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Old 06-27-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
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Deep Cycle Batteries

I have a 2010 Arctic Fox TT and it came with 2 Sterling Deep Cycle (Group 24) 12v batteries.

I've taken lousy care of them. The trailer sits for 9 months a year. While parked the trailer is not plugged in and the batteries just sit. We use the trailer 2 to 3 months a year and during that time it's plugged into shore power the entire time.

The only charger on the trailer is the standard convertor that comes with the trailer.

The Sterlings are sealed so there's no topping up with water. And, we live in Texas so the trailer is sitting in 95 or higher degree temps for 5 months each year, too.

We just got back from a month long trip to Durango and on the return trip I noticed the batteries were not holding a charge very long at all. It seems I can charge them (with the trailer) and they are nearly dead within an hour after that.

Now, I'm willing to believe that I've been a rotten battery owner and I should just replace these batteries -- but I want to ask. Can I "repair" them? If I get a good 3-stage battery charger/conditioner and start taking good care of them can I likely bring them back to life? Or should I just throw these out, buy some new batteries and pledge to do better with the next ones.

I'm not into boondoocking -- and most of the time when camping were on shore power or generators. But the batteries need to power the basics like the Frige on propane, the trailer break away and such.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:42 PM   #2
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Your 2010 RV was probably built in 2009, so your batteries are probably close to 4 years old. That's about the average life of RV batteries. So most would probably say it's time to replace them.

But I'm a cheapskate, so I'd first try to revive them with an excellent battery charger that includes three stages - bulk charge stage, absorbtion stage, and float charge stage. Battery Tender makes a couple, the Battery Tender Plus and the Battery Tender Junior.
Complete Product Listing - Batterytender.com

If the battery was never discharged so much that it became sulfated and thus ruined, then the Battery Tender might recover it if left hooked up for a few days.

If the battery is sulfated, then it's time to recycle it and get the lead out. There are ways to revive a sulfated battery, but it's a lot of trouble, and the techniques often don't work.
HOW CAN I REVIVE A SULFATED BATTERY?

In the future, disconnect the battery when you put the RV into storage. Or else use a battery tender that draws shore power directly from the shore power plug - without having the RV plugged in. If you leave the RV plugged in, then the battery is charged with the RV's power supply/battery charger, which often does not have a good float charge stage. (I bought a couple of $200+ deep-discharge batteries before I realized that my on-board charger was overcharging my expensive marine battery.)
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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It would not hurt to try and revive them however.. Read on.

First.. Are they maintenance free or AGM.. My AGM's lasted six years before I replaced them, should have done it at 4, My Flooded wet cells (GC-2 Golf Car batteries, in this case Interstate Work-a-holic U-2200) are still going strong at 8 years and will likely hit 10. But I have a proper 3 stage converter. (Progressive dynamics 9180 with wizard one of the "Top Tier" converters, not by any means the only one).

If you have a pair of Group 24, you have at best 150 amp hours (100 if Optima) you might wish to consider an "upgrade" to a pair of six volt if you can mount them

Check the size EPICALLY the height, they are taller.

You hook them in series, like this.

-{bat}t{ery}+

as opposed to parallel like your current batteries,

-{battery}+
-{battery}+

When properly installed they become, effectivelly, one BIG 122 volt battery.. You treat them as such, charge them as such consider them as such.

230 amp hours. that's 80 more than you have now, like adding a 3rd battery.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help guys. It's 2 months before our next trip so I figure I'll give it a go. I just didn't want to waste the time if it was a totally lost cause.

I don't think they are sulfated they hold a 7+ volt charge right now and I thought sulfated batteries would show no charge.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:33 PM   #5
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In one sentence, "too late, you've been a lousy owner, but you had help". Typical chargers in RVs don't even make good boat anchors, they only have one setting high and overcharge (overheat) the batteries, they don't "float down" once the batteries are full. Trying to "rejuvenate" batteries that have been abused and are getting old is a fool's errand, you will just frustrate yourself.
Replace the batteries, buy a good 3 stage charger like Progressive Dynamics, buy a looooooooooong, cheap cord and keep the rig (and the charger) plugged in someplace, when sitting unused.
+7V means that some of the cell probably went bye-bye

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Old 06-27-2013, 08:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
I don't think they are sulfated they hold a 7+ volt charge right now and I thought sulfated batteries would show no charge.
If they are 12-volt batteries, then anything less than 11 volts output means they are ruined. Less than 11.7 volts output means they are fully discharged and probably ruined.

Approximate charge:

12.60 V = 100%
12.35 V = 75%
12.10 V = 50%
11.95 V = 25%
11.70 V = 0%
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:32 PM   #7
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OK then. New Batteries it is. And, I'll pull them out of the trailer when I store it and bring them home and use a good 3-stage charger on them.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:10 AM   #8
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If you want your new ones to last longer, pull them out of the trailer when you store it, and bring them home and put them on a battery tender type charger when you aren't using the trailer.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Thanks for the help guys. It's 2 months before our next trip so I figure I'll give it a go. I just didn't want to waste the time if it was a totally lost cause.

I don't think they are sulfated they hold a 7+ volt charge right now and I thought sulfated batteries would show no charge.
If they have been discharged below 10.6 vdc then you have caused some damage already, but 7 vdc that's a pretty deep discharge. If you have done it repeatedly then I think it's time for some new batteries.
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