Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

I have a brand new Lance travel trailer, and am discovering that we're hungrier for power than our stock "DC24MF" "marine deep cycle" can handle for 2 days. I've already learned about the dome-light-socket compatible LED "bulbs", and will have some soon, but the furnace blower is really the power monger (4.6A). I want to beef up the battery bank. Maybe I'll go with a PV system by end of summer, but right now I just want a better battery.

To that end, I have a friend that can get me Interstate (only) batteries at wholesale prices. He said a pair of the GC-2 (on this page) would do nicely for my application. After reading the SLA FAQ, I'm not so sure about GC batteries for my application. The FAQ doesn't mention Interstate at all, and I'm wondering if it's merely a regional availability thing.

The battery will get, at most, 30 days of use per year ("dry camping"); mostly in 2-3 day weekends. The rest of the year it'll be plugged into 110 AC at home or an RV park.

If the GC-2 isn't the ticket, can you suggest another Interstate product that is? Maybe a single 12V battery of sufficient size/design will do.

Thanks for you help,
Chris

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    not much of a warranty on them. your current battery is rated at 88ah of which 44ah is usable so that you can preserve some battery life. the battery you are asking about is a 6v 232ah battery that you would need another in series to obtain the necessary 12v as you already know. i don't know how this would fair for you over 2 days as you'd have to know more precisely what you are drawing and for how long. remember you would not want to exceed 50% dod so no more than half of the capacity is available for use. 50% of 232ah is 116ah.
  • dagr51dagr51 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    I've had them (U2200) for 4+ years at my hunting cabin. I charge them through an Iota dls75 from a Honda EN2500 genny. No problems.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    In contrast do what dagr51 has said, I bought a set of Interstates the year before last. First time I've ever had a battery fail that was less than 1 year old; plate shorted out and nearly destroyed the whole lot in 30 days.

    I'm not impressed with that.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....
    niel wrote: »
    not much of a warranty on them. ............ would not want to exceed 50% dod ....
    I did notice the surprisingly short warranty. Isn't there some kind of battery designed for repeated 80% DOD? This isn't a cabin where weight is a non issue. Lots of batteries = extra weight to tow around.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,485 admin
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    Forklift batteries are designed for that sort of service---but they also tend to be less efficient (as they get old/near end of life--they can loose upwards of 1-2% of capacity per day--meaning that you will need more solar panels to make up the losses).

    AGM batteries are probably ideal for your needs (other than cost). However, when you pick a charge controller, make sure that it has a remote battery temperature sensor--AGM's are very sensitive to overcharging.

    To be honest, a good quality flooded cell / deep cycle battery, even if taken to 80% DOD is probably OK. You only have 10-30 cycles per year and even 100 cycle life would last 10 years--Battery will probably fail from age by that time already. Obviously with flooded cell--you need to watch the water levels closely--including when stored--to make sure that you don't charge it "dry".

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....
    BB. wrote: »
    ...To be honest, a good quality flooded cell / deep cycle battery, even if taken to 80% DOD is probably OK.
    Thanks Bill. That's what I'm looking for. I'm just hoping that Interstate sells such a beast (because I get a big discount).
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    I have been told that Interstate moved all there manufacturing off shore. Apparently, "off-shore" workers are less susceptible to lead poisoning than North Americans. LOL
    It has been my experience that batteries are one of those areas where you get what you paid for. Buy cheap, get cheap. Quality costs.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,225 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    Regardless of ad hype, depth of discharge is directly related to battery longevity. One can feel free to draw a battery down ~80% routinely, but you will pay a significant price in battery longevity.

    http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm#Lifespan%20of%20Batteries
    http://www.batteryfaq.org/

    On the other hand, drawing batteries down only ~20% will make the batteries last much longer, but will require "more battery" net/net, so much is a trade off. My rule of thumb is batteries sized for a normal day draw down of ~10-20%, with a 3 day reserve, such that one may occasionally near 50% discharge max, and then get the battery back to 100% within a few days.

    If you are going to draw to 20% doc your batteries won't live very long,, no matter what the sales pitch says! Everyone gets to make the calculus regarding the net cost visa vis dod and battery longevity.

    Tony
  • rrroaerrroae Solar Expert Posts: 46 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    I had 8 US2200 batteries that I abused horribly. Even took them completely down on a few occasions because I didn't understand the settings on my battery monitor. Lasted 4 years and now are being used in my cabin.
  • brulazbrulaz Solar Expert Posts: 31 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....
    rrroae wrote: »
    I had 8 US2200 batteries that I abused horribly. Even took them completely down on a few occasions because I didn't understand the settings on my battery monitor. Lasted 4 years and now are being used in my cabin.

    I just purchased two "US Battery" US-2200XC golf cart batteries. Put two 6V in series to get 12V and 232A. The price was better than the very similar Trojan T-105s.

