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Old 04-01-2016, 01:44 PM   #11
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I assume there are differences between brands. Are there any that folks would recommend. I would have to see if they are available around here too, as it is something I would want to buy local, or at least know they are sold locally.

I also realize I am preferably looking for deep cycle only, and not the marine ones, that combine starting power with deep cycle.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:13 PM   #12
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I think the initial post is an excellent summary (although the low self-discharge rate is listed twice). The ability to be placed on the side is missing (as mentioned later), but that is not likely important. They are also generally capable of very high current for their size (that's related to the low internal resistance; more about current later).

The only error that I see here is this one:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
- Not damaged by freezing at low discharge state...
While AGM batteries are probably more resistant to freezing damage, they are not immune. I have had to replace AGM batteries in a mobility scooter when they were left in the van with a charge level too low to withstand low temperatures. Given their cost, this is worth avoiding...

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Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Think you cam mount AGM's on their side too.
Yes... usually any position that doesn't put the relief vent on the bottom; the vent is usually on the face which is normally the top. This could be handy for packaging in your available space, but usually doesn't help much because the width is very similar to the height in most common battery case sizes. Would it help to stand them on end?

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Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
It would be nice if they could bump them outside on the rear bumper like the 17b, but seems like they can't.
I don't see why not, other than the usual reason that putting massive objects at the very ends of the trailer is bad for stability. As a factory installation, there would be some cabling changes that might not fit well into the production routine. The 17' has always had this unusual configuration, presumably because the trailer's proportions make it too tongue-heavy otherwise.

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I think I would be willing to mount them without ventilation, but I got the same take that you did, that there is lots of folks who went both ways. I have yet to find anything from a manufacturer, or anything RV code wise that would indicate it must be done.
I doubt any North American RV code has been updated recently enough to specifically consider AGM (or lithium) batteries. But does it need to? If the battery manufacturer says venting is required, then it is.

Venting is not needed for normal operation. Fuses are not needed for normal operation of electrical circuits. Hmm...

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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I assume there are differences between brands.
Yes. The most noticeable one is that while most are constructed as flat (vertical) layers of electrodes and electrolyte mats, the Optima line roll up the layers into cylindrical cells - you can see the cells in the battery case shape. Optima calls this their "spiralcell" technology. Optima seems to be the most widely available AGM brand in automotive/RV sizes.

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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I also realize I am preferably looking for deep cycle only, and not the marine ones, that combine starting power with deep cycle.
Because AGM batteries are inherently suitable for high currents, typical deep-cycle AGM batteries can handle the high current of starting, so they have this dual-purpose characteristic of "marine" batteries without compromise in the design. In the Optima product line, the only difference between the marine models (blue top) and the deep-cycle models (yellow top) is the type of terminals... to suit typical cable ends in different applications.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:15 PM   #13
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Lithium

Lithium batteries have some great characteristics; however, they require battery management systems, which are often built into the battery package. Leave out proper cell-by-cell battery management, and damage is likely.

