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  #11  
Old 03-09-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

I have 6 -6 volt Lifeline AGM. 720 ah. I do "equalize or condition as Maine sail recommended. Also based on his recommendation I outfitted with an Electromax 120 with serp belt and Maxx regulator with appropruiate temp sensor. Important with the large battery bank to charge to not run the alternator at such a hig charge to get to 85% for a long time. If you go the large amp hr route make sure you also upgrade the alternor or you will burn it out.

Lifeline AGM supposed can be charged over 1000 cycle I am going on 4 years now with mine with never a problem. Also check the arrenty. I know its par rated by some is better than 0

My advantages.-
6 volts easier to pick up than 8D.
No maintainence except equalizing- and they are in a tough sopt n the boat to get to
They can be stacked on their sides or many configuations
Somne of them (Kifeline) mastervolt have low profiles
Accept a charge more quickly

Price the Lifelines many places as the prices really vary greatly. Some have free shipping. You can by many 6 volt cheaper,,,for sure,,,but the time for maintainence and such may not be worth it for you.

Dave
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
AGM IS.......lead acid......... They can also vent gas if over charged, and when they do, the lost electrolyte can not be replaced.

If your bank of AGM batteries is made by Lifeline they are not maintenance free and need to be equalized occasionally, or as Lifeline calls it "conditioned", at 15.5V temp compensated for about 8 hours, especially if you are a cruiser.

My experiences with AGM, to summarize, are that:

They cost a lot more
Have shorter cycle life
Accept more current than wet lead acid
When they fail they tend to fail with little to no warning
Need to be charged to 100% SOC as often as possible

My experiences & thoughts.....


AGM's Making The Choice (LINK)
Thanks for the link

But even after reading your comments I still think that AGM makes sense to my case.

The bank will have a max of 360-120ah and the alternator has 120amp. I plan to add a hydrogenerator good for 300/500w on most sailing conditions.

Do I need to anything more to regulate the system (letting out the hydrogenerator for now), or the 120 amp alternator will be enough?

Regarding costs, the alternative is to buy a generator and that costs several times the price of the batteries (8 000€) and has an expensive maintenance. Even with the batteries lasting 3 to four seasons I guess it will be less expensive than the generator, less noisy and will save the space needed for the generator.

I want to use them because I want to stay at anchor for about 15 days and then go to a marina for water and for 100% charge on the batteries. I don’t have AC and have diesel heating so much of the energy required is for running 2 refrigerators (plus some light and eventually some music).

It makes sense? Comments please

Regards

Paulo
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Got two 105AH Lifelines for my Pearson 34 Spring 2006 and been quite happy with them. 80A alternator & next to never run engine to only charge batteries. Trickle charge w/20W solar panel. But I am also a power miser. Biggest draw is GPS & autopilot, radar when foggy (oh, never in Maine), although fog often coincides w.motoring.
Leave in place over winter, charge fall, charge spring.
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

i have a lifeline gpl 8dl battery and a morningstar controler pro 30 but lack enough solar panels,the controler won't allow the battery charge to get too low and when my rich uncle gets out of the poor house i'll add more panels,i have a seperate 2 battery bank for the engine and normal boat use and will be using the solar system for other things
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Thanks for the link

But even after reading your comments I still think that AGM makes sense to my case.

The bank will have a max of 360-120ah and the alternator has 120amp. I plan to add a hydrogenerator good for 300/500w on most sailing conditions.

Do I need to anything more to regulate the system (letting out the hydrogenerator for now), or the 120 amp alternator will be enough?

Regarding costs, the alternative is to buy a generator and that costs several times the price of the batteries (8 000€) and has an expensive maintenance. Even with the batteries lasting 3 to four seasons I guess it will be less expensive than the generator, less noisy and will save the space needed for the generator.

I want to use them because I want to stay at anchor for about 15 days and then go to a marina for water and for 100% charge on the batteries. I don’t have AC and have diesel heating so much of the energy required is for running 2 refrigerators (plus some light and eventually some music).

It makes sense? Comments please

Regards

Paulo
The bolded part makes little sense...? That is a VERY SMALL bank if planning to be on the hook for extended periods and running refrigeration. 400Ah and up are pretty standard bank sizes these days especially if running DC refrigeration. A 400 Ah bank of wets will take about what your alt can produce so no acceptance gain with AGM.

The problem with alternators is that all batteries, wet, gel AGM but not LiIon begin drastically limiting "accepted current" at about 80% state of charge. So the area you're concentrating on is between 50% SOC and 80-85% SOC. Beyond that it makes little sense to run the engine for charging. Your 120 amp alt will likely supply about 85-90A when hot....

"Usable" battery capacity gets really small really fast...



You need CURRENT to be able to take advantage of the high acceptance rates of AGM and you really don't have it... With a small bank you could see slightly faster charging between 50% SOC and 80% SOC, but then a small bank is not very suitable for your cruising needs with two refrigerators. You really need a battery monitor and to know what you use in Ah's per day.
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 03-09-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 03-10-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

360 ah means only 180 usable and if recharging on the hook without engine hard to get past the 85% part as you will also continue to use.

