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Old 04-01-2016, 11:04 AM   #1
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AGM Batteries

In wanting to keep the rear bench in the U-shaped dinette for my 5.0TA, as much to place the batteries and other electrical stuff, yet wanting to gain as much foot space as possible, has led me to find a way to minimize the depth of the rear bench. One of the biggest limiting factors is the width of the battery box required to house and vent the flooded lead acid batteries.

I will be getting an installed solar panel, as well as carrying an 80W portable, as I hope to do as much camping off grid as possible.

This led me to look for a narrower solution. Eliminating the battery box would be a good start. This got me to looking at AGM (Absorbed Glass Matte) batteries as there is no off gassing of hydrogen and oxygen. unless for some reason overcharged. I have read of many installs of AGMs without venting, yet some who said you should anyway, just in case.

Anyway, regardless of needing ventilation or not, I would love to learn and hear more about AGM batteries. There are definitely lots of benefits to them.

- Less internal resistance, allowing a faster recharge
- Discharges unused a way slower rate, from 1-30%
- No maintenance required, as it has no electrolyte and thus no potential for water loss. Less corrosion of terminals too.
- Sealed so no off gassing of hydrogen or oxygen (unless severely overcharged)
- Slower discharge rate, about 10% that of flooded
- Mattes between plates support them better, giving it a longer life.
- Do not require an equalizing charge, nor can they accept it.
- Not damaged by freezing at low discharge state, and can handle hot temps better
- They last longer, though I could not find any definite numbers

The only real downside I see is that they average twice the cost. Something to definitely consider.

Another side thought that might help narrow that rear bench would be that due to the outward slope of the rear, mounting the batteries a bit higher would save some depth too, but not really sure how much.

Any experience, wisdom, or insight, would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:18 AM   #2
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I had one in the Casita for 6 years. After trying to check the battery the first time and having to remove it from Casita's small opening I said I am not going to deal with this anymore. Purchased a Lifeline AGM and never had to even look at it again.

The cost was the only negative thing so I asked for it as a birthday present so I could somewhat justify it. Now I'm trying to figure out how to justify one for the Escape when I need a new battery.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:32 AM   #3
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Lithium batteries are smaller, lighter, have better charge characteristics, and last much longer but they are much more expensive initially. If you live in a cool climate and can get the long life they should have they are cost competitive.

Lithium Ion Batteries For RV Motorhome House System - LFP / LiFePO4 | Technomadia
Lithium Batteries — AM Solar
http://www.starlightsolar.com/RV_Lithium_Battery.html
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:36 AM   #4
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Think you cam mount AGM's on their side too.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:44 AM   #5
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Waiting for Tesla to announce the Lithium RV powerwall, but till then AGM is a good path. I've read enough that I personally would only install them vented, but some don't. It would be nice if they could bump them outside on the rear bumper like the 17b, but seems like they can't.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamman View Post
Lithium batteries are smaller, lighter, have better charge characteristics, and last much longer but they are much more expensive initially. If you live in a cool climate and can get the long life they should have they are cost competitive.

Lithium Ion Batteries For RV Motorhome House System - LFP / LiFePO4 | Technomadia
Lithium Batteries — AM Solar
RV Lithium Battery
I did look at lithium too, and would love to go that route. 2,000 to 3,000 recharges, plus lots of other great benefits. all the ones I saw were about double again what AGM is, and sometimes more. Still, given that they should last at least twice as long, it could be a good plan. They also have most all the benefits of AGM, and more.

I never read this article on them, but will have a look.
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
Think you cam mount AGM's on their side too.
That is a good advantage, though not one that I see a benefit in.
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Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
Waiting for Tesla to announce the Lithium RV powerwall, but till then AGM is a good path. I've read enough that I personally would only install them vented, but some don't. It would be nice if they could bump them outside on the rear bumper like the 17b, but seems like they can't.
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.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:25 PM   #7
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Jim, would you still use twin 6V with the AGM's?
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Old 04-01-2016, 01:28 PM   #8
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I went the AGM route for many of the previously mentioned reasons. No venting, no maintenance, no winter worries, etc. But the big difference is that I went with 2 12v batteries in parallel to save money. Seems that 6v AGM batteries are more expensive per watt-hour than 12v units. The low self-discharge is what makes it possible to wire batteries in parallel. I measured the loss from one battery into the other at 5 milliamps, a totally acceptable figure. To achieve this the batteries must be identical and the same age. I bought mine at Sears when they were on sale and the total price was about double that of good flooded batteries. They have only been in service about 6 months so I can't comment on the lifespan.

But when the lithium batteries get down to about $100 for the same power then I will probably jump for a set. Might be a while...

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Old 04-01-2016, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoer View Post
Jim, would you still use twin 6V with the AGM's?
No sure. Was thinking that way, but going to look further in to it.
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Old 04-01-2016, 01:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
I went the AGM route for many of the previously mentioned reasons. No venting, no maintenance, no winter worries, etc. But the big difference is that I went with 2 12v batteries in parallel to save money. Seems that 6v AGM batteries are more expensive per watt-hour than 12v units. The low self-discharge is what makes it possible to wire batteries in parallel. I measured the loss from one battery into the other at 5 milliamps, a totally acceptable figure. To achieve this the batteries must be identical and the same age. I bought mine at Sears when they were on sale and the total price was about double that of good flooded batteries. They have only been in service about 6 months so I can't comment on the lifespan.

But when the lithium batteries get down to about $100 for the same power then I will probably jump for a set. Might be a while...

--
Alan
As mentioned above, I will have a look into dual 6V vs two 12V, comparing costs and capacity.
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