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What Battery to Choose for Upgrade?


gypsydan
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I have a 27' class C with one 175w solar panel. The RV is only capable of holding 2 group 27 batteries. For the past year I've been using Interstate RV/Marine batteries from COSTCO ($80 each).

I know I need better batteries, but am unclear on which to get, so am looking for the EXPEREINCES you have had with your choice in batteries. At this point, Lithium batteries are out of my budget range for having only one panel, and I can't fugure out where to install Golf Cart batteries. But maybe I'm selling myself short by not considering Lithium

Because of its ability to withstand a slow discharge down to 80% I am therefore looking at GEL as being the best for my use of only LED lights, laptop, printer. refrig, and sometimes heater. My need is of course to have high AH reserves at night. I only boondock while on the road.

If, when, I go to a larger rig, or different model (A, or 5th), I can look at Golf Cart batteries, or maybe Lithium. 

There are many GEL type batteries on the market, so I am wondering what experiences people have had with their make/model of GEL battery. Is any make better than others? I'm not interested in getting Interstate batteries.

I hope everyone is having a good Holiday Season, and that everyone has a profitable and plentiful New Year.

Edited by gypsydan
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Take a look at this article. https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles/battery-articles/gel-vs-agm.html  I would decide between flooded lead acid and agm. If you are going to go flooded lead acid again I would go for a good brand like Full River. The same for AGM. Another option on lithium is to make your own pack. Buy 4 100 amp hr lifepo4 cells and connect them. Check ebay.  You may want to consider relocating your batteries also and then you could use the 6 volt golf care batteries.

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Dan, I recently upgraded (I have 950 solar watts and 450 battery amp hours, four lead acid Trojan T-105's) but didn't want to go Lithium OR flooded lead acid again where I had to keep an eye on water level plus worry about proper venting of the hazardous fumes  soooooooooooooooo I opted for AGM. I looked at Lifeline and FullRiver and came across Renogy 12 Volt 200 Amp Hour 4G AGM batteries, but on the Renogy Website they were like $399. I checked Walmart and they delivered two of them to a local Walmart free shipping and even loaded them (129 lbs) in the back of my car for under $250 each !!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Of course Lead Acid or AGM or Lithium all have advantages as well as disadvantages and what to use is strictly a persons own choice. Just because  l opted for AGM  doesn't mean they are best for you or anyone else, to each their own. So far my two are working fine and no more worry with water level and less venting concerns.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Renogy-Deep-Cycle-AGM-Battery-12-Volt-200Ah/900928791

NOTE they also make a much smaller (maybe fit in your compartment???) 12 volt 100 Amp Hour AGM, check them out on Walmart also !!!!!!!!!!!! Heres the Renogy info, but its muchhhhhhhhh cheaper to buy on Walmart and may fit in your box just fine. Two of these smaller frame batteries in parallel will double the Amp Hours, be AGM versus lead acid,  and maybe fit in your existing compartment???

https://www.renogy.com/renogy-deep-cycle-agm-battery-12-volt-100ah/

PS The cheaper so called RV/Marine batteries are usually NOT full true Deep Cycles but semi Deep Cycle designed to start a sometimes huge outboard and then run a trolling motor. If they will physically fit in your compartment I HIGHLY RECOMMEND full true Deep Cycle (like Golf Cart) batteries be they Lead Acid or AGM....

John T  Happy New Year, live from Avon Park Florida where its been in the eighties, I had to run the AC lol

 

Edited by oldjohnt
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20 hours ago, gypsydan said:

I have a 27' class C with one 175w solar panel. The RV is only capable of holding 2 group 27 batteries.

It sounds as though you have a similar problem to what I had with our former class A. The coach batteries were located under the inside step and when I attempted to upgrade from 2 parallel 12V deep cycle batteries to a pair of 6V golf cart batteries, the batteries would fit but the cart batteries were taller and the step would not close. As a result, I stayed with 12V deep cycle. We were not big on dry camping so that was a minor issue but if you want to be free of the power cord you probably should consider an upgrade. I would get away from the marine batteries but you may be limited in what you can use unless you are able to go at least somewhat larger. Check the physical dimensions of any battery that you consider as I failed to consider the height when I measured so bought 2 batteries that I could not use and then had to go back and swap them. 

