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Old 06-04-2014, 11:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
May I suggest that VOLTAGE monitors are completely unsuited to monitoring battery use and life cycle requirements in boondocking. You MUST be able to monitor amps in and out, used and remaining in order to NOT murder your battery in boondocking.
Voltage monitors are suitible for':
1. Figuring out that your battery is or is not dead after leaving the coach for a month.
2. Understanding that your charger is working.
3. And NOTHING else. A reading of 12.6 or 11.5 is absolutely meaningless in an in use coach.
No one would buy true monitors if they didn't get TRUE VALuE for the extra $150 bucks.
Note that there is NO need for a battery monitor if you are plugged in 99% of the time. If you boondock though...you will pay the price for a real battery monitor one way or another.

Hydrometers are also really good tools if you can first fully charge your batteries, then wait for 24 hours with nothing connected to them before you take your reading. They are also good for detecting fully dead cells. Assuming you want to know what your battery is doing and needs at the moment...they are useless in dry camping....but valuable and cheap for deciding the AT REST condition of a fully charged battery.
Certainly your suggestions are welcomed. But, the voltage status tool will give you a battery status in volts at a given point in time +/- slight error. Its a simple tool to guide you in your battery status in the instant. Thus, used as a guide you can obtain state of charge during use, as in a boondocking situation.
The hydometer, when used to check the battery state, usually in the course of a good maintenance schedule, will allow the user to know how healthy their batteries are, also in the instant. The assumption here in my discussion, is the user, reads and understands the use of such a tool. That information, when understood, will educate the user to know when the batteries have entered the decision for replacement. And, its CHEAP and it works.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:31 PM   #12
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@Kevin...My immediate reaction is that you are reading charging voltages or remaining surface charge after driving and that your batteries are NOT in good shape at all.
The alternative is that you have a huge amperage drain that is literally emptying 200 amp hours in 6 hours. ...i.e. 33amps continuous draw or more on a momentary basis.
There are two places to start then...finding your amp draw or finding our whether your batteries are effectively dead in terms of capacity.
Follow the steps in my earlier post to test the ACTUAL STATE of your batteries. OR
turn everything on that you normally do in your coach and run the heater then take an amp (current) reading using a DC ammeter or clamp meter on your positive battery wire lead.

My guess is that you don't have a clamp meter...so my advice was to REALLY check your batteries and don't rely on reported voltage as what YOU saw is NOT reliable unless you followed the steps I lisred. You CANNOT unplug and measure anything useful. You CANNOT drive 400 miles and measure anything useful. You must 100% charge the battery...disconnect it for 24 hours MANUALLY by removing the negative wire...then measure using a multimeter at the battery terminals...not something on your wall. I'll be very surprised if you do this and find good batteries.
Test BOTH batteries separated and remove the negative jumper cable before you wait for 24 hours so that you don't get an averaged reading when one battery could be good and the other could be in failure mode.
Once again...the ONLY alternative to doing this test is to fully charge the batteries then take them to Trak Auto or similar for a load test.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Still Kickin View Post
Certainly your suggestions are welcomed. But, the voltage status tool will give you a battery status in volts at a given point in time +/- slight error. Its a simple tool to guide you in your battery status in the instant. Thus, used as a guide you can obtain state of charge during use, as in a boondocking situation.
The hydometer, when used to check the battery state, usually in the course of a good maintenance schedule, will allow the user to know how healthy their batteries are, also in the instant. The assumption here in my discussion, is the user, reads and understands the use of such a tool. That information, when understood, will educate the user to know when the batteries have entered the decision for replacement. And, its CHEAP and it works.
Suggestions are opinions. I am discussing facts about what each device will do and CAN do. No it won't give you a battery status...you only think it will because it is giving you a voltage readout which is NOT a battery status IN USE.

Let me ask you just as an example. WHEN is your battery 100% charged using a voltage meter? Is it when you see 12.7 on the meter...or 13.4? Is it 100% the moment you see 13.4 or should you run your generator 2 hours more? 1 hour more? 3 hours more?
Do you understand that when you don't charge to 100% you lose future life cycles?

Another example... what do you know about your battery at 9pm at night with the TV and the furnace on and some lights and a voltage reading of 11.8?? Does it need to be recharged? If it doesn't...How long at this level of use until it does need to be recharged?

Those are just 2 examples of how people kill their batteries while thinking they know something about them due to a voltage reading.

A proper battery monitor can tell me that I am 98% charged, that I still need to put back 20 amp hours, that at the current CHARGE ACCEPTANCE it will take another hour to do that even though I have a 70 amp charger.

