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12 volt battery question please

_DJ_1
Explorer II
Explorer II
My batteries are very difficult to remove for winter. Plus I may want to take up ice fishing/camping again!! I am thinking about building hard foam insulation around the batteries to help keep them warm as they are mounted under the truck. So my question would be should I remove the insulation in the summer so they don't get too hot? Would there be a difference between flooded and AGM? Thanks, DJ
'17 Class C 22' Conquest on Ford E 450 with V 10. 4000 Onan, Quad 6 volt AGMs, 515 watts solar.
'12 Northstar Liberty on a '16 Super Duty 6.2. Twin 6 volt AGMs with 300 watts solar.
21 REPLIES 21

ajriding
Explorer
Explorer
Also, batteries do not sweat like humans to keep cool. Insulation will not make a battery get hot in the summer in itself. If it is ventilated then that is enough.

I have never done anything in the winter except keep the batts properly charged. They always last as long or longer than they are rated for.

If your batts are under the RV then insulation will not help. They are not being heated and are not warm to begin with so there is no heat to preserve at all so insulation would not do anything. The insulation would be as cold as the battery and as cold as the outside world, at best it would delay the time it takes for the battery to get cold when the temp drops fast, but will also delay the time it takes for battery to warm up when the temps warm up also. Net zero.

Are you able to check the water level regularly? At least 2-3 times per year? Add distilled water only, and don't let the water level drop below the plates - this will be more beneficial than worrying about temps.

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
3 tons wrote:
Thanks for relating to us your sage experience and appropriate safety cavet…Though I believe that LFP’s are considerably safer than higher power density phone batteries (likely because of LFP’s lacking cobalt chemistry) there’s little doubt that lithium types are a different animal… When doing a true load test on my replacement 200a/h LFP cylindrical-cell drop-in, I was made acutely aware of this when once ‘confirmed’ to be at zero percent rated SOC, I decided to switch on the microwave oven to see what might happen and was amazed that it ran perfectly while drawing a whopping 136 (or slightly more) d.c. amps at zero SOC!! - CRAZY!! Turns out that this battery didn’t come to a stop until at 215 consumed a/hrs…FWIW, I have no idea whether this is typical of other drop-ins (??), but YES an altogether different kind of animal indeed…

3 tons


Respect is required with any high density energy.

Early Lithium batteries were pretty unstable, while newer technologies have reduced that instability the problem now becomes dealing with defects internally in the cells, only takes one bad apple in that pack shorting out due to contamination in the manufacturing process (not unusual either, was a huge Lithium battery recall a few yrs back involving just about every laptop manufacturer).. The cells themselves can hold a considerable charge beyond what the BMS cuts off at so a cell can still have plenty of energy to overheat if shorted or misused even if the BMS disconnects external connections as you have noticed..

3_tons
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks for relating to us your sage experience and appropriate safety cavet…Though I believe that LFP’s are considerably safer than higher power density phone batteries (likely because of LFP’s lacking cobalt chemistry) there’s little doubt that lithium types are a different animal… When doing a true load test on my replacement 200a/h LFP cylindrical-cell drop-in, I was made acutely aware of this when once ‘confirmed’ to be at zero percent rated SOC, I decided to switch on the microwave oven to see what might happen and was amazed that it ran perfectly while drawing a whopping 136 (or slightly more) d.c. amps at zero SOC!! - CRAZY!! Turns out that this battery didn’t come to a stop until at 215 consumed a/hrs…FWIW, I have no idea whether this is typical of other drop-ins (??), but YES an altogether different kind of animal indeed…

3 tons

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
3 tons wrote:
ANY Battery can be defective, or prematurely die a natural death, but at least with LFP’s some come with a ten (or even 11year) warranty….I admit this is purely anecdotal, but when my comparatively pricy 18 mo old single 200a/h LFP for some reason developed a premature shut-down at 20% SOC, it was simply replaced under warranty with no questions asked…I load tested the replacement and it’s actual capacity was at 215a/hrs….Bottom line is there’s just no certainties in life, but reputation often matters - “you just gotta pick your own poison” - lol

3 tons


Everything has "defects", just some defects never fully show up and some when they pop up can have rather interesting results.

