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Old 26-06-2017, 19:13   #1
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LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

I have 4 - 8d - 210anp hour LifeLine batteries that have gone bad twice in less then 2 years each.
The warranty is worthless - they offered to sell me new batteries direct at a discounted price. I can buy them locally cheaper.
The boat is a livaboard and in charter.

I have 2 battery chargers, solar panels, and a sterling alternator/batterry charger.
and therefore have adequately recharged them properly according to LifelLne instructions.The batteries start degrading after 1 year and are worthless in less then 2 years
Has anybody had problems with LifeLine batteries?
Any suggestions for a different brand or type of battery that will last longer or have a longer warranty???

Thanks
Ed
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Old 26-06-2017, 19:19   #2
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

If you want to stick with AGM style Batts, then checkout Firefly. They have the advantages of AGM without the downsides. https://www.bruceschwab.com/advanced...asis-group-31/
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Old 26-06-2017, 22:42   #3
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

Charter boats destroy batteries

Do you have a battery monitor?
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Old 27-06-2017, 00:11   #4
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starblossom View Post
I have 2 battery chargers, solar panels, and a sterling alternator/batterry charger.
and therefore have adequately recharged them properly according to LifelLne instructions.
That does not necessarily follow.

Lifeline have an excellent reputation and just about everyone who has them sings their praises.

I'd suggest looking closely at your charging regime.
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Old 27-06-2017, 04:53   #5
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

You almost surely have a battery care issue and changing brands will not help.
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Old 27-06-2017, 05:29   #6
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

Yes, I'm also certain the proper charging regime was not followed, and/or they were drawn well below 50% too often.

Likely blame lies with the chartering.

It would take expensive gear to "enforce" proper usage cycling, and perhaps smart customers would bypass it anyway, "it's just a rental" attitude.

I would say stick to Sam's Club 6V GC2s and just be resigned to replacing them.

Perhaps going to Firefly would help, but do the math on how many years payback would take, and they are backordered.

Even then I'd look to ensure the customers were unable to draw down too far, that's likely the problem.

Maybe if possible rig a generator to autostart at a certain DoD?
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Old 27-06-2017, 05:38   #7
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starblossom View Post

I have 2 battery chargers, solar panels, and a sterling alternator/batterry charger.
and therefore have adequately recharged them properly according to LifelLne instructions.

Thanks
Ed
Ed,

Your batteries are dying from PSOC use/sulfation (PSOC-partial state of charge). If Lifeline's instructions had been followed they would not be dead in two years. Your batteries are not 210Ah if they are in fact Lifeline 8D's, they are 255Ah. With four of them the rated capacity is 1020Ah. In two years of abusive use thought they may now be less than 500Ah of actual capacity or worse...

-How often are they charged to 100% SOC or 0.5% of Ah capacity, in tail current, at 14.4V?

-What is absorption voltage set to?

-How much time does the boat spend tied to a dock with shore chargers on vs. out being sailed?

-When was the last time the Lifeline's were equalized?

-Are all charge sources temp compensated?

-What are the average ambient temps where your batteries are?

-What is the lowest voltage you allow the batteries to dip to before recharging?

-Are they being used as one large contiguous bank or as separate banks?

-Are they being charged with a minimum charge current of .2C or 20% of Ah capacity? A .2C charge rate would be over 200A of continuous charge capacity at a bare minimum. At .2C bulk would be in excess of an hour so this means the batteries from 50% SOC would accept 200A for over an hour straight before even getting to 14.4V... Once at 14.4V you'l then need another 4-5hours plus before you are at 100% SOC. As the batteries age and sulfate this time gets longer. Lifeline batteries do even better with a .3C or .4C charge rate.... Even 200A is not really enough to treat these batteries well in a PSOC environment.

-How long is the absorption duration set for? Are they getting absorbed until the bank gets down to about 5A at 14.4V?

-How are you or your charter guests monitoring SOC?

-In order to get these batteries to 100% SOC it is going to require in excess of 6+ hours of continual charging, at .2C. Considerably longer at a charge rates below that, especially when you consider the Sterling will be shutting down quite often to let the alternators cool. It is very possible you could run your charge sources all day and never even get to 100% SOC. Lifeline's must get back to 100% SOC as often as is humanly possible to get the optimal cycle life..

This is what *Lifeline suggests for expected life, based on care. (*Source Justin G. @ Lifeline battery)

  • #1 Fully charge after each discharge. Estimated life: 6-9 Years

  • #2 Fully Recharge at least once a week and equalize once a month. Estimated life: 4-6 Years..

  • #3 Only recharge to 85% and equalize once a month. Estimated life: 2-4 years.

  • #4 Only charge to 85% and never equalize. Estimated life: 1 year.

Like far too many boat owners you are likely falling into scenario 4....

Charter use... Buy the cheapest deep-cycle flooded batteries you can find and let the charterers destroy them, that's what they do...

When the boat comes out of charter use, and you can properly care for the batteries, then go with a more expensive technology, if you wish to.. Stock alternators and a Sterling A to B is not a suitable option for charging a massive bank of AGM batteries.

Last charter we did the manager told us to begin recharging when the batteries got to 11V. At the end of the charter I asked how long battery banks last and was told "Oh about 6-8 months, a year on occasion." Your 1020Ah bank should not be dipping below about 12.2V, even under average house loads, or you are just putting an extra bullet in them once they are already wounded...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starblossom View Post
Any suggestions for a different brand or type of battery that will last longer or have a longer warranty???
This won't get better by switching brands unless you address the battery management issues, or lack there of.... In charter I would advise buying less expensive flooded batteries not the most expensive AGM's. A bank of 6V or 12V golf car batteries can fit the bill quite well and be as much as 50% to 70% less expensive. They will still not last if the PSOC abuse is kept up.