    I also looked at the Interstate U2200 golf carts, they looked very similar, so similar I though maybe US Battery was making them for Interstate. But I couldn't get quite the deal.

    Be careful of claims that this battery (or tire or solar panel or whatever) is made in China, without any verification. People throw that out all the time just trying to sell an alternative product.
  • ShadowcatcherShadowcatcher Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    You can check who actually manufactured the battery by getting the MSDS sheet, and from a sampling (I could not find the one named, they are all over including the US including one Optima, Mexico and China.
    Great resource http://www.batteryfaq.org
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    I've been abusing the heck out of a pile of Werker GC115s that I bought to do software development with. Yes, batteries for software development purposes ...

    You can get them from BatteriesPlus and they are fairly cheap. Don't know who the original manufacturer is, and as soon as they finally die for good, they'll be turned into recycled lead and replaced with Surrette's or similar.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    We do not sell the Interstate batteries of any type, but from personal experience, I have had two of my car batteries go out about 25% into the warranty. The last one, with a 75n month warranty is already failing after less than a year.
  • monolocomonoloco Solar Expert Posts: 103 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    I had a Lance, I got rid of the furnace and put in a catalytic heater, more than enough heat, no fan, quiet, and I got more storage when I put another drawer in the hole the furnace was in.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    monoloco,
    did you post that in response to a post in another thread here by mistake?
  • AFWnSAFWnS Solar Expert Posts: 13
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    I had a set of Interstate L-16 that lasted 8 years, and failed from bad care, have now replaced them with another set of Interstates, we'll see how they last. Understand they are actually manufactured by U.S.Battery.
  • JESSICAJESSICA Solar Expert Posts: 289 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....
    zoidicus wrote: »
    Thanks Bill. That's what I'm looking for. I'm just hoping that Interstate sells such a beast (because I get a big discount).

    What do you mean by "big discount"?

    Sam's sells the GC type (6 volts) for around $70 each.
  • bryanlbryanl Solar Expert Posts: 175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    How long your batteries will last depends mostly upon how you use and maintain them. Brand and even type are way way down the list as far as impact on battery life.

    The warranty for RV batteries is a reflection of the fact that the use and maintenance is not as well defined as it is for, say, starting batteries. This is also related to why some batteries sold specifically for larger solar installations may have longer warranties as the use and maintenance on those is more predictable. It also gets into why RV battery warranties are often retailer items rather than manufacturer items.

    The available energy capacity of the batteries is also not related to brand or type. If you look at the specs, you'll find that nearly all wet cell batteries you can find for your RV have about 45 Wh/kg (batteryuniversity.com) or 10 to 15 usable watt hours per pound.

    Keep in mind that factors such as cycle to cycle variance, temperature, age, and use profile can each cause battery capacity to vary by ten percent or more. Precision of measure in battery energy capacity is not anywhere near the accuracy often seen.

    Don't fall for the 'true deep cycle 6v golf cart battery' myths. Look for specifications that you can measure and that the manufacturer or retailer will stand behind. Buy from a reputable retailer who sells a lot to folks who use them like you do and will stand behind what he sells.
  • RRRAAAYYY2RRRAAAYYY2 Registered Users Posts: 11 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    We were Interstate dealers for a long time. In fact their very first mini warehouse outside their company. Our relationship ended on a sour note. Kind of funny in a way. We told them they had until 6pm the next day to have all of their batteries out of our shop. Which they said they didnt have the trucks to do. Our reply was then you can pick them up in the parking when you get a chance. Couple of trucks came the next day.

    We later moved to East Penn/Deka as a main supplier. Great company, great service, great warranty. They sell the US batteries though for some DC applications. We also distributed Trojans, which I think are the best when it comes to the T-105's and up. If you go to a large golfcart manufacturer or reseller, you can get great deals there. We used to buy them $10 a battery cheaper at retail vs our cost as dealers.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....

    I have had an offgrid place for 13 years so far and this is my 2nd one. I have uded the US2200 batteries at both places and the last place was still going strong after 8 years of service. The batteries there were rarely ever drawn to 50% and had a pwm controller. I am on 8 US2200 batteries here now that are 5 years old and work great. I too have hed interstate car batteries that were complete junk and failed several times. Spend a few extra bux and get US battery or check out the crown batteries here, the specs are impressive and the price is great. Good luck!
  • monolocomonoloco Solar Expert Posts: 103 ✭✭
    Re: Need opinions of Interstate batteries....
    niel wrote: »
    monoloco,
    did you post that in response to a post in another thread here by mistake?
    No, it was in response to the furnace fan drawing down the battery. Get rid of the forced air furnace and larger battery capacity is likely not needed.
Sign In or Register to comment.