As you say, pick your poison..

Spent my last 22 yrs of work life building, setting up highly computerized electro mechanical robotic equipment in an industrial 24/7/365 use environment.

Most everything designed for a consumer use is designed around 8 hrs per day average. In industrial 24/7/365 use, we use stuff at an accelerated rate, basically using up the life of equipment three times faster than a average consumer.

Ran into that issue when a system board manufacturer gave us a quote of 5 yrs average life on a system board.. They quoted that thinking that it was going to be used for a single 8 hr shift per day.. Our purchasing department thought it was warrantied for 5 yrs for 24/7/365 use.. A lot of red faces after the system boards started failing after only 2 yrs of use and no warranty from the manufacturer once they realized we were using it 24/7/365..

There IS a reason why equipment designed mainly for industrial use cost as much as 5 times more than ones slated for Consumers..

From my work experience which did involve AGMs and Lithium batteries I have seen good and bad with both. From some of the bad especially with Lithium batteries I have a real healthy respect for what they CAN do in case of something goes sideways in either a defect or abuse. Doesn't matter either way, they pack a lot of energy in that little package which when it goes sideways can result in one large amount of heat being released in short order.

I don't sleep with a phone in my pocket, under a pillow, in bed. I don't leave phones lay on materials that easily can spread a fire. I don't expose my cellphone to hard shock and try to avoid dropping it on concrete or drop it in water as I have seen what happens to even industrial ruggedized Lithium batteries.. Heck, my cellphone when at home lives on a non flammable surface when I am not using it..

Treat them with respect.

3_tons
Explorer
Explorer
ANY Battery can be defective, or prematurely die a natural death, but at least with LFP’s some come with a ten (or even 11year) warranty….I admit this is purely anecdotal, but when my comparatively pricy 18 mo old single 200a/h LFP for some reason developed a premature shut-down at 20% SOC, it was simply replaced under warranty with no questions asked…I load tested the replacement and it’s actual capacity was at 215a/hrs….Bottom line is there’s just no certainties in life, but reputation often matters - “you just gotta pick your own poison” - lol

3 tons

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
wa8yxm wrote:
Gdetrailer wrote:
I have a bunch of UPS units around my house, they all came equipped with AGM instead of Gel cells, life of AGMs in "standby use" is far shorter than Gel cells. Older UPS units which came with Gelcells battery life was 5-6 yrs, the newer units equipped with AGMs I end up changing out 2-3 yrs..


I have used both AGM and GEL and I've seen others
Gel is the finikiest eater of any battery out there. You need to be very very very careful charging them.. AGM's on the other hand are gluttons. you can feed them fast enough to "Choke a horse"

(From Xantrex and Lifeline,
Regular Lead acid should be charged 0.30C or slower (C is capacity in amp hours at the 20 hour rate so a 100 amp hour battery eats no more than 30 amps)

Gel 0.25C

Agm.. over 0.2 C used to be 0.3 C but they lowered it And top charge rate easily 2x the minimum (Note with AGM we changed from MAX to MIN charge rate)

I've seen AGM's go 12 years.. I've had 'em last 5, I've never had a gel make it to 2 ANd that was in a system specifically designed to use GEL batteries.


I have three UPS units which came equipped with AGM batteries, I CAN assure you, AGMs do not ALWAYS last or are better than the older UPSs that had Gel cells.. As I mentioned, the UPS units I have with AGMs only get 2-3 yrs of service, IF I am lucky, my older UPS units which came with Gel cells typically get 5-6 yrs..

Not to mention a company I worked for had built a mobile computerized product for industrial use in 24/7/365 environment.. The engineers decided on AGMs instead of Gel cells, equipped with a charger designed exclusively for AGMs.. The onboard computer also had a battery monitor interface that allowed the computer let user know when the device needed to be plugged in to charge.

