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Gel batteries real life span


Vince MacMahon
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Okay, manufactures promise a lot of things, and lithium seems to be the in thing……but still a bit costly (upfront cost) and there are cases of premature failure, lasting less than 5 years. 
 

I would like to gather real life spans and not theoretical feedback.

how long did you have your gel or arm batteries and how long did they last you?

if they lasted you less than two years, did you have a battery balancer / equaliser? 

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I've owned 3 different brands of Chinese gel batteries.

Sonic - Good (lasted many years without balancer)

Allgrand - Very good (still going)

GoldShine - Crap. Stay away. (Some started failing in less than a year with Victron balancers)

Edited by tetrasection
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I had Osaka 120/AH gel batteries they ran about 15 months till one of them failed. I used them without monitoring. Pushed them to the limits by occasionally drawing 80AH from them and going more than 50% discharge on them. They would probably of lasted much longer if they were used within limits. To me it was all about school fees.

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45 minutes ago, Vince MacMahon said:

What are you now using Gerrie? 

I now have one lithium Pylontech Us3000. I had to removed the heavy loads like dish washer, microwave and oven to before the inverter to stay within the 37A happy limit of the Pylontech because I don’t want to overload it like I done previously with the gel batteries.

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On 2021/07/01 at 9:49 AM, Vince MacMahon said:

Thanks for feedback. How many years have you had the All grand? 
 

Is it the norm that there is not a lot of interest in Gel batteries discussions on here. I searched battery life span on here and they are all about lithium. 

Lithium is the flash drive/SSD to the cd of yesterday.

 

Remember those nice cd collections we all had next to the Hifi system?

 

It's just a better technology that's all. There are people on YouTube still using Tomas Edison batteries(NiFe). They look after them like their pets. Some people don't have time for pets and just need a battery that can look after itself.

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14 minutes ago, Buyeye said:

Some people don't have time for pets and just need a battery that can look after itself.

Haha well said!  My brother in law is off grid on a farm, and he is constantly checking and topping up his flooded lead acid batteries.  I don't have the patience for that!

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On 2021/07/01 at 9:49 AM, Vince MacMahon said:

Thanks for feedback. How many years have you had the All grand? 
 

Is it the norm that there is not a lot of interest in Gel batteries discussions on here. I searched battery life span on here and they are all about lithium. 

Honestly with lithium batteries being as cheap as they are I wouldn't even think about going with Gel batteries unless it's for DC application like a gate or outdoor sensor-lighting or a water feature or something like that.

The thing with Gel batteries is that even if they last years, the capacity drops a lot. So your 200Ah (which as I explain below, you will never get) batteries turn to 100Ah batteries rather quickly.

Beyond that, Gel batteries have a substantial voltage drop especially when they are running a bit low so even though you might have x kWh left in your batteries, enough to power your lights and tv and fridge or whatever for the night, as soon as a water pump or something load heavy get switched on it will drop the voltage and trip your low voltage protection. In other words, the lower your batteries are, the lower your load has to be, so you can never make use of the capacity that's on the box. Lithium doesn't do that. Voltage drop is very low.

Another thing is charging. The only time you are making full use of your panels is during bulk charge stage. After that, it uses less and less of what you are producing to charge the battery. Time becomes more important than panel power.

Package inserts for Gel batteries will tell you that in order to properly charge the batteries, they're supposed to be charged at absorb voltage until the current drops to less than 10mA/Ah, after which they should be switched to float voltage for no less than 24 hours. Even a full day of sun in summer can't do that, it's simply not possible with solar.

Lithium batteries can absorb power much quicker and more efficiently and do not need a float charge at all. They simply stop charging completely once they are full, so if you only have a few hours of sunshine it's no problem.

 

In summary, lithium batteries are far more suited to solar application than LA or Gel batteries, and over their lifespan you will actually be saving money while avoiding the hassles and headaches associated with traditional battery system maintenance and use.

Edited by tetrasection
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Makes sense why little interest on AGM or Gel batteries.

not all lead acid batteries need maintenance, the above mentioned are sealed, no need top up.

whilst lithium is super impressive, there is still a case for sealed lead acid batteries if only using backup power for load shedding etc. if going off grid, yes, makes sense to go all the way. 

I think one might just be surprised that there are still a lot of peeps on Gel Batteries still.

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I have a set of Trojan AGM batteries that are coming up on 2 years old, I have a HA02 balancer and a bmv on them and am pretty happy with them. Unfortunately I only came across this forum after I had already purchased a 24v inverter and when the first 2 batteries that I got failed(Due to my inexperience), I looked long and hard for an affordable 24v lithium battery before deciding to stick with AGMs and purchase decent ones.

My theory was I should get 5 years from them to cover the extra cost, although Zims loadshedding is making them work quite hard these days.

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Two years is already half way to getting a good RoI! This is very encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

 

when people always show up in Porsches only (Lithium’s) , peeps driving corollas tend to shy away! Well if your Corolla does the job and is reliable, why not create a song and dance about it! 

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