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AGM Batteries

Discussion in 'Truck Talk' started by BigStickJr, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. BigStickJr

    BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Researching

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    Looking to replace four Odessy pc2150 AGM Batteries.
    Class 8 Semi, custom sleeper.
    Friend can’t find Odessy but keeps coming across Northstar. I never heard of them. Neither has he.
    He previously had Optima but was not impressed.
    His Onan may not have been setup for AGM when he had the Optimas.
    I said I’d reach out, possibly finding Turtle.
     
  2. BigStickJr

    BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Researching

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    I’m laughing.
    Thought I’d take my own advice.

    I searched for Northstar references by Turtle.

    I found one.
    Something about a super-hero.
    Wasn’t expecting that !
     
    • Moot
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      Moot Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      It's probably not the batteries but how the batteries are charged. I now charge my batteries with a 12 volt to 12 volt battery charger that offers the proper charging profile for the batteries I run. If I had a truck with a generator I would probably run a quality 120V battery charger from an inverter or go with a 12V to 12V charger.
       
    • Turtle
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      Turtle Administrator Staff Member Owner/Operator

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      Odyssey Battery has a dealer locator on their Website. They're excellent batteries. I know you can get those at Harris Battery in New Boston (across the parking lot from Espar). Harris can fix you up with whatever you need. Thumbsup.

      Northstars are supposed to be good, but I have no experience with them at all.

      Most people who have previously had Optima batteries (a division of Johnson Controls, BTW) haven't been impressed, either.

      That's the right answer.
       
    • jhead64

      jhead64 Seasoned Expediter Owner/Operator

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      We just bought the Northstar NSB AGM 31 batteries. Got them at Freightliner. Much cheaper than the Odyssey and have the same specs. We paid $298 a piece. Have only had them a week so can't really talk you much yet on performance because we've been at home.

      Sent from my Pixel XL using EO Forums mobile app
       
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    • BigStickJr

      BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Researching

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      The dealer locator has lead to frustration.
      He drove to Indy, figuring the Harris location would have them.
      The phone is disconnected.
      He found one battery in Kansas, and one dealer in Dealer in Knoxville who had no Odyssey told him he’d be better off with Northstar.
      He had a dealer near home, Texas, put him off for weeks.
      He thinks he’s about out of time, and will probably take the Northstars if they’re in stock along his route today.
       
    • BigStickJr

      BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Researching

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      Jhead64. Great price. Which Freightliner dealer ?
       
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    • BigStickJr

      BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Researching

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      Thanks for the replies.
       
    • Turtle
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      Turtle Administrator Staff Member Owner/Operator

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      I don't think he will be making a mistake going with Northstar batteries. At all.

      Northstar batteries have an interesting history (OK, that's a lie), under the Drakon brand name, and because of mergers and acquisitions it disappeared into private labels batteries and the Kinetik Power (mostly lithium-ion, tho) line of batteries. They concentrated on the telecom and industrial sectors, as well as private labels, and only recently have moved into the hybrid AGM (marine/truck) batteries under their own name. But it's the same Drakon battery technology that people went gaga over 3 or 4 years ago before it mergers and acquisitions destroyed the name, the same way that FedEx brutally murdered the Kinko's name.

      Keep in mind that we're talking about the dual-purpose, hybrid deep cycle batteries here (thin lead plates for engine engine starting, trolling motors, running lights, moderate low-ish amp draws, etc.), and not the true deep cycle batteries (thick lead plates for off-the-grid boondocking and photovoltaic energy storage). Marine deep cycle batteries and truck batteries are the same thing, just with different terminal posts.

