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Old 08-16-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
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Why 6v instead of 12v batteries?

I have an 09 Pace Arrow and it has two 6v batteries. My 03 Gulfstream had two 12v batteries. Won't the 12's last longer?
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:33 PM   #2
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It's not the 6v vs 12v that is important difference. The advantage of those batteries is that they are designed for golf cart usage and are very rugged and highly reliable deep cycles batteries. And a pair of 6v GC batteries in series almost always has more amp-hours than a pair of automotive or marine style 12v in parallel.

The bottom line is that the 6V GC batteries should last longer and give you more power besides.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jab862 View Post
I have an 09 Pace Arrow and it has two 6v batteries. My 03 Gulfstream had two 12v batteries. Won't the 12's last longer?
They both have about the same life span. My old coach had two 12V's. My current coach has three 6V's. I get about 4 years max out of both configurations.

I prefer the 6V setup...I have a lot more reserve power than I did with two 12-er's.

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Old 08-16-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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All you have to do is to check the specs to see that battery voltage for the batteries normally used in RV's is not a factor in anything but bank output voltage and wiring.

The capacity of the lead acid batteries normally found for RV's is about 22 watt hours per pound. Variances are minor. The trade-offs in an OEM line are capacity, cost, and ruggedness, which is why they usually offer several batteries in each voltage showing these trade-off factors.

See the Az Wind Sun RV page and also their FAQ - the FAQ is a bit confused but if you look at the actual data for expected lifespan, you'll note no significant difference in expected life and that the key factors there are use and maintenance, not voltage.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Craig P. View Post
They both have about the same life span. My old coach had two 12V's. My current coach has three 6V's. I get about 4 years max out of both configurations.


Craig
Craig, maybe I need to learn something. How can you have 3 6 volt batteries. I wouldn't think that could work on a 12 volt rig.
Parallel , it would be 6 volts and series would be 18 volt.

What am I missing?

I ask becuse I have 2 6 volt and have room for only 3. But with 3, I thought I would have to get 3 12 volters, and my 2 volts are still good
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:06 AM   #6
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Craig, maybe I need to learn something. How can you have 3 6 volt batteries. I wouldn't think that could work on a 12 volt rig.
You right, I don't think it would. I have four 6V's, not three. I have a golf cart with six 6V batteries that I recently replaced. I was picturing a row of three in my mind when I replied. Sorry for the senior moment!

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Old 08-17-2009, 09:26 AM   #7
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Which will last longer is really two questions.

I will give you several answers, since you failed to tell me enough to be sure

Six volt: The most common six volt is abut 220 amp hours, it is also a deep cycle battery.. Generally in RV house use a DEEP CYCLE battery will last longer in terms of years than a starting or a marine/deep cycle, however there are several factors includign which quality of converter you have, An older single stage ferroresonate converter WILL kill any battery... FAST, compared to a properly working modern 3-stage converter (For those who wish to talk about a 3-stage that went haywire and fried their batteries in a month.. Recall I said PROPERLY WORKING)

Now we get to "Time before needing recharge

That is a funciton of amp hours. You can draw roughly half the amp hours out of the battery, so for a pair of sixes which run 220 amp hours, you can draw 11 amps for 10 hours

Now,, If you have a pair of Grp 24's they run abut 80 amp hours, so you can draw 11 amps for about 7 hours

Of course if your 12's are, say 8D (255 amp hours) you can draw 1 amps for dang near a full 24 hour day. (But you may need the assistance of a fork lift to change them, only partially joking here)

For more info on the capacity of batteries,, This is LIFELINE's page on the subject shows battery sizes and capacities.

and it's the source for the amp hour capacities I used in this post

The big lure of the six volt's is that with them you get the best "Bang for your buck" as a general rule, (The best price for the capacity and the longest life in this type of service, so the best value)
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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Always measure battery capacity in watt hours and not amp hours when comparing batteries of different voltages. That's volts times amps so 220 amp hours at 6 volts is 1320 watt hours or about the same energy capacity as a similarly sized 12v battery.

Disregard the hype about "deep cycle" - there is no measure for it and it just doesn't mean anything as far as RV batteries go. You don't 'deep cycle' any lead acid battery if you want them to last. The number of times you are likely to cycle an RV battery in a typical 5 year life is well below the rated cycle rating of even SLI batteries. All the 'deep cycle' (or RV or marine or other such) designator tells you is that the battery puts an emphasis on the 'ruggedness' part of the capacity, cost, and ruggedness trade-off. The differences are matters of degree, not kind.

A 6v will not get you a 'best bang for your buck' if shopping by spec rather than hype as a general thing. At Costco recently, the price of a couple of group 27 marine batteries was 15% below their 'golf cart' batteries but only about 5% lower in capacity (and in weight and size). The difference in money is a hard measure easily felt. Differences in battery capacity get buried in the 10% to 20% variances you get in normal battery use.

