Trojan or Rolls?

marsofoldmarsofold Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
My battery bank died a few days ago (also killed my IOTA DLS-90 when I tried to use it to resurrect them) and needs to be replaced. Since the 12v IOTA is now dead and I’ll need a new charger, I am going with 24 volts this time via an Outback Power FX2524MT inverter that also has a built-in charger. 2-year battery warranties, 600 Lb weights, Gels, AGMs, and $3000 price tags won’t cut it. So while I’d prefer Crown forklift batteries for their lifespan, they don’t make any in the 300Lb range. My options seem to be limited to Trojan or Rolls offerings. Trojan’s L16RE-B or Rolls’ S-530 seem to fit the bill. So… which of the two companies has the better RECENT quality? Is either a pain to deal with if their warranties are used? Would outback’s FX2524MT inverter, which is rated at 55amps charging, overcharge the above batteries that have 375AH & 400AH ratings (or can the charge rate be limited to about 40 amps)? Much thanks for all info…

Comments

  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?

    I look forward to this discussion and the experience of our forum elders. Having recently been through this choice with my Uncle's battery bank (12 dead Telco 12v VRLAs that were probably very used when they were sold to him by a questionable installer), I wanted the Trojan LR16E-Bs to replace them but they were out of stock, so I ended up going with the Rolls's 530. Slightly longer warranty (prorated 7 yrs vs 5 yrs) and 400AH. Have not hooked them up yet. I have the 105RE Trojans in my personal setup and love them.

    In Jamaica, the opinions re : these two batteries are sharply divided. Everyone has their favourite, with most installers choosing the Rolls. Some say the Rolls are more difficult to charge properly. I found this post useful :

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?19947-I-don-t-really-like-my-Surrettes&highlight=rolls
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?

    I have no experience with Trojan, but my previous bank was Power Battery. Six L-16 and they lasted 11 years of a mix of light use and abuse.
    Surrette: My cousin got a couple of their S-530 (4000 series) about 3 years ago and so far so good, in spite of having a family who treats them like a fuel tank he himself having no idea how to look after them. Yes, it seems I'm married to his batteries when it comes to looking after them, and this Summer I picked up right from the factory, 6 of their 2 volt versions of the L-16, 4000 series and so far so good, but that's only a few months yet. Impressed with only having 6 cells to check for liquid level and SG instead of the 18 cells I used to have with the 6 volt Power batteries. And today, after a week of quite cold weather, the Surrettes are performing fine, just cooked my dinner in spite of their temperature being minus 8C. I understand Surrette had problems a while back, but am hoping that is in the past.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    DMJ72 wrote: »
    I ended up going with the Rolls's 530. Slightly longer warranty (prorated 7 yrs vs 5 yrs) and 400AH. Have not hooked them up yet.

    In Jamaica, the opinions re : these two batteries are sharply divided. Everyone has their favourite, with most installers choosing the Rolls. Some say the Rolls are more difficult to charge properly.

    Welcome to the forum "DMJ",
    You didn't mention how long ago you got your new batteries, but don't let them sit without keeping them charged from time to time.
    Re Surrettes being "hard to charge", I had heard similar things, but for whatever reason, neither myself nor my cousin have had any charging problems with ours. Perhaps some of that "problem" has been that past owners of other makes of batteries were used to higher SG readings and tried to get the Surrettes to match that higher SG. My former "Power Battery" L-16 bank normally showed a fully charged SG in the area of 1.300 throughout their life, but the new Surrettes were filled with 1.265 electrolyte at the factory, and the owners manual states 1.265 is considered fully charged. So I don't see the point in boiling heck out of them trying to get the SG higher.
    Others of course may have differing opinions, but I'll go by the book.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    marsofold wrote: »
    My options seem to be limited to Trojan or Rolls offerings. Trojan’s L16RE-B or Rolls’ S-530 seem to fit the bill.
    Why are your options so limited?
    marsofold wrote: »
    Is either a pain to deal with if their warranties are used?
    Yes, especially Trojan. Disclaimer: that is based on reports I have seen online, not on personal experience.
    All battery manufacturers are a pain to deal with unless you can convince them (good data logs helps) you haven't abused them. Considering how many batteries are abused, I don't blame them for being wary.
    marsofold wrote: »
    Would outback’s FX2524MT inverter, which is rated at 55amps charging, overcharge the above batteries that have 375AH & 400AH ratings (or can the charge rate be limited to about 40 amps)?

    Yes. Outbacks can limit their output... but not in DC amps. You tell the Outback how many AC amps it can draw from grid/generator to use for charging. I find that 9 amps AC gives me about 35-40 amps DC.

