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Old 01-17-2018, 12:36 AM   #1
Twin Peaks
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Default How long will the interstate batteries last?

Our 2015.5 Unity has the original interstates (34 months). With the 160 watt solar panel the system has maintained the charge just find. During the last 6 months of use we find that the charge drops off much faster than the first 2+ years during dry camping. I am thinking its time for new batteries?
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Old 01-17-2018, 12:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

how often do you check the battery fluid level, and how much distilled water have you had to add?
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

I use a hydrometer monthly and add water as needed maybe 8 oz total for both batteries. The readings for specific gravity have been 100% but by the end of last season they were a little lower. Between trips the solar is only thing charging them. The thing that has changed in last few months is the quick drop off from 100% SOC.
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Old 01-17-2018, 02:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

Battery life can very significantly. My experience 4 to 10 years. My last battery, labeled Strong Box that came with my John Deere tractor lasted almost 8. The tractor is always garaged, used about a half-hour, once a week to take out the trash . Those factors may have contributed to its longevity. Keep it clean and keep it charged. Use a battery maintainer.
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Old 01-17-2018, 04:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobnoxious View Post
Battery life been very significantly. My experience 4 to 10 years. My last battery, labeled Strong Box that came with my John Deere tractor lasted almost 8. The tractor is always garaged, used about a half-hour, once a week to take out the trash . Those factors may have contributed to its longevity. Keep it clean and keep it charged. Use a battery maintainer.
Agreed. My current set of 4 in my class A are going on their 9th Year since I installed them. Proper charge rate and never letting them go dead are the biggest deciding factors for battery life.
One issure with a new coach is, how long did it sit in EEE's yard before, during and after manufacture. And what about the selling dealer? Were they ever run down during that time?
Variables you had no control over that could be a factor in how long your batteries last.

The other factor is charge rate. When you are plugged into shore power or on Solar, what is your maximum battery voltage? 13.7 VDC is the maximum you should see.

When I replaced mine, I added 4 Oz of Mineral Oil to each cell the first time they needed water. In the years since I've never had any corrosion issues. I top off with distilled water only about every 4-5 months.
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Old 01-17-2018, 10:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

I guess the decision to replace before the batteries fully die depends on how well the current performance meets your needs.

and how much of an impact further drop in performance would have on you.

it sounds like you are careful to watch the performance.

would waking up in a cold coach mean just an adventure, or would this stress you and any companions?

my recent experience with car batteries is that they seem to go from starts the car fine to funny noises overnight.

not sure how deep cycle batteries behave at end of life, but it seems like we have tools installed (voltage and a mapping of voltage into %charge) to help monitor.

the other thing to think about is if you would replace with a similar battery ,or plan to move up in technology to AGM or Lithium Ion battery. (both of which have slightly different needs than the batteries installed at the factory.

a last thought (for now) is to note that recent temperatures are on the cold side. wondering if your recent data points are tied to the weather. cold batteries provide less power than warmer ones, and the charge accepted has a similar relationship. not sure, but I do not think the solar charge controller installed in 2015 was temperature compensated.
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Old 01-17-2018, 02:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

Quote//When you are plugged into shore power or on Solar, what is your maximum battery voltage? 13.7 VDC is the maximum you should see//Quote

13.7 volts ? is this float, absorption, bulk voltage? I wasn't sure what you meant.

If you have the stock GoPower! charge controller installed by LTV, even though the product manual says that it is temperature compensated, there is no sensor attached to the unit that goes to the battery box. If it has a temp compensated function, it must take its temp from the coach, not the battery post. Not optimal.
Though lead acid battery AH capacity diminishes some with age and can take a hit from repeated full discharges or not watching water levels, the biggest issue over time leading to diminished battery life may be chronic undercharging. This gets back to having proper charging algorithm with appropriate voltages for the battery type. I know that all charge controllers have lead acid, AGM, etc settings, but a call into tech support for that battery manufacturer would be a good idea to get their recommended charging parameters.
I learned a lot about batteries, charging, etc, from reading this long web page.

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/

Also, in response to overzealous recommendations from some battery companies in the last couple years:
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...-voltage-down/
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

And to amplify wounded's comments: the factory installed charge controller is certainly not correctly temperature compensated and the voltage actually delivered to the batteries is not sufficient to fully charge them especially during non optimal weather days. It may be that your batteries were not as well cared for as you think especially during the winter. Perhaps they were chronically undercharged during your time away from them. You would not know this.

As for specific info related to the Interstates: while I had no real complaint with mine in my previous MB I did not have good luck getting more than a couple of years out of them in previous rigs. I plan on replacing the batteries in my new Wonder with LiFePo. Another option I considered was a pair of Crown 6V if I can make them fit.
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeme View Post
I guess the decision to replace before the batteries fully die depends on how well the current performance meets your needs.

...
Very good points.

For most users the house battery bank isn't as critical as a starting battery.

I also agree that close monitoring of the house bank gives critical information as to the battery condition. That is more readily available to most owners than starting battery condition.

vic
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: How long will the interstate batteries last?

At a replacement cost of $300 I plan to replace
them every two years. But I run them hard with 2 Cpap s running off the inverter every night.
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