That product was a total flop due to the battery.. Our Service department sent out replacement batteries like they were Tic-Tacs.. But they were not as cheap as Tic-Tacs at $150 per battery with only 24 Ahr capacity.. Gel cell of same capacity would have only cost $50 and lasted just as long or even longer..

And by the way, I have seen bloated AGMs, you CAN feed them TOO MUCH at one time.

Nothing special about AGMs, they share very similar traits to a Gel cell as both are electrolyte starved system. Both AGM and Gel cells tend to suddenly fall off the cliff and die without any signs of failing. One day they work and the next 100% stone dead.. FLAs do not do that, they typically will give you warnings of reduced capacity.

I also worked with another industrial device which used Lithium batteries.. Yeah the stories I wished I could tell of those.. We had to stock hundreds of those batteries and I was the poor sap that had to deal with repairing/refurbing/reloading/replacing those devices..

The batteries were great up to the point that the BMS failed and cut off the battery power for no reason causing a lot of battery replacements..

Then there was those batteries with BMS failures that failed in a different way, shorting out the battery causing the device to overheat enough to give a few customers severe burns.. Needless to say, company withdrew that product and canned the entire project.

I have a huge respect for those batteries, when they work they are nice, but when they fail, the results are less than pretty.

wa8yxm
Explorer III
Explorer III
Gdetrailer wrote:
I have a bunch of UPS units around my house, they all came equipped with AGM instead of Gel cells, life of AGMs in "standby use" is far shorter than Gel cells. Older UPS units which came with Gelcells battery life was 5-6 yrs, the newer units equipped with AGMs I end up changing out 2-3 yrs..


I have used both AGM and GEL and I've seen others
Gel is the finikiest eater of any battery out there. You need to be very very very careful charging them.. AGM's on the other hand are gluttons. you can feed them fast enough to "Choke a horse"

(From Xantrex and Lifeline,
Regular Lead acid should be charged 0.30C or slower (C is capacity in amp hours at the 20 hour rate so a 100 amp hour battery eats no more than 30 amps)

Gel 0.25C

Agm.. over 0.2 C used to be 0.3 C but they lowered it And top charge rate easily 2x the minimum (Note with AGM we changed from MAX to MIN charge rate)

I've seen AGM's go 12 years.. I've had 'em last 5, I've never had a gel make it to 2 ANd that was in a system specifically designed to use GEL batteries.
Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times

pianotuna
Nomad II
Nomad II
Gdetrailer wrote:
I have a bunch of UPS units around my house, they all came equipped with AGM instead of Gel cells, life of AGMs in "standby use" is far shorter than Gel cells. Older UPS units which came with Gelcells battery life was 5-6 yrs, the newer units equipped with AGMs I end up changing out 2-3 yrs..

Gets downright expensive after a while replacing AGMs.. So much so, have considered dumping the standalone UPS units, adding a dedicated Triplite APS series inverter/charger and yes, a pair of 6V FLA GC2s.. I can setup the GC2s/inverter/charger in a separate garage where my whole house gen lives and run inverter only power back to a couple of dedicated outlets.. Instead of needing to replace $60-$100 worth of AGMs every 2-3 yrs I would now have 10+ yrs of battery life.

Call me cheap, but dang those little wimpy AGMs hurt the wallet.


SiO2 are pretty much the same price as AGM's and ought to last a lot longer.
Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

_DJ_1
Explorer II
Explorer II
OK, thanks everyone!! That saves me some work and some $$!! :B
'17 Class C 22' Conquest on Ford E 450 with V 10. 4000 Onan, Quad 6 volt AGMs, 515 watts solar.
'12 Northstar Liberty on a '16 Super Duty 6.2. Twin 6 volt AGMs with 300 watts solar.

