I received the following question from Bob regarding Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) batteries. I was not very familiar with them so did some research and found information from Trojan Batteries and others that were not very kind regarding the TPPL technology. Here was the initial question and response.
Batteries: You list FLA, AGM, and lithium… as generalizations. Are there chemistries within each that are better than others? The main question is AGM TPPL technology vs. Lithium (LiFeP04) DOD is better with TPPL than FLA… CCA is better v. FLA… (Lithium cannot be used for starting). Is this a happy medium (Start v. House… space considerations… heat/cold/vibration… COST!) TPPL is advertised to last 8 years. Thanks. —Bob, Purchasing New
According to Trojan Batteries, the Thin Plate Pure Lead designation is not new technology, rather a way of some battery manufacturers differentiating their batteries from the cheap AGM batteries coming out of China and failing. They have a very good article on their site here.
It states that the thin TPPL will have fewer cycles and not perform as well as a thicker lead plate model, especially Lithium. And you are correct, an engine or start battery needs higher Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) rather than deep cycle and amp hours.
I got this back from Bob regarding TPPL:
Thanks for the reply (from Trojan?), but I believe you are getting a little hoodwinked/gaslit by Trojan … and why elicit information from a manufacturer who does not (Can Not) manufacture TPPL technology (a competitor to EnerSys – TPPL).
Take a look at Odyssey Battery (brand from EnerSys) (Largest Industrial/Motive battery manufacturer in the world). They invented TPPL… (bought Gates) (Thin Plate Pure Lead).
(Trojan attachment is INCORRECT.) EnerSys first came out with Optima. Sold Optima to Johnson Controls after U.S. government asked them to produce batteries for the U.S. Military using new production technology. TPPL was made to put MORE power in the same size box.
(Also.. Nothing to do with China, as Chinese manufacturers cannot make TPPL. They can make standard AGM, like Trojan.)
TPPL technology has an 8-10 year service life (12 years float).
80% DOD at 400 cycles and 50% DOD at 900 cycles.
WILL NOT have a catastrophic failure … die over a period of time.
Unaffected by temperature / vibration.
Have 100% acceptance charge rate … (extremely fast charging, if you have a high amperage charger).
EnerSys TPPL Battery Technology Past & Future
U.S. Nuke subs, most MRAP’s, Abrahams A-1, F-18, F-22, Volvo and Daimler fleets… many more… Use Odyssey TPPL!
Odyssey has outperformed Trojan in every test I have seen… not to what Trojan’s attachment indicates.
Also… Satellite and the international space station use EnerSys lithium batteries… (EnerSys not a big fan of current consumer Lithium.)
Lithium is proving to be not a good avenue… materials used, China (Major Political problems).. recycling bad… BMS can disconnect… fires… heat/cold problems… NOT start batteries!
My research into TPPL
So I did a deep dive into TPPL on the Odyssey site, which does have some very good literature and videos comparing TPPL to AGM and other. The videos are a VERY boring power point, so I’ll summarize to hopefully save you the time!
Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology was developed over 50 years ago by the Gates Company, which was eventually acquired by Odyssey. Each battery has six cells with lead plates in each cell. The traditional Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) and even Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery has 15 plates in each cell, while the TPPL battery has 19 due to the thinner plates. This means more surface area and more storage capacity. According to their tests, the FLA and traditional AGM plates are deteriorated in a short period of time, while the TPPL plates last twice as long. Their tests show the typical FLA battery discharged at 50% only has 400 cycles, while the TPPL has more than 1000. The TPPL can also be discharged down to 80%, which will allow 400 cycles.
So, Trojan’s claim of fewer cycles and less power is not accurate; rather, it is apparently a statement that is not backed by any research or test results. I do agree with the statement that the TPPL designation is being promoted to differentiate this technology from the cheap AGMs that are flooding the market.
Another advantage is the shelf life, as they will not self-discharge as rapidly as others. So when storing the rig for the non-RV season, they will not sit in a discharged state, which can affect the life of the battery, as well.
We will continue to research the TPPL technology and see if we can get some discussion going from other manufacturers such as Battle Born, Renogy, and hopefully some of our readers that may have tried them.
As always, I learn something new every day. Thanks, Bob.
You might also enjoy this from Dave
What are the types of RV house batteries and what do the acronyms stand for?
Readers appreciate very much your RV tech wisdom. Could you provide an article on the various battery types available for RVs, those useful for solar power when off-grid and what all the acronyms mean? Thanks. —Colin, 2020 Jayco 26.7
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”
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After reading this, I still don’t know who to believe. Is the chart presented in the Trojan article the result of testing or not? Is Odyssey lying? Is Trojan lying? What specific battery was Trojan citing for the TPPM-AGM in the chart? Also, anything built for the military by a company may or may not resemble the civilian version of that item. Seems we need an independent test. And it should be done on batteries specifically on the market for RV consumers.
I ran into a similar situation 30+ years ago when I was trying to decide if I wanted to switch to synthetic oils. Amsoil was publishing results of scientific wear and thermal breakdown tests but I could not find any other manufacturer that published comparable results. I tried it and stayed with it for all my vehicles. Sometimes using Mobil 1 or other brands, but always full synthetic. I think I made the right decision as a couple of vehicles had 275K on the engine when we sold them.
I perused Optima’s website looking at the characteristics of red, yellow, etc. I also played with their battery finder by putting in RV. Everytime it talks about car batteries and starting power, not the characteristics of a good “house bank” battery. I also didn’t see really high amp hour ratings…75 tops.
Again, I didn’t spend hours looking at everything on their site, but if I put in “RV” as my application then they need to make it simple by asking “starting or house?” and then show me the products they have for that, not have me dancing back and forth looking at top colors.
Very interesting, thank you, Dave! My eyes did glaze over at one point, but I tried to hang in there, given the significance of batteries, particularly house batteries. Thank you for hanging on far longer than I could to be able to summarize and get me to the answer.
I agree with Don H. Can we get Mike S. to take a look at this? I use Odyssey batteries in several of my vehicles, including my 5th wheel toy hauler. I retired from EnerSys after almost 25 years. During that time the plant I worked at went through 4 or more different names, like Gates, BTR and others. They are great batteries!
It almost sounds like Bob was setting Dave up. He already had all this info before he asked the question. I could be wrong of course. Just sayin’.
I was thinking the same thing.
Agree, but good to keep Dave on his toes! In regard to the Trojan article that Dave pointed out about AGM batteries. There may be a can of worms here to be opened. Not sure we (they) are comparing apples to apples?
Ok Mike Sokol your bell is ringing!
Yeah, my first impression was this guy must be a marketing guy with EnerSys.
Sounds like one for Mike Sokol, Dave. He’s the real expert on things involving electricity. Why not pass this ball to him and let him do the research…
Does Dave have a response to Bob’s response?
Yes, it is his summary below Dave’s response.
It’s all interesting technology, but I’ll stick with the lead acid batteries that came in our RV. In six years I’ve spent just over $200 replacing them and I don’t need any special charger, inverter, or coax demographier. I’m still a fan of old school systems and buttons that go “click”.