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Old 04-28-2019, 09:38 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

I would avoid the big bade switches if possible. They have a *lot* of metal exposed. That gives you a number of places to "bump into" and create a nice big spark. The enclosed Blue Sea switches are a better bet.

Bob
This is why I placed my blade switch on the negative post and aligned it near the edge of the Airstream's metal battery box. It does not really increase the risk of a big spark any more than the metal battery box.
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:06 AM   #22
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Thank you everyone for a great response. I’m traveling now but this is good input before I store my AS this fall.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:43 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bgibbs View Post
Interstate batteries are not “crappy”. The routine maintenance is. I sold Interstate batteries at my repair shop for over 30 years and we had very few problems with them. Any battery will fail prematurely if not maintained properly.
Sorry, but I agree some of them have issues today....I think they are not as good as they may have been "back in the day". (when ever that was...

Interstate manager in Helena, MT, told me after my second set of Interstates with my 'New" 2014 AS went bad, they have many returns now, since they started making the batteries differently then they used to make them. The manager I spoke with said they now regularly travel to their outlets and check all the batteries on the shelves and bring back the bad ones. He said the walls are thinner among other changes they made in todays batteries, likely to improve weight? Anyway, I have had 3 sets of Interstate 12V Deep Cycle "wet cell" batteries replaced now over the past 7 years, by Interstate at no charge... I did swap out my second set of wet cells for Interstate AGM's before I sold that trailer. with credit Interstate gave me. They worked great for the 2.5 years while I still owned that 25'. AS.

Now I am trying out the 6V Trojans...so far, so good.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:26 PM   #24
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Interstate Battery Issues (Battery Disconnect Switch)

I know i asked about the Golf Cart Batteries but getting off topic for a moment (since you guys know what your talking about)... I just got back from a weekend trip in the new AS. We had 30 amp power at the site we stayed at for 3 days. A couple of questions
FYI 2019 Internation Signature (brand new)

1. When I am hooked up to shore power and the battery disconnect switch is set to off "store" shouldn't my refrigerator still run off the electric. I fell like my 2017 FC refrigerator would run when plug in and the battery disconnect was set to off. But when i got to the campsite on friday and plugged in to the shore power everything lit up but then i noticed my fridge was off then i turned the battery disconnect back to "on/use" and the fridge went back on. otherwise when it was in "store/off" everything was working except the fridge.

2. After 3 days plugged in to shore power i unplugged and had 12.6 v on the battery monitor. then we drive home (4 hours) and unhooked from the tow vehicle. then after an hour if just using the lights while i cleaned up the AS (no radio no furnace no fridge) just lights my battery level showed 11.8 so in one hour using nothing by a few of the lights i lost over 50% of my battery charge.

Is this bad (new) batteries? Do i have a bad charge converter.

I am asking because before i change out to new battries i want to make sure my charge controller is not messed up and won't hurt the new batteries.

Something just aint right!
My 2017 FC with 2 each 12v AGM's could run the furnace and fridge no problem all night when we could boondock now i can't even get 1 hour with just the lights on.
I really don't want to take the AS back to the shop cuz i won't get it back until the end of summer.
any thoughts? I would hire someone and pay out of pocket to tell me if i have bad batteries but how do we test to see if i have a bad converter

thanks again for all your input

Brad
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:53 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradley G View Post
I know i asked about the Golf Cart Batteries but getting off topic for a moment (since you guys know what your talking about)... I just got back from a weekend trip in the new AS. We had 30 amp power at the site we stayed at for 3 days. A couple of questions
FYI 2019 Internation Signature (brand new)

1. When I am hooked up to shore power and the battery disconnect switch is set to off "store" shouldn't my refrigerator still run off the electric. I fell like my 2017 FC refrigerator would run when plug in and the battery disconnect was set to off. But when i got to the campsite on friday and plugged in to the shore power everything lit up but then i noticed my fridge was off then i turned the battery disconnect back to "on/use" and the fridge went back on. otherwise when it was in "store/off" everything was working except the fridge.

2. After 3 days plugged in to shore power i unplugged and had 12.6 v on the battery monitor. then we drive home (4 hours) and unhooked from the tow vehicle. then after an hour if just using the lights while i cleaned up the AS (no radio no furnace no fridge) just lights my battery level showed 11.8 so in one hour using nothing by a few of the lights i lost over 50% of my battery charge.

