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Old 04-23-2015, 03:14 PM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
Kimberton , Pennsylvania
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Battery replacement on an L25

Hello, This is my first entry in the forum. We just bought a ’76, 25’ Tradewind with a few winter incurred kinks.
The battery cannot be charged and needs replacement. Should I just go to Walmart and ask for another with 105 cranking amps as the original manual suggests or should I step up? The only additional 12v accessory added to the stock trailer are multiples of 12v “running lights” installed for convenience in every cabinet. Thank you in advance for your input.
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Old 04-23-2015, 04:10 PM   #2
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You need a deep cycle battery, don't you? Cranking batteries aren't designed to be drained and then recharged over and over.

I have used Deka batteries in my boat for the trolling motor and have had good luck with them. You can order through Home Depot and they deliver to the store for free. Make sure you get the deep cycle / RV battery and not the "combo" style.

There are also the top of the line AGM batteries from Lifeline or Trojan. Get the size off the old battery and match to whatever you're going to buy. I've got Lifelines in the AS, replaced them last year so this is year one. The originals are in the garage and will be used for another project.
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Old 04-23-2015, 04:16 PM   #3
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At Walmart get at least a group 24 "marine" battery. Measure your compartment and you may find that a group 27 will fit in, if so buy it rather than a group 24. The marine type batteries are a better deep cycle type than a normal auto battery. They will hold up under Boondock use (not hooked up to power) much better than an auto type mentioned in your 38 year old manual.

As you learn more, you probably will find that you may want to also replace the 38 year old Univolt converter/charger, if it has not been done. Technology has changed a lot since your trailer was built.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:56 AM   #4
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Thank you for chiming in. We were sailboaters for about ten years and were very conscientious about tapping the reserve on our batteries just in case we needed to start the diesel. I thought since we were now land cruisers with more opportunity to recharge a battery the less expensive car battery would work. We’ll measure the box and opt for the deep cycle battery.
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Old 04-24-2015, 07:12 AM   #5
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You might even have room for a group 31 size which would give you a few more amp hours.
I have used WalMart deep cycles for years in my bassboat and Airstream. One reason is price but the other is there are WalMarts everywhere so if you do get a bad one you will be able to replace it, keep your receipt.
Before I put a new battery in in a 76 trailer I would make sure the converter is working as it should. If it is the original I would suggest upgrading to a new "smart" converter. Your battery will thank you and be with you much longer.
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Old 04-24-2015, 07:39 AM   #6
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Deep cycle batteries will live longer than starting batteries if whatever battery used is discharged deeply/a lot.

Starting batteries are sometimes warranted for 5 years...with full, FREE replacement if they die within 3 years.

A starting battery that is deep cycled too often will die in less than 2 years.

Hmmmnnn.....
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:47 AM   #7
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Yes, true deep cycle batteries are better. If you plan to do any boondocking (camping without hookups) definitely get deep cycle.

If, however, you plan to always camp in an RV park with hookups, the dual purpose type batteries will do you fine, and I like the availability and price of Walmart.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:23 AM   #8
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1986 25' Sovereign
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I have had good luck with true "deep cycle" batteries - got ours at West Marine almost four years ago and they are still going strong. But, depending on how you will use your trailer standard automotive batteries might be just fine - and perhaps cheaper. (We tend to be off the grid a fair amount and battery capacity is important.) If you need battery capacity perhaps the best solution is to reduce your electrical demand with LED interior lights.

Our previous unit was a 75 Trade Wind and one of the best changes I made was to ditch the old Univolt charger. Today, I would go with a 3 stage smart charger with fairly LOW (35 amp) capacity. Batteries last longer if they are charged at a lower rate.