Trackrig
Explorer II
Explorer II
I'm in Alaska and I never remove my batteries for either my MH, TT, or hunting rigs. Charge them up, take the battery cables off of them and they'll be just fine. My batteries have been through a lot of -40F winters. And on the hunting rigs they only ever get started and used during Sept. The batteries avg 7 - 8 years.

Bill
Nodwell RN110 out moose hunting. 4-53 Detroit, Clark 5 spd, 40" wide tracks, 10:00x20 tires, 16,000# capacity, 22,000# weight. You know the mud is getting deep when it's coming in the doors.

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
pianotuna wrote:
~DJ~ so long as the batteries are charged it is better for them to be cold. It slows down self discharge about 50% for every 18 F (10 C) the ambient temperature drops.

Gdetrailer AGM do about six times better than FLA in the cold.


AGM will lose less capacity in the cold but it does have some shortcomings like higher upfront price, a bit lower Ahr capacity for the same given cu inches of space and has a few bad habits of gel cells on top of that to deal with and for good measure if overcharged high and long enough will breach the popoff valve and vent out what little precious electrolyte liquid it contains rendering it a very expensive doorstop.

Good note on AGMs is they typically do not off gas unless totally abused which means if you really must, they can be put inside your living area.

I have a bunch of UPS units around my house, they all came equipped with AGM instead of Gel cells, life of AGMs in "standby use" is far shorter than Gel cells. Older UPS units which came with Gelcells battery life was 5-6 yrs, the newer units equipped with AGMs I end up changing out 2-3 yrs..

Gets downright expensive after a while replacing AGMs.. So much so, have considered dumping the standalone UPS units, adding a dedicated Triplite APS series inverter/charger and yes, a pair of 6V FLA GC2s.. I can setup the GC2s/inverter/charger in a separate garage where my whole house gen lives and run inverter only power back to a couple of dedicated outlets.. Instead of needing to replace $60-$100 worth of AGMs every 2-3 yrs I would now have 10+ yrs of battery life.

Call me cheap, but dang those little wimpy AGMs hurt the wallet.

pianotuna
Nomad II
Nomad II
~DJ~ so long as the batteries are charged it is better for them to be cold. It slows down self discharge about 50% for every 18 F (10 C) the ambient temperature drops.

Gdetrailer AGM do about six times better than FLA in the cold.
Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
theoldwizard1 wrote:
gbopp wrote:
You may want to remove the batteries at some point and inspect any metal near them for rust. Sand and paint as needed.
Just keep them charged while in storage.

Besides sanding and painting any brackets, keep the battery itself clean. Baking soda and water and an old paint/chip brush. Rinse with lots of fresh water.


IF you have a good quality converter, the FLA batteries will use very little water which means very little off gassing which means very little rust or corrosion.

Damage to the battery terminal seals can also create considerable damage by allowing the electrolyte to crawl up the battery terminals damaging your cables and in some cases extreme enough to wet the top and sides of battery. In this case, replace the batteries. Been there, done that.

With a converter that drops to storage voltage properly (13.2V) the water usage and hence the off gassing is pretty minimal. For instance I have a pair of 6V GC2s with a PD9160 with external charge wizard. Water usage for both batteries typically is less than 16 oz of water per yr. Terminals stay clean enough to eat off.

Here is a pix of my batteries I took in 2020, I have not touched or cleaned the terminals or the tops of the batteries since they were last replaced 3 yrs before the photo was taken..


Click For Full-Size Image.

Pix was taken after I added water so you can see a couple of drops of water, that is solely from adding water and not from boiling the battery.

If you have a converter that does not drop to storage, then that becomes a problem which boils the batteries very hard creating large amounts of off gassing which contains a considerable amount of acid.

theoldwizard1
Explorer
Explorer
gbopp wrote:
You may want to remove the batteries at some point and inspect any metal near them for rust. Sand and paint as needed.
Just keep them charged while in storage.

Besides sanding and painting any brackets, keep the battery itself clean. Baking soda and water and an old paint/chip brush. Rinse with lots of fresh water.