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Old 01-27-2014, 12:05 PM   #1
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Adding a battery

My Tracer 3150 only came with one battery, and even though we don't plan to do any dry camping, I don't want to be ham stringed if we decide to.
Do I need to match the specs of the current battery (obviously voltage) or can I get a larger one?
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:24 PM   #2
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This thread should answer your question: yes batteries should be same.

Adding a second battery
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:37 PM   #3
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they dont HAVE to be the same....you can isolate them and run them seperately with a 4 pos switch...

if your going to hook them together, then yes you want same size age...


i waited a year and a half before i added second group 27...

so i use the 4 way switch and run em independentaly.....its more work tho...but my original batt worked just fine....

i just wanted more reserve for running the inverter and watching movies/cable at night when after genny hours...
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:59 PM   #4
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As mentioned, you need to match the batteries in size, type and age if you plan to hook them up together (in parallel for two 12 volts). If not, then the two different batteries will shorten their respective lifespans (overcharging, undercharging, etc).

Depending how old your original battery is, you might still be able to match it so that's always an option if you just bought.

You mentioned buying a new larger battery than what you have today, though. The larger battery can be added and used with a switch like the one below...



Blue Sea Systems 9001e e-Series Battery Switch Selector (costs about $37)

You will not want to run them in the 1+2 position, however, since they are different, but you now would have ability to switch over to the second battery.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:14 PM   #5
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Thats the switch I use and I flip it between 1 and 2 ...or off...since I have 2 diff age batteries. ...

How can one tell how close they are as far as output...? How much variance is acceptable between 2 bats?

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Old 01-27-2014, 03:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironj View Post
How can one tell how close they are as far as output...? How much variance is acceptable between 2 bats?
To answer your question about variance, you would have to test the two batteries and battery testing can be done in more than one way. One easy and relatively accurate method is measurement of specific gravity. So, for example, hydrometer readings should not vary more than .05 differences between cells. This would tell you how well-matched your batteries are and how much variance is acceptable.

I think this could be easily taken one more step by charting the measurements over a reasonable time period - like four weeks - of inactivity. So, fully charge both batteries and measure all cells. Measure again at the end of the period (adjust for temperature) and see if there is a difference. If there is, one of your two batteries is self-discharging faster.

There are even better tests for the pros and this article explains more.

In general, the whole idea in matching your batteries in one bank (i.e., two 12-volt batteries in parallel) is to avoid overdischarging and overcharging the old battery while undercharging the new battery (all of which will reduce battery life). So, how different they are is an important question. I think the biggest differences to account for would be type and size and then age. Obviously, its a bad bad idea to pair a flooded battery with an AGM. Also, its a bad idea to pair a group 24 with a group 31 battery. But, I think the difference in battery age leaves a little bit of a gray area. Assuming the two batteries are similar in all respects but age and are within several months of each other, than I think the newer battery could be used and seasoned (a new battery needs to be discharged and charged through a lot of cycles to bring it to its full rated capacity) to a point where it would be a good match for the other battery.
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:13 PM   #7
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Good answer..I actually did a hydrometer testing on the old and the new...there was minmal diff between the 1.5 year old one and the new (both are group 27 flooded type)...I thought about doing a long term discharge test...but it seemed that it would have to be under load to get any real answer......u always here to never mix old and new...but what and where is the specific value/determination that the gap will impact longevity when paralleled? ..

I only ponder because it would be much easier and better for my batteries (with inverter usage) to be able to hook em together and run em and charge em that way....

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:29 PM   #8
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I agree. When I went to 6-volts, I had to buy the batteries together and it is easier to just discharge and charge them together.

You could try a load test by applying a known load and measuring the time it take to discharge the battery until 20% capacity is remaining (don't do this often as its not good to regularly drop below 50% state of charge).

A 20 hour test would be easiest. For example, you would first desulfate the batteries as I suspect the older one will have more sulfate than the newer one. Then, if you have 80 Ah in your batteries, a load of four amps would discharge the battery in approximately 16 hours down to the 20% level. I think that should be good enough to tell you if you can pair your two 12-volts into a bank that can be used together. I wonder if a local car battery place could do this?
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:39 PM   #9
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hmmm....that sir is a good idea.....i believe the high end charger for my r/c lipo batteries has a discharge function....and i know it funcitons with 12volts ...ill look into that....

i also have a light bulb discharger..ill have to see what amperage it pulls but i bet i could hook that to each for a specified perisod and see what i can see...

wonder how bad it would be and the damage done if i only hooked the batteries in parallel when i was using them....and then charged and stored them seperatly...?

i mean i only USE them on the trailer for 4-5 days at MOST in one trip..with the switch i can de-parallel them and run/charge them individually

i mean how much life expectancy are we really gonna lose if 95% of the the year the batteries are stored and charged individually?
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:53 PM   #10
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In your example above, the weakest battery would overdischarge, but it practically might not be a problem unless you did it often. How much it's lifespan would be effected is pretty difficult to tell, I think. Lots of variables (application, frequency of use, maintenance, etc) would have to be guessed at to give us an answer. (maybe this could be a good science experiment for my kids at school one of these days ).
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