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Old 03-17-2019, 03:51 AM   #1
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Default AGM Battery Replacement (Carbon Foam)

To the AGM battery club: Has anyone tried the Firefly Oasis Carbon Foam AGM batteries?
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:45 AM   #2
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Haven't tried them, but I've been thinking about it. So very interested in any responses you get...
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:55 AM   #3
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It is interesting to do quick read of the specs.


The charge rates, mid SOC partial recharge tolerance, life claims, discharge rates, temp rises at high amps, deep discharge tolerance, etc all very closely follow the lithium claims.


But what is really kind of odd is that the temp limitations also appear to be almost identical to lithium claims with -4* to 106* for use and down to -22* for storage (all *F). No info I saw on a charge limitation at 32*, though. It appears they would need heaters in some parts of the world.


The price advantage they talk about is similarly distorted by comparing to AGM batteries at 50% discharge max and so they are not as much more cost effective over time as they show, just like most lithium ads.


Firefly, if it is the same Firefly, has done drop in lithium for a long time and have morphed into being more retail brand of Battleborn lithium drop ins. Colors similar to the original Firefly batteries. The address listed is different from the Firefly and Battleborn location.



The temp issues would be the most visible downside at first look, and with so many parameters listed the same as lithium, much more information on actual charge profiles, float tolerance, full shutoff need, etc would be needed, I think to be able to tell a complete story.


Trojan also has some carbon lead acid batteries so a look at them for comparison is probably in order to see if the technologies are similar.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:10 PM   #4
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It appears that Outback is also selling a carbon based AGM although the temp specs are different. Interesting they don't show any weight advantage, though, and more reasonable added life claims.



A couple of articles talked about Yuasa battery so they may be making them for most of the sellers private label at this point.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:59 PM   #5
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Booster... Thank you for the insight into the specs. I have a question about the discharge comparison to regular AGMs at 50%. If you can take these down to 80-100% so without damage and then bring them back to full charge, why would they not be more cost effective than regular AGMs that should not be discharged to less than 50% if they truly have 3X the cycles? I am not a real "battery person" so I would like your perspective.
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:27 PM   #6
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Booster... Thank you for the insight into the specs. I have a question about the discharge comparison to regular AGMs at 50%. If you can take these down to 80-100% so without damage and then bring them back to full charge, why would they not be more cost effective than regular AGMs that should not be discharged to less than 50% if they truly have 3X the cycles? I am not a real "battery person" so I would like your perspective.

The 50% rule has been a topic of discussion here several times over the last couple of years, and IMO the rule makes claims that are not backed up by the manufacturers actual specifications. There are also several variants of the rule of differing harshness.


What you will most often here is that never going below 50% SOC on a lead acid battery will "double its life".


Some people have morphed that into saying that if you ever go below 50% you will cut your life in half.


Some even have claimed going below 50% even a couple of times will destroy the batteries.


The other discussions get much further into the data and calculations and may be worth a read if you are interested in that kind of detail. They are very good discussions.


Bottom line conclusions for me are that, yes, your batteries will last for twice as many recharges at 50% compared to 80%, but when you look at the total energy in and out the difference is closer to 15% different, not double, and energy is what counts. So if you go to 80% down, you get 60% more capacity from the same batteries than at 50% so you recharge less often and use less of the recharge cycles .


Another point is that having some cycles below 50% even down to 80% don't make the entire life of the battery go the 80% point of the charts as the cycles. The cycles essentially average, so if you had 1/2 your cycles going to 80% down and 1/2 the cycles going to 20% down, you would get essentially the same number of cycles as you would if they were all at 50%.


This all said, I would not want to have a system that was always taken to 80% down mainly because at that point you have no reserve left if something doesn't work out right someday. Similarly, I would not want to have a system that was designed so big that it would never, ever, go below 50% as it would big, expensive, and very heavy.


Our setup was designed to be in the 50% discharge or less most of the time, but if we need the extra capacity because of wanting to stay offgrid longer or poor solar conditions we have it available and are certainly not afraid to use it.



If you read the past discussions, you will find some people that agree with this and some that don't, but IMO, the data very plainly shows that the 50% rule is severely overhyped by vendors trying to sell lots of batteries our use the rule to convince you AGMs are much more expensive per AH of capacity than they really are.


I will point out that from the testing I have done and from battery and charger manufacturer's specs, you are much more likely to shorten your battery life significantly due to poor charging of them. Nearly all the chargers out there, shore, alternator, and solar will nearly always leave lead acid batteries either over or under charged.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:13 PM   #7
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Thank you for the explanation about the "50% rule". I have a much better understanding of it now. What type of battery setup do you have and in what type of rig?
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:32 PM   #8
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We have 440ah of Lifeline AGM batteries (four of the GC six volt batteries) hung under the floor behind the axle on our 07 C190P Chevy Roadtrek.


