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Old 10-18-2005, 09:41 PM   #1
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A twelve or two sixes ?

Hey all. - I've been reading up on battery options for my 75' Tradewind and the jury is still out. I've got 2 Trojan T109's that I took off my SOB before selling it and they don't have much use on them so I would like to utilize them on my Airstream. The obvious problem is that my battery compartment only accepts one battery and the T109's (6volt) must be wired in series. I've read a few posts that suggest that the frame of my trailer was not designed to carry the weight of 2 batteries either in the factory location OR on the tounge... I've considered using a single 12 volt battery but I really would like to have the significantly better amp hours that the 2 six volts provide.

Anyone have any real world experience with installing 2 large batteries on the tounge of a 25' Tradewind? (or elsewhere...)
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Old 10-18-2005, 09:53 PM   #2
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Do you mean the t-105 battery by Trojan? I have not been able to find any info on a t-109 but I do have extensive experience working with the t-105.
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Old 10-18-2005, 09:55 PM   #3
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Sorry for the mix up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttercup
Do you mean the t-105 battery by Trojan? I have not been able to find any info on a t-109 but I do have extensive experience working with the t-105.
Oops... yeah thats what I meant

Trojan T-105's
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Old 10-18-2005, 10:07 PM   #4
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I am not sure where the battery compt is on a Tradewind but these batteries weigh about 60 pounds each. You will have some nice capacity with them for sure. But not any more than if you were to put 2 comparatively sized 12 volt batteries (weight wise). Overall, with 1 12 volt battery you will have roughly 1/2 the capacity of 2 t-105's in series.
I find it a little hard to imagine that a trailer couldn't handle 60 extra pounds somehow - perhaps locating the 2nd battery somewhere nearer to the centerline or some other place to distribute the weight...
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Old 10-19-2005, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttercup
I am not sure where the battery compt is on a Tradewind but these batteries weigh about 60 pounds each. You will have some nice capacity with them for sure. But not any more than if you were to put 2 comparatively sized 12 volt batteries (weight wise). Overall, with 1 12 volt battery you will have roughly 1/2 the capacity of 2 t-105's in series.
I find it a little hard to imagine that a trailer couldn't handle 60 extra pounds somehow - perhaps locating the 2nd battery somewhere nearer to the centerline or some other place to distribute the weight...
If they are run either in series or in parallel then shouldn't they be located in the same spot?

I noticed that on the new airstreams the batteries are on the A Frame up front. That would be a good solution provided I didn't go over my weight limits - I just wonder if the frame itself can take the extra weight...

-T
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Old 10-19-2005, 07:37 PM   #6
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My guess is that they could be located away from each other if needed provided the cables that connect them are beefy enough.
Our trailer has the batteries right up front inside the trailer - stock. Weight added to the front of the trailer can to some extent be compensated by adding weight to the back. But that is kind of a waste.
I would wonder if you have weighed the trailer and weighed the tongue to see what you are dealing with. You may find that adding batteries to the front don't push your tongue weight over the limits of your TV and hitch.
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Old 10-19-2005, 09:19 PM   #7
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I am pretty happy with the one battery in my 75 Trade Wind. I can go 3 days and still have some left. I have thought about solar for extended stays, but I am leaning towards a small honda generator (eu2000) as an option.
If you are going to go with the 2 6's, here is my thoughts.
I would not mount them on the tongue. 120 lbs would bring the tongue weight to around 750 lbs. You would also have to run a battery cable over 20 feet to the bathroom closet where the univolt is located.
The best place I could think of would be under the curb side bed. You would have to box them in and also vent the box someway. You would have to give up one draw, the run to the univolt would be 5 or 6 feet and the weight would be over the axels. By removing the original battery from the rear of the trailer you would increase the tongue weight slightly.

Which ever way you go, let us know and post pictures!
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:02 PM   #8
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My thoughts on this...

