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Old 05-19-2004, 03:25 PM   #1
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battery life

How long does a deep cell battery last?
With a 3 year old 2001 Safari that is on the road 40 % of the time with half of that time boon docking using the solar panels. Are the batteries just about shot. They still seem to work fine, they don't hold the charge as well as when new but the charge back up and in Jan / Feb I was boon docking for 5 weeks in Big Bend area. They like to have clean conections.
I suppose the big question is I am heading for Alaska in June, do you seasoned Airstream Veterans just waite for problems or is 3, 4, 5 years agood time to get new batteries as preventative medicine and not to ruin a trip.
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Old 05-19-2004, 03:42 PM   #2
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From my own experience at the end of 3 years a battery is not as good as it was new. In my mind I'm usually prepared to replace it at year 4. But my battery usage is minimal and if it weren't for the power jack, I probably wouldn't notice the state of the battery (in terms of ability to maintain a charged state). In your case since you boon dock, your needs are greater and you may want to comfort level that a new battery would give you.

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Old 05-19-2004, 04:29 PM   #3
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It's not just the number of years, but the number and depth of the cycles.

If I was investing that much in a vacation, I'd ante up the money now for new batteries and use them a couple of times before heading out, to ensure no infant mortality.
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Old 05-19-2004, 04:49 PM   #4
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Hey Warren,

There are many threads about batts on this forum. I learned a lot.
But basically it depends on what type of battery and how bad you misuse it.
This site has great info

http://www.phrannie.org/battery.html

I put 2 Optima AGMs in my trailer, and I use my old golf cart batteries
as external aux batts. I have a kill switch on the Optimas , and I hook
up the golf cart batts to the hitch connector. ( To be honest, the 2 golf carts batts weigh more than a Honda 2000. And a Honda with a full tank of
gas can charge your batts a number of times. My friends don't like noisey smelly generators!!! )
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Old 05-19-2004, 05:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w9det
How long does a deep cell battery last?
With a 3 year old 2001 Safari that is on the road 40 % of the time with half of that time boon docking using the solar panels. Are the batteries just about shot. They still seem to work fine, they don't hold the charge as well as when new but the charge back up and in Jan / Feb I was boon docking for 5 weeks in Big Bend area. They like to have clean conections.
I suppose the big question is I am heading for Alaska in June, do you seasoned Airstream Veterans just waite for problems or is 3, 4, 5 years agood time to get new batteries as preventative medicine and not to ruin a trip.
Here in South Florida, with the extra heat and humidity being the problem, instead of cold weather, I recommend replacing deep cycle batteries every 36 months. That seems to be the life cycle of an automotive battery here, also. After 3 years you are on borrowed time. There is also the issue of how many cycles you have performed on your batteries.
In a cooler climate, you may be able to get another year or so out of them, but if you are going to be "in the woods" the last thing you want is to get every days' worth of life out of yours, and falling short with no battery dealer for 300 miles.
Terry
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Old 05-19-2004, 07:21 PM   #6
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The way things are going you should buy your batteries now because prices will be going up soon. RoadKingMoe has a good point about infant mortality and insuring that you have tested batteries on the long road you plan ahead.
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Old 05-26-2004, 12:06 AM   #7
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us too

Warren,
Our two year old is having similar battery problems. We installed a 120w panel last year along w/ a Solar Boost 2000 and Zantrex Link 10. We've watched amps go in, amps get used and both the guages and my math says we should be getting more dry camping performance. I started checking the cells today. The second one I sampled was dead. Most advice recommends complete swapout, so I didn't sample further. Instead I decided to go ahead with a conversion to golf cart batteries. No, they don't fit in the batery boxes... yet. My more pressing problem concerns wiring; I know what a series circuit is but I don't know what to do with the gang bars and connectors. Perhaps, Mandolindave can chime in or any others that have accomplished the conversion. If it works, Warren, we'll double the amps and get batteries that can handle the odd deep discharge for the same price, weight and availability. The dry camping equation would look a lot better. Have a great trip.
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Old 05-26-2004, 01:39 AM   #8
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chime

Hey Brian,
When you parallel two 12 volt batts you get 12 volts but more amp hours. When you series two 6 volt golf cart batts you get 12 volts but
no increase in amp hours. Either way you end up with hot and ground,
that you hook up the same way your old batt was wired.
I had a kill switch hooked up to my Optimas so I could use my
external golf cart batts. But a kill switch is also good for keeping
phantom loads from draining your batts. Mandolin Dave
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Old 05-26-2004, 10:17 AM   #9
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Premature death

I'm thinking that there are some parasitic loads on my battery even with the master switch turned off. After a few weeks of non-use the battery is near-dead. This has happened several times... and as a result I think my battery is shot. My trailer is only 18 months old. I'm considering a cutoff switch right at the battery. Anyone done this? What switch did you use? Source?
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Old 05-26-2004, 11:03 AM   #10
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pesky parasites

Dmac, If you are using the battery shutoff switch near your converter, the circuits downcurrent can not cause drain. If it is on check those switches in the refer door frame (climate and ambient). They use .5A each and will add up over time. Need to research the wiring but you might put a meter on the hitch plug wire (don't know which side of the cutoff it is on).
Thanks mandolindave. Separated by six feet the curbside positive goes through two junctions w/additional wires tied into them before getting to the other battery. I need to think about how to connect a + to a - w/o involving those other wires until I finally have some 12V to feed them.
I'll check in later this evening (either w/ a brilliant answer or grovelling for more help!).
Brian
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Old 05-26-2004, 02:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmac
I'm thinking that there are some parasitic loads on my battery even with the master switch turned off. After a few weeks of non-use the battery is near-dead. This has happened several times... and as a result I think my battery is shot. My trailer is only 18 months old. I'm considering a cutoff switch right at the battery. Anyone done this? What switch did you use? Source?
A quote from an old post.

"After many weeks since I started this thread I have finally borrowed a meter to see what's going on. With the master disconnect switch set to off (no voltage to 12 volt fuse panel) I found that the draw from the battery (propane detector bypasses this switch) was .09 of an amp. With the disconnect switch set to on with no appliances operating the draw was .10 of an amp."

Here is the original thread where this came from.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...t=dead+battery

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Old 05-26-2004, 03:15 PM   #12
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...Isn't there always a bit of parasitic current leakage in a lead-acid battery? I think they said something like that in A&P school a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...
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Old 05-26-2004, 04:27 PM   #13
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Equalize anyone?

When was the last time the batteries went thru a desulfation cycle? All lead acid batteries sulfate over time and that can greatly reduce the capacity as the sulfur is reducing the lead area which is where the electrochemical reaction occurs that produces power. The standard A/S charger (both univolt and recent) do NOT have a desulfation cycle. The IntelliPower inverter when equiped with the ChargeWizard does have this feature. If you have solar and are using the SolarBoost MPPT controller, it too has this feature. What it all amounts to, is that you need to push the voltage on a battery to around 15v while controlling boiling for several hours which causes the sulfur to return to the sulfuric acid. Using pulse width modulated control, the units I mentioned above can safely equalize (desulfate) a battery. When ever I bring the Bambi out of storage, I run an equalization (using the SolarBoost MPPT) just to ensure that I have the absolute maximum capacity. In case I forget, my TriMetric battery monitor tells me how many days since the last equalization. Along with never discharging below 50%, routine desulfation are the two biggest factors in the longivity of a lead acid battery.

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Old 05-26-2004, 04:47 PM   #14
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Dave,

Since the new AS chargers don't come with a Desulfacation cycle, is there a portable unit on the market that can be used periodically to accompish this?

Bob
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