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Old 11-11-2018, 07:50   #1
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Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Hello all: I returned to my boat A couple of days ago in Guaymas, and found that all four of my house batteries were drained, measuring 4.9v. The starter battery was good and charged. All are lifeline AGM's, purchased and installed about three years ago all at the same time. I have been charging each one separately, and think I've isolated one of the batteries as bad, since it simply will not take a charge. I'm assuming it drew down all the others. I am also told that he could have been an issue here. Now, I studied liberal arts in school, so my brain doesn't work very well when it comes to science or electronics or electricity. I have a couple of questions and I hope someone can help me, speaking very basic English. Assuming I cannot get an AGM battery where I am right now, can I pull out The one house battery that does not seem to be good, and connect the others together? If I can get an AGM battery here, is it smart to install one new one with a bank of older ones? And thirdly, if I'm forced to replace them all with standard lead acid batteries, which I assume you can get anywhere, should I also replace the starter battery, since it's an AGM? Any assistance and guidance would be deeply appreciated. Thanks
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:04   #2
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

First off, rework your system when you get the chance,

say after replacing the batteries,

so your House bank is used, charged and depleted, as all one bank.

There are many very strong reasons, but they are technical. Bottom line is they will last much longer.
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:09   #3
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Any battery that appears bad should either be set aside until it can be properly tested (technical), or just tossed.

For temporary purposes, since your house batts are not evenly worn and any / all are suspect, I's say continue to use separately.

Do not buy new ones unless you are getting rid of the old.

Definitely do not combine new with old unless very temporary, even emergency situation.

AGM are lead acid.

Quality FLA for deep cycling may be obtainable as 6V golf batteries.

If the Starter batt is fine keep using it, should be separated from House.

Do you have a VSR / combiner or isolator installed?
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:42   #4
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

I had this issue in my motorhome and I pulled the bad one out and everything was fine so do that first because it's easiest and cheapest. All the auto parts stores in the US will load test your batteries for free. Maybe it's that way down there.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:11   #5
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Had something similar about 10 years ago. 12, 8D Lifeline AGM's. New. Suddenly all were showing about 3 to 4 volts. Called Lifeline. They sent me a special charger (they called it a military charger); no cost to me. Took about 3 days and lots of handholding but charged batteries back up. They said regular chargers absolutely will not charge the batteries when this low. Then the same thing happened again. Repeat.
Then........
Got rid of Victron inverter and installed Magnum (same for charger - Victron to charles)
All was well. Batteries lasted another 9 years or so.
Find out why they discharged. There is a reason even if everyone of your equipment suppliers says "Not me". Depending on how remote you are and what is available you might be able to save what you have. But dependability and safety being number one you may have to buy new. But the "why" comes first as long as you are safely tied up somewhere. Call Lifeline.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:13   #6
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenders View Post
Assuming I cannot get an AGM battery where I am right now, can I pull out the one house battery that does not seem to be good, and connect the others together?

If I can get an AGM battery here, is it smart to install one new one with a bank of older ones?

And thirdly, if I'm forced to replace them all with standard lead acid batteries, which I assume you can get anywhere, should I also replace the starter battery, since it's an AGM? Thanks
1. Yes, you can pull out the bad one and connect the remaining batteries for the house battery bank. You will have less available amp hours, obviously.

2. You can get AGM (amalgamated glass mat) batteries in Mexico. AutoZone carries AGM batteries. According to the internet, there is an AutoZone in Guaymas.

3. You don't HAVE to replace the starter battery since/if it's independent of the house bank. But, you could place the existing starter battery in with the house bank (since they are the same type and age) and buy a new 12 volt AGM for your starter battery.

