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Old 12-23-2008, 08:17 AM   #1
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new battery recommendations?

I am finally replacing the old Univolt and my series 27 flooded cell on my 71. I got a good deal on a salvaged Intellipower 9245. I am leaning towards putting in 2 batteries, possibly AGM batteries.

My next door neighbor parts guy can get me a good deal on Optimas but they don't seem to have the reserve of Lifelines. I can get a masssive 4D Lifeline for about $500 or 2 6vs with a little more reserve for a little more money. What about Trojans?

What did u du? What are ur recommendations? Santa with his long, long trailer full of Airstream stuff wants to know. And what about that plug in pendant accessory thingy. Is it worth getting one of those for my stocking.

By the way, I think I have an idea where to start with hooking the Intellipower to the 12v system. But how do I hook up the 110?
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:59 AM   #2
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Battery

I use Lifelines and have had no troubles...other than the initial shock of paying for them.

The converters plug into a regular 110 outlet which is probably located near your old Univolt. If one is not there either find one to use or install one where you need it.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:12 AM   #3
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The converters plug into a regular 110 outlet which is probably located near your old Univolt. If one is not there either find one to use or install one where you need it.
I should have been clearer. I was asking how do I reconnect the 110 power supply to the trailer 110 system, or is there a connection somewhere not involving the Univolt? Put in a junction box or outlet box?
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:28 AM   #4
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Trojan vote

We converted to 2 6V Trojans and have been very satisfied. We camped in at Carolina Beach last winter without hookups for 3 days, the battery charge held even while using the furnace.

Although we have the T105's (225Amphr), the T125's are the same size, just a bit taller than a 12volt group 24. Specs for T125: 10 3/8" Length x 7 1/8" Width x 10 7/8" height, 66 lbs. each, 240 Amp (20 hour rate). The 6 volts are heavy duty, made to last, and can be discharged down to 20% without damage. We check electrolyte levels in the cells 2 to 3 times a year, and add distilled water as necessary.

If you are interested, here is a link to a description of our upgrade, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...lar-36264.html.

No matter which battery you choose, you'll appreciate the upgrade.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:23 AM   #5
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With the Power Dynamics you do need the ChargeWizard. The newer ones have it built in. It is necessary for more rapid battery charging and for best battery storage maintenance.

You will need to be careful if using other than wet cells as AGM's sometimes do not have the same charging and maintenance profile so a battery charger and maintainer (like the PD+CW) may not be optimum for them. There is really no need to use other than a standard wet cell lead acid in your trailer anyway.

Replacing an older converter may require pulling off the 12v distribution and fuse panel and remounting it somewhere. Real old ones had a special output for the pump but that could be just set to a standard 12v circuit. There may also be a 110v indicator light line to the indicator panel that is easiest to do without. No big deal but a bit of care is needed.

As for batteries, figure about 10 watt hours per pound. There are many myths, some very strongly held, but the facts are that there is little difference between 6v and 12v, battery brand, or even battery type for general RV service, Get enough battery so that you don't run them below 12.0v (measured after no significant charging or discharging for at least a half hour) but you do usually get them down below 12.4v (same criteria). Charge promptly and properly and use good maintenance practice with desulfation.

Get batteries intended for RV service from a reputable dealer who sells a lot to folks like you and stands behind what he sells. These are commodity items and brands don't matter that much. Your satisfaction will come from proper use, management, and storage maintenance.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper View Post
With the Power Dynamics you do need the ChargeWizard. The newer ones have it built in.
Mine does have a built in Charge Wizard. What I was asking about is a "pendant" that plugs into an accessory port on the converter. It looks like it monitors and allows you to change the charging stage. Is this handy enough to get one, or just another gadget?

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There is really no need to use other than a standard wet cell lead acid in your trailer anyway.
The reason I was thinking AGM is the bed is right over the batteries. I was concerned about off gassing and sleeping on top of 2 hydrogen bombs. What do you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper View Post
Real old ones had a special output for the pump but that could be just set to a standard 12v circuit.
Water pump?
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:57 PM   #7
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Batteries

I replaced the original Univolt in my '85 Sovereign several years ago, with a WFCO converter. At the same time, I installed a pair of Diehard RV/Marine batteries. I couldn't justify the added expense of AGM batteries.

I routinely dry camp for 3 - 5 days with no issues (almost never dropping below 12.4 volts). As a (former) long-time tent camper, I don't require a lot of electrical capacity. Basically enough to run the water pump, refrig (on propane) and a few lights. I do have a Honda 2000i for backup in case of a problem.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:09 PM   #8
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The pendant on the ones with the CW built in provides a means to over-ride the 'smarts' so you can mandate a bulk voltage for faster charging and they also provide an indicator so you can tell what state the converter is in. I tend to trust the converter brains better than mine (it has proven itself) and a voltmeter works good enough for me.

The thing is, as I understand it, the 'code' applies to any lead acid battery, wet cell or otherwise. You should always use a vented compartment made of appropriate materials with any battery. But then, I know about using AGM's without respect for the 'code' and hoping they will not be shorted or overcharged -under the bed, even ....

It would be better to have that bomb underneath rather than overhead. Keeping heavy things low and towards center is always better in a trailer, If there were going to be any leaks of sulphuric acid, I'd want them below rather than above, anyway.

Water pump - motors tend to like higher voltages and, as I understand it, the ancient converters had a special line to provide such a motor friendly voltage to the water pump. That is a tale for the really ol' timers and old equipment. Things have changed.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
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...The thing is, as I understand it, the 'code' applies to any lead acid battery, wet cell or otherwise. You should always use a vented compartment made of appropriate materials with any battery. But then, I know about using AGM's without respect for the 'code' and hoping they will not be shorted or overcharged -under the bed, even ....

