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Discussion Starter #1
since agm batteries need to be charged differently, can an isolator such as pac-200 (see itsolar) be used to charge the agm or is some sort of converter needed ? already ruined one agm battery with a cheap solar controller that did not have an agm setting
 

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After researching AGM batteries a lot, I decided on a AGM made to be a high powered drop-in replacement for a large car's battery (ie. big mercedes). My logic is that if it is designed to be put in a car as the only battery, it will get along just fine with the isolator charging method. It is rated at 95AH.

I have a feeling that it is not as capable a storage unit as a "pure" AGM battery, but I can live with that if it charges well off the isolator!

It has a 3 year replacement warranty so I'm covered if there are issues.

Ed
 

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I'm no expert but if your paying that kind of money for a battery I'd use what is recommended. If is it not deep cycle but still AGM it may be fine using the alternator to charge.
For any that are deep cycle, you should use a controller or charger made for AGM and letting the alternator charge it as float should be fine unless you are driving 10-15 hours a day.

Isolator only opens it up from another circuit and doesn't control the rate of charge, you need controller (for solar charge) a charge converter (shore power) or use the vehicle alternator which has only a voltage regulator and keeps it at a steady voltage, say 14.2

The other devices change the voltage depending on what you set it for. For instance 14.8 for two hours bulk charge, 14.2 for several hours absorption and then maybe 13.2 for float charge. These are not actual numbers they are different for battery type and brand. The manufacturer should have specs online.
My point is only if you charge an AGM at a constant voltage and current you will probably have a very short life. That being said a car "Starting" battery may only go down 10% and would be fine with a constant float charge
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Plan to get a new 225 amp-hr deep cycle agm - starter agm battery will not last long as house battery that constantly gets discharged down when not driving

sounds like a 3-stage charger in series with the isolator could work (ie morningstar) or that ArkPak seems interesting (not cheap @ $225 but about $50 more than a good Morningstar model but then would have to maybe work out some kind of switch from isolator / solar panel to the morningstar but ArkPak seems to advertise it's easier to switch sources

thks for tip on arkpak had never heard of that before - even their folding panels look interesting - though prefer panels on roof - pulling out a panel is a real pain and can disappear when away from vehicle.
 

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This is what I use with my AGM house battery. I can charge using the PM's alternator, a solar panel mounted on the roof, or 110v plug in power. It has a 6 part charger that manages all the charging rates for optimal battery life.

http://www.arkportablepower.com/
That does look like a good setup. I have two brand new Deka AGM 105ah that I will use for my 2000w pure sine wave inverter but I have been hesitant on the install because of the way to charge them properly. I have had an inverter in my truck since 2009 and love it. I have always charged them from 110v power via AGM chargers but this looks like the way to go. Thanks for the info.
 

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While you both are probably more interested in the AC & DC Battery Charger, I got the whole battery box Arkpak. It comes with an isolator that is OFF when

1. charging from 110v source
2. charging from vehicle 12v source
3. connecting a device to the Arkpak

and ON when

1. in discharge cycle
2. when charging with solar panel.

My house battery is not connected to the vehicle electrical system at all.

I got some high quality Renogy monocrystalline solar panels from Amazon for $149 per 100 watts and installed them on the top of my van. So far has worked extremely well. I am only powering lights, fan, winch and recharging electronics with this. I may add another solar panel so I can have morning coffee.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
similiar setup - also have a renogy 100w panel too (sitting in box awaiting roof racks) - will want to eventually run 12v fridge and microwave - m/w takes 1000 w or so but only for 5 min cooking or 3 min hot water - will try it out and if not enough charging will get another panel

could not tell from website but how big is that whole battery pak ? does it come with a special battery ? How many amp-hrs ? Nice that it all works together but I'm more tempted to go the component method and get the $225 charger and a 250 amp-hr battery - how much did you pay for the whole thing and do you consider it the best deal ? How / where did you mount the pak ?
 

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The battery is purchased separately from the Arkpak. I bought a 100 amp-hour battery but a 130 amp-hour battery will fit in the box.

I paid $399 for the Arkpak (included a 12v cigarette lighter charger and a 110v charger); $184 for a 100 amp/hourAGM battery; $149 for 100 watt solar panel; $35 for brackets, wires and through-hull fittings so no leaking. The amount of electricity flowing into the battery from the solar panel can be high, so to protect the AGM battery, I also bought a "Renogy® 30 Amp PWM Charge Controller with LCD Display for $45.

The Arkpak is behind the driver's seat and is too heavy to move around. Lots of lead in an AGM battery.


Knowing what I know now, I prefer your idea of getting the charger and a larger capacity battery. This has had quite a learning curve for me - and that is the main reason I purchased the ArkPak. It had all these things figured out for me.

If you look at Build it Solar's website, he used 6 volt golf cart batteries that maximized his amp-hours. He has some excellent information here: http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Vehicles/PMRV/PMRV.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #10
the 6 v batteries that IT Solar used are not AGM - but without a separate vented battery compartment, would insist on AGM for safety reasons
 

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Maybe I didn't account for charging the aux AGM battery I bought from Interstate. I purchased a direct refurbished replacement from them for my PM to handle any new accessories. I used a WirthCo Battery Doctor as the isolator, along with an lcd voltmeter to check charge and discharge. Have used this setup for the past 2 months with no issues as of yet. The Battery Doctor is more expensive than a normal isolator, but worth it as there is no need for a wire from the alternator and it has an override to back charge the main battery. I am planning to replace the main battery with another refurbished Interstate AGM but haven't had a chance to do this yet. For about $60, this is the best deal for an AGM battery from one of the best battery makers.
 

