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Thread: Van battery

  1. #11
    After you said that you have a combo battery (starter + deep cycle), I went onto Batteries Plus website to check it out. Then I realized that is the same type as what I just got but didn't realize it at the time.

    By the way you said AGM has nothing to do with deep discharge. Yet, every deep discharge battery or combo starter/deep discharge that I have found is AGM.

    In any case, i figured with a 5 year full replacement warranty, I shouldn't have any battery problems anytime soon. But yeah, I'm not assuming no charging required. LOL.
    Last edited by August West; 10-07-2019 at 10:01 PM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    After you said that you have a combo battery (starter + deep cycle), I went onto Batteries Plus website to check it out. Then I realized that is the same type as what I just got but didn't realize it at the time.

    By the way you said AGM has nothing to do with deep discharge. Yet, every deep discharge battery or combo starter/deep discharge that I have found is AGM.

    In any case, i figured with a 5 year full replacement warranty, I shouldn't have any battery problems anytime soon.
    Three themes here:
    1- method of acid retention (3 types)
    2- maintenance free or not
    3- lead plate alloy/chemistry (2 types)
    Three totally different things but can be configured/combined many ways.

    AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) is becoming dominant over old tech wet acid batteries. They require less electrolyte to manufacture which I'm guessing cuts costs (materials & EPA) and seem to produce less hydrogen when charging = less danger for maker and end user.
    AGM refers to the acid retention method (wet-it sloshes around, AGM-it's held in sponge like mats between plates, Gel-self explanatory).

    In the 70's, maintenance free batteries hit the market, was the next step in batt technology back then. They were wet batteries but via internal baffles they condensed the liquid out of the gas before venting. So, today not all maintenance free batts are AGM or Gel unless it says it is. All AGM/Gel are maintenance free (limited to acid level only).

    "Deep cycle" refers to the lead alloy composition which can withstand deep discharge/recharge with out shortening it's life as compared to a standard/non-deep cycle batt.
    Standard/non-deep batts have lead alloy that's intended to stay full or near full charge all the time. Discharge/recharge deep will shorten it's life.

    Deep cycle doesn't last as long in a >daily driver< as compared to a standard/non-deep batt.
    Standard/non-deep, discharged/recharged deep won't live as long as a deep cycle would under the deep discharge scenario.

    I'm 1 year into my combo battery. Haven't checked it to see how it's holding but will soon. Should put a maintainer on it anyway.

    At the risk of sounding like a "negative Nancy", I'll touch on the warranty marketing. I hope it works out for you, however I remember the J C Penny lifetime warranty batteries.
    Corporate research showed that 80% of people that bought a battery for their vehicle, sold that vehicle within the next 2 years. Warranty was non-transferrable. Most used car buyers weren't aware of that, they just saw the label and thought, "it has a lifetime battery"! Those high price batteries would last about 3 years at best. I replaced many that were shy of two years because vehicle was sold soon after new lifetime battery was installed. JC Penny made boat loads of $ on that scam. In those days, a good 5 year prorated battery could be bought for about 40% less $ and if taken care of, could get 5+ years out of it. This was way before AGM/Gel.

    Sorry for the lengthy hijack.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

  3. #13
    Don't be sorry. Thanks for the info!

    I realize the marketing angle. I'm ok with it. I bought an Interstate battery from Costco thinking it would live long and prosper. Not. Lasted less than a year. At the same time, the other Interstate Costco battery died in my car. I bought them a few weeks apart. Maybe they had a bad batch. It was in the dead of summer when we had 100 degree days so maybe that had something to do with it. Regardless, I wasn't dealing with the installation again, so I looked for a shop that would install it. The specs are similar (maybe identical?) with Autozone, Batteries Plus, and Walmart. But Walmart had the best price and best warranty. I could have bought the 5 year prorated normal lead acid battery for about $40 less. I figured the 5 year full replacement AGM battery was worth it. If no other reason, it should be more forgiving if it goes a long time without being fully charged.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    Don't underestimate the load of opening a power door + lowering a lift + raising a lift + closing a power door + powering a transfer seat. While it may be no problem for a fully charged battery, it can make the difference between starting vs not starting the motor for a battery with a low charge. Every now and then my van may sit for a long time without being driven and then it may be driven only a few city miles. Under this condition, the alternator won't have the time or RPMs to restore much charge, if any. The solution is a Battery Tender, or a starter battery with a deep cycle ferature.