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Unless you want to build your Lithium battery bank (And, in a stairwell, be sure to understand the impact of cold/heat on Lithium.), I'd probably go the AGM route. Your sized Solar Panel size will charge AGM's faster then Wet, so that's a plus.

Lifeline - Well, they have a reputation they've earned. (100AH X's 2 = 200 AH's)

Fullriver - Same yield of 200AH's from the combine bank. And another battery with happy owners. 

VMAX - Grp 27's AGM Deep Cycles? Well, I've been pleased with the performance of a smaller VMAX we use with our electric motor serving our Kayak. They show a higher rating or 110AH's, so that would give you 220AH's. Supposed to be a true dee cycle, and the price would probably be a bit lower too. 

Do the math on the different batteries prices, warranties - go grab some, and then forget about them for awhile!!! And have some fun...

Best to you,

Smitty

 

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The big plus with lithium is the flat charging rate. Charge up so much faster. Also voltage don't vary noticeable as they go down. They ate costly though. In the long run, probably cost about same as AGMs. You would have to replace the AGM while the lithium still strong. They are a smaller footprint also.

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6 hours ago, Smitty77_7 said:

Lifeline - Well, they have a reputation they've earned. (100AH X's 2 = 200 AH's)

Fullriver - Same yield of 200AH's from the combine bank. And another battery with happy owners. 

VMAX - Grp 27's AGM Deep Cycles? Well, I've been pleased with the performance of a smaller VMAX we use with our electric motor serving our Kayak. They show a higher rating or 110AH's, so that would give you 220AH's. Supposed to be a true dee cycle, and the price would probably be a bit lower too. 

Good comparison Smitty, for yet one more choice, check out https://www.walmart.com/ip/Renogy-Deep-Cycle-AGM-Battery-12-Volt-200Ah/900928791  Group Size 4D, 129 lbs, 208 Amp Hours at the 20 Hr Rate, around $250 free shipping to Walmart.  Of which so far I'm well pleased, only time will tell.

Or in a smaller size https://www.renogy.com/renogy-deep-cycle-agm-battery-12-volt-100ah/  12 Volt 100 Amp Hours AGM

And of course all the Lithium choices including but not limited to Battle Born

No shortage of choices out there, its fun to spend others money lol

John T

 

Edited by oldjohnt
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So much to do before going full-time, of which batteries is only one  I wanted the info before going to Q in a couple of weeks, where I was planning on upgrading  my batteries  

I just did some more research and saw where AGM apparently outsells GEL by 100:1, but didn’t fully understand why. Some friends have been using 2 GEL batteries for, I think, 8+ years without a problem. As was said above, it ends up being a personal choice, as apparently all AGM and GEL batteries are pretty much the same. I’ve heard  many private brands are  built by one company under specs from these private labels  

I only heard Lifeline and Forrest River mentioned as brands people have  I know there are more, like DEKA, which I’m curious if anyone uses that brand  

  Thanks for the input.  Dan

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11 hours ago, gypsydan said:

I only heard Lifeline and Forrest River mentioned as brands people have  I know there are more, like DEKA, which I’m curious if anyone uses that brand  

Mornin Dan, I've read (but no warranty) several different branded batteries are actually made by Deka or Johnson Controls or Exide. I researched Lifeline and Optima and Forrest River and Trojan when I upgraded to AGM, but chose and currently using Renogy (made by ?? $245 for 12 Volt 208 Amp Hour Group 4D free delivery to Walmart) and so far they are great, but sorry NO I haven't used Deka as you asked...….Hopefully, some of the other fine gents have used DEKA and can answer your question...……….

John T 

Edited by oldjohnt
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I, as well a many Country Coach owner's (And coach owner's too:)!), have received good input on different batteries from Tom. His prices were spot on on my last battery purchase (I was lucky, as I could drive up to the Lifeline warehouse to pick my set up.). Tom also now can provide Fullriver's too. 

He's a straight shooter, and it never hurts to talk with a knowledgeable source:)! 

