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Old 11-09-2005, 06:09 AM   #1
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FWIW....Heard a mechanic tell a customer to get ride of his "maintenance free" battery in the RV.

On examination the mechanic said that these are great in cars but a problem in RV's. When an RV is parked and on constant trickle charge the electrolite can "cook off" slowly and if allowed to continue....will burn and/or wharp plates.

You can't see what level the fluid is at,and even if you could, there is no access to add water.

Neither can they be tested for specific gravity for the same reason.

Sounds reasonable to me....any comments.
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Old 11-09-2005, 06:09 AM   #2
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FWIW....Heard a mechanic tell a customer to get ride of his "maintenance free" battery in the RV.

On examination the mechanic said that these are great in cars but a problem in RV's. When an RV is parked and on constant trickle charge the electrolite can "cook off" slowly and if allowed to continue....will burn and/or wharp plates.

You can't see what level the fluid is at,and even if you could, there is no access to add water.

Neither can they be tested for specific gravity for the same reason.

Sounds reasonable to me....any comments.
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Old 11-09-2005, 06:42 AM   #3
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Certianly makes sense for the coach batteries and most coach batteries are not maintainence free for the reason you site. However a maintainence free battery should be ok for chassis battery, as in most set ups the chassis battery is not charging when plugged in to shore power. Most MHs come with maintainence free chassis battery and non maintainence free coach batteries.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:08 AM   #4
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I guess this doesn't apply to AGM, or GelCell batteries, which are also "maintenance Free".
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:55 AM   #5
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Opinions are like noses, everyone had them. Our maintainence free starting batteries only last 6 to 8 years with an Echo Charge and hooked to power 90 plus percent of the time.
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Old 11-10-2005, 06:18 AM   #6
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I am not familiar with gel cell. If you know something about them.....I'm interested.
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Old 11-11-2005, 04:35 PM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">FWIW....Heard a mechanic tell a customer to get ride of his "maintenance free" battery in the RV. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think the statement is far too general. There are maintenace free deep cycles that work just fine, the AGM being the most notable example. However, there are gel-type deep cycles as well.

If he is talking about standard automotive starting batteries there may be some truth, but starting batteries aren't going to last very long anyway. Maybe a couple years at most. The thin plates in a starting battery will often warp under heavy discharge/recharge usage anyway, so it doesn't make much difference if it is a gel type (maintenance free) or flooded cell.
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Old 11-11-2005, 04:46 PM   #8
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my 1996 kountrystar mh came with maintenance free batteries for starting the diesel and they lasted for 6 years. i replaced them with the same kind and no problem. i am plugged into 120 volt 365 days per year. the correct charger will not boil the batteries dry nor cause them to fail. correct charger is the key..mine is the 75 amp converter-charger that came with the mh.
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Old 11-12-2005, 05:47 AM   #9
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I'm not sure I have it right...Are maintenance free batteries all gel or is a gel batteery a seperate breed.

Anyway the mech's point was not using M/F as the house batteries.

Obviously, M/F's work fine as cranking units because I have had them on lots of cars I've owned. They usually last 4-5 years but under this usage they don't get the deep discharge and charge
cycling that a house battery on a coach will.
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Old 11-12-2005, 08:06 PM   #10
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Maintenance-free batteries are any that do not require the addition of electrolyte to keep them operational. Technically that includes quite a few battery technologies (e.g. nicad or lithium) but as generally used in these discussions the term "maintenance free" is applied to types of lead acid batteries that are sealed and do not require the occasional addition of water.

The most common maintenance free lead acid battery is the sealed gel battery, in which the electrolyte (acid) is suspended in a silica gel the consistencey of a paste. Another type is the AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) in which the electrolyte is held in an absorbant material. You can think of it as a sponge, though that would probably horrify battery engineers. Both these types are sealed (i.e."valve-regulated") batteries, which prevents spillage as well as helping to preserve the electrolyte and avoiding contamination.

I suppose there may be special purpose gel electrolyte batteries that are not considered maintenance free, but those are outside the realm of a discussion like this. For practical purposes, gel lead acid batteries are "maintenance free", but not all maintenance free batteries are gel cells. AGM batteries are also "maintenance free".

Does that help or merely muddy the waters further?
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Old 11-13-2005, 05:11 AM   #11
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Actually that makes the topic very clear. You do know your batteries......

That's why a forum like this is so great.
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:52 AM   #12
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Well here are my two cents. For what it's worth, a mechanic friend that has worked at a local golf course believes that any battery that has removable caps on the cells, regardless if it's advertised as "maintenance free" should be checked periodically for loss of electrolyte. He uses "maintenance free" batteries on all of the mowers and maintenance equipment only, he doesn't do golf carts. He checks all of the batteries and has had to add electrolyte to many if not all at one time or another.

Personally, after 30 years in the Telecommunications industry, whenever anyone tells me "this will never fail" or "no maintenance is required" a red flag goes up ! It's easy to check the electrolyte level and HG, an ounce of prevention, etc etc.

Happy traveling!!!!
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