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Old 10-03-2015, 08:45 AM   #1
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Question Help...need Deep Cycle battery advise!

This saga started last spring. My battery failed and I went to Walmart and bought a "Ever Start 12 volt group 27 deep cycle battery". I decided on the Group 27 battery as an up grade to the dead group 24 that was in my trailer.
The battery seemed to be the answer in June. Did some no hook-up camping and used my generator everyday for about two hours to keep the new battery charged while "Boondocking".
We then began two trips using full hook-up campgrounds. First trip was to Maine for about three weeks. The second trip was a short boondock in the Adirondack, again using the generator a few hours each day. That was followed by a longer full hook-up trip down south that lasted over four weeks. During that trip my tow vehicle battery ran down to zero. I never thought that towing four to six hours a day could drain my battery while running. I never gave any thought to my trailer battery. I replaced my tow vehicle battery in West Virginia where it bit the dust.
Auto Zone did the install and tested my old battery...it tested out as "toast".
The balance of the trip went well.

Upon returning back to home base I prepared the trailer for winter storage.
It was then I noticed my trailer battery would charge up to full and if I disconnected the A/C power to the trailer the trailer battery would run down to stone cold dead in 24 hours or less. It had a one year full replacement warranty from Walmart. I returned it to the store but opted for a full refund. I told the store I did not want the same battery but an upgrade.

Now here is my problem...What to Buy???....I have enough room to upgrade again to a group 29 size deep cycle but after reading about deep cycle batteries on the many internet sites I am even more confused.
Here are the facts: My trailer systems all work and do keep the trailer battery charged. I keep the trailer plugged in to A/C power when it is back at home base. After winterization in October I remove the trailer battery for storage inside and plug it into a quality maintainer/charger for the winter.
The Walmart battery lasted from June 2015 to when I realized it would not hold a charge in late September. I confirmed that it was brought to full charge using the trailer's onboard system but once A/C power was removed the battery lost 100% of the charge in less than 24 hours with no load. Battery was toast.

It seems most deep cycle batteries are dual purpose (for both starting amps and long term draw). The internet says these have thin lead plates and are not real deep cycle batteries. Deep Cycle batteries should have the thicker plates designed for the long term draw of our RV application. None of the sites supply information on plate thickness and many do not list "AH" information...all seem to be dual purpose batteries.....DO I SOUND CONFUSED???

I must buy another battery in the early spring at the start of our camping season. I do not want to end up with another problem.....HELP!
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Old 10-03-2015, 10:40 AM   #2
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It was then I noticed my trailer battery would charge up to full and if I disconnected the A/C power to the trailer the trailer battery would run down to stone cold dead in 24 hours or less.
I think you should find the battery drain first. Batteries shouldn't drain to dead overnight in an unused trailer.

How are you charging the batteries when you are not hooked up (using the gennie)? Are you using the 12V connection on the gennie, or are you using an automatic charger? If auto-charger, which one?
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:58 AM   #3
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There is more than one problem here...you must have had an older/bad battery in the TV--just driving, the alt/reg should not allow the battery to run down unless it is already "toast". So, make sure your charging system on the TV is functioning correctly.
Secondly, as mentioned above, there is a drain on your battery or you are using something that runs it down. Also, if using the gen's 12volt charging outlet--it ain't gonna do much good for the battery--get an automotive multistage charger and run IT off the 120volt outlet on the gen--this will do much better for keeping the battery up.
If you have room--2 6volt deep cycle batteries will last much longer/work better for dry-camping.
I also don't think you can confirm a 'full charge' without load-testing it.
Keep us up on what you do and how it works for you.
Joe
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:57 AM   #4
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Yes I did have an older battery in the TV....as close as I can figure it could have been 6+ years old.

The rapid battery drain in the trailer is of concern....I did make every effort to shut down any and all possible power usage when I did my tests, including even the propane detection system...it still drained down. That is why I assumed it was the battery. I do not have a degree in electronics nor the equipment to test other than a voltage testing meter.

When I used my portable generator when boondocking I plugged the trailer into the 30AMP plug on the generator (3,100 watts) and let the trailer's system recharge the battery...all indications were that it did bring the battery back up to full when I used the generator for about three hours at AM and PM meal times. Whenever the trailer is back at home base it is connected to A/C power.

The travel trailer is now winterized...without any battery until April when I will buy one based on what I can determine to be the best deep cycle battery I can purchase. If there is a way to test the system in the trailer to determine if there is a mystery drain on the battery please let me know how to do that. If it is not a "Do it yourself project" I will take it to a qualified RV service center if that is the best thing to do. This I could do in the early spring of next year's camping season.

