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Old 05-29-2020, 05:37 PM   #1
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Question Is a special charger needed for 6v lifeline AGMs

Hi Everyone,
I just put the batteries that came with my Escape 17B back onto the trailer today. I remove the batteries when I winterize my trailer as we have cold winters here. I connected them and flipped the main power switch to on. I live in western Colorado where its always sunny, too much so. I think they will charge up nicely same as last year. I checked the acid level and both batteries have the fins submerged nicely. No crud on anywhere, I cleaned them well.

What is the advantage to having 6v lifeline AGM batteries? If I choose to replace the lead acid ones I have when the time comes, do I need to get a different charger? I know AGM's like slow charging. Any other input, tips, opinions on which is better are welcome. Thanks for all your help, everyone.
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:48 PM   #2
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The charging circuit in the trailer will work OK with AGM batteries. Lithium batteries would require a change.
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:49 PM   #3
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What is the advantage to having 6v lifeline AGM batteries? If I choose to replace the lead acid ones I have when the time comes, do I need to get a different charger?
Just to be clear, AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are lead-acid batteries - the acid (electrolyte) is just soaking a glass-fibre mat between each pair of lead electrode plates. The conventional (not AGM) type is called "flooded lead-acid", because the plates are flooded with electrolyte.

Charging current and voltage limits and programs vary due to many fine details of lead-acid battery design - there is not one set for all flooded batteries or one set for all AGM batteries.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:32 PM   #4
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If you have solar you may have to change the controller setting to AGM . Like Brian B-P stated there still lead acid batteries. taking them out in the winter is a good thing but not charging them all winter is not.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:38 AM   #5
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I am not an expert on the subject, but what I understand the stock converter is OK for charging AGM batteries. No upgrade required.

I had a AGM battery on my 2007 17B and thought it was worth the money, way more stable when sitting for long periods of time, and no maintenance. I hated checking and filling the water on the flooded batteries.

In my new 19, I will eventually put a pair of 6V AGM's under the dinette with a 60 watt flexible panel on the roof. That's down the road.

Lithium, to expensive and dangerous.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:48 PM   #7
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There were several reasons I switched to AGM batteries:
  1. No need to check and refill with water
  2. No spilling, they can be mounted anyway but upside down
  3. They charge faster
  4. They can be drained to 80% versus the 50% of flooded
  5. They can cycle more times, the model I have (Crown) are good for 3,000
  6. No off gassing so the false CO/Propane alarms stopped.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:48 PM   #8
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really need help now.

Thanks for the info, Brian B-P. I realized my mistake after I posted it and shut down the computer. I meant that I don't like fooling with the acid/distilled water part.
NY HB,

I think I've destroyed the batteries by not putting them on a charge during the winter. There were several reasons, one most outstanding was I took the batteries off after Thanksgiving and the 3 season camping was finished, planned to put them back on in Feb-March when we were to head out. All things considered, I got sick early March with what has been diagnosed as COVID-19. 2 days ago was the first time I was able to get around and start doing chores. Getting the batteries charging was right after getting the irrigation water going.

Can anyone help with this problem?

The second battery is not being recognized by the Go Power GP-PWM-30 and I think there is something wrong with it. I have it on shore power to charge and that one started boiling. Ugh. I disconnected the cables after turning off the main power switch.

Any suggestions for getting the system back and working? I am not good with electricity and batteries, etc but understand a little bit about how the solar works. There is not an RV store nearby, it would require a 170 mile trip to get to where there is one. And they do not like to work on any rigs that are not purchased from them. So service is in my own meek hands.
Again, Any help from you all is much appreciated! Thanks
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:59 PM   #9
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Any auto parts store should be able to help with your battery issues, Testers and even new ones, you do not need to go to a RV dealer.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info, Brian B-P. I realized my mistake after I posted it and shut down the computer. I meant that I don't like fooling with the acid/distilled water part.
NY HB,

I think I've destroyed the batteries by not putting them on a charge during the winter. There were several reasons, one most outstanding was I took the batteries off after Thanksgiving and the 3 season camping was finished, planned to put them back on in Feb-March when we were to head out. All things considered, I got sick early March with what has been diagnosed as COVID-19. 2 days ago was the first time I was able to get around and start doing chores. Getting the batteries charging was right after getting the irrigation water going.

Can anyone help with this problem?

The second battery is not being recognized by the Go Power GP-PWM-30 and I think there is something wrong with it. I have it on shore power to charge and that one started boiling. Ugh. I disconnected the cables after turning off the main power switch.

Any suggestions for getting the system back and working? I am not good with electricity and batteries, etc but understand a little bit about how the solar works. There is not an RV store nearby, it would require a 170 mile trip to get to where there is one. And they do not like to work on any rigs that are not purchased from them. So service is in my own meek hands.
Again, Any help from you all is much appreciated! Thanks
sorry to hear you got the covid-19 But glad you recovered.Are these two 6 volts? If so the go power views them as one 12 volt battery. I don't understand why only one battery would boil? If there six volt. The other thing to remember for less that $200 at costco you can replace them.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:11 PM   #11
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Unhappy Battery problems

Thank you NEWYORKHILLBILLY,
I am not sure about Costco. The nearest one is 100 miles from here, so we don't plan on going any time soon.

Thanks for the info on the 1 12V battery view from the Go Power. yes they are 6V each.

