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Old 09-12-2018, 06:16 PM   #1
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12 Volt to Twin 6 Volt Conversion

I have a 2017 16ft Bambi that has the stock single 12 volt RV/Marine battery. I would like to start boondocking and feel I need a better battery system to get me much further then my single 12 volt battery, which does not hold up very well when it is my sole source of power.
My understanding is that twin 6 volt batteries is the hot set up for boondocking so I feel that is my direction moving forward. I've also heard that the sealed maintenance free (gel) batteries are the ones to purchase even though they cost a bit more.
Can any of you fine folks confirm (or deny) my understanding and also point me in the right direction as to which brand and model of batteries to purchase? I want to do this once and do it right.

I will probably also purchase the little fold out solar panels or a small generator to use on longer boondocking trips.

Thank You in advance for your help! Darren
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:09 PM   #2
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Two 6 volt batteries are what I did. They work great. Trojan T105’s are what I when with. 250 amp hrs with only 50% of that useable (125amp/hr). These are true deep cycle batteries so they can handle the long discharging and short recharging demands and “can” be discharged as much as 80% before damage occurs.
They have a new solar line. https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/da..._06_255_DS.pdf

This is what I have. http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/dat...ata_Sheets.pdf

Good Luck!
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
...These are true deep cycle batteries so they can handle the long discharging and short recharging demands and “can” be discharged as much as 80% before damage occurs.
They have a new solar line. https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/da..._06_255_DS.pdf...

The chart in the reference would seem to indicate otherwise. I thought it was a general limitation of wet cell lead acid batteries that you don't want to discharge them below 50% but the chart would seem to indicate that there is a penalty to pay even at 50%. Going to 80% depth of discharge would seem to halve the lifetime compared to 50%. It was my understanding that you could take lithiums to 80% DOD, but not lead acid.


Al
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:20 PM   #4
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Hi

A pair of T105's will give you about 10% more capacity than a pair of Group 27 AGM 12V batteries. One tradeoff is that they are flooded batteries and are a bit more picky about maintenance. The group 27's are slightly smaller than the T-105's. Both will require you to fiddle things a bit to fit them in. There's not a lot of room in a 16' trailer.

An alternative would be to replace the single lead acid you have with a Lithium battery. That will give you essentially the same usable capacity as your two T-105's or the two group 27's. A pair of lithium's will give you twice what a single battery does.

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Old 09-12-2018, 08:28 PM   #5
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As you can see, there are multiple approaches you'll hear about, all of them valid. As always, YMMV.

Keep an eye out for a one day sale at Sams club. I picked up two GC2 golf cart batteries for about $160 for the pair out the door. Duracell labeled, but made by Deka. 215 a/h each, so about 108 usable.

Read the threads and pick an approach. Check the cells and don't let it go dry. The GC2s have a ganged cell cap thing that makes it easy.

Happy trails,
Mike
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
The chart in the reference would seem to indicate otherwise. I thought it was a general limitation of wet cell lead acid batteries that you don't want to discharge them below 50% but the chart would seem to indicate that there is a penalty to pay even at 50%. Going to 80% depth of discharge would seem to halve the lifetime compared to 50%. It was my understanding that you could take lithiums to 80% DOD, but not lead acid.


Al

Discharging batteries is entirely a function of your particular application.

However, below is list of helpful items:

Shallow discharges will result in a longer battery life.
50% (or less) discharges are recommended.
80% discharge is the maximum safe discharge.
Do not fully discharge flooded batteries (80% or more). This will damage (or kill) the battery.
Many experts recommend operating batteries only between the 50% to 85% of full charge range. A periodic equalization charge is a must when using this practice.
Do not leave batteries deeply discharged for any length of time.
Lead acid batteries do not develop a memory and do not need to be fully discharged before recharging.
Batteries should be charged after each period of use.
Batteries that charge up but cannot support a load are most likely bad and should be tested. Refer to the Testing section for proper procedure.

