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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wasn't sure where to post this, mods - move as necessary.

I have an Apollo (now called Nice) linear arm gate opener that uses a group 24 flooded cell battery and it's charged with a smallish solar panel (maybe a 25 watt panel - not sure.) The battery is three or four years old and I want to replace it with an AGM and probably increase the size of the solar panel.

The current group 24 battery is an Interstate starting battery so I'm wondering if I should replace it with a deep cycle or a starting battery. I'm leaning towards a deep cycle, with overcast days the battery is going to be discharged quite a bit depending on gate activity.

Your thoughts are appreciated.
 

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I wasn't sure where to post this, mods - move as necessary.

I have an Apollo (now called Nice) linear arm gate opener that uses a group 24 flooded cell battery and it's charged with a smallish solar panel (maybe a 25 watt panel - not sure.) The battery is three or four years old and I want to replace it with an AGM and probably increase the size of the solar panel.

The current group 24 battery is an Interstate starting battery so I'm wondering if I should replace it with a deep cycle or a starting battery. I'm leaning towards a deep cycle, with overcast days the battery is going to be discharged quite a bit depending on gate activity.

Your thoughts are appreciated.
Deep cycle for sure
 

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Yes deep cycle would be the best. But of course either will work. I don't think the gate opener is ever going to pull the battery way down in manner that degrades a starting battery. So honestly for this purpose, it might be fine to go with whatever you find a better deal on.
 

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When we lived off grid I learned a lot about batteries.

The short version is you definitely want a deep cycle battery. It doesn’t neccassarily have to be big - marine applications have some smaller ones.

What was explained to me by the specialty shop that rebuilt alternators, electic motors, etc. was that regular car batteries get what he called a face charge. They will quickly charge the top 20% of the battery from the alternator so the battery has lots of juice to run the starter. This helps with multiple short trips.

So the car battery will not draw down the same as a deep cycle. Once the top 20% is drawn down the rest will draw down quickly. A deep cycle will draw down evenly throughout its capacity - hence the term deep cycle.

As said above any battery will work of course. But in your case if your solar panel can not charge the battery for a longer period of time a deep cycle will last that much longer without charging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. Stan - your comment triggered a repressed technical memory, I think it used to be called a surface charge if I remember correctly. I was looking for a Lifeline group 24 deep cycle AGM but those are as scarce as an honest politician. I have Lifelines in the motorhome - three of them going on 6 or 7 years now.
 
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Thanks guys. Stan - your comment triggered a repressed technical memory, I think it used to be called a surface charge if I remember correctly. I was looking for a Lifeline group 24 deep cycle AGM but those are as scarce as an honest politician. I have Lifelines in the motorhome - three of them going on 6 or 7 years now.
I’m not sure of the benefit of AGM. I know my truck has one. Is it that they are better for applications with a lot of vibration or heat?

Myself, I would just use a flooded cell battery for what you are doing. It won’t be subject to any vibration, excessive heat, etc.. I’m sure you have it in some type of battery box?
 

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I have a deep cycle on my gate opener. I just installed it so don't know if it's "the way to go". I did run a long cable for keeping it trickle charged via AC plug at my shop, probably 120' away. Allot of problems I had been reading was because of a solar charger so I opted for the AC plug in.
 
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I would recommend moving up to a group 27 if it will fit.
This would give you more cycles on the overcast days.
I discourage going to a larger solar charger unless you plan to also add a regulator.
I've recently learned that these solar chargers constantly charging can & will boil your acid out, so keep an eye on the level & keep topped off with distilled water.

 

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I agree on the deep cycle. That is what they are designed to do. I am a fan of AGM batteries. Everything I have is AGM except the last car I bought 2 1/2 years ago. It will be AGM eventually. They last longer and the lack of corrosion is a big thing for me. I threw away that rubber vent hose on my 4066R. It was not needed with an AGM battery.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’m not sure of the benefit of AGM. I know my truck has one. Is it that they are better for applications with a lot of vibration or heat?

Myself, I would just use a flooded cell battery for what you are doing. It won’t be subject to any vibration, excessive heat, etc.. I’m sure you have it in some type of battery box?
AGM's can be used in any position, particularly useful in a boat or plane :). For us grounded people, they are truly maintenance free and charge faster and they don't self-discharge as fast as a traditional battery. However that might not make much difference for a gate opener. There is a fairly large box on the fence that has the gate controller and the battery sits on the bottom. There's probably room for a larger battery.

Roger on a larger solar panel needing a charge controller. I've been thinking about adding a cam at the gate (Unifi) and would need to do some calculations to size a battery and solar panel(s.)

I've toyed with the idea off and on for years about running power to my gate, it would be a long run - about 600'.
 
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I use a measly little 230 CCA lead acid lawn tractor battery on my dual farm gates with Mighty Mule openers. I have a 30W Instapark solar panel on it wired direct into the MM362 control box's built in solar controller. I have to replace the battery every 5 years pretty much like clockwork.

The battery has NEVER failed to open the gates. The GTO controller has a warning beep when the voltage starts to get to the low 12 volt stage.

I started out with a single gate and had a 10W panel on the same lawn tractor battery. I would have to bring it up and charge it about 4 times a year due to cloudy and cold weather. Since switching to the 30W panel I never have to charge the battery until it begins to fail.
 

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I wasn't sure where to post this, mods - move as necessary.

I have an Apollo (now called Nice) linear arm gate opener that uses a group 24 flooded cell battery and it's charged with a smallish solar panel (maybe a 25 watt panel - not sure.) The battery is three or four years old and I want to replace it with an AGM and probably increase the size of the solar panel.

The current group 24 battery is an Interstate starting battery so I'm wondering if I should replace it with a deep cycle or a starting battery. I'm leaning towards a deep cycle, with overcast days the battery is going to be discharged quite a bit depending on gate activity.

Your thoughts are appreciated.
We have same thing. I added a solar panel in parallel with the one they installed. Use a big marine battery. Also have a marine battery on the diesel generator. Keep a spare marine battery for both.
 

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If you use the gate just a few times a day, any battery will do fine - wet cell, AGM, deep cycle, starting, lithium ion. If you have a busy farm with the gate used dozens of times a day, you need a big deep cycle battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Our gate usually has about 4 or 5 cycles a day. When we've had projects contracted out, people are coming and going quite a bit but that's very infrequent so a non-factor.

When we've had several overcast days it slows down so the basic objective is to keep the speed up regardless of cloud cover. UPS and FedEx are always in a huge hurry so I want to minimize their wait time (and mine LOL.)
 
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Our gate usually has about 4 or 5 cycles a day. When we've had projects contracted out, people are coming and going quite a bit but that's very infrequent so a non-factor.

When we've had several overcast days it slows down so the basic objective is to keep the speed up regardless of cloud cover. UPS and FedEx are always in a huge hurry so I want to minimize their wait time (and mine LOL.)
I feel that sizing your solar panel is just about as important as sizing the battery. Solar panels will charge some even on cloudy days so a larger panel will help.

Maybe I am way off here without doing the actual research.
 

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I feel that sizing your solar panel is just about as important as sizing the battery. Solar panels will charge some even on cloudy days so a larger panel will help.

Maybe I am way off here without doing the actual research.
At our busy boarding barn it was necessary to add a second solar panel to allow the battery to keep up with the demand on the Mighty Mule gate. The gate never quit, but it got v e r y s l o w ……
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We had a Mighty Mule operator - waiting for the gate to open was like watching grass grow :whistle:. The Apollo (Nice Corp.) operator is probably twice as fast as the MM.
 
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