Is this bad (new) batteries? Do i have a bad charge converter.

I am asking because before i change out to new battries i want to make sure my charge controller is not messed up and won't hurt the new batteries.

Something just aint right!
My 2017 FC with 2 each 12v AGM's could run the furnace and fridge no problem all night when we could boondock now i can't even get 1 hour with just the lights on.
I really don't want to take the AS back to the shop cuz i won't get it back until the end of summer.
any thoughts? I would hire someone and pay out of pocket to tell me if i have bad batteries but how do we test to see if i have a bad converter

thanks again for all your input

Brad
Brad,

Rather than get into a lengthy discussion of what to check and how to check it I propose the following. Since you are in the Seattle area, find a ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) Certified, marine electrician and have him check out your system. The reason I recommend an ABYC electrician is that they are used to dealing with AC/DC systems.

Pat
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:07 PM   #26
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thank you Pdavitt. I will give them a call!
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:32 PM   #27
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Hi

There are a *lot* of reasons why a simple voltage monitor is not a good way to check the state of your battery:

1) Battery voltages change roughly +/- 0.6V over the temperatures you might see when camping. When it's cold, 12.6V becomes 13.2V. When it's hot 12.6V becomes 12.0V.

2) Monitors are rarely "right on the battery" (if you have two ... which battery?). Voltage drops in the wiring of the RV get in the way. One of my voltage displays is routinely off by 0.3V due to loading.

3) All the voltages you see are "settled" voltages. Did you let the battery sit with no current in or out for an hour or two before reading it? Nobody ever does ....

4) Even though they all are "lead acid" batteries, there are multiple ways to make them. Voltages can vary by 0.2V with changes in the process. Often the label on the battery stays the same. They change the makeup depending on where it's being sold.

.... and on and on and on ....

Best answer is to forget about voltage readings and get a shunt based monitor.

Bob
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:24 AM   #28
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Uncle_Bob, Here is a table that compensates voltage for temperature: http://all-about-lead-acid-batteries...re-correction/

I do not have, nor do I want, a BMV-712 battery monitor with my 6V golf cart batteries. They provide a great deal of data, but in my opinion, their SOC accuracy is not much better than using voltage for enough reasons one could write a book about (read this article): https://marinehowto.com/programming-a-battery-monitor/

My experience with golf cart batteries is that they are tough! They are designed to be abused in hundreds of golf carts at golf courses across the country daily. I've had a lot of good experiences with abusing golf cart batteries. I'm willing to frequently take my Airstream's inexpensive pair of golf cart batteries to 20% SOC regardless of the fact it will shorten their life. When I look at the table in the above link, that equates to approximately 12.1V +/- 0.1V depending on the temperatures I will see while camping. So 12.0V is close enough for me with a risk of shortening the life of a pair of $230 batteries.

I'm not going to turn off my furnace when my batteries show 12.0V in 30 degree temperatures no matter what the voltage (or battery monitor) reads. My internal risk/reward meter would rather continue to be comfortable at the risk of shorter battery life. I'm at 140 days of deep cycles on my Duracell EGC2 batteries from Sam's Club using the above risk/reward opinion, and my batteries still perform as well as new - meaning I can run the furnace all night along with my other typical Airstream loads. When my battery life gets diminished enough that the furnace or fantastic fans cannot operate all night long with my other typical loads, I'll just drive down to Sam's Club and buy a new set of batteries.

Now if one has expensive Lithium batteries, like Uncle_Bob, I am in full agreement that a battery monitor would be required. Lithiums have a very flat voltage curve from 100% charged to 0% charged. Lithiums are efficient enough that 100AH of use takes 100AH of recharging - perfect for use with a battery monitor.

