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Old 09-13-2019, 10:53 AM   #1
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AGM vs ETI 6V batteries

Hi all...

We're picking up our 21 in a couple weeks. As of right now, we're getting the ETI supplied 6 volt batteries. I've been reading lots on this forum about what a PITA it is to check the batteries in a 21. I've also seen "AGM" batteries referred to in several posts.

questions:
- what are the benefits of AGM batteries over the ETI supplied batteries?
- any thoughts on where we could pick up a set near Chilliwack?... or do you think we could have them shipped to ETI? Recommendations on sources?

Thanks for any info you can provide!
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Old 09-13-2019, 11:55 AM   #2
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Do as I did and request that the batteries be moved, maybe 3" to allow full access for checking the fluid level. It can be done...
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Old 09-13-2019, 11:57 AM   #3
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We had a 1st year (1996) Casita 17 SD. The only way to access the battery was from the driver's side bench access hatch, replacement of the battery with a lead acid battery required the bench removal. We did replace that battery with an AGM, at $450 it was exceedingly expensive for a 12 V 120 amp hr battery. We even managed to insert the new battery through the small across hatch by putting it on it's side. While the Escape 21 is not that difficult to access, AGM or lithium batteries are 2-4 times more expensive than conventional lead acid batteries.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:27 PM   #4
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I have Centennial AGM cb6-250 sealed that I had just bought on my old trailer. ETI let me bring them to orientation but they required pre approval so they know they fit in their battery box. They’re heavy but I never worry about power and almost always boondock. I’m not sure what brand ETI uses. It seems that you get what you pay for.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:53 PM   #5
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my factory-supplied 6v batteries were 5 years old. I replaced them with AGM batteries since I had been having issues with the propane detector going off.

As it turns out, there was either a leak in one of the batteries or I had spilled some of the fluid out when filling the batteries. There was fluid in the bottom of the battery box. When I lifted the batteries out and carried them to the car I must have gotten some battery acid on my jeans -- at least that is the best explanation for the holes that appeared in them the next day.

The Lifeline AGM batteries were expensive. Just over $800 + "2 Cores". But I was able to get them locally. If I were buying a new escape, I would specify AGM batteries.

I am not sure where the propane detector is in the latest 21s, but if it is right next to the battery box, I would also inquire and see if the detector could be moved to someplace less likely to go off when the batteries are being charged.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:12 PM   #6
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If you don't mind sitting or sleeping on a stewing cauldron of sulfuric acid that's constantly off gassing and your priority is to save some money then wet cell batteries are the way to go. Having witness what 6 volt wet cells can do a golf cart frame and a concrete floor I chose to spend more money. First get on line and do a bunch of research. Then make an educated decision based on your priorities and not my recommendations
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:14 PM   #7
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Best AGM 6V?

I too am picking up a new trailer in a few months and have requested they don't install the stock batteries. I plan to upgrade to AGM (in addition to the low maintenance, they also hold their charge a lot better when not in use and are not susceptible to freezing). My question for the Forum is what is the best 6V AGM to buy? Any suggestions?
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:16 PM   #8
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If you don't mind sitting or sleeping on a stewing cauldron of sulfuric acid that's constantly off gassing ... Having witness what 6 volt wet cells can do a golf cart frame and a concrete floor I chose to spend more money.
Ok. That did it.

Thank you all!
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:18 PM   #9
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I too am picking up a new trailer in a few months and have requested they don't install the stock batteries. I plan to upgrade to AGM (in addition to the low maintenance, they also hold their charge a lot better when not in use and are not susceptible to freezing). My question for the Forum is what is the best 6V AGM to buy? Any suggestions?
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:42 PM   #10
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Ok. That did it.

Thank you all!
One other battery chemistry you might research is carbon foam agm. More expensive than typical agm but deeper cycles and longer life. I thought about going in that direction and if I was a serious boondocker it would be either lithium or carbon foam agm. You can find the carbon foam at some boat supply shops in the Seattle area.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:49 PM   #11
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they are not susceptible to freezing).

Nor are lead acid batteries.


As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing temperature increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92.0oF. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16.0oF.
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:09 PM   #12
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You supposedly can take a lead acid battery "safely" down to 50% state of charge. A "wet cell" lead acid battery freeze point at 50% state of charge is minus 10 degrees F. "Been there and done that". I have a practically new 12v 88ah Interstate wet cell battery that will be given away free to the first person who will take the thing away
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:12 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sallemann View Post
Hi all...

We're picking up our 21 in a couple weeks. As of right now, we're getting the ETI supplied 6 volt batteries. I've been reading lots on this forum about what a PITA it is to check the batteries in a 21. I've also seen "AGM" batteries referred to in several posts.

questions:
- what are the benefits of AGM batteries over the ETI supplied batteries?
- any thoughts on where we could pick up a set near Chilliwack?... or do you think we could have them shipped to ETI? Recommendations on sources?

