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Old 07-13-2008, 08:32 PM   #1
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We are experiencing a couple of our house batteries beginning to swell a little on the sides. Looking at old posts on this forum, I read where this is an indication of imminent failure.

Since the batteries have water in them, can somebody enlighten me on the cause of the swelling -- batteries not venting properly, deterioration, or whatever? And is this a sign of imminent failure? Batteries will be 3 years old in September, and so far have held the charge well and continue to do so.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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We are experiencing a couple of our house batteries beginning to swell a little on the sides. Looking at old posts on this forum, I read where this is an indication of imminent failure.

Since the batteries have water in them, can somebody enlighten me on the cause of the swelling -- batteries not venting properly, deterioration, or whatever? And is this a sign of imminent failure? Batteries will be 3 years old in September, and so far have held the charge well and continue to do so.
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:54 AM   #3
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Old Forester, regardless of the reasons that your batteries are swollen they are shot. Turn off any form of charging that is going to them and replace all of your batteries. Odds are they were low on water and overcooked themselves. The also may be a little warm. They truly could be a very dangerous issue if they are continued to be charged in any way.
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Old 07-14-2008, 05:49 AM   #4
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Discharged batteries that were once frozen during cold weather also swell. Either way - (overheating, overcharging, or freezing) they will need to be replaced. You might want to consider AGMs this time. They cost a bit more but there are tremendous advantages to them.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback on the batteries; it's what I suspected. I have been having trouble trying to get them to take water consistently through the battery fill system, and stopped charging them a couple days ago.

I would like to replace them with AGM batteries and toss the battery fill system.

Does somebody have a preferred brand and capacity of AGM batteries they would recommend so that I end up close to what I've had with the 8 golf carts batteries in the coach?
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:16 PM   #6
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On my '04 Bus I replaced my flooded golf cart batteries with Concorde Lifeline 6 volt AMG batteries - same size and rating. I couldn't find them around so I called up their website and gave them a phone call at 1 (800) 527-3224. They then offered to sell me direct. Another close supplier for them was www.altenergystore.com but they were out of them.
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:32 PM   #7
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OldForester,

I had eight 6 volt Concorde Lifeline AGM batteries installed in my 2006 Alpine at the factory before I picked it up. After 26 months now, I'm extremely pleased with them.

I never have to water them. I never have any out-gassing or corrosion. Due to less internal resistance, they charge much faster than the regular golf cart batteries. The 8 batteries provide 880 amp-hours of capacity.

The owner of Lifeline batteries also has a 2006 Alpine Coach in which he had Lifeline batteries installed.

If you have AGM batteries installed, be SURE that the installer knows to change the Xantrex charging parameters to specifiy AGM.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:04 PM   #8
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I have both Lifeline (Azusa, CA) and Sears Optima batteries (any store). They all work great.

I did years of battles and replacements with my last coach and would never use flooded cell again. The price is worth it and has easily paid for itself.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:37 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input on the ConCorde Lifeline AGM batteries. Dale, the 880 total amp hours info was helpful since the factory flooded cell batteries are each 125 amp hours. So it looks like a little less total capacity but a faster recharge cycle, which with the solar panels should work great.

The place I was planning to buy the batteries and have them installed (where I bought the coach) carries Interstate batteries and says they do a lot of Interstate AGM replacements for flooded cell batteries.

Does anybody have experience with Interstate AGMs, in case I have to go with them instead of Concorde Lifelines?
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:05 AM   #10
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I have 12 Interstate AGMs in my 42' Bus. I use Interstate batteries in all my construction equipment and have had great success with them. However, the AGMs in my current RV are DCS-88 batteries. They are 12 volt 88 A-H batteries, not the 6 volt 220 A-H golf cart style batteries.

I would have prefered the 6 volt GC type batteries because they are more robust but the coach came with 8 of the DCS-88s so I just added 4 more. The 6 volt batteries are a different size than the DCS-88 so it would not have been an easy swap to replace them all - not too mention the extra money involved.

