Optima AGM batteries...Which one? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-16-2013, 10:21 AM   #1
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Optima AGM batteries...Which one?

Which Optima AGM battery would work best, blue top or yellow top? I realize that each type comes with different amp hours depending on how much one wishes to spend. That being said which one would work best for a trailer? Also what would be the average minimum amp hours on a battery one should consider.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:41 AM   #2
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There's way too many variables to make a positive recommendation.
1. How much time to do you spend camping with no electric hookups?
2. How many battery powered devices to you feel have to use?
3. How do you recharge the battery?
And the list goes on.

I see people using AGM batteries, but I question the reasoning. AGM batteries are great in airplanes, particularly those that go upside down. But for a trailer, or automobile they're pretty expensive when a standard battery will work just as well unless of course you're worried about acid spill when your trailer goes upside down.

What ever type of battery you get AGM or flooded cell a deep cycle battery will perform best for trailer needs.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:04 AM   #3
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Rv net archive has a lot of good reading for your research, goes a number of years back
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...d/26472716.cfm
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jim Sinor View Post
Which Optima AGM battery would work best, blue top or yellow top?
The yellow-tops are their general deep-cycle line; the blue-tops are their marine line (an "M" on the end of the model ID indicates "marine"). Any model starting with "D" (such as "D34") is a deep-cycle battery and thus generally suitable for a travel trailer; the practical difference between blue and yellow is typically little more than the terminal type. You want threaded studs (or lugs with bolt holes), not posts like the battery under the hood of your car, to easily and reliably attach cables which end in ring terminals.

As Byron mentioned, there is no single correct answer for capacity.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
I see people using AGM batteries, but I question the reasoning. AGM batteries are great in airplanes, particularly those that go upside down. But for a trailer, or automobile they're pretty expensive when a standard battery will work just as well unless of course you're worried about acid spill when your trailer goes upside down.
I agree, but it isn't just inversion - acceleration and vibration are better handled by AGM as welll... although a trailer should still be well-served by a conventional flooded battery.

I think some people are going with AGM because either:
  • they are locating the battery inside the trailer body and they incorrectly believe that an AGM battery does not require venting; or,
  • they want to eliminate the need for maintenance access.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I agree, but it isn't just inversion - acceleration and vibration are better handled by AGM as welll... although a trailer should still be well-served by a conventional flooded battery.

I think some people are going with AGM because either:
  • they are locating the battery inside the trailer body and they incorrectly believe that an AGM battery does not require venting; or,
  • they want to eliminate the need for maintenance access.
There's another reason people want to use AGM batteries, somebody said AGM batteries are the best because they're the most expensive. My flooded cell battery lasted about the same amount of time as and as AGM battery. The extra cost went into the gas tank to do more camping.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:30 PM   #7
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I went with an AGM for the trailer because I thought the benefits were worth the extra money. This is year six. We'll see how it goes. When I needed a battery for my tractor I also went with an AGM because it was sealed and because of the low self discharge. The tractor can sit months without use. The yellow top optima was recommended. Raz
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:13 PM   #8
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I was led to believe that AGM batteries can be recharged many more cycles than a conventional battery. Also that they can be discharged to a lower level with no harm done than a conventional lead acid battery.
Is this correct or not?
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:39 PM   #9
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When I needed a battery for my tractor I also went with an AGM because it was sealed and because of the low self discharge. The tractor can sit months without use.
That makes sense to me.
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:39 AM   #10
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Sometimes the cost vs value don't quite add, at to me. AGM batteries are about twice the price of a flooded cell battery. For every AGM battery, I can buy two flooded cell batteries.
Optima Blue top Group 24 size is only 55 amp hour. Flooded cell Group 24 is between 70 and 80 amp hour. So looks to me like twice the cost for around 25% less capacity.

What ever floats your boat.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:50 AM   #11
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Sometimes the cost vs value don't quite add, at to me. AGM batteries are about twice the price of a flooded cell battery. For every AGM battery, I can buy two flooded cell batteries.
Optima Blue top Group 24 size is only 55 amp hour. Flooded cell Group 24 is between 70 and 80 amp hour. So looks to me like twice the cost for around 25% less capacity.

