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Old 05-25-2016, 07:38 AM   #61
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CMS,

Thanks. I am installing a new Magnum charger this week, but am still wondering about voltage sensitivity. I recently had a battery isolator go out and my new AGMs briefly saw 17 volts. Still have not tested to see how badly damaged. I doubt lead acid would have been damaged (and perhaps my AGM are not either), but thought it worth asking about voltage sensitivity. I'llb e stesting my batteries in a few days to learn whether batteries are toast.

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Old 05-25-2016, 07:39 AM   #62
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[QUOTE=CMS;445971]

Number of cycles and how deep always drives a batteries decline. The Firefly has a design cycle life of 1000 cycles to 80% DOD and 3600 cycles to 50%. The carbon foam makes this possible. The carbon foam limits and minimizes the sulfate from hardening and clustering something that murders other batteries when PSOC cycled.

QUOTE]

CMS - " design cycle life " mentioned in your above.

Is that computer design only? Have several randomly chosen Firefly batteries been hands-on tested, utilizing normalized marine conditions, to prove their ability that they can actually reach these stated levels of 1000 cycles for 80% DOD and 3600 cycles for 50% DOD?
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:23 AM   #63
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I may have missed it, but the maximum draw down rate I saw on the spec sheet was 30 amps. What is the maximum draw down rate? It's not uncommon for me to see a 200+ amp discharge rate for maybe a half hour when making dinner with the microwave through the inverter. Wondering how that type of battery handles heavy discharges for 30 minutes

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Old 05-25-2016, 08:45 AM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMS View Post
If you don't have temp compensation for all charge sources, can set absorption to 14.4V and float to 13.2V (float at 13.2V is very important) then I would not suggest buying Firefly batteries.
Not having the right charger, does this mean FireFly batteries will be ruined sooner?
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:00 AM   #65
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I may have missed it, but the maximum draw down rate I saw on the spec sheet was 30 amps. What is the maximum draw down rate? It's not uncommon for me to see a 200+ amp discharge rate for maybe a half hour when making dinner with the microwave through the inverter. Wondering how that type of battery handles heavy discharges for 30 minutes

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Ted,

What you saw is not a maximum discharge rate it is differing rates of discharge to 1.75VPC (10.5V) and how many Ah's it will net you from the battery. A 3 hour discharge rate would be 30.5A and net you 91.5Ah's before the battery hit 10.5V. A 10 hour discharge rate would be 11A and would net you 110Ah and a 20 hour discharge rate would be 5.8A and net you 116Ah of capacity. These are not the maximum discharge rates. A 200A load on a FF bank that is sized for that is not even breaking a sweat.....



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Not having the right charger, does this mean FireFly batteries will be ruined sooner?
Absolutely and this goes for all VRLA batteries. 14.4V max (temp compensated) and 13.2V max float. they prefer the battery not to float at all but realize quiescent loads exist.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:21 AM   #66
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Wow, 65 posts - and no one has even said the word 'anchor'
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:57 AM   #67
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Those Firefly batteries are really expensive. I run four Everstart GRP 29 deep cycle batteries (made by Johnson Controls). They are rated at 115 amp-hours, so at 50% discharge I have 230 amp hours available. The cost for the four batteries is $348. Three Firefly batteries would give me about the same available amp-hours at a cost of $1,458. The Firefly batteries would have to last more than 4 times as long to make them worth while. Frankly the cost simply isn't justified from my point of view, particularly since my solar panels keep my batteries near 100% capacity.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:31 AM   #68
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I'm looking forward to learn input to my questions on post # 62
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:36 PM   #69
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Those Firefly batteries are really expensive. I run four Everstart GRP 29 deep cycle batteries (made by Johnson Controls). They are rated at 115 amp-hours, so at 50% discharge I have 230 amp hours available. The cost for the four batteries is $348. Three Firefly batteries would give me about the same available amp-hours at a cost of $1,458. The Firefly batteries would have to last more than 4 times as long to make them worth while. Frankly the cost simply isn't justified from my point of view, particularly since my solar panels keep my batteries near 100% capacity.
As has been pointed out, the cost/benefit analysis depends entirely on your use. Your use determines what your point of view is. If you deeply discharge your bank on a regular basis, you might be better off with the Firefly. ie they could easily last more than 4 times longer than LA. If you don't deeply discharge your batteries and your solar can readily get them back to 100% then likely the LA are your best option.

The other issues may or may not be of value, ie increased absorption rate, no watering, length of time between that they may sit at partial state of charge, etc....

I think they sound great for certain uses but not all. If I can solve the watering issue, I am thinking that for most of my use a simple Golf cart bank may be best for me. That may change however when I get more free time and can do more than weekends and the occasional week cruise.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:40 PM   #70
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CMS

I'm looking forward to learn input to my questions on post # 62
His post #32 has some very good information and a fair amount of informed anecdotal testimony that relates to your question.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:53 PM   #71
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[QUOTE=Art;445983]
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMS View Post

Number of cycles and how deep always drives a batteries decline. The Firefly has a design cycle life of 1000 cycles to 80% DOD and 3600 cycles to 50%. The carbon foam makes this possible. The carbon foam limits and minimizes the sulfate from hardening and clustering something that murders other batteries when PSOC cycled.