Its odd that only one has boiled and the acid has leaked out. I do wear rubber gloves and have rubber tape around my ratchet handle, too. But the acid thing is something weird. I do have a friend who works in the solar industry and deals with batteries a lot. He just moved to AK so I'll email him with any questions. Looks like I'll have to order batteries though I rather see if I can figure out what's up first. Thanks for your speedy reply
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:13 PM   #12
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Dear cpaharley2008,
Thanks for the tip. I'll check out the NAPA down in town. They are usually pretty crabby so I'll have to call them first to see if they are around. There is another auto part store in the next town about 20 minutes down the highway. That may be a good alternative. Thanks for helping me out.
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Old 05-31-2020, 06:18 PM   #13
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Did you by any chance try to charge just one of the 6V batteries at a time? If so, exactly what did you use to charge it; what was your procedure?
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:38 PM   #14
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Did you by any chance try to charge just one of the 6V batteries at a time? If so, exactly what did you use to charge it; what was your procedure?
This is possibly the clue as to what went wrong. If you in fact had tried to charge one 6V battery at a time with a 12V charger than yes, you may have ruined the battery. As others have mentioned above, your pair of 6V batteries are meant to be hooked up in series to behave as one 12V battery. This is true for all charging and discharging, but not necessarily required during storage (but it will do no harm either).

To be specific, "series" means the positive posts of one battery is connected with a short cable to the negative post of the other. The remaining negative and positive posts are hooked up to the trailer and you now have a single - large - 12V battery.

To address one of your other questions: You probably noted from the above responses that a good number of trailer owners prefer AGM batteries for one or many reasons. One reason not mentioned above is "low self discharge" compared to conventional batteries. This means that the battery will not loose as much power while sitting idle (not being charged). This is good because a conventional battery could loose enough power over the long Colorado winter to be susceptible to freezing. A fully charged AGM battery in the fall would be just fine in typical Colorado winters without attention. But even better: Use some of that abundant west slope sunshine to keep the batteries topped off during the winter. It is good insurance. (I do exactly that in the Denver area with my AGM's - batteries are stored in the trailer with the solar running and the rest of the circuits turned off with the main switch.)

Hope that helps in your quest for easy and functional batteries.
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Old 05-31-2020, 11:13 PM   #15
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This is possibly the clue as to what went wrong. If you in fact had tried to charge one 6V battery at a time with a 12V charger than yes, you may have ruined the battery. As others have mentioned above, your pair of 6V batteries are meant to be hooked up in series to behave as one 12V battery. This is true for all charging and discharging, but not necessarily required during storage (but it will do no harm either).
Attempting to charge a 6 volt battery with a charger set for 12 volts is definitely bad!

In contrast, separately charging two 6 volt batteries with a properly set charger, while they are not connected to anything else, works very well as long as they are both fully charged. This is actually one way to fix series batteries which have gotten out of balance. A big reason that this is rarely done in RVs is simply that the RV has one 12 V charger.
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:34 AM   #16
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Thanks for the info on the 1 12V battery view from the Go Power. yes they are 6V each.

Its odd that only one has boiled and the acid has leaked out. I do wear rubber gloves and have rubber tape around my ratchet handle, too. But the acid thing is something weird. I do have a friend who works in the solar industry and deals with batteries a lot. He just moved to AK so I'll email him with any questions. Looks like I'll have to order batteries though I rather see if I can figure out what's up first. Thanks for your speedy reply
We have two 6v Crown batteries like fudge_brownie. We did nothing with the charging pattern from the camper and really don't need to. I've looked at and talked to various manufacturers and one thing came about; charging patterns and limits are not an exact science. In other words using your existing ETI charger is just fine with any of the AGM batteries.

We do have the GoPower set to AGM's, and Crown preferred us to equalize once every 30-40 days of camping. I've manually equalized perhaps four times in the 200 days we've owned these Crown AGM's.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 06-01-2020, 10:24 AM   #17
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...
We do have the GoPower set to AGM's, and Crown preferred us to equalize once every 30-40 days of camping. I've manually equalized perhaps four times in the 200 days we've owned these Crown AGM's.
...
This is something to pay attention to, should you purchase AGM batteries. Some manufactures specifically say "don't equalize" and others say "do". Read the fine print and make the easy adjustment to your GoPower or other brand of chargers.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:59 PM   #18
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dfandrews,
No I didn't charge them this winter. I was going to but got very sick. Next year for sure!
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:08 PM   #19
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Question The adventure continues

Hi All, I went to the auto part store and they checked out both the 6V batteries and said they both read "Good Battery". Battery #1 was 6.3V and battery #2 was 6.4V. The fuse is good, too. I mentioned that the cable gave off a tiny spark at first when I was trying to connect them last week. I had turned off the main power switch inside the 17B in the fall and had not turned it on yet. The auto part store worker said that something was still on, perhaps the solar panel.

So before I put them back on the trailer and hook those batteries up, I need to find out how to make sure the solar panel is not trying to connect to the batteries. And of course make sure all the connections are super clean and shiny.

Any one hear got that info or had that experience before? Thanks a ton, guys.
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:18 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by PleinAirCedar View Post
Hi All, I went to the auto part store and they checked out both the 6V batteries and said they both read "Good Battery". Battery #1 was 6.3V and battery #2 was 6.4V. The fuse is good, too. I mentioned that the cable gave off a tiny spark at first when I was trying to connect them last week. I had turned off the main power switch inside the 17B in the fall and had not turned it on yet. The auto part store worker said that something was still on, perhaps the solar panel.

So before I put them back on the trailer and hook those batteries up, I need to find out how to make sure the solar panel is not trying to connect to the batteries. And of course make sure all the connections are super clean and shiny.

Any one hear got that info or had that experience before? Thanks a ton, guys.
Just a note for the future & others - If you have the GoPower solar controller (or one by most other manufacturers) you should either disconnect the solar panels or cover them with an opaque material before disconnecting the batteries. Most controllers can be damaged by having an input voltage without being connected to a battery. Turning off the battery disconnect does not disconnect the batteries from the solar controller, but, of course, disconnecting the batteries does.
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