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Old 05-23-2016, 03:50 PM   #1
Riptide
 
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Default Lifeline batt owners?

So, I was noticing a slight suffer smell over the winter in the Westy, and came across the source yesterday.

The top of one of Sears/Odyssey PM-1 Gp-31M coach batteries had split open at the top of the case. I yanked it out; the voltmeter showed it was trashed (8 volts). The other cell seems to be fine, as far as I can tell...

Clearly, I have overcharged it. So besides changing my charging regimen, I'm now shopping for a new pair of batteries. And reading the charger manual, I'm sticking with lead-acid batteries, rather than the OEM gel.

I think some of us have installed Lifeline batteries, and I wondering what people went with: the GPL-31T or the GPL-31XT. The both have the same case size. The XT has a bit more reserve, and weighs 10 lbs heavier per cell, but is still a few lbs lighter than the PM-1.

Thoughts?

Last edited by Riptide; 05-23-2016 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

The Sears/Odyseey AGM batteries are not a good match for the Westfalia charger as the Sears/Odyssey batteries like higher charging current and higher charging voltages.

I have them and am pleased with them, but also have a solar setup where the controller is set to a higher charging voltage. Also, my batteries are typically not drawn down too much (85-90 percent remaining capacity) where a higher charging current would occur (200 watts solar keeps batteries recharged by half-day, so just need to use battery capacity overnight). Also, if significant discharge, a higher charging current could be obtained from running engine.

So the significantly cheaper cost of the Sears/Odyssey at the time with the Family Friends sale and no Oregon sales tax won out.

The Concorde Lifeline batteries get rave reviews but last time I priced (couple of years ago), were $100 more per battery.

The Lifeline ideal charging voltage is closer to the Westfalia charging voltage (don't remember all the specs)--so might be a better fit to original eqpt.

As far as extra capacity, would look at (a) need (heavy short-term amp draw with big inverter? Or more drycamping days, (b) incremental cost per extra amp-hr, and (c) weight (some Europeans have had broken fresh water tanks so lighter weight would be good).

If a guinea pig innovator, would be nice if someone tried out lithium batteries.

Also consider a parallel trickle charger if you overcharged by leaving Westy plugged in too long. Washington owners set up a marine smart trickle charger under kitchen sink with a switch. So Westy could be plugged in and trickle-charged.

Please post your findings.
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Yeah, the weight thing might sway me towards the lighter T (64 lbs) over the XT (74 lbs)...
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Same as OldWest - 2 GPL-31T and happy. The size is perfect.
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

I ended up dropping in the XT's. The factory hold-down bracket will not work, as the new cells are a little bit taller than the old cells, so I'll fashion a new strap from 1 1/2" steel. The post connections are a little tighter as well, since the posts of the Lifelines are recessed a bit...

The Lifeline posts are a thing of beauty, with the inside of the posts being threaded. The batteries even come with two different length bolts for the posts. I had to remove the bolts to clear the battery compartment cover, but these batteries are a premium product, to be sure.

But at 800 bucks for the pair, I'll be a lot more careful charging and monitoring them.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

We had to flip the factory hold down bracket upside down and place a plank of plywood about 2" wide and 1" high underneath.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Riptide,

So, what charging regimen were you using that you think caused the problem, and what are you changing it to?

Also, what did you read that steered you to normal lead-acid and away from the stock gels? From what I've read, gels are the proper application.
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Old 06-10-2016, 06:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Lifeline batteries require 3-stage charging for longevity as is the case with all AGMs. Most importantly each charging phase requires specific voltages, as listed in the instructions that come with them. I would make sure that the charge controller is configurable to meet these charging requirements. In my case I was considering a charge controller that was preprogrammed to float-charge at 13.7V ( not 13.4V required by Lifeline) I called Lifeline tech support, and was advised to find a controller that exactly match their spec. I ended up getting a configurable controller.
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanasis View Post
Lifeline batteries require 3-stage charging for longevity as is the case with all AGMs. Most importantly each charging phase requires specific voltages, as listed in the instructions that come with them. I would make sure that the charge controller is configurable to meet these charging requirements. In my case I was considering a charge controller that was preprogrammed to float-charge at 13.7V ( not 13.4V required by Lifeline) I called Lifeline tech support, and was advised to find a controller that exactly match their spec. I ended up getting a configurable controller.
Hmm... My Lifeline instructions make no mention of 3-stage charging, other than what voltage an equalizing charge should be done at. I'll have to look at a separate charger for the periodic equalizers...
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Lifeline batteries have the same absorb/bulk voltage. Since most chargers are constant voltage (instead of constant current) So they are effectively 2 stage charging. This is different than most other batteries which have different bulk and absorb voltages.

They DO NOT need or require equalization charging. This should only be done if you are experiencing capacity loss from abuse or extended periods in a discharged state.

I have attached the lifeline manual for your reference. Note that your charger really needs to have temperature compensation. Ideally with a remote temperature sensor mounted to the batteries (in direct contact).

For applications with regular deep discharges the manual reccomends the following.

Quote:
For repetitive deep cycling applications (deeper than 50% DOD), chargers should have an output current of at least 0.2C (20 Amps for a 100 Ah battery). If the output current is less than this value, the cycle life of the battery may be negatively affected. If a charger with at least 0.2C output is not practical, an alternative charge profile using a low rate constant current stage at the end of the absorption stage will normally improve the cycle life. The constant current stage should be at 0.02C (2 Amps for a 100Ah battery) for no more than one hour.
One method to get this is to use an absorb timer to extend the absorb phase for an hour or two after the return current limit has been reached. Another is to use the upper range of the charging voltages (assuming you have temp compensation). The manual allows for plus/mins 0.1V on the charging voltages depending on how heavy application.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Lifeline manual unsecured.pdf (9.04 MB, 8 views)
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Last edited by Midwestdrifter; 06-13-2016 at 05:52 PM.
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