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Old 01-28-2010, 01:15 AM   #15
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I'm guessing that Ted's golf buddies are referring to manufacturing defects. I have listened to several horror stories about bad AGM's from the factory. The problem shows up fairly quickly but once you have the batteries installed. In Alpine's that means at least 4 AGMs all cabled up, probably 6, and sometimes 8; lotsa cable to undo and lots dead weight to handle a second time, not to mention the freight to send a customer a replacement wherever that coach is when the problem presents. I also suspect that is the reason for the admonition for dealing w/somebody you trust for service after the sale.

WA8YXM- why do you say Optimas are "not all there?"
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:05 AM   #16
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Dale & Mike, I didn't say I agreed with the golf buddies I was just relaying info received. I had replaced mine prior to chatting with the buddies. I truly think in our next coach I will go with the AGM's. If nothing else they certainly seem a heck of a lot easier to deal with.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:05 AM   #17
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I too agree that AGM's are NOT more fragile than wet cells. Though I do not think they are worth the additional cost unless there are issues other than battery performance (Such as location) involved.

As to the statement that brands don't matter.. There are a few different battery makers, East Penn makes a lot of good AGM batteries (Lifeline makes the best) Johnson Controls makes a lot of Flooded wet cells (Trojan is the best) including Interstate

US-Battery also makes Interstate I'm told and also makes good batteries.

There is at least one brand (Excide) that I've been advised to avoid.. And nothing in my experience (Which includes Excide batteries) suggests that's bad advice.

But I've never heard a bad word about Interstate that could not be attributed to the statement "Even Cadillac turns out the occasional lemon"

EVERY battery maker, no matter how good, even Trojan, will occasionally turn out a lemon

Every battery maker, no matter how bad, will occasionally turn out a hunk of gold (A battery that goes 10 years or more)

The difference between the best and the worst is the ratio of Gold to Lemon.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:41 AM   #18
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Watch out, but I believe that the Sam's Club & Costco 6V golf cart batteries are not the same quality (i.e. lower) as an Interstate U2200, which is now rated at 232 AHrs.

Solar Bill in Quartzsite sells the Interstate U2200 for $90 + 2.5% city tax. A week ago, the stock they were selling was stamped "A0", which is manufactured Jan 2010!!
If the 6v are 232AHrs what are the 12v rated?
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:21 AM   #19
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I just bought 4 Interstate batteries at $89.00 and my first set I got almost 5 years use. I head they went up $5. to $92., still a good buy. Good advise is if you have one bad and they are 4 years or older, replace them all.
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:10 PM   #20
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If the 6v are 232AHrs what are the 12v rated?
Two of the Interstate U2200's wired in series to provide 12VDC will be rated at 232 AHrs.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:20 PM   #21
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Xantrex Settings

I'm new to motorhomes but the battery compartment in my Alpine went up in flames on the way home after purchasing it. The batteries were "Maintenance Free" which I believe equates to "Gel Cells" or "AGM's". The dealer identified that a cable appeared to have shorted to the battery bracket due to either over heating(?) &/or chafing. But why?

I have wondered since it happened if there was a problem with the "charging system". I observed in the Xantrex manual that specific settings exist for "Wet Cells" and "Gel Cells". In fact, there are 2 - settings for specific "Gel Cells". I feel VERY confident that the previous owner did NOT realize that the Xantrex settings needed to be changed when he purchased the new gel cell batteries.

I'm still wondering exactly what caused our fire, but the point I'm making is that the Xantrex settings should probably be considered when changing battery types. I just don't want ANYONE to experience a battery fire ... It's not fun, but it IS expensive ($33K)!
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:47 PM   #22
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Sorry about your fire. Not a good introduction to motorhomes!

I would be surprised if the setting on the Xantrex would lead to the fire. Unless you were running the generator, I don't think the Xantrex would be charging the batteries while driving down the road. The engine alternator would be charging them. I don't think that goes through the Xantrex. (But I could definitely be wrong here.)

