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Old 08-26-2012, 12:10 PM   #1
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Battery selection: Deep cycle marine or heavy duty auto for my 98 excella 1000

Having difficulty deciding on which batteries to buy to replace the old ones that came with the camper. Thanks for the advice in advance.
If anybody can give advice on cold cranking amps and such, that would also help. Thanks! Ben
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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Do you do a lot of boondocking, or at a campground with hookups?
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic
Do you do a lot of boondocking, or at a campground with hookups?
Don't know what boondocking is but, we camp at a friends place where there is no electrical. I tried to justdrive out there and set up. We only needed lights and the water pump we ran out ojuice pretty fast and lights faded within an hour. The next morning our fridge was off and our electric lift had no juice. Luckily I had an emergency battery in the camper I hooked up to to lift it back onto my truck. Don't want to get stuck like that again.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:27 PM   #4
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Automotive style batteries are rated in cold cranking amps. Rv/ marine deep cycle batteries are rated in amp hours. There are major design and structural differences even if they are from the same BCI group size.
Deep cycle batteries are designed to be run through thousands of charge-discharge cycles down to 50% or so under light to moderate loads without damage.
Automotive batteries are designed to give off large loads at starting, 1000 amps or more in some cases, but not continuous loads.
Always use deep cycles in your trailer.
Now if you want to start a really animated debate- ask which kind!
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:29 PM   #5
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It sounds like you have a very weak battery right now... we get at least 3 days out of our single deep-cycle battery and that is even running the furnace at night.

CCA isn't a useful measurement in this case... if you routinely run off battery alone (boon docking) you'll want a deep-cycle battery (also sold as a marine battery) as this will withstand being discharged to low levels much better than a regular automotive battery.

Normal lead-acid batteries will die very quickly if discharged completely, and after a few cycles of that can loose almost all their reserve capacity. Depending on your battery compartment, you probably can't go a whole lot bigger anyway, so get a good marine battery that will fit and you'll be back in business. For extended use... you are looking at adding extra batteries (or solar / generator) for more capacity...

The most durable batteries are the spiral-wounds cells... I think in the US the Optima brand uses that construction... which is a good brand. The 'Blue Top' is an RV/Marine specific design. Expect to pay quite a bit more for these types of batteries...
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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Boondocking is camping in a site without any hookups. If you will be staying away from electrical sources and you have already had a problem with the battery going dead then you should get a deep cycle battery with high amp hours. You can also consider:
1. replacing with a bigger battery
2. replacing with 2 12 batteries wired parallel
3. replacing with 2 6v golf cart type batteries wired in series.

The unasked question here is your charging system OK. Going dead in the short time you described suggests your batteries were only partially charged.

While I am at it you should check out AGM (sealed no maintainance) batteries. A lot more $, but last longer and they do not off gas

For more advice talk to Randy at BestConverter - Converters, Inverters, Electrical Supplies, Electronics
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I think in the US the Optima brand uses that construction... which is a good brand. The 'Blue Top' is an RV/Marine specific design. Expect to pay quite a bit more for these types of batteries...
Just my opinion- There are a lot better batteries than Optima. But more expensive too!
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennyp View Post
Don't know what boondocking is but, we camp at a friends place where there is no electrical. I tried to justdrive out there and set up. We only needed lights and the water pump we ran out ojuice pretty fast and lights faded within an hour. The next morning our fridge was off and our electric lift had no juice. Luckily I had an emergency battery in the camper I hooked up to to lift it back onto my truck. Don't want to get stuck like that again.
Boondocking: Camping in the boondocks. Generally used to describe camping without connection to any outside utilities (electricity/water/sewer) even if you're not in the boondocks.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:49 PM   #9
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what you need is 2 deep discharge or marine trolling motor batteries that will fit in the battery box. I forget what size it is but I can go out in the driveway and look if need be. I run either the marine batterys from Walmart or the Interstate batteries that I got at Gander mountain the last time. Unless you are going to change your converter to a more modern system do not get AGM batteries. You can spend more money than these 2 reccomendations with little improvement in performance. Also be good to get one of the little plug in battery volt meters or monitors and plug it into a 12 volt socket in the trailer. Mine is in the bathroom since we do not use that socket. These batterys will go 5 days or longer with mildly limited use of stuff. The furnace is a battery killer, so less in cold weather. The fantastic fans do not draw much. Best way to improve battery life is probably to buy a few LED bulbs and put them in the lights that stay on the most. And I like the portable 12 volt fantastic fan. At $70 it seems expensive but it moves a whole lot of air with very little current draw.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:00 PM   #10
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What is the name of the book that talks about how to live with and handle DC electrical systems?

I think it's about time I got educated a bit, and perhaps the OP would too...
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bennyp View Post
The next morning our fridge was off and our electric lift had no juice. Luckily I had an emergency battery in the camper I hooked up to to lift it back onto my truck. Don't want to get stuck like that again.
Some of these come with a 12 volt fridge that is suppose to only work when the trailer is hooked up to the tow vehicle. Mine has one but it isn't hooked up at all.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:15 PM   #12
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Ditto on the 12v meter that plugs into the 12 outlet. I made a little chart that goes next to it to remind me of how much charge I have.

Benny, a 12v reading for a 12v battery is not fully charged and 10.5 v is pretty much discharged. Overcharging and running down a battery too low will shorten it's life.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:13 PM   #13
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[B]12 Volt Book[/B]

The 12 volt book I own is:

"Managing 12 Volts How to Upgrade, Operate and Troubleshoot 12 Volt Electrical Systems"

The author is Harold Barre. It can be purchased on Amazon for $13.49. I've found it to be very helpful.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
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The 12 volt book I own is:

"Managing 12 Volts How to Upgrade, Operate and Troubleshoot 12 Volt Electrical Systems"

The author is Harold Barre. It can be purchased on Amazon for $13.49. I've found it to be very helpful.
Thanks, Chuck, I just ordered a copy.
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