Straight from Trojan website
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for pointing that out, GM. I guess their definition of damage is different from mine. If you cut the life of the battery in half, I call that damage, but apparently they don't. There must be some catastrophic failure mechanism that comes into play and the battery won't take a charge at all or a cell shorts or.....


I considered going to GC2s but didn't think the slight increase in capacity over 2 group 27s was worth the effort to house them in my battery compartments.


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Old 09-12-2018, 08:52 PM   #8
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I do not discharge mine beyond 50% but I thought it well to point out the onthe Trojans that was not their critical discharge point.
I’ve been very pleased with mine. The fact that they are a “true” deep cycle battery gives them the ability to provide consistent drain and predictable discharge times.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:25 PM   #9
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Twin 6 volt Trojan T 105's here. Maintenance consists of checking distilled water levels annually. Much cheaper than AGM's. Unlike expensive lithiums, no costly change to Airstream onboard control panels etc., simple plug and play.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:59 PM   #10
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A lot of people are using the 6 volt Fullriver AGMs that come in a group 27 case. Part number DC 220-6. It was a member here that made the youtube video on the conversion where you only need minimal battery box modification too get them to fit in the pre 2017 battery boxes and might even fit in the classics. Should be no problem on newer Airstreams as well. Fullriver has a better warranty than Lifeline and everything we are hearing is positive about them.
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:13 AM   #11
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Hi

In the context of lead acid batteries, these days, "deep discharge" means you have some chance of operating the to the 50% level. "Normal discharge" is designed for much more shallow average use.

None of the magic numbers are a certainty. They all are based on averages and have a bunch of fine print associated. Charge rates / discharge rates / maximum temperatures, all sorts of stuff get into the act.

They generally target 80% capacity as end of life. A lot of people are out there right now, happily running batteries that have 50% capacity. Pretty much nobody is out there happily using a battery with a shorted cell. Even *how* the battery dies matters .....

Lots of variables ....

Bob
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Old 09-13-2018, 08:52 AM   #12
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Dealing with battery problems in my '16 Flying Cloud, I've been following all of the battery threads closely. I've found a couple of simple suggestions in addition to all of the discussions about Store mode, parasitic load, etc.:

1). If one battery is having problems, you should always replace batteries in pairs. (I didn't and destroyed a good battery)

2). Don't put your trickle charger directly on top of the batteries in the battery box as gasses from the battery can ruin it. (It happened to mine)

As for converting from 12v to 6v, I'm really thinking about going this way, but you are adding roughly 42 lbs. to the tongue weight of your trailer, not to mention the dead lift of a 62 lb. battery out of the battery box. I'm wondering if my back can handle lifting this weight as I grow older.
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:10 AM   #13
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If you just buy new flooded cell deep discharge batteries every year you have good batteries all the time cheaply and pretty much worry free. If I get 2 years out of a set that is even better. I wonder how much capacity a 5 old year AGM is going to have if you really need it for a 3 day Boondocker? Tractor supply will even slide them into the box for you if your back is acting up.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
If you just buy new flooded cell deep discharge batteries every year you have good batteries all the time cheaply and pretty much worry free. If I get 2 years out of a set that is even better. I wonder how much capacity a 5 old year AGM is going to have if you really need it for a 3 day Boondocker? Tractor supply will even slide them into the box for you if your back is acting up.
This is a classic KISS solution. Had I not already purchased AGM replacements 2 years ago I might have taken this approach. It’s easy, quick, and provides good insurance, though you must still follow the usual maintenance to achieve reasonable performance expectations. As others noted, your intended use, like extensive boondocking, might indicate other solutions.

I take a similar approach with my tires. I buy good tires, carefully maintain them, and replace them with plenty of “extra” tread (and years of life) well before Lincoln’s head is covered. Those last few thousand miles can become very expensive and dangerous. Cheap insurance.

The range of experience, knowledge, opinions, and ideas generated on these Forums provides an opportunity to engage in critical analysis and decisions that are best for each person’s requirements. “YMMV” is an apt motto for this site.
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