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Old 11-24-2015, 11:51 AM   #1
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6 volt vs 12 volt batteries

Pros and cons on two 6 volt in series vs two 12 volts in parallel

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Old 11-24-2015, 01:04 PM   #2
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Location: Camano Island, Washington
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6 volt-more reserve capacity and will last longer. They are the best for dry camping or boondocking.
But if one goes bad, you're dead in the water. Plus they cost more.

12v are cheaper and if one goes bad, you still have power. But they aren't as durable and don't last as long. And they deplete faster.

Because of jack clearance issues, we have the lower height 12v pair.
We dry camp almost all the time and ours have lasted 7 years.

Dan-Retired Firefighter/EMT
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and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:16 PM   #3
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Having done both, I now favor the series 6V battery solution.

As Dan pointed out, you have more capacity and a more serious deep cycle setup, for a theoretically longer life, at a more reasonable price. The 6 volt batteries are somewhat taller (1.5 to 2 inches taller for similar length and width).

The point about having a second battery in case one goes bad in the 12V situation is generally false. Unless you use the two batteries independently and separately, if one 12V battery goes down while in parallel, it's going to take the other to at least a deep discharge before you even know you have a problem. Don't ask me how I know this - but I'll tell you anyway.

I don't know exactly what happened. I found both 12V size 24 marine/deep cycle (1.5 years old) down around 11.5 volts, and not charging with the A-frame plugged in. Found the 30 amp fuse (connection to battery) blown on the Wifco converter. Hooked up a Sears 10 amp charger to the battery bank after disconnecting the bank from the trailer. The charger kept popping its circuit breaker, so I separated the batteries. Recharged one, but still had a popping circuit breaker on the second.

Next was a very stupid SPUT (Stupid Pop UP Trick). I put the batteries back in parallel, thinking the charged battery would help the charger charge the low battery. Wrong! The #6 paralleling wires glowed red hot, melted their insulation, and flamed from the hydrogen discharging from the battery vents of the low battery. There were also small flames from the cell vents. I retreived a set of electricians pliers and with my hands completely on the insulated portion of the handles, cut the paralleling wires. The flames died out immediately.

When I cleared the debris away later, I had holes in the tops of both battery casings. After some researching as to what would fit my battery box, I found 6V 232AH golf cart batteries at Costco at $150 for the pair. I bought/made up new cables, and installed the marine 2 battery selector switch I had bought months ago for a shut-off (not standard on PUPs and A-frames).

The new arrangement gives me 116 usuable amp hours instead of 80, and much less of a potential fire hazard if something goes wrong. And the price was less than two 12volt replacements.

Fred W - I hate learning from my own mistakes, would much prefer to learn from others'.
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan

PS: My converter fan now comes on when recharging if the batteries have been used for a couple of days of dry camping, showing a higher charge rate. Life is good.
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:41 PM   #4
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i use 2 6 volt batteries because it gave me the most total amp hours. Also, i am told that 6v batteries last longer due to thicker plates. My main concern was the max amount of amp hours for a 2 battery set up
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:52 PM   #5
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I also have used both 6v and 12v. Have been using (2) 6v for about 5 years now and prefer than setup better than the (2) 12v (more capacity for the same foot print).

2007 Surveyor SV230
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12 volt, battery

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