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Old 12-16-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
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AGM House Batteries..

Hi Guys.

I am in the market for a new set of house batteries because the ones that came with my new 40G weren't properly maintained while on the dealer lot for a full year... admitted and acknowledged by the selling dealership. The selling dealership has agreed to reimburse me for the cost of new batteries, so that's good, but given the opportunity I'd like to upgrade to AGM batteries. Of course I will pay the difference between standard coach batteries and AGM's... but here's the rub.

The RV is at a different dealership for this (and other) repairs (I live 19 hrs. away from selling dealer). They estimated $202 per battery for their "usual" RV battery. Fair enough.. When I asked for the price for AGMs, they quoted me over $400 per battery!

Now a simple Google search for AGM RV batteries by Lifeline or Trojan shows me prices from $225-$270. So is this just a dealership trying to make huge profits or am I missing something??

The dealer also said that my entire charging system would need to be reprogrammed for AGM batteries--or possibly replaced. Come on now... it's a battery that has a different medium to hold the acid. Really??

TWO QUESTIONS please:
(1) Anyone out there purchase AGM's for their house battery bank that can tell me approx what you paid??
(2) Knowledgeable members care to comment on the charger question? Is this a real concern or dealer BS?

Rob
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:45 AM   #2
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I paid a little over $300 each for Lifeline AGM's last summer, with free shipping (3 day) worked out to be cheaper than Trojans from a local distributor. Yes the battery charger should be reset for AGM batteries. Check your charger owners manual, mine was fairly easy to reset (Xantrex inverter/charger).
Got mine here: http://www.powerstridebattery.com/li...le-agm-battery

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:57 AM   #3
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my charger didn't need to be changed, but check your owners manual. if it does it's an easy process.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Statgeek View Post
TWO QUESTIONS please:
(1) Anyone out there purchase AGM's for their house battery bank that can tell me approx what you paid??
(2) Knowledgeable members care to comment on the charger question? Is this a real concern or dealer BS?
(1) I bought four Fullriver DC220-6 Group 27 6-volt AGM batteries for $1,100 from Battery Systems. Battery Systems - The Single Source Solution! Sources for Fullriver batteries can be found here: Fullriver Battery Two year full replacement warranty, followed by three year prorated warranty.
(2) Your new AGM batteries will have specific charging parameters that will have to be set on your charger. Different AGM brands can have very different settings, so you must use those specified by your battery manufacturer.
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
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Powerstride Battery is a good source for Lifeline AGM's. I got six from them last summer. There has been one small price increase since then.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for this info guys..

I have a follow-up question on AGM's versus standard wet cells. I just got off the phone with Fleetwood and asked if my charging system was compatible (my manuals are all on the RV so I can't check myself!, and I was calling for another bigger issue anyway). He said that it was compatible, but would require changing some settings from "wet cell" to "AGM." [No mention that different brands of AGM's may have different charging parameters, so I'll have to look further into that...]

But he also cautioned me that there is a down side to AGMs. He said that while they are maintenance free from the point of not having to add water, if the batteries ever get drained down to below about 11.4 v (he wasn't sure on the exact number), that they were DEAD and could not be revived. This is in contrast to wet cells, that could probably be brought back to life with a deep charge. He also said that they used to sell a lot of AGMs a few years ago but not so much anymore because of this, and that he see "a lot of guys" switching back to wet cells after owning AGMs.

Note that this was from Fleetwood, not from any dealer, and they have no skin in this game. I don't think they were trying to influence me away from AGMs purely out of saving cash, as it's not their cash that is at stake here.

Is this your understanding of the AGM technology too? That they are extremely sensitive to being discharged and cannot be recharged?
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
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On a little different note, we used a lot of AGM batteries in the military and yes the system to charge them is different. As far as the AGM's dropping below 11.4 volts and being dead, that is a cat of a different color. We were able to bring back to life most AGM's that were will below this level. However it did take a special charger and many hours of charge time.
There are many reasons that one might want to switch to AGM batteries but I am not sure there are worth the extra cost/maintenance. There are a lot of MH owners that do use them and they are happy with how the AGM's function. I would be concerned about using AGM batteries and boon docking. There are time that our lead acid batteries get well below 11.0 volts, but running the generator and they are back to normal levels.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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Lifeline has an excellent documentation section. Try looking here:
http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/manual.pdf
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:47 PM   #9
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Suggest you check with golf car dealers in your area.... most of them use a lot of batteries and can get AGM's for you. I recently purchased six Full River 6V GC2 AGM batteries from a local Yamaha golf car dealer since he had the best price. Full River, Trojan, and Deka make AGM batteries and the prices were similar. Another option is Sam's Club has Duracell (made by Deka) AGM GC2 batteries (they also have Duracell lead-acid GC2 batteries). Sam's Club price was less than Full River or Trojan but none of them in my immediate area had them in stock.

Your inverter/charger can be programmed for AGM charging parameters. I have auto gen start and have it set to come on if the house battery level falls to 12.2 volts so I plan to avoid deeply discharging them.

They are pricey but, for me, it was worth it not to have to deal with adding water and having the out-gassing and corrosion you normally get in the battery bay with standard flooded cell batteries.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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Hi don't know your location Rob, be I went to the distributer in Azusa California and with cash got a smoking deal for 6 Lifeline AGM's. Pm me and i'll tell you more.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:57 PM   #11
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I have 6 Full River 6v house batteries and the charging specs are the same as lead acid batteries. Maximum charge voltage for a 12v pair is 14.9v. I have my Magnum converter/inverter set at 14.8v the highest voltage setting it has. Same with my solar system 14.8v max charge voltage. They accept 110a of charge amperage just fine.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Statgeek View Post
...........

"............But he also cautioned me that there is a down side to AGMs. He said that while they are maintenance free from the point of not having to add water, if the batteries ever get drained down to below about 11.4 v (he wasn't sure on the exact number), that they were DEAD and could not be revived.

The guy is blowing smoke up your shorts. I have on occasion, run mine down below 11 volts and have not experienced any deleterious results. I also note that my Lifeline 8D's are now 10 years old.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:36 PM   #13
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Thanks guys. So I'm a victim of smoke blown up my shorts? Or at least, almost! I will work to find a local source and go that route.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:43 PM   #14
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It should tell charger manual to turn off the equalizer mode for AGM batteries. Never equalize AGM the way lead acid batteries are done.

Chuck
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