Always use watt hours when comparing battery capacity and make sure that the rating you use is for comparable energy draws (i.e. the 20 hour rate is about 60 watts for T105 or group 27 sized battteries).

If you want to get the longest life from your batteries don't deep discharge them (below 12.0v after resting for at least a half hour), recharge promptly and vigorously, avoid heat, and use storage maintenance management that assures top charge and prevents sulfation.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:25 PM   #9
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Disregard the hype about "deep cycle" - there is no measure for it and it just doesn't mean anything as far as RV batteries go. You don't 'deep cycle' any lead acid battery if you want them to last.
I'll have to respectfully disagree with that statement. Some (few) batteries are designed to withstand frequent deep discharge, down to 50% or less capacity and to provide a fairly constant but moderate amp rate over a long time. Plates are fewer and thicker and spaced differently differently than regular automotive starting batteries, which are designed to deliver a burst of high amps followed by a long period of inactivity. What BryanL says is true enough for the batteries typically labeled "marine/RV deep cycle", but not true for, say, a Trojan T105 or Interstate U2200 "golf cart" deep cycle.
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Old 08-18-2009, 05:27 PM   #10
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re "I'll have to respectfully disagree with that statement." No problem there. How about some measure or some spec that people can find to support the disagreement? It would really help us learn if we could understand the basis for a disagreement.

When you claim a T105 or some other 'golf cart' battery is inherently different from a 'marine/RV' can you provide any objective measure to show it? How do you explain Trojan calling their T105 an "RV/marine" battery in some of their literature?

When I look at life span expectancies such as at the Az WindSun FAQ, the difference doesn't show the kind of differences claimed. I can't find any such differences in the manufacturer's spec sheets, either.

All I am asking for is some hard data that shows a definitive difference. I've been looking for years and don't find anything other than marketing claims.

What you describe is not a matter of kind but rather of degree when you talk about "thicker" and "spaced differently" and that is exactly the point I was making. If you look at the specs you can see this. Differences between batteries are mostly in a fairly narrow range compared to the range you can get in an individual battery due to a number of factors (temp, cycle to cycle variance, use profile, age).

I am looking for something to chew on, something credible, a repeatable measure showing a significant outcome; something that can help me learn something.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:32 PM   #11
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The difference in design is as I described previously. It primarily affects the number of discharge cycles the battery will tolerate before it no longer accepts a charge. A true deep cycle will last 2x-3x as long as a batery with a starting battery design. For example, Trojan rates the T105 for 754 80% discharge cycles in their lab tests.

There is a helpful FAQ at this site:
Deep Cycle Battery FAQ
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:47 AM   #12
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re "The difference in design" - but why doesn't it show in the numbers? How is the design different in type rather than degree? Why doesn't Trojan publish their lab tests in their line card? Why is their warranty so short? Why don't their batteries show significantly longer life in actual use?

The FAQ link is the one I cited earlier as being a bit confused. Read it carefully and compare it to the RV page at the same website. Look for what they don't tell you and what they do. Note that life span of RV/Marine is about the same as for 'deep cycle' and note their caution: "There are so many variables, such as depth of discharge, maintenance, temperature, how often and how deep cycled, etc. that it is almost impossible to give a fixed number." i.e. 'we can publish numbers but the reality is that it is too close to call in practical application.'

Take a look a how each of the variables mentioned influences battery capacity and lifespan and compare that to the variances in specified capacity or lab tests. There's a whole lot of imprecision goin' on and people fool themselves if they think they can get more than a significant digit or two of accuracy out of anything batteries in the real world.

One item which is clear is that battery life drops off rapidly if cycles go below 50% depth of discharge. Another is that the typical RV use pattern doesn't cycle batteries enough times in an expected 5 year life to start pushing on cycle ratings even for SLI batteries. Another is that the primary causes of RV battery failure are due to use and storage practice and not cycles.

Smart choices don't get stuck on making distinctions that don't exist for the intended application. (IMHO, of course)
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:39 AM   #13
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I find there is a substantial difference in life span and reliability. You will be lucky to get 2-3 years out of an Exide 12v marine/RV battery, while a Trojan T105 or Interstate U2200 typically lasts 7 years even under harsh conditions and 10 years is not all that unusual.

The value of the less expensive semi-deep cycle 12v batteries comes in for people who rarely are without hook-ups and have a quality three stage charging system that is kind to batteries. They don't cycle the batteries deeply, nor do they overcharge them and they don't depend on having reliable performance form an older battery. In that scenario, you can save some bucks. But if you use the batteries often and hard, quality pays off in the long run.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:58 AM   #14
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Golf carts with their heavy usage use 6 volt batteries and most RV's with heavy battery usage use 6 volt batteries.

Experience has shown that 6 volt golf cart batteries clearly outperform and outlast 12 volt deep cycle batteries.
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