It would damage the batteries, so I would definitely change the setting (and I did), but I think the charge rate change is relatively minor current-wise. Enough to ruin the batteries, but not melt them.

Which batteries failed, the chassis/starting batteries or the coach batteries? I don't think "maintenance free" and AGM's are the same thing. Most cars have maintenance free batteries, but they are not AGM's. Same is probably true for your starting batteries, maintenance free but not AGM's.

Good luck going forward!
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:00 AM   #23
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bcbowers,

Others have had problems with battery cables shorting against the battery case or hold down clamps. See this link:

Battery system meltdown
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:57 AM   #24
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AGMs all the way. They cost more but that is completely offset by the lifespan. The advantages of faster charge, deeper discharge, less sulfation, shock and vibration-proof, no maintenance, no water-filling, no specific gravity meters, no pumps, no hydro-caps, no off-gassing, no corrosion, etc. nearly make it a no brainer, with one exception. One does need to have the $$$ up front, even if it does pay itself back.

I always hassled with wet cells on my last coach. Hated it, always something wrong, always needing water, always having to check them out, something needing replaced. My old AGMs are still humming along, ignored.

BTW the guy who owns Lifeline (probably the best AGM manufacturer) owns an Alpine, too. I heard (on irv2.com) he'll give Alpiners a discount. They are located in Azusa, CA, IIRC.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:26 AM   #25
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I have room for 3. What would y'all think, 3 12volts, 2 6volts or 2 6volts and 1 12 volt?
I have a new SRM27, I think that's the # with two, two year old Trojans 105 in the motor home. We live at Park Sierra and have golf carts with Trojans batteries, Would it be worth the money to take the 2 6volts out of the motor home and buy 2 12volt interstate? I can use the batteries at home. Just a thought. bill
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:29 AM   #26
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Muleskinner,

I replaced my wet-acid batteries with Interstate wet-acid batteries. A couple of things I noticed during the process are:

  • Interstate makes 3 different batteries that are dimensionally the same but have progressively more amp-hours. I think this may have been the U-2200, 2300, 2400 series but can't recall for sure. As I recall, I opted for the middle one, just to get more juice in the same size package.

  • My local retailer doesn't stock 6 at a time but got them within a couple of hours for me. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying enough attention to the lug style on top of the battery and the new batteries had a vertical threaded stud where the old batteries had a horizontal stud. I had to re-bend all my battery cables and almost had to replace one of them as it was just about too short. I searched the Interstate website high and low to find "nomenclature" to discuss the various lug connector types and didn't find anything conclusive. The moral of that story is not to assume anything!
As far as the water fill system, and how well it works, there seems to be a lot of variance. Some people report they haven't had any problems, others report they have had problems leading to battery failure. It is such a worry (is it working properly or not; did a float fall off in one cell or not; did the factory install the right length float rod or not; etc.) that I think the next time I need batteries I'll go with AGM and eliminate one more worry.

Best of luck with your decision!
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Old 01-29-2010, 04:12 PM   #27
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If you replace the coach batteries with AGM's will there be a problem with the chassis batteries if they are wet cell given that the inverter/charger will charge both sets of batteries when on shore power or generator, and the alternator will charge both sets when driving?
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Old 01-29-2010, 06:29 PM   #28
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Jim & Sandy- the combo AGM/flooded-starter setup has been the standard for anybody using AGMs, and most report 7-9 years w/the AGMs (whose longevity determines the real cost of batteries; i.e. if you kill off the starters somewhat early, their cost vs. the AGMs won't make much difference, but if the AGMs didn't last then the cost will be outa sight).

As to water fill system, my 06 worked flawlessly and I loved it. My 08 has leaker caps on a coupla batteries and whata mess. That's why I'm heading for AGM land when I replace them. I'm told Lifeline has some taller 6v batt's w/the same footprint as the Interstate U2200's, giving 300ah per vs the 220 per I-state. W/6 of those puppies I oughta be able to live in the woods a long time.
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