      With that in mind, Optima batteries look kewl, and it's the kind of kewl you want with your gnarly car and thumping sound system. But the fact is, Optima batteries pack only about 75% of the energy into the same footprint (Group Size) as traditional AGM batteries like Northstar, Odyssey, etc. You see Optima batteries on the lake, for example, but it's on bass boats and other boats where you gotta see the gnarly kewl. But you rarely ever see them on houseboats, fishing boats, yachts or other boats where performance is critical. If you go to West Marine or some other marine battery seller, you'll mostly see Northstar, and house branded batteries made by Northstar (and house branded deep cycle 4D, 8D and 6-volt batteries made by Concorde Lifeline).

      Odyssey has long dominated the racing and hybrid AGM deep cycle market for truck and marine batteries, because they manage to pack more or less the same amount of energy into the same footprint as true deep cycle batteries, with the obvious and expected diminishments that come with being dual purpose versus concentrating solely on deep cycle operations.

      Enter the Drakon (now Northstar), that actually manages to be a smidge more efficient than the Odyssey batteries. To illustrate what I'm talking about, check out the Group 31 batteries that go head to head with each other here...

      Northstar NSB-AGM-31M (~ $380)
      103 Ah, 220 minutes RC, 75 pounds

      Odyssey 31M-PC2150 (~$405)
      100 Ah, 205 minutes RC, 77.8 pounds

      Optima 8052-161 (~ $315)
      75 Ah, 155 minutes RC, 59.9 pounds

      Lead, more than anything, equals amp hours. The more lead, the more amp hours you will get. But you can see that Northstar managed to squeeze an extra 3 amp hours out of 2.7 fewer pounds of lead. Doesn't sound like much, and in day-today operations it's not, it's just 3 percent, but to battery nerds in Battery World, that's yoooge. It's like a 4% home mortgage versus a 7% mortgage. Day-to-day it's barely noticeable, but over the life of the thing, it's fairly noticeable.

      You can get most any off the shelf standard hybrid AGM truck/marine battery and it's gonna have the same specs as the Odyssey, and it's probably made by Enersys (Odyssey), Johnson Controls (Exide), or East Penn (Deka). But you can also get a Northstar, with more capacity, and for a cheaper price. It's really hard to argue against a better battery that's cheaper to boot.
       
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    • BigStickJr

      BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Researching

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      He found the problem.
      Odyssey is 14 weeks out on orders.
      Dealers are hoarding them for their regular customers.
      The Mega Battery wholesaler where he’s getting the Northstars says they wish they could get some Odessy product.

      Plug: Worldwide Battery in Indianapolis only has 130 of the Northstar part number in stock.
       
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    • jhead64

      jhead64 Seasoned Expediter Owner/Operator

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      We bought ours at Orlando Freightliner in Apopka, Florida.

      Sent from my Pixel XL using EO Forums mobile app
       
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    • jhead64

      jhead64 Seasoned Expediter Owner/Operator

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      Also, a big selling point for me was the fact that these batteries have a 4 year warranty. Non prorated. Can't beat that!

      Sent from my Pixel XL using EO Forums mobile app
       
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    • BigStickJr

      BigStickJr Veteran Expediter Researching

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      Thanks jhead64.
      He took the batteries out, walked into Worldwide Batteries in Indianapolis. 4 years old and they tested fantastically.
      He put them back in.

      Went to dealer. Truck has battery cut off switch.
      They go bad. 2258 CCA on one side, 586 on other side.
      New switch ordered.

      Volvo mechanic told him what it’d be in the driveway.
      $58 later he drove away, smiling.
       
      Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
    • piper1
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      piper1 Veteran Expediter

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      Those damn switches cause more grief than any good they might do. Any time I ran across them they got removed for good.
       
    • DollarSign
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      DollarSign Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      Was looking at batteries, what about Lifeline batteries?
       
    • Turtle
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      Turtle Administrator Staff Member Owner/Operator

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      The Condorde Lifeline is the Gold Standard of RV and Marine AGM batteries.

      The Condorde Battery Corporation operates four application-specific brand nanes: Concorde, Lifeline, Chairman and Sun Xtender.

