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Old 04-29-2015, 09:25 AM   #15
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
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Re AGM Batteries I believe the main difference is the charging voltage. Our trailer had AGMs...I only know this because the second battery was under the couch which is a no-no for lead acid batteries. The cables are still there with taped ends.

We have a solar panel and charge controller. If I go back to AGM then I will need to set up the charge controller for AGMs. I believe the float charge voltage (the controller maintains a slightly lower voltage after the battery has reached full volts) is different also.

Try searching AGM batteries use and maintenance. Lots of info out there
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:52 PM   #16
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Spicewood (W of Austin) , Texas
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AC Delco, like Interstate, is a tradename, not a battery mfr'r. It is formerly owned by General Motors but has developed into many derivatives.

There are numerous battery mfr's in the world and it can be very confusing as to WHO makes WHICH battery marketed under tradenames.

Generally speaking, in the U.S. at least, Exide, Gould (GNB, now owned by Exide), Concorde (Lifeline), Varta, and Johnson Controls makes most batteries sold under various brand and tradenames.

The following links may help:

Lead-Acid Battery Manufacturers and Brand Names List 2015

In particular, an illustration of the construction and differences of batteries:

Car and Deep Cycle Battery FAQ 2015, Battery Manufacturers and Brand Names List 2015, and Battery References and Information Links List 2015

As always, be safe. WEAR GLASSES. Did you know almost 6,000 persons/year are blinded by car batteries?
Words of caution: Lead-acid batteries contain a diluted sulfuric acid electrolyte, which is a highly corrosive poison and can produce flammable and toxic gasses when recharged and explode if ignited. According to PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA, in 2003 nearly 6,000 U.S. motorists suffered serious eye injuries from working around car batteries. The U.S. Eye Injury Registry reports that it is the third leading cause of eye injuries at home. When working with batteries, always wear ANSI Z-87.1 splash-proof safety goggles (recommended), safety glasses, or any glasses; have plenty of ventilation; remove your jewelry; and exercise caution. If available, always follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing, jumping, installing, charging, and maintaining batteries.
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Old 05-07-2015, 03:09 PM   #17
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Good links Boxite...thanks.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:22 PM   #18
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1994 25' Excella
Calgary , Alberta
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Before you blow hundreds on batteries. Change the the inverter to one that actually works if you still have the original inverter charger. The original inverters would only charge up to 70%. Inteliwizard makes a awesome inverter charger. After 3 months of research and calling many battery suppliers all over the country it really came down to the Trojan 27 acid filled battery that will fit into the battery box and last up to 8 years if you don't freeze it over and over. Other than that get a generator


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Old 05-08-2015, 11:03 PM   #19
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@PeterB - I think you are referring to the converter/charger. There are inverter/chargers, but none are OEM - my Xantrex SW3000 cost me $2,500 when I purchased it in Toronto 3 years ago.
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:00 AM   #20
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Until 2012 we enjoyed a live aboard sailboat on weekends and our three deep cycle batteries were like pampered pets. Out on the water I was frequently checking the reserve charge and dockside I could not feel confident with the three-phase Quest charger I bought at a discount-end-of-season-sale from West Marine. Each winter I removed the batteries and stored them at a small expense in the metal shed at the marina. Three seasons was the most I could expect from the batteries as reported by the marina owner and the third season I was terribly anxious about their reliability. What I learned about charging deep cell batteries is that although I didn’t have the funds to test several chargers, the claim that a manufacturer makes about the charger reading the batteries voltage level and adjusting the charge level accordingly is relative to one battery. With a bank of two or more the reading is averaged and charged until all three come up to 12.5 volts. This I believe was the cause of my batteries failing, overcharging one to bring the others up to level. The same is true for maintaining them over winter. Each battery has its own needs and should be charged individually. I bought a C27 deep cycle battery with 106 amps reserve from Wallmart for $86.00 and I’ll study the performance with the current charger for the year. Like others have said Walmart has a good return policy if the battery falls short of my expectations. Thanks again to those who have given me their insights to choosing a battery power plan.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:47 AM   #21
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1986 25' Sovereign
Allegan , Michigan
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Charging sequence & battery storage.

I have two deep cycle batteries - each in a separate "bank". I have a switch (marine store item) that allows me to select either battery separately, both together or turn them both off. The trailer is stored next to my house so I have easy access.

