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Time To Upgrade Battery

Battery AGM

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#1 Trix&Wally

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Posted 25 December 2019 - 11:32 AM

The Casita supplied Group 27 battery for our 2018 Freedom Deluxe lasted about 1 1/2 years.  On our last extended trip out it supplied power for about a day at a time after boosting it with our Toyota Tacoma 110v-400w plug in.

It now charges up to 12.9, then drops and holds steady at  about 12.3 on my bench after a couple of weeks.

I had it tested at the local Interstate dealer, and they said it had a dead cell.  In researching batteries and battery care, I fear I let it discharge too far down during the dormant season.

I am tempted to replace with a AGM battery this time before we head out this summer.   We mix full service campsites with boondocking up to 7 days at time depending on where we are at the time.

Casita has recommended an Interstate Group 31-AGM-7 if we upgrade.

I would like any recommendations from Casita users.

Thanks in advance. 



#2 Hot Toddy

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 03:37 PM

I buy mine from Costco for about $100. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a battery as I have been told that in states in the south like Texas and Arizona, you are lucky to squeeze three years out of a batter due to the heat. My last one lasted almost 8 years, so I was lucky. I got more than my money's worth out of it. There is no sense in replacing $250 batteries every 3-4 years if you can get buy with a $100 version.

 

Toddy


Edited by Hot Toddy, 26 December 2019 - 03:38 PM.

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#3 clover

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 04:56 PM

Our camping is 75% boon-docking/off grid, over the past 13 years in the Casita we've looked at the topic of AGM batteries and solar panels. On the AGM  batteries looking at multiple camping/camper websites and specifically folks that camp off-grid, my conclusion is the AGM cost does not justify itself.

 

For us the solar panel does not justify itself over an inverter generator.  That is because a significant amount of our off grid camping is in the heat of Texas and a solar panel will not run the AC unit. We do seek cooler climes in the summer months and use the generator for short periods of time to just top off the standard battery. Even when camping is true winter weather we have never had any time that the factory installed furnace ran the battery down during the night.  We do have an older Casita that does not have the newer refrigerator and propane sensor that does have some small drain on the battery. AND UNRELATED to the topic....super happy we DON'T have that obnoxious & worthless, space hogging cabinet in the bathroom. 


Happy Trails!
Clover
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2002 F350 Diesel Crew Cab
(I know it is overkill but we live on a real ranch it takes a vacation with the Casita)


#4 Trix&Wally

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 04:23 AM

Thanks to Toddy & Clover with their experiences with their batteries.  Still looking for the best brand and model battery for our situation, but your replies were helpful

Trix&Wally thank you!



#5 Dutchman

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 01:54 PM

After cooking two wet cell batteries over the years, and busting my knuckles getting that heavy dude out and into its little cubby hole I bought a Lifeline AGM, put it in with some help and closed the door.  "See ya in five years" I said. At his point three years have gone by and the battery still performs as expected.  I'm an AGM fan, to me worth the expense.  Earlier, in 2012, I replaced the rather simple Casita converter with a PD4600 series converter replacement, with the built-in "Charge Wizard." It's been a happy marriage.

 

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Edouard Trautwein, #1372  

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#6 cottons

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 05:17 PM

My original interstate battery is still in use.  5 years this past Oct.  But I did replace my converter this past November.   

 

No doubt I'll have to replace it soon.  Will go back with something similar.

 

No brag, just fact.



#7 propfishn

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:50 PM

I am a big fan of Trojan Lead/Acid deep cycle RV batteries. They have way thicker lead plates than your standard rv/marine type batt,  that last many many yrs. I keep a 10 watt solar panel on my trailer batt when stored, Plus I remove the propane detector fuse while stored, the propane detector is the biggest draw on the batt sitting stored. Its not uncommon to see Trojan deep cycle rv batts 8 yrs old or more still in service.



#8 Linda & Bob, K4TAX

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:07 AM

One major issue encountered with any battery type is improper charging.   The older Magnatek chargers MUST be replaced if you expect to get any decent battery life.   The newer Progressive Dynamics systems are among the tops in keeping a battery happy and thus long life.   There's nothing like a nice rainy day and a dead battery when camping.  

One reason I choose the Optima AGM battery is the high vibration resistance.   Considering where the battery cave is located, that end of the trailer bounces a lot when towing.

 

Here is a link to the system we have installed.    

http://www.bestconve...ml#.XkmT1ShKhdh

 

Regular maintenance it the key to a successful trip. 


Edited by Linda & Bob, K4TAX, 17 February 2020 - 04:59 AM.

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#9 Euphoria

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 11:36 AM

The Casita supplied Group 27 battery for our 2018 Freedom Deluxe lasted about 1 1/2 years.  On our last extended trip out it supplied power for about a day at a time after boosting it with our Toyota Tacoma 110v-400w plug in.

