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Old 08-09-2020, 01:59 PM   #1
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Battery Replacement on a 2020 43B

We've had our 2020 43B for one year and two weeks, and unfortunately I think its time to replace the house and chassis batteries. I got a watering system that other members recommended, so they are always topped off, but when dry camping, if we turn the generator off at 10pm and go to sleep (with everything off), the batteries will not make it until 7am without the inverter turning off and shutting off the refrigerator. Similarly, when dry camping in the evening, we have to run a small generator to keep everything running or it will all die in a hour or two with a TV and lights on.

So, I'm going to bite the bullet and change out all six batteries. I was thinking of going with a couple high end blue tops in the chassis compartment.

Any suggestions for upgrading the 4 house batteries? It currently has 4 standard 225ah 6 volt batteries, but there is plenty of height in the compartment to go taller, such as a 270ah or a 300ah battery (which gets up to 14" tall). Another option I'm considering is adding two additional batteries. My compartment is 22" wide ... just enough to add two more 6 volts that are 7" wide each.

Thanks in advance for the help!
Brian
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Old 08-09-2020, 02:12 PM   #2
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4 six volt batteries is roughly 450 amps. That is a lot in less than 24 hours.

Have you been running the converter off the inverter.

There is some huge draw there somewhere. I would watch the battery monitor like a hawk and figure it out first.

It could be a bad battery. A Hygrometer might help find out.
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Old 08-09-2020, 06:47 PM   #3
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it actually sounds like you have some draws within your system that you might not be aware of, as that's a somewhat fast slide down ... but, you also didn't say what VOLTAGE your batteries were when you start, and what VOLTAGE your inverter is cutting off at.

You have 4 6volt batteries, just like most of us, and no, you're not always going to 'get thru the whole night', especially in the summer months when running additional fans to be comfortable overnight, and when the fridge is operating more frequently due to the higher temperatures. Your AGS should easily start your generator to automatically charge your batteries and keep your Inverter operational without having to 'wait' until the Inverter shuts off due to low charge - you actually should not be ALLOWING that to happen - that is hurting your batteries to go that low.
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Old 08-09-2020, 06:50 PM   #4
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also, 'why' do you need to change any Chassis batteries?? I've traveled over 107,000 miles over the last 6 years and have never had ANY issue with the ORIGINAL Chassis batteries ... and certainly wouldn't change them 'just because' the house batteries seem to be in need.
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Old 08-10-2020, 04:02 PM   #5
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Boondocking preferred

We have plentiful solar charging but added 2 more batteries in the passenger-side rear compartment. All fully charge by early afternoon when sunny, but with no daytime TV or unsupported heavy loads.

The only time we need gen is if we watch too much TV at night, then occasionally another AGS gen run occurs during a hot night to mainly handle the electric fridge. We've set the AGS at 12.2V and 20 minutes run - seems a brief gen bump keeps the batts >=12.2V.

I'd try 2 more batteries - which will extend your run times; maybe all you need - a 50% increase in storage isn't trivial. Also, realizing the lights & TV draws at night, we usually run the gen the last hour we're up. We also minimize our overnight loads to: fridge, Dish receiver, Winegard TV dish, CPAP.

The perfect situation would be to have enough solar and battery storage that you'd never need the gen. We're not there, but comfortable with our current situation.

Also, we always briefly run the gen for heavy loads like microwave, slides, jacks, food processor, fireplace, etc.
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Old 08-10-2020, 04:13 PM   #6
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If you are doing any kind of extended (like overnight) boon docking you can not properly manage your house bank without a condition monitor. As someone said above, you're pulling a load somewhere you are not aware of. You can only control what you can measure.

