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Old 12-05-2014, 10:02 AM   #1
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Upgrading your battery system....

I have a 2014 Escape 21 with the original 95 watt solar and a group 29 battery with 130 a/h. Since upgrading the solar seems improbable, I have looked into adding more battery power. This should give me more options on operating the Dometic off 12v while towing at night when the solar is not operational. Due to the high draw of the Dometic while on 12v, my tow vehicle input is not sufficient to handle the need and my battery bank is approximate 4 hours of operation.

I received a Sam's Club membership for my birthday this year and visited them yesterday. They have a 6 volt battery there with 220 a/h for $64. I know I'll need 2 to achieve that goal for 12volts. Since I had ETI install the larger group 29 battery in my build which allows me approximate 45 a/h per day until solar recharge. I checked and the battery box installed is the larger one, the same as dual 6 volts set up. So I'm okay there.
Other than purchasing 2 short battery cables, I should be set to go. My GoPower is already set up for 12v lead acid so no change needs to be done there.
As a result my battery reserve should almost double and allow more night time 12v use of the Dometic while towing. I think it is a worthy $130 expense. Am I missing something here or is there anything else I need to change/do?
Thanks for your opinions, they are always welcome.
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Old 12-05-2014, 10:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
...

I received a Sam's Club membership for my birthday this year and visited them yesterday. They have a 6 volt battery there with 220 a/h for $64. I know I'll need 2 to achieve that goal for 12volts.
...
Other than purchasing 2 short battery cables, I should be set to go. My GoPower is already set up for 12v lead acid so no change needs to be done there.
Make that 1 short cable. Connect original + cables to battery 1 +. Connect original - cables to battery 2 -. Connect short cable from battery 1 - to battery 2 + (and NOTHING else to these posts.)

That is VERY cheap for 6V batteries. Are they deep cycle?

Also check the charging requirements for the new batteries. The Interstate (ETI supplied) 6V deep cycle and 12V batteries have different charging needs.
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:02 AM   #3
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That is VERY cheap for 6V batteries. Are they deep cycle?

Also check the charging requirements for the new batteries. The Interstate (ETI supplied) 6V deep cycle and 12V batteries have different charging needs.
Yeah, I thought that sounded cheap too. I paid WAY more for my Trojans.

What difference would there be charging dual 6v, as opposed to single 12V batteries? Escape uses the same converter for both, I believe.
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:18 AM   #4
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What difference would there be charging dual 6v, as opposed to single 12V batteries? Escape uses the same converter for both, I believe.
There has been much discussion here about this. ETI uses the same converter which does not charge the 6V batteries correctly.

Deep cycle battery charging: Interstate Batteries FAQ :: How do I charge certain deep cycle 6-volt and 12-volt batteries?

I cannot find Interstate specs for non deep cycle charging but everything I can find shows lower charging voltages.
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:46 AM   #5
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The converter I got has been working great with my batteries for the last 6 years. Like anything, I imagine if you wanted to spend more money, you could get something a little better.

The page you linked to lists the charge requirement of individual batteries, not dual 6V, which is basically the same thing as a single 12V, but with more capacity. All the different charge voltages are exactly double with 12V, compared to 6V.
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:47 AM   #6
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Jim,

I think you are having trouble keeping up because of the voltage drop in the long run for the charge cable from the truck to the back of the 21. I am planning to try this DC to DC charger once I pick up my 21 next year.

ctek d205S
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Old 12-05-2014, 12:14 PM   #7
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The converter I got has been working great with my batteries for the last 6 years. Like anything, I imagine if you wanted to spend more money, you could get something a little better.

The page you linked to lists the charge requirement of individual batteries, not dual 6V, which is basically the same thing as a single 12V, but with more capacity. All the different charge voltages are exactly double with 12V, compared to 6V.
For a fair amount more money you get a much better charger - for deep cycle batteries. NOT much better for "normal" batteries.

