteries. These a re a dual purpose battery...both deep cycle and starting battery. While in the battery strore, they drew them down to 10 volts and both still put out over 1200 CCA. Mine were about $200 each and carry a 2-year full replacment warranty.

Here's a link with some more info:
http://www.optimabatteries.com/publish/optima/americas0...tive/deep_cycle.html
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Old 02-13-2007, 09:04 AM   #8
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David K,
Although I don't have AGM's I do know that there is a setting on the inverter control panel for AGM's. If memory serves, there are some dip switchs on the back of the panel. Your inverter manual will point this out. I have the info but not right at hand. If you need more info, PM me and I can dig it out.
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Old 02-13-2007, 09:20 AM   #9
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JB -- thanks for the post --I will have to dig out my manual -- I know I have it in that "Bible" that I got with the home. Will see if I can find the info -- if not, will PM you and ask again. I know that the AGMs are sensitive to being overcharged with too much current. Too much current will kill them from what I have read about them. Looks like a lot of mfgs are coming out with them -- some with very attractive prices. I know the Universal Battery (UB12900) is about $104.00 landed cost.
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Old 02-13-2007, 07:12 PM   #10
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I didn't change anything on the charger when I changed to AGM's, but that is not to say that I shouldn't have. I will have to read my inverter/charger manual. Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:35 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I didn't change anything on the charger when I changed to AGM's, but that is not to say that I shouldn't have. I will have to read my inverter/charger manual. Thanks for the info. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Me too. Does anyone know if this applies to the 04 Journey?
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:53 AM   #12
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Ron - You mentioned earlier that you replaced your chassis batteries with AGMs. Since the charger doesn't charge the chassis batteries, you don't need to change anything. However, if you replace your house batteries, and if you have the Dimension 2k inverter/charger, there is a switch setting that needs to be changed. If you didn't get a manual for the inverter/charger, let me know and I'll dig out the info...
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Old 02-14-2007, 04:43 AM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by JBWLMS:
David K,
Although I don't have AGM's I do know that there is a setting on the inverter control panel for AGM's. If memory serves, there are some dip switchs on the back of the panel. Your inverter manual will point this out. I have the info but not right at hand. If you need more info, PM me and I can dig it out. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>The Dimensions 2000 watt inverter that was original equipment on our Horizon has a couple of option settings. You can choose sealed or flooded-cell (you don't get a choice between AGM or Gel) and you choose the amp-hour size of the battery bank. The options are set with a DIP switch on the case of the inverter/charger - I believe they are on the top (you need a mirror to see the switch bank.)
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:00 PM   #14
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Tom

Thanks, I appreciate the info. I do have a 2000w inverter, not sure if it's a Dimensions. If that's the factory brand choice, then I would assume that is what I have. I do plan on changing the house batteries as well. The Optima Yellow Top Dual Purpose AGM's were new to the Battery + store where I purchased the chassis batteries and only had the two in stock. Since I was taking the coach to the dealer the next day for repairs, I just figured I would get the others after he gets restocked. I'll have to look through the "Winnebago Suit Case" of manuals and such that came with the coach. If I don't have it, I will definately let you know. At $210 a battery, the last thing I want to do is charge them improperly.

BTW - anyone know for sure if the factory installed solar charger cuts out when the battery is fully charged or is it just a constant trickle all the time?
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:34 PM   #15
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If you are wondering about the setting of your dimensions inverter for AGMs, I sent this question to them:"My manual defines set ups for "sealed lead acid" batteries. Is this the same as an AGM battery? If not do you have settings for AGMs?"
and received this answer:
"Yes, an AGM battery is a sealed lead acid battery.
Airpax Dimensions"

I am not sure whether to believe that is the proper setting, maybe I should have worded my question a little better.
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:49 PM   #16
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OK, fellows. I am not into batteries. What are AGM's. I still have the "Original" batteries that came with my 2001. Still holding a good charge, and not having any trouble. Will admit that I have thought of doing a little PM and replace them before they go.
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Old 02-15-2007, 05:15 AM   #17
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I am far from an expert on AGM batteries but here is an excerpt from a site on the web which may shed some light on the subject.

AGM or Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries

The absorbed glass mat is between the plates and it is a very fine fiber Boron-Silicate glass mat. All of the electrolyte (acid) is contained in the glass mats which means that they can not spill, even if broken. This also means that since they are non-hazardous (won't spill or leak), the shipping cost are lower and there is no liquid to freeze and expand so they are immune from freezing damage.

