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Old 09-16-2011, 11:22 AM   #1
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Forest River Owners Club
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Location: Red Deer Ab
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House batteries

Howdy from Alberta Canada

I posted earlier and asked about frozen house batteries and got the answer that they should be replaced. The fellow we purchased the MH from put Gel Cell batteries in. My question is are they suitable for house batteries? Also we put the MH in storeage for winter 41/2 months and I will take the batteries out and charge them throughout the winter. Can Gel Cell and Acid batteries be charged in series with one charger.

Thanks for the help

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Old 09-16-2011, 12:34 PM   #2
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Hi George,
This is what I've found on the internet on "gel cell" batteries. Gel cell batteries can be charged in a bank configuration as long as the rate of charge conforms to what is stated below.

Gelled batteries, or "Gel Cells" contain acid that has been "gelled" by the addition of Silica Gel, turning the acid into a solid mass that looks like gooey Jell-O. The advantage of these batteries is that it is impossible to spill acid even if they are broken. However, there are several disadvantages. One is that they must be charged at a slower rate (C/20) to prevent excess gas from damaging the cells. They cannot be fast charged on a conventional automotive charger or they may be permanently damaged. This is not usually a problem with solar electric systems, but if an auxiliary generator or inverter bulk charger is used, current must be limited to the manufacturers specifications. Most better inverters commonly used in solar electric systems can be set to limit charging current to the batteries.
Some other disadvantages of gel cells is that they must be charged at a lower voltage (2/10th's less) than flooded or AGM batteries. If overcharged, voids can develop in the gel which will never heal, causing a loss in battery capacity. In hot climates, water loss can be enough over 2-4 years to cause premature battery death. It is for this and other reasons that we no longer sell any of the gelled cells except for replacement use. The newer AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries have all the advantages (and then some) of gelled, with none of the disadvantages.

2007 Newmar DSDP 4023
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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I too would recommend AGM over gel.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:57 AM   #4
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my 2 ea 4+ year old lifeline agm gpl-6ct 300 amp batteries mounted on their sides in my stairwell are performing well. i expect to get at least 10 years service with them.

Lifeline GPL-6CT Battery
01 WINNEBAGO 35U W20.8.1L SW Wa, Hi. Good Sam, SKP. AMSOIL fluids. BANKS ecm program. SCAN GAUGE II w/ Ally temp. 2 LIFELINE GPL-6CT AGM Batts on their sides. TST tptts. K&N panel air filter. AERO mufflers. TAYLOR plug wires. ULTRA POWER track bar. KONI fsd shocks, toad '14 smart car
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:01 PM   #5
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I kind of wonder where you get Gel Cells in 12 volt or big six volt formats, Kind of rare

NO, Gel's are not good for RV use, They are the fussiest of batteries, Need very tender loving care when it comes to charge and electrical maintenance.

That said: Many people call AGM batteries GEL (I say that because I have seen it happen right here on the forums many times)

AGM's are about as far from GEL as you can get.. Though they share some features.

Differences: IN a GEL battery the electrolytic is a gel, kind of like jello, But like Jello it can still flow a little, Very very slowly, but if the plates push againste it it moves out of the way. AGM's use a fiberglass mat, that "Absorbes" the liquid electrolytic, (Absorption Glass Mat or Absorbed Glass Mat = AGM) this is not as "Giving " as the Gel is if the plates try to move, makes a battery that can take more physicl abuse.

GEL, is, as I said, the fussiest of the big 12 volt or big six volt (Big being more than 10 amp hours) formats, AGM, The most forgiving when it comes to re-charge.

Common feature: IN both cases the battery can be mounted on end, on it's side, upside down, cockeyed, no "This side up" label.

OPTIMA batteries are not GEL (I have seen people her ecall them Gel) they re AGM, sprial wound, and are also a bad choice for house batteries due to the fact that they have sixty percent of the capacity of the same size AGM or "Other" type.

This is due to the shape of the cells, by the way 73 percent is the therotical sice of optima but per the battery company web page. 50 percent is all that is there.

Example: Group 27 Standard, (Flooded wet, maintence free or AGM) about 100 AH.
Group 27 Optima: 60

My recommendations: 1: Avoid GEL

2: If easy access for maintenance (Cleaning and watering, Distilled only please) Flooded wet cells, If and only IF you have the room GC-2 (Golf Car) batteries from Sam's Club may be the best Bang for your Buck.. If access is an issue then:

Maintenence Free

If mounting is a problem then: AGM.
Home is where I park it!
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