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Old 12-10-2014, 03:50 PM   #1
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When is it time to replace the AS batteries?

Besides when they won't take a charge anymore that is.

My batteries still charges but they seem to discharge relatively fast. I parked it on Sunday and made sure the batteries are in Store mode. Today, Wednesday, put the batteries in Use mode and the lights won't even come on. There was nothing draining the batteries that I know about so why are they drained? Are they near their life expectancy? They are the originals but only three years old.
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:09 PM   #2
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Three years is near life expectancy for most batteries. The 5-year warranties are intended to get you to buy the same brand next time. People with stories of batteries lasting years longer than that are the lucky ones--and there are some of those.

If they're wet cell batteries, a hydrometer might tell you something. 1.2 specific gravity is a good cell. Less than that, not so much. Don't spill or splash electrolyte on anything or anyone you like very much. It is sulfuric acid, after all.

A battery can show good specific gravity in the electrolyte and still be sulfated to the extent that it won't hold a charge for long. Therefore, the hydrometer test is not the final word.

Sealed batteries either hold a charge or they don't.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:15 PM   #3
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When my AS was new, I learned a hard lesson that even when you have the trailer switched to the "store" mode, there is a drain on the battery. And, if the battery is allowed to drain completely while in "store" mode, it shortens the life of the battery. The best way to store it to ensure longer battery life is to disconnect the battery entirely and/or put it on a tender to keep it charged. At 3 years, it may not have much to give even after a short time in the "store" mode.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:16 PM   #4
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Where can I buy trailer batteries? Costco maybe?
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:35 PM   #5
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You're looking for deep cycle Marine/RV batteries. Almost everyone sells them. Brand loyalties create lots and lots of opinions. I'll let you sort that out for yourself.

Lots of battery threads here on the forums. You might try a search.
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Old 12-10-2014, 07:41 PM   #6
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It's a large function of the charge level they're maintained at. Like others have mentioned, if you let them run down, it will kill them. With a bad converter, it can cook them. You have to walk a fine line.

I installed a Progressive Dynamics PD4560 power center in my trailer, and they have "The Charge Wizard" that works kind of like a battery tender. It reads what your charge level is, then sends the batteries enough to keep them where they should be. My current batteries are five years old and still work fine.

Could you hook up a Battery Tender?

http://www.batterytender.com/

I use one on my motorcycle and it's been great in keeping that battery going. Friends of mine use them on their farm equipment for the same reasons.


Best of luck,
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Old 12-10-2014, 07:56 PM   #7
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Don't battery tenders require a 110vac source? My trailer is stored outdoors at an RV yard so no electricity which means the batteries will eventually discharge completely.
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Old 12-10-2014, 07:57 PM   #8
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I suppose I can yank them from the trailer and put them on a tender in my garage?
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:21 PM   #9
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Don't battery tenders require a 110vac source? My trailer is stored outdoors at an RV yard so no electricity which means the batteries will eventually discharge completely.
You can purchase a battery tender that runs off a small solar panel. Google it and a few should come up.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:49 PM   #10
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Hey Cant

My Batts are DONE too. They are 9 year old $200 AGMs, but only really lasted 7 1/2 years. I took care of them. Their performance slowly got worse as time went on.

Can I jump in here and ask a question to the forum? I am strongly considering going to 3 batts ($600). Would it be better to have one of them in a separated bank, or daisy all three ?
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Old 12-11-2014, 11:55 AM   #11
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As a Battery Shop owner for years, some comments that may be helpful...

1. RV Deep Cycle batteries must be maintained at a full charge for max usable life - just like your Auto's starting battery is always charged as you drive - let your car sit on a storage lot for 3-4 months, and it will most likely be discharged also...

2. If you have no way to keep the Rv batteries charged during storage periods, you will get longer life if you remove them and use a 'float' like charger to keep them 'topped off' without overcharging...

3. If RV batteries are not maintained at a full charge, sulfate from the electrolyte will continue to build up & crystalize on the grids, reducing the area of active grid material - the batteries will charge, but discharge quickly as compared with new units...