https://dragonship.blog/battery-monitoring-kit/
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Old 08-10-2020, 04:40 PM   #7
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Also there are parasitic draw items that you wouldn't expect. A cell phone charger can draw even if the phone isn't hooked up to it but it is still plugged into the wall outlet. A TV will draw even when it isn't turned on. Clocks continue to draw on a microwave or an alarm clock. The precision plex and inverter will both continue to draw. Shutting off the battery switch will shut everything off but precision plex and inverter have to be shut off individually. There is always more "draw" than you think!
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitdad Brian View Post
We've had our 2020 43B for one year and two weeks, and unfortunately I think its time to replace the house and chassis batteries. I got a watering system that other members recommended, so they are always topped off, but when dry camping, if we turn the generator off at 10pm and go to sleep (with everything off), the batteries will not make it until 7am without the inverter turning off and shutting off the refrigerator. Similarly, when dry camping in the evening, we have to run a small generator to keep everything running or it will all die in a hour or two with a TV and lights on.

So, I'm going to bite the bullet and change out all six batteries. I was thinking of going with a couple high end blue tops in the chassis compartment.

Any suggestions for upgrading the 4 house batteries? It currently has 4 standard 225ah 6 volt batteries, but there is plenty of height in the compartment to go taller, such as a 270ah or a 300ah battery (which gets up to 14" tall). Another option I'm considering is adding two additional batteries. My compartment is 22" wide ... just enough to add two more 6 volts that are 7" wide each.

Thanks in advance for the help!
Brian
What all is running in the coach when you go to bed? TV? Also how often are you opening the fridge? The major power draw on the batteries for the Fridge is going to be the compression cycles.

Also I know a lot of people who dry camp will swap the lead acid batteries for AGM's and they were happy they made the switch.
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:58 AM   #9
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Eric, aside from being maintenance free, are there other advantages to swapping flooded for AGM?
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Old 08-11-2020, 11:25 AM   #10
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Eric, aside from being maintenance free, are there other advantages to swapping flooded for AGM?
Better performance in all weather types, they usually hold the charge better while the coach is in storage, more consistent on the performance life of the batteries, they can usually handle a higher charge and discharge rate.



Really from what is see out west for customer into more dry camping rather than full hook up the change to AGM batteries has helped increase there performance.
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:12 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for all the information and questions.

90% of my use is dry camping, and usually at a race track where we are pretty tightly packed. To avoid running the onboard generator 18 hours a day, we use a smaller 2400 watt Yamaha to keep everything topped off and to power our stacker trailer with 120v. While I love the idea of the Magnum Energy Battery Monitor (and have added it to my Amazon cart - thank you Oscarvan), I'm not sure how it will actually be used since we are usually plugged into a big or little generator until we go to bed.

However, even when the lights/TVs go off, maybe one fan running at most with phone chargers, the batteries will go from fully charged to 12.1v in 5-6 hours. That's where the real frustration sets in. We don't use ASG because other motorhomes or trailers will invariably be right off our nose and joke about the freight train coming through when the genny fires up at 4am. Most recently, we are getting a constant low voltage when trying to use the jacks or pull the slides in and have to keep the generator running for those tasks.

So I'm definitely going to install new batteries for piece of mind. Just not sure whether to go AGM, add two extra 6 volts, or install the taller 6v batteries that bump the power to 330+AH like this as an example. Not sure if there are any downsides to installer a larger AH battery though, as compared to adding two extra batteries.
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pitdad Brian View Post
Thanks everyone for all the information and questions.

90% of my use is dry camping, and usually at a race track where we are pretty tightly packed. To avoid running the onboard generator 18 hours a day, we use a smaller 2400 watt Yamaha to keep everything topped off and to power our stacker trailer with 120v. While I love the idea of the Magnum Energy Battery Monitor (and have added it to my Amazon cart - thank you Oscarvan), I'm not sure how it will actually be used since we are usually plugged into a big or little generator until we go to bed.

However, even when the lights/TVs go off, maybe one fan running at most with phone chargers, the batteries will go from fully charged to 12.1v in 5-6 hours. That's where the real frustration sets in. We don't use ASG because other motorhomes or trailers will invariably be right off our nose and joke about the freight train coming through when the genny fires up at 4am. Most recently, we are getting a constant low voltage when trying to use the jacks or pull the slides in and have to keep the generator running for those tasks.

