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AGM batteries & solar battery tender

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garmp

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AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« on: September 11, 2022, 11:30:03 am »
Thinking about switching over to AGM batteries & know nothing about what I should know & do. I tried to do online research but have a hard time distinguishing between a sales pitch & an honest review/opinion as I know nothing about the subject.
I did find that one important point is to keep the batteries charged while in storage. As I generally put it in storage from Nov to April. Cannot keep on our property due to our beloved HOA, so it is offsite with no electric available. Which brings me to a solar battery tender. These are effective??? Spending this kind of money on batteries, don't want them going south the first year. Since our coach is offsite can I use a solar tender discretely with no holes drilled, etc. I'd like to place the solar panel in the cab windshield & run the cables to the batteries. Does this even sound feasible?
And I guess solar battery tenders, like the batteries themselves, vary in price from one end of the spectrum to the other. And the higher the price isn't always the better.
Oh, where to start? Then there is always the consideration of total cost and what I can afford. But naturally I want the best for the least cost.
Any thoughts?
Jack is what we call our PC 2351D, and he has taken us from campers to RV'ers and loving it. We're no longer Team Bob. Just Jack the RV!

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mikeh

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2022, 10:30:17 pm »
Gary, I can say that, in general, the combination of AGM batteries and solar charging can be a good combination.  As with everything else, however, the particulars of the setup matter.

When I ordered my 2019 2552, I specified the AGM battery option and the 300 watt factory installed solar panel system.  That combination has proven to be a good decision.  One major advantage of the AGM batteries is that they are sealed and maintenance free--that eliminates the constant need to monitor and replenish water in the cells.  I have only viewed my house batteries two or three times in the three and a half years since I got my coach in early 2019--just to make sure no corrosion or other issues was forming on the cables.  They require zero attention.  The factory installed solar charge system does an excellent job of keeping the house batteries fully charged as long as the roof-mounted panels have sunlight.  Again, it requires no management--I just check the battery charge status indicator occasionally when I'm in the coach and the batteries are always at 100% charge.  That setup is about as reliable and trouble free as one could ask for.

I believe that the only negative in changing your house batteries over to AGM is the cost difference from the flooded cell batteries.  Beyond that it should be a direct change-out of taking the old batteries out and putting the new ones in.  I'm not sure what brand AGMs Phoenix is installing in new coaches, but the Trojan T105-AGM units they were using in 2019 are excellent batteries, and I wouldn't hesitate to purchase them again.  Of course a heavy move is being made to lithium battery technology in the RV industry today (Phoenix included), but for many RV'ers lead-acid AGMs meet all the need at a lesser cost.

Regarding the solar battery tenders--I have seen the units and the concept is good, but I don't know how they perform in real life since I've never needed to use one.  As I said, the roof-mounted panel system installed by Phoenix has been flawless in my experience, but that is a quality professional installation using good components.  It does seem feasible to me to purchase a quality solar tender, place it where it will get reliable daily sunlight, and route the cables to the batteries.  Another option would be to start and run the generator every month or two during your six-month storage period; running for an hour or so should replenish the batteries as well as provide the side benefit of preventing the generator carburetor from getting "gunked up" by stagnant gasoline.

All the best,      Mike

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2 Frazzled

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2022, 04:43:10 am »
I have no experience in this but am pretty sure I've read that some people pull their house batteries and keep them charged at home
John, Holly, and sometimes Chloe.
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donc13

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2022, 06:31:11 am »
Thinking about switching over to AGM batteries & know nothing about what I should know & do. I tried to do online research but have a hard time distinguishing between a sales pitch & an honest review/opinion as I know nothing about the subject.
I did find that one important point is to keep the batteries charged while in storage. As I generally put it in storage from Nov to April. Cannot keep on our property due to our beloved HOA, so it is offsite with no electric available. Which brings me to a solar battery tender. These are effective??? Spending this kind of money on batteries, don't want them going south the first year. Since our coach is offsite can I use a solar tender discretely with no holes drilled, etc. I'd like to place the solar panel in the cab windshield & run the cables to the batteries. Does this even sound feasible?
And I guess solar battery tenders, like the batteries themselves, vary in price from one end of the spectrum to the other. And the higher the price isn't always the better.
Oh, where to start? Then there is always the consideration of total cost and what I can afford. But naturally I want the best for the least cost.
Any thoughts?

I replaced the 6v golf cart batteries that came standard on my 2015 2551 with 2 6v Lifeline AGM batteries.  At the time, they were $300 each.   Like you, not allowed to keep RV at home.  I also replaced the engine battery with an AGM.  For storage, I just disconnect both engine and house batteries.  Been doing that for several years now, never had an issue with the batteries holding their charge while in storage.
---
Don and Patti

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2022, 09:55:27 am »
With our PC chassis battery and Saturn Sky, I fully charge the batteries, then disconnect them and let sit for many months without tending to.  The PC stays inside at 65 degrees, the Sky outside in Chicago winter temps.  So far, so good in both cases.

Because our PC is at home indoors, I keep the house batteries connected because we sometimes go in there for things.  So I charge the two 6V AGM batteries once every few months, but they discharge so very slowly that I wonder if I could wait to charge them every 5 to 6 months.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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keelhauler

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2022, 11:35:07 am »
Since you have no solar panels, your best option is to disconnect both your house batteries and engine battery. They should be fine and just need charging after reconnecting.



John

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garmp

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2022, 12:01:41 pm »
Disconnecting house batteries: does the battery on/off switch by the coach door do the same thing? Or is a physical dismantle of the cables required?
Jack is what we call our PC 2351D, and he has taken us from campers to RV'ers and loving it. We're no longer Team Bob. Just Jack the RV!

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2022, 03:32:29 pm »
Disconnecting house batteries: does the battery on/off switch by the coach door do the same thing? Or is a physical dismantle of the cables required?
MOST DEFINITELY physically disconnect the ground cable that is attached to the batteries.  The "Kill Switch" by the entry door does not kill everything as you would think.  There remains a minor drain on the batteries.  That stumps a lot of new RV owners, regardless of brand.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: AGM batteries & solar battery tender
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2022, 03:33:19 pm »
Since you have no solar panels, your best option is to disconnect both your house batteries and engine battery. They should be fine and just need charging after reconnecting.
2o2
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer