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Old 08-11-2017, 03:46 PM   #1
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Battery Advice

I am not sure if i'm near replacement or not on my house batteries. I've searched all over for this kind of thing and its a mixed bag of direction. I currently have 8 6V house bats, a 100W solar panel, 2000W inverter & a QD8000 genset. The big power draw is the residential refrigerator. I plan on boondocking for up to 3 days at a time.

Questions:
1) What is a full charge level?
2) How do I evaluate if batteries need to be replaced?
3) Stay with 6V or convert to 12V.
4) Brand values?
5) Flooded or AGM?
6) What changes will I need if switching to AGM from current flooded system for my charging systems? Inverter/Charger? Solar?
7) Do I really need 8 bats?

"Those that don't ask are the dumb ones"
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:27 PM   #2
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1) Some variables with full charge, ie: manufacturer, temperature, etc. Typical is somewhere around 13.5V

2) Auto parts stores, repair shops, Sears, etc will have a battery tester to determine battery condition. 8 batteries will take some time. They may or may not charge for this service.

3) 6V

4) IMHO, you get what you pay for. Trojan has a good reputation. Exercise caution with off brands or a great deal.

5) Dealers choice on this one. Our home system has flooded batteries, still in great condition after 5 years. Some owners have upgraded to Lithium.

6) Your inverter/charger will need to be set to properly charge and maintain the appropriate batteries. Easy to do.

7) All things being equal, more batteries equals more capacity. Something to consider with the refrigerator.

A 100 watt solar panel will most likely be insufficient to keep up with demand. Maybe for 2-3 days depending on exposure to the sun and electrical usage. Calculations can be made to determine/estimate consumption and rate of charge from the panels. Battery capacity will be a known, however only 50% of that capacity is available in order to prevent the batteries from being discharged beyond an acceptable level.

A recommended solar panel array for extended boondocking would be 480 watts or more. That would assume you're parked in a mostly sunny location. If your batteries check out ok, or if you have to replace them, give it a try. Worst case is you'll have to run the generator for a few hours to charge the batteries.
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:37 PM   #3
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We've gone to the Desert Rat Rally in Quartzsite a couple of times now. We run the generator 2 hours in the am and 2 hours in the pm and have stayed as long as 10 days no problem. Your residential fridge isn't drawing as much as you think. If you have the Xantrex SW 2012, the inverter draws a whopping 22 amps all by itself.

Interstate Batteries will do a load test on your batteries for you. Maybe it's time to do a visual inspection of the battery cables too. Interstate can make up replacements right in their shop.
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet and Todd View Post
We've gone to the Desert Rat Rally in Quartzsite a couple of times now. We run the generator 2 hours in the am and 2 hours in the pm and have stayed as long as 10 days no problem. Your residential fridge isn't drawing as much as you think. If you have the Xantrex SW 2012, the inverter draws a whopping 22 amps all by itself.

Interstate Batteries will do a load test on your batteries for you. Maybe it's time to do a visual inspection of the battery cables too. Interstate can make up replacements right in their shop.
The standby draw of a Xantrex SW2012 is less then 3 amps.

If yours is drawing 22 amps, something is wrong or running off it.
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcruzen View Post
I am not sure if i'm near replacement or not on my house batteries. I've searched all over for this kind of thing and its a mixed bag of direction. I currently have 8 6V house bats, a 100W solar panel, 2000W inverter & a QD8000 genset. The big power draw is the residential refrigerator. I plan on boondocking for up to 3 days at a time.

Questions:
1) What is a full charge level?
2) How do I evaluate if batteries need to be replaced?
3) Stay with 6V or convert to 12V.
4) Brand values?
5) Flooded or AGM?
6) What changes will I need if switching to AGM from current flooded system for my charging systems? Inverter/Charger? Solar?
7) Do I really need 8 bats?

"Those that don't ask are the dumb ones"
Hello from Yakima

I Upgraded my last Alpine with 4 6 volt Lifeline GPL-L16T for a total of 800 AMP Hours which is about the same as the 8 it came with. I sold it to a friend that owns several tire stores in town.

I got a deal on them or I would have gone with what I just put in my current coach. the Lifeline GPL-4CT . I installed 6 for a total of 660 amp hours which should give me about 16 or so hours of dry camping without the need for outside juice. Also have 320 watts of solar. I would be happy to show you the setup if you like. Just PM me and I will give you my contact info.

Frank

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Old 08-11-2017, 06:32 PM   #6
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Questions:
1) What is a full charge level? Flooded Cell 2.3 volts per cell. 6x2.3 is 13.8 volts fully charged with no draw "OCV" open current voltage.
2) How do I evaluate if batteries need to be replaced? The best way is to start with a charged battery and fill each cell to the bottom of the chimney with tap water. Give the batteries a good charge (when fully charged each cell will be gassing pretty good(with the cap off bubbles will be raising like 5 times per second) then turn off charger and check each cell with a hydrometer from Pep Boys maybe. The cells that are not reasonably high as all the others are either bad or getting bad. Replace that battery. I personally would replace all the batteries as a group, but you asked.
3) Stay with 6V or convert to 12V. For sure six volts. for many reasons but the main reason is that they are thicker plates that are more robust and last longer.
4) Brand values? Trojan T105 I worked for Trojan for three years as an engineer. I got to see theirs with all other competition's cycle life and capacity. Trojan was head and shoulders above the others.
5) Flooded or AGM? Flooded more forgiving for overcharge. AGM if money is no concern (way cleaner). Flooded is what I have.
6) What changes will I need if switching to AGM from current flooded system for my charging systems? Inverter/Charger? Solar? Can't answer this one for you.
7) Do I really need 8 bats? you only need 8 batteries if you can't have 10. I am a firm believer that if there is the space in the battery tray, fill it. With that said, even though a T145 would have more capacity than a T105, the 105's have more water in them and are underrated once you cycle them a bit.

