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Old 11-03-2015, 10:45 PM   #1
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Batteries 101

Evening All,

Im new to this so here goes. I hope this is the right forum to put this in... i have a 82 apollo, chevy chassis, 454, I have a battery switch that i have to switch to the "both" setting to start the motor. I havent used the "house" battery(s) yet. I have looked at the batteries and if i remmber right i dont think they were deep cycle, just regular auto batteries. Thats part of my problem i assume. Ive looked at trojan batteries as ive heard alot of good things.

My question i suppose is how do i know what size batteries do i need? How do i tell what size would work? Amp hrs etc?

Also how does the charging system work? does the Alt charge both the house and engine batteries while going down the road? or just the auto battery? Just looking for a little 101...

Thanks Yall,

Matt
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:52 PM   #2
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Matt welcome,

I believe when you are pressing "that" switch, it is connecting your house batteries with your chassis batteries, this is not a normal operation.

So I would believe your chassis battery is shot, if you have a properly charged chassis battery, you will not have to press the "both" switch.


As to your question about house batteries, if you are going to "boondock" a lot then the tojans batteries would be worth the extra expense, I but the wal mart RV/marine batteries in mine, as I only boondock occasionally.

The alt should charge both the house and chassis batteries while the RV is running.

Hope this helps


For your chassis battery, take it to the autoparts store they can test it for you.


Im not sure if you have the P30 or P32 chassis by Chevy, but the autoparts store can recommend you a battery based on the year make and chassis
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:53 AM   #3
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CJ7365- Thanks, that actually helpped alot! Im not the greatest with electrical stuff, but this atleast gives me a basic idea of the system!

Thanks again!

Matt
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidewinder1 View Post
My question i suppose is how do i know what size batteries do i need? How do i tell what size would work? Amp hrs etc?
First find out what batteries you HAVE. For the engine battery, You replace with the same size. For the house batteries post and we can advise.. Many prefer six volt Golf Car (GC-2) batteries in pairs. Each pair is about the same as a 12 volt 4D only because it's 2 pieces instead of one easier to "Wrangle" (install/remove) Always think of the pair as a single 12 volt battery.. Some RV's however come with smaller house battery systems Like one or two Group 24s Upgrades are possible.


Quote:
Also how does the charging system work? does the Alt charge both the house and engine batteries while going down the road? or just the auto battery? Just looking for a little 101...
There are ALWAYS exceptions but usually if the engine is running then the alternator charges both HOUSE and Engine (chassis) batteries.

If running generator or plugged into shore power then the CONVERTER charges the house batteries and, depending on the RV, MAY also charge the starting (engine) battery.. or not.

If you need to find out Simply do this.

Find both battery banks. With engine off and RV not plugged in read voltages (Fully charged is 12.6 volts)

Now plug in and wait a few mintues.. If the battery voltage did not change, it's not being charged, (You should see over 13 volts if it's charging Though it might take a while to get there.. But you will see a small increase very quickly).

One final note:
ON some RV's all the batteries are right next to each other. Figuring out which is which can be fun.. On other RV's the Vehicle/Chassis/Engine/Starting battery (your choice of names) is somewhere OTHER than the house battery.

ON MY COACH which may be different than yours, House is under the step.. Chassis is behind the right front tire under the coach.

On another (Same chassis) parked behind me the engine battery is "Front and center" just behind the front grill.

On a friends (Same chassis) all the batteries, house and starting, are under the step.

A common problem I and said friend had is bad battery connection.. Makes it hard to start.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:55 PM   #5
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If you have three or more batteries the ones connected together with short cables between the + terminals and short cables between the - terminals are the house batteries; the one not connected that way is the engine battery. If you've got only one house battery, then disconnect one and see if the engine starts. If it doesn't, that was the engine battery. If it does, it's the house battery.

There are three groups that batteries fall into.
*auto batteries
*marine batteries
*deep cycle batteries.

The difference in performance between is in how much and how often they can be discharged and then recharged and hold that charge.

Car batteries will fail if they're fully discharged, That's why they don't work as house batteries. After relatively few cycles they won't hold a charge.

Marine batteries, sometimes called "marine deep cycle" batteries allow for more of a discharge/charge cycle that auto batteries. They'll work the best and the longest with the least amount of discharging in the cycle. If you seldom take them past half charged, they'll work for a pretty long time. If you boondock a lot and heavily use the batteries they'll need to be replaced sooner than if you make lighter use of them.

