Lifeline Batteries

HorseflyHorsefly Posts: 318Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
Greetings all. I'm back seeking an opinion from some experts.

My sister and brother-in-law (the same BIL who helped me with our off-grid cabin solar build-out discussed here) have a 40 ft sailboat that they take out to the Bahamas for a month or two every April / May. The sailboat has a power system that includes wind, solar, the engine alternator, a generator, and a charger for when they are connected to shore power.  They have 5 100AH 12V Lifeline AGM batteries, connected in parallel in their 12V system.  They also have a sixth 100AH Lifeline that is the engine battery. The batteries were brand new about a year ago, replacing the previous Lifelines from before they bought the boat.

When they got on board last week the battery bank seemed to have trouble holding much of a charge. The marine supply house they bought them from sent out a tech who tested all 5 batteries. 3 of the 5 tested as essentially dead, so the tech went back to file a warranty claim to get them replaced. However, before they did that the called Lifeline while my BIL was standing there. The Lifeline person said that if the batteries sat mostly idle for the time the boat was in dry dock, they needed to be run down to a resting voltage of 11V, then charged back up. My reaction: HUH?!

Some other possibly pertinent tidbits: My BIL first thought he might have wrecked the batteries, as he had turned on a small fan during one of his visits to the boat while it was in dry dock, and left it running. It sounded like he wasn't sure how long it had been running. However, the solar was continuing to charge the entire time. He didn't show me the fan, but it sounded like it is a very small 12V fan similar to a PC ventilation fan. Also, his two solar panels are name-plate rated at only 100W. He knows that isn't enough for the 500AH battery bank, but in fairness they run the engine (with a 100A current available to charge the house batteries) at least a couple of hours every day when they are out.  After seeing the system myself for the first time last week, I suggested he run the generator now and then. Until now, he was only running the generator a couple of times per year to make sure it was still working.

I know Lifeline has some different treatment of AGM batteries, but I hadn't heard of running them completely down and recharging. Does this make sense to anyone?  I sent an email to @Marc Kurth , and figured with his sailing history @Dave Angelini might have some thoughts. Of course, anyone else with some thoughts would be appreciated.

Steve
Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 3,006Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    AFAIK, AGMs tend to have low self-discharge, which makes them good for exactly the type of situation where they sit idle for long periods. No idea what taking them to dead and recharging is supposed to accomplish, except maybe to confirm they're really dead?

    If the BIL does this, I'd suggest he monitors the process closely, especially battery temp.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • HorseflyHorsefly Posts: 318Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    The technician from the place he bought the batteries is there now, with a charger that sounds like an Iota (but isn't). It will do discharge, then bulk charge, then absorption off of that professional charger. I guess we'll see what happens next.
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 1,093Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    The next set of batteries really should be much higher amp hour capacity. 5, 12 volt batteries in parallel  is a bad way to go right from the start and could be contributing to the early demise of the 3 batteries. A bank of 6, 2 volt AGM batteries will give you a much better performing set up. If they can get by on slightly lower ah. , 6 volt L-16's may be all they need. Either way More solar power would be a big help. Diligent use of all charging systems is warranted though to keep this battery bank topped off. Solar panels on a sailboat really are challenging being they are rarely oriented properly and many times shadows are going to find the panels.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 3,006Registered Users ✭✭✭✭✭
    On boats, space is often what limits battery choice. I wanted to replace with L16s, but would need to rebuild the companionway to fit them. Maybe next time around Lithiums will be a viable alternative.

    I do agree that keeping it to one or two parallel connections would be better, space permitting.

    Curious to here how it turns out. Hopefully it isn't just blowing smoke to deny the warranty claim!
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,120Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 22 #6
    My Wrench buddies have not been fond of Lifeline of late. I have used Full River with good success in situations that force this.
    For world cruising, Surrette makes an excellent wet battery for sailboats that I used....

    Steve, why in ____ did they not trickle the bank with a 40 watt solar panel. I would deny warranty on this one if I knew that!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • HorseflyHorsefly Posts: 318Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    I agree (and so does my BIL) that the current battery configuration is not good, but it was that way when he bought it and he didn't feel like he knew enough to change it. @Estragon is right about the space. It was unbelievable how tight the space was for the batteries, which are all group 27.

