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Old 11-03-2019, 12:47 PM   #1
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Battery choices again

About 18 months ago I bought a new 12V deep cycle battery to replace the two dead 12V batteries I had on the tongue of the 15A. Now, with two trips camping with the furnace running a lot, I am finding that is barely adequate. If I'd been a third day on battery power I'd have been down too far. This past trip I might have done fine by hooking up my one portable solar panel that I forgot to bring, but the first one was a bit cloudy for doing much with solar. So thinking of either

a) adding a second 12V
or
b) replacing the 12V with two 6V batteries.

If I do a) I'll probably just add an identical battery to the one I have.

What's a decent economical choice if I go to two 6Vs? And what can I expect in terms of performance?

(I know they need to be wired differently.)
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Old 11-03-2019, 01:31 PM   #2
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cheap 6V golf cart batteries are 210AH, premium ones are around 230AH for nearly twice the price. since they wired are in series, the AH is the same, while the voltage is added.

I don't recommend adding another 12V to your existing 12V as they won't be perfectly matched, and the battery with the lower voltage will drag down the one with the higher voltage.

I went ahead and used the cheap Costco Interstates, 210AH, they were under $100 each.

I highly recommend getting a golf cart battery strap if you get these, as T105/GC2 batts don't have handles, they have two places for the carry strap to clip onto...
https://www.amazon.com/TROJAN-609628.../dp/B00699WCUM
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:07 PM   #3
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Thanks, John. That's helpful.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:11 PM   #4
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here's how they are wired on my E21, in the battery box under the back dinette...
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:42 PM   #5
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Escape was using an "end to end" rather than the side by side battery box when I picked up my 2017 21, which results in longer cables. I fit 2 Battleborn lithium 100 amp hour GC 2 format batteries in the case & rewired with #2/0 cable to the inverter through a 300 amp switch & fuse.

Ridiculously expensive, but it is nice to be able to dry camp for days without worrying about running out of juice. I do have 320 watts of solar on the roof...
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:01 PM   #6
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My boxes are 12V size end to end on the tongue.

What's the advantage of 2 6 volt instead of 2 12 volts?
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:49 PM   #7
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FWIW, my 2006 Starcraft came with an Interstate 12v deep cycle, when it was 2 years old I added a 2nd 12v battery, being cheap it was whatever deep cycle Walmart was selling at the time. Between the 2 I had about 160Ah. They were still going when I sold it in 2014. Dissimilar yes, not ideal, but it still worked. Couldn't see tossing out an almost new Interstate to get a new matched pair.

I did have to feed the WM battery about twice the water the Interstate took.
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Old 11-03-2019, 04:03 PM   #8
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I guess I'll look at prices and see. The 12V is still taking a good charge and didn't run down any faster than the 2 six volt ones my friend was using (she just had solar to recharge them.)
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Old 11-03-2019, 04:07 PM   #9
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My boxes are 12V size end to end on the tongue.

What's the advantage of 2 6 volt instead of 2 12 volts?
While there are some that feel 2 12V batteries are better than a pair of 6V because if one dies, you still have the other, in reality, it doesn't make that much difference if all the batteries are true deep cycle. The problem is it is difficult (and expensive) to find true deep cycle 12V batteries, while deep cycle 6V batteries are often used for golf carts & are available all over.

When comparing deep cycle batteries, you can usually expect to get about the same amp hours for the same weight, 12V or 6V. Most 6V deep cycle batteries supply 220 - 232 amp hours. The marine starter/deep cycle batteries will not hold up as well as the true deep cycle. Generally they have thinner plates that are better designed to supply short bursts of high current, but don't do as well in typical RV uses.

One place where a pair of 12V batteries work better (again assuming that the deep cycle characteristics and amp hour totals are the same when compared to 6V) batterie is if you have a large inverter. A pair of 12V batteries will generally have a lower internal resistance than 2 6V batteries in series. You may find a pair of 6V batteries dropping voltage under heavy loads enough to cause an inverter to shut down due to low voltage. The same number of amp hours in a pair of 12V batteries will usually run the inverter longer before the voltage drops below the cut off level. Many recommend at least 4 6V batteries for inverter systems.
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Old 11-03-2019, 04:20 PM   #10
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This is what I have.
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:51 AM   #11
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I would spend the extra money and go with 2 AGM 6 volts.

AGM batteries charge faster, and maintain a charge longer while sitting.
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:49 AM   #12
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I would spend the extra money and go with 2 AGM 6 volts.

AGM batteries charge faster, and maintain a charge longer while sitting.
Neither of those characteristics really helps the OP's situation. They need more amp hours, And they need them without breaking the bank. AGMs are double the price.