    But you're right in that I don't need a deep cycle battery, just some deep cycle ability.
    I still don't get it. What you describe does not deeply discharge a full battery. I can drive my wheelchair 15 miles at 8 mph. That is what I would describe as a deep discharge. The load you describe is heavy for a short period, much like starting a car, but not a deep discharge of a healthy battery. How many of those lift cycles could you run on a new battery before it died? I am guessing many, many times. Thus one cycle is not deeply discharging the battery. Deep cycle batteries do best when drained DEEPLY under lower loads for long periods without any charging, then get charged fully. Deep cycle batteries don't last as long and last even shorter when used for heavy loads over short times and then a recharge, and especially when used to start cars. I have always had regular starter batteries running my lift and they always last longer than their rating. The only thing that might counter this thought is if your battery doesn't get fully charged when you run the van and so it is slowly losing its charge. Even then, I'm not sure a deep cycle is appropriate, but rather some way to charge the battery. BTW-your scenario can be completely overcome by installing a remote start. Start your vehicle first, then run the equipment. The equipment will run off the alternator rather than the battery. I got a remote start mostly to get my AC cooling the van, but use it this way. It costs me under $100 installed, but that was a while ago. It actually was an alarm which I didn't need, but was the cheapest way to add the remote start.
    Last edited by Kulea; 10-08-2019 at 04:36 PM.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  5. #15
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    Deep cycle batteries are designed to withstand repeated deep discharge while still having reasonably long life, like electric wheelchairs, boat trolling motors, and RV low voltage lighting etc.
    A good lead acid maintenance free battery is probably the best choice for vehicles including those with large consumption accessories like lifts.

    Probably the simplest way to separate bullshit from facts, when comparing like batteries, which one is heaviest? Which battery has more lead? which is a major contributor to cost.This is QUITE variable
    I was an Interstate dealer for 40 years. Their Megatrons are quite good batteries. When weight was the issue (who wants to put lead high in the LF of a racer?) I started weighing batteries of the same group. The results were informative. It's been years so I have nothing empirical now, but the cheap Bigbox batteries can be quite light!
    Get the best "maintenance free" battery that fits your vehicle. Maybe after the second year, if the cell covers are removable, check the electrolyte level, then annually. This may lead to a couple more years of life.
    Most OEM batteries fall half or three quarters of the range of what's available and typically last 5-6 years. If you have a conscionable service tech, have him load test every fall; it's much better to anticipate a battery failure. Me, my old 600A Sun load tester is one of the tools I kept when I sold the shop!
    Last edited by pfcs49; 10-08-2019 at 11:49 PM.
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
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  6. #16
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    Those hand held load testers are only about 125 amps (last one I looked at long ago) maybe 200 amps at best. Not enough to do a real load test so those techs (or parts sales guys) will say, "your battery test good". This usually happens when you know your battery is weak and need it warrantied or pro-rated.

    Pfcs is right, a real load tester can be cranked up to 1/2 CCA rating, held for 15-30 seconds, battery should not drop past 9.8 V.
    Yea, you can feel the weight difference in a new cheap verses new better battery of the same exterior size. If it will fit in the holder, get the best, most CCA battery you can.

    I haven't used my old Snap-On 500A load tester in awhile. Bet it smokes like hell next time I use it. Fun watching my daughters eyes last time I smoked those carbon discs.

    I sold Interstate and AC/Delco when I was a pro. Rarely had any issues with either. Lately I've been hearing of issues with Interstate. Wonder if they merged or sold to a big conglomerate? If so, bean counters may have screwed a good product. This happened to Valspar house paint a few years ago when Sherwin Williams bought them out.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

  7. #17
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    "I sold Interstate and AC/Delco when I was a pro."