"Those that don't ask are the dumb ones"
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:33 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your responses so far. You all have excellent information and its all extremely helpful!
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parkereng View Post
Questions:
2) How do I evaluate if batteries need to be replaced? The best way is to start with a charged battery and fill each cell to the bottom of the chimney with tap water. Give the batteries a good charge (when fully charged each cell will be gassing pretty good(with the cap off bubbles will be raising like 5 times per second) then turn off charger and check each cell with a hydrometer from Pep Boys maybe. The cells that are not reasonably high as all the others are either bad or getting bad. Replace that battery. I personally would replace all the batteries as a group, but you asked.

"Those that don't ask are the dumb ones"
Tap water? The Trojan Users Guide states: "Use only distilled or deionized water. Tap water may contain contaminants that will damage the battery."

Most municipal water supplies smell like a swimming pool and leave water spots and mineral deposits on shower stalls, sinks, faucets and dishes. Exactly the type of situation you want to avoid in a flooded battery. Can't imagine that well water or softened water would be any better.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:51 AM   #9
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Re: full charge level

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcruzen View Post
I am not sure if i'm near replacement or not on my house batteries. I've searched all over for this kind of thing and its a mixed bag of direction. I currently have 8 6V house bats, a 100W solar panel, 2000W inverter & a QD8000 genset. The big power draw is the residential refrigerator. I plan on boondocking for up to 3 days at a time.

Questions:
1) What is a full charge level?
2) How do I evaluate if batteries need to be replaced?
3) Stay with 6V or convert to 12V.
4) Brand values?
5) Flooded or AGM?
6) What changes will I need if switching to AGM from current flooded system for my charging systems? Inverter/Charger? Solar?
7) Do I really need 8 bats?

"Those that don't ask are the dumb ones"
I think RV Pioneer may have misunderstood your question #1. The charging rate may be about 13.5V/14.0V, but the full charge level, (at
rest) should be about 12.6 V or so. And with any wet deep cycle battery,the
mfg. will tell you not to discharge them beyond about 50%. Taking them beyond that,on a regular basis will shorten their life substantially. The window of voltage drop, from full to 50%, will only be about .2 of a volt.
I.e. lower voltage about 12.4. This may not seem like much, but that is the working window from fully charged to about 50%. I had a system on my boat called a "LINK 2000" it was tied in with Heart Interface, which is now
Xantrex (I think). I'm sure there are other systems on the market now, that do the same thing, but that was a marvelous system, that told you the current state of charge, and how many amps you were currently using, and would tell you how much it would take to bring your system back up to full charge. Without something like that, you're kind of groping in the dark.
Dudley Do-Right,'06Apex40MDTS
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dudley do-right View Post
I think RV Pioneer may have misunderstood your question #1. The charging rate may be about 13.5V/14.0V, but the full charge level, (at
rest) should be about 12.6 V or so. And with any wet deep cycle battery,the
mfg. will tell you not to discharge them beyond about 50%. Taking them beyond that,on a regular basis will shorten their life substantially. The window of voltage drop, from full to 50%, will only be about .2 of a volt.
I.e. lower voltage about 12.4. This may not seem like much, but that is the working window from fully charged to about 50%.
Dudley Do-Right,'06Apex40MDTS
Yes Dudley,
I did interpret/misinterpret the somewhat vague "What is a full charge level" question, if indeed the OP intended to ask "What is the correct voltage of a fully charged battery." The correct answer of course, can vary by a few tenths depending on type of battery and manufacturer.

Some good info here for bcruzen.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:49 PM   #11
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Tap water? The Trojan Users Guide states: "Use only distilled or deionized water. Tap water may contain contaminants that will damage the battery."

Most municipal water supplies smell like a swimming pool and leave water spots and mineral deposits on shower stalls, sinks, faucets and dishes. Exactly the type of situation you want to avoid in a flooded battery. Can't imagine that well water or softened water would be any better.
That was not a typo.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:40 PM   #12
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Trojan says open circuit voltage of their T105 battery is 6.37 volts.

6.37 Volts a string of 2 = 12.74 volts.

That is the resting voltage you need to look for the next day, after fully charging them and letting them sit with nothing hooked on them.

They also say to use distilled water in the cells.

I'm sure almost any brand of flooded cell, deep cycle battery, will have comparable specs.

Here is the link.

http://www.trojanbattery.com/tech-su...y-maintenance/
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:51 AM   #13
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OK I concede.
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:25 AM   #14
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OK I concede.
Distilled water it is folks. As is typically the case, following the manufacturers recommendations for the proper use of their product is usually the best bet.
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