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Old 04-25-2018, 02:06 PM   #1
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Dead battery dilemma

I have two 6V batteries on the tongue of my 2011 15, and am pretty sure they are (or rather were) the originals. Dead as doornails after running an hour so I know they weren't charging fully anymore, but truthfully I've never either measured charge or run on batteries longer than that before so it never even occurred to me to make sure they'd be up to a few days on battery power.

Anyway, assuming they are just not charging fully anymore and need replacing, which I'll check on when I get home, I was thinking of going to one 12V. I almost never camp on battery power for long and lightening up the tongue would be helpful. I know that gives me less battery time- any idea how much less? Also, would it be a simple switch or require what in the way of rewiring?

I am almost completely ignorant about batteries as I had none in my old trailer. I know how they work chemically but nothing much about the rest of the system.
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:39 PM   #2
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Average 12v battery is about 80 amps, the older 2 12v Interstates are 230 amps, so a little more then 1/3rd.

If you have no hookups and need to run the furnace At my current use, I'd say you could do 2 nights if you are careful, depending how cold it is and only discharging down to 50% of capacity, and no solar.

To change to a 12v battery, just discard the current cable that ties the 2 6v batteries and hook + to + and - to - in one of the boxes.

The upgrade path from a single 12v to 2 of them is simple if you find you need more juice down the road.
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
I have two 6V batteries on the tongue of my 2011 15, and am pretty sure they are (or rather were) the originals. Dead as doornails after running an hour so I know they weren't charging fully anymore, but truthfully I've never either measured charge or run on batteries longer than that before so it never even occurred to me to make sure they'd be up to a few days on battery power.

Anyway, assuming they are just not charging fully anymore and need replacing, which I'll check on when I get home, I was thinking of going to one 12V. I almost never camp on battery power for long and lightening up the tongue would be helpful. I know that gives me less battery time- any idea how much less? Also, would it be a simple switch or require what in the way of rewiring?

I am almost completely ignorant about batteries as I had none in my old trailer. I know how they work chemically but nothing much about the rest of the system.
Bobbie was looking and at Costco ours anyway ,they have interstate 6 volt batteries a little less at 100 each but a little cheaper in price but less instead of I think 230 they would be 200. Not sure of weight difference . Pat
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Old 04-25-2018, 03:48 PM   #4
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... I was thinking of going to one 12V. I almost never camp on battery power for long and lightening up the tongue would be helpful. I know that gives me less battery time- any idea how much less?
If you don't want the reduction in capacity to be too drastic, you can pick a relatively large 12-volt battery. You can get half your current capacity (at half of the weight), instead of settling for a third (at one-third of the weight).

The stock Escape 12-volt battery is (or was) a Group 24 size, with a Group 29 optional; it now seems to be Group 27. Group 31 is one common size of 12 volt deep-cycle battery which is even larger than Group 29, and yet still much smaller (and so lighter) than a pair of the GC2-sized 6 volt batteries.

Here are some typical weight and capacities, for a common cheap brand:
  • Group 24: 75 Ah, 45 lb
  • Group 29: 90 Ah, 53 lb
  • Group 31: 105 Ah, 59 lb
Some brands have more lead packed into a given size of case, but the relationship is simply more lead = more weight = more capacity.

None of the 12-volt sizes will exactly match the case size of one of the GC2-sized 6-volt batteries, so battery hold-down fit would need to be confirmed, but it can certainly be made to work.
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Old 04-25-2018, 04:34 PM   #5
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I got the ETI Group 29 battery and then added a second battery. They are isolated from each other by a battery selector switch. In use I've never ran out of one battery and had to switch to the other, but it's there as a back-up.

From your description of your usage I think that you'd be just fine with one 12V battery. As Brian says, you can always add a second battery later. The good part is that you can keep them separate and it'd be unlikely that you'd end up in your present situation with 2 dead batteries.

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Old 04-25-2018, 11:51 PM   #6
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Going Simple With A Battery

If you do not really want to learn the battery stuff, go to one battery from Walmart. Flooded batteries are cheaper than AGM's and will probably be a better fit for you. A 200 amp/hour battery would be fine because it will serve you for the few times you need it. Then, every other year, take it back and buy a new one and never think about it again.
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Old 04-26-2018, 12:05 AM   #7
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If you do not really want to learn the battery stuff, go to one battery from Walmart. Flooded batteries are cheaper than AGM's and will probably be a better fit for you. A 200 amp/hour battery would be fine because it will serve you for the few times you need it.
A flooded RV or marine battery from Walmart will work and is about as cheap as is readily available; however, you're not likely to find a 200 Ah 12-volt battery at Walmart, and even if you did you probably couldn't lift it. 100 Ah or less is likely.
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Old 04-26-2018, 12:07 AM   #8
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If you do not really want to learn the battery stuff, go to one battery from Walmart. Flooded batteries are cheaper than AGM's and will probably be a better fit for you. A 200 amp/hour battery would be fine because it will serve you for the few times you need it. Then, every other year, take it back and buy a new one and never think about it again.
What single flooded 200 amp hour battery is out there?
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Old 04-26-2018, 05:38 AM   #9
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What single flooded 200 amp hour battery is out there?
How about this baby, just eat your Wheaties before you pick it up.
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Old 04-26-2018, 09:32 AM   #10
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Lol wheaties and spinach we used those in the boom lift we used at the company I retired from it used 6 of those beasts
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Old 04-26-2018, 11:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by j&lgray View Post
If you do not really want to learn the battery stuff, go to one battery from Walmart. Flooded batteries are cheaper than AGM's and will probably be a better fit for you. A 200 amp/hour battery would be fine because it will serve you for the few times you need it. Then, every other year, take it back and buy a new one and never think about it again.
Pretty harsh judgement of Walmart batteries. I've had good service from them and excellent warranty service. Thousands of miles from home, different country, no receipt; no problem.

