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Old 05-04-2012, 08:33 PM   #1
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Is a bigger battery not better?

Totally frustrated by this one.

PO had a small car battery in our '64 AS and everything worked perfectly.

Thought "dang, I should swap all of the old stuff out, get a 9245 converter and jam the largest deep cycle battery I can fit in there. Then I can boondock for weeks!".

Swapped everything out, and the big battery (I tried 2 different "big" batteries) blows the 12V lead EVERY TIME.

I put the little car battery in there and everything works perfectly, every time.

So, my question is... Do I need a much smaller deep cycle battery? The car battery isn't going to work, the lights and stuff will be dead in a couple of hours. What rating do I need on the smaller deep cycle?

HELP! I'm really frustrated.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:06 PM   #2
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Is the car battery 6 or 12 volts? If 6 volts, do you have 12 v. or 6 v. lamps inside; same question about fuse? A lot of vehicles were still switching to 12 v. back in the early '60's, so I suppose this could be one that didn't. Doesn't sound like it is 6 v. somewhere along the line, but maybe, just maybe.

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Old 05-04-2012, 09:28 PM   #3
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As Gene says, you might check the 6/12 volt issues...

However, by 1964, I believe all vehicles had changed to 12 volt systems - most US autos changed in the mid-50's...

So, if your old battery is a 12 volt, and you're having fuse problems with a new '12 volt' battery, you have other gremlins to seek out...

As long as the DC voltage is still 12 volts, it doesn't matter how 'big' the new battery is - your 12 volt electrical system may demand more amperage than your old battery can supply, when the new, larger (amp hour rating) battery will allow a higher amperage 'flow' - which may cause 'undersized' amp rated (or old) fuses to 'blow'...

Also, older fuses my be weakened by age, and new replacements may solve the problem - or there were lower amp rated fuses in place than original...

Older wiring sometimes can cause these problem with increased resistance at old, dirty connections - make sure all the wire connectors are 'bright' metal for a clean, secure connection...old copper wire becomes oxidized on each of it's strands, causing additional resistance - especially where exposed at their ends - check wiring carefully, and replace any that are 'ratty' or frayed, etc...
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:57 PM   #4
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have you checked to see which is the positive & negative ends? the posts on the new batteries might be a reversed position from the old car battery.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:31 PM   #5
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Hmmm.

Battery from PO is a new (11/09) 12V battery.

I've installed a completely new system where all the fuses are new (installed new fuse box and all new fuses). 12V system seems to not handle the additional amperage of the new 9245 Progressive Dynamics converter and the Optima BlueTop battery. The system functions fine with the older (and much smaller) 12V car battery and the new stuff. The battery is the only difference.

The wiring seems to be fine. It is old, but all the connections are newly stripped and nice shiny copper. All the new wiring is connected properly, and is the correct AWG.

Still trying to figure this out.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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The PD 9245 converter/charger will put out 45 amps into a battery which needs charging, at least in "bulk charge" mode. You should have the main fuses to be at least that size. You did not state what fuses are blowing. Can you be more specific? A small, old battery may not take a charge at high current, and so could be fine, whereas the new battery will take a higher charge rate, and that is blowing your fuse? We need more information.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:11 PM   #7
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General info

Quote:
Originally Posted by SafariFaye View Post
Totally frustrated by this one.

PO had a small car battery in our '64 AS and everything worked perfectly.

Thought "dang, I should swap all of the old stuff out, get a 9245 converter and jam the largest deep cycle battery I can fit in there. Then I can boondock for weeks!".

Swapped everything out, and the big battery (I tried 2 different "big" batteries) blows the 12V lead EVERY TIME.

I put the little car battery in there and everything works perfectly, every time.

So, my question is... Do I need a much smaller deep cycle battery? The car battery isn't going to work, the lights and stuff will be dead in a couple of hours. What rating do I need on the smaller deep cycle?

HELP! I'm really frustrated.
Here is some general info about batteries ( to add what has already been said on this thread) and how they can be installed.
There are two ways you can hook-up batteries in your unit. The first way, and the most common is hooked up in Parallel. That is where both the Pos(+) posts are tied to the Pos(+) posts and Neg(-) to Neg(-). In an older unit where you add a battery you could add a Red wire from one Pos post directly to the other battery. Most of the time these batteries will be side by side. Then you do the same thing with the Neg and add a white wire from the Neg post on one battery, to the other. On the Airstream s that have the double battery boxes in the front on the unit they both have there own two wire system that go into the unit and are tied together on the inside. The end result is the same they are (what we call) 12 volts.

The other way to hook up batteries is in SERIES. That is were you have a Red wire to one of the batteries on the Pos(+) post and a white wire to the Neg(-) post on the other battery. The the two open posts on the two batteries are tied together in SERIES. If you have two 6 volt deep cycles batteries in series you will have (what we call) 12 volts.