The Concorde Lifelines are the best around but if you had to go with Interstates it wouldn't be that bad of a move.

Also, while a 6 volt AGM battery and a flooded battery may be rated for the same identical amp-hrs, you will get more runtime from an AGM than a flooded battery. The reason is that you should not draw a flooded battery down below 50% of it's charge. As you use current, the voltage in that battery gradually drops. Once you get to the 50% charge level, the voltage will be too low to effectively run anything. Plus it stresses the battery at those lower voltages. An AGM battery also loses voltage as it is used but the voltage drop is much flatter and farther. Therefore you can draw down an AGM battery longer than a flooded battery. On tests on my 2004 Bus, where I made the flooded to AGM change, I found that I gained about 30% in actual battery runtime with the AGMs over flooded. That's basically free amps. Just like adding extra batteries but not having to physically install them.
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:29 AM   #11
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I bought six MK Battery 8AGC2 AGM batteries about a year ago, and have been happy with them so far. They are the 6 volt golf cart 220 Ah type battery. They are basically the same size, except that they are about 1/4 inch lower in height. I had to put a shim under the hold down strap. (The 12v chassis batteries are slightly higher.)

As Dale said, if you change to AGM batteries from any manufacturer, make sure to change the charging settings on the Xantrex. Otherwise your expensive new batteries may be damaged. There is also a setting for the total amp-hours in the bank. Make sure that is correct as well if you are changing the Ah capacity.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:40 PM   #12
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Cruzer, Jim, Dale--

You guys are a lot of help! Thanks for taking the time to help me with the posts. I am trying to get a quote from Lifeline, but I have the coach scheduled into the dealer tomorrow to replace the batteries and he's done a fair amount of research on the Interstate batteries he always uses. He also gets whatever he needs from Interstate in 2 hours or so and gives a good warranty.

The current batteries are Powervolt 6 volt deep cycle with 125 reserve capacity and 235 amp hours cold cranking capacity. The replacement AGMS from Interstate have reserve capacity of well over 250 (can't remember the exact number) and 225 amp hours of cold cranking capacity. I haven't ordered them yet because I'm going to try to get a quote from Lifeline direct in the morning before I take the coach in for the replacement.

Cruzer, I especially appreciate the comments on the drain-down effect of the AGMs. I have noticed we have a lot of power on our golf cart batteries but they tend to go down to the point where the AGS comes on relatively quickly (like withing a few hours on minimal use). It's like they hold the upper half of the charge really well and don't hold the lower half like they should.

One thing that gave me sticker shock was the price. The dealer quoted me $307 per battery, or $2456 plus tax and installation labor at $110 /hour. It is a job I could easily install myself but I don't have a lot of time currently, and I don't want to take care of the core return if I have to. Plus my dealer has excellent technicians that know Alpines and stands behind everything he has done to our coach in the past.

The dealer says batteries have gone up a lot in the last 6 months to a year, and I can check around but I'll find they're a lot more expensive than they used to be.

Has anybody bought these kind of AGM batteries with this capacity lately and have any other views on price?

Thanks in advance for your help--and I will check the Xantrex setting to make sure it's charging as it's supposed to and handling the total load like it's intended -- again thanks for the heads up on it.
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:39 AM   #13
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Bstteries have gone up in price lately. It's all due to the fact that they have lead in them. Lead, as well as most other metals, is in high demand and prices have risen.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:15 AM   #14
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For what its worth, I just did a quick Google search and found the MK Battery 8AGC2 in the $230-$250 range online. I paid around $185 about this time last year, so the prices have definitely gone up. So the $307 price is probably not too far out of line. When I bought mine, the Lifetime battery quote I got was higher than the MK. I bought mine directly from MK Battery in Anaheim, CA, and picked them up. They also took the old ones. I did the installation myself, so I can't tell you how well the installation price compares.

Hope this helps a little.
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