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Waiting for Tesla to announce the Lithium RV powerwall...
The Powerwall looks like just another Elon Musk scam to me, and a way for him to use the capacity of the big battery factory that he wants to build (presumably with government subsidy, like all Musk schemes ). There are several types of lithium battery, and the best battery type for a vehicle (where weight is critical and discharge rates are very high) is not the best type for load-leveling in a residence or an RV. The Powerwall may go into production, but I can't see how it - with its charging and power output conversion systems - will ever be well-suited to 12V energy storage.
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
While AGM batteries are probably more resistant to freezing damage, they are not immune. I have had to replace AGM batteries in a mobility scooter when they were left in the van with a charge level too low to withstand low temperatures. Given their cost, this is worth avoiding...
Everything I read said there is nothing in them to freeze causing damage, even when discharged. Almost every brand touted it as a benefit.
Quote:
I don't see why not, other than the usual reason that putting massive objects at the very ends of the trailer is bad for stability.
For me, it is more a matter of looks. I like a cleaner look without a battery box sitting on the bumper. The 17 is relatively limited in storage too.
Quote:
I doubt any North American RV code has been updated recently enough to specifically consider AGM (or lithium) batteries. But does it need to? If the battery manufacturer says venting is required, then it is.
I looked for and saw no reference from a manufacturer stating that venting is required for AGM batteries, other than by one saying it would be good should overcharging occur. I am all for being safe, but do not see a reasonable cause to worry. I am open to being shown otherwise though.
Quote:
Because AGM batteries are inherently suitable for high currents, typical deep-cycle AGM batteries can handle the high current of starting, so they have this dual-purpose characteristic of "marine" batteries without compromise in the design. In the Optima product line, the only difference between the marine models (blue top) and the deep-cycle models (yellow top) is the type of terminals... to suit typical cable ends in different applications.
Without an inverter, I have no real need for the high discharges needed, as with those for starting use. There have been a few references that suggested that it would be best to go for an AGM designed for slow, deep cycle discharge, though I imagine the differences would be small. I have read some good, and some bad about Optima. Canadian Tire does sell them.
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:33 PM   #15
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Everything I read said there is nothing in them to freeze causing damage, even when discharged. Almost every brand touted it as a benefit.
The electrolyte is still the same liquid as it is in a flooded battery. It is absorbed in a glass fibre mat, but that doesn't stop it from freezing. Soak a cloth in water and take it outside in the winter... still freezes. When it freezes the plates and case are still affected.

From Optima Batteries Power Source: Can Batteries Freeze?:
Quote:
Batteries can and do freeze when the temperatures drop low enough. Even OPTIMA batteries are not immune to this, although they are protected from freezing well beyond beyond what a typical flooded battery can withstand. Our YELLOWTOP batteries are protected from freezing down to -30°F and our REDTOP batteries are protected all the way down to -50°F. However, that protection is only good if the batteries are fully-charged. For YELLOWTOPs the fully-charged voltage level is about 13.0-13.2 volts, for REDTOPs, fully-charged voltage is about 12.6-12.8 volts. When batteries have a voltage level lower than their fully-charged state, they are more vulnerable not only to freezing at warmer temperatures, they can also be susceptible to sulfation, which diminishes both capacity and lifespan.
So, they can freeze... but are they damaged by freezing? Apparently yes, according to Optima's Power Source: What Happens if My Car Battery Freezes?
Quote:
When a battery is not fully-charged, the sulfuric acid and distilled water inside the battery are not properly-mixed and the distilled water can freeze. If this happens, a battery could be damaged and may need to be replaced.
They're likely more resistant (maybe far more resistant) to freeing damage, but the only time the batteries in that mobility scooter (which are typical rectangular packages of flat plates and mats, not Optima's spirals) have lost most of their ability to recharge has been after low temperatures (well below zero Celsius) when relatively discharged.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:29 PM   #16
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Jim, I have been using one for ten years now and like it. Not vented and am still alive.
Aside from the cost which is scary, you don't need to touch it, will not self-discharge as much as wet cells etc.

The catch is that it requires a different charging curve and that means a charger that can be switched to AGM mode or you will wreck the battery. Other than that its a good option just get the correct charger with AGM mode.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:46 PM   #17
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I really like AGMs Jim for applications where venting is impractical. The lithium ones are crazy expensive, and the AGM seems a more reasonable alternative to flooded.

As Santiago points out, the charging profile must be changed, but I believe that's a simple dip switch setting on the chargers installed by ETI.
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Old 04-01-2016, 07:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
As Santiago points out, the charging profile must be changed, but I believe that's a simple dip switch setting on the chargers installed by ETI.
What about the compatibility of AGM batteries with the solar controller that ETI uses with its solar panel option?
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Old 04-01-2016, 07:30 PM   #19
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What about the compatibility of AGM batteries with the solar controller that ETI uses with its solar panel option?
The Samlex SCC-30AB has settings for AGM batteries as well. The default dip switch settings (off-off-off) that they ship with are actually the correct settings for an AGM battery according to the manual.
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Old 04-01-2016, 07:41 PM   #20
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Mine weren't set correctly from the factory for dual sixes and I gotta open it up and set them. Doesn't look too difficult.
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