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100 amp/hours. AGM with free shipping. $185.

This is it. [ame]http://www.amazon.com/SLA0079-SLA0090-SLA1185-SLA1187-SLA1188/dp/B00DDZED3E/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1434381710&sr=8-4&keywords=agm+battery[/ame]
 

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This is what I use with my AGM house battery. I can charge using the PM's alternator, a solar panel mounted on the roof, or 110v plug in power. It has a 6 part charger that manages all the charging rates for optimal battery life.

http://www.arkportablepower.com/

Thanks, I am still trying to get to know what is out there and the Ark device looks to be very flexible. How much power are you using and how long does it take to charge? The reason I ask is that your device is limited to either 7ah in AC mode and 5ah in DC mode. If you take your battery (100AH) down to 50% DOD that would be 10 hours of charging. That is two days at best with solar. Your battery can be charged up to 0.3C which is 30 amps. So if you had a bigger charger for AC, you could charge it in 2 hours, plus float.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I believe agm's charge more slowly - from AC our 10amp schmacher charges a 75 amphr AGM (in agm mode) in about 12 hrs or so

amazon has a 200 amphr AGM battery for about $225 - what we plan to get

the Arkpak charger does sound really flexible (DC, AC, Solar) - will check if Morningstar has similar flexibility (many Sprinter people liked the Morningstar) one Morningstar model was about $175 vs Arkpak $225 - but whichever has the flexibility, works, and is easy to install wins
 

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I believe agm's charge more slowly - from AC our 10amp schmacher charges a 75 amphr AGM (in agm mode) in about 12 hrs or so

amazon has a 200 amphr AGM battery for about $225 - what we plan to get

the Arkpak charger does sound really flexible (DC, AC, Solar) - will check if Morningstar has similar flexibility (many Sprinter people liked the Morningstar) one Morningstar model was about $175 vs Arkpak $225 - but whichever has the flexibility, works, and is easy to install wins

From what I have read, AGMs have lower resistance and can be charged faster than flooded Lead Acid Batteries.


For example, the Concorde Lifeline user manual (http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/manual.pdf) says regarding their AGM batteries that they don't recommend charging below 0.2C (for a 200AH battery that would be 40 amps. What is really surprising is that these AGMs can be charged up to 5C which would be 1000 amps for that battery. (see page 19)


The thing to do is to find the charging instructions directly from the manufacture's web site for a particular brand.


How would you like to charge your 200AH battery with shore power at 50% DOD in 6 minutes + float or perhaps with your alternator in hour or two while driving?
 

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I believe agm's charge more slowly - from AC our 10amp schmacher charges a 75 amphr AGM (in agm mode) in about 12 hrs or so

amazon has a 200 amphr AGM battery for about $225 - what we plan to get

the Arkpak charger does sound really flexible (DC, AC, Solar) - will check if Morningstar has similar flexibility (many Sprinter people liked the Morningstar) one Morningstar model was about $175 vs Arkpak $225 - but whichever has the flexibility, works, and is easy to install wins

From what I have read, AGMs have lower resistance and can be charged faster than flooded Lead Acid Batteries.


For example, the Concorde Lifeline user manual (http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/manual.pdf) says regarding their AGM batteries that they don't recommend charging below 0.2C (for a 200AH battery that would be 40 amps. What is really surprising is that these AGMs can be charged up to 5C which would be 1000 amps for that battery. (see page 19)


The thing to do is to find the charging instructions directly from the manufacture's web site for a particular brand.


How would you like to charge your 200AH battery with shore power at 50% DOD in 6 minutes + float or perhaps with your alternator in an hour or two while driving?
 

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What lkruper says about the lifeline is true, 5 C. But in practice, from an alternator, it still takes a long time. Even the 220 ah alternator in the diesel PM drops to < 14 v with a load >50 amps, what this means is that even with a very low battery you won't see >50 amps for very long. The lifeline AGM needs a very low SOC AND 14.4 V to take a large current. Mine peaked at 100 very briefly, but wasn't >50 very long. I have a 150ah lifeline. Based my 1st 2-3 wk trip with this I decided to add an inverter and a 60 amp charger to get quicker charging.
 

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What lkruper says about the lifeline is true, 5 C. But in practice, from an alternator, it still takes a long time. Even the 220 ah alternator in the diesel PM drops to < 14 v with a load >50 amps, what this means is that even with a very low battery you won't see >50 amps for very long. The lifeline AGM needs a very low SOC AND 14.4 V to take a large current. Mine peaked at 100 very briefly, but wasn't >50 very long. I have a 150ah lifeline. Based my 1st 2-3 wk trip with this I decided to add an inverter and a 60 amp charger to get quicker charging.

Are you connecting the inverter directly to the starter battery while driving?
 
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