So I'm definitely going to install new batteries for piece of mind. Just not sure whether to go AGM, add two extra 6 volts, or install the taller 6v batteries that bump the power to 330+AH like this as an example. Not sure if there are any downsides to installer a larger AH battery though, as compared to adding two extra batteries.

Have you ever tried programming the AGS with quite hours? Also adding the two additional batteries will def help
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:41 AM   #13
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this is just me but it does sound like something is drawing on the batteries. i would expect them to last longer and they are only slightly more than a year old. getting 4 or 6 new batteries will cost some $$$$. before i did that i think i would invest in a battery monitor. i just installed a victron smart shunt ($130) and i am completely impressed with it! very easy to install and you monitor it using your smart phone. get one,. or something similar, and find out what the actual load on the batteries is. you can turn devices on and off and see how much or load they place on the batteries. it has been said many times that the furnace places a large load on the batteries due to the blower motor running. i'm wondering how much of a load that fan is placing along with the refrigerator. if you get a feel for the loads being placed you may be able to avoid any increase in the number of batteries and you're dollars ahead.
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:58 AM   #14
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ditto Chickdoe

You never know enough in the trouble shooting game.

For instance, plugging a cpap into the 110 outlet becomes a major power user!

A residential fridge is a big user. Run these and I would expect your batteries to be pretty low in the morning.
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:04 AM   #15
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A lot of the battery voltage will depend on how the batteries where treated... Think of how many times you have walked into a RV on a dealers lot, turned on the discount and nothing comes on...

Hopefully in the future this is an issue that solar can help fix.
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Old 08-14-2020, 11:30 AM   #16
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Got 6 batteries installed in the Berk which should bump the AH by 50%. My compartment is 22" wide and the batteries are 21". Only challenging part was cutting out the welded brackets that keep the 4 batteries from shifting front and back. I also added angle iron to keep them in place side to side as shown in the picture.

By the way, my panel shows that inverter and refrigerator draw 12A when running.
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Old 08-16-2020, 10:22 AM   #17
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I would agree with many of the comments above ... you must have a huge phantom draw that you are not aware of.

Make sure that your frig is on propane and the inverter is turned off ... these will be your two single biggest draws.

Also, you said that you coach is a 2020 ....

Your batteries should last much longer.

My Berk is as 2012 model produced in 2011. I just replaced my chassis batteries for the first time and my coach batteries for the second time. I life in western Canada and donot remove the batteries during winter storage.

As long as your coach is not experiancing starting problems, you have no need to replace the 2 chassis batteries.

I purchased the following...

2 identical replacement starter batteries from freightliner ... approx $100 per

4 top quality interstate 6v approx $170 per
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Old 08-16-2020, 06:38 PM   #18
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I would agree with many of the comments above ... you must have a huge phantom draw that you are not aware of.

Make sure that your frig is on propane and the inverter is turned off ... these will be your two single biggest draws.
It's an all electric coach

Only thing I'm slightly annoyed about is that the 4 house batteries would not last through the night with most things off (except a fridge, phone chargers).

But if you take it one step further, offering a bunkhouse coach that's all electric with 6 TVs, tons of lights, fireplace, constant hot water, and other cool stuff, Forest River should probably assume that the batteries are going to get quite a workout. Offering an optional 8 house batteries like many competitors would be a no brainer for dry campers me

In any event, we'll see how 6 house batteries perform.
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Old 08-20-2020, 11:20 AM   #19
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Pittdad, what kind of batteries did u replace with, Brand etc. I want to do the same thing and I know it's tight.
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Old 08-20-2020, 12:00 PM   #20
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Pittdad, what kind of batteries did u replace with, Brand etc. I want to do the same thing and I know it's tight.
Trojans were out of stock, so we went with US Battery, which are made in Cal. link here
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