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?