      The Concorde label designs aircraft batteries and batteries for shipboard use utilized by militaries the World over including the U.S. Military and several Commonwealth allies including Australian, British and Canadian air forces. They literally invented the AGM battery for the US military.

      Lifeline AGM batteries are specifically tailored to the needs of recreational vehicles and the marine industry.

      The Chairman brand focuses on backup power especially for electric wheelchairs and the medical applications.

      The Sun Xtender, is designed to excel in photovoltaic and renewable energy applications. Internally the Sun Xtender is virtually identical to the Lifeline, except the Lifelines are more rugged to handle the beating of a boat or RV. Other industries using these batteries include mining, oil & gas, electric vehicle, telecommunications, stand by and emergency backup systems.

      All four battery labels incorporate many of the same base design and quality features contained in Concorde’s aerospace aviation batteries. So while integrating industry specific design and features, each battery line is built upon the rigorous aviation standards platform [Mil Specs] pioneered by Concorde.

      The first AGM, “Air Worthy” batteries were delivered to the U.S. Military in 1985 and today are used on the vast majority of military aircraft, including the F-117A Stealth Bomber, F/A-18 fighter jet, KC-130 Stratotanker. It is also the standard battery for US naval applications.

      The thick, solid heavier “fat plate” Lifelines we know and love today were introduced in 1989. Lifeline batteries are the most advanced recreational vehicle batteries manufactured in the world.

      And because they are the most advanced RV battery you can find, with a fully justified price to go along with it, you will want to treat them with some high dollar respect by using a battery monitor to monitor its status and conditions as well as a proper battery charger that will charge them with a proper charging regimen.
       
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    • DollarSign
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      DollarSign Veteran Expediter Owner/Operator

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      So there great, top of the line, I would buy them ect?
       
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    • Turtle
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      Turtle Administrator Staff Member Owner/Operator

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      Yep. I cannot recommend Concorde Lifelines too highly. I don't have them in the Sprinter, mainly because the ones I want (L16) are just a tad too tall to fit under the bunk, so I'm using Trojan wet cell aerial life batteries. But, every boat I've had since the 80s have had Lifelines in them. Lifeline AGMs are what all other AGM batteries aspire to be.
       
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    • DollarSign
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      I've got a 90 amp alternator on the van i think . Thinking of getting two Lifeline 6v 300ah batteries=600ah. Would that kill my alternator? Something that I'm thinking about .
       
    • Turtle
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      Turtle Administrator Staff Member Owner/Operator

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      No, it won't kill the alternator. The alternator will work a little less hard if it's 120 or 150, but 90 is fine. When it comes time to replace the alternator, that's when you'd move up to a bigger one.

      Incidentally, two 6-volt 300 Ah batteries is 600 Ah... at 6-volts.

      At 12-volts it's 300 Ah.

      When you connect multiple batteries you either add voltages together (series) or add capacities together (parallel). For example, three 6-volt 300 Ah batteries connected together would be either 900 Ah at 6-volts, or 300 Ah at 18-volts.

      If you want a 600 Ah battery bank, you'll need to get two pairs, four 6-volt batteries, and connect each pair in series (positive to negative) to make each pair into a 12-volt battery at 300 Ah, and then connect those two pairs in parallel (positive-to-positive, negative-to-negative) to double up the Ah to 600 Amp hours.

      0208181610a.jpg

      You can see here, there are two pairs of 6-volt batteries. Each pair is connected positive-to-negative (series) with those short cables running in the middle between each pair. When you connect two batteries like that, they instantly become one large 12-volt battery, with one positive terminal on one end of the large battery (lower right) and one negative terminal on the other end (upper left). So now you have two 12-volt batteries sitting there, each with 6 cells (6 battery caps).

      On the far right you can see the positive-to-positive connections and on the far left, it's harder to see, but there are the negative-to-negative connections. This parallel connection adds the amp hours of the two batteries together.
       
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