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Old 07-20-2016, 09:22 AM   #1
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12 Volt or 6 Vollt Batteries or AGM's

Looking to change out the 12 Volt to 6 Volt, 2 6 Volt will give me more AMP Hours ?.

Both of my 12V die on me and took to the dealer, they did a complete check of systems and all is well, the only thing we could think of was we did two dry camping trips (3 days first trip & 4 days the second trip) 4 weeks apart.

We were very care full on usage with only lights and fridge on propane, quick showers and I do have a 100w portable solar to keep a charge on the batteries even doing what I could the batteries drop to 10.2 very fast each day.

Going to the Interstate store I receive 2 new 12v free which was good, but was told if I would change to 6v I could get more AMP hours out of them than the 12v, I would have to modify the battery box to fit the 6v.

Or jump into the AGM Batteries for now, buy a generator ??

Solar is not in at this point, we only dry camp with our group 2 to 3 times a year, we are going to the Balloon Fiesta which is dry camping this year, so what is my choice not to worry about Batteries.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:44 AM   #2
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There will be those that will disagree, but I say go with two flooded cell 6 volts.

AGMs are nice until a person accidentally ruins them via unintentional discharge.

Of course you can ruin the 6 volts the same way, but when this happens they are a lot cheaper, and less painful to replace.




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Old 07-20-2016, 10:56 AM   #3
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I agree about the flooded 6v. Replaced my Interstate group 24's with Trojan 105-RE 6v golf cart batteries for $400. Had a local machine shop make a 2 inch height extension for the battery box for $60. I have the factory 180 watt Zamp solar. Last couple of trips with 4 people even on cloudy days my batteries haven't gone below 12.5v. They may not last as long as AGM's, but they are half the price so who cares if I have to replace them in 5 years.
And we don't worry about conserving as I carry a generator. But I don't use it unless the wife wants to blow dry her hair.
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Old 07-20-2016, 11:20 AM   #4
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This is the question that continues to frustrate all except those with unlimited funds. The advantage to the AGM is the ability to move the bank off the front of the tongue. The problem with the 6-volt and group 27s is that they add weight to the tongue. A bit here and there is of no consequence, but it all adds up and few of us are good at traveling with less after we have become accustomed to more. It does happen and you folks are to be commended.

A recent article in Latitude 38 identified that a group 31 AGM in Carbon foam construction has some of the advantages of Li-ion. It can be discharged quite low, but unfortunately, weight savings is not one of those advantages. Cost appears to be expensive. One price posted was $425 each and the $500 level was suggested in the article.

The argument that flooded cells are cost effective is quite seductive. Just wish they did not weigh so much. For now, keep those Interstates alive until the Loto hits. Got to add that bank disconnect switch. Little things do help. Pat
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Old 07-20-2016, 11:23 AM   #5
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I have a very small vented battery box.

I wanted two batts so I went with AGMs. They are really expensive now, but mine lasted over seven years.

Most of my outings were four days. I was careful with consumption, but I really needed more like three batts. ( I don't carry a generator. ) Saving for 3 AGMs now.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:04 AM   #6
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Thanks All

Thanks to all, with this season ending soon I thing I will save up and do the AGM next spring and look into a roof solar.

I will be watching for any more help on this, our goal is to be able to take off once in awhile for dry camping with out worrying about the batteries.

Back in the 70's when were did the tent camping my wife did not need a hair dryer as we always camp by a lake and was swimming every day, how time has change as the wife needs all those luxury as we have at home. All I need is a coffee pot and a grill.

In the end run Wife always rule.
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dames7 View Post
" with this season ending soon"
You are in Gilbert Arizona, the season is just beginning.
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:07 PM   #8
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Don't AGM's require a changeout of the converter?
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:47 PM   #9
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AGM is the only battery I buy when I buy new. They hold up in the AZ heat. Put NEW life into older cars.
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Old 07-21-2016, 01:01 PM   #10
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Yes it is starting, Just 8 week on a total knee replacement and fighting off back surgery and limited to trips. I did install a recliner in our AS which will help a lot, we are going to Durango for three weeks on Saturday and back for shots and rest up for the Balloon Fest in New Mexico and group trips here in AZ.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by leedav View Post
Don't AGM's require a changeout of the converter?
Interesting question. But apparently not, as long as you have a solar system with a good three stage converter--and he should be fine if he's adding that from scratch.

The factory Airstream solar converter is as bad as the standard internal converter--in fact, I've been having conversations directly with Airstream about goth of these--thanks to Lewster's input, we now know that there are 3 stage internal converters that cost about the same as the one stage Parallax that has been the standard, so we're keeping fingers crossed! My argument for using a topflight solar converter is that they're charging extra for the factory solar package anyway, so why not use the right stuff from the beginning?

We converted the two factory AGM 12 volts that came with our 28' International new in 2009 to four Lifeline AGM 6 volts, two of which live inside the coach (under the short leg of the "gaucho" with the water heater, Parallax converter, factory inverter, and subwoofer. At the same time, we threw away the factory provided one stage solar converter and changed out for a three stage MMPT controller (BlueSky). Although with the optional remote (really nice to have to be able to easily check battery status, remaining amp hours, etc.) pretty pricey, the MMPT has effectively given us the equivalent of another panel on the roof by being more efficient, so well worth the price.

