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Old 10-30-2008, 10:08 AM   #1
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Hi, I'm a new member with zero experience on a forum. My trial question: What is the best replacement battery for my 5th wheel? No maintenance gel or standard lead-acid... Thanks!
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:08 AM   #2
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Hi, I'm a new member with zero experience on a forum. My trial question: What is the best replacement battery for my 5th wheel? No maintenance gel or standard lead-acid... Thanks!
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:59 PM   #3
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Welcome aboard to the IRV forum. I'm sure there are some opinions here. I have great luck with Interstate for the house batteries. What type are you replacing? 6 volt? 12 volt?

Your neighbor at Sunflower in Surprise AZ.
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:00 PM   #4
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A2CFrog...
Welcome to iRV2!! We are glad you have joined us here.
I can't answer your question 100% BUT I can make a shortcut where others may jump in and give you more info to help you.

Again...welcome to iRV2...please visit & post often!!


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Old 10-30-2008, 08:24 PM   #5
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Howdy! There are several things to consider to answer your question. Lead-acid batteries are the cheapest, they are not fussy about re-charging rate, most are maintence-free. For example, Interstate Battery says if their battery requires adding water, it is faulty.
AGM batteries require a narrow re-charging rate, they are expensive.
If your converter/charger is a high-end unit it will re-charge AGM batteries satisfactorily, a low-end converter may ruin a AGM battery.
Instead of repeating it, I'll direct you to The 12 volt side of life, by Mark Nemeth and this battery tutorial for a learning experience.
As a general rule, buying a heavier a battery, you are buying better quality. Of course how big the battery bank is depends on how much dry camping you plan to enjoy. If you never dry camp, one 12V deep cycle battery is the minimum. On a cold night the furnace, and other draws, will drain it in about 4-6 hours dry camping.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:58 AM   #6
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A2CFrog, welcome to iRV2.com. We are glad to have you join us here and look forward to reading of your new adventures. It looks like you have already gotten some good advice. If we can help further, just ask. I am sure you will enjoy this website and forums. Good luck and stay safe.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:46 AM   #7
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Hi A2CFrog,
Welcome to iRV2. There is something else to consider. Do you "get along" with batteries? I do not. No matter how often I followed the maintenance process and how careful I was to do it right, flooded batteries never last very long.

Last year I got AGM type batteries. Except for a washing, once a year, there is no maintenance. So far it was a good decision.
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:53 PM   #8
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Gary: You might have run into the same problem I had a few years ago with another coach. After "cooking" three coach batteries I did some research about maintenance voltage. Learned that 13.8 VDC was max to be charged into a fully charged battery. My converter was pushing out 14 plus which kept boiling water out. That converter I could adjust and after droping the volts down to about 13.7 vdc, had no more battery problem for the next two or three years I had that coach. I was surprise at what a volt plus could do to a battery.

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Old 10-31-2008, 11:08 PM   #9
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There will be lots of opinions about batteries...

If you are running two, I prefer a pair of 6v's in series, as they are built specifically to deep cycle.

Trojan's T-105 is probably one of the most cost effective, when you look at their amp hour rating, and expected life cycles (and catch them on sale). T125's and T145's have more capacity, though, and will fit in most battery boxes.

Absorbed glass mat (AGM) types are more expensive, but don't require water to be added, they won't spill even if broken, they resist freezing and vibration better, and they last quite a bit longer than flooded cells. Unfortunately they are more expensive.

Anyway, choosing AGM or flooded cell to me would come down to how easy (or difficult) it is to get at your batteries, and how fat the wallet is...


Though it is a lot of reading, this page has detailed info on batteries...
Battery FAQ's

Also, welcome to the forum.
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:53 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Do you "get along" with batteries? I do not. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Now that is an honesty not often found on this topic! ;-)

Your best bet for batteries is to get batteries from a reputable retailer who sells a lot of them to folks who use them like you do and will stand behind what he sells.

Forget the hype about brand or anything to do with the "true deep cycle 6v golf cart" family of claims. Do not get dragged into the wet cell versus AGM or similar debates. Those are all small issues for dilettantes in the overall scheme of things.

If your batteries are not providing the service you need and expect, then it is not the batteries that need consideration but rather your use, management, and equipment. Look at Ample Power's list of how to kill batteries if you want a nice concise list of what not do if you want to get good battery life and performance.

