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Tom899

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery

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Has anyone replaced their under-hood battery with a high quality AGM battery? When I look online for 2016/2017 Transit Connect batteries it doesn't seem like anyone lists them, maybe the size is weird?

I have an ARB Portable Fridge Freezer I'd like to run for short trips and I'd feel better with an AGM battery. At this point I don't want to add another battery, just upgrade the under-hood battery.

If anyone has, what make and model?

Thanks,

Tom

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I did.  I ran a #4 cable to the back of our 2014 and installed a 500 watt inverter to recharge our Segways as we drive.  I wanted a stronger,  deep cycle AGM battery under the hood so if we took an hour long lunch with the van shut off, the inverter wouldn't run the battery down  -  Sounds like exactly what you're wanting to do

 

I don't recall the model number on the battery I used  -  That info may be listed here in a thread I did about the install . . . . . I'll look later when I have more time.  I measured the old battery, measured the inside dimensions of the battery box and found an AGM at Sam's Club which was a little larger than the stock battery (with more amp hours too) and it looked like it would fit and it did.  There's a spacer tin the battery box to keep the OEM battery from moving around and if you remove that, there's room for a larger (longer) battery  -  It can be a bit taller too, IIRC

 

Don

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I found it  -  Here's my earlier post

 

Since I already had the battery out, and since it's already 3+ years old, and since it's so doggone difficult to get at . . . . and since I'm hooking up a high current load which will need to run off the battery when I stop for gas or to eat lunch, it only made sense to replace it with something better.  Ford has chosen to use 'Ford sized' batteries in all their newer vehicles which I suspect was done to try and enhance battery sales at the dealerships.  Our battery is a 'BXT-96R' which doesn't seem to exist anywhere but from Ford  -  Granted, you can buy a few 'equivalent' size replacements elsewhere

Anyway, I wanted a higher capacity battery and I wanted an AGM, so after a good bit of research I settled on a Duracell Group 48 (H6) AGM from Sam's Club  -  $159.99.  It has a 20 amp hour rate of 70 (3.5 amp draw for 20 hours) and much better specs than the OEM battery and it's made in the USA.  3 year free replacement  and a 5 year pro-rated warranty

  • Battery Electrolyte Composition: Glass Mat
  • Battery End Type: Top Post
  • BCI Group Size:48
  • CA at 32 degrees F:875
  • CCA at 0 degrees F:760
  • Polarity: Right Positive
  • Reserve Capacity:120

The BXT-96R has only 500 cold cranking amps

It's *almost* a drop in replacement for our OEM battery.  It's about 1/2 inch taller, but fits in the battery box OK and you can even use the OEM hold down clamp if you remove the rear battery box spacer so the battery can slide back just a little to center the battery on the hold down studs.  Then the clamp fits OK if you raise (or remove) the lifting handles that come on the battery  -  They fold back down after the clamp is installed, so you don't have to remove them

If you intend to run high current accessories for even a short time with the engine not running, an upgrade to a better battery is probably a smart move . . . . especially if your current battery is 3 or 4 years old

 

Hope this helps!

 

Don

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Thanks Don, Looks like what I need! I'm a Sam's club member so that will work. I'm waiting for my 2018 Connect...

Appreciated!

Tom

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You guys also need to remember that starting/lighting/ignition (SLI) batteries are a different design than a deep cycle (DC) battery. SLI batteries are designed to support VERY LARGE amp draws for just a few seconds as the starter runs and then immediately be recharged at a high rate by the alternator. The total storage capacity that a SLI is designed to cycle through is just a few percent. A DC battery, on the other hand, is designed to be cycled to 50% of nameplate capacity but NOT designed to support the huge current draw and rapid recharge of automotive use. Use either battery in the wrong situation and you'll have reduced performance and short service life.

 

As far as better batteries, take a look at Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) AGM batteries. Optima batteries used to be good examples of this this tech but have long since cut corners and cheaped out. The only SLI TPPL AGM batteries I know of on the market today are the Hawker Odyssey batteries. The AGM Duracel listed above is not a TPPL design. It's better (in some ways) that a traditional Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) battery, but it's not as good as a TPPL AGM battery.  I don't know if Hawker makes an Odyssey battery to fit the weird Ford box, but I'll be checking shortly.

 

Just remember, the kind of use you guys are talking about is BAD for SLI batteries. If you really want to run a fridge or charge Segways while the engine is off, you need a secondary DC battery system.

