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Old 10-18-2016, 09:15 AM   #1
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Coach Batteries Dying

2008 Coachmen Freelander with 2 deep cycle coach batteries. Drive 100 miles with alternator charging and condition meter in the coach telling me that the batteries are charged. We maybe use the range hood fan for 15 minutes and the water pump for the same length of time. All interior lights are LED and just use a few for let's say 3 hours and the condition meter is down to FAIR. By morning the generator won't even start.
Batteries + tells me the batteries are good but I can't believe it. Who should I take them to in order to get them properly tested? Where could there be a large enough drain to empty 2, 100 Amp hour batteries that fast?

Any help or suggestions will be appreciated. Is there another forum I should ask in?

Vagabond Jim
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:21 AM   #2
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I keep a hydrometer and a breakdown box on hand to do my own testing. A multimeter for voltage and charging checks. All can be bought for $50-75.00.

How did batteries plus check them? Alternatively auto zone or other can do so, but best would be a real battery shop that specializes in auto/truck/equipment batteries.
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:29 AM   #3
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Do yourself a favor and read up on the battery charging cycle. Get a good DMM. $20 or so should do it.

As a hypothesis -100 miles I equate to two hours. You are probably bulk charging 90% or less. Probably less. When you measure condition after parking you are looking at the surface charge residual voltage so they look more charged than they are. If you measure the voltage when you park and again in a half hour with a small bit of usage or none I expect you will see a significant drop to a lower state of charge indicating that. I also suspect you have damaged the batteries in there by repeatedly running them below 50% charge based on your "generator start" comment. It may be that you can keep using those batteries if you add a couple of hours of generator run time when you park. It may be that they are toast. Either way if you just put in new batteries expect to kill them soon with that usage pattern.

Getting them tested is tricky business. Proper testing of deep cycle storage batteries involves low current drain for hours. Most battery shop try to treat them like a starting battery - high current for a short time. Bad results and bad for the battery.
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:31 AM   #4
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batteries are a trip

You might do some checking by turning EVERYTHING off and measuring the draw on the batteries. I know on our previous 5'er, with everything off and disconnects it STILL had enough parasitic draw to kill the batteries in a day or two.

One other thing to check is the amp draw of the items you want to run...
AND that the charge rate of the batteries and the invertor are matched..
i.e. when I went to the trojans, I had to change the charge rate on my invertor to not pump more power into the batteries than they could handle.

understand that two batteries will not provide boon docking performance without a large solar array and./or more batteries.
good luck !
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:38 AM   #5
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Hour and half driving is not getting the batteries up to near full. How old are the batteries and how many times have they been flat? Get the batteries on charge for a good 6-8 hours then try them again if still a problem either a BIG drain on them or new batteries are needed.

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Old 10-18-2016, 01:56 PM   #6
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Smile Big Help

I want to thank you guys for all the input and give you feed back as to what steps I'll take. Though the batteries are from 2014 they are "Auto Craft" (????) and have a 550 "cold cranking amp" and 140 "reserve amp" rating but no indication of "ampere hours". Maybe there is some way to tell by those other two ratings but I don't know. Anyway there is also a very good chance that these batteries sat for very extended times at half or discharge conditions prior to my purchase of the motorhome.

I'm going to take myself out and buy two name brand 100+ amp hour deep cycle batteries and insure that each and every time I drive the alternator is doing its job of recharging them and running my generator for longer than one hour in the morning and evening.

Thanks Again
Vagabond Jim
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Old 10-18-2016, 10:33 PM   #7
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Sounds like starting batteries to me. Do yourself a favor and purchase 2 six volt deep cycle batteries, 4 if you have the room. With proper care they can last 10+ years.
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Old 10-19-2016, 08:21 AM   #8
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If you are running what I think you are your battery size and type is constrained by the battery location. IMHO a lot of the advice given is not applicable without doing some hacking with the system. Your root problem is inadequate charge time. More and better batteries will help but not solve the problem.

I run 2 trolling motor class batteries and dry camp with no problem as long as I do adequate generator time. By that I mean 1-2 hours in the morning and at least 2 in the evening as long as I am parked for the day. That gives me A/C, the toaster and microwave depending on what I am doing at the time.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:26 AM   #9
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Do a good search and read on both 12 and 6 volt DEEP CYCLE batteries. I'm running 2 12volt and they do well boondocking. If you go 6volt you will need to do a little rewire job, but that should be no problem. The batteries you have are start batteries not deep cycle and as above we run the Gen 2 hours in the morning with showers, heat and breakfast and the in the evening again for 2 hours while at high power use times and never have a low battery bank.

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Old 10-20-2016, 08:46 AM   #10
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Not trying to pick a fight but there is a practical side to battery choice. If you are running a DP with a battery drawer you have a lot more choices than anyone running a Ford chassis with the batteries under the step. One hunt a long time trying to get real deep cycle batteries that will fit in that space. OTOH it is a common trolling motor size that is easily available cheap. Yes, it is also rated to start the boat motor. No it is not a true DEEP CYCLE. It is a hybrid. Fewer thicker plates than the starting battery, more thinner plates than a "real deep cycle". Yes, it is available may places for half the cost of a real deep cycle if you can find one. Two will get you through a cold night if you are not running a residential refrigerator. Maybe even then. What more does one need?
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