If we're talking about what "we" would do, I'd do dual 6v batteries (whether wet cell or AGM) and solar, but again, price is a factor.
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Old 11-04-2019, 12:23 PM   #13
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Neither of those characteristics really helps the OP's situation. They need more amp hours, And they need them without breaking the bank. AGMs are double the price.

If we're talking about what "we" would do, I'd do dual 6v batteries (whether wet cell or AGM) and solar, but again, price is a factor.
Price wouldn't be a big factor if I could get more amp hours another way but right now it seems the simplest and cheapest would be a second 12V since I already have one. And doesn't that double my amp hours? Which would be from 90 to 180.

Which leads me to a second question, when they list amp hours are they assuming if you ran it to dead, or ran it to a safe discharge level? (Which I've seen online as anything from 30-70%)? (That doesn't really change anything as a second one would still double it.)
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:10 PM   #14
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AGM won't charge any faster than wet cell with the same charger.
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:11 PM   #15
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Which leads me to a second question, when they list amp hours are they assuming if you ran it to dead, or ran it to a safe discharge level? (Which I've seen online as anything from 30-70%)? (That doesn't really change anything as a second one would still double it.)
for lead acid numbers, the AH is to completely dead, which is useless as it would destroy the battery. I figure 50% for best charge cycle life,
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:18 PM   #16
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for lead acid numbers, the AH is to completely dead, which is useless as it would destroy the battery. I figure 50% for best charge cycle life,
Thanks. It was interesting looking at various charts as there is little agreement on where the danger zone is.
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:31 PM   #17
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Thanks. It was interesting looking at various charts as there is little agreement on where the danger zone is.
There is some good information on batteries here is you haven't seen it
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:38 PM   #18
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Price wouldn't be a big factor if I could get more amp hours another way but right now it seems the simplest and cheapest would be a second 12V since I already have one. And doesn't that double my amp hours? Which would be from 90 to 180.

Which leads me to a second question, when they list amp hours are they assuming if you ran it to dead, or ran it to a safe discharge level? (Which I've seen online as anything from 30-70%)? (That doesn't really change anything as a second one would still double it.)
I have been using a pair of 12V AGM batteries in parallel since 2015 and have been happy. But that said, there are some things to be aware of. As others have mentioned, if the batteries are not identical you will likely have one charging the other all the time. However, this can easily be measured and you can decide what to do at that point.

To measure the current between batteries first install them in parallel and give them a 24 hour charge. Then disconnect them from the trailer wiring but leave them connected to each other. Then remove one of the connections to a battery post and use a multi-meter on the Amp setting to reconnect. (One lead on each post.) With luck the current flowing between batteries will be a few dozen milli-amps or less. That can easily be replaced with a tiny bit of solar charging each day. But if the current is a couple hundred milli-amps or more then you may have to disconnect the two batteries when not actively using them with regular charging. Or use a A-B-Both switch that boaters use.

As far as depth of discharge (DOD), the occasional draw down to 30% won't do much damage. But a better plan is to target 50% in order to maximize the lifespan.

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Old 11-04-2019, 02:20 PM   #19
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One is fully charged. So I'd have to charge the other before connecting. I've considered just connecting to one with a switch to switch to the second if the first got low- sort of like the gas tanks- but not sure there would be any advantage (unless there is a lot of current between them.)

But question on that. Say I charge both, hook up, and there is a current. Doesn't that just level them to the same charge? Slight loss of heat to resistance but other than that should conserve the available energy.
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:36 PM   #20
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Price wouldn't be a big factor if I could get more amp hours another way but right now it seems the simplest and cheapest would be a second 12V since I already have one. And doesn't that double my amp hours? Which would be from 90 to 180.

Which leads me to a second question, when they list amp hours are they assuming if you ran it to dead, or ran it to a safe discharge level? (Which I've seen online as anything from 30-70%)? (That doesn't really change anything as a second one would still double it.)
Unfortunately, the ampl hour figures normally given by most battery manufacturers is for a 20 amp rate to take the battery to 10.5V or dead. A realistic actual usable rate is to half, which typically takes you to 12V or so.

Many feel that AGM batteries can be taken lower than half without damage, but I still wouldn't regularly go below 40%.

Lithium (which do charge faster since they don't taper as fast as lead acid batteries in the absorption phase) can be taken to 10% and the voltage stays above 12 V all the way down. Unfortunately, while I feel they are the best solution for RVs unless you continually winter camp below freezing, they are going to cost lots more than AGM batteries.
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