QUOTE]

CMS - " design cycle life " mentioned in your above.

Is that computer design only? Have several randomly chosen Firefly batteries been hands-on tested, utilizing normalized marine conditions, to prove their ability that they can actually reach these stated levels of 1000 cycles for 80% DOD and 3600 cycles for 50% DOD?
It is not just computer design. They run then look at various tests, various temps, various discharge rates and then project design life using industry accepted calculations to arrive at DOD to cycle life under "ideal" conditions.

This is no different than how other manufacturers do it Firefly just calls it "design cycle life" and some other battery makers insinuate they have tested all batteries at all SOC depths for cycle life. This would take eons to do, tie up millions of dollars of test equipment etc. and it is not done. Almost all cycle life graphs are projected. While based on actual testing they are still using mathematical projections. Sadly ideal conditions do not exist in the real world. This is why I created my own PSOC test when the Firefly was shown to me. I'm a skeptic at heart...

While short in duration (data collection actually took over 6 months) this PSOC testing was enough to see marked differences in PSOC performance and cycle life degradation. Now if we could only get the industry to adopt a similar test we'd all have significantly better data with which to buy batteries.

The Firefly batteries have undergone numerous tests both independent and in their own lab. One test took a FF to 100% DOD (0% SOC) each cycle at a 1C discharge rate (116A for a 116Ah battery) at 25C/77F and it survived this 1250 times before falling to 80% of its original capacity.

In an independent J2185 Test, which is at 50C/122F, the Firefly ran for 724 cycles at 50% DOD. This is pretty insane at 122F when you consider that a rise of just 10F beyond 77F can halve the cycle life of a lead acid battery.

The Firefly delivered a cumulative 35,108 Ah's and the Odyssey Group 31 PC2150 TPPL AGM, (another very good AGM) delivered just 7815 Ah's. This is actually pretty respectable at those temps. In that same test a Deka G-31 flooded battery delivered just 3264 cumulative Ah's.

Manufacturer claims on cycle life almost never stack up in the marine market because no one tests for PSOC capability, how many of us use batteries, nor do they all use the same test criteria. Lab data is really only sort of telling within a brand. For example if Trojan suggests that the T105 will do 1200 cycles to 50% DOD and the SCS-225 (group 31) will only do 600 cycles to 50% that is decent information within the Trojan line up. If Deka says their G-31 flooded will do 350 cycles and their golf cart battery will do 1000 cycles that too is good data within the Deka brand under ideal lab conditions...

Some outside the battery industry have been pushing BCI to initiate PSOC ratings to make it fairer to understand how a battery might fair in the real world of off-grid, RV or marine applications. Sadly the industry fights this tooth and nail.

So yes, this is why I said "design cycle life". From what I have seen I still suspect that in a PSOC application the cycle life of the Firefly should be considerably better than other AGM batteries. Also I don't think most realize how many cycles 1000 really is, it is a LOT. I have been working my LiFePO4 battery really hard for nearly 5 years and still have not broken 800 cycles to 80% DOD and I am regularly cycling it to 80% DOD in the off season...
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:04 PM   #72
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Some outside the battery industry have been pushing BCI to initiate PSOC ratings to make it fairer to understand how a battery might fair in the real world of off-grid, RV or marine applications. Sadly the industry fights this tooth and nail.

So yes, this is why I said "design cycle life". From what I have seen I still suspect that in a PSOC application the cycle life of the Firefly should be considerably better than other AGM batteries. Also I don't think most realize how many cycles 1000 really is, it is a LOT. I have been working my LiFePO4 battery really hard for nearly 5 years and still have not broken 800 cycles to 80% DOD and I am regularly cycling it to 80% DOD in the off season...
Thank you for comprehensive answer! - Art
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:15 PM   #73
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Although we don't fit their true targeted customer, we still have them and we'll report back how we like them, but the very nature of this says that will be years from now. That's one of the problems in evaluating them that you have to go to the length of their usable lives and that takes years. Until you have a lot of batteries used like that then you live with the anecdotal evidence of just a few. Nothing wrong or bad about that, just the way it is. It's a bit like buying the first of a new car model and the day you drive it home you're asked how you like it. Of course, you love it then. The real answer has to come much later though.

Now, our reasons. Chargers are a pain. I don't care if you're hooked up at a marina or running them off your generator, I consider them a weak link and a source of potential problems, especially when no one is there to observe them. So, when not in use, we feel like we can let the batteries run down rather than leaving them on charge. How many threads to we have here where people return to the marina to find the charger has fried their batteries? It's just a little experiment. Worst case they get slightly longer life than other batteries. Best case they're trouble free for significantly longer and we get longer charger life. Our first test of them was to discharge them to about 25% and just see how they responded.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:31 PM   #74
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Although we don't fit their true targeted customer, we still have them and we'll report back how we like them, but the very nature of this says that will be years from now. That's one of the problems in evaluating them that you have to go to the length of their usable lives and that takes years. Until you have a lot of batteries used like that then you live with the anecdotal evidence of just a few. Nothing wrong or bad about that, just the way it is. It's a bit like buying the first of a new car model and the day you drive it home you're asked how you like it. Of course, you love it then. The real answer has to come much later though.

