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Old 09-12-2021, 07:10 PM   #1
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Name: Tim
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MN
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Battery Recommendations

We're looking at a new battery for our Scamp 16'. We will be mostly camping without shore power hookups and will use a renology suitcase style solar setup for charging during the day. I'm assuming we should go with an AGM battery. We're not prepared to make the investment into Lithium Ion.

Are there huge ranges in quality on the AGM batteries? I ready reviews on the Windy Nation batteries, and Universal. Then, look at Amazon and there are plenty of negative reviews also.

Appreciate the wisdom

...btw...we're new to this with a new to us Scamp.

Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2021, 07:34 PM   #2
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Lithium and AGM batteries prices are pretty close nowdays. https://www.amazon.com/LiFePO4-Batte.../dp/B084DB36KW
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Old 09-12-2021, 07:52 PM   #3
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AGM is better than unsealed lead acid because they need very little maintenance, they dont cause corrosion to speak of, and they tolerate rough roads better. But they are more expensive.

LifePo4 batteries are even more expensive. But they have huge advantages. They also require that you do some homework to learn how to use them well and will likely require some other upgrades (converter / charger) to get the most benefit. If your Renogy solar controller has a Life4PO charging setting then thats a plus.

If you plan to own your camper for ten to fifteen years or so then LifePo4 will likely not be more expensive, and offer better performance also. You might buy one LifePo4 for 2 or 3 AGM or Lead Acid batteries. And get more available power also. See: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ths-96510.html

If I were building a camper I would use LifePo4. But if you dont use the camper all that often and want to cut cost then stick with a cheaper battery.
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Old 09-13-2021, 04:59 AM   #4
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Any specific AGM battery recommendations?
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Old 09-13-2021, 06:03 AM   #5
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I am happy with my VMax but now I see the prices are gone up a lot, and they were high to start with, so I would look elsewhere. If I had to spend this much now for a VMax then I would go LifePo4 for sure!
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
Lithium and AGM batteries prices are pretty close nowdays. https://www.amazon.com/LiFePO4-Batte.../dp/B084DB36KW
There is no free lunch.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:32 AM   #7
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The issue with going to the LifePO4 in my case is that I believe I need to upgrade my converter (according to the manufacturer's info) and possibly the charge controller on my solar panel. I'm not prepared to make that investment yet. Am I missing something here?

If I do go AGM, it appears that the ones that I see rated in various online articles (windy nation, Universal, VMax, etc.) all need to be ordered online. Universal 121000 seems like a solid choice.
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:48 AM   #8
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In my view, AGMs are best used for hard-to-access inside locations. Since Scamp’s is on the tongue and easy to access for periodic maintenance (cleaning terminals snd topping off water), there’s not so much reason to spend the money. AGM might give somewhat longer life, but generally not enough to recoup the cost.

The big improvements in performance, longevity, weight, and usable capacity come with lithium, and you’ve said you’re not ready to make that jump yet. The cost continues to decrease, so no harm in waiting.

I’d just go with an inexpensive marine/RV hybrid FLA, which can last 4-7 years depending on maintenance and use. I’ve gotten good service from interstate. I think you can fit a larger size- up to G31- on the tongue for greater capacity. Install a voltage meter and learn how to monitor battery state-of-charge to avoid deep discharge, which is the most common cause of premature battery failure. Make sure your trailer has a modern multi-stage charger to avoid overcharging.