    Don't forget to buy a Mate, you can't program the inverter without it.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    Welcome to the forum "DMJ",
    You didn't mention how long ago you got your new batteries, but don't let them sit without keeping them charged from time to time.
    Re Surrettes being "hard to charge", I had heard similar things, but for whatever reason, neither myself nor my cousin have had any charging problems with ours. Perhaps some of that "problem" has been that past owners of other makes of batteries were used to higher SG readings and tried to get the Surrettes to match that higher SG. My former "Power Battery" L-16 bank normally showed a fully charged SG in the area of 1.300 throughout their life, but the new Surrettes were filled with 1.265 electrolyte at the factory, and the owners manual states 1.265 is considered fully charged. So I don't see the point in boiling heck out of them trying to get the SG higher.
    Others of course may have differing opinions, but I'll go by the book.


    Thanks Wayne, just got them yesterday. :) Will be hooking them up this weekend. Do you use the same charging parameters as the owner's manual? If not would you mind sharing them? from what I read in that post I linked to, they like a higher Absorption voltage.. do you agree?

    Thanks
    David
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?

    Crown makes a 395 Amp hour 6 Volt battery: http://www.solar-electric.com/repoba6vo395.html

    East Penn has a 370 Amp hour 6 Volt battery type 8L16 (I don't have a link for it) and may have higher capacity ones.

    Personally I do not like Surrette's price, functionality, or quality. Trojans somewhat similar but better quality. Just my opinion and frankly these factors can vary from place to place and time to time depending on where and when you buy. It should not be so, but there it is.

    Outback inverters can be programmed to limit their charge current using a MATE (which you absolutely have to have).
  • marsofoldmarsofold Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    vtmaps wrote: »
    Why are your options so limited?

    Don't forget to buy a Mate, you can't program the inverter without it.vtMaps

    The batteries have to go in my basement, whose only entry is via steep shaky steps. Trying to slide one of Crown's 600Lb forklift batteries down the steps with a winch is just too risky to contemplate. It'd be a catastrophe if the steps gave way. Plus, how could I ever get it UP the steps if it died? 300Lbs or less seems more doable. I definitely will not go with any batteries offering only a 5-year or less warrantie (my dead bank was Sam's Club golf-carts and only lasted 4-1/2 years). Around $2200 is the absolute limit I'll spring for. So...are there other options that fit my needs? May consider going back to 12volts if a practical option surfaced. Marginal customer support is a BIG negative to me...is Trojan's customer support reputation really that poor?

    As far as a Mate goes. do I really need to change the Outback's default settings? If so I might look elsewhere for a new inverter/charger or go back to 12 volts with a different Outback model's default settings. Thanks for all of the help.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    marsofold wrote: »
    As far as a Mate goes. do I really need to change the Outback's default settings? If so I might look elsewhere for a new inverter/charger or go back to 12 volts with a different Outback model's default settings. Thanks for all of the help.

    Yes. The default settings are almost never right. For starters you want to change the LVD to system nominal. Adjusting the built-in charging current, Voltage, and Absorb time parameters is also essential.

    The fact that you can do this is one of the reasons Outbacks are better than inverters you can't do this on.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    marsofold wrote: »
    The batteries have to go in my basement, whose only entry is via steep shaky steps. Trying to slide one of Crown's 600Lb forklift batteries down the steps with a winch is just too risky to contemplate.
    <snip>
    As far as a Mate goes. do I really need to change the Outback's default settings? If so I might look elsewhere for a new inverter/charger or go back to 12 volts with a different Outback model's default settings.

    When I asked why your options were so limited, I meant why only those two companies for L-16s. Cariboocoot mentioned some other brands of L-16, and I can think of a few more he didn't mention.

    About the Mate. It is smart of Outback to make the control panel (Mate) for the inverter as a separate device. Two reasons:
    1) the inverters are stackable... if you had four inverters stacked and Mate were built into the inverters, you would be buying four mates.
    2) Remote control: I have my Mate in my house, 50 ft from where my inverter is... couldn't do that with a built-in mate.

    You will find that many (most?) full featured inverters have a separate control system.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    DMJ72 wrote: »
    Thanks Wayne, just got them yesterday. :) Do you use the same charging parameters as the owner's manual?

