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Old 02-17-2017, 11:16 AM   #1
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Upgrade to Discover AGMs? Think Twice.

Our Discover AGM experience

If you're thinking about upgrading to Discover AGMs on your coach (new order or existing) - think twice. Our experience with these has proven disappointing - 25% failure rate in less than 20 months, high cost upgrade versus new Lifelines ($1600 vs $2600), no warranty assistance from Discover, and the only recommended solution is to replace all 8 batteries.

Iíd appreciate any input or suggestions based on these symptoms, as this is our first issue with bad batteries, and others have traveled this trailÖ

We picked up our new 2015 Dutch Star 4369 (all electric), in Nappanee on June 01, 2015 (20.5 months ago). We opted to have Newmar install the upgraded Discover AGM batteries ( ILO the 8 standard lead-acid batteries).

Fast forward 20 months. We pulled shore power for an upcoming lightning storm, and found our 8 AGMs only kept the inverter running 3.5 hours - much to my disappointment. Six months previous, we saw 18 hours. We donít boondock much, but when we have, we set the AGS for 12.0 volts (about 50% of battery capacity).

I've talked at length with both Magnum and Discover, and have conducted 3 power-off battery run time tests. It appears we have 2 bad Discover batteries, as these two drop in voltage significantly quicker than the other six, when under load. Discover advised me to pull the two bad batteries and re-run the battery life test with 6 batteries - which I'm doing now. Still at 12.4 volts, 11 - 18 DC amps, after 3 hours. It looks as though the 2 bad AGMs were dragging the entire set down. But Iím still not pleased with 12.4 volts after 3 hours. I cannot imagine these making it another 20 hours and staying at 12.0 volts or above.

((When the fridge cycles on, we see a steady 18 amp draw on the Inverter, then cycles off and we see 11 amps - does that sound reasonable??))

SO - Discover recommends I replace - not 2 - but all 8 batteries. And, NO warranty coverage or assistance.

SO - after initially spending $1600 to upgrade my 8 coach batteries, I have 2 bad batteries at 20 months - and basically have to replace the whole lot. Major disappointment.

I used to tell RVers that I chose the AGM upgrade route, because "you open the battery compartment when you pick up the coach to confirm there are 8 AGM batteries in there - then you open the battery compartment 4 years later to check / replace them". Well, so much for that theory.

Therefore - after reading several IRV2 posts on the subject, I am inclined to follow the direction of those who replaced their batteries with Lifeline AGMs. Yes, we spent $1600 to upgrade 20 months ago. Yes, the Lifelines are expensive ($2600 - $3600 depending on capacity), but we want a reliable battery power source that will keep us powered up for at least 24 hours, using reasonable energy conservation in the coach.

Now, all that said, I do have some concern about the Magnum Inverter (MS2812). During our recent shore power disconnect, prior to the lightning storm, I unplugged at 2:30 AM. I woke at 5:50 AM to the sound of the microwave chiming that it had just come back on line. What? Come back on line? It must have gone off line, in order to come back on line.

During my discussion sessions with Magnum, we concluded that the batteries discharged down to 11.0 volts (low voltage cut out), causing the inverter to shut down. Then, somehow, they self-recovered to 12.5 volts, the Magnum threshold to turn the inverter back on. Not sure I understand how the batteries dropped below 11.0 then recovered on their own to 12.5 volts. I was dubious. Until I was on a call with Magnum, during the second hour of my battery life test, and we watched the batteries slowly drop to 12.2, then plummet to 10.6 for more than a minute, and the inverter turned off. Minutes later, the Magnum panel showed the voltage had recovered to 12.6 and the inverter kicked on again. Not wanting to risk another system wide power on - off cycle, I stopped the test and plugged back in to shore power.

Magnum tech support (Mary) has been good on the phone, and has suggested further testing of the inverter, which I will do. As I donít hold much belief in coincidence, I plan to pursue resolving the battery issue first. Then, weíll look at the inverter.

Any thoughts, suggestions, recommended Lifeline model numbers, etc. are appreciated!
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zalaska View Post
but we want a reliable battery power source that will keep us powered up for at least 24 hours, using reasonable energy conservation in the coach.


Any thoughts, suggestions, recommended Lifeline model numbers, etc. are appreciated!
Why not look at alternatives, less expensive batteries, combined with solar and/or a generator to meet your 24 hour goal?

With your goal, I doubt you need a generator but it is less expensive and easier than solar.