4. If you're adding a third battery, it's easiest in most cases to hook the new battery in a 'PARALLEL' connection (POS to POS - NEG to NEG). HOWEVER - battery banks work best if all the batteries are of the same cell size AND of the same age - don't mix a new battery with others that are older that a year or two - the older batteries will charge up fastest, telling the converter/charger to let up, causing the new battery to be undercharged in many cases...

5. If you have a newer RV that has a conv/chgr with a 'FLOAT' mode, you can safely keep the shore power plugged in during storage to keep the batt's fully charged for longer life - the 'FLOAT' voltage will be about 13.5 volts DC in most cases if you have a digital volt meter to monitor - or get a cheap VOM and check at the battery terminals manually to see if the 'FLOAT' mode is working properly...Higher voltages for long periods will 'Overcharge' the batteries, also causing shorter life, fluid loss, etc...

6. RV batteries suffer from the old saying, "Use it, or lose it"... They seem to perform and last longer if they're used more often (up to a point, of course)... Get the old AS out there and use it more - the batteries will give better service...

7. As with most RV systems, your batteries will usually fail when you're on the road or using it - replace them with the best rated Deep Cycle battery of the same 'GROUP' size you can find - A higher AMP HOUR rating will insure for battery running time - Most AS's use either Group-24 (10 inch long)(about 80 AH rating) or Group-27 (12 inch)(about 105 AH rating)...

8. Sealed AGM types are an improvement over usual flooded cell types, but must be cared for (charged) by charging systems compatable with AGM batteries... AGMs are tolerant of most chargers, but older chargers may allow higher charging voltages (over 14.5 volts) that will 'Overcharge' the batteries and damage them beyond repair... AGM's cost over twice the price of flooded cell types (more labor to assemble), but can be cost effective if cared for properly for increased life... They also accept a higher charge rate for quick recharges (with AGM charger) and self-discharge at a slower rate than flooded cell types...NOTE: ALL lead-acid batteries will discharge at a higher rate during higher temps, as when stored during summer months inside a HOT trailer...

Hope that helps a bit..
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:27 PM   #12
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We make minimal use of the batteries. Normally it's your power source for your brakes if your breakaway switch is activated, for my hitch jack and the electronics on the fridge when we are towing. I've usually replaced mine every 3 years. Unfortunately the charger on my trailer will cook the batteries if it is left plugged into electrical power too long without checking fluid levels.

This year I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and I have the batteries in the garage. One was new this fall and the other is a year old. I made sure they were charged and them moved each of them over to trickle chargers. Hopefully this will extend their life. We will see.

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Old 12-12-2014, 10:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
My Batts are DONE too. They are 9 year old $200 AGMs, but only really lasted 7 1/2 years. I took care of them. Their performance slowly got worse as time went on.

Can I jump in here and ask a question to the forum? I am strongly considering going to 3 batts ($600). Would it be better to have one of them in a separated bank, or daisy all three ?
We have three batteries, installed by the original owner who must have done a lot of boondocking, especially in the days before LEDs. It's handy to have the extra capacity, but really it comes down to how you use the trailer: If you do a lot of boondocking for long periods of time, it's GREAT. If you're normally plugged in, the third battery probably isn't worth the hassle.

Last spring, we were boondocking at a rally for about 5 days (Wednesday afternoon to Sunday morning), and with our solar system and three batteries, we only ran the generator when we needed the microwave. The solar recharged our batteries. It was cool at night, so that included some furnace usage, and we weren't hooked to water, either, so we were running the pump, too. Between the solar and battery capacity, we weren't worrying about power at all. (Note, we don't have a television in the camper.) The weather was excellent; a rainy day or two may have changed the tune.

On the battery age topic: I'd argue with the three-year life expectancy estimate given above - with a good 3 stage charger, 3 years is nothing. Also, I've only once had a car battery die within three years; I usually get 6 or so out of them, and I buy whatever brand I find.
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:21 AM   #14
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Using the factory Parallex converter I ruined my new batteries in 18mos.The factory converter just keeps charging,roasting the batteries as it has no float stage or shut off when batteries reach full charge.So anytime you are hooked up to the tow vehicle or plugged into power you are on full charging mode.Get rid of those factory cheap junk converters and save your batteries life.Upgrade cost about $200 and 30 mins of your time.
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