Deka - Well, they're usually liked by their owners. My only experience was that I had Deka Starting Wet 8D and Wet House 8D batteries in my coach when I bought it. I know by the receipt they were just over 2 years old, and I had hoped to get about 3 years more out of the house. Not so, ended up replacing them within 4-6 months, as they could not recover and hold a charge. (Now, this is not intended as a ding on Deka's. I suspect the previous owner, who was a 'get in and drive' kind of owner - abused them.) 

As far as choosing a battery. Many just go for the best bang for the buck per AH. Other's like to go with a battery that has a solid reputation for quality as well as great customer support. Those in the later, willing pay more then the rock bottom price that the first group will find. And it's fine for either group to do things they way they do. Sort of like gas, I only run Shell or Chevron in our car. Other's shop for the lower price at the pump they can find. And that's what makes an economy, people choosing where and how they want to spend their money:)!

Back to batteries:)! Sometimes the lowest or even medium priced battery, is not as good a bargain as a more expensive one - IF, that higher costing battery delivers superior quality, many times high AH's, and superior customer service - the expense can be warranted

Best of luck to you still on your research... 

Smitty

On edit: Meant to include a link to Tom at Trans-Specialist:)!

http://www.trans-specialists.net

Edited by Smitty77_7
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I'm a full-time boondocker and I've been using four Battle Born lithium iron batteries for a couple of years now, they replaced four 6 V Trojans, and I absolutely love them . There's all kinds of great things about them but the first thing I noticed is all four of my Battle Born batteries weigh slightly more than one of my Trojans. The only downside is, and it's a big one, they cost an arm, a leg, and a couple of other body parts, none of which I was using at the moment. But other than that there the best batteries I've ever used.

Theboondork

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1 hour ago, theboondork said:

I'm a full-time boondocker and I've been using four Battle Born lithium iron batteries for a couple of years now, they replaced four 6 V Trojans, and I absolutely love them . There's all kinds of great things about them but the first thing I noticed is all four of my Battle Born batteries weigh slightly more than one of my Trojans. The only downside is, and it's a big one, they cost an arm, a leg, and a couple of other body parts, none of which I was using at the moment. But other than that there the best batteries I've ever used.

Theboondork

Agree 100%. Lots of money, but 10 year warranty, and they charge up way faster. 

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Gel batteries are my choice over AGM. But both must be installed as a system. The charging must be matched to the battery type. They are an expensive battery to abuse. I have Duracell labeled East Penn EGC2 batteries in my bank. Lead acid golf cart battery, wet cell,  are so forgiving. They are accessible to check the water and keeping the tops clean. 

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  • 1 month later...


   

Battery Type

Cost

Voltage

AMP/H

Useable

Amp/h

Useable

watt/h

Depth Discharge

Cycles

Cost per cycle

AGM

               

Lifeline GPL-4CT

$378

$756

6 v

220

55

660

55%

1000

.75

Lithium

               

Battle Born LiePO4

$1049

$2098

12v

200

200

1280

80%

2500

.83

Wet Lead Acid

               

Interstate

               

GC2-ECL-UTL

$153

$316

6v

225

60

700

55%

1000

.31

                 

Explanation of some of the numbers --- 
1. Under cost you'll see two numbers first number is the cost of one battery the second is the cost of two.  
2. Cost per cycle is the cost divided by number of advertised cycles of said battery.  
Observations and thoughts
A. Wet Lead Acid and AGM's should be recharged back to 100% as soon as possible.   Lithium can be at any discharged state without harm.
B. Lithium can be used at any temperature but can not be charge at 32 or below.  
C. If use  usable amp/hours by cycles for AGM  I'd get 55,000 at a cost of  about .02 per a/h, Lithium 500,000 at a cost about .004 per a/h, Wet Lead Acid 60,000 at a cost of about .005 per a/h

Some notes and explanation about my methodology in this study .....

