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Old 06-25-2010, 11:45 PM   #1
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which batteries

Hi there rv'ers we just bught a 1990 Fleetwood Southwind and was wondering what house batteries I should buy. We will be doing a lot of boondocking so I want to get the right stuff. My buddy has two six volts and it works well but he knows nothing about them. We looked at Costco to see what they had and they have six volt golf cart batteries for 75.00, is this somthing I should consider or should I look at somthing else. I would like to hear your opinions.

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Jplrace and crew
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Old 06-26-2010, 02:36 AM   #2
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We use Interstate Batteries because of the cold weather here in Alaska. They are awesome. Cost a little more, but they last a lot longer in our trucks and the rig.
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:27 AM   #3
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Here are some links to help you do the research that will fit you personally, as there are many things to concider. Good luck and keep us posted.
U.S.Battery/Leader in Deep Cycle Batteries
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - DC Battery Specialists
Deep Cycle Battery FAQ
http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/sources.htm
http://www.batteryfaq.org

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Old 06-26-2010, 08:21 AM   #4
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The 6v golf cart batteries deliver a lot of amp hours and are very reliable. And $75 is an excellent value.

Remember, 6v batteries have to be connected in pairs wired in series. If you currently have 12v house batteries in your Southwind, there will be some minor cabling differences.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:02 AM   #5
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If you presently have 12 volt batteries you may have issues fitting 6 volt batteries into the same physical dimension. The 6 volt batteries are generally fatter and shorter. Be sure to do some measuring first.

If you already have 6 volt batteries - by all means stay with them. The 6 volt batteries are generally more robust and have heavier plates. You can also get slightly taller batteries from places like Interstate Battery that will give you evem more amp-hrs. Generally taller isn't an issue in most battery compartments.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RV Roamer [Gary] View Post
The 6v golf cart batteries deliver a lot of amp hours and are very reliable. And $75 is an excellent value.

Remember, 6v batteries have to be connected in pairs wired in series. If you currently have 12v house batteries in your Southwind, there will be some minor cabling differences.

Costco in our area, Connecticut, doesn't stock golf cart batteries . . . Sam's does! I just changed from 2 older "deep cycle" 12v batteries to 2 brand new golf cart batteries from Sam's at $75 each plus a 10% one day membership upcharge. There are plenty of wiring diagrams online and I had no problem using existing wiring. Sure, AGM's are "better", but I could replace the golf cart batteries several times before I spent what the AGM's cost. The improvement in available power was evident immediately.

The real questions are what are your power needs for boondocking? . . . do you need to just run the house 12v systems or do you have an inverter which will suck the batteries dry as you make coffee, toast and use the microwave? . . . how long are your trips? . . . how do you recharge your batteries (solar, generator, etc.)?

We bought our 1991 Itasca last year (our first RV) and struggled with power the first season. I wish we had made the switch to 6v golf cart batteries right away.

You may also need to look into upgrading your converter/charger, which is probably a Magneteck or something similar? They were good in their day, but new technology is much better.

Here's what we went with:

Intelli-Power PD9245C 45A Electronic RV Converter/Charger

Search the web (including eBay) . . . I picked up a brand new one for less than $150. It was not a difficult upgrade. You can get 60amp or higher models . . . I felt that 45 amp was big enough for our needs.

Good luck!
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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If you will be doing alot of boondocking you will need alot of amp/hour capacity so get the largest capacity batteries that will fit in the space where they will be kept. Be sure you have access to them for any service/maintenance that may be needed and size the jumper and main cables accordingly. If you have a converter you may want to consider upgrading it to charge the larger batteries or you may even want to install an inverter/charger.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:50 AM   #8
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Since you will likely like lots of stored power for boondockign those six volts from COSTCO or Sam's are about the best "Bang for your buck" You can get bigger, You can get smaller, You can get "other features" from various places but truthfully.. all that will cost more.. The minimum I"d consider is two pair.. 3 or 4 pair if your rig has the room and cargo capacity is even better... But one caution.

The flooded wet cell CG-2 battery is NOT maintenance free. This means you need to get to the top of it (And above) Clean off corrosing, wash them off, and then add DISTILLED water from time to time.. In some cases a circus controtionist would have issues getting to the top of the installed battery. If that is the case go with a maintenance free design.. Wall-mart has at least one Maintenance free that looks promising but it will be fall before I can test it.

Finally.. You may have noted above that I did not say "4 batteries" I said Two Pair.

The reason for this is there are no six volt batteries in RV.. What we have is 12 volt 2-piece batteries.. Now I do admit when you remove them from the RV each piece is six volts.. But installed.. One hopes for the perfect wedding, the pair becomes one, 220 amp hour, 12 volt, deep cycle battery basically a 4-D battery but easier to install, remove and carry cause you do it in 2 halves.

