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Old 04-07-2021, 02:02 AM   #1
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Batteries: What did I accidentally fix?

Context: My two house batteries have mtg date 11/18; Group 24 65ah each in parallel

I was experimenting yesterday to see the impact on batteries if I direct connected the 110 AC plug of my Norcold Propane fridge to a receptacle on my 1000 watt inverter. Goal being to run the inside fridge when driving down the road versus Propane given the inverter is being recharged by engine alternator. Also a backup plan when boondocking; if propane is kind of low.

What happened: It worked; but the batteries only ran the 300watt(2.5 amps) Norcold fridge 2 hours before the generator kicked on as batteries had discharged to 12.0 volts. Nothing else relevant was running.

So today, I figure that maybe the batteries are getting close to time needing to be replace. Note: I had a previous plan to replace the two batteries in November 2021 and buy two new AGM 105AH total 210 AH. So I take both batteries out and take to a O Reilly Auto Parts who say the both batteries show to be Good So given they still had life; I decided to clean them up, added some distilled water (my guess about 1/2 - 3/4 cup per battery.) Brushed all of the connections and sprayed the anti corrosion stuff on all of the terminals and put batteries back in the RV. When done I noticed that voltage on AGS controller now reads 13.7 volts (normally when connected to charger is hovers between 13.2/13.3 volts. With the charger off it goes to 13.4!!!

So I have left disconnected and intend to see how it holds overnight, but was there something that I may have done that improved the charging capacity of the batteries? Is there something else that I may do? If this holds, I think I will need to redo my test with the Norcold fridge on 1000watt inverter to see if it improves beyond the 2 hours.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:01 AM   #2
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Proper water level will always produce more capacity.
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:05 AM   #3
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Not to mention less heat loss through dirty connections.
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:36 AM   #4
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I think you proved that proper maintenance can save on lots of needless expenditures.
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:08 PM   #5
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The posters have noted why the improved performance and both are reasons I have no flooded batteries in any equipment I own.

Not to mention the battery cables will need replacing in time with continued use of flooded batteries due to gassing off and copper corrosion. The hours of use and amperage draw are factors of course as well and users that don't boondock much can live with flooded cell batteries.
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:53 PM   #6
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The batteries are at 12.8vdc this morning and the AGS Controller is saying Fully charged.

Having read another thread last night on similar topic, I have turned on shore power to allow converter to charge. I will wait until tomorrow evening or later to see how many amp hours I can now draw for the Norcold fridge. I wish to ensure it is 100% fully charge to it's current capability.
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lwmcguire View Post
The posters have noted why the improved performance and both are reasons I have no flooded batteries in any equipment I own.

Not to mention the battery cables will need replacing in time with continued use of flooded batteries due to gassing off and copper corrosion. The hours of use and amperage draw are factors of course as well and users that don't boondock much can live with flooded cell batteries.
Duly noted. I am going to Duracell AGM as quick as I can. I was actually looking at 2 at Sam's yesterday but did not pull the trigger. The game I am playing allows me to spend $1,500/year on things that I would live to have for my RV that it did not come with as long as I deduct from it any repairs I had to pay out of pocket. The $1,500 comes from what I did NOT pay in extended warranty coverage. The new batteries will be $400. The difference will be... do I have to buy them as a repair (now); or can I wait until November '21 and buy as luxury? Then again, even if repair, I am not sure the extended warranty would have covered the batteries? (especially if they still register good despite losing some of its capability?)
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
Context:

....cut....

What happened: It worked; but the batteries only ran the 300watt(2.5 amps) Norcold fridge 2 hours before the generator kicked on as batteries had discharged to 12.0 volts. Nothing else relevant was running.

....cut..... If this holds, I think I will need to redo my test with the Norcold fridge on 1000watt inverter to see if it improves beyond the 2 hours.

Your 2.5 Amps is at 120 VAC, so roughly 25 Amps coming out of batteries at +/- 12 VDC to power inverter. If it ran for 2 hours, you may have pulled up to 50 Amp-hours, which is a lot from two small house batteries even if in great shape.

Bottom line is that running propane refrigerators from batteries is rarely a good idea unless it’s an all-out emergency. Running fridge from shore power or while driving so alternator can make up the +/- 25 Amps is different, but using batteries to create heat is not very efficient at all.
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Old 04-07-2021, 01:43 PM   #9
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2016 Thor axis. If I switch to agm battery’s what else would I need to change
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:11 PM   #10
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Then again, even if repair, I am not sure the extended warranty would have covered the batteries?
Batteries are a routine maintenance item, generally not covered by extended warranties. In your case though, you're doing internal rationalization within your budget, so you can call it whatever you want.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:37 PM   #11
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2016 Thor axis. If I switch to agm battery’s what else would I need to change
Nothing...
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:10 PM   #12
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2016 Thor axis. If I switch to agm battery’s what else would I need to change
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:14 PM   #13
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Bottom line is that running propane refrigerators from batteries is rarely a good idea unless it’s an all-out emergency. Running fridge from shore power or while driving so alternator can make up the +/- 25 Amps is different, but using batteries to create heat is not very efficient at all.
I qualified why I wish to be able to run the Norcold propane fridge off batteries in Post #1.
Goal being to run the inside fridge when driving down the road versus Propane given the inverter is being recharged by engine alternator. Also a backup plan when boondocking; if propane is kind of low.


