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Old 01-19-2003, 08:43 PM   #1
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battery questions

What is the average life expectancy of a good quality battery and what is the best way to store and maintain one during the winter and summer i have found out the hard way that leaving it in the trailer hooked up to the univolt will overcharge and destroy the battery.


Thanks for any info
Paul
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Old 01-19-2003, 09:04 PM   #2
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First checking the battery at bare minimum once a month regarding water levels is a must.

For the winter I always pulled my batteries and stored them in the basement when I lived in the great white north. While storing in the basement I would put a basic battery charger with a deep cycle setting on them once a month for 24 hrs.

As to the univolt and summer, I would base it on battery use. I do not leave my unit plugged in with the univolt on all of the time because I cooked a battery same as you. I now try to turn on the univolt for a day or night once a week when we are not using, or in the unit. If I am doing some work and running the fans and lights I will turn it on. At rallies I usally only run the univolt during the day as the hum makes it a bit hard to sleep. I am now able to charge my hose batteries as I drive so I am less concerned regarding univolt overcharging because I plan on using it less.


As to life expectancy, it depends on three things. Brand, use, and maintenance. The are some on this forum with 2+ years on good brand batteries. Others go thru them quick due to lack of maint. or abuse.
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Old 01-19-2003, 09:42 PM   #3
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I researched batteries and charging for batteries thoroughly after picking up my '77 Excella 500 in May '01. It came with a weak Delco Voyager maintence free grp. 27 battery and a brand new Duralast grp 27 battery that was not hooked up due to lack of battery cables in one of the battery boxes. I chose two new Delco Voyager batteries grp 27, 105 amp hr., had a company in CA. make up a complete set of battery cables from battery to the inside fuse box, bought a 5 watt Solargizer Solar charger/maintainer and last bought a BatteryMinder from Battery Mart. CW sells the BM also. I had also heard that keeping the univolt plugged in would cause battery problems, especially if the batteries had any problem to begin with. The BatteryMinder goes through several stages and will not overcharge your batteries; therefore, you can keep it plugged up all the time. The unit keeps a maintenance charge on the batteries and when it senses that the charge has gone down to a certain degree it will bring it back up and then float the charge again.

I do not bring the batteries in because it is a pain and there is no need in our TN. weather. Matter of fact, during sunny warm weather, I unplug and let the Solargizer from PulseTech do its job of keeping the batteries charged. They also offer a 10 watt unit so you could put one on each of your batteries for 20 watts. My batteries are going strong for almost 2 yrs. and I have heard that some got 6-10 years out of theirs.
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Old 01-20-2003, 09:28 AM   #4
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Paul,
My 96 30' was delivered in April 96 with two group 27 deep cycle Interstate batteries. I check the water level once a month during the camping season. I do leave them in the trailer over the winter but make sure they are fully charged prior to putting in storage. The newer trailers have a battery disconnect switch which disconnects everything connected to the batteries including the univolt. When not using the trailer this is always off to prevent any drain on the batteries. I expect to get another year or two from these batteries. My Previous Airstream was an 81 which I purchased in 88 and installed new batteries at that time. This trailer was sold in 96 with the same batteries. If you take care of them you can expect 8 to 10 years of life.
Jim
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Old 01-20-2003, 11:01 AM   #5
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Paul,
Look for a heavy deepcycle battery designed for the rigors of RV use. You will find some companies advertising marine/RV deepcycle batteries and then there are the Trojan batteries designed for golf carts. The Trojan 12 volt batteries are an excellent choice especially if you buy the cell caps that return water back to the battery rather than letting it evaporate during the charging phase. These Trojan batteries have heavy lead plates in them, the heavier the better. You may run across some websites that recommend four 6 volt Trojan golfcart batteries wired to give you 12 volts and over 400 amp hr of power. Those sites did not recommend a maintenance free battery because they said there was no way to replace the water in them. I did not have the space and was satisfied that a maintenance free battery would be acceptable IF charging was done correctly. Key points are 1. Check your batteries frequently for water level and 2. Make sure you have an appropriate battery charger that is not designed to overcharge you batteries. I can't tell you how many people I have heard say that they cooked their batteries by charging incorrectly. An automotive battery charger is not the type charger you should be using regularly to charge a deepcycle battery.

I have also heard good things about Interstate and Exide batteries.
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Old 01-20-2003, 11:37 AM   #6
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Unless ...

Quote:
An automotive battery charger is not the type charger you should be using regularly to charge a deepcycle battery.
Unless you have one of the recent smart automotive chargers that has the deep cycle mode as one of the control choices. They modify the charging sequence to properly handle a deepcycle battery.
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Old 01-20-2003, 12:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the clarification. I was thinking about so many 10/2 amp battery chargers I have seen that do not have this capability.
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