Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-21-2013, 03:54 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 4
Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

I would like to make the community aware that the SMB factory setting on Tripp Lite charger/inverters is incorrect for the UB4D auxiliary battery and will damage it after some short period of time.

The auxiliary battery on my 2011 SMB has not held a charge more than a day or so, almost from the time I took delivery. Although I spoke to SMB about the issue a number of times, they and I attributed the problem to some subtle short in my system. Over the last 18 months I have slowly tested and reverse engineered every component. I am now convinced there is/was no short. My fully charged battery (12.6v) would discharge to under 10.0v in about 24hr with the NO LOAD (positive cable open). This clearly pointed to a bad battery. The question was WHY has a battery less than 2 years old, with little use time and no heavy loads, gone bad? Furthermore, why has it been bad for most of the time I have owned it?

My theory was either 1) the battery was just bad from the beginning, a manufacturing problem, or 2) something damaged the battery in its early use. I now believe it was the latter and would like to make the people aware of my discovery.

Using a camera to see what I could not visually access, I discovered that the “Battery Type” DIP switch on my Tripp Lite charger was set DOWN, to the Tripp Lite factory default, of “Wet Cell (Vented) Battery”. This seemed counter intuitive, so I asked SMB about the setting. Peter emailed me to say “The battery settings are per Tripp Lite’s instruction. Although the AGM battery is sealed, it is still considered a wet cell battery not a gel battery. Every Sportsmobile we build leaves the plant with the DIP switch A1 in the down position. I personally walked the plant and checked all vans with a Tripp Lite inverter installed. I also discussed it with the head supervisor in the shop to confirm.”
While Peter seemed convinced, I heard no explanation for this reasoning, so I contacted Tripp Lite customer support (773)869-1234. A tech named Anthony looked up the UB4D battery

http://www.altestore.com/store/Deep-Cyc ... ery/p2005/

and unequivocally said the charger should be set UP for a “Gel Cell/Absorbent Glass Mat (Sealed) Battery”. The Tripp Lite manual states “The Battery Type DIP switch setting must match the type of batteries you connect, or your batteries may be degraded or damaged over an extended period of time.” This contradicted SMB’s opinion. Next I called the battery supplier that SMB recommended and asked them. Admittedly they did not have all the details, but they clearly stated that “Any charging system with a “Wet Cell (Vented)” or “Dry Cell (Sealed)” switch should be set to “Dry Cell” for the UB4D”, again a contradiction to SMB.

Finally, after some long discussions with SMB, they agreed to replace my battery, under the assumption the battery was bad from the beginning. I replaced the battery at their recommended location, Battery Systems in West Sacramento, CA. The manager at the Battery Systems confirmed that the correct setting for my Tripp Lite Inverter/Charger, when used with a UB4D battery, should be “Dry Cell (Sealed)”. So, now I have a new battery and have changed the charger A1 DIP switch from the SMB factory “Battery Type” setting.

Has anyone else experienced similar issues with this charger/battery combination? Should SMB be doing a recall?
Attached Thumbnails
TrippLite_Inverter_DIPs_Factory_Setting.JPG  
__________________

parpin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 04:18 PM   #2
Site Team
 
BroncoHauler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 8,973
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

Excellent questions! I had my house battery/inverted equipped SMB for a couple of years, and did not have any battery issues. I would definitely check the settings if I still had my SMB though.

For our information, do you have a solar setup as well? Not sure if it makes a difference, but I'm curious.


thanks,
Herb
__________________

__________________
SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
Member
 
fancypants's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 82
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

Similar to you parpin, after we got our new-to-us SMB I figured out where every interior wire was going and why, as well as all the equipment settings. I did my own solar install, as well as replaced the 5 year old house battery which was not holding a charge. I noticed the Tripp Lite setting too. Here's a post that may help explain it, or at least give a different opinion on it: http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...hp?f=14&t=6444.

I replaced the house battery with a Penn-Deka 4D about 18 months ago and left the switch in the "wet cell" position. Haven't had any problem with it retaining a charge - hasn't dropped more than 10%-15% overnight with normal fridge and lights usage.
__________________
KeVan: '06 E350 4x4 V8 "Transformer"
fancypants is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2013, 07:22 PM   #4
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,833
Garage
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

Gel batteries are different than wet cell types and require a lower charge voltage. I found that out the hard way. But AGM's are a wet cell type battery and should be charged as such. However AGM's are very prone to overcharging at higher voltages when doing so for long periods of time. AGM's need to be charged to their full 100% state with a bulk charge voltage around 14.4 then be subjected to a long term maintenance charge at about 13.8 volts. It all depends on the charger and what voltages are set to at each charge state. Also a problem with most alternators is they won't fully charge the house battery, and if it doesn't, then you can shorten the life of the battery because it never reaches 100%.