By Chance, can we play out the information provided below... Math Alert: Some may wish to stop reading NOW

You State: "Your 2.5 Amps is at 120 VAC, so roughly 25 Amps coming out of batteries at +/- 12 VDC to power inverter. If it ran for 2 hours, you may have pulled up to 50 Amp-hours, which is a lot from two small house batteries even if in great shape."

If I follow this right, you are saying that whenever I have amperage based on 120VAC, I should multiply by 10 if I wish to run the same load from a battery source? I assume you mean 120VAC/12VDC = 10?

So lets say the exact time the Norcold ran off the battery was 2 hrs. That would mean it pulled 50 DC AHs off the battery before the AGS started the genset to recharge. The same batteries new should have 130 DC AHs available capacity, but I have heard that you really on have half of that? So it means I may have drawn 50 AHs off 65 available AHs before the AGS thought it was too low? (or maybe it really is 130AH available?)

If the above is all true, what perplexes me is the 1.5 AH Insignia Fridge that is in the outside kitchen. It is plugged to the Inverter; so by math just learned; it is pulling 15 amps DC off battery? We have gone overnight (Quiet time 10pm - 7:00AM) with that outdoor fridge on batteries plus TV lights etc. That is 8 hrs and 90AHs. So if I only had 65ah available, it would not be possible, but if the 130ahs were available maybe if batteries were in good condition?

When this is all said and done, I simply wish to achieve the following goals.

1. I would like to switch the inside Norcold Fridge to run off existing inverter / battery for duration of a trip while driving as it recharges with engine.
- No Propane
- No Generator required to run
- No relying on the fridge to simply stay cold during the trip (which it does for the most part, but I want it ice cold) We put Ice in our freezer before each trip anyway.

2. Eventually, I would like to get a new AGM with 100ah or more per battery to almost double my available AHs if needed.
- While I cleaned my batteries and compartment, I made a mess of the concrete with the corrosion and acid. I will dump the flood acid at first legit excuse.

Note: I will still have the option of using propane gas if I wanted, or even unplugging the Norcold from the Inverter receptacle to the factory's shorepower receptacle; which is simple as it behind the vent on outside wall.
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:22 PM   #14
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Batteries are a routine maintenance item, generally not covered by extended warranties. In your case though, you're doing internal rationalization within your budget, so you can call it whatever you want.
For me, I am just playing put the proposition bet the dealer offered when I bough the coach. So it is NOT really my rules.

What you are confirming is that had I bought their extended warranty, I would still have this eventual $400 maintenance cost. Thus far and I knock on wood, I have not encountered anything that would have otherwise been covered by a normal extended warranty. I opted to self ensure; so whenever a repair does come at year two (Nob 2021) I will have $3,000 to work with. In the meantime, the game I have been playing is to buy stuff like on my below signature with the money NOT spent on warranty in increments of $1,500 / year. So far so good
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:47 PM   #15
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2016 Thor axis. If I switch to agm battery’s what else would I need to change
"Nothing honey" need to be changed

But there is one very important precaution.

Make sure your converter / charger is AGM friendly. Your RV likely has one, but some peeps opt to put on a separate plug in charger (not sure why?) If so; they need a voltage regulated charger. I have Progressive Dynamics converter with Intelli Power 9200, it has a charge wizard to constantly monitor the battery conditions. I have seen or heard of people complaining after spending $100s for new AGM that the battery went defective too soon; when it fact they did not properly maintain (charge) it.
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:51 PM   #16
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. Nice choice!
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:40 PM   #17
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If I follow this right, you are saying that whenever I have amperage based on 120VAC, I should multiply by 10 if I wish to run the same load from a battery source? I assume you mean 120VAC/12VDC = 10?
Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
So lets say the exact time the Norcold ran off the battery was 2 hrs. That would mean it pulled 50 DC AHs off the battery before the AGS started the genset to recharge. The same batteries new should have 130 DC AHs available capacity, but I have heard that you really on have half of that? So it means I may have drawn 50 AHs off 65 available AHs before the AGS thought it was too low? (or maybe it really is 130AH available?)
You only want to use half of your available capacity, in order to optimize cycle life on the lead-acid batteries. You CAN use all of it. Just not as many times.