I believe the most accurate method for determining battery SOC with wet-cell golf cart batteries would be a specific gravity test, not a battery monitor reading. But as I've said many times on this forum, "I use my inexpensive golf cart batteries like propane exchange tanks and will just replace them when they run out of juice."
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:47 AM   #29
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I have a battery monitor. I keep it adjusted as per the Maine Sail web site linked above. I find it helps me keep my EGC2 bank in good health. I also check the liquid levels every couple of months and the specific gravity twice a year or so. I have more than two 6 volt batteries. I consider a pair of six volt batteries, properly inter-connected, the same as one 12 volt battery, just easier to lift if need to.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:20 AM   #30
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Want to see what I mean by "using my inexpensive golf cart batteries like propane exchange tanks"? See this 30-day usage period I posted on the Solar Show and Tell thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...0&d=1541638588

There were 13 out of 30 days where the low voltage level for my batteries was 12.1V or below. There were 7 out of 30 days below 12.0V with an average low voltage of 11.82V. With temperatures in the 50's, these levels were 100% discharged based on the above linked table. Golf cart batteries are tough. Even with this abuse, they keep performing like a Timex watch. They just keep on ticking.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:54 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradley G View Post
I know i asked about the Golf Cart Batteries but getting off topic for a moment (since you guys know what your talking about)... I just got back from a weekend trip in the new AS. We had 30 amp power at the site we stayed at for 3 days. A couple of questions
FYI 2019 Internation Signature (brand new)

1. When I am hooked up to shore power and the battery disconnect switch is set to off "store" shouldn't my refrigerator still run off the electric. I fell like my 2017 FC refrigerator would run when plug in and the battery disconnect was set to off. But when i got to the campsite on friday and plugged in to the shore power everything lit up but then i noticed my fridge was off then i turned the battery disconnect back to "on/use" and the fridge went back on. otherwise when it was in "store/off" everything was working except the fridge.

2. After 3 days plugged in to shore power i unplugged and had 12.6 v on the battery monitor. then we drive home (4 hours) and unhooked from the tow vehicle. then after an hour if just using the lights while i cleaned up the AS (no radio no furnace no fridge) just lights my battery level showed 11.8 so in one hour using nothing by a few of the lights i lost over 50% of my battery charge.

Is this bad (new) batteries? Do i have a bad charge converter.

I am asking because before i change out to new battries i want to make sure my charge controller is not messed up and won't hurt the new batteries.

Something just aint right!
My 2017 FC with 2 each 12v AGM's could run the furnace and fridge no problem all night when we could boondock now i can't even get 1 hour with just the lights on.
I really don't want to take the AS back to the shop cuz i won't get it back until the end of summer.
any thoughts? I would hire someone and pay out of pocket to tell me if i have bad batteries but how do we test to see if i have a bad converter

thanks again for all your input

Brad
Brad- lots of advice here, and some of these guys are "experts" in various fields, including electrical and batteries....I am not. I can, however, share my experience from the 4 AS's I have owned over the past 15 years. The disconnect switch inside your AS when flipped off, does not allow any power to your converter nor appliances. There is a slight parasitic draw from C02 detector, subwoofer, and perhaps some other minor connections. But, your fridge will not work, unless plugged into shore power or that switch is on and allows battery power. You should consider installing a mechanical power switch (see picture in earlier post this thread) on your batteries to insure they are disconnected when in storage. The converter, when plugged in, will power everything in your AS, even if your batteries are disconnected.

As for batteries; Interstate batteries over the past 5 years or more, have some history of having bad cells, or can they be overcharged by the converter being a single stage converter. (check your water level in the batteries.) Batteries can show full when plugged into shore power for a night, but they can loose voltage quickly, as you indicate happened, if there is a bad cell. Either they were bad from Interstate, or because of improper care/use while on the dealer lot; either way, you need to get them checked under warranty by Interstate.

We have had 2 sets of "new" Interstate batteries go bad with our 2014 25' and more recently, with our 2017 28'. My good friend last summer bought a new 23D and as soon as he got to our place in MT 3 weeks after purchase, his batteries had similar issues like you mention. Batteries turned out to be bad. Interstate has been very good about replacing them for free, within a year or so from the date you picked up your AS. They also offered me a 100% credit toward an "upgrade" to AGM's on my 25' few years back. Typically, they will want you to bring in your batteries, they will charge and check them first. There also could be a problem with your converter, which can overcharge or "cook" the water out of your batteries, causing them to be bad. Not real common, but it does happen.

