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Old 03-16-2013, 07:04 PM   #1
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Confused by house batteries

I'm new to the whole RV thing so I apologize if this sound like a stupid question. When we bought our coach last fall the dealer told us it had two new house batteries but they hadn't been charged. As things sometimes happens I didn't get around to charging the batteries until this week. The batteries are US Battery 2200 xc and I'm using a Deltran international battery tender dual charger. After letting them charge for 5 days the charger never showed them as charged. When I drop a multimeter on them I get a reading of 8.7 volts. After doing some research tonight I discovered that these batteries are in fact 6 volt batteries. Are my batteries toast now? Will they damage my coach if I reinstall them?
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:18 PM   #2
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Sounds like they are in a highly over charged state. Don't cause any sparks around them.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:45 PM   #3
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In RVs, it is not uncommon to have two 6V batteries wired in series to provide the needed 12V output.

If yours are wired in series, then they are not getting very charged at all. If they are in parallel, then they are seriously overcharged, but this does not seem at all likely.

Joel
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Birder View Post
In RVs, it is not uncommon to have two 6V batteries wired in series to provide the needed 12V output.

If yours are wired in series, then they are not getting very charged at all. If they are in parallel, then they are seriously overcharged, but this does not seem at all likely.

Joel
They're not in the coach. I pulled them to put them on a tender to get a good initial charge. So each battery is showing over 8 volts.

Anyone have a suggestion on how to drain them to a safe level?
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:05 PM   #5
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As long as you have them out of the M.H. let then sit on the ground for a weak or so that way they will run down.
At least that was what I was told that you never put them on the concrete or bare ground or they will go dead on you.
Note: Most M.H. have 6V Batteries for the house and a 12v one for the engine.
Just a thought.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:12 PM   #6
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From what I remember the reason for the two 6V batteries was that the 6V batteries last longer then the 12V ones.
Just an after thought.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:22 PM   #7
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Put them on wet ground or cold concrete or wherever and it won't make much difference to how quickly the discharge. Old wives tale.

If that battery tender is only capable of putting a couple of amps into the batteries, it probably hasn't done them a lot of harm unless they are fully sealed and even then maybe not.

If they are flooded cell batteries, first immediate concern is to check the electrolyte level in each cell and top it up with distilled water to the bottom of the split ring.

Then let them sit for an hour or so the battery voltage gets back closer to 7 volts (you can speed up the process by hooking a load - a 12v trouble light or any 12V bulb would do - across the battery) and then reinstall them in the coach exactly as they were before and switch on a few lights and see what happens. Waiting until they get back to around 7 volts (7.5V maximum) will ensure they can't damage any 12V gear in the RV. (NOTE - switch on lights that are the old-fashion incandescent type first, rather than LEDs or fluoros)
Each battery voltage should drop immediately to about 6.3 volts and then slowly start dropping (but measure across both batteries - about 12.6 - since you have a 12V system). How fast depends on how big the batteries are and how many lights you have on. Stop the test once the battery voltage gets down to 12V. If that takes several hours then you are probably OK, but if it happens in under an hour then the batteries are likely had-it and best course then would be to take them to a specialist battery store for proper checking.

If voltages seem OK then plug the coach into shore power and let the on-board charger do its job.

Then you need to bone up on keeping batteries in good condition during long lay-ups - and that will include not leaving discharged batteries over-winter because they will freeze and be destroyed - and the suitability or otherwise of your on-board charger or converter for maintaining batteries in a safe float mode for long periods. etc etc
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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Put them on wet ground or cold concrete or wherever and it won't make much difference to how quickly the discharge. Old wives tale.
And the old wives were absolutely correct in their day when batteries had rubber cases that were a bit porous and the acid would leak through the rubber. Today's plastic cases don't have that problem.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:15 AM   #9
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And the old wives were absolutely correct in their day when batteries had rubber cases that were a bit porous and the acid would leak through the rubber. Today's plastic cases don't have that problem.
Actually the cases were wood. And if the batteries were that dead you probably really gave them the coupe de grace by waiting so long to charge them. They are more than likely sulfated.

Batteries don't die we kill them.

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Old 03-17-2013, 10:16 AM   #10
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Tony Lee gave good advice.

Make sure they are in series when you re-install them. If you don't know what that means, ask more questions before attempting it.

In the future when you remove the batteries for charging, leave them hooked together in series and charge both batteries together as one 12v battery. That way they will get the proper charge.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:42 AM   #11
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Hi JackBurton,
I'm a bit behind here. Web research says we have 6 VDC batteries. However, I am not able to determine if the charger is for 6 VDC batteries or you kept the batteries connected (in series) and charged them as one 12 VDC battery. Jack can you tell us if you charged the batteries separately or they were connected, when charging? If they were connected, can you tell us if they were in series or parallel connection?
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:56 AM   #12
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Here is info on your coach electrical systems.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Terry Walter View Post
As long as you have them out of the M.H. let then sit on the ground for a weak or so that way they will run down.
At least that was what I was told that you never put them on the concrete or bare ground or they will go dead on you.
Note: Most M.H. have 6V Batteries for the house and a 12v one for the engine.
Just a thought.
That is an old, outdated concept from the distant past when battery cases did not insulate very well. Batteries manufactured the last 75 years or so can not be harmed by placing them on the ground or on bare concrete.

Joel
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:38 AM   #14
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Jack-
007's link in post#12 is a great place to start for a good foundation in all things 12 volt. Read both parts.
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