Should I Replace the Battery?

PJorgen

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
185
Location
Northern Nevada
I have a 2014 Hawk with the original 12v AGM lead-acid battery that FWC installed in the camper when new. The charging system is the stock system with the battery monitor that FWC used at that time. I keep the camper plugged into shore power at all times when the camper is not in use.

On a recent trip the battery monitor showed 2/3 charge when in past it had always showed full charge. When I returned home I checked the battery with volt meter and measured resting voltage at 12.1v and with the water pump running and the 3-way refrigerator on the 12v source I measured 11.8v.

My question - is it time to replace the nine-year old battery? If so, what type and where is a good place to purchase one?

To be clear, I understand that there are a number of improvements I can make to the basic FWC installed electrical system. However, I don't use much power and typically drive the truck every day when camping which recharges the battery. The current system has always met my needs and I figure if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Appreciate everyone's input.
 
You can take your battery down to the auto parts store and they can test it for you. 9 years sounds about right to show signs of deterioration. Never letting it go below 50% is a must for longevity. I agree with your ain't broke don't fix it motto. If it is meeting your needs then I say stick with another AGM. I love my lithium set up but it does involve other upgrades to the system as you mentioned.

I use VMAX AGM batteries in my off grid cabin. They have performed flawlessly for 10 years now. Super heavy but great performers and have been very reliable.
 
I've stuck with the AGM because like you, I don't require much 12v power and didn't want to spend money on something I don't need. Last replacement I installed a Renogy 100ah AGM and have been very happy with it's performance. What ever brand you go with, get a dedicated deep cycle battery not a dual purpose type. Check Renogy's website for sales, I got a deal on mine.
 
The above advice makes a lot of sense. We spent $1300+ on our lithium conversion, doing all the labor ourselves. Our battery needs are different and it's been working great (we love it), but getting another AGM battery would have been a lot easier!
 
Whatever you do I recommend adding a battery monitor to your setup - a Victron BVM-712 or equivalent.

As Cpt Davenport wrote: If you routinely limit discharging to no more than 50% of full charge and always fully recharge before discharging again and keep it on a good quality battery maintainer if you let it sit then you should expect to get 9 or more years out of an AGM battery.

If you switch to lithium you may need to upgrade your battery charger and add a dc_dc charger between the truck and camper as well as pay for the lithium battery which could add up to $1500 - $2000. You can replace the AGM and add a solar charging system for less.

If you do add solar I recommend getting the largest solar panel that will fit on your camper, hopefully att leat 360 watts. A 360 watt solar panel will weigh about 40 pounds and cost around $325, a Victron 100/30 smart solar charge controller will cost about $250 and a Victron BVM-712 will cost about $195. You might need to upgrade to 60 pound lift struts which will cost around $50 for two.

I hope this is helpful.

Craig
 
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