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Old 07-30-2008, 07:04 PM   #1
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We do very little dry camping, so the condition of my house batteries has never been a big issue to me. On my old Adventurer, I knew it was time to replace the house batteries when they just wouldn't take a charge anymore. I really didn't keep an eye on the voltage display inside the coach.

Things are a little different now with my current coach. It has four 6V house batteries. We still don't do much dry camping, but I recently added an Intellitec AGS system. I added this solely for the protection of our dog, in the event of a power failure while away from the coach. We almost lost him last summer when the CG that we were in lost power, and the poor dog almost baked to death. The Intellitec AGS will not only start the genset if there is a call for A/C, but it will also start it if the house battery voltage drops below 12.1V. It then tries to charge the batteries until they reached 13.3V for one hour. Now that I have the Intellitec AGS, I must be more pro-active in my battery monitoring.

I leave my coach plugged in to shore power all the time here at home. I went out right now and checked on the condition of the batteries. The Intellitec monitor panel read read 13.1V. It has been plugged in and undisturbed for two weeks (this voltage is below the 13.3V threshold that the Intellitec unit will try to reach and hold for one hour). I then unplugged shore power and the batteries dropped down to 12.7V within a matter of minutes.

Sorry for being so long winded, but what I am trying to ask, is it time to replace my house batteries? What kind of voltage should they have after being plugged into shore power for two weeks, and how long should they hold that voltage after being disconnected?

Craig
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:04 PM   #2
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We do very little dry camping, so the condition of my house batteries has never been a big issue to me. On my old Adventurer, I knew it was time to replace the house batteries when they just wouldn't take a charge anymore. I really didn't keep an eye on the voltage display inside the coach.

Things are a little different now with my current coach. It has four 6V house batteries. We still don't do much dry camping, but I recently added an Intellitec AGS system. I added this solely for the protection of our dog, in the event of a power failure while away from the coach. We almost lost him last summer when the CG that we were in lost power, and the poor dog almost baked to death. The Intellitec AGS will not only start the genset if there is a call for A/C, but it will also start it if the house battery voltage drops below 12.1V. It then tries to charge the batteries until they reached 13.3V for one hour. Now that I have the Intellitec AGS, I must be more pro-active in my battery monitoring.

I leave my coach plugged in to shore power all the time here at home. I went out right now and checked on the condition of the batteries. The Intellitec monitor panel read read 13.1V. It has been plugged in and undisturbed for two weeks (this voltage is below the 13.3V threshold that the Intellitec unit will try to reach and hold for one hour). I then unplugged shore power and the batteries dropped down to 12.7V within a matter of minutes.

Sorry for being so long winded, but what I am trying to ask, is it time to replace my house batteries? What kind of voltage should they have after being plugged into shore power for two weeks, and how long should they hold that voltage after being disconnected?

Craig
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:30 PM   #3
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Craig, like you I don't dry camp much and my DS is 9 years old. My batteries were resting after off shore power at about 12.1. They had been higher and got down to 12.3 range before.

But I had slide out problems bringing it in. First I had some ice on awning cover and the slide would not come in and after a couple of trys it realized the problem and did get it in.

But after the slide would start and stop and I would have to pull it a bit with my weight.

Although I am doing this still on shore power the slide apparently needs some battery in the initial load.

I put in new batteries from Costco, and first tested with engine off and no shore power and slide worked very smooth. It works fine now.

So that is what told me I needed now batteries.

But I would think with 12.7 resting your batteries are fine. Even with 12.2 I have started my CAT engine several times with the crossover when my chassis batteries went out.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:26 PM   #4
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The best way to test batteries is to measure the specific gravity of the acid in the cells. Click here for all you'll need to know.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:34 AM   #5
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If you find that you have a weak cell or more, you will want to replace them all at one time. If you only need them for starting the generator, you can save money by going back to the lead acid water batteries and be just fine. They can last a very long time; knock on wood, I am going on seven years on mine and we have boon docked a fair amount.
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:14 PM   #6
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I think (if that is OK) that Craig P is asking if the house batteries are at this time adequate for drycamping and the test for this is to start with fully charged batteries and this is best done with a battery charger which will take up to 24 hours or more.Take hourly readings with the hydrometer to determine full charge.At this point,go into a dry camping mode with the refrigerator on and a few beers inside.This test killed my OEM batteries in about 20 hours.The new ones lasted 3 days at Oshkosh WI in the last week of July which was very hot and the 'fridge ran constantly.The fridge is really the biggest load unless TV is an important consideration in which case turn it on for an hour each evening.At the end of this you will have information that is of far more use than a bunch of voltage readings that have limited meaning to most owners.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:24 PM   #7
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Try checking the batteries 3 or 4 hours after you've unplugged from shore power. It they still hold at 12.7v that's normal for a battery at rest with no load.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:33 AM   #8
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I think I'm ok, I may have panicked for no reason...

I unplugged the coach from shore power and checked the voltage 24 hours later. I got a 12.5V reading, which I assume means I'm ok. Not great, just ok.

Last time I used a hydrometer I got acid all over the place. The acid ate the markings off of the face of the hydrometer, rendering it useless. I decided then to just make an educated guess next time.

I use a Pro-Fill battery watering system and religiously check the water level monthly, so I know the water level is ok.

I'll keep an eye on them over the next couple of days. Thanks everyone for your feedback!

Craig
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:34 PM   #9
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Use the Charge Wizard. Have had the 4 6v batteries for 8 years. I use the battery water filler from NAPA that shuts off automatically. When we have the coach at home it is always plugged in. We boondock occassionly, sometimes for a week at a time with no problems, yet. But next year I plan on buying new chassis (also 8 years old) and house batteries.

During the winter a trickle charger keeps the chassis battery up to snuff. But I have used a small solar cell when sitting for long periods of time.
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