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Old 07-10-2013, 10:22 PM   #1
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Battery Advice

Hi All,

Our RV came with one starter battery and two house deep-cycle batteries. As we put on extra solar panels, we had an extra panel welded in so that we could add two extra deep-cycle batteries, so now we have four 6-volt house batteries and a "starter" battery.

A few years ago, we worked with a repair guy who convinced us to replace the starter battery with a deep cycle battery in order to expand the capacity of the house batteries. It turned out he took our working starter battery and sold us a brand new deep cycle battery that is not connected to the house batteries at all.

So, at this point, we can't turn the engine on except through the auxiliary switch which has always worked just fine. I did some more testing and I am able to jump the starter battery and turn on the vehicle, but not use it otherwise indicating it is acting mostly as an expensive paper weight right now.

My question to everyone is whether I should bother buying a real "starter" battery or just wait until the deep cycle batteries need to be replaced and put (5) 12V deep cycle batteries in and maybe a tiny starter battery or something to placate the alternator. What do you guys think? Is there any value to having a full starter battery any more?

Thanks,

sjkted
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:32 PM   #2
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A pair of 6V batteries will provide more capacity than one 12V battery.

Sounds like you just need a new chassis / engine start battery. I don't see a need or big benefit from changing things up. Likely just a starter battery, or a consideration is a marine type battery if you have electric slides that operate from the chassis / engine start battery.

I like Wal-Mart Ever-Start batteries. Good battery, reasonably priced ,and a good warranty supported by any Wal-Mart along your travels.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:49 PM   #3
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A pair of 6V batteries will provide more capacity than one 12V battery.

Sounds like you just need a new chassis / engine start battery. I don't see a need or big benefit from changing things up. Likely just a starter battery, or a consideration is a marine type battery if you have electric slides that operate from the chassis / engine start battery.

I like Wal-Mart Ever-Start batteries. Good battery, reasonably priced ,and a good warranty supported by any Wal-Mart along your travels.
Thanks. I guess my question is should I even bother buying a starter when it always starts right up with the auxiliary system? The rig does not have any slide outs.

I did some internet research on how many CCAs I need for a Chevrolet 454 and most of the answers were in the 600-800 range which is a larger sized battery. I'm not sure a larger one would fit. I think I had a smaller one before but not sure of the capacity.

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Old 07-11-2013, 12:07 AM   #4
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The aux system is there as a backup system, not a primary system. I would not use it as a primary starting system on a regular basis.

Just put in the largest battery in that will fit and you will likely be fine.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:39 AM   #5
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Ok. Thanks for the advice. I'll get another battery in there before my next trip in August.

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Old 07-11-2013, 12:47 AM   #6
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A deep cycle battery is not made to provide the short duration, high amps that a starter needs. The deep cycle is for long duration, low amp drain like running a TV, lights etc. By adding extra batteries (using the aux switch) it gives enough amps to start.
I replaced our 2 starting batteries late in 2011 as I thought they were bad, turned out to be a bad starter. Batteries were $156 each and the starter was $1024, not counting the tow which Coach-Net paid for (about $700). Wich the batteries had solved the problem!
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by sjkted View Post
Hi All,

Our RV came with one starter battery and two house deep-cycle batteries. As we put on extra solar panels, we had an extra panel welded in so that we could add two extra deep-cycle batteries, so now we have four 6-volt house batteries and a "starter" battery.

A few years ago, we worked with a repair guy who convinced us to replace the starter battery with a deep cycle battery in order to expand the capacity of the house batteries. It turned out he took our working starter battery and sold us a brand new deep cycle battery that is not connected to the house batteries at all.

So, at this point, we can't turn the engine on except through the auxiliary switch which has always worked just fine. I did some more testing and I am able to jump the starter battery and turn on the vehicle, but not use it otherwise indicating it is acting mostly as an expensive paper weight right now.

My question to everyone is whether I should bother buying a real "starter" battery or just wait until the deep cycle batteries need to be replaced and put (5) 12V deep cycle batteries in and maybe a tiny starter battery or something to placate the alternator. What do you guys think? Is there any value to having a full starter battery any more?