Compute your energy needs and then see how much battery you need.
https://tools.carmanah.com/src.web/G...tm?state=RvDiv
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zalaska View Post
Our Discover AGM experience

If you're thinking about upgrading to Discover AGMs on your coach (new order or existing) - think twice. Our experience with these has proven disappointing - 25% failure rate in less than 20 months, high cost upgrade versus new Lifelines ($1600 vs $2600), no warranty assistance from Discover, and the only recommended solution is to replace all 8 batteries.

Iíd appreciate any input or suggestions based on these symptoms, as this is our first issue with bad batteries, and others have traveled this trailÖ

We picked up our new 2015 Dutch Star 4369 (all electric), in Nappanee on June 01, 2015 (20.5 months ago). We opted to have Newmar install the upgraded Discover AGM batteries ( ILO the 8 standard lead-acid batteries).

Fast forward 20 months. We pulled shore power for an upcoming lightning storm, and found our 8 AGMs only kept the inverter running 3.5 hours - much to my disappointment. Six months previous, we saw 18 hours. We donít boondock much, but when we have, we set the AGS for 12.0 volts (about 50% of battery capacity).

I've talked at length with both Magnum and Discover, and have conducted 3 power-off battery run time tests. It appears we have 2 bad Discover batteries, as these two drop in voltage significantly quicker than the other six, when under load. Discover advised me to pull the two bad batteries and re-run the battery life test with 6 batteries - which I'm doing now. Still at 12.4 volts, 11 - 18 DC amps, after 3 hours. It looks as though the 2 bad AGMs were dragging the entire set down. But Iím still not pleased with 12.4 volts after 3 hours. I cannot imagine these making it another 20 hours and staying at 12.0 volts or above.

((When the fridge cycles on, we see a steady 18 amp draw on the Inverter, then cycles off and we see 11 amps - does that sound reasonable??))

SO - Discover recommends I replace - not 2 - but all 8 batteries. And, NO warranty coverage or assistance.

SO - after initially spending $1600 to upgrade my 8 coach batteries, I have 2 bad batteries at 20 months - and basically have to replace the whole lot. Major disappointment.

I used to tell RVers that I chose the AGM upgrade route, because "you open the battery compartment when you pick up the coach to confirm there are 8 AGM batteries in there - then you open the battery compartment 4 years later to check / replace them". Well, so much for that theory.

Therefore - after reading several IRV2 posts on the subject, I am inclined to follow the direction of those who replaced their batteries with Lifeline AGMs. Yes, we spent $1600 to upgrade 20 months ago. Yes, the Lifelines are expensive ($2600 - $3600 depending on capacity), but we want a reliable battery power source that will keep us powered up for at least 24 hours, using reasonable energy conservation in the coach.

Now, all that said, I do have some concern about the Magnum Inverter (MS2812). During our recent shore power disconnect, prior to the lightning storm, I unplugged at 2:30 AM. I woke at 5:50 AM to the sound of the microwave chiming that it had just come back on line. What? Come back on line? It must have gone off line, in order to come back on line.

During my discussion sessions with Magnum, we concluded that the batteries discharged down to 11.0 volts (low voltage cut out), causing the inverter to shut down. Then, somehow, they self-recovered to 12.5 volts, the Magnum threshold to turn the inverter back on. Not sure I understand how the batteries dropped below 11.0 then recovered on their own to 12.5 volts. I was dubious. Until I was on a call with Magnum, during the second hour of my battery life test, and we watched the batteries slowly drop to 12.2, then plummet to 10.6 for more than a minute, and the inverter turned off. Minutes later, the Magnum panel showed the voltage had recovered to 12.6 and the inverter kicked on again. Not wanting to risk another system wide power on - off cycle, I stopped the test and plugged back in to shore power.

Magnum tech support (Mary) has been good on the phone, and has suggested further testing of the inverter, which I will do. As I donít hold much belief in coincidence, I plan to pursue resolving the battery issue first. Then, weíll look at the inverter.

Any thoughts, suggestions, recommended Lifeline model numbers, etc. are appreciated!
Jeff, did you check the charge setting on the Magnum? Early on when Newmar was not installing AGM batteries much, the techs did not set the charge rate correctly for the Discover AGM batteries. Sorry, I do not remember what it should be set on, something like XXX2.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:40 PM   #4
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Jeff have you checked the charging profile on your Magnum controller? Is is set for the proper AGM profile? AGM 2 is to be used with Discover batteries. If it is set for AGM1 then they are never being fully recharged.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:56 PM   #5
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All the all electric coaches now have AGM no option.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:16 PM   #6
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Jeff, did you check the charge setting on the Magnum?
Yeah, good point. We set ours to AGM2 during factory pickup, so it's been set correctly since day one.