I would look at getting at least 4- 6 volt lifelines. Thats 440 or 480 depending on the ones you buy. The footprint space of the 4 6 volt will take up the room of less than 3 group 31. 3 group 31 is about 330 ah. Also you do not need battery boxes for the AGM just have to secure them although i did have the space for battery boxes. If you can get 6 in the space. I made dummies out of cardboard of the batteries and fit them into the compartment uinder my rear quarter berth to see the proper way to get them to fit.

Lastly I would make an electrical diet to see what you usage is in an average day. That should help you figure out how many ah you will need for what you want to do. Our average ah/ day is about 80-90, 40 of which on a hot summer ( 90+) day is refrigeration. We have shower pumps, fans, labtop,as well as a C-80 chartplotter and ST-60 instruments and had gone to all LED lights...most Alpenglow.

Good luck on your choices. These batteries will last more than 4 yaers if you take care of them properly during charging and make sure you desulfate them correctly.

Dave
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Old 03-10-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

I,m having to replace my 10 year old starter battery, won,t hold a charge, so understand I would be wise to replace the leisure at the same time.
Have a small AGM that runs my electric outboard. Holds the charge well and charges up quickly but going up in size to a pair of 100+ Ah is expensive.
I,m thinking of a like for like replacement as I think 10 years of reliable use is hard to beat.
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

That is super useful feedback from Maine Sail. I will go back to it and read slowly, comments & links. My study of the situation is not as technical.

Here's the backround: J/35, weekend cruiser, once a month if lucky, boat in dock, two kids & wife, Puerto Rico. It rains very often during evenings in the Caribbean (short & heavy), so I got sick of getting up to close hatches and then back up to open. Then came genset, 2.5K Mase, to run A/C. It "killed" the sailboat "feel" for sleeping, no matter the soundproofing & vibration damping (which was more important but I was limited in height). Genset out, and starter studying batteries further.

Decision: high accceptance rate, "virtually no gas emissions" (Deka-WM), putting high loads on them, and deep cycles (70% discharge). I upgraded alternator to a Balmar 70A, with programmable regulator.

Ok, about the A/C, I use it at night only, so it maintains a nice ambient temperature, not a refrigerator, like some of my boating friends. It's a Cruisair 10,000BTU/h, with a soft starter, which reduces load peaks. 3000W Gopower Inverter, and that's the system. I've run my A/C for 12h, very much over my calculations, but that depends a lot on the temperature difference you set (ext/int). Same story with your refrigeration, Paulo, tem and use (open/close). If you have two ref systems, have one to store unopened stuff and open it the least.

Custom made a SS crate for the new bank, on top of keel. My boat is a bit weight/balance sensitive, so that's a big plus. Need more experience on this, but I'm very excited. No dollar savings, just being a systems geek and sinking money, but this hobby/lifestyle doesn't make economical sense since the day you consider to buy a boat. I'll admit wasting some more than usual, but I also learn in the process.

Warnings, this is just as costly as a generator, but I think it's the future, especially in under 40' boats. Why hasn't the inverter-type technology of A/C gone marine yet? That will change the world of onboard power requirements. Next thread topic, Paulo?

Here's a picture of the bank. Made a custom cabinet/table over it, not pictured. Seventh batery is aft port, opposite to starting battery. Have a Link 2000 monitor but have yet to learn how to program it correctly.
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
You have them or work with them and that statment results from personal experience or is just your opinion?

Regards

Paulo
I'm a full time cruiser and am on my second set of AGMs. The house bank is 420ah with an Ample 100 amp alternator plus 320watts solar. The first AGMs failed in 1 year with crap for manufacturer support. The second set are Victron's, 2 years old now and working very well.
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Old 03-10-2012
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Re: AGM batteries: Someone using them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMoll View Post

Decision: high accceptance rate, "virtually no gas emissions" (Deka-WM), putting high loads on them, and deep cycles (70% discharge). I upgraded alternator to a Balmar 70A, with programmable regulator.

With that alternator you are not even coming close to taking advantage of the acceptance benefit. The same bank it Wet Cell would take well over twice what you can effectively deliver. Deka recommends cycling the batteries to 50%...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMoll View Post
Ok, about the A/C, I use it at night only, so it maintains a nice ambient temperature, not a refrigerator, like some of my boating friends. It's a Cruisair 10,000BTU/h, with a soft starter, which reduces load peaks. 3000W Gopower Inverter, and that's the system. I've run my A/C for 12h, very much over my calculations, but that depends a lot on the temperature difference you set (ext/int). Same story with your refrigeration, Paulo, tem and use (open/close). If you have two ref systems, have one to store unopened stuff and open it the least.

Custom made a SS crate for the new bank, on top of keel. My boat is a bit weight/balance sensitive, so that's a big plus. Need more experience on this, but I'm very excited. No dollar savings, just being a systems geek and sinking money, but this hobby/lifestyle doesn't make economical sense since the day you consider to buy a boat. I'll admit wasting some more than usual, but I also learn in the process.

Warnings, this is just as costly as a generator, but I think it's the future, especially in under 40' boats. Why hasn't the inverter-type technology of A/C gone marine yet? That will change the world of onboard power requirements. Next thread topic, Paulo?

Here's a picture of the bank. Made a custom cabinet/table over it, not pictured. Seventh batery is aft port, opposite to starting battery. Have a Link 2000 monitor but have yet to learn how to program it correctly.
Your bank can become "imbalanced" if you keep it wired like that..




Yours looks wired like this:
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 03-10-2012 at 09:37 AM.
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