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Old 09-10-2014, 04:11 PM   #1
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When are AGM's not AGM's?

Apparently when they're mine? Had my RV serviced today at an authorized Spartan service center and had what they called M1 service performed (basically 41 things to go over plus oil, filters, grease, etc.). One of the items is a load test of both chassis and house batteries and the mechanic comes to me and says you realize your batteries were just about dry? I said huh? He says yea, I had to put water in them. I stated they were AGM's and never heard of that. He then says, if you want to see how to do it, I'll show you. So of course I watched and he showed me how he opened the cell cover for my battery and explained the water level, using distilled water, etc.

I've attached two pics of my batteries which are NAPA Specialty batteries that say 6V-AGM. I've tried finding these on the web in the past and although I can easily find 8AGC2 battery types, zeroing in on the NAPA Specialty brand is elusive.

Got them from the dealer as part of my coach purchase (they stated they replaced the old ones with these new ones) and that was in Feb. this year. I've only once run them down to around 11.9v but since have maintained them above 12.1v.

Has anyone else encountered these types of batteries and the need to maintain the water levels in them? Mechanic said to check them at least once a month.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:37 PM   #2
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When are AGM's not AGM's?

"Do not attempt to open vents"
"Warranty void if opened"
"Sealed lead acid battery must be recycled"

I have never looked inside an AGM, but is it possible that they are somewhat dry inside, hence no spills?
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:46 PM   #3
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According to your battery label......"nonserviceable...do not open vents" your Spartan guy may have just ruined your batteries. I think I would the picture of your label and take it to NAPA and get the correct answer.
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:19 PM   #4
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Holy smoke!!!!!!!!!!


Agm are glass matt and starved electrolite as in there is not any.

Do not do anything to them do not touch them.

Do google manufacturer data from battery to get data sheet indicating they are really agm...proof so to speak then DEMAND UNDER NO UNCERTIAN TERMS REPLACEMENT WILL NEW...

I better stoo now as others can hear me yelling at phone!
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:22 PM   #5
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Looked at photo and they are agm and have zero water.

The person who did this just ruined your batteries.

NEVER REMOVE A COVER as AGM are alse VRLA or valve regulated and removing cover ruins it.

Google vrla to better understand...
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:57 PM   #6
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Someone said "It is possible they look dry inside"

That person must be a carpenter cause he sure hit the nail on the head.

I Have opened a set of AGM's (once I determined they were beyond hope) and that is exactly how they look.. Just like a dry flooded wet cell. There is very little liquid in an AGM and as the "A" implies it is absorbed into the glass mat (Absorption Glass Mat or Absorbed Glass Mat)

You do not EVER add distilled or anything else to them with one exception

When they are sold (or when they are put on the shelf) the DEALER may put in a carefully measured amount of electrolytic solution (Dilute Acid) The caps are then put on and normally they are designed to LOCK so they do not come off ever again.

Those batteries clearly say DO NOT OPEN VENTS both on the vent cap itself and on the printed label.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:03 PM   #7
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As Ricky Ricardo would have said, "Lucy......You got some esplanin' to do...." . Kinda feel sorry for the fool that opened these up. That will only cost the company about $300 or so....
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:04 PM   #8
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OK, all great feedback and only worse news for me.

A couple of Q's:

- What should I do for the immediate timeframe? I'm plugged into 50Amp and the Xantrex controller says Float Charging.

- I was planning on going to Hershey Friday evening and spending Saturday there. What impact does this have on that?

I'll follow-up with the vendor in the meantime and let them know what kind of mistake was made.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:09 PM   #9
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Separate issues - ruining batteries by doing the wrong thing with adding water - and killing your batteries by always starving them for electrons. mechanic may be guilty of the first, while you may be guilty of the second more heinous crime.

You say " I've only once run them down to around 11.9v but since have maintained them above 12.1v."

Yes, going down to 11.9V is better not done but a few times won't matter as long as they are FULLY CHARGED as soon as reasonably possible. However 12.1V resting voltage is also way under half charged and if that is your gold standard, and you have been doing this for many months, there is a pretty good chance the mechanic didn't do a lot of harm simply because they are well on the way to an early grave anyway.

If they supply you with new batteries - and you have a good case - you need to check the charging cycle and usage patterns to ensure they give you the several years good service that you can expect. If your charger or converter is cactus then get something decent to replace it. If you are parking it for months without any way of charging the battery then add enough solar to do the job - and while you are at it, install a Triklstart to keep the starting batteries in good shape.

Of course if 12.1 is just an occasional minimum and you get them charged up again asap then it is not so serious, although regularly going this low and delaying recharge for days, will reduce the life expectancy a bit.

