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Old 08-16-2021, 11:46 PM   #1
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Batteries question

I have a 34ft class A. Currently I have 1 chassis battery bought in 2010 and 2 coach deep cycle batteries bought in 2008. All are Les Schwab batteries. I have been hooked up the last 8 years so they were never challenged. In fact, never checked the water because I was too busy taking care of my late husband to be think about batteries.

I am hoping to go south this winter and boondock most of the winter. I need new batteries. Been reading about batteries and how maybe they are not true deep cycle. I am hoping to get some type of solar for charging my phone, tablet and computer but would also like to find a setup that doesn't cost too much to trickle charge my coach batteries since the frig will need some even though on propane.

I have a budget so the expensive lithium and AGM are out, but I have seen lower priced AGM at Walmart online. Should I stick with Les Schwab or go with something else?
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Old 08-17-2021, 12:09 AM   #2
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To remove the maintenance of flooded I would go with good agm.
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Old 08-17-2021, 09:09 AM   #3
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I went with Interstate Type 31 sealed lead acid batteries for our coach. They are maintenance free but cost $100 less per battery than AGM. For our needs we didn't feel AGM was worth the cost. If you're boondocking a lot, maybe it makes sense to go AGM.
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Old 08-17-2021, 09:19 AM   #4
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When I was getting ready to go on a trip I was trying to find AGM batteries at Sam's, they were always sold out. I checked all the batteries and they all checked good. They were +8 years old.

Went on the trip and guess what, one of my flooded batteries crapped out, luckily I was near a Sam's club and they had 4 replacement but they were not AGM, which I would have liked but he said he didn't know when they would get them in if I ordered.



If you can find AGM I'd go with them, less to worry about.


You might look at couple portable panels, the benefit of these is that if you are set up long term you can position them to the sun better then when mounted and not worry about shading from trees or other obstructions. If they get full sunlight pointed at the right angle you'll improve charging substantially.
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Old 08-17-2021, 09:34 AM   #5
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FYI I got our Interstate batteries at a Speedco Shop next to a Love's Truck Stop. They had both sealed lead acid and AGM in stock.
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Old 08-17-2021, 09:36 AM   #6
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Choosing an RV Battery

Choosing An RV Battery
https://www.irv2.com/forums/download...do=file&id=231
This is a good article, but its recommendations against “Marine Batteries” does not apply to “Marine AGM batteries”. Marine AGM batteries are generally designed to charge and discharge faster. They are more robust in deep draw situations than flooded cell batteries. It is all in the chemistry and physics.

Choosing a chassis battery requires different criteria. Engine start batteries are designed different from "deep draw" coach batteries. They are designed for sudden, brief high discharge, and fast recovery. See chassis manufactures recommendations for yours.
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Old 08-17-2021, 10:14 AM   #7
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"boondock most of the winter. ... I am hoping to get some type of solar for charging my phone, tablet and computer but would also like to find a setup that doesn't cost too much to trickle charge my coach batteries since the frig will need some even though on propane."

Boondocking for a couple of nights followed by driving for 8 hours is one strategy. Solar would be nice, but maybe not necessary in this case. Driving long distances will recharge.

Boondocking for long periods is totally different. I dry camp. Dry camping is camping without shore power, water, and sewer. Boondocking is dry camping in a remote location.

I can camp for 5 days in mild weather without solar or generator. Longer than that requires recharging my 200 amp hour AGM battery bank as well as emptying my gray water tank.

I have a Honda i1000 1000 watt generator to power my 30 amp charger. I run it for about 5 hours after 5 days for an 80 - 90% re-charge. (That is one tank of gas.) A 50 amp charger would do a faster job using the same small generator. Gas tank would empty quicker.

Periodically I find a full hook up site to fully charge my battery bank. That takes 14 hours minimum (over night). This is required for long life of lead acid batteries.

Solar charging is usually more limited than even my small generator. A 1000 watt solar system would use most of your roof area. Newer designs are more efficient these days, but still require a lot of space. Many people install smaller solar systems and get by dry camping for a while.

Solar systems put out a little less than full rated power for about 6 hours per day. Early morning and late afternoon provides very low power levels. One strategy is to use a 200 watt solar system. Cloudy days and shady trees greatly reduce that.

Run a generator for two to four hours in the morning when batteries are low and solar produces little. The generator can deliver high charging current to deeply discharged batteries. Maybe 50 amps for 2 or 3 hours. A 3000 watt generator can help you make breakfast while you charge the batteries.

Let the solar provide the long slow finishing charge. The last 10 to 20% of charge takes a long time because lead acid batteries absorb vary little during that part of the charging profile. Mid-day maybe 15 amps tapering to 3 or 4 amps at end of day.

Trickle charging with a 30 watt panel is reserved for maintaining batteries when in storage. The small current replaces self-discharge and power used by low power devices like a propane detector.

Any other 12 volt use may quickly exceed what the small solar can replace. A trickle charger on your chassis battery would work, but not likely on your house battery while RV is occupied.

There are many strategies that different folks find will work for them. Search for "solar" in the "Search" box at the top of the iRV2 page. There are endless recommendations for different uses.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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