Then while I'm watching TV all cozy by the furnace it will tell me that I'm using 14 amps...my battery bank is 65% charged having used 100 amp hours and at the current rate of use I must recharge in 4 hours. All of this information is available to me instantaneously...when I need it and regardless of what I am using at the moment. NONE of which is available though a voltmeter with any reliability and ALL of which if not monitored will kill batteries in boondock situations.

Again..I appreciate the value of a hydrometer and own one. It is a battery condition AT REST tester and cell failure tester and is of no use in a charging and monitoring while in use routine at the INSTANT because you will be taking typically 12 useless cell readings WHILE IN USE instead of AT REST even if you were leave your nice warm coach to do so. But we agree it is a valuable tool for routine maintenance checks...once a month at watering check is usually plenty unless a problem crops up.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:21 AM   #14
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Battery condition

Did a hydrometer check on both batteries, one has 3 very weak cells and the other has 1 very dead cell. Looks like junk batteries, I will take them to a local battery shop to verify my findings. Going to look into a pair of AGM batteries. Thanks for all your help and suggestions. I will report back on the battery shops findings,
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:56 PM   #15
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Kevin...as I thought...but before you pop for AGMs be sure to check that your battery charger is capable of charging them properly. AGM's need different settings and treatment than wet cells. Also...a LOT of AGM's that are 12V are really dual purpose although they will say "good for deep cycling" if you see anything about cranking power advertised on the label or the spec sheet ad...take a close look. The 20 amp hour rating should be the primary selling point! Making the move to a pair of 6V AGM or WET golf cart batteries would be your best bet if you can fit them. Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:40 PM   #16
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I replaced my batteries this year with AGM, no problem with the chargers we both have the same charger. I have a 2014 (last year model) 3050S.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:59 AM   #17
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See this thread New coach batteries for 3050S?.

Mine where Excide NC27, around 100 AH but not true deep cycle batteries.
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:39 PM   #18
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Batterys

So would i get more out of a pair of 6 volts or 2 -12 volts?? AGM or wet cell. Trying to get the most out of what im going to change.
Thanks. Kevin
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:54 PM   #19
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So would i get more out of a pair of 6 volts or 2 -12 volts?? AGM or wet cell. Trying to get the most out of what im going to change.
Thanks. Kevin
Total available AH and weight are the key indicators.
The more AH; the more lead, so the heavier the stack is.

Remember that with 6 volt batteries you need TWO IDENTICAL batteries and you do NOT double the AH rating (just the voltage). So, 2 6 volt 200 AH batteries in series is 12 volts at 200 AH.

With two identical 12 volt batteries in parallel, you double the AH of the single battery. So two 12 volt 100 AH batteries will give you 200 AH at 12 volts.

The difference comes in the weight, true Deep Cycle vs "Marine" (dual purpose - starting and house in one package), and cost so make sure you have the available payload to ramp up your battery storage.

Two identical "footprint" batteries can have radically different AH ratings and weights. The heavier one is better for a house battery because it is more likely true deep cycle and will have a higher AH rating.

DO NOT confuse CCA with AH.

CCA is cranking amps and is indicative of a pure starting battery or a "dual purpose" Marine type battery.

RC - Reserve Minutes - is also indicative of a dual purpose battery. It is the number of minutes the battery will run your car or boat if the alternator fails. You can convert RC in minutes to AH by multiplying the minutes by 0.417 to get AH rating.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:13 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by kevin langston View Post
Did a hydrometer check on both batteries, one has 3 very weak cells and the other has 1 very dead cell. Looks like junk batteries, I will take them to a local battery shop to verify my findings. Going to look into a pair of AGM batteries. Thanks for all your help and suggestions. I will report back on the battery shops findings,
Thanks for reading and understanding that simple tool (hydometer). What did it cost you, all of $10 bucks! Saved you headaches. Remember, most things are simple, when you apply a common sense approach to the problem at hand. Many people believe you need all kinds of gadgets to manuver the RV life. Simple knowledge applied on a regular basis will keep you up and running for many years. Why do I say that you ask, go back 10 years and most of the gadgets were not even around, and yet RV'ers survived.

And to the simple voltage test question. A wet deep cycle battery, when fully charged, and not in charge mode, reads 12.7V. This is assuming you turn some lights on in your unit, after your charge cycle, to pull the "surface charge" off the plates that accumulate during the charge cycle.

Cost to monitor voltage $5 bucks. Cost to check and determine battery health, using a hydometer $10 bucks. Oh, and by the way, I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Enjoy, and glad to help.
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