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Northstar AGM batteries

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I need to replace my 6 AGM  Group 31 house batteries, I am considering several brands including Lifeline, but I have not heard much good or bad about Northstar AGM battteries. Does anyone have any, and what is your experience with them?

 

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If you want to save some money go to Sams Club(I assume Costco also has them). We bought 4 Group 31 AGM, Delco brand, $179 each.............You may need to go to a couple of Sams Club if you want to buy them all at the same time, or else order them.

We have had no problems, had them for a year now.

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I bought a used 2013 Winnebago Journey about 18 months ago. After boondocking last winter in FL everglades I realized that the batteries were being discharged quicker than expected. After testing them I found out that 2 were shot, and they were pulling the others down. So, in short, the batteries (NAPA 9831DT) installed by Winnebago are about 5 1/2 years old.  Don't know if the previous owner left them depleted. I believe he stored the coach part of the year.

 

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2 hours ago, SWharton said:

I am surprised that Winnebago installed AGM batteries, especially in a 2013.

I am also very surprised that Winnebago would buy batteries from NAPA, rather than directly in bulk from a manufacture.

NAPA just buys batteries from a manufacture and has them slap the NAPA label on them.

 

Edited by Al F

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We had a fuse blow on our levelers, went to the dealer to replace(2 weeks old), we wetn to buy an extra fuse, it was a NAPA fuse!!! We declined and wrote down the numbers. Dealer wanted $11, NAPA store $3.

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10 hours ago, Kstar said:

I bought a used 2013 Winnebago Journey about 18 months ago. After boondocking last winter in FL everglades I realized that the batteries were being discharged quicker than expected. After testing them I found out that 2 were shot, and they were pulling the others down. So, in short, the batteries (NAPA 9831DT) installed by Winnebago are about 5 1/2 years old.  Don't know if the previous owner left them depleted. I believe he stored the coach part of the year.

 

When you replace your batteries, but sure to add a battery monitor such as a Trimetric:  http://www.bogartengineering.com/products/trimetrics.html

Without the monitor you have no way to know just how many amp hours (AH) you have used and most importantly put back in the batteries. 

If the batteries are not brought to 100% full every week or so, the batteries will sulfate over a couple to a few months of use and greatly reduce the capacity of the battery bank. 

Hopefully you have 400-600 watts of solar panels to keep your batteries charged.  It is unusual for folks to run the generator the number of hours required to get the batteries to 100% charged. 

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Poster landyacht318, on RV.Net's Tech forum, has had many positive comments on a Northstar AGM he has. 

As I recall, they use thin plate tech, vs say Lifeline's use of thicker plates. I considered two Grp 31 Northstar for Starter duty in our coach. But ended up using the Lifeline's 8D Starter battery instead. 

You might to do a search on RV.Net for either Northstar or landyachts318 threads, and read what he has to say about them. Many cycles of usage, is what I recall, and still holding pretty good on the percentage of output. 

Best of luck to you:)!

Smitty

Here's one thread where he talks about his Northstar:

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/29592946/gotomsg/29594869.cfm#29594869

 

 

Edited by Smitty77_7

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16 minutes ago, Smitty77_7 said:

Poster landyacht318, on RV.Net's Tech forum, has had many positive comments on a Northstar AGM he has. 

As I recall, they use thin plate tech, vs say Lifeline's use of thicker plates. I considered two Grp 31 Northstar for Starter duty in our coach. But ended up using the Lifeline's 8D Starter battery instead. 

You might to do a search on RV.Net for either Northstar or landyachts318 threads, and read what he has to say about them. Many cycles of usage, is what I recall, and still holding pretty good on the percentage of output. 

Best of luck to you:)!

Smitty

Here's one thread where he talks about his Northstar:

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/29592946/gotomsg/29594869.cfm#29594869

 

 

Here is the Northstar battery info from the link above:

Quote
Posted: 03/20/18 12:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My single, 90Ah Northstar AGM, at ~750 Deep cycles and 51 months of age accepts 65 amps for 19 minutes before reaching absorption voltage, and it alway holds higher voltage under load for the same Ah removed from it after the high amp blast.

I've seen it suck up 105 amps from my alternator.

I think many people are still stuck on the 'trickle charge' is always best mentality, and some others think that a lower voltage just takes longer.

Sometimes I plug in my Meanwell when it is set at 13.6v from floating previously, and do not bother with raising the voltage. My Ammeter reading amps into battery will at some point read +0.0 amps, and my AH counter will still read several AH from full, but it is accepting 0.0x amps. Then when I crank up voltage to 14.7 it is accepting 7 amps, and then takes ~2.5 more hours for amps to taper to 0.45 or less.

