Originally Posted by Still Kickin
Batteries (wet cell) take current relatively quick, till they reach about 80% capacity, then it takes a longer time to get the last 20% in. I belive if you read up on the subject in this forum, you will find that you need a much longer period than a 10 mile drive to get them close to 100%. What your expierencing is the surface charge that seems like they are full. Like the others have mentioned, the panel displays are not an accurate indicator of your true bat status.
Thanks for alerting me to this phenomenon. There is so much to learn for a newbie. After some more reading on the forum, I gathered the following:
1. Don't trust the panel display. Okay, I bought a digital voltmeter with cigarette lighter plug and will from now on monitor battery level with voltmeter.
The voltage reading reflects charge level more accurately -
2. 'Surface charge' right after charging is higher than the actual, so wait a couple hours before testing.
3. Deep cycle batteries have a life span of 4 ~ 8 years, and can be discharged to 20% and have 675 charging cycles. However, maintaining a ~ 50% charge level will double its life to 1150 cycles.
So the way I see it is, although preferred, it's not a nightmare to frequently discharge the batter to below 50%. You still get a good few years' use of it. Am I missing anything thinking this way?
Above all, I was able to dry camp, completely relied on house battery for many hours, and had a lot of fun!