Charter use is as abusive as it gets on batteries. Using Lifeline AGM's on a charter boat is like handing over the keys to your Ferrari so a guy can race it in the Paris-Dakar.
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Old 27-06-2017, 06:00   #8
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

My Lifeline AGM Batteries are in their 9th season with no issues. Same as stated above.

1) Start with a large bank

2) Don't draw down too deeply in a cycle (hence why a large bank)

3) Recharge regularly a fully (We run the generator and charge batteries every 12 hours (roughly) when not connected to shore power.

4) Equalize periodically
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:40   #9
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

I just ordered 2 new 4D's. I got 9years and 1 month service out of my last set of Lifelines.
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Old 27-06-2017, 09:56   #10
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

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Recharge regularly and fully (We run the generator and charge batteries every 12 hours (roughly) when not connected to shore power.
Dino juice alone won't get them to full unless running many many hours, most of which at the end they're only absorbing a few amps, big waste of fuel and engine hours.

Big enough amps input in the morning to 80-85% may take only 1-2 hours even with a big bank, then solar, rest of the day spent in peace and quiet, that's the ticket.
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Old 27-06-2017, 10:01   #11
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

You got a lot of great advice in this thread. Use cheap solar batteries on a charter. Cheap solar batteries are golf cart batteries...aka GC2s. They work quite well if your system is properly cared for. No battery will last in an abused system. Charters assuredly abuse the system while trying to "get their moneys worth" out of everything.

Batteries really need to hit a 100% SOC (state of charge) almost every day for the best longevity.
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Old 27-06-2017, 10:16   #12
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

What StuM and others have said. The only way that you can KNOW that the batteries have been properly used and maintained, would be if there had been a real-time battery logger attached to the system showing the %SOC perhaps every hour of every day over time.

Do you think charterers know or care about battery care and longevity? And what, the boat is being used as a liveaboard while being chartered? Also, by anyone who cares how often the batteries need replacing?

LifeLine enjoy a top reputation. Not just good, but top. If the charger is working right, which can't be assumed, and if the solar is working right, which can't be assumed, ad if the entire system is properly matched, set, and working right? Then it probably comes down to user abuse.

Other than doing something rash, like putting in a low voltage alarm and cut-off that literally shuts the batteries down at a 30% depth of discharge...I don't see that you can enforce proper charging. (And the odds are your charterers will only bypass it and get upset.)

LifeLine are among the few AGMs that are supposed to be equalized. If yours haven't been, you may be able to recover some capacity from that. But you're going to have to work with your customers, or do something rash like saying "Here's two new Group 24's, if you kill 'em you have to replace 'em." (Again, not going to win popularity contests.)
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Old 27-06-2017, 10:34   #13
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
What StuM and others have said. The only way that you can KNOW that the batteries have been properly used and maintained, would be if there had been a real-time battery logger attached to the system showing the %SOC perhaps every hour of every day over time.

Do you think charterers know or care about battery care and longevity? And what, the boat is being used as a liveaboard while being chartered? Also, by anyone who cares how often the batteries need replacing?

LifeLine enjoy a top reputation. Not just good, but top. If the charger is working right, which can't be assumed, and if the solar is working right, which can't be assumed, ad if the entire system is properly matched, set, and working right? Then it probably comes down to user abuse.

Other than doing something rash, like putting in a low voltage alarm and cut-off that literally shuts the batteries down at a 30% depth of discharge...I don't see that you can enforce proper charging. (And the odds are your charterers will only bypass it and get upset.)

LifeLine are among the few AGMs that are supposed to be equalized. If yours haven't been, you may be able to recover some capacity from that. But you're going to have to work with your customers, or do something rash like saying "Here's two new Group 24's, if you kill 'em you have to replace 'em." (Again, not going to win popularity contests.)
It might be pretty easy to have the batteries shut down at a certain point. Others like 12.2 or 12 volts, I use 11.5 volts. All of the inverter manufacturers employ either a 10 or 10.5 volt shutdown. I suspect that goes back to the day when batteries were cheap.
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Old 27-06-2017, 10:34   #14
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starblossom View Post
...I have 2 battery chargers, solar panels, and a sterling alternator/batterry charger.
and therefore have adequately recharged them properly ...
Yeah, right.
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Old 27-06-2017, 11:08   #15
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Re: LifeLine Battery Problems ?? Better Brands??

"It might be pretty easy to have the batteries shut down at a certain point."
Actually you can buy a "battery brain" or other device that is intended for just that. Installs at the positive post, pops a cut-out at a preset or adjustable low voltage. The problem is, it has to be (and can be) manually reset anyhow. So you install a cut-out...they bypass it. Or use a jumper cable to bypass it.
And then there's the choice of voltages. In theory, from 12.6 to 11.6 is the full voltage range although some mfr data will say 12.8, etc. So a 30% discharge from 12.6 brings you to 12.3 or 12.2...what some folks would call overly conservative. And most guests on board would say "Nuts" and just bypass it, even at 12.0.
Might be easier to put in a datalogger and just rewrite the charter to say if the batteries are shown to go below xxx.x volts, the damage deposit will buy new ones.
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