Batteries below 50%. Should I freak out? - Escape Trailer Owners Community
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Old 02-15-2022, 09:49 PM   #1
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Batteries below 50%. Should I freak out?

We have 380 watts on the roof, dual 6v. Boondock most of the time. Never really thought much about power. At any rate, in Northern Florida locations, heat on at night, using microwave, and so forth. No sun for a couple of days, under trees in Alexander Springs Park. Percent charge starting to show 47%. Should I freak out? How much damage can be done by dropping below the canonical "50%"? Are my batteries toast?
It's like being on Apollo 13...
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Old 02-16-2022, 12:07 AM   #2
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No, your batteries are not "toast". There is nothing special about the 50% level.

Here's a chart from Trojan Battery for one of their deep-cycle flooded lead-acid battery lines, showing how the life (in count of cycles) is affected by how much the battery is discharged each time:


For the equivalent to your batteries but in this (premium) brand, 50% (1200 cycles) is worse than 40% (1500 cycles) but not as bad as 60% (1000 cycles), for instance, but even 80% is far from immediately fatal (still 800 cycles).

I would have used a similar chart from Interstate, but I don't think they publish one... they don't even make the batteries themselves.

I get the humor of the Apollo 13 reference, but this really isn't like that - they had stuff actually fail, and were limping home (through space, not down a highway) on other systems. The trailer equivalent would be hours from civilization on an abandoned road in deadly conditions (hot? cold?) using the battery in your trailer to keep the tow vehicle running because the tow vehicle battery blew up and the charging system failed. Now that sounds like a trip that a lifetime of stories are made of...
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Old 02-16-2022, 07:55 AM   #3
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...using the battery in your trailer to keep the tow vehicle running because the tow vehicle battery blew up and the charging system failed. Now that sounds like a trip that a lifetime of stories are made of...
Is this autobiographical?
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Old 02-16-2022, 11:12 AM   #4
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Oh, it's the Apollo 13 analogy...
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Old 02-16-2022, 12:52 PM   #5
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Eighteen months ago, I brought my batteries down to dead flat ZERO.

Sun came out, charged them up, seem to work fine.

I never used the microwave at night again.
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Old 02-16-2022, 03:21 PM   #6
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Let's see...

How many times have I left my car lights on all day while I was at work, only to return to flat ZERO batteries that wouldn't even power the dome light?

Don't answer that...

Low batteries happen, but in the long run the batteries only loose a bit of their total lifetime. Now, if you intend to spend year after year camping in clouds and trees then you might consider a portable panel. Meanwhile keep your trailer furnace running and the microwave popcorn hot and don't worry about it.
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Old 02-16-2022, 04:25 PM   #7
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Phew! Thanks all, I'm in and off the ledge...
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Old 02-16-2022, 05:43 PM   #8
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Phew! Thanks all, I'm in and off the ledge...
I used to tell folks who came in singing the blues and depression was apparent. ďDonít jump, itís probably only high enough to beat you up.Ē Usually made them laugh. Had two workers commit suicide over the years. Neither one of them ever complained to me or asked for advice or help. Bothered me a lot though. We had a good EAP program. Always remember,
Itís only a couple batteries, not the end of the world.

Good luck and camp on.
Iowa Dave.
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Old 02-16-2022, 08:55 PM   #9
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. The trailer equivalent would be hours from civilization on an abandoned road in deadly conditions (hot? cold?) using the battery in your trailer to keep the tow vehicle running because the tow vehicle battery blew up and the charging system failed. Now that sounds like a trip that a lifetime of stories are made of...
That would make a great movie
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Old 02-17-2022, 02:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
No, your batteries are not "toast". There is nothing special about the 50% level.

Here's a chart from Trojan Battery for one of their deep-cycle flooded lead-acid battery lines, showing how the life (in count of cycles) is affected by how much the battery is discharged each time:


For the equivalent to your batteries but in this (premium) brand, 50% (1200 cycles) is worse than 40% (1500 cycles) but not as bad as 60% (1000 cycles), for instance, but even 80% is far from immediately fatal (still 800 cycles).
It's also worth pointing out that it's not that taking your battery one time to an 80% Depth of Discharge will not mean you've taken 400 cycles off it's life, compared to the 1200 cycle you would have gotten from the battery had you stayed above 50%. The 800 cycles for 80% DOD on the chart is every time you use the battery you take it down to a 80% DOD.

Also, the GoPower Solar Charge Controller will boost the charge voltage monthly or if you drop the voltage of your batteries below 12.1 volts. This boosted voltage Equalization Charge helps disulfate the the plates in the battery. It is the build up of sulfates on the plates that reduces their life.
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