Nearly all AGM batteries are "recombinant" which means that the oxygen and hydrogen recombine INSIDE the battery. They use gas phase transfer of oxygen to the negative plates to recombine them back into water while charging and prevent the loss of water through electrolysis. The recombining is typically 99%+ efficient, so almost no water is lost.

There is a lot of discussion about the charging voltages -- many differences here with some saying don't exceed 14 volts when charging and then you have some battery makers (like Concorde who also makes the Lifeline battery) who say that the charging voltages are the same as for any standard battery and that their's have no charge or discharge current limits. I for one will try to stay at the 14 volt level if I replace with the AGMs . As a separate note, if you replace your starting batteries which can be recharged by the alternator on a diesel pusher, in a lot of cases the current output on a diesel generator can be "fine tuned" to regulate the output voltage and keep it within the limits of the battery. Sorry but the generator on most gas engines can not be "fine tuned."

AGM's have a very low self-discharge rate (usually from 1% to 3% per month) which means they can sit in storage for a much longer time period without being charged. Some of the AGMs (including Concorde and their Lifeline brand) claim they can be fully recharged (95%) after being totally discharged for over 30 days.

Since AGMs do not have any liquid to spill and with the hydrogen emissions far below the 4% max specified for aircraft and enclosed spaces they are somewhat safer to use in enclosed spaces. They can also be mounted in any position since they do not have any liquid to spill. It is said that AGMs will also withstand shock and vibration better as the plates in AGMs are tightly packed and rigidly mounted.

The main advantages of AGMs are no maintance, completely sealed, can withstand multiple discharge cycles, no fume or hydrogen discharge when being recharged, no leakage or spillage even when broken, and can survive most freezes.

You can also go up on the internet and "google" AGM batteries and it will point you in the direction of several articles on AGM batteries.

I think I have correctly stated what an AGM battery is. Hope this helps some.
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Old 02-15-2007, 05:31 AM   #18
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AGMs are sealed no-maintenance batteries. I installed them because the 3rd battery in the Journey battery rack is almost impossible to maintain without taking it out or using "smoke and mirrors".

Alan - I am using Trojan 31-AGMs. I think the Lifelines are probably better, but my Trojans only cost $140. One problem you should be aware of, if you have the Dimensions inverter/charger - the Dimensions does an automatic "conditoning" cycle every 5 recharge cycles. I think the newer units only do it every 10 cycles. Trojan specifically says not to "condition" (also called "equalize") their AGM batteries.

There is no way to deprogram the automatic conditioning, but I have discovered a workaround. I try to keep track of how many times I've plugged into shore power or started the genny since these start a recharge cycle, even if the batteries are totally charged from driving. It just goes from bulk, to accept, to float mode quickly if they don't need a charge. When it tries to start the conditioning on the 5th cycle, I switch off the 30A breaker in the main panel that supplies power to the inverter/charger. Apparently, it resets the cycle counter when conditioning starts, because when I switch the breaker back on, it "thinks" it completed the conditioning and goes to float.

I may have missed the conditioning a time or two when other things distracted me, but I've had the AGMs for about 16 months now and they are working great. I peek in the battery compartment to check for any corrosion on the terminals, but other than that, they are totally maintenance free.

Ron - I think Winnie switched to the Dimensions (sometimes referred to as "Dimented") inverter for '04 model year so you almost certainly have one. I keep hoping mine will fail so I can replace it with a true sign wave inverter (with no automatic conditioning), but I'm too cheap to throw it out while it's working.
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Old 02-15-2007, 05:42 AM   #19
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Dave - good explanation of AGMs. I was composing when you posted and would have left out my 1st sentence if I had seen your explanation.

One thing I forgot to mention on my conditioning workaround is that the inverter must be "OFF" (not in "Standby") when you cycle the breaker.
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:14 AM   #20
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As always, a lot of great information from everyone. Tom, that automatic conditioning certainly sounds like something I need to figure out before moving forward. Other than that, the AGM's sound like the way to go. Does anyone know if the Lifeline's have the same "do not condition" warning as the Trojans? Perhaps John Canfield? Your Horizon has the Dimensions 2000 Watt Inverter, and you have the Lifelines, correct? Any issue with automatic conditioning that you're aware of?
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