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Old 03-04-2015, 04:15 PM   #1
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Lifeline Battery question

My Coach batteries are Lifeline AGM. They are on stacked 2 over 2. I have 110v shore power to power the battery charging through the inverter. If operating properly it should start out at Bulk Charging until the batteries are @ 80%, then taper off to Absorb Charge till they are @ 90% then go into Float Charge until they are @ 100%. I stopped by today to do some maintenance and could smell sulpher and when I opened the battery compartment the top outer battery was boiling and was almost too hot to touch. The case was slightly bulging as well. The next battery over was Luke warm to the touch while both lower batteries were fairly cool to the touch. I verified all the cabling was tight and connections were clean. Then I went inside and looked at the inverter. It indicated it was in Bulk Charge Mode. One thing I do not know is the age of the batteries. Lifeline says the date stamp is a small white label on the side, so it must be on the inside as I cannot find anything showing. The coach is a 2009. I should note I had both master power switches off. The owners manual says it will still charge the batteries with these master switches off.
Anyone have any ideas? Should I be looking at the inverter?Or batteries?
Bob
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Old 03-04-2015, 05:06 PM   #2
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Hi RVNewbie55,
The battery that was too hot to touch and bulging is ruined. Before any diagnostics can be done, all batteries must be in good condition. Consider the steps to be:
1. remove the batteries from the coach. WARNING take a picture, make a diagram and lablel where each wire goes before disconnecting wires from the batteries.
2. using a portable charger charge each battery fully
3. after removing the charger and letting the battery sit for a couple of hours, take a voltage reading
4. after the voltage reading load test each battery

Steps 3 and 4 can be done by you, with tools purchase at a local auto parts store. The local auto parts store will also do #3 and 4 usually at no charge.

Once complete, the state of each battery will be known. Now you can make a decision to replace or return the batteries to service. Since it is best that all batteries be the same age and type, consider if you replace any, replace all.

Once you have good and fully charged batteries installed in the coach, it is time to look at the converter (for you, it may be part of the inverter). Plug the coach into shore power and watch the first cycle or two closely.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:05 PM   #3
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Thanks Gary! I will pull them tomorrow and follow your suggestions.
Bob
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:17 PM   #4
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Before doing anything get some starting data.

If you smell battery stink and you have AGM/VRLA batteries you may be in trouble.

The batteries are sealed but do have a relief valve for outgasing which happens on overcurrent events.

Once material is released it cannot be put back...and if enough to make a stink you lost too much.

Given lifelines are higher quality built to "take it" you have something wrong.

You may be lucky and have a shorted cell in one battery causing excessive current in the rest resulting in the gassing or you have overcharging cooking all of them.

Lots of photos then take a few more.

Get a good ACCURATE voltmeter and return power status (all cords and switches) to what it was when you saw this.

Put on some glasses or goggles and have a helper to take notes is better.

Make a rough sketch of your batteries and label each in your drawing.

Now measure voltage across each battery and from each post ( + and -) to a good shiny spot.

Leave it running while you get ready to tear down.

After about 30 minutes take another set of readings.

Reason for this is if they change much than batteries are likely toast...likely toast anyway.

Float voltage should not exceed 13.6 or so.

If it reads over 14 verify it is in float.

If it is floating and over 14 the charging system needs to be repaired or adjusted.

Leave the batteries IN PLACE and address the over voltage.

Only after you get the charging system corrected you look at the batteries.

Yours are likely toast but they are good for in place units to get everything else fixed.

Then test them and replace as needed and monitor the voltage closely until you are certian it is fixed and stable.oh
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:19 AM   #5
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Batteries have basically 3 fail modes

HIGH RESISTANCE, they still take a full charge, but can barely light a light bulb,, Two bulbs and they get dim.

Low capacity,, they can light that light bulb,, for perhaps 5 minutes (Ok, I exagarrate a bit).

SHORTED CELL.. what you have evidence of. Your 12 volt battery becomes a 10 or 8 or 6 (Depending on how many cells short) AGMs are not SUPPOSED to do this, but alas, they can.

