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Old 05-04-2016, 06:25 PM   #1
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Do I really need expensive 12V batteries?

2008 Eagle 299RLS 5er. I've had Interstate batteries in it since we bought it new in '09 and have not been disappointed. (7 years!) Last year we noticed they were not holding a charge worth a s*^#. So I need new batteries. But here's our situation; we always dry camp, no camp grounds with hookups for us, and I have to run a generator every night because I use a CPAP. So . . . do you think I need to get $100 + batteries or will the "Sam's Club brand" do the trick? After all, we don't need them to last for days running everything. They get charged every night. I also use a small solar panel connected to them 24/7 while camping.
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:45 PM   #2
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Sam's are made by the same companies as everyone else's. Not a problem...
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by dig4gold View Post
2008 Eagle 299RLS 5er. I've had Interstate batteries in it since we bought it new in '09 and have not been disappointed. (7 years!) Last year we noticed they were not holding a charge worth a s*^#. So I need new batteries. But here's our situation; we always dry camp, no camp grounds with hookups for us, and I have to run a generator every night because I use a CPAP. So . . . do you think I need to get $100 + batteries or will the "Sam's Club brand" do the trick? After all, we don't need them to last for days running everything. They get charged every night. I also use a small solar panel connected to them 24/7 while camping.
I have a saying which would be perfect right now:
"Buy cheap and you will buy twice".
7 years of use for batteries is really good IMO. I use top of the line batteries from NAPA which are actually built by Deka. I own and operate an auto and light truck repair shop. I sell these batteries and seldom have a warranty claim. Most of the warranties I have handled are cases where the battery was drained flat and the battery froze making it useless. Customers don't want to admit this but when I replace a battery and the interior lights immediately come on I know what the problem was. NAPA is quite liberal with warranty claims as a rule.
Not to slam Sam's club (I am a member) but I probably replace more batteries from there than any other brand.
All said and done when it comes to batteries you truly do get what you pay for.
I have had a couple Interstate batteries. One was good, another not so much. I was in a friends shop a few years ago and he had a nice display with Interstate batteries on a rack. The salesman from Interstate came in, looked at the display and went to work changing all the date codes on the displayed batteries. After the salesman left I asked my friend, "What was up with that"? He said, "He comes in every three or four months and does that". I feel someone is really buying a battery which is date unknown but the warranty is in effect. Big deal IMO. This doesn't ease the pain much when it fails and no dealer is close by.
If I buy a battery it will be from someone who has a constant turnover and the battery is fresh.
Lynn
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:03 PM   #4
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We went 10 years on our OEM Interstate U-2200's in the '02 Dutch Star. Replaced them with basically the same battery.
With the OP's usage I'd think good deep cycle wet cells would do, but if money were no object then AGM's would be my choice.
BTW: I have a CPAP and run it nightly off the batteries through the inverter so we didn't need the gen to run all night. A CPAP needs very little power, some even run directly off the 12V batteries.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:06 PM   #5
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Sam's are made by the same companies as everyone else's. Not a problem...
That statement isn't really factual. There are only a few manufacturers of batteries in this country but the fact is every battery is made to meet the specifications of the brand seller. You are not going to get a top of line battery at a bargain price. Same companies maybe but different specs to fit a certain market.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dig4gold View Post
2008 Eagle 299RLS 5er. I've had Interstate batteries in it since we bought it new in '09 and have not been disappointed. (7 years!) Last year we noticed they were not holding a charge worth a s*^#. So I need new batteries. But here's our situation; we always dry camp, no camp grounds with hookups for us, and I have to run a generator every night because I use a CPAP. So . . . do you think I need to get $100 + batteries or will the "Sam's Club brand" do the trick? After all, we don't need them to last for days running everything. They get charged every night. I also use a small solar panel connected to them 24/7 while camping.
Personally I think the best cost / value / life ratio is Deep Cycle batteries at a cost of under $ 1 per amp hour and for me they last 5-7 years. The tricks are:

Have enough battery storage capacity that you never draw them down below 20 % and draw them down below 50 % only a few times per year.

Have a good 3 stage charger that does not under-charge or too much over-charge the batteries. A good charger does a slight over-charge to make sure the six in-series cells in a 12 volt battery system stay balanced.

Checking to make sure all cells have enough liquid in them, when filling get liquid up to the bottom ring of the battery cap holes, and never adding anything except distilled water when adding water to them. Make sure that the caps that cover 3 cells at once seat properly when you replace them.
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:45 PM   #7
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Off topic ,but a battery story. Many years ago I worked for a phone company. We had a power room in the basement of the building. In the power room we had a lead acid battery bank. Cells were connected in series to produce 48 volts. The batteries were open top, 4 feet high and 3 foot square. We topped them off with city water and a garden hose when necessary. The cells were kept at float level voltage. The batteries were more than 25 years old.
Battery life is to some degree is determined how the we punish them with excessive draw down.

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Old 05-04-2016, 07:51 PM   #8
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Off topic ,but a battery story. Many years ago I worked for a phone company. We had a power room in the basement of the building. In the power room we had a lead acid battery bank. Cells were connected in series to produce 48 volts. The batteries were open top, 4 feet high and 3 foot square. We topped them off with city water and a garden hose when necessary. The cells were kept at float level voltage. The batteries were more than 25 years old.
Battery life is to some degree is determined how the we punish them with excessive draw down.

CLIFF
I am also a former Telco Guy, those good old Telco batteries in particular the legendary Round Cells were incredible, if the routines were followed they would last 25 years just as you say. Ever see what happened if a worker dropped a metal object and it landed across the copper bus bars, pretty exciting.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:01 PM   #9
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I'm using two Sam' Club Duracell 6VDC GC2 batteries. Got them for $79 but also got a $15 per battery discount for the old batteries core return. No signs of capacity loss. East Penn is the manufacture.

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Old 05-04-2016, 08:13 PM   #10
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EAST PENN is the Deka Battery Company in Pennsylvania, a huge producer of fine batteries. I have friends that work there.

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Old 05-05-2016, 06:23 AM   #11
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if you have an interstate battery place near you, not a Sams or Walmart, they usually have reconditioned batteries for about 35 that are just fine. I know the gys at ours, I deal with them alot. You'll be surprised how many people blame alternator issues on batteries. They get new batteries put in, and a few hours later they are dead and they didn't need to buy a battery after all. (yes the guys there tell them that but the customer is always right). So they return the batteries and THEN go get a new alternator. Interstate sells them at greatly reduced prices.
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:48 AM   #12
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That statement isn't really factual. There are only a few manufacturers of batteries in this country but the fact is every battery is made to meet the specifications of the brand seller. You are not going to get a top of line battery at a bargain price. Same companies maybe but different specs to fit a certain market.
Lynn
I also looked at the weight of the battery when I was shopping for them.
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Old 05-08-2016, 06:44 PM   #13
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I have to run a generator every night because I use a CPAP. So . .
I use a cpap as well..no generator..just 2 6 volt batteries.. I didn't buy an inverter.. my machine had an accessory that will connect the machine to batteries or a cig lighter.. I just wired it through the trailer so I have a plug in when we boondock..when we are connected to power..I use the normal plug.
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Old 05-08-2016, 06:48 PM   #14
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Ever see what happened if a worker dropped a metal object and it landed across the copper bus bars, pretty exciting.
Same with any car/RV battery with something metallic across the terminals
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