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Starting batteries don't make good deep cycle batteries, but the reverse isn't necessarily true.  The AGM I installed has 50% more "cold cranking amps" than the stock battery and they wouldn't rate it that way if it wasn't intended to see duty as a starting battery, nor would they be offering a three year free replacement.  As a general rule, AGM's handle higher recharge currents much better than flooded batteries do

 

I have a 1994 Miata which came with an AGM battery mounted in the trunk  -  AGM's are the stock battery in many more cars these days.  Anyway, I replaced the OEM battery in my Miata with a deep cycle Optima Yellow top  and that lasted me almost exactly 10 years before I had to replace it . . . . with another deep cycle Optima

 

When the AGM I put in my TC fails, I'll report back here . . . . if this forum is still around then  ;-)

 

Don

Edited by Beta Don

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You're confusing AGM with DC. Not all AGM batteries are DC. You can buy both SLI and DC AGMs.

 

DC batteries do perform badly as SLI batteries in cars because they don't like the treatment. They're not designed for the repeated large outrush nor the charging profile. The car won't notice. It'll start happily even under poor conditions. The battery just won't be happy about life.

 

The Duracel AGM battery you installed is a SLI battery, not a DC.

 

As long ago as you make it sound, your Optima Yellow Top would actually have been a TPPL AGM battery, which absolutely do blur the line between DC and SLI. However, the Optima product line today is junk and you wouldn't get anything close to that performance out of one. Which is quite sad, actually.

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Well, 3.5 amps for 20 hours is plenty deep cycle enough for the way I'm using it to charge the Segways  -  They won't ever need half of that.  I suspect it will run a small fridge overnight without any problem as well

 

Don

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It took a bit of googling, but the NiMH battery pack in a Segway has a 220Wh capacity. The pair of them together then would need 440Wh if fully dead. Hopefully, you're not running them that hard because even NiMH batteries don't like being run to 0. An 80% discharge of the NiMH batteries would require 352Wh to recharge the pair. If you want to use an AGM DC battery, you need a nameplate rating of 704Wh, which would be sold as a 60Ah battery. The 3.5A at the 20-hour rate would lead to a nameplate of 70Ah so it will keep the AGM battery above 50% Depth of Discharge (DoD), which is fine for a DC battery. However, the Duracell battery you're talking about is not a DC battery. It's an SLI battery. It's designed to be used in the 5-10% DoD region. Using it repeatedly to 50% DoD is not what it's designed for.

 

A little more googling shows that a normal 12V minifridge draws about 480Wh over an 8-hour night while a REALLY good one, like thousand-dollars-for-a-small-one level of good, can get that down to 220Wh over an 8-hour night. The normal fridge would require a 80Ah battery to last an 8-hour night and the super efficient megabuck fridge would need a 37Ah battery for the same period.

 

Next thing to consider is recharging it. First, the car's "charge controller" on the alternator (and that's in quotes because it's very, very half-assed) isn't designed for recharging a DC battery from a deep discharge. Second, a typical FLA battery is designed to take 10-14 hours to recharge without damage from a 50% DoD cycle. A top-level TPPL AGM battery like a Hawker Odyssey can cut that to 4-6 hours without long-term damage. Of course, blowing them all away, the LiFePO4 battery bank I'm designing right now for install into the van can fully recharge in as little as 10 minutes if I can find a high-power charging source. Recharging from the engine of the van, realistically I probably can't draw enough current from it to recharge the LFP battery faster than about 1 hour without frying the alternator and stalling the engine.

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First, they haven't sold an NiMH powered Segway since 2005  -  Ours are all lithium powered and each Segway uses a pair of 75 volt, 5.2 AH batteries (390 WH and $900 EACH new) so I'm charging 4 of those  -  1560 WH total.  The built in Seg charger isn't very powerful  -  It takes  8 to 12 hours to recharge if the Lithiums are fully discharged, but a full charge lasts for 20 miles or more so we seldom ever get them much below 50% DoD.  It's not at all unusual for a lithium Seg battery to last 10 years or more, which is good, considering the replacement cost

 

Second, if you read my post above, the reason for getting the more powerful AGM battery was so we could leave them in the van charging while we stopped for gas or lunch  -  The rest of the time, recharging is done while we're driving

 

The other reason for changing to an AGM is because it's one heck of a job to change the battery in a Gen 2 TC and since I already had the 3 year old battery out while making the high current connection to the battery bus bar, I wanted to put something in there which (hopefully) will outlast 2 or 3 stock batteries, because I don't want to have to mess with it again.  A bit of advice for the average owner  -  When your TC needs a new battery, buy it from some place which offers free installation

 

As I said, I'll be sure to report back here when the AGM quits on me, so everyone else will know not to waste their money on an AGM replacement for the anemic (and way overpriced) Ford BXT-96R . . . . or, if it lasts 6 or 8 years, we'll all know it was a very good idea

 

Don

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Don't get me wrong, I think AGM SLI batteries are fantastic, especially if you get a TPPL-type one. I've installed probably close to a hundred of them for my clients. Before LFP was an option (and it still isn't allowed by some sanctioning bodies), I installed the Odyssey PC680 into MANY cars because it was the lightest battery that would reliably start the car (and restart it on track if they spun and stalled it) in all weather.