I gathered a rather random set of different types of batteries I might be using to replace the AGM's the factory installed.   I live in the Pacific Northwest on the wet side of the mountains with a rather mild climate ie nothing extreme in seasonal patterns.  A few days a year below freezing and a few days above 100.   I wanted to have 'drop in' replacement ie just change to  the new batteries without any major electrical changes.   I used on public information.  I assumed prefect condition on battery use.  
The 6V batteries would  be  wired in series so the voltage will be 12V and the Amp/hour would  stay the same.  The 12V batteries would be wired in parallel so Amp/hour will double but voltage will stay the same.  zBattery.com | Connecting-Batteries-in-Series-or-Parallel  
I took the usable amp/hour times the number of cycles to get what I call maximum life capacity.  
It the case of a Wet Lead Acid in my example that would be a usable* 60 amp/h times 1000 cycles for a total of 60,000 amp/hour over the lifetime of said battery.   Then I divided the total cost of said battery by the number of cycles ie $316/60,000 = 0.005166 cents per cycle.
It the case of a Lithium (Battle Born) in my example that would be usable 200 amp/h times 2500 cycles for a total of 500,000 amp/hour over the lifetime of said battery.   Then I divided the total cost of said battery by the number of cycles ie $2098/500000 = 0.004196 cents per cycle.

*usable capacity mean what a person can reasonably use without killing  the battery.  

Edited by colddog15
correct a typo
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1 hour ago, colddog15 said:


   

Battery Type

Cost

Voltage

AMP/H

Useable

Amp/h

Useable

watt/h

Depth Discharge

Cycles

Cost per cycle

AGM

               

Lifeline GPL-4CT

$378

$756

6 v

220

55

660

55%

1000

.75

Lithium

               

Battle Born LiePO4

$1049

$2098

12v

200

200

1280

80%

2500

.83

Wet Lead Acid

               

Interstate

               

GC2-ECL-UTL

$153

$316

6v

225

60

700

55%

1000

.31

                 

Explanation of some of the numbers --- 
1. Under cost you'll see two numbers first number is the cost of one battery the second is the cost of two.  
2. Cost per cycle is the cost divided by number of advertised cycles of said battery.  
Observations and thoughts
A. Wet Lead Acid and AGM's should be recharged back to 100% as soon as possible.   Lithium can be at any discharged state without harm.
B. Lithium can be used at any temperature but can not be charge at 32 or below.  
C. If use  usable amp/hours by cycles for AGM  I'd get 55,000 at a cost of  about .02 per a/h, Lithium 500,000 at a cost about .004 per a/h, Wet Lead Acid 60,000 at a cost of about .005 per a/h

Some notes and explanation about my methodology in this study .....

I gathered a rather random set of different types of batteries I might be using to replace the AGM's the factory installed.   I live in the Pacific Northwest on the wet side of the mountains with a rather mild climate ie nothing extreme in seasonal patterns.  A few days a year below freezing and a few days above 100.   I wanted to have 'drop in' replacement ie just change to  the new batteries without any major electrical changes.   I used on public information.  I assumed prefect condition on battery use.  
The 6V batteries would  be  wired in series so the voltage will be 12V and the Amp/hour would  stay the same.  The 12V batteries would be wired in parallel so Amp/hour will double but voltage will stay the same.  zBattery.com | Connecting-Batteries-in-Series-or-Parallel  
I took the usable amp/hour times the number of cycles to get what I call maximum life capacity.  
It the case of a Wet Lead Acid in my example that would be a usable* 60 amp/h times 1000 cycles for a total of 60,000 amp/hour over the lifetime of said battery.   Then I divided the total cost of said battery by the number of cycles ie $316/60,000 = 0.005166 cents per cycle.
It the case of a Lithium (Battle Born) in my example that would be usable 200 amp/h times 2500 cycles for a total of 500,000 amp/hour over the lifetime of said battery.   Then I divided the total cost of said battery by the number of cycles ie $2098/500000 = 0.004196 cents per cycle.

*usable capacity mean what a person can reasonably use without killing  the battery.  

Battle Born's can be discharged to 100%  and can be recycled from 100% discharge for many thousands of cycles. Best to do your research before buying, They do have a full 10 year warranty. They can take a charge down to 24 f, and if in a compartment with a small heat source to keep it above 24 f, no problems. They are $950 each shipped, and even cheaper if you find them on sale. 200 a/h's of batteries weigh about 60 pounds

https://battlebornbatteries.com/faq/

Edited by jcussen
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