It now charges up to 12.9, then drops and holds steady at  about 12.3 on my bench after a couple of weeks.

I had it tested at the local Interstate dealer, and they said it had a dead cell.  In researching batteries and battery care, I fear I let it discharge too far down during the dormant season.

I am tempted to replace with a AGM battery this time before we head out this summer.   We mix full service campsites with boondocking up to 7 days at time depending on where we are at the time.

Casita has recommended an Interstate Group 31-AGM-7 if we upgrade.

I would like any recommendations from Casita users.

Thanks in advance. 

Allowing the battery to discharge either too low, or too many times, (and it ain't all that many times necessary to ruin it,) will damage the lead plates inside the cells. It's called Sulfiting. In simple terms, what happens is the lead plates decompose, and all the particulates that slough off the plates collect in the bottom of the cell. Since it is conductive, it will eventually short out the bottoms of all the plates in the cell, and in the process, ruin your battery in short order, (no pun intended.) And I would agree with Dutchman, in that if you can't properly maintain a Lead-Acid battery, you really don't want to waste your money on an AGM battery, which are much more fickle as to proper charging. I also have the PD4645 charger upgrade in my converter. Those older Magnetek and Parallax "3 stage" chargers will not give you the performance and control you will need if you want to go with an AGM. In my opinion, AGM's are expensive and should only be considered for applications where access is a problem, such as in the 13 footers, where it is a major PITA to get to. Other than that, if you don't have some extenuating reason to install one, I'd avoid it and stick with a good old Lead-Acid battery. And if you keep your trailer off of shore power for extended lay-up periods, I'd take the battery out of the trailer for the season and bring it home, where you can keep it on a trickle charger so you can monitor and maintain the charge in it. AGM's are just way more than the average travel trailer needs. If you're planning on "boondocking" I'd look into going with two 6 volt Trojans hooked up in series. Just my 2 cents.


Edited by Euphoria, 16 February 2020 - 03:15 PM.

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#10 Meadowlark

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 09:16 AM

We have the Interstate Deep cycle lead/acid battery in our 2011 SD. In the winter, we pull the battery and put it on a trickle charger in the garage, and keep the camper itself hooked up to the 30A outlet we installed in the 'casita shed'. I think we replaced the battery a year ago? Two? The original hadn't gone dead, but....it was just a matter of when, not if. 

 

I'm surprised your 2018 battery went bad after just a year and a half.

 

When we're boondocking, we deploy our 90W solar panel. Consequently, I doubt I've ever seen the battery discharge any lower than the numbers you are getting, 12.3. Well, wait, I have to amend that. Last fall, the battery did drop down to about 11, which surprised us as we don't run a lot of electrical anything in ours, other than a toaster and our tablets. Wellllllllllll, it's because Someone Who Won't Admit It But She hooked the battery up to the wrong pigtail, NOT the one for the solar panel. We discovered that after a few days...so the battery is in good shape. It was gremlins that hooked it up wrong,  Not ME. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


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#11 Jerrybob

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 09:34 AM

I like simple.....like Meadowlark....I have a deep cycle battery which is about three years old....bought it at Les Schwab simply because we were on the road and it was convenient.  I have a cut off switch on the battery.  When I park the trailer here on the property....I turn off the battery and the trailer is plugged in to AC.  About once a month...if I think of it....I turn the battery back on through the cut off switch and let the AC charge the battery for 6 to 8 hours....then I turn it off again. Been doing this for years....I get about 5 years out of a battery.  We rarely boondock anymore....battery is on when traveling....keeps the propane frig lit and allows use of the bathroom during stops....once in the campground....battery is turned off and AC is plugged in.  On the rare occasion we don't have AC....we use a battery operated lantern for light and the trailer battery is used for just the minimal stuff.  Works for us....simple.       


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#12 vermilye

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 12:18 PM

While it does not make sense for anyone that spends most of their time with hookups, if you dry camp for months at a time, consider lithium.  Yes, they are expensive, but you can expect between 3000 - 6000 cycles from 100% down to 10% before needing a replacement.  They stay in the bulk mode when charged (assuming you have a converter that can provide 14.4V, drawing the entire output of your converter until they hit 98%, then go through a short absorption phase, then switch to float (mine are set at 13.6V float).  Another advantage is they do not "droop"as much under load, and will still be providing 12.2V at 10%.  

 

Again, probably not worth the extra cost (around $800 - $1000 per 100 amp hours, depending on the brand) but I have just finished 78 days of dry camping (with 320 watts  of solar to recharge ) using between 30 - 90 amp hours per day.  


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