As for your AGS, it really depends on how it's setup - what voltage, and how long the batteries have to be reading at or below that voltage, will cause it to start the generator. Your battery voltage will drop under load, then recover some when the load is removed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
If the above is all true, what perplexes me is the 1.5 AH Insignia Fridge that is in the outside kitchen. It is plugged to the Inverter; so by math just learned; it is pulling 15 amps DC off battery? We have gone overnight (Quiet time 10pm - 7:00AM) with that outdoor fridge on batteries plus TV lights etc. That is 8 hrs and 90AHs. So if I only had 65ah available, it would not be possible, but if the 130ahs were available maybe if batteries were in good condition?
8 hours at 15 amps is 120 Ah total (not 90 ...), but that assumes it's running non-stop, which it wouldn't be.

To know how much it would consume you'd need to know how long the compressor was running. Given that it was night (cooler, no sun) and no one was likely opening and closing the door, it may not have needed to run much. A Kill-A-Watt type meter could help you figure out how much it needs.

Lights take very little. The TV takes some, but most people don't leave it on all night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
1. I would like to switch the inside Norcold Fridge to run off existing inverter / battery for duration of a trip while driving as it recharges with engine.
- No Propane
- No Generator required to run
- No relying on the fridge to simply stay cold during the trip (which it does for the most part, but I want it ice cold) We put Ice in our freezer before each trip anyway.
Assuming the solenoid that allows your house batteries to charge off the alternator when the engine is running is working correctly, this should just work without any changes or real effort, and wouldn't require especially good batteries. The alternator makes plenty of power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
2. Eventually, I would like to get a new AGM with 100ah or more per battery to almost double my available AHs if needed.
- While I cleaned my batteries and compartment, I made a mess of the concrete with the corrosion and acid. I will dump the flood acid at first legit excuse.
Totally understand about wanting to dump the flooded lead-acid batteries! I plan to also, but not until the ones that came with my new RV wear out. (Just can't bring myself to ditch something that still works fine.) More capacity is always good, and should also help you to get through the night during overnight stops with more margin.
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Old 04-08-2021, 12:56 AM   #18
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You only want to use half of your available capacity, in order to optimize cycle life on the lead-acid batteries. You CAN use all of it. Just not as many times.

As for your AGS, it really depends on how it's setup - what voltage, and how long the batteries have to be reading at or below that voltage, will cause it to start the generator. Your battery voltage will drop under load, then recover some when the load is removed.

My AGS treats flooded batteries slightly different than AGM batteries. Since I have flooded now, it set for Auto which means it will start the generator automatically when only one bar of 3 are remaining on controller. I can set my own value but I believe it is around 12.2 or 12.1 when it starts on its on. That should be the 50% state of charge you refer to. When I go to AGM the 50% SOC will be 12.4v Note: The AGS is set for Auto on time at a voltage reading before it tells the system to auto start. Auto is 15 secs by default


Assuming the solenoid that allows your house batteries to charge off the alternator when the engine is running is working correctly, this should just work without any changes or real effort, and wouldn't require especially good batteries. The alternator makes plenty of power.

Exactly, this will be a huge benefit for us. I can wire it up myself but will have to drill a number of holes through cabinets to get to lower fridge vent section. I may use a heavy gauge 20ft extension cord and hardwire to a inverter receptacle in the slide wall side and leave the female end as it is so it is assessible in the vent compartment. That way I can easily switch back and forth if needed.




Totally understand about wanting to dump the flooded lead-acid batteries! I plan to also, but not until the ones that came with my new RV wear out. (Just can't bring myself to ditch something that still works fine.) More capacity is always good, and should also help you to get through the night during overnight stops with more margin.
Thanks for the feedback, very helpful. If I pull this off, I can stop worrying about trying to add a 2nd Inverter, or trying to upgrade the one I have

Attached are my batteries after I cleaned them. I oiled the steel floor after cleaning corrosion and I used the battery corrosion spray on all of the metal contacts. I was surprised with the amount of DI water it took but it was easier to add the water without over spilling with the batteries out. But I am going to AGM. So the next time these batteries come out, I hope to be putting in new AGM Group 31s. It will be challenge to make them fit.
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Old 04-08-2021, 01:08 AM   #19
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D,
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Old 04-08-2021, 01:28 AM   #20
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D,
If you keep your battery compartment looking that good: you'll make the rest of us look bad.
To be honest, I should have took a picture of the before, it didn't look very good In fact, I actually bought 2 new j hook battery tie downs to replace two that were corroded and very difficult to get off. If you look at the two middle clamps you will see they have a wing nut versus the 1/2" nut that came from Winnebago. I oiled them all very good, so they will not corrode like that anymore.

But right now it is clean and corrosion free Reminds me of how we keep our bilge area in our boat dry and clean.

Hopefully someone will get a nice day to go check on, service, and clean their battery; and hopefully avoid some unexpectant failure at a very inopportune time.
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