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Old 10-02-2013, 10:14 AM   #1
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6v vs 12v... What's the benefit?

OK, let me preface this with the fact that I am an electricitard. That said, I've been reading these forums and frequently see people recommending 2 6V batteries in place of the usual 12V. Why? Is there a benefit to this? Reason I ask is that about 4 weeks ago we bought a 2008 Micrl-Lite 18FBR. It has 2 12V batteries wired together. I see what looks like battery acid in my drive under one of the battery boxes. So, I assume I need to replace one of the batteries, and being that they're old, I have read I should replace both. How would 6V be better?

Thanks!
Brian
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:43 AM   #2
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You may get more input than you know what to do with on this.

My opinion, the main advantage of the two 6's is the durability and life span. You can get various amp hour capacity batteries in 6 and 12 volt batteries. With the 6's, you need don't add the capacity, so two 200 AH batteries give you 200AH of reserve. With two 100 AH 12V's you do add the capacity, so it also gives you 200 AH of capacity.

The 6 volts tend to be more of a true deep cycle, with thicker lead plates. They last longer and retain more of their capacity over time. Especially if you buy good ones, like Trojans. These are common in golf carts, so they are readily available and reasonably priced.

If you are at the point of buying 2 new batteries, give the 6's some consideration.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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6-volt vs 12-volt is not the issue per se. It's the quality of the battery that is the biggest difference.

6-volts have been generally golf cart or industrial machine batteries, which were designed to be more heavy duty (e.g., thicker plates) and be drawn-down repeatedly.

Most 12-volts that are readily available are essentially 12-volt starting batteries or dual purpose Marine batteries. However, the industrial 12-volts rival any 6-volt battery's construction (e.g., thicker plates) but then the weight, cost and size of the battery can be an issue.

So, two 6-volt batteries in series vs. two 12-volt batteries in parallel can provide the same capacity, but the 6-volt batteries will generally last longer when drawn down repeatedly over time (hence the name "deep-cycle").

There is a caveat. As I indicated above, there are quality deep-cycle 12-volt batteries (not marine though) that will be the same quality as 6-volts. Those "true deep-cycle" 12 volts (for lack of a better phrase) can be just as good.

This site is a great resource ... Deep Cycle Battery FAQ

My advise is to step back and look at your needs first:

Do you dry camp a lot (off the grid)?
How much capacity do you need before recharging?
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:01 AM   #4
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Good topic. Any particular brand recommendations for 6V (or true deep-cycle 12V's)?
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by force View Post
Good topic. Any particular brand recommendations for 6V (or true deep-cycle 12V's)?
Tom,
I like Trojan so I am partial but there are others I would consider and price out as well (US Battery and Crown, for example).
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:49 PM   #6
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I hardly ever dry camp, but may in the future. Considering adding solar charging at some point in the future as we'll...
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:41 PM   #7
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Brian,

RVers who do not dry camp have no need to worry about battery capacity. They just will not take advantage of the bigger 12-volt or 6-volt batteries to make up for the additional cost and weight. If you hardly ever dry camp, then my suggestion is to get a group 27 (12-volt). If you never dry camp, than a cheap group 24 is fine.

If you plan to definitely dry camp in the future, then a big 12-volt (or two) or big 6-volts in series are worth it. Especially if you will be off the grid for more than a couple of days and do not have a generator or camp in a park with no- or restricted-generator rules.

Solar is a great option but a whole 'nother topic!
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:19 PM   #8
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Six years ago when I decided to go "off the grid" for extended periods of time, I purchased 6, group 27, 12 volt batteries for my RV. I needed lots of amp hours to do what I wanted to do. I purchased these 125 A/Hr batteries for $79 each at Wal-Mart. After deducting the 25% loss in capacity, (various reasons) I had what I needed. My battery bank has served me quite well for for the past 6 years, with probably 4+/- years of actual use. No complaints what so ever, in all kinds of weather, with extreme hot temps being the norm. Knowing now what I did not know 6 years ago, I think 6 volt batteries would have been the better route to take regardless of the price. Reliability (longevity) of the 6 volt batteries would have been the deciding factor. My current 12 volt battery bank is getting tired. However, when I do replace my current battery set up, I will go back to 12 volt batteries. Why? Because over the past few years, I have had dead batteries in my tow vehicle, my wife's chase car, and our boat. All three times we were out in the middle of nowhere. Having the extra 12 volt batteries available were a big help until we could get some where to get the dead batteries replaced. I have also used a single 12 volt battery for other things around the camp site. The 12 V batteries are just handy to have around, just in case. Just a thought.
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