Keep the information and suggestions coming...I have 6 months to formulate a action plan and buy a new battery.

Thank You All!!!
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:05 AM   #5
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I do not have a degree in electronics nor the equipment to test other than a voltage testing meter.

When I used my portable generator when boondocking I plugged the trailer into the 30AMP plug on the generator (3,100 watts) and let the trailer's system recharge the battery...all indications were that it did bring the battery back up to full when I used the generator for about three hours at AM and PM meal times.
Report the volts when charging.

What indications showed the battery was fully charged?

I will never buy another battery from Walmart, had every one fail.
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Old 10-05-2015, 10:48 AM   #6
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On a motor home house battery or on a trailer you should use a DEEP CYCLE not a MARINE/deep cycle (pay attnetion to case in this post as the reason I put MARINE in caps is that is what the battery really is)

GC-2 (Six volt) and GC-12 (12 volt) are DEEP CYCLE batteries.

Group 24,27,29,31 are usually MARINE/deep cycle, (Unless you do somehting like get AGM and then they are very very expensive)
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Old 10-05-2015, 03:52 PM   #7
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You might have bought a bad battery from Wal-Mart. I would buy a new 12V group 29 battery next spring and see how it works.
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Old 10-05-2015, 04:14 PM   #8
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check for loads

Disconnect neg battery terminal and attach probes from multimeter. If you have voltage or amperage through this circuit you have a load - you can check where by pulling 12v fuses out of box to isolate circuit. This is all standard 12v trounleshooting - lots of good info in library, on line and/or youtube ( may be easiest because it is show and tell).
Check this first d/t complete discharge of trailer battery overnight.
Good luck - be patient and systematic to determine problem (s)
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Old 10-05-2015, 04:22 PM   #9
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Oops! Make that disconnect positive battery cable and attach probes between cable and battery terminal.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:52 AM   #10
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At this point in time I do not have any battery for trailer as I returned the one I bought at Walmart for a full refund last week. My problem as I shop local is that everything I find is labeled "MARINE/RV Deep Cycle" All are liquid acid type...I have yet to see any "AGM" type batteries at retail. At this point I'd pay the extra for an AGM true deep cycle battery just to end the problem. On line sellers use vague terms in describing their AGM batteries and don't even indicate the actual physical size of the batteries they offer. All my internet research is either vague or loaded down with technical mambo-Jumbo terms that only serve to make the subject even more confusing. Many reviews state that all the batteries now weigh less than in past years indicating they contain fewer lead plates. Hard to tell what to believe.

The idea of going with a group 29 size battery sounds great but what battery to buy is still the question....glad I'm in no rush...still about 6 long winter months before I can resume camping. Now that I am retired I have the time to take many trips between May and October. Without a reliable battery my choices would be limited to commercial campgrounds with hook-ups....we do however enjoy the more remote options that require a battery that we can rely on.

Please keep the info coming
. Thanks.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:21 AM   #11
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I had issues boondocking on my first two trips with my trailer in June. I got rid of the single 12v and replaced it with dual 6v Trojans. Much longer life, but as you and others have mentioned, you have some electrical problem that ought to be investigated by a professional -- I can't figure that stuff out on my own, either! Before I get mine winterized for the season, I will be taking mine in and have them take a look at my system -- it isn't as bad as yours, but 2 1/2 weeks with "nothing" running dropped my system by a third....
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:33 AM   #12
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They make 12 V deep cycle batteries (we have 4 of them), GC-8 and they are double the size and weight of a GC-2 6 V deep cycle and weigh about 130#'s each. They are also expensive at over $300 each and AGM's in that size are over $500 each for the cheapest ones. I've seen marine places selling them for over $700 each
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:13 AM   #13
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My trailer has a ton of 12v items that drain the battery. The radio, refer controls, CO detector, water pump indicator, the display panel comes on when I request, and maybe a few more. Even with everything turned off I still see little indicator lights that stay on. I need to use the battery disconnect switch to turn every thing off.

My limited understanding of batteries is that the plates in group 29 batteries are thicker and less likely to have dead cells. And next best is group 27 then the little group 24.

For boon docking I would want a group 29 battery. A good converter, LED lites and a generator.

I have seen AGM batteries at the local Sam's Club.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:16 AM   #14
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You may have to look at updating/upgrading your converter-charger. Some of them just don't do a very good job at charging and maintaining a battery. I think buying a battery is pretty much luck of the draw whether you get a good one or not. I bought one last fall and it leaked acid all over the place through a little tiny hole in the case near the top. Took it back and the replacement has been working great all this year. It is a group 27 from Sam's. We don't boondock, per se, but it will keep things going longer than 24 hours.
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