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Old 04-17-2015, 05:02 PM   #1
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Batteries, Batteries, Batteries...

Intro:
  • In January DW and I bought a 2007 MADP 4523.
  • Full-timing since we took delivery.
  • It's our first RV of any kind.
  • Being newbie idiots, we made MANY(!) mistakes with our purchase and among other things, we did not request new batteries.
  • Totally lost... and overwhelmed...
We have zero battery power. The charger says it's charging (and it goes through all the motions -- bulk, float, etc), but a split-second after disconnecting shore power we lose all juice. So we've been tethered to shore power 99.99% of the time.

From what I've read on these forums, Lifeline AGMs are the way to go. I have measured and (4) of the GPL-4CT will fit my bay perfectly. Or with a little extra work I might be able to make (4) of the GPL-6CT fit.

But I have so many different questions and fears.
  1. From what I understand, the Lifeline batteries are WAY more powerful than the crappy Napas I have now. Will they be too powerful for my Magnum inverter or charger?
  2. Can I bump up from 4 to 8 batteries in the future without re-replacing the 4 that I want to buy today?
  3. The guy at Camping World said I need to find out what "group" my current batteries are and make sure I buy the same group (24, 27, 31, etc). But I've checked the Napa website and I don't see any "group" information.
  4. He also looked at me like I was a weirdo from outer space for wanting to go from 4 to 8 batteries. So that confused me... more batteries is better, right?
  5. If my Dometic fridge dies (sometimes I wonder if its on its last leg) would these Lifeline batteries be compatible with a Samsung residential refer?
  6. Will the batteries keep my basement fridge running while we're driving down the road?
  7. When unplugging from shore power are the batteries supposed to take over *instantly* -- as in fast enough to keep the alarm clock from losing power and flashing 12:00?
Part of my problem is... Even if everything was working 100% perfectly, I don't think I would KNOW it. In other words, I'm not clear how any of this is "supposed" to work in day-to-day life. We did our walk-through while connected to shore power and didn't realize our batteries were crap until we were 1000 miles down the road.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:20 PM   #2
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It may not be the battery. It might be the in-line fuse. It's in a plastic holder between the positive terminals of the battery and the inverter/charger.

What voltage do you get on the batteries? With and without shore power? If you don't have a multi-meter, get one before you do anything else. You can get an inexpensive digital one almost anywhere. Certainly Home Depot or Lowes or any hardware store.

Also, the label on your batteries says they're group size GC-2. Group size is the physical size of the battery: http://www.batterystuff.com/kb/tools...oup-sizes.html
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:30 PM   #3
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This will take several people to fully detail a complete answer but I'll take a first pass at it. BTW these are all good questions that will really help a lot of folks with issues revolving around the same subject matter.


1. From what I understand, the Lifeline batteries are WAY more powerful than the crappy Napas I have now. Will they be too powerful for my Magnum inverter or charger?

They are not more powerful. The NAPPA bats are probably starter batteries and not designed for deep cycle applications. The Lifeline are specifically built (and meet mil specs I believe) for heavy duty deep discharge applications.

2. Can I bump up from 4 to 8 batteries in the future without re-replacing the 4 that I want to buy today?

Probably not enough room and your inverter/charger is sized to your battery capacity and load profile.

3. The guy at Camping World said I need to find out what "group" my current batteries are and make sure I buy the same group (24, 27, 31, etc). But I've checked the Napa website and I don't see any "group" information.

Group is pretty much based on size of the battery casing which limits the amount of lead plates that can be built into the bat. Thus the capacity is based on the group size of the battery.

4. He also looked at me like I was a weirdo from outer space for wanting to go from 4 to 8 batteries. So that confused me... more batteries is better, right?

Can't really blame him. Us RV'ers can seem to be an alien life form to non RV'ers. Actually he was thinking that there is no way that you can find the additional room for the extra batteries plus the difficulty of servicing them if they aren't on a slide out tray.