    The battery configuration is actually worse than I've explained. You guys will love this.  3 of the house batteries and the one engine battery are on the starboard side under the seat in the saloon, the other two house batteries are under the seat on the port side!  That is, they may be connected in parallel, but two of the batteries are a good 7 feet from the other three!  Of note, when they tested all five batteries the two on the port side tested as fine, but the three on the starboard side tested as failed. I was only there for two days, but did test the continuity of both the red and black cables (looked like #4/0, but may have been smaller) going from starboard to port, and they checked OK.
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,112Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    a little clip form one of the tech bulletins for my batteries may shine some light on the issue...

    The VRLA battery is rated in ampere-hours or watts per cell (w/c) at specific discharge time
    durations. For example, a TEL series battery may be rated as a 100 Ah battery capable of providing
    12.5 amperes for 8 hours to 1.75 v/c. A UPS series battery may be rated as capable of providing 475
    watts per cell for 15 minutes to 1.67 v/c.
    A capacity test is simply a test designed to determine the actual capability of the battery as compared
    to the rated capability. If this capacity test is performed at the factory prior to delivery or on site when
    the battery is first installed it is referred to as an acceptance test. If the test is performed with the
    battery in an as found condition with no special preparation, it is referred to as a service test. When a
    capacity test is being performed to determine the battery’s percent of rated capacity for service life
    determination or warranty purposes, it is referred to as a performance test and is conducted exactly
    as is the acceptance test.

    see http://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/ref/41_7135_0412.pdf

     
    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
  • HorseflyHorsefly Posts: 318Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    Steve, why in ____ did they not trickle the bank with a 40 watt solar panel. I would deny warranty on this one if I knew that!
    Dave - Not sure I understand. The batteries were connected to solar the whole time the boat was in dry doc, up until it was back in the marina and connected to shore power, at which point the charger should have been keeping them in float. When are you talking about?
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • HorseflyHorsefly Posts: 318Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    By the way, it sounded like the Lifeline people were willing to support the warranty claim, but they believe the batteries are not actually shot yet, so they want the full discharge and full charge by the dealer to see if that fixes it. Sounds strange to me.
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 448Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    In my experience, by far, most early battery failures are due to undercharging, in one form or another,

    I sell around 2,500 AGM's per year with roughly $1 million of it being Concorde Sun Xtender/Lifeline.  In ten years, I have yet to see them balk on a bonafide warranty claim. They are proud of their product and take it seriously. 

    Keep in mind that the warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship. It is not a guarantee that the batteries will last "X" number of years, even if you mistreat them. Fullriver has exactly the same policy and attitude.

    Run them down under 10.5v and keep them there long enough, and you will have destroyed batteries. It really isn't complicated :) 

    Marc


    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,120Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Where did you go Marc? We heard tales of you out running motor life boats off of the coast during storms ;)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Marc KurthMarc Kurth Posts: 448Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 30 #13
    Dave!

    I wish that were the case.......

    In November, we sold our home in Central Texas in an unexpected 10 days at full price, but the offer stipulated a 15 day escrow......(I'm a whore, pay me and I'll do it  B) )  California was moving in fast (the locusts who destroyed their fields are moving here)

    Or intent was to move to Cedar Creek Lake here in North Texas, so we grabbed an apartment in the area. We have not lived in an apartment for 40 years - let's politely say that it was an adjustment........    Late January, we bought a house on the lake with a dock and boathouse, moved in and started transplanting the business up here. Just last Saturday I hauled the last truckload up and started setting up my battery racks in the new shop on Sunday.

    LOTS more to do (bring the forklift up here is highest priority) but I hope to be fully operational in about 3 weeks. Business has been going flat crazy and Fullriver and Concorde have been unbelievably helpful in allowing me to go into pure "drop ship" mode during the transition. (A guy could get spoiled real quick not having to sling 160 lbs batteries around)

    But then my Dad passed away and I am executor - been a little busy.

    Need to start over with PV now, but our power is $0.08/KWH here. (Roughly 4 cents plus 4 cents) so my bill is running $70 per month for all electric home with 15 KW strip heat.

    The lake is about 18 miles long, but this is why I moved here.
    http://kurthfamily.com/possum1/images/sunset2.JPG

    Hope all is well with you and yours!
    Marc
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,120Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks and sorry about Dad!  Kind of wishing for mine to go as he is being tortured by Doctors.
    Looks lovely! Congrats!  Be well/Stay charged!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • HorseflyHorsefly Posts: 318Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    Awesome looking place Marc!  Sorry to hear about your dad.  Thanks again for the lifeline info.
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
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