Thanks for any info you can provide!
I went with a pair of 12 Volt AGM batteries for the reasons others have mentioned: very little maintenance required, no gasses produced under normal conditions, a bit more resistant to over-discharge damage, lower self-discharge. My decision was biased by 2011(?) purchase of a similar battery for my electric trolling motor - still going strong. When I ordered my Escape I specified the single standard battery as the lowest cost option knowing that it was going to be given away shortly.

I was lucky enough to get some of the last Sears AGM batteries - rebranded Odyssey size 31 - for a very good price thanks to heavy discounting. Alas for poor Sears and future purchasers - the prices have about doubled. But if I had to do it again I would still want to purchase the same setup.
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:15 PM   #14
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I went with a pair of 12 Volt AGM batteries for the reasons others have mentioned: very little maintenance required, no gasses produced under normal conditions, a bit more resistant to over-discharge damage, lower self-discharge. My decision was biased by 2011(?) purchase of a similar battery for my electric trolling motor - still going strong. When I ordered my Escape I specified the single standard battery as the lowest cost option knowing that it was going to be given away shortly.

I was lucky enough to get some of the last Sears AGM batteries - rebranded Odyssey size 31 - for a very good price thanks to heavy discounting. Alas for poor Sears and future purchasers - the prices have about doubled. But if I had to do it again I would still want to purchase the same setup.
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Alan - why did you choose two 12V AGM instead of two 6V AGM?
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:54 PM   #15
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I too am picking up a new trailer in a few months and have requested they don't install the stock batteries. I plan to upgrade to AGM (in addition to the low maintenance, they also hold their charge a lot better when not in use and are not susceptible to freezing). My question for the Forum is what is the best 6V AGM to buy? Any suggestions?
I have Trojans (AGM) that I took to orientation and ETI installed them. Great batteries. They've been making them long enough to be good at it.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:36 PM   #16
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I plan to upgrade to AGM (in addition to the low maintenance, they also hold their charge a lot better when not in use and are not susceptible to freezing).
It is not true that AGM batteries are not susceptible to freezing, so I would not trust the source of this information. AGM and flooded batteries use the same water-based electrolyte, and the glass fibre mat in an AGM battery does not prevent the electrolyte from freezing. While AGM batteries may tolerate freezing better than flooded batteries, they do freeze if not adequately charged, and they are damaged by freezing.

The Trojan Battery User Guide covers both flooded and AGM types, and distinguishes between them for operational aspects where they differ, and makes no exception to protection from freezing for AGM. Trojan's warranty for AGM batteries excludes coverage of batteries damaged due to improper handling, operation and maintenance, including specifically if they are frozen.

The Odyssey owner's manual has a section on winter storage which claims that the battery will not freeze until -40 degrees, but it also requires that the battery be fully charged before storage and assumes that it will not self-discharge at all over a winter. Leave it discharged, put it in cold conditions, and you get a worthless frozen lump.

AGM still have advantages, including a lower rate of self-discharge (and thus a longer time to freeze), but immunity to freezing is not one of them.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:54 PM   #17
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AGM batteries can freeze and you absolutely should not use or charge a frozen battery but there is a big difference between an AGM and a flooded wet cell: "AGM batteries can withstand freezing - you will get little or no output from a frozen battery, but at least it will not ruin the battery or break the case."

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Old 09-13-2019, 06:02 PM   #18
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"AGM batteries can withstand freezing - you will get little or no output from a frozen battery, but at least it will not ruin the battery or break the case."

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That might seem true in Arizona (where it once in history got to -40 degrees in one place), but we have had a mobility scooter for about a decade, and I have only had to replace the AGM batteries after they have been left in the van with too little charge for winter conditions. The cases have never broken, and the batteries can be charged after thawing (both of which are also true for flooded automotive starting batteries, in my experience), but their capacity is largely lost. Tolerance of freezing will vary by brand, but survival without damage should not be assumed.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:30 PM   #19
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Alan - why did you choose two 12V AGM instead of two 6V AGM?
Primarily because of cost. Sears didn't offer a 6V AGM option and brand name AGM's cost considerably more.

There was no downside. A pair of 12V in parallel has roughly the same AH as a pair of 6V in series, assuming the pairs weighed the same.

I was worried that there might be some loss as each battery tried to charge the other (can't happen with series batteries), but I measured the circulating current over a weeks time and it approached 5 milliamps (0.005 Amp). This loss was compensated by a few minutes of solar per month from the roof mounted 160 watt panel. Non-issue...

If and when I switch to Lithium it will also be a parallel pair.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:49 PM   #20
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We used the two ETI supplied 6V's for one season. Upgraded to 2 GPL-4CT Lifeline AGM 6-volt batteries during the winter and donated the flooded Interstates to a friend who had a use for them. Basically, we wanted low maintenance and the opportunity to upgrade presented itself. I'm sure we could have run the Interstates for several years.
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