Of course it all depends on your actual daily power use. If you’re not running household appliances through an inverter, the only real off-grid power hog in a Scamp is the furnace. Do much cold weather camping?
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Old 09-13-2021, 10:01 AM   #9
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Primary use is 12v led lights, water pump, max fan, and possibly furnace (will have some colder nights coming up). We'll be camping without an electrical hookup for 5 nights in a row so want a battery that will work well to hold a charge and we can charge with solar panels during the day. I was looking at a Universal 121000 which I think is more of a true deep cycle with little in the way of CCA. I've always thought interstate to be good, decent warranty, but those are deep cycle with a lot of CCA as well. Are you giving anything up as far as off grid use on a battery like the marine interstate when you definitely don't need the CCA for engine starting?
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Old 09-13-2021, 10:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TimCarpenter View Post
.... Am I missing something here?
...
Did you read the thread I linked to in post # 3? Long (and better) answer is there but short answer if that in most cases you can use a LifePo4 battery with standard wet cell battery equipment but with some loss of functionality (less charge) if the battery is designed that way, such as the ones from BattleBorn.
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimCarpenter View Post
Primary use is 12v led lights, water pump, max fan, and possibly furnace (will have some colder nights coming up). We'll be camping without an electrical hookup for 5 nights in a row so want a battery that will work well to hold a charge and we can charge with solar panels during the day. I was looking at a Universal 121000 which I think is more of a true deep cycle with little in the way of CCA. I've always thought interstate to be good, decent warranty, but those are deep cycle with a lot of CCA as well. Are you giving anything up as far as off grid use on a battery like the marine interstate when you definitely don't need the CCA for engine starting?
With a marine hybrid battery, yes, you give up some longevity (the ability to retain more of the rated amp-hour capacity over more discharge cycles) due to thinner plates than a true deep cycle. When new there wonít be much difference, assuming they have the same A-Hr rating. Thatís what you shop for, ignoring CCA.

A larger G31 is typically rated around 120 A-Hr, so about 60 A-Hr usable. Will it last five days in cold weather? The answer depends on how much your furnace runs, how much other power is used, and how much your solar panel can put back in, realizing that low sun angle, shade, and cloud cover will reduce the solar input in colder seasons.

But any conventional battery- flooded or AGM, true deep cycle or hybrid- will have those same limitations: only half is usable, and you have to put back what you take out.
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:16 PM   #12
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With a marine hybrid battery, yes, you give up some longevity ....
Jon, based on this, it seems best to go with a non hybrid battery, right? It sounded like you were suggesting a hybrid earlier. I may be not understanding correctly. If a hybrid and non hybrid both have a 120ah rating...should they in theory both last as long (CCA not relevant)?
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Old 09-13-2021, 01:41 PM   #13
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One time or every trip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimCarpenter View Post
Primary use is 12v led lights, water pump, max fan, and possibly furnace (will have some colder nights coming up). We'll be camping without an electrical hookup for 5 nights in a row so want a battery that will work well to hold a charge and we can charge with solar panels during the day. I was looking at a Universal 121000 which I think is more of a true deep cycle with little in the way of CCA. I've always thought interstate to be good, decent warranty, but those are deep cycle with a lot of CCA as well. Are you giving anything up as far as off grid use on a battery like the marine interstate when you definitely don't need the CCA for engine starting?
Are you doing 5 nites off grid week in and week out? Once a month? A couple of times a year?

You seem set on Lead Acid, and the answer to what to recommend is really determined by more than you have given us.

If you really are bound and determined to go Lead Acid then in any event you want thick plates. SLA (GlassMat) are not a bad choice, though their plates tend to be thinner than a golf cart battery or the like.

There is just a lot to know about your usage that we simply don't. As well as your stomach for maintenance.
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:11 PM   #14
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Thanks, and I appreciate the feedback. New to all of this so sorry for not giving a full picture. We will use the trailer several long weekends a summer and likely 1 or 2 full 7ish day trips (guessing a bit as we just got this as our first trailer). We are finding that a lot of the places we are going to either a) don't have an electric hookup or b) we may not book far enough out to get one.

The scamp we have has the original flooded battery from Scamp (so,5 years old). We haven't had an issue with the battery itself yet (only have used for 2-two night outings). We are headed out this Friday for 7 nights. 5 of which don't have an electric hookup and 1 is still TBD. I had the battery tested at batteries plus and the guy said it is definitely not a full strength. Their tester is focused on starting capacity but he said gives an indication of how long it will hold a charge. He guessed 50-60% of the original capacity. I don't want to head out on this trip with a subpar battery.