The page I cited is for the U batteries - Interstate deep cycle. The 12V battery ETI supplies is NOT a U battery, and not deep cycle. It prefers a standard charger. The Interstate deep cycle batteries use a slightly different chemistry, and hence, have different charging requirements.

The ETI charger is here: Power CentersWF-8955PEC, WF-8955 55 Amp Power Center

NB: The max voltage is 14.4 volts, much less than the 15.5 Interstate recommends. It is fine for "normal" batteries, not so good for Interstate U batteries.
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:09 PM   #8
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NB: The max voltage is 14.4 volts, much less than the 15.5 Interstate recommends. It is fine for "normal" batteries, not so good for Interstate U batteries.
I have Trojan T-105's, so I went to their site, and they recommend a 14.8V charge, 13.2V float, and a 15.5V equalize. At 14.4V, the Escape supplied charger is not too far off. For equalizing batteries, a couple times a year, I use a charger that I have at home that does a 15.8V charge. I can see that if you wanted the one in the trailer to do it all, you might want a new one.

I still don't understand how with deep cell batteries, that charging dual 6V, or charging a single 12V would have different charging needs.
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:35 PM   #9
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Jim, I have the dual 6v setup and the much maligned stock charger. While I know from all the various posts here that the stock charger is not ideal, it does its job well enough for me. (Experts please note I said for me - I'm easy to please) I have a Battery Tender external charger that I use while in storage and it comes much closer to the ideal voltages, but I have been told here (in no uncertain tones) that it is worthless too. All that said, my dual 6v batteries are now 4 years old and test out as in very good shape.

You will probably be charging your batteries from solar more often than from shore power it sounds anyway. So I would think that the stock Escape charger would be ok

BUT, I'm of the go camping, enjoy yourself, and worry about the big things in life. Also as Donna says YMMV!
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:48 PM   #10
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...I have the dual 6v setup and the much maligned stock charger. While I know from all the various posts here that the stock charger is not ideal, it does its job well enough for me.

I'm of the go camping, enjoy yourself, and worry about the big things in life...
Thank you for easing any concerns I might have over all this hoopla.
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Old 12-05-2014, 01:54 PM   #11
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I have Trojan T-105's, so I went to their site, and they recommend a 14.8V charge, 13.2V float, and a 15.5V equalize. At 14.4V, the Escape supplied charger is not too far off. For equalizing batteries, a couple times a year, I use a charger that I have at home that does a 15.8V charge. I can see that if you wanted the one in the trailer to do it all, you might want a new one.

I still don't understand how with deep cell batteries, that charging dual 6V, or charging a single 12V would have different charging needs.
I agree - the ETI standard charger sounds like it is much closer to optimal for the Trojans than for the U Interstates.

I agree - a 12V Interstate U battery and 2 6V U Interstate batteries have the same charging requirements.

BUT the standard ETI 12V battery is not a U and does not charge the same. And the standard charger will not get U batteries fully charged quickly (if ever) and the U battery life will suffer some. Many people are obviously satisfied with this set up, even though it is not optimal.

I am using the the sub-optimal ETI standard solar controller. At some time I will probably replace it as I am not getting as much out of my panels and into the battery as possible. But for now that is acceptable to me.

I have no problem with anyone (including myself) who decides that a sub-optimal solution is OK for them - temporarily, permanently, or whatever. I do have a problem () if anyone says their solution is optimal when it is not.
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Old 12-05-2014, 02:02 PM   #12
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Our local Sam's sells Duracell 6 volt batteries, their lowest priced model is Group Size GC2 for $84. Not sure they are the same model you are looking at but the big complaint was the short life span of these batteries. Typically 18-24 months and they fail.

