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Thread: Battery issues

  1. #1

    Default Battery issues

    This is sort of a follow-up on an older thread about batteries.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-need-changing

    Part of the discussion on that thread was regarding the benefits of using 2 6-volt batteries as opposed to 2 12-volt batteries on an RV. After reading on this forum I think I have several problems.

    I'm relatively new to RVing and have found that my battery runs down quite quickly. I have a Chalet pop-up camper-trailer, very similar to an A-liner. I bought it new a couple of years ago. It has a single 12 volt deep cycle marine battery with 80 AH. I'm guessing that's why my battery life is limited.

    One poster on that thread said (The two Golf Cart 6 volt batteries will give you around 450 min res @ a 25 amp draw, meaning if you are pulling 25 amps (which is a lot), they will last 450 min before needing to be recharged.

    The two Group 24 12 volt deep cycle batteries will give you about 250-300 min reserve.)

    That would mean I apparently have about 125-150 minutes reserve with a single 12 volt battery at a 25 amp draw. The furnace/blower unit is probably my biggest draw and it looks like it takes 3.4 amps. My wife likes to have several lights on.

    I think I have room for 2 batteries so it sounds logical to go with 2 6 volt batteries in series. It sounds like it would about triple my battery use time. Someone mentioned the onboard charging system, my second problem. I think the Chalet does not have a charging system. How expensive is it to have a charging system installed and what are the problems associated with installing a charging system for 2 6-volt batteries?

    Any suggestions/recommendations to improve my battery life would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default

    Just remember that your system is most likely a 12 volt system and if one of your 6 volt batteries goes bad you will not have any power for them lights.

  3. #3

    Default

    Good point. Do others with dual 6 volt systems carry a backup battery or just take their chances?

  4. #4
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    That information is correct but it very misleading because the battery voltage will be at 10.5v and if you drain a 12v battery down to 10.5v you will kill it in no time. The lowest you would want to drain a 12v battery is 12.2v @ 72*f.

    Are you planning on using the camper in the winter? If so get a generator.
    You may have all the wiring ready to charge the battery from the truck all you have to do is connect the wires.
    Do you have a heater in the camper if so that is a battery killer.
    Replace the lights you use with L.E.D.
    If you do not have a battery disconnect switch you may want to add one if you have a parasitic drain.
    When you get home charge the battery to 100% not just put a charger on the battery.

  5. #5
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    I have a fifth wheel that came with a couple deep cycle 12v batts, I killed them the first year with a couple of nights of cold sleeping due to battery drain. I switched to two 6 v golf cart batteries and have not had any problems. I have found that the built in on board charging systems on campers suck. I just bring a regular 12v batter charger with me and run it off my generator. If I were you I would go with the two 6v golf cart batteries (even if you have to move them somewhere else to have room). I would also change lights to LED's and try and minimize your battery use. If I had to guess I would say with two 6 v batts you would be good for a weekend without charging them up, pure guess based on my usage, mileage may vary.

    In the end I found it way easier to buy a generator and charge up the batts every couple of days. I little 1000 generator does not take up much room and can sure help you out. I am sure your camper has a place to "plug it in" and those little suckers are quiet and will run almost all night on a tank of gas.... and if your like me, you can fire it up in the AM and run the expresso maker to get the day started off right.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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  6. #6
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery issues

    I went with two 6-volt golf cart batteries as well. Wired in series it is essentially a 12 volt battery and can be charged with a 12v charger. Get a good battery tender wired up and you will greatly increase the life of your batteries. I leave it plugged in all the time and it barely uses any electricity.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions.

    MacGyver:
    I donít plan to use the camper in the winter.

    I already have a 2000 Honda generator.

    The camper does have a gas furnace. From thespecs the furnace/blower appears to draw 3.4 amps.

    I plan to take the camper in and see what needs to be done to charge the battery from the truck. I will also ask about a battery disconnect switch.

    Iíll look into the LED lights some more, but from one of the internet sites I looks at, it appears I could buy a spare battery for the cost of replacing two double halogen lights with LED lighting (double LED light with fixture @ $63 X 2 = $126). Iím sure there are less expensive ones available so I will look some more. We donít use the lights that often. We have some small lights with AAA batteries for reading and other things. Generally use the big lights only when fixing meals.

    Charging the battery to 100%? Do I need a voltmeter or some other instrument for that?

    Grayling Slayer:
    OK. A battery tender sounds like a good idea. What is a battery tender? Sorry, still learning but with a substantial learning curve.

  8. #8
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battery issues

    It's a small smart charger that will not overcharge your batteries. It basically monitors the voltage and keeps it charged 100% all the time.

    http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tender...battery+tender
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the link on the battery tender. This would be a trickle charger that one would use at home to keep the battery at 100%. How do you charge your system while on a camping trip? I usually drag my battery charger along and plug it into my generator to charge the battery while I'm camping, but I didn't know if that was appropriate or not. I can see the benefit of having a voltmeter to determine the level of charge in the battery.

  10. #10
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Take a look at these guys for LEDs: http://Superbrightleds.com

    You should be able to swap out just the bulbs. I did this in our boat and the LEDs draw 10% of the power than the old halogens. I also recommend going with the 6 volt GC-2 batteries. You can pick them up at Costco for around $80 each. I have four run in series, parallel. This essentially gives me one big 12 volt bank (440 total amp hours). Once my meter hits 12.2v I am at 50% so I plug the Honda 2000 in.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  11. #11
    Member Derby06's Avatar
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    Default

    One thing I am surprised hasn't been mentioned is solar power. Mine has 2 large panels with the controller and I will never own another RV/Trailer without solar panels. The previous owner had them installed when he bought the rig new.
    If it were me, I'd just add a second 12V deep cycle battery and install 1-2 solar panels...If that can be done on a pop-up? Down side is it is expensive, but sunlight /daylight is readily available during the summer camping season. If you ever upgraded rigs, you could move the solar panels as well.

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