Good luck,

Whit Nash
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Old 04-24-2015, 12:13 PM   #9
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Walmart deep cycles are good for the occasional dry camper. When ours were new we were out with no hookups for 4 days at Glacier NP. With careful power / water management we were fine but the batteries were new that summer. Now they're on their 4th year and still going strong. I do have a smart charger and keep it plugged in most of the time. Haven't been without hookups long enough to stress them lately.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:20 PM   #10
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1976 25' Tradewind
Kimberton , Pennsylvania
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It’s Walmart then.

The consensus among most members generally points to Walmart for a deep cycle battery. Home Depot would be good but the availability of Walmarts everywhere wins out. Thanks again to all of you for your interest.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:42 PM   #11
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One of my friends says go Wallmart and trade it in under Warranty after a couple of years...I don't agree of course. We would not use anything but AC Delco deep cycle. I've had those in my trailers for over 5 years on the last two we sold. Learned the hard way after cheaping out!

Marine batteries are a compromise to get enough amps to start the engine. Deep cycle batteries in an RV don't need starting amps but deliver low amperage at or near 12V more steadily over time and recover better from discharge
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:18 AM   #12
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1976 25' Tradewind
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Marine batteries and deep cycle batteries

JCWDCW, excluding special circumstances, aren’t marine batteries and deep cycle batteries one and the same? Whenever I bought a battery in the past there was always some prep to be done before it was installed. Maybe I should have paid more attention but aren’t they supposed to add electrolyte to the case before installation. The folks at Walmart seemed to be only interested in my returning a “core” to them after purchasing a C27 w/109amps off the shelf. No one there had any idea about 12 volt batteries.
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:20 AM   #13
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1986 25' Sovereign
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Marine vs Deep Cycle

"You can't trust battery salesman" - at least that is what my instructor in an electric vehicle design class said many years ago. Bottom line was that you had to look carefully at the specifications - AND run your own tests.

I think that the difference between "marine" and "deep cycle" batteries may vary between manufacturers - and even between people marketing the exact same battery under different brands. Automotive batteries need to deliver a very high starting circuit - after that the vehicle alternator does the job of making the electricity. A "marine" battery can cover a vary broad spectrum - small fishing boats to larger vessels. But common to both is the requirement that it has to start the engine and then power the living quarters while the engine is not running. " Deep cycle" batteries are not designed for high starting currents; rather they will give a lower current for a long time. Slow speed golf carts need that kind of battery.

Some sailboats will have both "starting" (i.e. automotive) and deep cycle batteries - each serving its own load. (My uncle had a boat with one starting battery and two banks of two deep cycle batteries to run the household loads. But extra weight is not a problem on sailboats and marine supply stores keep boaters from having too much weight in their wallets!) You really need to define what you need to do and then get the correct battery for the job.

I am not sure about this - and if someone in the battery business can correct me I'd appreciate it. I believe that if a battery has a CCA designation ( cold cranking amps) then it is NOT a deep cycle battery.

Finally, Practical Sailor had an article this month on AGM batteries. (they rely on lead-acid chemistry but are sealed so they don't need water and can't leak.) My head is still hurting after trying to digest it. But it appears that AGM batteries require a very special charging system/sequence to get the best performance. I'll be sticking with regular batteries.

Whit Nash
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:11 AM   #14
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RWNash is right on.

A Marine battery for the average inboard runabout has to both start the engine, which requires the ability to deliver amps fast but still deliver enough low amp performance from the battery while playing the radio,CD , Lights or whatever. A car battery is designed to provide high cold cranking AMPS especially in Winter, several times in succession if need be; after that the alternator takes over to supply the power to all the toys. A Deep Cycle battery can't do the high cold cranking amps, but it does deliver steady low amp power over time and can handle being dropped to 10 volts without serious loss of life. Do that to a car battery and you give up 25% of its reserve power for ever. The Marine battery is designed to fit in between these two extremes.

I've used cheap batteries for both business and RVing....they cost more in the long run. I will never buy anything but AC Delco, although We may switch to AGMS for our new-to-us AS since it was wired for them by the previous owner and the off brand Deep Cycle is starting to show some fatigue.
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