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Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

After a week of research and so forth and so on ... I've come to the conclusion that I need to replace my batteries and that I want to install AGMs.

As many of you know, that decision doesn't end the decision making.

Now I have to figure out what brand of AGMs to buy. West Marine is currently having a sale that is very appealing. Despite the general "people hate West Marine" sentiment, I haven't been able to find any information about their branded AGM batteries being good or bad.

Beyond that, there are only 5 jillion brands of AGMs available, and the prices vary quite a bit. My searches across the Intertubes haven't turned up any useful comparisons between brands, so I'm tempted to go for the less expensive choices (first in line is West Marine at this point) but I don't want to screw myself if the cheap batteries are garbagy.

Does anyone know of any resources online that have qualitatively tested AGM brands? Any specific brands to avoid? Any feedback at all would be interesting to read at this point.
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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

It will be harder than you think. Most batteries are just rebranded versions from the same factory. In the case of WM, I believe most (maybe not all) of their AGMs are from East Penn, which is a quality manufacturer. In any event, the source is what you need to know, not the retailer.

If you are switching chemistries, be sure you switch charging profiles too. AGMs are good technology, as they can't leak and will accept a ton of charge, pretty quickly. That's an advantage, when charging via a generator or high capacity alternator. On the other hand, they can burn out an alternator, if it isn't properly temperature limited. Most stock alts are not. AGMs also want to return to 100% state of charge frequently for longevity. If you oversize the bank, you can get away with age degradation longer, but that's expensive too.
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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

AGM brands we recommend to our customers, based on thousands of hours of testing (each capacity test takes 20 hours), and real world use/abuse by our customers. In order of preference:

Firefly Carbon Foam
Odyssey TPPL AGM
Northstar TPPL AGM
Lifeline AGM
Full River or Rolls AGM

Not all AGM batteries are created equal and there is a ton of junk out there. East Penn makes terrific GEL batteries, some of the longest lasting batteries going, but I'd not install their AGM product on Kim Jong-un's boat...
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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
?......Not all AGM batteries are created equal and there is a ton of junk out there. East Penn makes terrific GEL batteries, some of the longest lasting batteries going, but I'd not install their AGM product on Kim Jong-un's boat...
Iíd take @Maine Sail word for it. Politics and all.

Iíve used WMís AGMs for my dedicated electric winch bank, with no ill results. However, that is very different from a house bank.


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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
It will be harder than you think. Most batteries are just rebranded versions from the same factory. In the case of WM, I believe most (maybe not all) of their AGMs are from East Penn, which is a quality manufacturer. In any event, the source is what you need to know, not the retailer.

If you are switching chemistries, be sure you switch charging profiles too. AGMs are good technology, as they can't leak and will accept a ton of charge, pretty quickly. That's an advantage, when charging via a generator or high capacity alternator. On the other hand, they can burn out an alternator, if it isn't properly temperature limited. Most stock alts are not. AGMs also want to return to 100% state of charge frequently for longevity. If you oversize the bank, you can get away with age degradation longer, but that's expensive too.
I'm working on finding replacement charging hardware. It's frustrating that everything seems to be overbuilt and I'm not a fan of paying for a lot of stuff I won't use ... for example, why do so many of the shore power chargers have 3 bank capacity? How many people actually have 3 separate battery banks? Space constraints are also driving me to avoid buying something larger than necessary. Any recommendations on shore power chargers?
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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
It will be harder than you think. Most batteries are just rebranded versions from the same factory. In the case of WM, I believe most (maybe not all) of their AGMs are from East Penn, which is a quality manufacturer. In any event, the source is what you need to know, not the retailer.

If you are switching chemistries, be sure you switch charging profiles too. AGMs are good technology, as they can't leak and will accept a ton of charge, pretty quickly. That's an advantage, when charging via a generator or high capacity alternator. On the other hand, they can burn out an alternator, if it isn't properly temperature limited. Most stock alts are not. AGMs also want to return to 100% state of charge frequently for longevity. If you oversize the bank, you can get away with age degradation longer, but that's expensive too.
We have 6 - 6 volt lifelines
There Are reasons you pay a premium for them and ways to compare them

1 - warranty
2- ability to condition them. Only AGM which encourages that. Itís a necessity for wet cells. I believe it why mine lasted over 10 years both times
3 - footprint- theses have smaller heights
4- number of deep cycles to be expected

Like Minnie said match alternator or you work it to death.

All AGM are not the same

West marine are not great quality IMHO


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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

Yes follow MS' reco, in NA market those are the ones to give you longevity.

If you only want them to last a season then others will do fine.

____
Good chargers are expensive, multiple outputs is not the reason.

Can easily pay as much as for the bank, but the charger will last longer.

ProMariner Pronautic P series

shares the same motherboard with the

Sterling ProCharge Ultra

Both are great, and the user-custom setpoints are great for future proofing.

Victron, Magnum, MasterVolt are also top-notch but pricey.

From the RV world, might be cheaper, but prolly won't like the salt air.

PowerMax PMBC apparently also custom setpoints

Iota DLS-X w/ IQ4 option

Progressive Dynamics
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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

p.s. I have East Penn Gel batteries for my house, which I knew to be quality. Made a leap of faith, given my positive experience with WM AGM in a different application.


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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillMoran View Post
I'm working on finding replacement charging hardware. It's frustrating that everything seems to be overbuilt and I'm not a fan of paying for a lot of stuff I won't use ... for example, why do so many of the shore power chargers have 3 bank capacity? How many people actually have 3 separate battery banks? Space constraints are also driving me to avoid buying something larger than necessary. Any recommendations on shore power chargers?
Many boats could have 3 batteries on board. My 30 foot Nonsuch had two house bank batteries and one for the motor.

You might consider a Dual Pro Charger for a shore power charger. They are available for charging one, two, three or four batteries. Order one with an AGM charge profile and you are done.

Mike
Currently: Spring Outfitting

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Re: Any particular brands of AGM batteries to avoid?

I must have gotten lucky with my AGMs - 8D... Replaced / installed in Early Spring 2012 w/ complete rewire of cables. shunts etc. They seem to be doing fine. Apparently made in Vietnam.

Next install w/ likely be smaller format... These are way to difficult to handle.
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