Some say the best measurement of a deep cycle battery is its weight. The Duracell are 60.5 lbs, Trojan T-105 at 62 lbs and the Interstate GCX series at 65 lbs.
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Old 12-05-2014, 02:22 PM   #13
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I am Sub Optimal

Good points that Jamman makes on battery charging. I agree whole heartedly. At the same time Eric points out that sub par performance is OK. There is nothing wrong with this approach. It sure makes more time for camping by ignoring all the banal discussions we have about batteries.

For those on the anal side of batteries, I can come up with about six names from the forum, you know who you are. This group, with myself as a member, probably do a lot more off grid camping, perhaps extended off grid camping, or cold weather camping with lots of furnace use and want the best performance possible. So camping style influences this discussion.

The issue for both sides is that the Escape designed battery, battery charger and solar charger all work. And actually work pretty well. I do not recall many complaints about failing batteries, though the 12 volt folks are probably replacing soon after three years, at such a small cost they are probably just taking it in stride and we do not read postings.

For the owners not happy with sub optimal there are not a lot of choices. I have yet to find an RV converter/charger that will give the charge rates that Trojan and Interstate recommend. There maybe a 110 volt battery charger that might do the trick, I welcome recommendations. For a solar controller I have only been able to find three models that will provide the necessary charge rates. A very bleak picture.

What a sad day, our group will have to resign ourselves to sub-optimal.
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Old 12-05-2014, 02:40 PM   #14
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I have the ETI dual 6 volt set up with remote 95 watt solar panel which I have set up
during storage. Is there a problem with connecting my battery tender/charger to the
batteries as they are, i.e. without disconnecting the batteries or the solar panel or the 110 volt power supply which I sometimes use ?
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:34 PM   #15
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...
For the owners not happy with sub optimal there are not a lot of choices. I have yet to find an RV converter/charger that will give the charge rates that Trojan and Interstate recommend. There maybe a 110 volt battery charger that might do the trick, I welcome recommendations. For a solar controller I have only been able to find three models that will provide the necessary charge rates. A very bleak picture.
...
converter/charger = xantrex truecharge2
http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Bat...0_20110303.pdf

And the 3 solar chargers (hopefully MPPT and not outlandishly expensive - fat chance) are???
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:39 PM   #16
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I have the ETI dual 6 volt set up with remote 95 watt solar panel which I have set up
during storage. Is there a problem with connecting my battery tender/charger to the
batteries as they are, i.e. without disconnecting the batteries or the solar panel or the 110 volt power supply which I sometimes use ?
No.

I don't use a battery tender - just let my solar panels take care of it. (But I store it outside with no cover and have permanent sun - less in winter but still beats white stuff falling from the sky.) And the solar and converter/charger are connected in parallel whenever I am plugged into 120V.
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:40 PM   #17
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Jim, I take it you can't fit a Group 24 12 volt battery in with your group 29?
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:44 PM   #18
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The 160 watt panel on my new 19 is a big improvement (my opinion) over the 95 watt I had on my 17 (with which I never had any problem). We spent three days over Thanksgiving boondocking, with the heater going quite regularly, and only one day of sun, and we left with the batteries showing 12.8 volts.
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:45 PM   #19
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For 12V batteries - Group 31 usually hold the most juice - if you can fit them in. I put a group 31 in my 17' Casita.
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:56 PM   #20
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Size notes:
The BCI group designations are not proportional to size at all, but by coincidence a Group 31 (biggest common 12V RV/marine battery, not offered by Escape) is bigger than a Group 29 (optional big Escape 12V battery), the Group 29 is bigger than a Group 27 (another very common RV/marine size for 12V, not offered by Escape), and the Group 27 is bigger than a Group 24 (common in RV/marine and for light trucks and some cars; standard equipment from Escape).

Proportions are important. The most common 6V "golf cart" batteries (usually designated GC2) are differently proportioned (shorter and wider?) than the common size of about the same weight. When packing battery boxes, this matters.

Putting in the biggest single 12V that fits in the available space and can be lifted into place makes a lot of sense to me; if that's enough, it's simpler than any dual-battery setup.
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