Good luck with the service company.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Lee View Post
Separate issues - ruining batteries by doing the wrong thing with adding water - and killing your batteries by always starving them for electrons. mechanic may be guilty of the first, while you may be guilty of the second more heinous crime.

You say " I've only once run them down to around 11.9v but since have maintained them above 12.1v."

Yes, going down to 11.9V is better not done but a few times won't matter as long as they are FULLY CHARGED as soon as reasonably possible. However 12.1V resting voltage is also way under half charged and if that is your gold standard, and you have been doing this for many months, there is a pretty good chance the mechanic didn't do a lot of harm simply because they are well on the way to an early grave anyway.

If they supply you with new batteries - and you have a good case - you need to check the charging cycle and usage patterns to ensure they give you the several years good service that you can expect. If your charger or converter is cactus then get something decent to replace it. If you are parking it for months without any way of charging the battery then add enough solar to do the job - and while you are at it, install a Triklstart to keep the starting batteries in good shape.

Of course if 12.1 is just an occasional minimum and you get them charged up again asap then it is not so serious, although regularly going this low and delaying recharge for days, will reduce the life expectancy a bit.

Good luck with the service company.
I do not regularly run them down to 12.1v, just stating that I've never seen them go lower than 12.1v the two times I've boondocked since Feb. The 11.9v happened the first night I was driving home in the coach in a national forest where generator hours were restricted. Each case the generator was then started and they were fully re-charged.

All other times the bus is plugged in to a 50 amp circuit at home, running on generator or plugged into a campground. I do monitor them constantly (go in/out of RV all the time at home) so I'm pretty confident I've done nothing heinous to them

My coach also has a solar panel (that small one) for the chassis batteries.

Appreciate the wish for luck, sure hope they acknowledge the mistake made.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:50 PM   #11
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The info on the NAPA site is very strange - it says these are "Glass Mat" and "oxide paste" but also says the caps "makes... watering easy".

I've never seen an AGM with removable caps before either. I think NAPA has some explaining to do.

Quote:
Features and Benefits: Glass Mat, Dual-Insulation Deep-Pocket Envelope Separators Strengthen & Protect Plates To Prevent Shorting For Extended Service Life. Twist-&-Release Vent Cap System Makes Maintenance & Watering Easy By Removing The Caps In A Single Motion.
High-Density Oxide Paste Provides Longer Cycle Life To Keep Equipment Operating At Peak Performance. Heavy-Duty Offset Post Terminal w/ Stainless Steel Stud Allows Battery To Fit Virtually Any Application & Protects Against Corrosion & Failure.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
The info on the NAPA site is very strange - it says these are "Glass Mat" and "oxide paste" but also says the caps "makes... watering easy".

I've never seen an AGM with removable caps before either. I think NAPA has some explaining to do.
When the mechanic demonstrated to me what he did to put water in them, he first popped the cap off which looked easy enough, then he took a pair of channel lock pliers to pry the real cap off (the one that is sealing the contents of the battery).

I have no clue what was in there prior to this happening as he walked up to me sitting in the RV and stated my batteries were really dry so he added water to them. That's when I stated I never heard of that and he offered to show me how he did it (and did show me). At this point, they pretty much look like what a wet cell battery would look like with the water near the top of the battery itself (not up into the cap).
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:15 PM   #13
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For now try to use them if needed judt assume no capacity.

If they work fine.

If not them see if the vendor who did this can install something as a dofor until they can get brand new replacements.

Comments regarding discharge...

For most VRLA type batteries the voltage for full charge is 2.25 vpc or 13.5 volts and dead is from 1.65 for few to 1.85 vpc for others with 1.75 vpc or 10.5 volts as a general number for general theroy.

Batteries have a finite number of cycles and many believe only discharging to 12.2 or some other high voltage somehow is less stressful on the batteries and they last longer.

This may be true for some and false for others.

True deep cyvle batteries usually use 1.65 vpc as low point and are designed to go there.

Starting batteries are designed for short high loads so they may not do well at lower voltages.

Ups and telcom batteries each are designed for specific uses and the depth of discharge and how cycles count also differs.

None of this matters to the water added...batteries are gone.

Depth of discharge is dependent on the specific battery in use so please review the datasheet and if needed work with the manufacturer to best understand how to use your battery as stopping at 12.3 when 10.5 is okay just wastes the resource.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:28 AM   #14
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Sounds like the equivalent of bringing your car to a quick oil change joint and having the 16 year old kid forget to put the drain plug in. I would be camped out at their door waiting for them to open the next morning. Have them buy you the new batteries so you can leave on your trip.
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