See Basic battery guidelines for a summary of things you can do to get the best from your batteries and where to go to find out as much or more than you ever wanted to know.
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:25 PM   #11
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Hi Marty,
The my charger is a three stage unit. The voltage does decrease to a steady state of 13.4V. Every time I have taken a measurement the charger was doing what it should be doing.
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:02 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Your best bet for batteries is to get batteries from a reputable retailer who sells a lot of them to folks who use them like you do and will stand behind what he sells. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

But how does one identify a "reputable dealer"? And is an RV dealer, a battery dealer, or your local auto service center? Most of the palces I visit to ask about batteries know less about them than I do. They sell what they have, not what you need.

And I beg to differ with you, BryanL: true deep cycle IS important, though 6v vs 12v is not. A true deep cycle will last 3x or more longer than a warmed over automotive starting battery labeled "marine deep cycle".
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:23 AM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">But how does one identify a "reputable dealer"? ... They sell what they have, not what you need. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

They will not sell what they have unless they have a buyer. They will not have buyers (for long) if what they sell is not suited to their market.

As I said, some criteria to use are that the dealer sells a lot of batteries to folks that use them like you do and stands behind what he sells. That 'stands behind' means he offers good warranties and honors them.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">And I beg to differ with you, BryanL: true deep cycle IS important </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The problem here is defining "true deep cycle" - I have yet to find anything on a typical battery spec sheet that can delineate such a qualification, especially the "true" part.

What should also be noted is that no lead acid battery available for RV service should be deeply discharged (i.e. discharged significantly below 50% state of charge) as a regular thing if battery life is desired.

Another factor is that typical RV duty is rather intermittent and very unlikely to cycle a battery through the number of cycles that comes close to placing any limitation from that cause on its usable life. A typical 5 year battery life expectancy times monthly weekends is perhaps 100 cycles yet even SLI batteries will handle several times that many moderate discharge cycles.

There are marketing labels and there are specifications. My suggestion is that you don't get swayed by the former when the latter doesn't measure them. The differences between common lead acid batteries are more a matter of degree rather than of kind. These differences are not the most significant ones for most RV use, either, when it comes to the reasons for battery failure.

Another thing to think about: why can you get a 7 year warranty on your car's SLI battery, but only 3 years on a very similar battery for RV service, or perhaps no warranty on that battery for commercial service? The industry is speaking to you but the message is hidden!

The data, such as on specification sheets, are what is important. There are no data I have seen that support any conclusion that "A true deep cycle will last 3x or more longer than a warmed over automotive starting battery labeled "marine deep cycle"." The best summary I have seen on this is at Az Wind Sun which indicates a 4 - 7 year life expectancy for any wet cell lead acid and maybe a year or two longer for AGM's. If there are indeed good studies that actually have a measurable definition of "true deep cycle" and dependable statistics on life with appropriate consideration of the variables involved, I'd like to get the opportunity to inspect them.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:14 AM   #14
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There are substantial differences in batteries both as to type and construction which may impact your RV lifestyle. Sealed batteries are not recommended in desert conditions. My last premium AGM lasted 10 months.

If you are going to do a lot of boondocking then the type of battery you buy is very important. I boondock a lot in desert areas. I run Trojan's which are deep cycle wet acid. They can withstand more cycles and deeper cycles because they are designed to do so which is something that occurs when you boondock. I also closely monitor the fluid levels and their charge and take necessary corrective action.

I had room for 3 size 27 batteries via their foot print and 24 inches of height. I chose the J-185H which is a 12v 215 AH battery commonly used in floor machines with a foot print of the 27 but 18 inches high. They weigh 115 pounds each giving me 645 AH of capacity.

The more the battery weighs the more AH of output. It's a chemical reaction thing... A quality deep cycle battery will weigh more than a similar starting battery of the same size. The added weight is in the plates, they are thicker and have less surface area, giving more AH of storage. Thinner plates offer less storage and greater surface area yielding higher discharge amps for starting. Surface area and weight of reactants are also a chemical reaction thingee... universally true no matter what some on this forum may say. Trojans also have high quality rugged cases. They can be bought directly from the Trojan wholesaler who also can help you choose the right battery for your uses.
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