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Old 09-15-2019, 10:49 AM   #1
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Will my RV charge AGM batteries safely?

We're getting a 1996 36' travel supreme 5th wheel that has been covered and looks to be unused. A friend is selling it to us for a great deal. It needs two new batteries. I know on my boat charger I can select AGM or lead-acid. So my question is in the RV how do I know if the charging system will safely charge AGM correctly? To my knowledge the chargers are built into the fuse/breaker system. I will find it and get a model and brand asap.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:17 AM   #2
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AGM's will be ok....no lithium.....
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:19 AM   #3
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You need to identify exactly what converter/charger you have. My guess with a 96 model you will not have a decent converter. That is if it actually works. Good news, their fairly easy to replace. So, dont worry anout what you have and just buy a new one.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:31 AM   #4
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If you decide to update, Boondockers Best Converter is where I'd shop....
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:05 PM   #5
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In some cases you can slip that converter out of the fuse box and slip a new one in.

If not, disconnect the 120 volt power and wire a new converter in near the batteries.

As far as flooded or AGM batteries, they both charge close enough to use your charger.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:44 AM   #6
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AGM batteries are designed to be charged at a low rate and slowly. Unless your converter/charger can tell difference between an AGM and flooded battery it will charge the AGM like it's a flooded battery, which will work but it also will shorten the life of the battery. I can't recall the manufacturer of the converter in my 2012 Excel TT but they continually insisted that their charger would properly charge AGM's. They finally admitted that the thing couldn't tell the difference between the two batteries.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:28 AM   #7
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Regardless if it will or not, if its the original charger, replace it. Battery chargers are miles ahead of 1996
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:25 PM   #8
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Regardless if it will or not, if its the original charger, replace it. Battery chargers are miles ahead of 1996
How are they better? I'm a noob to RV charging theory and I'm not trying to be confrontational, but Usually I have seen chargers that get smarter, break faster and aren't as robust and powerful - when golf carts are inolved. The motherboards are not as good and not fixable like a 30 year old charger. Like smart welders vs heavy old welders. I have heard many opinions on old heavy golf cart chargers that last decades vs digital ones that can break easily. Also that the lower power used in charging is not the correct profile for deep cycle vs a 30 year old charger that is still working great and does higher amps. Now maintaining seems to be a different story, vs older can more easily boil off fluid/electrolyte compared to a modern one vs one that has smart float charging profiles. My knowledge is in golf carts though, where fast charging after a ride is easy and better at higher power. RVs I assume are always changing the need of the charge profile, esp often when you are home and use small amounts of power here and there for a light bulb etc. Just wondering why I should spend so much money for charging 2 batteries, and I'm not saying that to be condescending, but to get detailed answers. Also like others have said some good chargers don't really do what they claim.

I'm thinking, get a marine charger that charges AGM batteries, set it up off the 110v system, inside the battery compartment like a boat, and disconnect the older charger wires, but keep the system as is for simplicity and a back up some day. I am debating solar options as well, so options that are beneficial down the road for a solar system is the best path.

Like I said I'm a noob, so I welcome lots of opinions.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:07 AM   #9
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You hit the nail on the head with maintaining. Rv batteries sit for long periods. Months, sometime 6 to 8 months at a time. Maintenance charging , condition charging are far more important than restorative charging. While you want a charger that will get your batteries back to full state in a reasonable amount of time, What the charger does for the rest of the storage time is critical to battery life. Modern chargers are far superior to most 30 year old transformer driven chargers.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:40 PM   #10
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Back in the day, old buzzbox chargers put the hurt to batteries so what they had in durability was offset by their limited charge sophistication. How many sets of batteries does it take to break even on a charger replacement?

A flooded charger can ruin an AGM. The charging voltages are different. A few tenths of a volt doesn't seem like much and initially it will work "OK" but eventually the battery will decline and poop out, then you'll be cussing the cheap POS battery.

So if you're going to pay the AGM premium you really ought to get a compatible charger if for no other reason than to get whatever life you can out of these expensive batteries.


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Old 09-17-2019, 01:05 PM   #11
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What was said above. A good charger maintains and conditions the batteries. Thatís the most important issue.
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