I like the idea of Lithium don't know that I have enough time to review enough of the details, impacts fully AND research with Lithium is the best. It seemed like I may not be able to keep the charging on that from the 7-way??

So, based on our use, I thought it may be best to replace with a new AGM (not sure how much I really need to worry about brands.....seem to be no deep cycle vs hybrids available where I am).

Hope this provides more context on our situation.
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimCarpenter View Post
Jon, based on this, it seems best to go with a non hybrid battery, right? It sounded like you were suggesting a hybrid earlier. I may be not understanding correctly. If a hybrid and non hybrid both have a 120ah rating...should they in theory both last as long (CCA not relevant)?
In theory, a true deep cycle will last longer, assuming similar use and maintenance, but's there's a cost-benefit analysis. I haven't compared prices recently, but at the time I last bought a battery, a high quality deep cycle was around twice the price of an Interstate hybrid from Costco. Will it last twice as long?

Our usage is pretty light, which tips the cost-benefit analysis toward a hybrid for us. We get 5-6 years from an $80 hybrid, which is pretty decent in my book. Your usage patterns, particularly with more cold weather camping, could tip the cost-benefit analysis the other way.
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Old 09-19-2021, 09:18 AM   #16
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I see you're from Minnesota. Do you plan to camp in cold weather? If so, how cold?

If not too cold (<30F if charging or <0F if just drawing power) and you're willing to move your battery inside, I'd purchase a new lithium. Remember to add in the cost of the converter replacement.

If the lithium price bothers you I'd get a decent quality flooded. Ten years ago I realized that a group 31 battery with 100-110 ah's (50-65 usable) worked for us with our Scamp and Casita. That 10-20 extra ah's from the group 31, vs a 27, came in handy.

FYI, our Escape sits outside in Minnesota 24/7/365 with the solar going, allowing us to travel at -10F, so no lithium for us. I refuse to move batteries inside and out just because they don't work in our temperatures.

Where are you located in Minnesota?

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 09-19-2021, 09:59 AM   #17
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I just installed two Battleborn LifePO4 100 ah heated batteries in my 2006 Scamp 19. Yep, had to update the converter charger and also installed a Orion-Tr Smart 12c/12v 30 amp Isolated charger along with a Victron SmartShunt Bluetooth monitor. But I do not plan on any boondocking except for occasional Wallydocking during trips. Those batteries will be maintained by shore and mobile power! I forgot - they are warrantied for 10 years!!
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:24 AM   #18
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My experience with AGM batteries (Deep cycle) for RV applications is limited. Having said that, I am impressed with the Lifeline 6 volt batteries (wired in series) that were the original equipment for our trailer. The solar recharging system (Zamp) seems to be in harmony those AGMs.
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Old 09-19-2021, 12:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by skalywag View Post
My experience with AGM batteries (Deep cycle) for RV applications is limited. Having said that, I am impressed with the Lifeline 6 volt batteries (wired in series) that were the original equipment for our trailer. The solar recharging system (Zamp) seems to be in harmony those AGMs.
A Lifeline 12v Group 27 is $348+, Group 31 is $365. Even a year ago that price was inline, but with the drop in lithium, Lifelines are way overpriced.

Friends of ours are in year six with their 6v Lifeline AGM batteries, $725 for the pair today and realize they will be either using SiO2 if they decide to keep the batteries outside in Minnesota, or lithium if they make the move to get those batteries underneath the bed in their Airstream.

I would imagine sales of Lifeline AGM batteries have severely plummeted in the last year.

If buying standard leaded batteries I'd keep the price below $250 for a single 12v deep cycle AGM battery.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:13 PM   #20
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Trojan makes excellent RV/marine only batteries that are built to handle solar charging. I paid 220 for a group 31. I run led lights, fan, charge assorted electrical toys including an electric chainsaw and wife’s c-pap machine and charge with a 50 watt grape solar panel. Have boondocked for 10 days without issues. Just getting ready to do eight days chasing trout in Montana. Check out their website. Get a good battery tender (I use C-Tek, last lead acid lasted 10 years) and your battery should last years. Hope this helps.
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