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Old 17-09-2019, 10:16   #1
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AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

Hello all!

We have an existing AGM house bank that is showing its age with about 50% of original capacity remaining, so as we are cruising off into the sunset for the next few years, we are getting serious about replacing them as we head south through California.

We currently have a trio of telecom-size AGM blade batteries. I am not interested in lithium due to the need to upgrade all the chargers and relevant systems as well. We have 750W of solar running through Victron MPPT controllers and a 150A engine alternator for general charging. Our current batteries were originally rated for 175AH each capacity, so I am looking for something similar, and they need to be roughly 12" tall, 5" wide, and 22" long. One needs to be mounted sideways, mandating the AGM.

I found the northstar SMS-AGM400 batteries - cut sheet can be seen here:

https://www.northstarbattery.com/product/sms-agm400

Does anyone have experience with these or a similar product from somewhere else? As I'm likely going to be dropping $2K on this bank, I want quality and longevity.
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Old 17-09-2019, 12:03   #2
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

Yes, Northstar is a top manufacturer of quality deep cycling AGM, on par with Lifeline and Odyssey in the NA market.

Including great tech support and full documentation resources, which you should follow.
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Old 17-09-2019, 12:18   #3
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

The 2v gel lead acid batteries have exceptionally good deep cycle performance and come in a form factor that should be suitable, although they will need to be in series connection. The connections between the batteries will be different, but jumpers to accomodate this are readily available. Most models can be installed horizontally.

Look at the Sonnenschein and Hoppecke brands as a starting point.
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Old 17-09-2019, 14:06   #4
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

Just be aware GEL is quite sensitive to overcharging, and its setpoints are quite a bit lower than AGM, much lower charging C-rates, in general needs more precise coddling.

If you're successful in doing so, they do last for more cycles / a longer time compared to AGM.

Deka's are OK if you're stateside, not sure about that form factor though.
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Old 17-09-2019, 18:18   #5
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibur5 View Post
Hello all!

We have an existing AGM house bank that is showing its age with about 50% of original capacity remaining, so as we are cruising off into the sunset for the next few years, we are getting serious about replacing them as we head south through California.

We currently have a trio of telecom-size AGM blade batteries. I am not interested in lithium due to the need to upgrade all the chargers and relevant systems as well. We have 750W of solar running through Victron MPPT controllers and a 150A engine alternator for general charging. Our current batteries were originally rated for 175AH each capacity, so I am looking for something similar, and they need to be roughly 12" tall, 5" wide, and 22" long. One needs to be mounted sideways, mandating the AGM.

I found the northstar SMS-AGM400 batteries - cut sheet can be seen here:

https://www.northstarbattery.com/product/sms-agm400

Does anyone have experience with these or a similar product from somewhere else? As I'm likely going to be dropping $2K on this bank, I want quality and longevity.
We had two Northstar telecom AGM batteries. They both failed within 1 year and the factory support was atrocious. Buyer beware in my opinion.
Replaced with Victron AGMs of the same dimensions that lasted a long time. Now have Rolls AGMs that are 9 years old and going strong.
(Beware of the strong endorsements from posters here who have never owned the product or for that matter a cruising boat)
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Old 17-09-2019, 21:36   #6
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

If you can squeeze in Firefly Oasis 4v batteries, you'll likely be happy. 10.15" x 6.85" x 17.2".
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Old 18-09-2019, 09:18   #7
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

Sorry....not intending to hijack this thread BUT, I just had a West Marine AGM grp 31 fail and WM did replace it no problem. My question is does anyone know who makes WM AGM batteries??

BTW....what is a blade AGM battery?
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Old 18-09-2019, 11:39   #8
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

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does anyone know who makes WM AGM batteries?
EPM / Deka last I checked, not so great for AGM, but good FLA.

They should tell you if you ask.

"blade" I'm guessing from the shape?


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Old 21-09-2019, 08:50   #9
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

We've got a trio of SPS Meridian 215B TPPL AGM batteries aboard. They are made by Northstar (Rolls, Northstar, Meridian, and others are all SPS brands) . We purchased them at Fisheries in Seattle 2 years ago, and could not be happier with them.
We've got a similar setup; 550W of solar & 150A alternator. We're usually out for most of the summer, and the batteries have preformed very well. They can be charged at 1C, and have some PSOC capabilities similar to the Fireflys.
They replaced a bank of Odyssey 1800FT which had worked fairly well for the previous owners for about 7 years.
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Old 21-09-2019, 09:11   #10
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

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Rolls, Northstar, Meridian, and others are all SPS brands
Wut?

Northstar is the OEM for SPS Meridian yes, but AFAIK Rolls and Northstar are both proudly independent companies.

Are you saying Rolls' AGM are also made by Northstar?

My understanding was Full River…
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Old 21-09-2019, 09:33   #11
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

John, no not saying that they are all made in the same place, but that they are all distributed under SPS, at least here in the states. Even upon saying that, when I look closer at SPS's website, they may just be dealers for Rolls, and I am probably mixing some anecdotal info, with some factual.

Rolls, I think, are still made in Canada by Surrette Battery. I hadn't ever heard of Full River, although they appear to be in California.

Ignoring all that, we have SPS 215Bs, that we are happy with, and if the OP would like more info from us, feel free to reach out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Wut?

Northstar is the OEM for SPS Meridian yes, but AFAIK Rolls and Northstar are both proudly independent companies.

Are you saying Rolls' AGM are also made by Northstar?

My understanding was Full River…
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Old 21-09-2019, 09:42   #12
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Re: AGM Blade Battery Recommendation?

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when I look closer at SPS's website, they may just be dealers for Rolls, and I am probably mixing some anecdotal info, with some factual.
OK, yes like Interstate, SPS is likely just a relabeler / distributor. All those brands can be purchased by others as well.

Rolls / Surrette do make their (top-notch) FLA at their own factory.

Their (pricey) AGM are outsourced, but it's such a fantastic company I would not be surprised if they aren't actually much better quality than what the actual maker sells under their own brand.

Same cannot be said for Trojan nor Deka, whose AGM are inferior to their excellent FLA.

Full River is Chinese, but again, doesn't mean they're bad.

But Odyssey, Lifeline and Northstar are the top three makers in the NA market.
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