Once you find out if the batteries are bad, decide what you want to get next. I am now using Trojan 6V Golf Cart and I like them. My friend in the 23 got the AGM Trojan 6V; I got the wet cell. But, there are several choices if you want to go 6V. Let us know what happens...Don't think you really need to get a "marine technician" to troubleshoot your AS; any RV shop can help or just get a multimeter and ask questions here on the Forum...as I said, many experts here..it's not rocket science.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:12 AM   #32
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Hi

First off, the article makes a really big deal out of some really small stuff. on the shunt based monitors. If you want 0.1% accuracy, go for it. If 1 or 2 % (which auto resets each time you charge the battery) is ok, then don't get all excited. You *do* need to put the basic data in when you install the unit. If you have 400AH of battery, the meter needs to know that.

Temperature correction tables are wonderful. They are also chemistry specific. The table for one battery likely doesn't match up with another battery. Why? They fiddle things to match up with the typical conditions they expect to run into. Alaska may get a different battery than Florida. There are other driving factors as well.

Indeed knowing the exact temperature of your battery is helpful. A temperature probe attached to it will let a monitor adjust what it tells you. That's very true of a voltage monitor. If you want that last 0.1% it's also true of a shunt based monitor. Indoor temps or the number on the outdoor thermometer in the shade aren't going to do it. My battery box generally is off by 5 to 10 degrees one way or the other from the outdoor numbers.

Capacity monitoring is one thing if you have "a couple of days" of power onboard. That may be from having big batteries. It also may be from learning how to "behave" with electric stuff. If you are running flat in < 24 hours, it's a very different concern. A shunt monitor will tell you your capacity *and* teach you how much drain you have. Both parts of that are significant.

If the Victron is not to your liking, there are a bunch of others out there. The only one I have used myself is the Victron so it's the one I use as an example. It works very well with a minimum of fuss.

Bob
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:36 AM   #33
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batteries

A great topic and lots of accurate information in the replies. In conclusion? 6v golf cart batts rock in series and the Sam's or Costco Duracells make good sense. Why spend the extra money for AGM unless you have lots of cash to burn and don't feels like checking water levels. I no doubt will abuse my batteries badly so just replacing them cheaply makes sense to me. lol

Also check the stock converter you have and talk to Randy at best converter.com for a very important upgrade to maximize the charging and proper maintenance features. (especially if you plan to go lithium at a later date) It's a cheap upgrade and well worth it. You want to make sure your generator doesn't have to run all day to recharge you batts. I am buying the 4655 C Wildcat $213 for my 2019 AS 16RB. As well as a Samlex inverter.

Finding a competent installer is crucial.

Would love to read any more great tips. thx
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:50 AM   #34
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6V Conversion easy to do ...