Now, our reasons. Chargers are a pain. I don't care if you're hooked up at a marina or running them off your generator, I consider them a weak link and a source of potential problems, especially when no one is there to observe them. So, when not in use, we feel like we can let the batteries run down rather than leaving them on charge. How many threads to we have here where people return to the marina to find the charger has fried their batteries? It's just a little experiment. Worst case they get slightly longer life than other batteries. Best case they're trouble free for significantly longer and we get longer charger life. Our first test of them was to discharge them to about 25% and just see how they responded.
Regarding chargers - left on at dock when away: I never leave my boat plugged into dock and isolate all batts with perko switches before leaving. Soon as I'm back at dock I plug in and flip charger on. By time we leave batts are usually near or full charged. As we motor along they continue charge. We sometimes leave boat idle for up to three months. By multi meter hooked directly into batt bank... I've not seen our Deep Cell East Penn 31 T LA batts go down below 65% charge due to sitting isolated... usually they remain in low 70%'s
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:12 PM   #75
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How many threads to we have here where people return to the marina to find the charger has fried their batteries?

That's probably a fair point, but I can anecdotally remember many, many (many) of those eventually pointing toward old, "dumb," ferro-resonant chargers.

And the usual advice for the frie-ee is to get a 3-stage "smart" charger.

And then that thread usually peters off into oblivion... until the next one.

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Old 05-25-2016, 03:05 PM   #76
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That's probably a fair point, but I can anecdotally remember many, many (many) of those eventually pointing toward old, "dumb," ferro-resonant chargers.

And the usual advice for the frie-ee is to get a 3-stage "smart" charger.

And then that thread usually peters off into oblivion... until the next one.

-Chris
I have a good friend who is a boat or as they call it yacht manager, but most of the boats he manages are just very ordinary boats, even some Boston Whalers. However, he constantly gets called to do something by a new customer or a broker, goes to the boat and the charger and batteries are a disaster. A lot of it is just builders cutting corners and the owner continues with much like they came with. It's like taking a lousy charger that is suspected of cooking batteries and getting it rebuilt.

This area has been such an awakening to me. In over 30 years on the lake, I never used a charger on my boat, occasionally would let someone else use one I had.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:17 PM   #77
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Ted,

What you saw is not a maximum discharge rate...

A 200A load on a FF bank that is sized for that is not even breaking a sweat.....
Ok, so what is the maximum draw rate for 30 minutes per FF group 31 battery? As many of us have inverters for things like microwaves, how many group 31 batteries does it take to reasonably handle a 30 minute 200 amp load? Or were you saying, one group 31 battery can handle a 200 amp 30 minute load?

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Old 05-25-2016, 08:28 PM   #78
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Absolutely and this goes for all VRLA batteries. 14.4V max (temp compensated) and 13.2V max float. they prefer the battery not to float at all but realize quiescent loads exist.
Interesting the max of 14.4volts.
Question is, what is the max volts coming from an engine alternator?
I have seen a big range over the years, and seem to recall mine is 14.4 to 14.7
Would engine run time with the alternator putting out too high the volts be a cause for concern?
My float voltage from the charger is set to 13.7 for my flooded cells. I can adjust it higher or lower.

Alternator & Charging System Checks (Alternator Testing)
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ALTERNATOR CHARGING VOLTAGE

Most alternators that are charging properly should produce a voltage of about 13.8 to 14.2 volts at idle with the lights and accessories off. Always refer to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications. Many Asian vehicles, for example, have higher charging voltages of around 15 volts.

When the engine is first started, the charging voltage should rise quickly to about two volts above base battery voltage, then taper off, leveling out at the specified voltage.

The exact charging voltage will vary according to the battery's state of charge, the load on the vehicle's electrical system, and temperature. The lower the temperature the higher the charging voltage, and the higher the temperature the lower the charging voltage. The "normal" charging voltage on a typical application might be 13.9 to 15.1 volts at 77 degrees F. But at 20 degrees F. below zero, the charging voltage might jump as high as 14.9 to 15.8 volts for a short period of time. On a hot engine on a hot day, the normal charging voltage might drop to 13.5 to 14.3 volts.
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Old 05-26-2016, 05:26 AM   #79
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What usually kills boat batts is sitting for days at only partial charge , and almost never getting to 100% on the recharge.

This would be very difficult to create a test for.

Almost every batt style does well if discharged and i then quickly recharged to 100%
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Old 05-26-2016, 06:01 AM   #80
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What usually kills boat batts is sitting for days at only partial charge , and almost never getting to 100% on the recharge.

This would be very difficult to create a test for.

Almost every batt style does well if discharged and i then quickly recharged to 100%

And apparently many cruisers can't get there (quickly recharged) from here.

Hence one reason driving Carbon Foam AGM development.

And hence testing by CMS, Nigel Calder, et al.

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