    I was going to mention Delco as a winner but it's been years since I sold any. They made very good
    batteries, at least they did 20 years ago. My last experiences with Interstate are much more current; I sold the business two years ago.
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Kulea View Post
    The only thing that might counter this thought is if your battery doesn't get fully charged when you run the van and so it is slowly losing its charge.
    Yes, that is the reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulea View Post
    BTW-your scenario can be completely overcome by installing a remote start.
    Not if the battery is dead.

    It was working fine. Then the next time I went to start the van, the battery was dead. I tried to charge it several times. It wouldn't hold the charge. Hence, I needed to replace the battery. Rather than go with the normal type of lead acid battery, I decided to go with an AGM battery. It's not a deep cycle battery.

  9. #19
    The term deep cycle is somewhat ambiguous. It can mean a battery that is intended to be deeply discharged while used and then charged when not used, like in a wheelchair or golf cart. It is also used as a marketing term for a starter battery that better tolerates discharge. For my application that means it can be much less than fully charged, sit in my driveway for a long time, still have adequate charge to operate the door, lift, and seat, then start the van, and then fully charge quickly.

    Of course, a Battery Tender solves all this with a normal lead acid battery. Still, I'll take the better performance if it's available. Why not?

    But then again, maybe I just got a couple bad batteries. Both were flooded lead acid Interstate batteries from Costco bought around the same time (less than 1 year ago) and they both failed within a week of each other in 100 degree weather. Both vehicles had been driven highway miles recently.
    Last edited by August West; 10-09-2019 at 03:53 AM.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    The term deep cycle is somewhat ambiguous. It can mean a battery that is intended to be deeply discharged while used and then charged when not used, like in a wheelchair or golf cart. It is also used as a marketing term for a starter battery that better tolerates discharge. For my application that means it can be much less than fully charged, sit in my driveway for a long time, still have adequate charge to operate the door, lift, and seat, then start the van, and then fully charge quickly.

    Of course, a Battery Tender solves all this with a normal lead acid battery. Still, I'll take the better performance if it's available. Why not?

    But then again, maybe I just got a couple bad batteries. Both were flooded lead acid Interstate batteries from Costco bought around the same time (less than 1 year ago) and they both failed within a week of each other in 100 degree weather. Both vehicles had been driven highway miles recently.
    It really sounds to me like you have a problem with your van and you are trying to get some kind of specialty battery to overcome this, rather than address the actual problem. My driving habits are much like yours. I drive once a week, sometimes 2 or 3 weeks, rarely more often. Much of my driving is only a couple miles, with once a month about 20 miles each way. I put on under 2000 miles per year. I add about 20 gallons of gas (200 miles) every couple months. If necessary, my van can go through many lift and/or start cycles without charging (I have done this when trying to fix/install something in the interior). The times that my short driving doesn't adequately charge the battery is made up when I take a longer trip. My van can sit for over a month and still have the juice to get me in and get started. Since getting the remote start, I don't drain my battery nearly as much, since the getting in cycle is run on the alternator, so the battery only has to cover the getting out, and the start. But even before getting the remote start, I never had issues with shortened battery life, or a drained battery. My batteries always lasted longer than their rating and I never had a time when the battery couldn't get me in and start the van (except when I drained it by leaving a light on, or something). Some time after the rated life I will feel the battery straining more (as the lift is much slower under battery than alternator), but it still is able to start the engine. At that point, I consider getting a new battery. And this is all with a conventional battery that I buy from Sears or Firestone. So, your battery getting drained over time, and having a shorter life tells me either, improper battery, or defective battery, or defective vehicle systems. Or, you NEVER drive long enough to charge the battery, in which case you need a charger, because no battery is going to work if it doesn't get charged.

    Maybe you can get a second battery just for the lift, that way you always have a charged battery to start the engine. Worse case is you (or someone else) has to start the engine before you can get in. Then, knowing the lift battery is low, you find a way to charge it.
    Last edited by Kulea; 10-09-2019 at 07:54 PM.
    C-6/7 incomplete

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