Thanks,

sjkted
Ok I am a bit confused. You had someone put in a deep cycle battery that was supposed to be hooked up to give you extra house battery current. You said that it was not hooked to the house batteries at all and now you cannot start the engine with out aux start switch ( which basically puts the house batteries in parralel with the start battery) Based on the limited understanding I got from your post you should check a few things before you buy new stuff you may not need. The deep cycle battery should start your engine just fine if everything is hooked up correctly. It sounds like your repair guy might have tried to rewire everything and did not do it correctly.

first thing I would check is whether or not the chassis (starting) battery is charging. The repair guy might have not wired the lead from the alternator back to the chassis . A couple of quick ways to check this. I would put a battery charger on the battery overnight and see if it charges up and then starts the coach without the aux switch on. If that works then get a volt meter and with the engine running check the voltage accross the battery should be around 13.8 volts. If you have 13.8 volts shut everything off then take the battery out and take to auto parts store to have them test it. But just because it is a deep cycle battery does not mean it will not start the vehicle.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:41 AM   #8
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As Mr D stated your chassis batteries are designed for the high power needs of the starter. Deep cycle batteries, while they can start your engine were not designed for this purpose. Just Saying..
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:04 PM   #9
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go to this page Trojan Battery - FAQ's
then click on FAQ battery selection under search text deep cycle battery.

One of the FAQ is "can i use my deep cycle battery as a starting battery" Trojan battery company which I believe most people on here would consider to be an expert source says that you can use it for a stating battery but you can not use a starting battery for a deep cycle battery.


The difference between the two is the composition of the plates. Starter batteries have more cranking power per pound but cannot take being totally discharged very well. Deep cycle batteries are made to be discharged that is the primary difference.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:51 PM   #10
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Ok I am a bit confused. You had someone put in a deep cycle battery that was supposed to be hooked up to give you extra house battery current. You said that it was not hooked to the house batteries at all and now you cannot start the engine with out aux start switch ( which basically puts the house batteries in parralel with the start battery) Based on the limited understanding I got from your post you should check a few things before you buy new stuff you may not need. The deep cycle battery should start your engine just fine if everything is hooked up correctly. It sounds like your repair guy might have tried to rewire everything and did not do it correctly.
Ha. That's what it sounds like to me too. I had it in an exhaust shop for exhaust work and the repair guy mentioned he also worked on RVs. I already had 4 6V deep-cycle batteries and though it would be better to add a 5th battery for extra power on the house batteries. Since then, I've learned that all of the batteries need to be the same type. I'm not sure what wiring he did, but I will trace them just for my own information.

Unfortunately for me, the old starter battery did just fine and it appears now I will need to get rid of the deep-cycle "starter" and replace it with a normal starter. Kind of ironic, when I had this working to begin with.

The "starter" battery will start if it is jumped. If it is not jumped, there is no sound from the engine. I've had experience starting cars when there is not enough CCAs, and you can usually hear the engine trying to crank but it doesnt. This one strangely makes no engine sound at all.

Quote:
first thing I would check is whether or not the chassis (starting) battery is charging. The repair guy might have not wired the lead from the alternator back to the chassis . A couple of quick ways to check this. I would put a battery charger on the battery overnight and see if it charges up and then starts the coach without the aux switch on. If that works then get a volt meter and with the engine running check the voltage accross the battery should be around 13.8 volts. If you have 13.8 volts shut everything off then take the battery out and take to auto parts store to have them test it. But just because it is a deep cycle battery does not mean it will not start the vehicle.
I always check voltage when the engine is running. It stays constant around 13.5V or so. I'll try taking it out and having it checked by the auto parts store, but ultimately the system isn't going to work as I was told it would. If I can get the deep-cycle working as a starter battery, it will save me $100 in the short-run but ultimately I'm going to get a regular starter as it seems there is no benefit and some downside towards using a deep-cycle as a starter.

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:14 PM   #11
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actually the only downside i think is that deep cycle batteries usually cost more
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:34 PM   #12
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My understanding is that deep-cycles have less CCA than a traditional battery. Is that correct?

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:45 PM   #13
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go to the web site i referenced and they should be able to answer your questions about deep cycle versus non deep cycle batteries.

They will have a better more complete answer than i would
and i would trust their answer more.


I am curious what did it read accross the battery with the engine not running ?
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:58 PM   #14
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I am curious what did it read accross the battery with the engine not running ?
I'm not sure. I will check that next week.

sjkted
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