There is a lot of confusion over six volt batteries,, But if you think of each pair as a SINGLE 12 volt battery.. The questions.. vanish.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:54 AM   #9
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What about Optima blue top? Does anyone have experience with them? I just put a yellow top in for the starter battery but will be needing house batteries soon. In AZ I use only Optima in my cars as the water evaperates to fast and shorts the cells in regular batteries.

The starter battery in my MH went out after 6 months. The dealer put in a Napa battery when I bought it in Jan 2010, bad already!
The house is a Napa group 27 deep cell, but I have my doubts about how long it will last.

Thanks for the posts.
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:53 PM   #10
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Optima batteries are fantastic for very rough service (LIke on a 4-runner or a Wave Runner) or where you have sudden peak demands that are far beyond anything you will see in an RV

But the optima is only 3/4 battery at a 4/3 (or higher) price (normally)

You need only to LOOK at one to see it is about 1/4... AIR I mean 1/4 of the space there is NOTHING there.. If you look at the spec sheets you see that too.

I would avoid Optima big time..

NOW;;;; If you want AGM.. Lifeline makes a very good AGM that can do almost everything an optima can (It too has an impressive peak current) the only thing is if you physically beat it up (4-runner style) it won't do as well as the optima.

But it's all battery,, No dead space. so it has 1/3 more capacity than the optima. (In fact the same as a regular battery of the same size)


Optima's look cool.. And I'll admit I found them.. shall we say Seductive. THEN.. THEN I did the research.. and they lost their appeal fast.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:08 AM   #11
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The Spiralcell Technology means more plate surface, closer plate spacing and the ability to use high purity lead. RESULTING IN: Low internal resistance. This low resistance gives you more power in a smaller box, the ability to recharge much faster, and higher and cleaner voltage characteristics during discharge.
  • There is no shedding of active paste material
  • The Spiralcell design immobilizes the plates preventing the active paste from working loose, which can cause plate to plate shorting
  • They utilize a high purity lead-tin grid
  • The grid material in OPTIMA batteries is more resistant to grid degradation - a type of internal corrosion that affects the plates inside a battery as it ages
  • The completely sealed design prevents loss of water which can lead to plate dry-out and failure
All I am saying is in my car and pickup in Arizona 115 dergree heat, the battery would not last more that 2 years. AC/Delco 2 years, Motorcraft 18 months, Excide 10-12 months, Napa 6 months. This is beacause of the heat evaperates or boils off the water in the battery leaving an exposed lead cell.
I have a Red Top in my Mustang that I have had for 3 years, my Chevy truck 2 years so far. My friends have some that are more than 6 years old still going strong. Just wondering how using the Blue Top deep cell would be for house battery.

Thanks for posting!
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:41 AM   #12
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There are several arguments in favor of a true deep cycle, Which the xix volt golf car battery is. v/s marine/deep cycle (Which are basically cranking/crankey batteries) but one fact that is hard to escape is the cost.

Basically. The six volt golf car battery is the most popular battery configuration in the world.. The reason is that unlike the automotive issue most every golf car maker uses the very same battery.. Imagine if you could just go to Pep Boys and say "I need a new battery for my car" an instead of asking year, make, model and all that they just said "HERE" how much cheaper would that ONE battery be, as opposed to one of a rack with over 2 dozen different sizes on it?

That's the way it is with the Six volt battery... You walk in and say "I need a battery for my golf car" they do not ask stupid questions.. They just hand you a GC-2.

Of course.. Now days.. They make Golf Cars that take 12 volt batteries.. so this will change.. but it will take a while.

And those two batteries (The 6 and 12 volt golf car batteries) when the new ones become more common... are going to be the #1 and #2 low cost winners.
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:41 AM   #13
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12 volt batteries are connected in parallel with a red jumper between the positive posts and a black jumper between the two negative posts.
Series for 6 Volts involve connecting a cable jumper between the positive post of one to the negative post of the other.
Here's a great reference to show how to do it:
RV Batteries Wiring Diagrams
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:39 PM   #14
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Get batteries from a retailer who sells a lot to folks that use them like you do and will stand behind what he sells.

Forget the 'true deep cycle 6v golf cart myths' and other similar marketing hype. Go with what can be measured that someone will stand behind. These are things like warranty, cost, capacity, size, and terminal configuration.

Wet cell lead acid batteries such as commonly used in RV's all provide about 22 watt hours per pound of battery. That's not much and there's no battery brand or voltage or whatever that is going to change this.

The first thing that needs attention is your charger and maintainer. You need a multiple stage charger that will vigorously charge your batteries and you need a battery maintainer that will keep them at full charge as well as inhibit sulfation when the batteries are not in use.

While an AGM might be expected to last 50% longer than a wet cell, the life you get from your batteries has more to do with your use and management than anything else.
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