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Old 01-30-2008, 06:52 PM   #1
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We need new house batteries for our 2006 Itasca Horizon. Does anyone have any experience using Optima Blue Top deep cycle batteries?

My attraction to this battery is that it is sealed, no maintenance, and I need something my inverter can utilize for a period of time while we are dry camping.

Anyone have any experience with Optima Blue Tops? Is there a better (maintenance free) alternative?

Anne & Erik
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:52 PM   #2
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We need new house batteries for our 2006 Itasca Horizon. Does anyone have any experience using Optima Blue Top deep cycle batteries?

My attraction to this battery is that it is sealed, no maintenance, and I need something my inverter can utilize for a period of time while we are dry camping.

Anyone have any experience with Optima Blue Tops? Is there a better (maintenance free) alternative?

Anne & Erik
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:41 AM   #3
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They are good batteries, I had put them in my coach a while back. However, I have since swapped them out for Lifeline batteries. The Optima's (I assume you're talking about D31M's) are 75 amp hour batteries. For a bit more money, the Lifelines give you 105 amp hours each. Assuming your tray is the same as mine, three Lifelines will give you a 315 amp hour battery bank as opposed to only 225 amp hours with the Optimas. The Lifelines can be had for a reasonable price, with free shipping from www.invertersrus.com. I haven't had mine in that long, but have been happy with them, especially the no maintenance part (but that part goes for both the Optima's or the Lifelines). Either way you go, you should be happy with the AGM's.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:03 AM   #4
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We put in Lifeline AGM group 31 batteries shortly after we bought the coach in 2005. They have been wonderful performers and I highly recommend them.

AGM is the state of the art battery technology.
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:40 AM   #5
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One cautionary note however, it would be worth doing some research on your inverter/charger before switching. You want to make sure that it can be set for AGM's, or at least to make sure that it can be set to the voltages that AGM's like to see and that there is not an automatic equalization process that can't be turned off. Generally, equalizing is not something that AGM's like to have done to them.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:41 AM   #6
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AGM batteries (like the Optima or Lifeline) are nice but you have to look carefully at what the 2:1 (or better) price premium is really going to get you.

The price premium may get you a bit more battery life but that factor really depends more on how you use and maintain your battery.

AGM's are sealed so there is less risk of corrosion but, again, proper maintenance can make this a low risk to begin with.

An AGM can benefit if you need extra rapid charging or have occasional large loads (like a microwave on inverter).

An AGM can be a benefit if you have reduced battery compartment ventilation but the code requirements still say they need proper ventilation.

I also suggest that you don't let the AH ratings carry too much weight. The Optima, for instance, has a significantly lower Peukert coefficient than wet cells (or even the Lifeline) and this means that the impact of larger currents on energy capacity is reduced.

Since you should only use half of the rated capacity anyway, any differences are also reduced by half. A 70 AH Optima compared to a 105 AH whatever is really comparing 35 to 52 and 17 AH isn't going to make much difference in practical terms.

As noted, you may need to be careful with some battery maintenance devices. AGM's, in general, do not need an equalization process such as provided by the WFCO or PD+ChargeWizard converters. Most recommended voltages for AGM charging and maintenance, though are close enough to those for lead acid batteries so routine charging doesn't require special considerations.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:24 AM   #7
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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 BryanL:
--snip--
The price premium may get you a bit more battery life but that factor really depends more on how you use and maintain your battery.

AGM's are sealed so there is less risk of corrosion but, again, proper maintenance can make this a low risk to begin with.--snip-- </div></BLOCKQUOTE>AGM or gel batteries should easily outlast non-premium flooded cell batteries in normal RV deep discharge situations - I would say by a factor of two.

There are premium flooded cell batteries (i.e., Rolls) that have comparable (or perhaps better) life to AGM/gel, but you then have the maintenance issue.

What it boils down to is do you want to spend $600 for three Lifeline group 31 AGM batteries that should easily last six to eight years, or do you want to spend $300 dollars every three or four years for flooded cell batteries (that also require maintenance.)

It is a real simple choice for me
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:19 PM   #8
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We changed to the Optima and a new converter after being fed-up with the batteries dying. Living in it fulltime and maintaining the batteries still didn't help. It was the second set of those ones they provide from the factory. I believe the new converter has helped tremendously as the one Winnebago put in for '06's had some reported issues that seemed the same as our problems. That was enough for me and now no worries!

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Old 02-01-2008, 10:27 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">AGM or gel batteries should easily outlast non-premium flooded cell batteries in normal RV deep discharge situations - I would say by a factor of two. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The data doesn't support this. Az Wind Sun only gives AGMs a slight edge in life expectancy, for instance.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I believe the new converter has helped tremendously </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
this is a key to long battery life because a good converter will properly charge your batteries and maintain that charge in storage.
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Old 02-01-2008, 02:33 PM   #10
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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 BryanL:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">AGM or gel batteries should easily outlast non-premium flooded cell batteries in normal RV deep discharge situations - I would say by a factor of two. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The data doesn't support this. Az Wind Sun only gives AGMs a slight edge in life expectancy, for instance. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Nope - can't buy that statement at all.

I was a 20+ year boater and had 20+ years experience with all kinds of deep-discharge batteries and we lived off our batteries (gels) for about 18 months while we were cruising the Caribbean. The average run of the mill deep-discharge batteries usually sulphate and build up crud in the bottom of the battery and then you wind up with a bad cell or cells after three, four, or maybe five years at the most.

You just don't have those kinds of problems with the gel or AGM chemistry.
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Old 02-01-2008, 02:58 PM   #11
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Maybe this is off topic but I've had an optima in my off road 4X4 for 5 years + and never had a problem. The vehicle sometimes sits for months without use and when cranked starts right away. The battery is under the rig tucked away under the body and needs no maintenance.

Tom
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Old 02-01-2008, 05:15 PM   #12
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Well, we bought three new Lifeline AGM's today. I'm hoping John is right, because they cost about $300 apiece!

Thanks for all of your input!

Happy RV'ing. Anne
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:35 AM   #13
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I went with the Optima Yellow Top AGM(Commercial Grade) http://www.dcbattery.com/optima_yellow.html batteries for mine and love them. I mill wet cell batteries I had before seem to always need something...charging, water, cleaning, etc.
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