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Old 02-27-2005, 12:58 PM   #1
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I HAVE QUESTIONS ON THE AGM BATTERIES ARTICLE ON PAGE 51 OF THE NOV; O4 MOTORHOME MAGAZINE. HAS ANYONE READ THAT ARTICLE ? MOTORHOME SEEMS TO THINK IT IS A GREAT BATTERY. I HAVEN'T CHECKED THE COST AS OF YET:WE PLAN ON KEEPING OUR RV. WOULD I BE BETTER OFF BUYING BATTERIES THAT WOULD GIVE ME A LOT MORE POWER BUT GREATER EXPENSE OR EVERY 3 TO 4 YEARS BUY THE STANDARD WET CELL WITH LOWER POWER OUTPUT?
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Old 02-27-2005, 12:58 PM   #2
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I HAVE QUESTIONS ON THE AGM BATTERIES ARTICLE ON PAGE 51 OF THE NOV; O4 MOTORHOME MAGAZINE. HAS ANYONE READ THAT ARTICLE ? MOTORHOME SEEMS TO THINK IT IS A GREAT BATTERY. I HAVEN'T CHECKED THE COST AS OF YET:WE PLAN ON KEEPING OUR RV. WOULD I BE BETTER OFF BUYING BATTERIES THAT WOULD GIVE ME A LOT MORE POWER BUT GREATER EXPENSE OR EVERY 3 TO 4 YEARS BUY THE STANDARD WET CELL WITH LOWER POWER OUTPUT?
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Old 02-27-2005, 08:30 PM   #3
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AGM batteries are heavier, and more sensitive to charging methods. However, they can be used in enclosed spaces whereas flooded batteries require ventilation.
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Old 02-28-2005, 03:22 AM   #4
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Our rig came with them as standard equipment, and it's nice not having to keep checking water levels. if you do change to them, make sure that your charging system can be set up properly to accept them.
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Old 02-28-2005, 04:42 PM   #5
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AGM batteries won't give you any more power than a wet cell battery of similar size. The size of the lead plates is the governing factor and they are essentially the same for any given battery case size. The advantage is as others have stated: they are sealed, do not give off acid or gases, and will last several years withno maintenance. They also cost about 50% more than a good quality wet cell of similar capacity, so there is a steep price for these qualities.

On a price performance basis, you can't beat golf cart 6V wet cells, but you have to do the maintenance, i.e. check the water and refill as needed. But if you do it, they will also last several years and will be substantially less expensive than AGMs.

If you can't discipline yourself to do battery maintenance, you could go with the standard "RV/Marine deep cycle" and buy the lowest priced one you can find. Figure on replacing them every 2-3 years. The 7-year cost will be close to that of AGMs, but you pay as you go rather than up front. And most people don't keep an RV for 7 years either, so maybe you get anew rig with new batteries somewhere along the line.

I have two banks of batteries in my rig. One is 6V golf carts in a ventilated battery compartment and the other (added on) is AGMs in an unvented compartment.
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Old 02-28-2005, 05:43 PM   #6
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I thought I had better go to the rig and check what batteries came with it. They are Trojans 105. I called a dealer in our area and they said that they were pretty good as long as I didn't do a lot of dry camping, which we don't do. So guess I will stay with the Trojans 105.
Thanks for all your info.
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Old 02-28-2005, 05:57 PM   #7
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Rv Roamer,

Interesting that you have 2 kinds of batteries. How do you handle the charging? I'm under the impression that the 2 types have to be charged differently.
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Old 03-01-2005, 02:57 AM   #8
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For thsoe that want to do their homework on batteries here are some links that will help:
http://www.dcbattery.com/faq.html#1
http://www.usbattery.com/care.htm
http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Bat...ery%20Charging
www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm
Unlike Gelcells they can be charged faster and can be installed in any position. You have to be doing a lot of dry camping for there to be a big advantage over the lead acid as RV Roamer has stated.
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:35 AM   #9
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Another advantage not listed. AGM can be "mounted" in any position. For myself, being able to place them on their side allowed me to put six in where I previously had room for only four. Do a fair amount of dry camping, thus increased my usuable amp hours.
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Old 03-01-2005, 12:13 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">How do you handle the charging? I'm under the impression that the 2 types have to be charged differently. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Mixing the two types is not ideal, but is hardly a disaster either. In my case, I had to have valve-regulated batteries for the unvented second bank and I wasn't about to discard perfectly good two year old T105s to change them over to AGMs. Some research showed that it probably wasn't going to be a problem anyway.

For best results, AGM and gel batteries should be held to a lower max voltage than wet cells. The generally accepted figure is about 14.0-14.1 volts. My charging system (an IOTA DLS90) regulates to about 13.7VDC under most all charging conditions, so I am well under the recommended voltage for both types (short periods of higher votage should not be a problem). My biggest concern is while driving. Like most automotive systems, my engine alternator is set to a fixed output of about 14.3-14.4 VDC. However, there seems to be enough voltage drop in the charging line to the house batteries that the voltage I see there stays at or under 14 most of the time the engine is running. I've seen it go higher once in awhile, but not often enough to make me worry. It may be that the batteries themselves represent enough load to hold the alternator voltage down.

AGMs will actually accept more current (amps) than wet cells, so charging current is not an issue. I'm more likely to over-amp the T105's than the AGMs.

The important thing to remember here is that there are no magic pass/fail numbers for voltage, amperage, max discharge percentage, etc. There is a range of values for each parameter that will generally lead to a long, healthy battery life. The more often you exceed those values, and the greater the amount of excess, the shorter the battery's life will be.

In short, the types can be mixed with care under some conditions. The recommendations to avoid mixing altogether is a cautious one that seeks to eliminate any potential problem in a wide variety of circumstances. I'm cheating and I don't think I'm paying a big price for it. Check with me in about 5 years and I'll let you know for sure!
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Old 03-01-2005, 12:17 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">They are Trojans 105. I called a dealer in our area and they said that they were pretty good as long as I didn't do a lot of dry camping, </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I wouldn't take any more battery questions to THAT dealer! A Trojan T105 (6V golf car battery) is one of the sturdiest, longest lived batteries going. Those who boondock all the time usually insist on T105's because of their large capacity, high cycle count and supurb rates of charge and discharge. Keep water in them and they should easily last seven years of hard use.
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