Deep cycle batteries are made to go the furthest into discharge state and still recharge. They last the longest if they're not usually taken past two thirds discharge. These are the best choice for house batteries but the most expensive.

Marine batteries are about a third the cost and will work under medium usage. A 24 series marine battery is $85 (with exchange) at O'Reilly Auto Parts, so are pretty reasonably priced. A good, true deep cycle battery will cost closer to $300, but you'd get more out of each charge and it will function a lot longer. Using two 6 volt batteries will give you a little more than a single 12 volt battery, if it will fit your battery compartment (the 6 volt batteries are taller, so measure first).
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Old 11-14-2015, 04:16 AM   #6
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Just a quick addendum to the info already posted... There are batteries called AGM, or "Absorbed Glass Mat" construction, which fall into the category of being able to provide high cranking amps for engine starting as well as great deep cycle functionality. Some other benefits are that they don't spill acid, and they last quite a bit longer than traditional lead acid batteries. They are, however, generally quite a bit more expensive as well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7365 View Post
I believe when you are pressing "that" switch, it is connecting your house batteries with your chassis batteries, this is not a normal operation.
For the most part this is true... but in our situation, where our RV only has room for a single chassis battery to start the cummins, I generally always tie in the house batteries when cranking the engine. This is one of the reasons that I installed AGM batteries for the house... again, deep cycle performance, and high cranking amps as well.

Just my $.02...

-cheers
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:01 PM   #7
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Thank yall so much!! I guess i didnt click the "notifications" button, so i had no idea I had any replies other than the 1st one.

So ive looked into this a little more, and i believe AGM batteries are going to be what i go with. For the low maint reason predominately. I also dont really know how long i may or may not spend "boondocking" and if the option arises i want to be prepared haha.

What i have in my Coach are 3 Batteries located under the step.

Chassis: interstate gold 78-DLG
House: (x2) Duralast Marine 27DP-DL

I am going to pull them on Thursday and take them to Oriellys and see if they are still good. Im also going to take my Volt meter and see what i can come up with.

I measured my battery compartment and i believe from the rough measurements i was 28" wide, 17" deep, and i didnt take a hight but im assuming its around 12 to 14 inches.

I beleive that is good enough to go 4, 6 volt batteries (T-105's) and still have room for the chassis battery.

And does anyone know an upgrade (more cranking amps) for the 454 rigs? There doesnt seem to be very many choices in side post batteries out there. once i get the few issuses i have worked out, It will probably spend alot of time in WY as i freqently work up that way in the winter, or when its cold which is probably the better part of 9 months out of the year.

So whats the advantage of using the 6v over the 12v?

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:22 AM   #8
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Ok guys,


I got my batteries tested this past weekend.

Starting battery came in at 11.86 volts and was charged back to full cap. tested at 12.6 volts before and after i cranked her up. Running i was at a solid 13.8 Volts. Before i left i unhooked everything just in case i have a slow drain somewhere. I learned that my Cassis battery is #2 on my breaker switch.


House batteries came in at 2.86xxx Volts a piece. Now my house batteries, had two 12 volt marine batteries. They were run in a series i suppose, but the "jumpers", only one of the wires was the same size or larger than the battery cables, and i have a positive and negative to the coach for each house battery. Is that normal or was this coach not designed to have the house batteries run in a series?


Thanks,


Matt
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:52 AM   #9
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Here is a sketch of what it looked like when i pulled the house batteries and how they were wired. (house batteries)

Is this right? or should Both house + and - be hooked to a single terminal off one battery, that has a jumper to the next? (sketch #2)

Im sorry for probably the very elementry questions i just dont get electrical systems.

Thanks Guys,

Matt
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Old 12-29-2015, 03:39 PM   #10
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Electrically, your two drawings show the same thing, both battery terminals go to both house feeds.

Double wire runs can be used if the gauge of the wire is insufficient by itself to handle the amount of current necessary by itself. The jumper wire between the batteries should be at least that of the cables feeding the rig.
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Old 12-30-2015, 10:52 AM   #11
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alvo,

Thank you sir! i figured they would be about the same but i dont know enough and didnt want to make that call and nuke some cables or new batteries.

Thanks again!

Matt
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:04 AM   #12
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And does anyone know an upgrade (more cranking amps) for the 454 rigs? There doesnt seem to be very many choices in side post batteries out there.

With adapters like these....you can use ANY top post battery you like.

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