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Old 10-29-2013, 09:31 PM   #1
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battery power

New to this. Looking to buy AS son. What is the difference between 6 volt and 12 volt. Notice people selling both. Any recommendations on which would be best? Thanks

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Old 10-29-2013, 11:06 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rickfriday View Post
New to this. Looking to buy AS son. What is the difference between 6 volt and 12 volt. Notice people selling both. Any recommendations on which would be best? Thanks
Welcome to the forums!

I am not sure what you mean by 6 and 12 Volt Airstreams. Cars mostly used 6 Volt electrical systems before about 1957 so I presume that Airstream trailers of that era used 6 V DC power. Changing to 12V to be compatible with current tow vehicle electrical systems would be a relatively simple matter of changing bulbs and coach battery, if there is one. (Our 1960 Pacer did not have battery in the trailer; it had to be connected to the tow vehicle for the 12 Volt lights to work.)

Or, you may be thinking about trailers that use multiple batteries to increase battery capacity. Connecting batteries in parallel tends to create problems, so it is preferable to use two 6 Volt batteries in series.

Does that help answer your question?

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Old 10-29-2013, 11:11 PM   #3
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I have a battery shop out here in Northern California...I get asked your question all the's some RV battery 101...

The 6 volt golf cart type deep cycle batteries are typically rated at 225 amp hours, and when wired in SERIES result in 12 volts that the AS requires...these batteries are robust as they are designed to be used in carts that bounce around a golf course, being discharged and recharged EVERY day - rough service for any battery! As such, they are used extensively in RVs that can fit them...

The more 'amp hours' of battery rating you have onboard, the longer you can run your 12 volt stuff when you're away from shore power - but don't forget the more amp hours you have, the longer it takes to recharge them when they are run down... HINT: Recharge EVERY day to avoid problems when you're boonedocking....!

Newer AS's are usually equipped with GP-24 (10 inch long) deep cycle batteries and have a rating of about 80 amp hours each - when hooked in PARALLEL, this results in the voltage remaining at 12 volts, and the amp hours added together, IE: about 160 amp hours...

Some older AS's have battery boxes that will accept two of the GP-27 (12 inch long) deep cycle batteries that have about 100/105 amp hour ratings - this would result in a total amp hour rating of 200/210...

Most AS trailers don't have room for the 6 volt (golf cart) type batteries, as they are taller than typical group-24, (10 inch long) and group-27 (12 inch long) 12 volt deep cycle types...

Newer AS's I've seen use a battery box on the trailer tongue and have room for the 10 inch, GP-24's - I've seen some modify the box to allow for the higher 6 volt GC batteries as they both have about the same 'footprint'...

As you can see, it really depends on your particular AS model, etc...

You also have the choice of betting involved with the AGM type completely sealed batteries...However this type of battery is at lease about 2-1/3 times the cost of more common type 'flooded' cell batteries...

Have fun...Happy trails...

Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:17 PM   #4
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My guess is that you're asking about using a pair of 6v batteries in series rather than one or more 12v batteries in parallel.

It's a trade-off. Big 6V batteries are tough and offer appealing amp-hour capacity, but in the event of a failure of a single battery, your entire system is down (assuming a 2-battery system). 12v batteries are readily available (any Wal-Mart in a pinch, for example) but their quality is variable based on manufacturer, type, etc. You can run the trailer's 12v systems on just one of them, though.

<EDIT> Mexray chimed in while I was writing, and has much more specific experience than I. I'm pleased that he also seems to say there are trade-offs in the decision, though.
— David

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He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rickfriday View Post
New to this. Looking to buy AS son. What is the difference between 6 volt and 12 volt. Notice people selling both. Any recommendations on which would be best? Thanks
Welcome to the forums! The wording of your question leads me to suggest that you educate yourself on the basics of RV electrical system. It would be best if you do this BEFORE you buy a trailer or motorhome. There are numerous books on the subject; one good one is "RV Electrical Systems: a Basic Guide......" by Bill & Jan Moller. It's $15 at Amazon. Or you can learn a lot via the internet; a good start would be to Google "RV Electrical Systems" You will get a lot of hits; explore a few and you will learn a lot!

Good luck!
- wayne
2010 Interstate 3500 Twin Bed
(2008 Freightliner CRD Sprinter)
AIR #44779
TAC AK-1 !!
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:00 AM   #6
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Thumbs up for the book, RV Electrical Systems. Between that book and this helpful forum, I went from total novice to rewiring my entire trailer. Good luck man!

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