But to directly answer your question, we are now in the middle of our eighth season with the AGM's, and despite some talk to the contrary, they're still chugging along. We dry camp for up to two weeks at a time, even in areas where there's morning fog and maybe 5 fully overcast days out of the 14.

Lewster has ventured the opinion that it's the solar converter that may be saving our batteries from the "bad" Parallax.

So if the gentleman adds a solar system with a proper three stage controller, that may solve that problem.

But the batteries ARE heavy! The four weigh almost 300 lbs together, and all of that is forward, AND the 28's start with the highest tongue weight. So as we approach the last stage of the expected battery life of the AGM's, we're going to (gulp) make the leap to lithiums to remove about 200 lbs from the tongue for slightly more usable amp hours (440 at 50% usable=220 amp hrs for the AGM's; 300 at 85% usable=255 amp hours for the lithiums).

My wife embraces camping (in fact, she initiated it!), so she only uses a hair dryer if we have full hookups! No AC, micro, or heat pump--we will run furnace but only at a low thermo setting and for brief periods--it does draw 8 amps/hr and runs your bank down quickly. And we changed all of the halogen lights in the 2009 coast to LED's as soon as they were available, and later added dimmers as they became available.

The lowest we've ever run our battery bank while dry camping seems to have been down about 25%. But we are generally dry camping no closer to winter than the last two weeks of March. And the sun angle is hugely important to a roof mounted system. And we're usually in more southern climates--South Texas in March/April.
So most days, we're at 100% by sunset--in fact on sunny days, we get there as early as 11a-1pm.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:50 PM   #12
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Hi David--

For more information about the importance of an MPPT solar controller when adding or augmenting your solar system, you can get overview and detailed info here:

http://www.solar-electric.com/mppt-s...trollers.html/

They may have more info about battery combinations elsewhere on the site, too.
You'll get the most "charge for your buck" by matching up the panels, controller and batteries for your specific needs.
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Old 07-21-2016, 04:58 PM   #13
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Interesting question. But apparently not, as long as you have a solar system with a good three stage converter--and he should be fine if he's adding that from scratch.

The factory Airstream solar converter is as bad as the standard internal converter--in fact, I've been having conversations directly with Airstream about goth of these--thanks to Lewster's input, we now know that there are 3 stage internal converters that cost about the same as the one stage Parallax that has been the standard, so we're keeping fingers crossed! My argument for using a topflight solar converter is that they're charging extra for the factory solar package anyway, so why not use the right stuff from the beginning?

We converted the two factory AGM 12 volts that came with our 28' International new in 2009 to four Lifeline AGM 6 volts, two of which live inside the coach (under the short leg of the "gaucho" with the water heater, Parallax converter, factory inverter, and subwoofer. At the same time, we threw away the factory provided one stage solar converter and changed out for a three stage MMPT controller (BlueSky). Although with the optional remote (really nice to have to be able to easily check battery status, remaining amp hours, etc.) pretty pricey, the MMPT has effectively given us the equivalent of another panel on the roof by being more efficient, so well worth the price.

But to directly answer your question, we are now in the middle of our eighth season with the AGM's, and despite some talk to the contrary, they're still chugging along. We dry camp for up to two weeks at a time, even in areas where there's morning fog and maybe 5 fully overcast days out of the 14.

Lewster has ventured the opinion that it's the solar converter that may be saving our batteries from the "bad" Parallax.

So if the gentleman adds a solar system with a proper three stage controller, that may solve that problem.

But the batteries ARE heavy! The four weigh almost 300 lbs together, and all of that is forward, AND the 28's start with the highest tongue weight. So as we approach the last stage of the expected battery life of the AGM's, we're going to (gulp) make the leap to lithiums to remove about 200 lbs from the tongue for slightly more usable amp hours (440 at 50% usable=220 amp hrs for the AGM's; 300 at 85% usable=255 amp hours for the lithiums).

My wife embraces camping (in fact, she initiated it!), so she only uses a hair dryer if we have full hookups! No AC, micro, or heat pump--we will run furnace but only at a low thermo setting and for brief periods--it does draw 8 amps/hr and runs your bank down quickly. And we changed all of the halogen lights in the 2009 coast to LED's as soon as they were available, and later added dimmers as they became available.

The lowest we've ever run our battery bank while dry camping seems to have been down about 25%. But we are generally dry camping no closer to winter than the last two weeks of March. And the sun angle is hugely important to a roof mounted system. And we're usually in more southern climates--South Texas in March/April.
So most days, we're at 100% by sunset--in fact on sunny days, we get there as early as 11a-1pm.
Geez, I am exhausted just reading through this stuff.
I thought camping was about relaxing and kicking back.
I think I will stick with my generator. Running it a couple hours a day keeps me boondocking longer than I care to do it in any given stretch anyway.
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:56 PM   #14
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Unless you are moving your batteries inside or plan on spending some of your time upside down, there is no need to go to the AGM's.


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