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Old 04-26-2018, 03:42 PM   #12
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There certainly are big 12-volt batteries... just not likely at Walmart or other common retail stores. If it is big enough to have 200 Ah capacity, it will be just as heavy as two 6-volt batteries with 200 Ah capacity, so there would be no point in the switch (which was proposed to save weight).
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:56 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=Bobbie54;245318]I have two 6V batteries on the tongue of my 2011 15, and am pretty sure they are (or rather were) the originals. Dead as doornails after running an hour so I know they weren't charging fully anymore, but truthfully I've never either measured charge or run on batteries longer than that before so it never even occurred to me to make sure they'd be up to a few days on battery power.

Anyway, assuming they are just not charging fully anymore and need replacing, which I'll check on when I get home, I was thinking of going to one 12V. I almost never camp on battery power for long and lightening up the tongue would be helpful. I know that gives me less battery time- any idea how much less? Also, would it be a simple switch or require what in the way of rewiring?



Hello Bobbie,
Your post makes me wonder why your batteries were dead. If they were the originals then really you got good life out of them. One thing I was wondering about is how you are turning off your battery power when putting your trailer in storage. When I first got my trailer, I just flipped the switch in the dinette area thinking I was shutting off the power. After a long absence I came back to dead batteries. Then I started removing the battery cables just before leaving. I'd always get an arc when re-hooking up the batteries (or when in- hooking them). This power surge as described would be hard on any electronic circultry still connected. I didn't like it. Now, I flip the switch in the dinette area AND turn off the main breaker (gray electrical box) below my drivers side dinette seat. I think all is well now doing this and it appears my batteries are holding their charge between visits ... sometimes as long as 5 or 6 months.

During my Jan - March Mexico trip, it seemed to me that my batteries had a lessor
charge capacity than I was used to. I suspect a couple very deep cycles has done them damage. Likely I'll replace them before my next outing .... well its cheaper than paying college tuition after all.

One change that I will do to expand my traveling charge life is remove my microwave. I don't use it all that often but it can really take the "shine" off your batteries ... even with limited usage. Something you might want to think about if you do much "off grid" camping with one battery.

Tom
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:03 AM   #14
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Checked all the cells today and only one was over empty (after charging for 24 hrs) so definitely need new batteries. The best place nearby to get them would be Les Schwab. Any reason I should not go there?

Also, I saw some numbers on the batteries, but nothing I could interpret as a date they went into service. The boxes say (if I recall) group 27 but the batteries are smaller than the boxes.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:51 AM   #15
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I saw some numbers on the batteries, but nothing I could interpret as a date they went into service. The boxes say (if I recall) group 27 but the batteries are smaller than the boxes.
Interstate batteries (I'm assuming yours are Interstate since you think they're originals) use a date code engraved on the top of the battery. This link will show you how to read the code:

http://www.ibslhc.com/battery-care/battery-age

As for where to get new ones, I would think any place that sells deep cycle batteries is acceptable. A decent GC2 sized 6V deep cycle wet cell battery with high amp hours (in the 220 - 230 range) runs about $150 online, so two will be $300 or so.

As a wet cell battery goes through charging and discharging cycles, some of the electrolyte in the cells is turned into a gas, which dissipates. So, the liquid levels in the cells drops slowly over time. That means you should add distilled water as needed. Check your batteries every few months or so. Add the distilled water just to the bottom of the fill holes so it completely covers the plates. Do this and your batteries will last a very long time.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:10 AM   #16
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Also, I saw some numbers on the batteries, but nothing I could interpret as a date they went into service. The boxes say (if I recall) group 27 but the batteries are smaller than the boxes.
My understanding is that you have two 6-volt batteries. In that case, their size is "GC2"; the Group 27 size is only used for 12-volt batteries.

Typical case dimensions:
  • 27: 12.1" L x 6.8" W x 8.9" H
  • GC2: 10.37" L x 7.18" W x 10.87" H
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:12 AM   #17
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and Costco has the basic Interstate GC-2 (210AH) for about $85. not sure 10-20% more power is worth twice the price.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:26 AM   #18
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and Costco has the basic Interstate GC-2 (210AH) for about $85. not sure 10-20% more power is worth twice the price.
Good point. The ones sold at Costco are very similar to their PF2-GC2-UTL, with a rating around 1200 cycles at 50% discharge. At under $180 for two, a very good bang for the buck.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:29 AM   #19
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The best place nearby to get them would be Les Schwab. Any reason I should not go there?
We don't have Les Schwab here, but I know that it is an automotive retailer, primarily of tires; tire stores routinely do shocks and batteries as well. It's probably a good place to buy a car battery, but do they even sell real deep-cycle batteries?

All of their batteries appear to be house-branded, other the Optimas, so you don't know what you're getting. On their Batteries web page they have a category for "Marine/RV", but the specs only show Reserve Capacity, not the amp-hours over a 20 hour period which is normally provided for a deep-cycle battery; they look like dual-purpose starting/house batteries as are typically used in boats. To be fair, this applies to most sizes of Interstate (factory equipment for Escape) "marine/RV" batteries as well.

If they're cheap enough, they're probably as good as buying the house brand at, for instance, Walmart... but that's just a guess.
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Old 05-05-2018, 10:42 AM   #20
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Bobbie was looking and at Costco ours anyway ,they have interstate 6 volt batteries a little less at 100 each but a little cheaper in price but less instead of I think 230 they would be 200. Not sure of weight difference . Pat
Already mentioned Costco for replacement . Pat
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