Magnum shore charger with remote and monitor kits, 300 watts solar with monitor based Blue Sky controller, dual parallel alternators with settable output stages controlled by an Ample Power regulator and remote switches and disconnect. All the charging is controlled by measuring the actual amps going into the batteries, automatically by the Magnum and Blue Sky, and manually from the driver seat when driving and charging with the alternators. We have had this setup for a few years now and it has worked very well for us.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:51 PM   #9
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I had two of the Lifeline AGM 12 volt batteries in my boat years back - I really liked them. I have a 2018 Roadtrek Zion with a 185AH AGM battery. I have 200 watts of solar and and underhood generator (replaced under warranty due to overcharging shortly after purchase). I've had no problems with the battery but I know I will have to replace it someday - nothing lasts forever. What is the advantage of the 6 volt batteries over the 12 volt?
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:01 PM   #10
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I had two of the Lifeline AGM 12 volt batteries in my boat years back - I really liked them. I have a 2018 Roadtrek Zion with a 185AH AGM battery. I have 200 watts of solar and and underhood generator (replaced under warranty due to overcharging shortly after purchase). I've had no problems with the battery but I know I will have to replace it someday - nothing lasts forever. What is the advantage of the 6 volt batteries over the 12 volt?

Traditionally, the golf cart batteries seemed to get the most attention from the battery manufacturers because of their high sales numbers and the abuse they take. Golf courses also keep very close track of battery life so quality counts. Trojan golf cart 6v wet cells have been the leader for a long time and are really good batteries for heavy cycling, much better than their 12v batteries, for instance, as an example.


That said, Lifeline claims that in their AGMs, it really doesn't matter all that much whether they are 6v or 12v as the guts are the same design for deep cycle use. In our case, the 6v fit best, but it probably wouldn't matter if the 12v had fit.


So in wet cells, I would say it certainly makes a difference with GC 6 volt batteries generally much better, but probably not much with most AGMs as long as you get a style for deep cycle use and not other applications like continuous float reserve power, non cycling.
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:09 PM   #11
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I would have an issue with the 106F max. I have measured 120 in the van with the Engel fridge loping along in the mid-30's powered by the AGM's.
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:17 PM   #12
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Thank you...I appreciate your expertise.
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:45 AM   #13
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I haven't tried them yet but according to www.pacificyachtingsystems.com they worth their price
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:50 PM   #14
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Thank you...
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Old 03-31-2019, 08:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarinB View Post
I had two of the Lifeline AGM 12 volt batteries in my boat years back - I really liked them. I have a 2018 Roadtrek Zion with a 185AH AGM battery. I have 200 watts of solar and and underhood generator (replaced under warranty due to overcharging shortly after purchase). I've had no problems with the battery but I know I will have to replace it someday - nothing lasts forever. What is the advantage of the 6 volt batteries over the 12 volt?

You have a Northstar sms agm 400 battery under your zion. 400 refers to reserve capacity not amp hours It is a 'pure lead' specialty battery. it's far superior to standard agms

research it
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Old 03-31-2019, 09:03 PM   #16
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gerrym51... I didn't know that...thank you. I just did some research...they appear to be excellent batteries. Just curious...how do know that is the battery? I haven't opened up the sling underneath and it the name wasn't in my paperwork that I could find.
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Old 03-31-2019, 11:09 PM   #17
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gerrym51... I didn't know that...thank you. I just did some research...they appear to be excellent batteries. Just curious...how do know that is the battery? I haven't opened up the sling underneath and it the name wasn't in my paperwork that I could find.
i bought a 2015 zion in 2015. I have since sold it. Medical issues have gotten the wife and i out of the B game
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:14 PM   #18
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Default Carbon AGM technology

To dive deeper into carbon AGM technology this is good article. Addition of specific carbon to negative plates is advantages but mechanism not fully understood. The key benefit is prevention of sulfation hence longer life. I would think that most of other performance parameters should be similar to regular AGM.

Understanding Function and Performance of Carbon Additives in Lead-Acid Batteries
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:27 PM   #19
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To dive deeper into carbon AGM technology this is good article. Addition of specific carbon to negative plates is advantages but mechanism not fully understood. The key benefit is prevention of sulfation hence longer life. I would think that most of other performance parameters should be similar to regular AGM.

Understanding Function and Performance of Carbon Additives in Lead-Acid Batteries

You certainly would think they were similar to AGM for parameters, but the specs we see earlier in the thread look to be closer to lithium limitations, so a bit puzzling.
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:01 PM   #20
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The temp range of the Firefly 4v carbon foam cell appears to be -20c to 50c for "operation" and -30c to 60c for storage, which is 122F and 140F for the upper end respectively. I assume their group 31 battery will have the same temperature spec but have not found a similar data sheet. I got this off of the "download" link on this page:

Firefly International Energy - 2V 900 Ah / 4V 450 Ah

Bruce Schwab's site had equated 50c to 104F and that's wrong, so other sites may be using those numbers.
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