With a 9245 converter (Progressive Dynamics 9245: 45 Amp Converter) you have (what we call) a 12 volt system. It also have a smart charge built in so that when your batteries are low you get a fast charge. Once they get to 12.5 volts they bump back to a trickle charge so your batteries won't over charge and boil the water out. The max that a properly functioning converter is suppose to put out is 13.4 on fast charge. Once your camper is un-pluged the maximum power coming out of your batteries is going to be 12.5. It may be a bit more for a few minutes. If you tie two 12 volt batteries in series you will have 24 volts and if you tie two 6 volt batteries Parallel you will have 6 volts.

The very best set-up for batteries in a camper if your wanting to get the longest time span between re-charges is to get two 6 volt deep cycle and hook them up in series. The reason being is, the 3 cells on each of the 6 volt batteries are much larger. This is pretty easy to do on a unit where two batteries are side by side and not so easy on an Airstream where there are two compartments are behind the gas bottles.

If you find that your batteries are low of water you do need to add water but never use tap water. You only want to use distilled water. You can get that at most grocery stores.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:34 AM   #8
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Positive,negative reversed..? Old battery may have had posts on oposite sides than new ones. Jim
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:06 AM   #9
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This isn't a voltage issue. This is an amperage issue.

The fuse box (purchased from Vintage) says fuses should be no more than 20A. The fuses that are blowing are 30A. The 12V lighting (the only "loop" that is not working properly) works just fine on a battery charger (12V with 10A). The 9245 is doing exactly what the owners manual says. We've followed the installation instructions to a tee, and I really need to know... Were the original batteries simply smaller in amperage that today's higher amperage batteries?

Voltage...great. Charging system, hooked up properly and functioning like it should.

Hook up a new, high amperage deep cycle battery... blown 30A fuse at the fuse box (auto style, 12V fuses). Hook up a car battery, no blown fuse (as small as 20A) and the lights twinkle as if new.

This HAS to be a battery amperage problem. I just don't know what battery to replace it with... plus, I've got a very expensive Optima Blue-Top that I can't use (any buyers?).
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:25 AM   #10
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I know that I=V/R (Ohm's Law)... Could it be a problem with the gauge of the wire? I tried using jumper cables (just to problem solve) and that worked with the new battery, but the jumper cables got HOT. So, that tells me that the wire reduced the amperage, but increased the resistance. Just more FYI, thanks for the help everyone!!!!
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:46 AM   #11
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re: "The very best set-up for batteries in a camper if your wanting to get the longest time span between re-charges is to get two 6 volt deep cycle and hook them up in series. The reason being is, the 3 cells on each of the 6 volt batteries are much larger."

Have you ever looked at the specifications? They don't support this myth.

the energy density by weight for lead acid batteries falls within a narrow range and does not differ much by all the hype claims you find on these threads like voltage, marketing labels (e.g. "deep cycle"), brand or whatnot.

re: "blows the 12V lead EVERY TIME." -- I agree that this is rather ambiguous. It sounds as if your wiring is acting like a fuse and it is the wiring that gets fried rather than a fuse. It does sound like that you have some current going where it shouldn't in quantities large enough to fry something. That suggests that you need to check the wiring carefully and isolate the problem to the particular area that is causing problems.

re: "jam the largest deep cycle battery I can fit in there. Then I can boondock for weeks!"." -- don't expect miracles. Lead acid batteries don't store much energy and even a 100% increase on something very small is still very small. A typical RV battery has a bit under 1 kwh usable energy capacity. A typical household (or RV at a park) usually uses about 30 kwh per day. Don't go overboard expecting magic bullets or miracles or such things.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:49 AM   #12
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Have you tried asking Progressive what the 9245 puts out in amps max to recharge the battery? If jumpers are hot your getting a large currant draw from something! Have you tried adjusting the output of the charger with the remote pendant? The literature indicates only charge voltage. Could the new battery not be fully charged?
I have a 1963 that I will be connecting a 9245 shortly and will be watching for your solution. The 1963 didn't have a convertor originally. The jumper cables are bigger than the wiring in my trailer! I will check my installation literature for fuse size for battery. I would assume battery fuse would be larger than any circuit! On my 1978 the battery was fused at 50 amps going into the fuse panal.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:47 AM   #13
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You might try another large deep cycle. Perhaps the Optima is shorted. Jumper cables getting warm would indicate a large current draw somewhere. I installed a 9245 and 3 Lifelines in my 65 with no problems. The converter works great.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:10 PM   #14
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The newer, bigger battery is not the problem. You have either shorts, partial shorts or load problems to sort out.

Unplug all power sources, and start measuring resistance between the battery ground (-) and battery 12v (+). Never measure resistance on live circuits or you fry your meter. Then use ohms law (see Wikipedia) to calculate expected current draw at 13.4 volts (which is the max your DC side should ever see).

You can measure resistance with all light switches off and you should expect to see high resistance (this may depend on the inverter design). To further check, you can disconnect the output of your inverter, so then you are just measuring trailer load, which should be zero (resistance should be infinite).

The inverter on my trailer has an inline large (30-50A fuse, I don't recall) going between it and the battery. There is another fuse between the charge/battery circuit and the 12v panel. That fuse size is determined by the wiring to the panel and what the panel can handle (the smaller one wins).

The only reason the battery matters is because it can overload a fault you have in the wiring.
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