 

Do you know what the power draw (input Watts) is on the Segway charger? I'm curious to see how much you'll be sucking out of your SLI battery if you stop for lunch for an hour, 2 hours, etc.

 

The rest of this is me looking up data and writing it down for future reference but it's relevant to this thread.

 

The stock BXT-96R battery is a BCI Group 96R battery. The BCI 96R callout is 9.6" wide, 6.2" deep, and 6.9" tall. The terminals are auto standard, Right Hand Positive.

Don says he fit a Group 48 battery in the stock battery box, which means it'll hold at least a 12.1"x6.9"x7.6" battery.

Hawker has the Odyssey PC1200MJT, which is a TPPL AGM that blurs the line between SLI and DC. They claim it's a drop-in replacement for the Group 96R stock battery and has dimensions of 7.87"x6.66"x6.80. Compared the BCI 96R callout, it's slightly too deep but will have lots of clearance for height and width. According to Don's experience, it should fit just fine since his 6.9" deep battery fit.

 

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The Segway is listed for 140 watts, 120 volts.  It actually measures 110 watts when charging, so two of them would be 220 watts which calculates to about a 20 amp draw from the battery for the inverter when the engine isn't running.  The battery doesn't seem to mind that for an hour or so  -  Don't think I've ever left it running for more than about 90 minutes.  I also carry a very powerful, but tiny 120 volt air compressor which will actually fill a car or trailer tire in just a minute or two and I run from the inverter too, usually without the engine running.  It's very handy to use with a 50 foot extension cord  -  You can reach just about any tire.  Nobody makes a good 12 volt compressor which actually pumps much air, probably because it would need 40 or 50 amps to be able to do the job and you can't plug that into an accessory socket

 

The Odyssey isn't much more powerful than the stock battery.  It's very expensive and nobody but Odyssey warrants them.  Several users on Amazon reported failures within just a year or so and Odyssey blamed the failure on everything BUT the battery and refused to honor their warranty.  One guy said he went back to an Optima because they had never given him any problems

 

Other folks seem to love them.  To each his own I guess.  I like my 3 year, no hassle, free replacement warranty from Sam's Club.  A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it

 

Don

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1 minute ago, Beta Don said:

The Segway is listed for 140 watts, 120 volts.  It actually measures 110 watts when charging, so two of them would be 220 watts which calculates to about a 20 amp draw from the battery for the inverter when the engine isn't running.  The battery doesn't seem to mind that for an hour or so  -  Don't think I've ever left it running for more than about 90 minutes.  I also carry a very powerful, but tiny 120 volt air compressor which will actually fill a car or trailer tire in just a minute or two and I run from the inverter too, usually without the engine running.  It's very handy to use with a 50 foot extension cord  -  You can reach just about any tire.  Nobody makes a good 12 volt compressor which actually pumps much air, probably because it would need 40 or 50 amps to be able to do the job and you can't plug that into an accessory socket

 

The Odyssey isn't much more powerful than the stock battery.  It's very expensive and nobody but Odyssey warrants them.  Several users on Amazon reported failures within just a year or so and Odyssey blamed the failure on everything BUT the battery and refused to honor their warranty.  One guy said he went back to an Optima because they had never given him any problems

 

Other folks seem to love them.  To each his own I guess.  I like my 3 year, no hassle, free replacement warranty from Sam's Club.  A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it

 

Don

Honestly, 20Ah out of a 70Ah SLI battery is a BIG discharge. It's not risking being stranded, but it's not healthy for the battery in the long run.

 

The typical specs that people compare for batteries don't tell the whole story and the bit that most people don't read is where the TPPL AGM batteries earn their keep. Download the datasheet and look at the performance graphs they provide, you'll see the difference compared to a normal battery. For normal starting duty, the big deal is that they have dramatically less voltage sag when the starter fires. This spins up the engine faster and results in solid starting even when things aren't going well. For example I've started the car from overnight cold at -35F and it cranked and caught as fast as it did at 70F. It also means you can start a 2.5L motor with high compression pistons off a battery the size of my fist, which is why the racers like them so much. The TPPL AGMs also withstand higher rates of discharge and recharge without damage. They also withstand greater DoD with less voltage sag when a new load is added. This translates to being able to do things like forget the headlights, run your fridge/segway/ham radio for a long time, and then reliably start the engine even once you've pulled the battery down much farther than is wise.

 

Like I said before, that old Optima Yellow Top you liked was a TPPL AGM. The new Optimas aren't TPPL anymore.