And you have a battery with at least one shorted cell. Step one is to disconnect that battery, since you have Group 31's you need only lift all the wires of one post,, if there is more than one wire hooked to that post, tie them together with a quarter inch bolt and insulate them. (Wrap with something insulating) you now have 3/4 the battery but you should be good till you get to the store,,, Keep a close eye on the lukewarm one,, Odds are it will cool off but odds are, after all, odds.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:03 AM   #6
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One more caveat. Make sure your inverter/charger is set to charge AGM batteries. If not, it's possible to over charge.
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:39 PM   #7
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Well, I got them out, and while I was told they were LifeLine (but all the labels were turned in) they are Rayovac Ultra Pro AGM. Although Rayovac is a comon name in batteries, I cannot find anything about a 4d AGM. Anybody ever heard of them?
Bob

Update to above: I called Rayovac and was told they allowed Batteries Plus to use their name on these types of batteries. So I called Batteries Plus and was told they dropped the Rayovac name 2+ years ago and now use the Duracell name. So, without paper work I'm out of luck on any poss. warranty.
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Old 03-05-2015, 03:52 PM   #8
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There is a date coded on the battery itself.. I'd go to B+ and see what they Say.. They may still have a record of the sale...

And if you paid with plastic... Your bank might have one too. Check with them. (or check).
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
There is a date coded on the battery itself.. I'd go to B+ and see what they Say.. They may still have a record of the sale...

And if you paid with plastic... Your bank might have one too. Check with them. (or check).
Unfortunately, they were purchased by a previous PO. I'm hoping to track him down but not holding my breath.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:59 PM   #10
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Forget warranty for now...

Having 35 years in this field I can state with good reason that warranty will not be valid on these due to your stated condition.

AGM are maintenance free but without documented maintenance you are out of luck in general.

The battery has a 10 year or more design life when installed in correct temperature range and in float service at the correct voltage and that voltage is checked 2 to 3 times a year minimum and documented.

Over voltage or over temp usually voids warranty.

Lifelines and certian pure lead red ones are different but yours are "generics" so to speak.

If the battery was sold under some name by some dealer the date code sets the start time and the dealer needs to honor the warranty....

But most warranties are only valid to original buyer which you are not.

Most standard auto batteries are just based on date code and original buyer not so important.

Your first priority is figure out what happened and go from there.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:19 AM   #11
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This seems like a simple case of a bad battery, i.e. a failed cell in one of them. It happens, and you don't know the history of use/abuse by the previous owner, or even the age of the batteries. If they came from B+, they aren't OEM. Why did you contact Battery Plus? Do you have something indicating the PO bought them there?

The normal Bulk-Absorption-Float charge cycle won't happen if the battery has a weak or shorted cell because the battery never reaches the voltage and amp-draw parameters needed to move to the float stage.

I think you need to replace the batteries and move on. And forget any warranty, for the reasons TQ60 stated.
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:54 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=Gary RVRoamer;2453818]This seems like a simple case of a bad battery, i.e. a failed cell in one of them. It happens, and you don't know the history of use/abuse by the previous owner, or even the age of the batteries. If they came from B+, they aren't OEM. Why did you contact Battery Plus? Do you have something indicating the PO bought them there?

As I said above, I called Rayovac and learned they had licensed their name to B+. I just got off the phone with B+ and they said since they quit using Rayovac's license over 2 years ago, it would be pointless for me to bring mine in as they were only warrantied for 1 year anyway. I'm leaning towards biting the bullet and going with Lifeline, but just got a price from Interstate and they are ~$50.00 less and they install for free. Any comments on Interstate AGM as to longevity and quality?
Bob
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Old 03-07-2015, 03:51 PM   #13
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Interstate doesn't make batteries either. I'm not sure who makes their AGMs - probably depends on whether you are talking about their 6v or 12v models. Last I heard, Interstate gets 6v batteries from US Battery. 12v might be from East Penn. In any case, they are probably as good as any. Just compare specs - some battery models have a lower RC or AH rating than others. They will also be lighter in weight (less lead inside).
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