2 6V batteries, although great for capacity, do not give you the same safety margin as 2 12V batteries. You can run on a single 12V battery, but you can't run on a single 6V battery. Your breakaway runs off the coach batteries, so this could be an issue. Your tongue jack won't move at 6V.
Running a battery cable to the existing battery location might be a bit of a hassle, but you can go inside the belly pan and up through the floor, without much problems.
The added tongue weight might be a benefit, with proper weight distribution. Better to have a bit more tongue weight, then having too much behind the axles. Tradewinds are somewhat heavy on the tongue, however. At least mine was....
Batteries in battery boxes outside the trailer won't need complicated venting, but are prone to theft.
I had similar experience as azflycaster, my Interstate 12V sealed RV battery lasted an easy 3 days when boondocking in Mexico, and still had plenty of power to lift the tongue for hooking up.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwe

I had similar experience as azflycaster, my Interstate 12V sealed RV battery lasted an easy 3 days when boondocking in Mexico, and still had plenty of power to lift the tongue for hooking up.
Interesting... Maybe I just need to buy a better single 12 volt battery. That does appeal to me as a 'easy' solution - especially if I can get three days use out of it. Curious though... are you guys using your forced air furnace and getting three days or just basic lighting/water pump type stuff ?

Thanks for all the good info!

-T
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:44 AM   #10
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O.K. Here's a teaser. We ran for 6 days solid (lights, stereo, pumps and on occation - fan) on our 2 el cheapo batteries with no appreciable loss in power. Battery voltage showed that they were still in great shape by the time we did get power.
Now we may be a little frugal when it comes to power usage and all but 6 days is a long time and I am sure we could have gone the whole 2 weeks no problem the way we did.
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Old 10-20-2005, 01:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T Man
Interesting... Maybe I just need to buy a better single 12 volt battery. That does appeal to me as a 'easy' solution - especially if I can get three days use out of it. Curious though... are you guys using your forced air furnace and getting three days or just basic lighting/water pump type stuff ?

Thanks for all the good info!

-T
No furnace or other very heavy users in my case.
Lights for reading, kitchen exhaust fan while cooking, some vent fan use, water pump, etc. 3 Days and frugal nights, no noticeable drop in battery power.
One thing though, we did use a Humphrey gas lamp in this trailer, which might have saved a few amp hours.
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:08 AM   #12
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No furnace useage either. Basic lights and H2O pump. We do have a catalytic heater installed by a PO. I'll fire that up if it ever gets cold.
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Old 10-20-2005, 10:28 AM   #13
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What you are getting with the 6-volt batteries is longevity of life. They are essentially golf cart batteries which are designed to be run completely dead and re-charged repeatedly for years. Most DP motorhomes have gone to such a set-up for the chassis side. They use 4 6volt batteries. Two sets of two 6volt in series, then those two two-battery banks connected in parallel. It's like having two (dare I say) "super-duper" 12volt batteries.

It shouldn't make any functional difference at all except the batteries should last longer on each charge and live longer. During use they should discharge equally, and it's still 12 volt so it's compatible with all your 12 volt components. The only forseeable problem is if one goes before the other one and then you should have a 6 volt output.

This is because when a battery "dies" enough of it's electrolytes have fallen from the cells to the bottom to create a dead short across the bottom of the battery. That bad battery has essentially become just a big wire going to the other battery and you would show 6 Volts.

That's just my 6 volts of input.
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Old 01-14-2006, 06:32 PM   #14
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hmmm does the fridge have an electric ignition?

Uwe and Buttercup,


I was wondering if your coaches friges have electric ignitions addding to the drain
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Old 01-14-2006, 07:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Uwe and Buttercup,


I was wondering if your coaches friges have electric ignitions addding to the drain
Not mine.
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Old 01-14-2006, 08:00 PM   #16
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I've seen four 6 volt batteries recommended as noted above but that is for someone who has the space for that many batteries. It makes for one heck of a battery bank. Airstreams just aren't set up for that in most configurations. I had two 12 volt Delco Voyager batteries, one on each side of my '77 Excella next to the tongue and each were rated at 105 amp hr. I never was at a loss for battery power. My '86 Sovereign only has one Duralast deep cycle rated at 115 amp hr in a compartment next to the curb side by the tongue. So far I haven't had any battery problems while using a 30 watt solar panel and plan on buying two 100 watt panels next year. I've thought about having the Airstream factory add another compartment on the other side but I hear it cost around $500. Not sure I will do that.

