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Old 06-13-2016, 04:21 PM   #11
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riptide View Post
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...
Page 19 paragraph 5.4 of Lifeline's Technical Manual :
"The most efficient method of charging Lifeline AGM batteries is to use 3 stage charging profile...." The 3 stages are then identified as Bulk, Absorption (14.3 V) and Float (13.3V)

The entire tech manual can be found here: http://lifelineb.wpengine.com/wp-con.../12/manual.pdf

Hope this helps...
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

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Originally Posted by Midwestdrifter View Post
Lifeline batteries have the same absorb/bulk voltage. So in reality they are 2 stage charging.
No, in reality they require three stage charging. It's not just voltage. There are differences between bulk and absorption charge amperage, tapering and time.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

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Originally Posted by jackfish View Post
No, in reality they require three stage charging. It's not just voltage. There are differences between bulk and absorption charge amperage, tapering and time.
The manual refers to the bulk stage as a constant current charge. Since most chargers use voltage setpoints instead of current limits this stage is moot? They also state that there is no practical limit on bulk charging current.

Quote:
The charging current during the Bulk stage should be set as high as practical; higher current levels mean faster recharge time. ... LifelineŽ batteries can tolerate in-rush current levels as high as 5C (500A for a 100Ah battery).
As far as charger logic goes, it would be constant voltage in bulk/absorb until current tapers to the 0.5% of C (at least that's how I read/interpret the manual). Given the lack of current limits, time specifications, and the same setpoint voltage absorb and bulk are essential the same in my opinion.

You could argue that absorb starts when the terminal voltage reaches the absorb voltage i guess?

Not to be pedantic, but I am not seeing a the clear distinction between bulk and absorb which is present in most LA charging regimes.

Anyways, I am just thankfully Lifeline took the time to publish such a complete document for our use.



Anyways, just curious.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

howzit...

this one is right up my alley, so thought i'd throw-in here (boatguy 25+yrs, abyc elect cert; battery charging/monitoring systems Specialist)

have sold/installed Lifeline's for over 20years, here's what experience i can offer:

1st off: AGM batteries REQUIRE full recharge regularly - maybe not every discharge cycle, but pert near every time.
and 3phase charging is the ONLY way to go (bulk, absorption, float) - some automotive alt-regulators will do this, but not most.

bulk/absorb charge volts is also TEMPERATURE DEPENDENT and Lifeline (all batts actually) charging regimen is rated at 77degF with a top voltage (Lifelines) at this temp of 14.3 - also note: this is battery temp NOT ambient air temp.

its a VERY good idea to never run em above 14.2 (and make damn sure certain you are using a known-calibrated volt meter) unless its significantly colder than the 70's, with LOWER VOLTS as temp of the battery gets above 77; ie: at 90, you want top volts to be no more than 14.0 to 14.1 abs MAX

they can be charged at upwards of 100% of their capacity with a battery TEMPERATURE SENSING charger, but a safe/recommended level is 25%.

'thermal runaway' is a known issue with AGM batts, so its always a good idea to check the temp of them when charging at high rates.

especially with older batts - and esp with multiple batts in parallel or series/parallel configs - esp with older batts, where 1 cell in 1 batt could go bad and cause the charger to put out more current than the bank requires, esp at float phase - the typical current req'd to float is appx 1/10th of 1% of the capacity of the bank - ie: a 100amphour battery, new, fully recharged would require only 0.1amps; a 400ah bank would typically req appx 0.4amps (less than 1/2 amp)

its also a very good idea, once one has spent the money to buy AGM (or gel) batts to invest in an amphour meter, to monitor amps/volts +amphours consumed - that way you always know where they are, charge-wise - and always able to monitor how many amps they require to maintain float voltage.

reason for this: when they are new (and all batts share this phenom) they dont req more than 1/10 of 1% to float - but as they age, the internal resistance increases, requiring more amps to maintain a given float voltage - at some point, like when 1 cell (in 1 batt) starts to go bad, the current req'd to float increases - if you have multiple batts in the bank, this one bad cell will cause the charger to output more amps than the rest of the cells/bank require, causing the other cells/batts to start overheating - then 'thermal runaway' happens - and if you have a BIG CHARGER (esp non-temp regulated), on a BIG BANK ?

meltdown WILL ensue - as Riptide has just learned the hard way.