An update on today's battery run time test. At Discover's advise, I pulled the two "bad" batteries out of the set, and reconfigured the remaining to a set of six. The last 8-battery test kept the inverter alive for under 3 hours. Pulling the 2 bad batteries out, the six battery set kept the inverter alive (down to 12.0 volts) for 9.5 hours. Yeah, three times the runtime with 25% fewer batteries. The bad actors brought down the whole production.

Aside from the obvious symptom of a shorter battery run time, finding the bad batteries was easy. I thought using a multi-meter on the battery posts was supposed to be just measuring a surface charge. Maybe so - but just measuring these voltages before and while being disconnected from shore power - easily identified those batteries that dropped voltage faster than the others. I'd say, if you're curious, just try it. What I guess is, if you discover a bad battery soon enough, and replace it, you can save the rest of the battery bank - and your bank account.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:35 PM   #7
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Jeff, ask me if I'm disappointed as you. I was surprised over the failure of 2-3 Discover batts in the first year. I fought it over and over, with the Magnum shutting down and voltages dropping to 11.5 in under 2hrs. So time to upgrade to Lifelines. I got 8 new ones with 400 a-h ratings so now have 1200 a-h of capacity. So nice to go to bed, knowing I can get a full night's sleep without constantly getting up to check batteries.

Why do they continue using Discover batteries? 🤔😕😡
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:00 PM   #8
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What I guess is, if you discover a bad battery soon enough, and replace it, you can save the rest of the battery bank - and your bank account.
Here's my Lifeline story . . .

A year or so after buying a set of 4 Lifeline 6V GPL-4C, I noticed a leaking terminal on one of the batteries. BTW, I charge with a Magnum MS2000.

I reported the leaky battery to Lifeline, and after checking the battery's serial #, the Lifeline CSR said it was part of a bad batch of batteries.

Long story short . . . Lifeline replaced my complete set of 4 batteries + shipping.

Needless to say, my next set of batteries will be Lifelines too.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:50 PM   #9
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Got me worried now about my new 2017 DS house batteries. They appear to be AGMs can't find a name anywhere. The are definitely not Lifeline. Sad to say that the crankers are wet cell. I will check the Magnum settings.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:49 PM   #10
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Monitoring your batteries SOC and charging by voltage is not the best way to do it. A Magnum Battery Monitoring Kit with temp sensor and Automatic Generator Starter will enable you to get the best performance and life from batteries, especially AGM. When running the microwave or electric cooktop the voltage can drop into the 10 to 11 volt range and back to 12 range when the large load on the inverter stops. The BMK counts the amps out and in to the batteries and the AGS starts the generator when the battery SOC is below your set point. The battery temp enables the charger to adjust the voltage higher when the battery is cold and reduce it when the battery is warm. This optimizes charging AGMs and thier life.

I have used this system for 5 years now and the Lifeline L-16s still perform like new.

I think Newmar uses cheaper batteries which should be good enough to last the warranty period bacause most of their buyers go from full hook up sites to the next versus boondocking. The RV industry demand may also limit the availability of the high quality and reliable parts so "good enough" is the choice to be able to continue to build high profit RVs. Why else would they equip a $400K and up RV with a Magnum inverter/charger and not also use the Magnum ARC-50, BMK, and AGS with Lifelines as the AGM battery option?
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:24 AM   #11
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Are these battery issues due to dry camping or do they occur while hooked up to shore power or the generator is running? I have been advised by several people to get the AGM batteries, but if I do not plan on dry camping will I need them. I was ready to put these as an option until I saw this post and the cost of them.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:13 AM   #12
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I just bit the bullet and swapped out my wet cell batteries, nothing wrong yet, with Lifeline GLP-4CT batteries. Cost was $2400 with shipping via Centexbatteries.com. Fast shipping, Problem for me was I had to have 4 new cables made to replace the 4 bars that jumper the two banks of batteries. Spacing was 7 inches versus 6 inches for the wet cells.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:24 AM   #13
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Phil, I had to get new cables also....found 'em on Amazon. I opted for the 6ct batteries, also from Centex. Cost was $3000 delivered on a pallet. But as mentioned, I got a proportional increase in capacity...the choice is up to the purchaser as to how much "juice" he wants.

You can find these from other vendors, but are shipped ups which means they can be handled poorly, causing internal damage which may not show up 'till later. When you look at the build quality of a Lifeline, you can see a big difference.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:26 AM   #14
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The amp pull for fridge seems way too high, the ice maker will draw a lot of power and will draw any battery bank down fast. Just saying.
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