Break time.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:31 PM   #4
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Your batteries are wired wrong.

In picture 2 there is a wire with that plastic covering stuff on it, in the center of the picture running up and down. It needs to go.


There is also a small wire in the center that shouldn't be there.

The lower pair of batteries work as 1 and the upper pair work as another.
They should only be jumped right to left.

You may find a great improvement in battery life.

Send more pictures and we can figure out where the small wire goes
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:35 PM   #5
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Have you had the batteries checked? Sounds more like a problem wit the transfer switch and/or inverter. Suggest you visit a Newmar dealer and ask for an in-depth RV orientation. They may charge you, but should be well worth it.

Your current battery (BCI) Group is GC2. The NAPA part number is 8146. Here's a link: http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/Ca...146_0213750210
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:36 PM   #6
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Gc2 ( Golf Car ) batteries are deep cycle batteries, by design. They are not starting batteries.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:39 PM   #7
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Ok, looking closer, it seems that the small wire is a 6 volt supply, with a 30 amp fuse. Don't know what it could feed but it's there.

Have you checked the water?
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:46 PM   #8
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5. If my Dometic fridge dies (sometimes I wonder if its on its last leg) would these Lifeline batteries be compatible with a Samsung residential refer?

Does not matter. Bats are bats to a large degree. The inverter/charger is the key element. However the refer may be marginal due to its age. You may want to have it serviced.

6. Will the batteries keep my basement fridge running while we're driving down the road?

Should not be an issue as long as you do not turn off the 12 volt system. If it is on 120 volts then just make sure the inverter is on.

7. When unplugging from shore power are the batteries supposed to take over *instantly* -- as in fast enough to keep the alarm clock from losing power and flashing 12:00?

In most cases the transfer switch and inverter will prevent that from happening but I'm not sure about your specific rig.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Ok, looking closer, it seems that the small wire is a 6 volt supply, with a 30 amp fuse. Don't know what it could feed but it's there.
On an MADP of that year, it's for the "low" position on the 12V lights. It's a terrible design because it unbalances the batteries in the 12V bank and leads to premature failure. They should have used a voltage divider to get from 12V to 6V, but that would have cost more...
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:52 PM   #10
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Just a quick FYI that most of the current rigs have bats that are roughly 230 amp hour capacity.

Now that I looked at your pics yours say 75. I don't know if that is what is spec'ed for your rig but if you can fit in the 230's it would be a major boost in capacity.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:52 PM   #11
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Jason,

First I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that your batteries are bad. Even bad batteries probably would power things for a short time. It sounds like your inverter isn't kicking in when you unplug from shore power, yes it should power things immediately when you unplug. Your alarm clock should not reset to 12:00. I'm not
familiar with the Magnum, but there should be circuit breakers on it. Check to make sure their not tripped.

Question 1: No the Lifeline won't be too powerful.
" 2: They recommend all batteries be replaced at the same time. However
I've changed out batteries one at a time without any problems.
" 3: The numbers the guy at Camping World put on you were for 12 volt
batteries. Your batteries are 6 volt golf cart batteries.
" 4: Yes more batteries are better. But unless you are using a residential
ref. you really don't need more than the 4 you have now, unless you
are doing a lot of dry camping. If you do very little dry camping,
putting in 8 batteries is a waste of money.
" 5: Yes.
" 6: Yes, when your going down the road the alternator on the engine will
keep all your batteries charged and run your basement ref.
" 7: I answered this earlier
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:56 PM   #12
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Another thought. On our Xantrex control panel, there is a button to turn the inverter on and off. Is it on? Second, there are 2 circuit breakers on our Xantrex inverter (located in the basement). Are they on?
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:09 PM   #13
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The battery cut off switch isn't in storage mode is it? I would think some of your lights would work even with very poor batteries after being on shore power.
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:32 PM   #14
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Bill-MACV22, You are reading "reserve minutes" a different measurement then the 20 amp-hour rate, most deep cycle batteries are rated at.
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