What ever floats your boat.
I bought the Lifeline GPL 24 T when the battery on our first trailer died in 3 years. I'm still using it. It was a little over $200 or almost 3x the Walmart battery price at the time (2007). They claim up to 1000 charge/discharge cycles. We camp less than 50 days/year and use about 5-10 Ahr a night. LED lights. A small fan I modified to use less about 1/2 amp and the water pump. Because of parasitic loads, I noticed any time I connected the battery, there was a small spark. The sealed battery is safer in my opinion. If I break even I'll be happy. It's about the closest I come to gambling. Raz


http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/rvd...ebatteries.php
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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Another big issue with using AGM batteries has to do with what kind of charger you are using to charge and maintain it. Standard wet-cell batteries, besides being less expensive, are not as fickle nor prone to problems of overcharging. AGM batteries do not possess the capacity that wet-cell batteries have to tolerating being overcharged. Yes, overcharging is not a good thing irregardless of the type of battery, it's just AGM's will crap out on you faster if overcharged. Wet-cells are a bit more forgiving in this regard. Which brings us to the problem with most trailers out there, they generally have single stage chargers installed in their converters, and this is all because they are cheaper for the trailer manufacturers to install, (it's all about profitability.) They come equipped with single stage chargers, (aka "dumb chargers",) which do not properly regulate and adjust power requirements as the battery approaches a state of full charge. They just keep pumping charging current into the battery at the one and only rate they are capable of putting out. So, unless you are planning to upgrade your converter to one capable of "smart charging", (i.e. a good 3 or 4 stage charger,) you are just wasting your money on an AGM. I agree with Byron in that the best battery for an rv or trailer is still a standard wet-cell type. I'm sure others will feel compelled to tell of the great success they have using AGM's, but why pay more for something you don't really need?
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:30 AM   #13
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Gee, my trailer is a rollover - quess I should have gotten that AGM battery for upside down use.
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:45 AM   #14
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I used to run optimas. The old ones worked great for years. The newer ones…well, I ran through 3 of them in 4 years. I stuck a Walmart battery in, went for six years. Another had exide orbitals, killed 2 of them in. 2 years. I threw a cheap parts store battery in it in 2006, still works.

I used to like optimas, now I wouldn't touch them.
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:43 PM   #15
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I stuck a Walmart battery in, went for six years. ........... I threw a cheap parts store battery in it in 2006, still works.
Six years out of a Walmart battery.......maybe you're working too much Raz
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:12 PM   #16
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I used to run optimas. The old ones worked great for years. The newer ones…well, I ran through 3 of them in 4 years. I stuck a Walmart battery in, went for six years. Another had exide orbitals, killed 2 of them in. 2 years. I threw a cheap parts store battery in it in 2006, still works.

I used to like optimas, now I wouldn't touch them.
I saw an interesting paper on longevity problems with AGM (and other VRLA) batteries...I guess it's been sort of a mystery for some time why many evidently aren't living up to the expectations raised by the success of the early prototypes. The author of the paper posits that the use of recycled instead of virgin lead is at the root of the problem...it seems that the developers of the type used virgin ore more or less by chance and until recently no one realized that the distinction is important.

Technochild that I am, I may be interpreting the paper incorrectly, so herewith a link to same in case others more savvy than I may find it interesting/useful:
Lead Purity: VRLA Problems

Francesca
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
I bought the Lifeline GPL 24 T when the battery on our first trailer died in 3 years. I'm still using it. It was a little over $200 or almost 3x the Walmart battery price at the time (2007). They claim up to 1000 charge/discharge cycles. We camp less than 50 days/year and use about 5-10 Ahr a night. LED lights. A small fan I modified to use less about 1/2 amp and the water pump. Because of parasitic loads, I noticed any time I connected the battery, there was a small spark. The sealed battery is safer in my opinion. If I break even I'll be happy. It's about the closest I come to gambling. Raz


Lifeline Batteries - Marine & RV Deep Cycle Batteries
I noticed that small spark too on my trailer. I believe it's caused by the Propane Detector which is full time powered from the house battery.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:32 PM   #18
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I noticed that small spark too on my trailer. I believe it's caused by the Propane Detector which is full time powered from the house battery.
I agree. I measured about 35 mA on mine. No such thing as off anymore. That's one reason I put the inline fuse in. It's an easy disconnect with the spark enclosed.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:33 PM   #19
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I agree. I measured about 35 mA on mine. No such thing as off anymore. That's one reason I put the inline fuse in. It's an easy disconnect with the spark enclosed.

I think the inline fuse is a good thing. My Scamp came from the factory with a 20 amp fuse inline with the positive lead at the battery. After about 6 years it became corroded and I need to replace the holder and the fuse. Point is it's a good thing but is another failure point.
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:03 PM   #20
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Greetings,

My only experience with an AGM over time is a Lifeline AGM i had in my HAM Shack that lasted about 8 years without any maintenance except proper maintaining with an appropriate AC charger.

Now with our Parkliner #35 and the stock placement of two Optima Blue Top 34 batteries...if i knew then (when ordering) what i know now... I would have paid the extra $$ for the 27 battery with 10 more AH and a built in vent to attach a small tube to vent to outside from their placement in the under-bench battery compartment. Hindsight. While i do expect to get many good years of use out of the 34's, i will probably swap out for 27's when the time comes just cuz.

No maintenance AGMs is my preference. I have two 6v wet cells in our 38' fiver and they need watching and usually only get three to four years out of a pair.
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