Hope this helps. The first two responses left us both scratching our heads.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:17   #7
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

The 5 batteries in my house bank had a similar problem. I thought they were ok after load testing but they were tested while connected which gave false readings. All batteries cables must be disconnected before testing. Several of those batteries were near 11 volts after being charged so I replaced all with new lifeline agm batteries that I ordered online from batteryguys.com in Glendale, AZ. Good price and close to Mexico. It has been suggested by many to replace all with new and not mix with old. That said, I’ve had zero issues with an older FLA deep cycle start battery that is connected to a dc to dc echo charger that gets its power from the house bank of new lifeline AGM’s. If you find that only one battery is toast, take it out and use the remaining ones until new batteries arrive. Hope that helps. Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:34   #8
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

If your charging system for the starting batt is seperate from the house charging system, there should not be an issue with keeping the starting batt. But if you change the house batteries and they are all recharged from the same charger, be sure the charging parameters for that isolated start batt remain OK. Different battery types, or manufacturers, or chemistry, all working off the same charger could spell trouble.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:40   #9
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

I HAVE FIVE AGM ALL SEPARATED BY INDIVIUAL BLOCKING DIODES TO PREVENT ONE KILLING ALL. EACH DIODE OUTPUT IS CONNECTED TO A TWO POSITION POWER SWITCH ALLOWING ANY COMBINATION TO BE PLACED ON-LINE.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:17   #10
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

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Originally Posted by Sailor647 View Post

2. You can get AGM (amalgamated glass mat) batteries in Mexico.
Friendly correction: AGM = Absorbed Glass Mat or Absorbent Glass Mat.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:23   #11
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Adding devices between the batts in a single bank adds resistance and complexity.

The OP was using each batt as a standalone, not connected into one bank.

I have never seen a true deep cycling battery sold at Autozone or any mass market auto chain.

Nor any in 12V from any mass market consumer store of any type.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:26   #12
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Nothing wrong with Victron inverter/chargers, but do need proper installation and calibration for the overall system .

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBW View Post
Find out why they discharged
Yes, a critical point, no point replacing without preventing repeats in the future.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:57   #13
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenders View Post
Assuming I cannot get an AGM battery where I am right now, can I pull out The one house battery that does not seem to be good, and connect the others together?
Yes, this is fine. It is perhaps worth a try, you have nothing to lose, but from your description all the house batteries are now likely to very poor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenders View Post
If I can get an AGM battery here, is it smart to install one new one with a bank of older ones?
No. Mixing old and new batteries is never ideal. It can be done if the batteries are close in performance, but even the optimistic interpretation would suggest your existing batteries will be a long way from matching new batteries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenders View Post
And thirdly, if I'm forced to replace them all with standard lead acid batteries, which I assume you can get anywhere, should I also replace the starter battery, since it's an AGM?

Mixing FLA (ordinary flooded lead acid batteries) house batteries with AGM start batteries is generally OK. The charging requirements of AGM and FLA are not very different.

If you can outline how your electrical system is wired and your charging sources, the forum can help optimise the charging of these different chemistries, but if given your lighthearted comment “brain doesn't work very well when it comes to science or electronics” . I would suggest don’t worry about it. The mixed combination will be fine. I think this is your best solution.
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Old 11-11-2018, 12:18   #14
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

I don't think jenders stated whether the batteries are 6v or 12v lifelines.

He said he was charging them separately, but I suspect that was not the daily operation method. Rather part of troubleshooting to determine which were bad.

Clarification of this would likely change some of the advice given.
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Old 11-11-2018, 13:31   #15
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Re: Stuck in Mexico: need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor647 View Post
1. Yes, you can pull out the bad one and connect the remaining batteries for the house battery bank. You will have less available amp hours, obviously.

2. You can get AGM (amalgamated glass mat) batteries in Mexico. AutoZone carries AGM batteries. According to the internet, there is an AutoZone in Guaymas.

3. You don't HAVE to replace the starter battery since/if it's independent of the house bank. But, you could place the existing starter battery in with the house bank (since they are the same type and age) and buy a new 12 volt AGM for your starter battery.

Hope this helps. The first two responses left us both scratching our heads.
Above is a good way to go
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