So obviously 13.6v will not fully charge my battery at this stage in its life, no matter how long it is applied.

I will hypothesize that with more age/abuse/accumulated cycles, the more pressure is needed, and for longer, and that battery manufacturer specs never account for what the battery requires once it has grown longer in the tooth. 

If I had an Automatic smart charger, I would not have been able to discern anything, but manual Pressure control and watching the amps flow is so revealing, that my previous ignorance is embarassing. 

Some comments about the Northstar battery info

--  750 deep cycles (note that no info is provided about depth of dishcharge) is not a high number of cycles.  A common 6V golf cart battery for about $90 each is good for around 2000 cycles if discharged 25% (75% full) and about 1000 cycles if discharged 50%.  Trojan rates their batteries about 3000/1500 cycles respectively.  At the end of the cycles, stated above, that still leaves the battery with about 80% of its capacity from when it was new. 

--  The absorb charge for deep cycle batteries should be at 14.5V to 14.8V.  Charging at 13.x volts is a very inefficient way to charge deep cycle batteries. 

--  About Northstar's  thin plates versus Lifeline thick plates. Thin plates make the Northstar a very poor choice for RV house batteries.  True deep cycle batteries have thick plates to be able to withstand the deeper discharge.  Thin plates are used in starting batteries which are designed for very heavy short duration discharge followed by immediate recharge.   That is a 90AH starting battery (although you don't typically rate a starting battery by AH) is designed to be discharged at 200-300 amps if needed for a few seconds.  A deep cycle battery is designed to be discharge at 10-25% rate (for a 90AH battery that would be 9amps to 22amps) longer time.  The time period would be until the battery is discharged up to 25% or 50%. 

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I agree with Al's assessment on thin plate vs thick plate. And yes, I was considering them for 'Starter/Chassis' duty - not deep cycle. I believe LY318, in other threads, commented that he too would not recommend them for heavy lifting house battery duty(?). But, that he'd been surprised at how well they were holding up, and was using it for house duty. 

And I should have stipulated that the reason I went with the Lifeline's 8D Starter battery, was so that I'd have a common set of Lifeline's - all set with the same charging voltages and timeframes. And, I've had good luck with my Lifeline's - and found the company to be a very standup place to do business with. Solid tech support too... (I walked down the first set of X's 4 L16's I had, due to not fully understanding the way Magnum's MS2812 AGM2 Charging Setting worked. I had 'Finish' set to Multi, as we have a Solar Panel bank and MidNite Classic 150 in the mix. Where I blew it, was while in storage, I'd turn off the Classic 150, and let the MS2812 maintain the House Bank (With Smart Battery Combiner also in the mix, maintaining the Chassis.) The MS2812's Finish 'Multi' logic is that once the House Bank has gone into Full Charge condition. It then waits until the bank is down to 12.6V before then going into Float Mode for a maximum of four hours only. With an 800AH bank, and dropping the Lifeline AGM's down to 12.6V - four hours of Float would not bring them back up to full charge. So when stored for say two or three months, the battery would slowly walk down in SOC, and without getting back to full charge, it seems sulfating did occur on my bank of a batteries. (We leave all power on, including the Inverter for in case of power outages, to keep the Samsung Fridge running.) I mentioned great tech support by Lifeline. Their tech walked me thru different attempts to salvage my about 5 1/2 year old Lifeline's. They came back some, but not enough that I wanted to travel with them for boon docking. So even out of warranty, and even though I self inflicted the damage - they offered me a generous discount on a replacement set. (I was close enough to drive up their warehouse and pick them up. Left my old batteries, as the Tech wanted to hit them hard with some of their heavier duty chargers - to see if they would come back more. (Do not know the outcome on that exercise.). Magnum has also been great work with. I now have the MS2812 Finish set to Float. So when the bank has become Fully Charged, they're maintained in Float Mode after that. This new bank has been doing quite well so far. Finally, I set my Classic 150 to 'Ending Amp's' (4A for our battery bank.), and the Controller goes to Float Mode once that value has been met. So the end result is both the Solar and Magnum are rapidly moving into Float Mode maintenance while in storage. I also now do a monthly exercise of the bank while in storage. I run the bank down to about 85% SOC, which then kicks of a full Bulk/Absorb cycle, to keep the juices stirred up:)! (My term, but basically putting some juice thru the bank to avoid sulfating the bank.). 

Northstar's may be also good for House Duty, but not how I see thin plate application batteries being used. 

Best to all,

Smitty

 

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