Perhaps the technician you were talking to was thinking you planned to keep a charge on the battery 24-7? You would be safer setting the inverter to the lower voltage setting (GEL). It might be a good idea to call back and ask what the float charge voltage should be then look at what your charger puts out. (I've been given different answers from different techs) It's also possible the Universal battery requires a different voltage than others. Could be why I've seen so many of them fail compared to Deka and Lifeline.
The only real way of knowing what is going on is to do a series of voltage checks. What is the bulk rate voltage? What is the point where it switches to the absorption and what voltage is the float charge set at? Each charger has its own characteristics. Sorry I don't own the one you have.

Myself I will not let my inverter stay on 24-7. I'll let it do its thing overnight if need be then turn it off in the morning. Solar finishes it by maintaining a low current-14 volt charge. So far so good for my purposes. In all fairness I should say that my inverter does bulk charge at 14+ voltages then switches over to a float charge of 13.8 which is typical. But if there is an abnormality in the system like a constant draw from the starting system, or something that continues to run that keeps the system from going into the float state of charge, the charger will not move to that maintenance state and over charge every battery on board. I am guilty of leaving my refrigerator on 24-7 so I plug in to shore power but keep the charge switch off until needed. Solar does the majority of the charging and battery maintenance. I also watch gauges. If I see there is a higher amp reading after 24 hours on my inverter charge gauge, I start looking for problems. After 24 hours you should be seeing an amp reading of no more that about 2 amps. I don't rely on LED displays or cheap "battery fuel" type gauges although both are better than nothing. Just be aware in most cases you also charging the starting batteries as well.

Good luck.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2013, 02:12 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 4
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

Well, there seems to be a robust discussion as to if AGMs are "wet cell" or "dry cell". I am no expert, however, BOTH Tripp Lite and the battery distributer said my charger setting should be for dry cell. Coupled with the fact that my battery failed early in its life, I have now set my inverter to "dry cell".

No, I do not have a solar set up.
parpin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,833
Garage
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by parpin
Well, there seems to be a robust discussion as to if AGMs are "wet cell" or "dry cell". I am no expert, however, BOTH Tripp Lite and the battery distributer said my charger setting should be for dry cell. Coupled with the fact that my battery failed early in its life, I have now set my inverter to "dry cell".

No, I do not have a solar set up.
My point is the setting position doesn't have as much to do with it as your charging methods. I'd call the battery manufacture and ask for a tech to see what they say. Many distributers really are not in the know about what they sell. However I'm a bit puzzled about Tripplite.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2013, 04:44 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 192
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by parpin
Well, there seems to be a robust discussion as to if AGMs are "wet cell" or "dry cell". I am no expert, however, BOTH Tripp Lite and the battery distributer said my charger setting should be for dry cell. Coupled with the fact that my battery failed early in its life, I have now set my inverter to "dry cell".

No, I do not have a solar set up.
I am in violent agreement.
__________________
Hanging Out
vlamgat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2013, 04:17 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Scalf77's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 1,520
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

Looking at the specs for UPG's UB4D Gel battery and UPG's UB4D AGM battery they clearly show different control voltages for charging of the two different batteries. That data is also inline with most of the data on the web such as http://www.batterystuff.com/kb/artic...ry-basics.html.

Tripp-lite only has the two settings Gel Cell(sealed) A1 - Up or Wet Cell (Vented) A1 - Down (factory setting). Tripp-lite like to keep their charging algorithm secret, as I have not found any real data explaining it. If you have the temperature sensor hooked up, the output would vary based on that. The most widely used temperature compensation formula is: -0.028 V per 10ºF per 2 V cell

All conditions being equal I would expect the Gel settings to be lower then the wet cell setting which is not what you want for the AGM battery.

-greg
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 45965.pdf (248.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: pdf 40701.pdf (247.6 KB, 5 views)
__________________
2004 E350 EB V10 E/PH 2WD
Scalf77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2013, 10:23 PM   #9
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,833
Garage
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

SMB has sold more vehicles with the Tripplite inverters than any other inverter. So I'm confused as to why only a limited amount of owners have had house battery trouble. Maybe I'm wrong but I'd think if SMB had a ton of people coming back with bad batteries they would have looked into the problem. I doubt most owners ever even look at the back of their inverter much less change the charge switches from what SMB sets them to. There can be so many factors. Bad connections, how you charge, what condition your starting batteries are in, the temperature the batteries are charged at or the temperature they sit in from day to day... even the condition the house battery is in when installed. I don't know who SMB purchases their batteries from, don't know how they were cared for prior to being sold to SMB or even how long they have sat at SMB W/O a charge. Hopefully you will find the problem and your batteries will start lasting 4+ years.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2013, 07:07 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 192
Re: Bad factory setting on charger will damage Aux battery

I am one of those lurkers who have had continuous problems with my 4D batteries. None of the 6 have lasted more than 18 months. I have tried the up and down switch settings and neither materially changed the longevity. My current belief is that I cannot afford more than say 3 or 4 inverter cycles of my a/c in a typical day. The drain the inverter pulls down to start the a/c is so significant that the battery needs to recover/recharge over at least an hour period before the next draw down. Typically this happens every 20 minutes or so. Won't know whether this works until the end of next summer but I may have sold my SMB by then.
__________________

__________________
Hanging Out
vlamgat is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×