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Old 06-21-2007, 08:17 PM   #1
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How's my Battery?

don't do much boondocking, but I'm about to partake in a weekend of self-contained fun....
not sure I really trust the battery (conventional lead acid group 27 deep cycle). Its only a couple of years old, but has given indications of not holding a charge that well. Seems to run down too quickly...of course, that could just be my own mis-calculation of my consumption, but anyway...

hasn't needed water in a long time...and I do check it. I don't leave it plugged into my original univolt for long periods of time.

The trailer has been idle for 3 weeks, running the fridge (which does use some 12v) on gas. stereo was plugged in, too, which also has a phantom load. anyway, voltage was down to 12.3, so I plugged it in and let it charge for 24 hrs. Checked voltage at the battery thismorning (still plugged in to shore power): 13.83v. (seems that the univolt is working properly). Unplugged, and let it rest all day. checked voltage again: 12.7v. sounds good...
then I turned on a light in the trailer...voltage dropped to 12.5. turned on another light: 12.2. is that a normal voltage drop? I know, its not a proper "load test, but I've noted before, it doesn't seem to take much for it to go below 12...
just wondering if I should pick up a new battery before the weekend.
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Old 06-21-2007, 08:30 PM   #2
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Hey Chuck,

I'm not an electrical guru, but maybe it would be worth the piece of mind to just replace the thing.
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Old 06-21-2007, 09:54 PM   #3
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If it has a full charge, that seems to be dropping too fast. I would give it a charge with a battery charger then try it. Or do as Rodney suggests and replace it. If it turns out to be good, you'll have a spare which may not be a bad idea anyway.
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:41 PM   #4
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I thought I would add to the confusion on the battery drop. Seeing a 0.2 volt drop or even larger without knowing the demand (watts) of the bulb isn't a very definitive test. I just checked our 25' CCD with six month old Group 24 Gel batteries. The batteries are fully charged to float condition every day by the 260 watt roof top solar panels. The battery at rest voltage an hour before sundown with the refrigerator on was 12.7 (no sun on the panels). An hour after dark the battery voltage is 12.6v. Turning on two 10-watt halogen lights under the front overhead storage didn't drop the voltage for the first 20 secs or so. Then turning on the main ceiling lights, eight 10-watt halogens immediately dropped the voltage to 12.5. My tests didn't run more than a minute but I have seen a 0.2 or more drop when other items are on.

Most likely your battery needs replacing but a definitive answer would be to try and find someon to load test it and see how much it drops for a specified load and campare it to the specs for the battery with you can often find online from the manufacturer.
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:48 AM   #5
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yeah, I know, a legit "load test" would tell you the answer, but its kind of a pita to do.

the lights I had on were the stock 70's light fixtures, w/ the 12v incandescant automotive bulbs. (1156 and/or 1141...can't remember exactly). first light has 2 or 3 of those bulbs; the second has 6...which is quite a hog, I know. I'm not sure of the exact wattage, but that 6 bulb overhead is a significant draw.

it seems that by all indications (so far...), everything is working normally.

no biggie. we're camping w/ the wally club...there'll be generators around, and its not like we're going to the end of the earth or anything. If I run low too quickly, I can just go out and buy a replacement.
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck
yeah, I know, a legit "load test" would tell you the answer, but its kind of a pita to do.

the lights I had on were the stock 70's light fixtures, w/ the 12v incandescant automotive bulbs. (1156 and/or 1141...can't remember exactly). first light has 2 or 3 of those bulbs; the second has 6...which is quite a hog, I know. I'm not sure of the exact wattage, but that 6 bulb overhead is a significant draw.

it seems that by all indications (so far...), everything is working normally.

no biggie. we're camping w/ the wally club...there'll be generators around, and its not like we're going to the end of the earth or anything. If I run low too quickly, I can just go out and buy a replacement.
Chuck-We loaded out little 1000 gen into the truck for ya! It has 3/4 tank of gas so we got you covered! See you later today.
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:21 AM   #7
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Accurate battery test!

Pull the battery out to access both + and - terminals. Now place your tongue across both terminal posts at the same time. If you feel a slight tingle then your battery is low. If you get a moderate zing the battery is good. If you get knocked on you @** then you have a full charge and your battery is, as we say.... Good to Go! Happy Trails, Ed
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