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Old 11-28-2005, 01:20 PM   #1
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I have a 2005 Vectra 36RD and find that the chassis batteries barely last thru the night while dry camping if you have the front TV with the surround sound on for the first 3 or 4 hours. Then retire to the bedroom TV for the next 3 or so hours, and expecially if your heater fan kicks in a few times during the night. I have had the three 12 Volt replaced under warranty and still find them lacking...does anyone else find the same problem? Has any one out there switched out their three (3) 12V Deep Cycle chassis batteries for four (4) 6V deep cycle as most manufactures put in their Desiel Pushers? The three 12 volt that Winnebago gives you has approx 125 amp hour ratings each giving you a total of 375 amp hours. Four 6 Volt Trojan T105 golf cart batteries have a 225 amp hr rating and hooked parrell/series gives you 450 amp hours a 20% amp hr increase and it appears they will fit nicely on the battery tray.
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:20 PM   #2
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I have a 2005 Vectra 36RD and find that the chassis batteries barely last thru the night while dry camping if you have the front TV with the surround sound on for the first 3 or 4 hours. Then retire to the bedroom TV for the next 3 or so hours, and expecially if your heater fan kicks in a few times during the night. I have had the three 12 Volt replaced under warranty and still find them lacking...does anyone else find the same problem? Has any one out there switched out their three (3) 12V Deep Cycle chassis batteries for four (4) 6V deep cycle as most manufactures put in their Desiel Pushers? The three 12 volt that Winnebago gives you has approx 125 amp hour ratings each giving you a total of 375 amp hours. Four 6 Volt Trojan T105 golf cart batteries have a 225 amp hr rating and hooked parrell/series gives you 450 amp hours a 20% amp hr increase and it appears they will fit nicely on the battery tray.
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:20 PM   #3
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The Trojans have a good reputation and I think they would work fine for you. However I don't think they are going to give you the capacity increase that will solve your problem. When you are figuring ampre-hour capacity, a good rule of thumb is to not discharge the batteries below 50%.

You might want to consider using the expensive gen set that came with your coach Run it for an hour or so before bed to top off the batteries. Or ditch the CRT TVs in favor of LCDs. Practice load management and don't turn on the surround sound or unnecesary lights.
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Old 11-29-2005, 02:17 AM   #4
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John:
Do you find the same problem with your coach batteries not holding a decent charge thru the night expecially after the heater kicks in a few times?? We spend time in the front of the coach in the early evenings and that is the Sony 24" CRT type TV...the bedroom has the 20" Sharp LCD type but we use that when retiring for the evening. The other problem is when you are dry camping and some quite hours are from 8 AM to 8 PM and you have run the generator up to 8 PM the minute you put on the inverter to take over you electrical needs it really taxes you batteries..especially when you go to bed with the sleep button on the rear TV and don't wake up in the middle of the night to turn the inverter off.
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Old 11-29-2005, 02:36 AM   #5
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Just my two cents: I have to agree with John about "load management". My experience boondocking in cold weather is that the furnace will run quite often, especially if below 30 degrees F, and the repeated fan use really taxes the batteries. I had two 12vdc deep cycles; they would need recharged in the mornings, so I'd fire up the engine (or genny) and zap 'em for awhile. Just remember that your inverter takes more energy from 12vdc than it creates in AC mode. In the days before inverters were common, I used a 12" RCA color tv in the bedroom that ran off AC or 12vdc. In the 12vdc mode and 20 degree weather, around 10 pm I'd start to see the tv picture deteriorate as my coach batteries dropped below 12vdc. When the furnace came on, I'd lose the tv reception. I knew then that I would have just enough 12vdc power left to run the furnace the rest of the night.
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Old 11-29-2005, 04:09 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by kenbt:
John:
Do you find the same problem with your coach batteries not holding a decent charge thru the night expecially after the heater kicks in a few times?? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>We haven't boondocked the coach yet but we "boondocked" the sailboat for about 15 months straight with only two weeks total spent hooked up to shore power during that time. Load management and battery monitoring were the keys to sucessful boondocking. We also had gel batteries which were significantly better than wet battteries from a variety of attributes. Virtually every light on the boat was florescent for maximum light at low current. If at anchor, we had to run the gen set every day for an hour or two.

Like Tom says, the inverter is not 100% efficient. Maybe yours is 85, maybe 95% efficient - the "lost 15 or 5% is given off in heat from the conversion. My Xantrex has great reporting of load, battery temp, battery current, etc. What I see while we are underway with the inverter on powering the refrig, the TIVO, assorted power "bricks ", the microwave electronics etc is we are pulling 50 to 60 amps from the house batteries for about 550 to 700 watts output! My point is even without watching the TV or running a bunch of lights, there is a significant load on the inverter.

Unless you can significantly increase the capacity of your batery bank, you need to go the load management route with appropriate gen running in my opinion.
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Old 11-29-2005, 05:37 AM   #7
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Ken, I can relate to what you are saying. Like everyone else, we have had to use energy management in order to conserve battery power. We also try to time the genset running to top off the battery charge at the same time we need to run things like the microwave. That way the mike doesn't suck all that power out of the batteries just before bedtime.

However, I don't necessarily "want" to have to conserve so I look for other ways. I have solar panels (440 watts) installed but that only acts to recharge during the day. If I suck all the amps out of the batteries in the early evening they won't help me out until the next day.

The best solution for this kind of "energy lifestyle" is to have more battery capacity. I presently have four 6 volt flooded batteries. I plan on upgrading to AGM batteries. AGM batteries have a few advantages over flooded batteries. You can pull more stuff out of them compasred to the 50% rule for flooded batteries. They also don't gas during charging cycles so you don't have to be worried about water levels. An additional benefit to this is that they don't have to be in a vented compartment. This means you can add more batteries and run 6 or even 8 AGM batteries. That will give you a major increase in ampacity and you'll be able to run more "stuff" for longer. That's what I plan on doing.
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Old 11-30-2005, 04:01 PM   #8
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John Canfield:
This question is for you since you seem to know quite a bit about electrical....again going back to the 4 6 volt golf cart batteries vs the 3 12 deep cyle that came on our rig. The lititure that Interstate Batteries puts out states that on Deep Cycle batteris amp hr rating can be determined by taking the RC rating x (.6). So the 3 12 volt deep cylce Interstate SRM-29's in my Vectra have a RC rating of 210 which means when hooked togther I have a total rating of 630. 630 x .6 = 378 amp hrs for the three batteries. If I install the 6 volt golf cart batteries from Trojan that have RC of 447 then all four would give me 894 x .6 = 536 amp hrs . That is a 41.7 % increase in amp hrs over what Winnebago gave us, am I right?
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Old 11-30-2005, 05:30 PM   #9
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The 12 volt batteries that came with your RV are NOT true deep cycle. They are constructed differently than deep cycle.

Take a look at the Interstate U2200 6 volt true deep cycle golf cart batteries. Four of them linked together will give you 450 amp hours.

About $60 each.
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