I too was plagued with battery issues from day one in our 30' International. Supplied with two Interstate 12V 75AH batteries wired in parallel. First set failed with bad cells on our first outing. They were replaced under warranty. We cannot store our trailer where we live and use a storage facility without power. The parasitic loads seemed high but there was nothing wrong with what remained connected. So we had solar installed because I was tired of disconnecting the batteries every time I put the thing in storage and even then there was a discharge after several days. However, the second set of batteries did not last long. While boondocking, they would quickly run down to 50% with minimal use, and would not charge well if we had more than two cloudy days in a row. They also failed to fully charge with a generator unless I used a dedicated charge and disconnected them from the trailer. Communicated with an engineer at Parallax because no matter what, when shore power charging after a discharge, they never got beyond 13.2V charge rate - that is float charge level only and will not de-sulfate the plates. He said that is by design to minimize overcharging the batteries and suggested their TempAssure module, which I purchased and installed. Slight improvement to 13.6-13.8V. But the second set of batteries also failed (one had two bad cells.) I ended up getting two Crowne 6V 240AH batteries and wired them in series. They have heavier plates, will tolerate discharge better, and seem to charge much better ... they now take up to 14.1V charge rate from shore power when needed. They are taller, but will fit in the battery compartment if you take the tray out. I used two pieces of plexiglas with adhesive rubber pads to minimize slipping under the batteries and keep them off the metal bottom. I also drilled a drain hole in the front. So far, the solar maintains the batteries in excellent condition when in storage, and the batteries do well when connected to AC. We have had limited boon docking since they were installed, but seem to hold up to our expectations. I too looked at Li-Iron batteries. However, that would require a different charge controller and mounting under the front couch (they do not do well charging in cold weather). Just not prepared to make that investment and do all of that work yet.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:20 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by RJKSr View Post
I too was plagued with battery issues from day one in our 30' International. Supplied with two Interstate 12V 75AH batteries wired in parallel. First set failed with bad cells on our first outing. They were replaced under warranty. We cannot store our trailer where we live and use a storage facility without power. The parasitic loads seemed high but there was nothing wrong with what remained connected. So we had solar installed because I was tired of disconnecting the batteries every time I put the thing in storage and even then there was a discharge after several days. However, the second set of batteries did not last long. While boondocking, they would quickly run down to 50% with minimal use, and would not charge well if we had more than two cloudy days in a row. They also failed to fully charge with a generator unless I used a dedicated charge and disconnected them from the trailer. Communicated with an engineer at Parallax because no matter what, when shore power charging after a discharge, they never got beyond 13.2V charge rate - that is float charge level only and will not de-sulfate the plates. He said that is by design to minimize overcharging the batteries and suggested their TempAssure module, which I purchased and installed. Slight improvement to 13.6-13.8V. But the second set of batteries also failed (one had two bad cells.) I ended up getting two Crowne 6V 240AH batteries and wired them in series. They have heavier plates, will tolerate discharge better, and seem to charge much better ... they now take up to 14.1V charge rate from shore power when needed. They are taller, but will fit in the battery compartment if you take the tray out. I used two pieces of plexiglas with adhesive rubber pads to minimize slipping under the batteries and keep them off the metal bottom. I also drilled a drain hole in the front. So far, the solar maintains the batteries in excellent condition when in storage, and the batteries do well when connected to AC. We have had limited boon docking since they were installed, but seem to hold up to our expectations. I too looked at Li-Iron batteries. However, that would require a different charge controller and mounting under the front couch (they do not do well charging in cold weather). Just not prepared to make that investment and do all of that work yet.
I like my Trojan 6Vs also; we had same track as you; replaced the first set when we got our 2017 28' right after we got it home, then the second set started acting up. We went to 6V and also swapped out our converter to a Boondocker 4 stage with "smart" technology built in, per Randy's suggestion at Bestconverter.com. You might consider the converter also as the stock converter up until 2018 models, was a single stage and was responsible for "cooking" many an Interstate over the past years.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:15 PM   #36
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Gypsydad which make and model of converter upgrade did you buy? Was it called the Boondocker 4 stage? Sorry i know nothing about this stuff. and if i upgrade my converter will it be ok with my current batteries (the interstate 12v) or do i need to change the converter and batteries at the same time.

Brad
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:43 PM   #37
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Gypsydad which make and model of converter upgrade did you buy? Was it called the Boondocker 4 stage? Sorry i know nothing about this stuff. and if i upgrade my converter will it be ok with my current batteries (the interstate 12v) or do i need to change the converter and batteries at the same time.

Brad
Brad- Looks like you have a 2019 model; If you have a "newer" (2018 or newer) model, they do now come with a 3 stage converter; I just am not sure if it is a "great choice" or not. Randy may know; I have not seen any negatives on the newer AS's with this 3 stage model.

Mine was a single stage in 2017. There were a couple of 4 stage converter choices for me which had the smart technology; Boondocker is one that Randy recommended with the "smart" technology. I would suggest to call Randy at Bestconverter.com...he's an AS owner also, and knows a lot about all this stuff....I have 50 Amp service with 2 AC/s...I would think your getting a 30A model if you want to upgrade. You can use any battery choice 12V, 6V, or Li...you may want to check your batteries out with Interstate if they aren't working correctly. Interstate is pretty good about replacing or credit if your within a year or so from AS purchase. Let us know how it goes...
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:58 AM   #38
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Hi

If you are going for a good converter - get a Victron or another brand that you can program each stage on.

Bob
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:16 PM   #39
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If wanted a battery disconnect on my two 6V batteries (wired in series) would I need to put a disconnect on both negative terminals?
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:41 PM   #40
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If wanted a battery disconnect on my two 6V batteries (wired in series) would I need to put a disconnect on both negative terminals?
No, with six volt batteries in series you need one disconnect like this: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ml#post2235790

With two 12v batteries wired in parallel you need to disconnect both negative cables.
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