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Old 06-15-2009, 12:52 AM   #1
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Batteries: 6v Vs. 12v?

Thank you to those who responded to my thread Friday about how to keep warm on Mt. Hood this weekend! It was very beautiful.

Unfortunately we got up there and discovered our batteries were all but dead.

My husband read online that it is recommended that we switch to two 6 volt golf cart batteries (in series wiring) and he is asking that I post this here to see if anyone here has heard of this?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:58 AM   #2
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Yes, I'm sure most of us have heard of it. Most people are pro 2-6v over 2-12v. I'm not one of them and this weekend is exactly why I'm not a fan of it.

For the most part you can get more amp hours using two 6v batteries in the same foot print than you can with 12v batteries. Also for the most part there are very few true deep cycle 12v batteries to be found. Also most big box stores carry decent 6v golf cart batteries so they're easy to find and relatively inexpensive.

The above reasons are why most people go the 6v route over the 12v route. My only concern with them (and it's been brought up a few times by others) if one 6v battery goes bad (shorted cell, open cell, etc.) then you're dead in the water, so to speak.

As fate would have it, that's exactly what happened to us this weekend. One of our 12v batteries developed a shorted cell so it started to boil because the converter was putting 12v across 5 cells instead of 6. All I did was unhook the bad battery and left the good one hooked up and we continued having a good trip. I'll deal with bad one one day this week. If we'd have had 2 6v batteries and that had happened, I would have been out trying to find a battery or packing up going home Saturday.

Now, if you're planning on having 4 or more 6v batteries in a bank. The above scenario won't be an issue. You'll just unhook 2-6v batteries and still have 12v. If I had room for 4 or more batteries I'd definitely look at 6v batteries. You'll have to make your own descision about what you want to use.

Wow! I didn't help one little bit did I? I just threw a fly in the soup. Sorry about that!
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:29 AM   #3
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Well the real question is "why were your batteries Dead on Arrival". I would try to chase that down before I worried about whether to change battery strategies. Something is definitely wrong. Malfunctioning battery? A short somewhere? Something causing a big drain? Bad converter/charger? Thing is, you could put a bunch of money into new batteries that you might or might not need. We get by just fine boondocking for 2 days with one group 27 12 volt. I hope you managed to have a good time despite being "powerless"!! : - )
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:09 PM   #4
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On the way home yesterday we stopped by the rv place where we purchased the trailer last August and the guy told my husband it that we probably caused the problem because of the way we stored the trailer over the summer. (my understanding is that we unhooked the batteries but left them with the trailer in storage). He said that rv batteries must be trickle charged for 10 days or so before you take them out and expect them to work. My husband tested both of the batteries when we got home and says he found neither of them good. What it was doing up on the mountain is showing half battery on the battery meter. If he plugged in and ran the truck it would show full just as he unplugged it and then move back down to the half way point pretty quickly.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:51 PM   #5
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So you think that it was how we stored them as suggested?
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:49 PM   #6
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In hindsight you should have fully charged the batteries before the trip if it was just taken out of storage. Charging from tow vehicle will take a long time. Batteries may be ok once you charge them fully and check water level as well. I would invest in a battery charger as I have always charged them a couple of times over the winter when rv is not being used. If you leave trailer for a few weeks without charging batteries before trip they could be discharged as well as propane detector and some other equipment will drain them even though you think nothing is on. Have had numerous boats and trailers and the batteries require a little attention and they will serve you well. I have always brought them in basement in winter and trickle charged them once in A while. Should easily get 5 yrs life out of them.
Hope this helps
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracieT View Post
Thank you to those who responded to my thread Friday about how to keep warm on Mt. Hood this weekend! It was very beautiful.

Unfortunately we got up there and discovered our batteries were all but dead.

My husband read online that it is recommended that we switch to two 6 volt golf cart batteries (in series wiring) and he is asking that I post this here to see if anyone here has heard of this?

Thanks in advance!
I am totally for 6V batteries to replace 12V batteries. My Fleetwood Flair came from the factory with two 6V batteries rather than 12volt. Most manufacturers offer 6V batteries in place of 12V at an extra expense.

On our old motohome I added 2 extra batteries for a bank of 4. That negates the "what if" scenario of having a cell go bad on 1 battery and being out of luck. You have two 12v banks that way. However in all actuality if you tend your batteries carefully and take care of them they should last many years. Our original two batteries lasted over 7 years with most of those spent in Arizona where the heat cooks them no matter what you do. They still worked when I replaced them but figured it was time.

On our new Georgetown the first thing I did was to get rid of the cheapo 12volt batteries that came with the rig, cut out the battery box and welded up one that would hold 4 6V batteries. I then added two more to the front of the rig for a total of 6.

Now in most cases many rigs don't have that kind of room. The argument that you "may loose a cell" has about as much odds of happening (perhaps significantly less) than say blowing out a tire.

The simple facts are that your 12 volt batteries are NOT true deep cycle batteries and are not made to take the deep discharge and re-charge cycles that RVs put on them. 6V batteries such as Trojan T-105, T-125 or T145 are and offer better amp hours output than a set of 12V batteries.

Here is a link that I recommend to anyone with an RV who is confused about the 12 volt system. http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm

Although some of the data concerning converters is old as it applies to newer rigs the information here is invaluable.

6 volt or 12 volt, I will make the change to 6 volt any day of the week and twice on sundays......
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:40 PM   #8
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Good 12 volt deep cycle batteries can be bought and they do last. However they aren't cheap. I agree 2 6's hooked together to make 12 will give more amp hours , but to say there is no such thing as a real deep cycle 12 volt battery just isn't so.

Most all of the fishing boats use 2 12's hooked to make 24 volts. I'll leave in the mourning with them charged fish all day and pretty well exaust the batteries come home and charge them up again. Do this 2-3 times per week and the batteris will last 2-4 years so the batteries must be pretty good.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
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Don't know where you store your trailer. We are lucky enough to store ours in our barn and there is electricity. We keep a battery tender on our battery at all times. When we go to pick up our trailer, it is always fully charged. You can't expect to hook up your TV to a trailer with dead batteries (stored without charging for extended period) and expect the TV to fully charge your batteries by the time you reach your campsite. (Unless it is a couple of state away!!) I think this is more your issue than a big debate about 12 volt or 6 volt strategies.

http://batterytender.com/default.php...13290b7f38194b
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by fairchase View Post
Good 12 volt deep cycle batteries can be bought and they do last. However they aren't cheap. I agree 2 6's hooked together to make 12 will give more amp hours , but to say there is no such thing as a real deep cycle 12 volt battery just isn't so.

Most all of the fishing boats use 2 12's hooked to make 24 volts. I'll leave in the mourning with them charged fish all day and pretty well exaust the batteries come home and charge them up again. Do this 2-3 times per week and the batteris will last 2-4 years so the batteries must be pretty good.
I beg to differ. I have yet to see a true 12volt deep cycle battery made with solid plates rather than sponge. The 6volt batteries I have always run have lasted from 7 to 8 years, almost if not double the 12 volt batteries you use.

Just because a 12volt battery says "deep cycle" on it doesn't mean that it really is.

These are the reasons that most RVrs that truely dry camp a lot and use solar and other sources to charge their batteries will switch to 6V batteries.

However in most cases it doesn't make sense to use 6V batteries on a boat or other vehicle that uses 24volt power, it would just take too many of them.
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