Time for new batteries. What to get? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 09-20-2016, 01:45 PM   #1
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Time for new batteries. What to get?

Hi all, we've had the stock Interstate batteries (2) in our 14' 240BHSL for 3 years now and they are finally starting to show signs of failure. I run the generator at 9PM and by morning they are at 1/3 or even "E" if the heat runs a lot. I've maintained them (topped off water and clean post's) very well but I guess 3 years is not bad for these batteries?
Anyhow, we are currently full time in our camper. We do a lot of dispersed camping and use a 2000 Watt generator, no solar. I don't know much about batteries so I'm looking for suggestions for a replacement.
Thanks,
Randy
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:23 PM   #2
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3 years is not very long. What type of converter do you have? What is your practice when the camper is not in use?
I think that for a dual battery setup where they are mounted exterior to the camper, the most common avenue is two 6V golf cart (GC) deep cycle batteries wired in series for 12V. This will usually get you 200+ Ah in total capacity, but still the rule of thumb of not discharging more than 50% (so 100+Ah available). Although as true deep cycle, they can withstand deep discharges pretty well. These have the same footprint as a group 24 but are slightly taller. GC battery boxes are available for a reasonable price. Cosco has 6V batteries for <$100 each last I checked.
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:16 PM   #3
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Our camper has been in use full time for the most part for the past 3 years. It has never sat for long periods of time unplugged. I've kept the batteries topped off with distilled water checking them every 6 months or so and they've never been seriously low also cleaned and sealed the battery connections I'm sure though over this time we have discharged them pretty deep a few times during use.
Anyway, thanks for the suggestion, we'll start shopping for batteries soon..........
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:39 PM   #4
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Walmart.
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Old 09-21-2016, 12:15 AM   #5
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I bought a Deep Cycle AGM from Farm & Fleet for my RC trailer that uses an 18w solar panel to keep it charged. I use it to light it up and power an invertor for when I am at the field in case I need to charge a plane, or use a power tool. Prior to that I used a L/A deep cycle and killed it in less than a year.

I knocked this one down to 9 volts and the solar panel brought it back up to 13, and so far everything looks good, so you might want to look into an AGM type deep cycle. The cost of the F & F battery was about $100 less than an equal Optima.
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Old 09-21-2016, 03:44 AM   #6
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Well...if money is not a problem. Go to Amazon and order the biggest Optima battery that will fit, or two of them.

They are guaranteed to hold 90% charge for a year if left on a shelf.

I use them in my Bobcat skid steer, excavator and dump trailer. Always ready to go!!

Just my thoughts,

Pirate
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Old 09-21-2016, 04:16 AM   #7
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Pirate, I came real close to replacing my RV marine deep cycle battery with an Optima. I've been impressed with them in my machines.

But, I wasn't sure if their strengths applied to the RV usage as compared to motorcycles and other internal combustion tools.

I ended up going with another deep cycle battery. As you indicated, it saved me money and I was not unhappy with the life I had gotten out of the battery I was replacing. I abused it pretty good boondocking.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:38 AM   #8
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You want true deep cycle, starting or cold cranking amps are irrelevant in your trailer application. Check the amp hour (Ah) rating, that's what you're after.
AGM sealed batteries are usually much more expensive than flooded and only necessary if you need to install them inside and can't have venting due to safety.
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Old 09-21-2016, 02:41 PM   #9
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The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
There is some very informative reading regarding RV batteries that doesn't get deep into the weeds.
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Old 09-21-2016, 02:46 PM   #10
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I think you or someone else have posted that link in another "battery thread". It's a good one!



And yep, I'm in agreement on your previous post. As awesome as the modern Optima battery technology is, it isn't really leveraged in a boondocking scenario.
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Old 09-21-2016, 03:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snakebitten View Post
I think you or someone else have posted that link in another "battery thread". It's a good one!



And yep, I'm in agreement on your previous post. As awesome as the modern Optima battery technology is, it isn't really leveraged in a boondocking scenario.

From experience, and quite frankly shocked the s*** out of me(Figuratively), I thought I had killed a pair of red tops in my F350, they were dead, had about 2 volts in them. I was able to recover them fully and got another year out of them.

AGM has the advantage of not sulfating like lead plates do, so they can be recovered from dead in most cases.
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:45 PM   #12
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Personal preference would be a couple of massive 6volt in series for the massive capacity. AGM I am on the fence about. They have their advantages, just not sure if it is worth the price of admission.

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Old 09-22-2016, 01:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Personal preference would be a couple of massive 6volt in series for the massive capacity. AGM I am on the fence about. They have their advantages, just not sure if it is worth the price of admission.

Aaron
Agreed, 6V would probably be the best bet, they are a lot heavier, but if weight isn't an issue, then they are the most practical and useful.
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Old 09-24-2016, 04:14 AM   #14
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I've been using 2-6 volts Exide batterries for about 4 years and additionally use a desulfating charger during the off season. I just tested them with a conductance tester I use at work and they're just slightly better than 90 percent of when they were new. Once these wear out I will probably go with Trojans if I can find a deal.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:57 PM   #15
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3 years is not very long. I agree, I use the rule of thumb of 5 years for my starting batteries. My bike was yearly, but my old Airstream won hands down, I got seven years out of a replacement set of 12V true deep cycle.

I think that for a dual battery setup where they are mounted exterior to the camper, the most common avenue is two 6V golf cart (GC) deep cycle batteries wired in series for 12V. That's the way I went. I inadvertantly added a self watering kit, I just noticed that when I did my winterization prep on the batteries, I didn't get one of the battery box lids one right, so if I need to add water I just remove the caps and let it self fill. Rain water does count as distilled water, right.
This will usually get you 200+ Ah in total capacity, but still the rule of thumb of not discharging more than 50% (so 100+Ah available). Although as true deep cycle, they can withstand deep discharges pretty well. These have the same footprint as a group 24 but are slightly taller. GC battery boxes are available for a reasonable price. Cosco has 6V batteries for <$100 each last I checked.

Costco became my battery supplier of choice, about let's see a long time ago. Because of the Canadian supply chain being broken, it's not always easy to find an Interstate dealer in Canada. Costco makes the process of warranty replacement painless and your card is your warranty. Then how far are you from a Costco in the lower 48.
I changed my converter to the Progressive Dynamics, with the charge wizard and never looked back. Looking forward after I get the rest of the biggies done, I can see an addition of a semi-basement, (a couple underbody truck boxes and a second set of 6V batteries, all moved back towards the axels. My batteries are always ready to go at the drop of a phone call.
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