During the winter, I store the trailer with both batteries disconnected and the trailer unplugged. Once a month I turn on bank "1" and then plug the trailer in. The next day I flip the selector to bank "2" and on the third day I unplug the trailer and then turn the batteries off.

During use I follow the same idea, even days battery 2, odd days battery 1 when we are plugged in. Off the grid I run on one bank until the voltage in the morning is about 12.1; at that time I switch to the other bank and plan on finding a place to hook up in a few days. Being careful, we can stay out for a week or so.

My goal with this process is that the batteries never "see" each other which prevents the weaker battery from discharging its mate. I remember reading in a boater's guide that you can charge in parallel - because the charger overwhelms the battery voltage - but the even/odd calendar system is easy to remember. And by keeping the batteries separate I have a "spare" for back-up.

A bit fussy perhaps but it has worked for 4 years for us.

Whit Nash
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:05 AM   #22
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In a bank of batteries, one weak battery will always pull the others down. One reason why you should not replace just one battery.
I've always left both batteries wired in parallel on one (float) charger and never had a problem, but individual charging makes sense if you aren't sure about condition, and you are using them independently...point made by Whit

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Old 05-12-2015, 09:40 AM   #23
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jcw

I should have pointed out I came to my "system" after having a total electrical shutdown. We had been out for awhile (week or so) and thought that we were OK with the two parallel batteries in a single bank. We left camp with things OK; stopped to buy groceries about noon. Everything was dead, not enough voltage to power the refrigerator board. Headed to the nearest campground to plug in and sort things out.

In the end I changed every light to LEDs, made sure the refrigerator "anti-sweat" was turned off, etc. and changed to the two bank deep cycle system described above. AND I check voltage every morning when we are off the grid.

Whit Nash
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:22 AM   #24
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1996 25' Excella
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Interesting to see your power savings approach. I'm about to switch to LED' but dealers here in Ontario are pricing them out of reach. I remember LED 1141s for a couple of dollars ea in Texas.

While we do not do much 'dry camping' I recently had a bit of trouble with a dead battery for no apparent reason; we do have a 70 Watt solar panel and the AS still killed the battery after a week in storage. This spring I put the charged battery back in and it was dead the next day! I finally did a full walk down of the power usage and discovered the aftermarket radio turned on automatically when the battery is connected. Since the radio is behind the front overhead doors, it was not noted till too late. It has a detachable face plate do it now stays off the radio until we need it.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:29 AM   #25
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JCW

Yes, "phantom loads" can present a challenge - mine was the refrigerator heater. (Currently I am helping a neighbor with a 6 year old class B MH; her truck battery keeps going dead after a week and the dealer is no help. With two fuse boxes and over 100 fuses/relays I can see why they won't touch it. We found two circuits with "extra" draw while parked -but without the factory manual I am reluctant to dive into a rig I don't own. She gave up and bought a disconnect.)

My change to LEDs came in stages and started before they became popular for RVs. We typically camp every year for two weeks where electricity might not be available on site - but they have a nice bathhouse and water is available for dishwashing. Hence, the need to reduce electrical load. I actually bought some lights that were not as advertised and posted the results a while back - a good multimeter is your best friend and you can find where the current is really going.

I can't say that my LED purchases made economic sense; it will take about five years of reduced "dry camping fees" to make ours pay off - your results may vary. (And we still have the incandescent lamps in the bath where they are not used very much.) But the LEDs do allow us freedom we would not have otherwise.

Whit Nash
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:27 PM   #26
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I met a group of boondockers several years ago and we meet each January in Quartzsite AZ. I've learned quite a bit how to dry camp as a result. My own requirements for electric power are driven by my use of a CPAP machine for sleeping. As a result I have made modification over the past few years to accommodate this requirement.

I now have 365 watts of solar mounted on the roof, fed into an MPPT-type of controller (Blue Sky 3000i). The wiring from each bank of the solar (the original 225-watts is one bank and the additional 140-watts is the second bank) is 10AWG wire to the solar controller. From the controller to the Xantrex 3012 pure sine wave inverter-charger I have 6AWG wire and there are now two size 4D (Fullriver AGM batteries) with a total capacity of 420 amp-hours. In order to know what the draw down is, I added a Bogart Trimetric monitor. It's amazing the various stuff that you can miss when you are trying to minimize consumption - one of them, which is often forgotten, is the TV antenna amplifier, as it is located in the back of a cupboard.

LED lighting is the way to go - think of it as conserving a valuable resource (namely battery power when dry camping).
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