New unit ... no battery yet .. what would you recommend?

Discussion in 'A-Frame PopUps' started by Mswalleye, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. razcob

    razcob Member

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    I appreciate the opinions, knowledge and experience of the forum members here. We all mean well, based on our experiences, but I was told on this forum to buy a wet, deep cycle battery and since my trip to Alaska and back, I can say, from my experience that an AGM battery is better. It lasts longer, where my wet, deep cell only made it half way through the night. I contacted the manufacturer of our power converters and they recommended an AGM, as long as it meets the charging requirements of the charger. I now have an AGM deep cell battery and it functions through the night and into the morning.
     
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on your needs and what works for you. Some dont need a battery or a minimalistic one just for breaks. Others need more. Alaska is cold , so i can see how much of the advice can change with climate. Just as it will with power draw. Whats good for one isnt always good for the other. Glad you found something that worked for you!
     
  3. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    There is no practical capacity difference between an AGM and wet cell of the same size. Not sure what you are using it for, but a good group 31 battery (which is what you should have if you have larger loads) lasts a long time. I can actually go 10 days on my group 31, but then I have minimal loads for lights and recharging.
     
  4. razcob

    razcob Member

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    I have no knowledge of batteries, other than my personal experience, but it seems that the wet cell would not charge fully, while I drove during the day. I believe the hotter days I experienced before I was enroute to AK affected its charging rate. The AGM seems to fully charge quicker, so it is able to last the night.
     
  5. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    An AGM battery actually requires a higher voltage for charging, so the above doesn't make sense. Are you charging only from driving? What gauge is your charging wire? Most folks usually charge off of their converter while plugged in, but nothing wrong with charging while driving, but you need the correct gauge charging wire and good connections.
     
  6. Tikker

    Tikker Member

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    telco guy who specialized in battery maintenance for several years

    the gel cells have a life expectancy of 5 years

    wet cells are 20+

    way more maintenance on a wet cell of course, and for a trailer I'd use a gel every day of the week, but a wet cell is generally a far superior battery
     
  7. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    So it would seem that Mswalleye, like Elvis, has left the building as the above was her last post on the subject, about 2 months ago - no report back as to what she actually ended up with. [::)] For anyone else bothering to continue to read this thread I'd install an AGM, just as I did with our Coachmen travel trailer last spring - no maintenance, other than proper charging of course, and I could mount it in the trailer's front pass through storage compartment where the inverter was also installed, resulting in very short cable connections between the two for minimum voltage drop under heavy inverter load. [A] It's a G31 but next one I buy will be a G24 as there's a spot in the engine compartment of my Silverado for a second battery so if needed I can always push a bit back into the battery while driving around. A DC>DC charger would make this really effective but I'd only make that investment if we intended to do a lot of dry camping, otherwise I'll just take what I can get with direct charging the battery from the vehicle - in a pinch it's better than nothing. :wink:
     
  8. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Sure there is - since the vehicle's electrical system is voltage regulated for maintaining it's own starting battery trying to charge a trailer deep cycle battery directly from the vehicle, even using short, really heavy gauge cables, will only be marginally effective - better than nothing but certainly won't fully recharge the battery. If one is serious about using the vehicle to charge a deep cycle trailer battery the solution is to invest in a DC>DC charger which is purpose designed for this purpose. The CTEK 250S is one such example ...

    https://smartercharger.com/products/batterychargers/ctek-d250s-dual-2/

    In vehicle chargers by Redarc are another ...

    https://redarcelectronics.com/collections/in-vehicle-battery-chargers-isolators
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  9. mark30

    mark30 Member

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    This is one of the reasons I am considering getting a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery; looking at getting a 100 Ah Battle Born battery. Higher up front cost, but should more than pay for itself in the long run. The following article discusses the benefits of LiFePO4 batteries: https://www.solacity.com/how-to-keep-lifepo4-lithium-ion-batteries-happy/
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Ouch those things are $950. I'm not sure how you would cycle them enough to make it worth it in the long run, $$$$-wise.
    Even if you're merciless on a flooded GC2 you get 300 cycles out of one. If you deep discharge your camper batteries 30 times a year, you still get 10 years out of them. In reality they'll age-out vs cycling-out in about 7 years.
    I like the LiFePO4 batteries for their weight and the fact that there's no 50% rule. It's more like the 5% rule.
    In 5-7 years I'll replace my GC2s for a total of $185.
    Don't get me wrong, if I had the money I'd have a pair or more of those things on the tongue. But I'd be real sure about using money saving as a "pro" before plunking down $950 for just the battery + a BMS.
     