I know that Andy from Inland RV is not big on the two 6 volt combinations. He posted on the forum years ago that it is easier to pick up a new 12 volt deep cycle battery than a 6 volt deep cycle much less two. I'd say he has a point.
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Old 01-14-2006, 08:43 PM   #17
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I have a 16' Bambi which only provides a single 12 V battery. I considered adding a second battery (either another 12 V, or the 2 T105 6V). You can get a battery box designed for 2 batteries - either Group 24 (like the 12 V that came with the trailer), or for two golf cart batteries. They would be mounted on the A frame, right in front of the cover for the propane cylinders, with some minor modifications to add a platform across the top of the A frame to mount the dual-battery box.

I use my trailer about 50/50 in campgrounds that have hook-ups, or National Forest Service camps that do not. Since the Bambi doesn't have a lot of reserve for extra weight, I decided on an alternate approach. I bought a second Group 24 12 V and a single battery box, and I carry it along in the back of the tow vehicle only on trips where I'm going to a camp without hook ups. I modified a battery jumper cable with terminals to screw onto the aux battery posts with the wing nuts, and after I've parked the trailer I just set the 2nd battery under the A frame, and hook both batteries together with the cable.

So, I have a little extra work, but in return I have some added flexibility. I only take the 2nd battery along when it's needed (if a get a chance at a whole week in the summer , or in the fall I'll take the extra along so I can run the forced air furnace and not have to worry too much about 'running out' on a cold night.

We already had a Honda EU generator for the house, to use when we get a power outage and need to run the furnace in the house. I bought a good plug-in battery charger that let's me 'quickly' recharge the trailer batteries when needed by running it directly from the Honda EU. When camping in cold weather I take the generator and the charger along, also in the back of the tow vehicle.

If I'm mostly camping at places with hook-ups, where I only need a single battery, I rotate them out from month to month to keep them in comparable condition. When not in use, I keep the batteries on a battery tender.

I also added a Trace TM500 battery monitor in the trailer so I can monitor the condition of the battery(ies), and know when to recharge. This setup has worked very well for our dual-style camping.

If I had a bigger trailer with lots of reserve weight capacity, I would probably have gone with the permanent mounting of 2 batteries to avoid the 'battery shuffle'.
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Old 01-15-2006, 03:57 PM   #18
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Try looking into a Concord sun extender sealed glass mat battery. I use one which fits perfectly under the sofa and is 12 volt at 305 amp hours. Weight is 165 pounds.
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Old 01-18-2006, 06:38 PM   #19
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AGM battery options

We have studied this off and on for six months and were ready to pull the trigger on two T-120 Trojans on the tongue of our 2005 International CCD22. But it had to look nice and sort of original, so I would buy a gas bottle cover like goes on the new CCD22's (used for $200-300) and pay to go get it or have it shipped (another $50 or so, depending on where I find one), and another $50 for relocating my gas bottles forward (they weigh less) and putting the batteries under the front window on the tongue and on and on. It was going to run me over $400.00 by the time I did all this and bought the batteries for about $150.00 for the pair. Soooo, read nice article by PhredSez from 2005 about AGMs. Really pricey but, Wait! Don't have to do ANYTHING but create a pair of mounting rails to restrain the battery (one 305 ah AGM) under the bed, with a pair of j-bolts. No venting, no more distance to terminal block. Space isn't used anyway (storage bins already don't touch this space). I break even or save money, and have much much better battery life and almost zero maintenance.
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Old 02-24-2006, 11:05 PM   #20
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Sun Extender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinsel Loaf
Try looking into a Concord sun extender sealed glass mat battery. I use one which fits perfectly under the sofa and is 12 volt at 305 amp hours. Weight is 165 pounds.
Tried looking here http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/rvb....php#terminals

but didn't see anything called a "Sun Extender" or even anything rated above 255 amp hours.

Where did you buy yours?

Thanks!

-T
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