    Thanks
    David

    Yes, so far I go by their manual. So far, in my case, it seems to be working and don't yet see a reason to change it.
    Agree with "coot" on price. It was higher, but in my case offset by being able to pick up at the factory, thus eliminating shipping etc. Plus they were the only maker I'm aware of who make their 2 volt L-16 as a single big 2 volt cell instead of three smaller 2 volt cells in parallel within one L-16 case. They thus have only one fill cap instead of three, and of course I can now have one single series string. And again as per "coot's" mention of East Penn, it was they who made the Power Battery units I had such good luck with, in spite of having then wired in 3 parallel strings.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?

    Your life span for the now dead set is not out of the expected time frame for GC batteries, from what I have read.
    So, if they are available why not go for a 24V set or 2 of those?
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • marsofoldmarsofold Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    Crown makes a 395 Amp hour 6 Volt battery. East Penn has a 370 Amp hour 6 Volt battery type 8L16 (I don't have a link for it) and may have higher capacity ones.

    Both of those have warranties under 7 years. If I'm looking at less lifespan, then the best deal is still Sam's Club golf-carts.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    marsofold wrote: »
    Both of those have warranties under 7 years. If I'm looking at less lifespan, then the best deal is still Sam's Club golf-carts.

    Now there's a thing. I thought you picked batteries primarily by whether or not they could supply the required power. Then by price per Watt hour. Warranty last because warranties (as vtMaps mentioned) are always a pain to deal with under any circumstances. If you think you're going to get more than 7 years out of Trojans or Surrettes you're gambling money unwisely. Of course if you disregard adjusting charging parameters and LVD to suit whatever batteries you get you will be buying new ones again sooner rather than later.

    Oh well. It's not my money you're spending.
  • marsofoldmarsofold Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?

    I'm going to go with two Rolls' 12-CS-11PS. Showing up on Wind&Sun as not in stock or special order item. Because of the 10 year warrantie, reasonable support, and 272Lb weight. Will give Wind&Sun 1st dibs on coming through, but if they can't it's definitely available elsewhere. Will probably wait until after the holidays so that delivery is more likely to go smoothly.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,008 admin
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?

    Batteries are HEAVY--So, make sure you look at the cost to your front door (off the truck or if you have to get a lift gate delivery).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    BB. wrote: »
    Batteries are HEAVY--So, make sure you look at the cost to your front door (off the truck or if you have to get a lift gate delivery).

    Flooded batteries are considered HAZARDOUS (more expensive to ship) So, make sure you look at the cost to your front door (off the truck or if you have to get a lift gate delivery).

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 722 ✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    marsofold wrote: »
    (my dead bank was Sam's Club golf-carts and only lasted 4-1/2 years)

    That is nothing to complain about!
    4.5 years for a set of GC2 batteries that only have a 1 year warranty to begin with is pretty good.
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Trojan or Rolls?
    jcheil wrote: »
    That is nothing to complain about!
    4.5 years for a set of GC2 batteries that only have a 1 year warranty to begin with is pretty good.

    Totally have to agree.
  • bamboo212bamboo212 Registered Users Posts: 1
    edited February 2016 #20
    I am trying to find out what to buy, system: 1.5kw panels, 2 xantrex 60,Midnite c panel, TM 2025 rv, 12 dying t105 , outback 3524 vfx, champion 9200 starting 7000 continuous, I am not sure which to buy any help please. I have read  the comments here are i am still not sure which to buy. Warranty is not an issue to me i simply need to have a good battery with lots hove ah that i intend to take only 20% out of daily and that can last very long like 10 to 15 years.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,655 ✭✭✭✭✭
    bamboo212 said:
    . Warranty is not an issue to me i simply need to have a good battery with lots hove ah that i intend to take only 20% out of daily and that can last very long like 10 to 15 years.

    Bamboo, this is an old thread (from 2013) you might start a new thread.

    The only batteries that I would say are likely to last 10-15 years are HUP or Forklift type batteries. I usually say 7-10 for the large 360-400 amp hour 6 volt type. Just my opinion...

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,112 ✭✭✭✭
    Photowhit said:
    bamboo212 said:
    . Warranty is not an issue to me i simply need to have a good battery with lots hove ah that i intend to take only 20% out of daily and that can last very long like 10 to 15 years.

    Bamboo, this is an old thread (from 2013) you might start a new thread.

    The only batteries that I would say are likely to last 10-15 years are HUP or Forklift type batteries. I usually say 7-10 for the large 360-400 amp hour 6 volt type. Just my opinion...


    The three Surrette banks here are each in their 11th year,  and doing fine (knock,  knock).

    Two of these banks are 5000 series,  and the other is L-16s  --  4000 series.

    Surrettes have been very good to me,  and to some of the neighbors around here.

    FWIW,   Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
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