and just wanted to add:

all this should not be a reason to shy away from AGM batteries - since once past the pain of scratching the check to buy them, they really are THE way to go - esp if using solarPV to recharge, as they require appx 20-25% less charging (amps or time) to refill em;

ie: a typical lead-acid batt req's appx 135% of drawdown to fully recharge
vs appx 115% to refill an AGM

= less charge time = particularly important when using PV (or on a cruising sailboat, fuel burn)

and like anything else, TIME = $$$ (and more watts of PV)

also - when using PV - always use a regulator. - for something like vans/RV's with say, a couple/300watts of PV, i'm partial to what used to be known/sold as the Trace C-series regulators (or 'controllers' as they are referred to in the PV sector) - they are now owned/sold by Xantrex, nka Schneider Electric

have used these myself for over 15years, they are a true 3phase regulator, employing the bulk,absorb,float chg regimen.

Last edited by outbound; 06-13-2016 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Outbound, thanks for your insights. So, in your opinion, what is the best small charger out there that would do these Lifeline's justice? The current charger is rather small, and the cavity that the charger is located in is a bit tight. Our Westy's have 2 batts in parallel to service the coach, and one starter battery under the hood, so something that can charge two banks is needed. A remote indicator output would be nice, too.

Thanasis, what did you end up going with?
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Old 06-18-2016, 12:03 AM   #16
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Riptide, I am using the MidNite KID charge controller for charging my main house battery which is a LifeLine GPL-8DL 255Ah from a 275W PV panel.
Recently I replaced the OEM aux battery under the passenger seat with Lifeline group 27 AGM. For that one I got a Epever charge controller. I got their 10A one but they offer a 20A too. It is small enough to fit under the seat. I use a portable flex 50W PV panel for topping off that battery, which also charged( but not in a 3-phase fashion) from the alternator when driving.
See http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=47244 for a bit more info.
Hope this helps,
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Old 06-18-2016, 12:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Thanasis, thanks for the info! I'll look into both of them. Pat
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:46 AM   #18
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Has anyone sourced a replacement for the Westy charger that would be a better match for the GPL-31Ts or XTs

Riptide...what did you end up going with?
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:33 AM   #19
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

Can't wait to find out what you get.

1. Right charging regimen (voltages and sufficient amperage) for specific manifacturer's battery model. Odyssey lists their approved chargers. Concorde lists several trickle chargers and one or two chargers.

2. Size. Either original Westy charger location or elsewhere.

3. Westy 120 v circuit (small enough to work with circuit or have to upgrade circuit).

4. Charger works off generator (some chargers apparently won't work off a generator's less than pure sine), fanless (bigger chargers may have cooling fans), stacking chargers (two chargers together for more amps), charge engine battery too (or can use a TrikLStart), etc.

Other: Good blurg at this forum.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/electr...2381?_k=rgwaow
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Old 12-24-2017, 01:01 AM   #20
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Default Re: Lifeline batt owners?

I know that it's been a while for this string and that other similar ones may have been started but it seems appropriate for what I have to say. I had GPL-31T Lifelines in my Westy from the first owner that I replaced after about 6 years of use. They were IMO under performing but still good; I didn't want to risk their end of life while traveling. About a year later, one of the two in parallel got really bad and depleted the efficiency of the bank. The bad battery could not be resurrected and although it is really difficult to declare it a factory defect, the company was willing to replace the pair under warranty. The company deserves a lot of credit for standing behind their product. My argument was that one of two batteries in parallel should not sulphate significantly more than the other unless there was some inherent internal resistance problem since both are always being charged at the same rate (assuming proper connection).

The important point for discussion (not to say that the previous postings in this string are not all excellent) is that these Lifelines, and AGMs in general, are not really suited for the Westy charging system. When new, the batteries do get sufficient charge voltage because of their low internal resistance but unless they are recharged in full after each use, sulphation occurs and builds up internal resistance that prevents high enough charge voltage to be reached.

The bottom line is that they need to be bulked charged at 14.4 volts every five or so cycles as the manufacturer dictates. The Westy charger does not provide enough amps at that voltage and the alternator does not provide enough voltage to drive the required current. To alleviate this problem, you need to add another charger with required capability. Alternatively I have modified the high-current rear rooftop Air Conditioner power supplies to bulk charge the batteries at the required voltage. I do believe that such bulk charging should be monitored either in person or as previously stated under temperature compensation control. So far, the system does the job well and after reliability is proven I plan on posting the details of this modification at a later date.


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