It would be better to have that bomb underneath rather than overhead. Keeping heavy things low and towards center is always better in a trailer, If there were going to be any leaks of sulphuric acid, I'd want them below rather than above, anyway.....
Amen to that - besides the inherent people problems with possible off-gassing, the presence of charging batteries in the interior will surely hasten the degradation of the aluminum interior due to sulphuric acid condensing from the atmosphere.

IMHO - never, ever install an unvented battery in the interior of ANYTHING. Most of the "vintage" trailer have battery boxes that are no longer leakproof (or airproof). It would be best to rebuild or replace any questionable battery box.

Even in small airplanes when the battery is mounted on the exterior firewall next to the engine, the FAA requires a sealed battery box with a vent routed to the exterior of the engine compartment.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:18 PM   #10
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Most of the "vintage" trailer have battery boxes that are no longer leakproof
FYI- Neither my 71 or my 73 had a battery box. On my 71 it appears the factory idea of venting was about a 1" diameter screen opening in the wall under the gaucho. I would be interested in forum members solutions to the proposition of pickling in sulphuric acid vapors.
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:35 AM   #11
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I'm the battery bizz, and it seems I always step on a few 'toes' when I post some battery info...but in any event...here's some more, I'll try to tread lightly...

1. the higher the Amp Hour rating, the greater the capacity, the longer you can run your stuff...I always recommend installing the largest capacity battery that will fit your compartment...don't forget it will take longer to recharge larger battery banks...when boondocking, a regular daily schedule with the genny, etc. will help assure they're topped off properly.

2. I wouldn't recommend the Optima deep cycle batt's, for AS service, as they only have a 55 Amp hour rating...

flooded cell, group 24's, the same basic size as the Optima, will have up to a 90 Amp hour rating...

sealed AGM Lifeline type's have an Amp hour rating of 80 Ah's.

3. If you use Lifeline AGM type batteries, make sure your converter/charger is a newer model...older chargers will provide too high a voltage during recharge than the AGM batteries will tolerate...resulting in the acid material next to the plates to 'boil' away due to the heat, and destroy the battery!...

most AGM type batteries should be limited to about 14.4 volts (77 degrees) during recharge...older Univolt chargers may exceed this limit and damage your new, pricey, AGM batteries...

4. 6 volt, deep cycle 'golf car' type batteries are great for RV use if you have the room to fit them...they are a bit heavier and taller than most Rv batteries we are all used too...flooded cell 'pairs' will provide about 225 Amp hr ratings...AGM's will give you about 200 AH's from a pair (hooked up in Series).

5. don't forget to check your batteries periodically and to keep the connections clean and tight...some anti-corrosion grease on the terminals and cable ends is a good idea to keep things up to snuff...many battery locations are 'out of sight' and we all tend to avoid them till the the lights go out...wear some safety glasses when you're down there near the battery compartment with your wrenches...you don't want to 'arc' across the terminals and spoil your day, to say nothing of your nice shiny airstream!
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:35 AM   #12
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I had a lot of trouble with the batteries that came in my 2000 trailer. On 12/30/02, I bought two Optima D31A batteries.They are 75 amp. hr. each. Since then all I've done is once a year wipe the dust off and check to see if they are still there. They usually last three to five days, depending on use, when dry camping. When they reach 50%, I recharge them with my generator for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They seem to be holding up well and I am very happy with them.
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Old 12-24-2008, 11:02 AM   #13
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If you are having trouble with batteries, you need to find out why. It is nearly always a problem with charging and storage maintenance.

AGM batteries, like the Optima, may survive storage better if you do not attend to basic storage maintenance. Their internal leakage is less than with wet cells so they don't self discharge as much over a couple of months. This means they aren't sitting around in as discharged a state as wet cells might be and that means less risk of sulfation which means longer life.

The best bet is to use a good battery maintainer during storage. This does two things: keeps the charge at top level and inhibits sulfation. The PD+CW and WFCO converters are good at this and provide smart multiple stage charging as well. The BatterMINDer (tm) is an inexpensive trickle charger with sulfation inhibition that will also work well if you start with properly charged batteries.

Note that a couple of hours, even with a smart multi stage charger, will not fully and properly charge an RV battery. It will usually only get it up to 80% to 90% or so. This is OK for keeping up the juice during campouts but proper use means that the batteries need a full and proper charge, like for 8-12 hours with a proper charger, before any storage.

A couple of things to add to Mexray's list. One is that most RVers do not cycle their batteries enough over the five year typical lifespan of a battery to make that an issue (RV batteries are usually killed and seldom die a natural death which is why the shorter warranties when compared to automotive). Another is that there are many things that change available battery capacity by 10% to 20% (e.g. temperature, use profile, cycle to cycle variability, age) so getting super precise about amp hours and such is a fool's errand.
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:18 PM   #14
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I should have been clearer. I was asking how do I reconnect the 110 power supply to the trailer 110 system, or is there a connection somewhere not involving the Univolt? Put in a junction box or outlet box?
Lumatic, I am not familiar with how the older Univolts were wired in but you may find that it was hard wired into the 110 system the way the newer Airstreams are. Our 2005 International is hard wired to the main 120/110 supply and it includes 120 volt circuit breakers to supply 120 volt power to the rest of the trailer. Our 1960 Traveler and Overlander have a limited 120 volt power distribution separate from the Univolt. The only way to know is to dig in and look at the wiring.
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