 

Durability wise, as I said I've installed near 100 of them for clients, largely in race use for performance rally (which is a horridly abusive thing to do to a battery!) without any early failures. Between our two cars, we have 23 years of combined experience with the Odysseys. The only one we've replaced was the very first one we got at just over 9 years after we bought it. It was warrantied with no out of pocket cost.

 

I have, however, seen people manage to kill them in 2 ways. The really common one was people tightening the battery hold-down until the plastic began to creak. They squashed the battery hard enough to break it, in other words. I think I've seen 7 or 8 people do this, all younger guys. One guy also had placed his in a bad spot and it was getting way hotter than it's spec'd for and he killed it in about 3 years of doing that. Dealing with the public's mis-use of cars for the last 12 years, it's the guys who are the most pissed they're not getting a freebie (and then claim the customer service is terrible) who are the most likely to have broken it rather than having a legitimate customer service claim.

 

Now, all of this doesn't mean that an FLA or some other AGM are bad batteries, they're perfectly fine. I'm just pointing out that a TPPL AGM battery will be significantly better for the kind of use brought up in this thread and, as far as I'm aware, the Odyssey is the only TPPL AGM car-application battery still on the market since Optima and Sears (the DieHard Platinums were just rebadged Odysseys) abandoned the technology.

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This is all great information, you two are having a good discussion on this subject, it is very interesting.

The fridge/freezer I bought is an ARB Fridge Freezer 50 QT (10800472), supposedly one of the best. I bought it because it has three battery protection modes and draws very low intermittent amp draw. I'm currently using it in my 2016 Ford Edge with a regular battery. I've left the fridge running and set to 34 degrees F for 2 days without problem. It can go down to 0 degrees and make ice cubes. It hardly cycles on and off, quite amazing. But, I'm sure this is not good on a regular battery, so, this is why I want an AGM for my ordered Transit Connect. I'd buy an AGM battery right now for the Edge if I could pull it and put it in the Connect when I get it, but don't want to take the chance it won't fit.

Here's the fridge/freezer and specs... They say it draws an intermittent 1.35 amps per hour. here's the three settings for the battery monitoring.

I leave it on the safest setting of HIGH. On this setting it has never cut off yet. I have seen my battery at 11.9v, but my Edge still started with no noticeable degradation in cranking.

BATTERY MONITOR MODE    LOW    MED    HIGH

Switch off voltage – 12V DC 10.1V  11.4V  11.8V

Restart voltage –      12V DC 11.1V  12.2V  12.6V

Here's the Fridge/Freezer and specs at the manufactures web site.

ARB 50 QT Fridge Freezer

Edited by Tom899
added a word

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Those are amazing little fridges, aren't they?  I have experience with using them on several boats.  I designed and built electric systems on probably a dozen offshore sailboats for customers over the years.  Wind, solar, deep cycle storage (predominantly using flooded golf cart batteries and sometimes L16's) with inverters and charge controllers.  I set up the fridge on my last boat to run off a pair of AGM golf cart batteries I bought from Sam's Club.  If there was anyway to squeeze them under the hood, I would have a pair of those on my TC.  Golf cart batteries are the biggest bang for the buck in deep cycle storage by far

 

I would set your cut off voltage to 'High' (11.8 volts) because using 10.1 will kill your battery and 11.4 will still do it great harm.  I don't see why 'Medium' (12.2 volts) would hurt anything for the restart voltage

 

Repeated discharges to 50% will certainly shorten the life of any flooded starting battery  -  It causes the plates to shed material  which falls to the bottom of the case and will eventually short out the plates, but AGM batteries don't suffer this same fate, so I'm not at all worried about an occasional 50% discharge on my Duracell AGM.  Many people buy this same battery for use in boats which run all sorts of things, including fridges, for several hours with the engine shut off.  I like that the manufacturer thinks enough of it to actually honor a three year full replacement warranty

 

My experience with buying batteries online isn't good.  Hardly anybody wants to hear from you when you have an actual problem . . . . whatever went wrong must be YOUR fault and they don't really care if you're a repeat customer or not, whereas buying locally you are dealing with the same people you would be returning it to should there be a problem.  Even Amazon doesn't talk to you if a battery you buy from them fails  -  They refer you to the manufacturer and your odds of getting satisfaction there isn't very good

 

Don

 

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Yes, they are great fridges. I'm using the cutoff voltage on High, works great and I don't have to worry about a dead battery.

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On 10/20/2017 at 3:24 PM, Tom899 said:

Yes, they are great fridges. I'm using the cutoff voltage on High, works great and I don't have to worry about a dead battery.

Thanks for sharing the info on that portable fridge. Very cool product. Ha Ha

The back and forth battery talk made my head spin :runaway:  but it's a good discussion.

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Don  I agree with you  about the golf cart batteries durable forgiving and inexpensive. 

Another plus is golf clubs are everywhere and so are the batteries!

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