  11. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Any trailer battery is only HALF the story, the other half being the charger you're using to recharge and maintain that battery. So - do you have a charger suitable for maintaining that expensive LiFePO4 battery?
     
  12. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I got a group 31 Optima blue top AGM battery in my clipper plus a group 24 red top for the engine. They work great and I've had no problems. I got them on the advice of my boss who has been using the same AGM in his rig for over 10 years now and it's still going strong.

    My FnR has a deep cycle wet cell. We'll see how they compare. I will say that I far prefer the no maintenance part of the AGM. Just one less thing to worry about.
     
  13. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    I have heard this before, but my personal experience is different. For a week long trip to Yellowstone a couple years ago, i made a special pigtail that plugged into my 7 pin connector and had battery clamps on the other end. Each morning, i would pull the battery off the tongue and put it in the bed of the TV. I would hook up the battery to the pigtail and it would charge the battery as we spent the day driving around the park. Each night when we got back to camp, I had a fully charged battery.
     
  14. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    Regardless that you may get some charge back into your trailer battery via the 7-pin Bargman the fact remains that the vehicle's voltage regulator limits voltage well below what is required to properly bulk charge a trailer deep cycle battery. There's also significant voltage drop caused by the wiring to the vehicle's 7-pin so a better solution would be to locate the trailer battery at the front of your truck and use short, heavy gauge cables to connect to it. With my 2012 Silverado that would be easy as it has an empty tray next to the underhood fuse box that will accept a G24 battery so it's an option I'm considering for myself, even though this does nothing to solve the voltage regulation issue. The BEST solution is a purpose designed DC > DC charger but one would have to be charging this way often to justify the significant cost of one of these chargers.
     
  15. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    I'm just going to keep doing what works. Thanks all the same.
     
  16. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    For sure, if you're happy with the results there's no reason to change. That said, your trailer battery may be charged enough to get you through another night but it's highly unlikely it's "fully charged". The logical question therefore is - how do you know it is "fully charged" at the end of the day? Unless you read the specific gravity of each cell or measure the battery's no load output voltage after the surface charge has bled off you don't know what the battery's SOC really is.
     
  17. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

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    My comfort level reading the output voltage with my multimeter is good enough.
     
  18. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    And for others reading this that's just the point - recharging your trailer battery via the Bargman's thin gauge +/- charge line while driving around during the day may be "good enough" for you but it's certainly not "fully charged" ... if it were we'd all be doing it and there'd be little reason for RVrs to use gensets for this purpose. For those who are serious about using this method rather than a genset there's only one method that actually will properly recharge a trailer's deep cycle battery with the tow vehicle - equipping the vehicle with a DC > DC charger designed specifically for this purpose. Believe it, these products do exist for a reason. ;)

    https://www.ctek.com/products/on-board/d250sa

    https://www.redarc.com.au/battery-chargers/in-vehicle-chargers
     
  19. mark30

    mark30 Member

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    Checked with the manufacturer (WFCO) of Aliner's converter, and was told the converter will charge the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries 90 to 95%. Not fully charging these further extends their already amazing longevity. Also, the Battle Born battery is marketed as being a drop-in replacement for lead-acid batteries, and the Battle Born has a built-in battery management system (BMS) which is a major plus. Also planning on using a solar charger, with a programmable Victron solar charge controller that has a pre-programmed setting for LiFePO4 batteries.

    The down-sides I can think of regarding the LiFePO4 batteries is the high initial purchase price, the -20 C (-4 F) minimum storage/usage temperature, which means there is a need to remove the battery during winter storage in cold climates, and can't charge them when the temperature is below freezing (this last point is not an issue for my intended application). In all other ways, these LiFePO4 batteries seem superior to lead acid (better charging efficiency, lower weight, longer life, etc.).
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. They are superior in every way. No doubt. Just $950. Ouch. Hey, but if you got it, go for it. you won't regret their performance.
     

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