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Old 08-29-2014, 07:52 AM   #1
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Battery Replacement?

We are ready to replace the batteries on our 2011 17 ft. Shockwave Toyhauler. Any tips on the best set up? We keep hearing about changing to 6 volt, but would we need 4 batteries then? We do about 50% dry camping a few times a year. If we replace the 12 volt any tips on the best available? Also what is the best way to store maintain the batteries when storing rv? Thanks!
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:01 AM   #2
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1) 2 6v batteries have way more reserve than 2 equivalent 12v.

2) Trojan was the ones I'm looking at, based on variety of posts on this forum recommending them.

I can't provide actual experience though, because everytime I think my battery's dead, it seems to be a fluke reading and is actually perfectly fine. So I've been having a hard time justifying making the switch.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:21 AM   #3
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How often do you go out? 6v banks really are the best route to go if you spend a fair amount of time out on the road, but for most casual users they probably aren't too cost effective and require a bit of ongoing tlc to really justify the expense. JMHO

It's much easier to just fork out the $125 every 2-3 years for a decent 12v deep cycle battery that may not really get used all that often. That doesn't sting near as much as loosing a $600 set (4 x 6v cells) prematurely due to neglect.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:25 AM   #4
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1) 2 6v batteries have way more reserve than 2 equivalent 12v.

2) Trojan was the ones I'm looking at, based on variety of posts on this forum recommending them.

I can't provide actual experience though, because everytime I think my battery's dead, it seems to be a fluke reading and is actually perfectly fine. So I've been having a hard time justifying making the switch.
Agreed. Trojan T105's are VERY widely used.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:27 AM   #5
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Battery Replacement?

That is what I was thinking as we don't use that much. When parked is it best to keep batteries installed and rig plugged in to power?
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:39 AM   #6
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So far the interstates I use have held up to winter with no issues for a couple of years now.......I keep my rig plugged in, let the trickle charger keep batteries charged......I did add a insulation wrap to the battery box on mine, it is about 1/8" thick and lines the inside box....
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:40 AM   #7
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That is what I was thinking as we don't use that much. When parked is it best to keep batteries installed and rig plugged in to power?
You certainly can. If my rig was going to be parked for any length of time though, I would probably just disconnect it altogether, take it into the garage and throw it on a charger that will maintain a decent float.

I don't care much for keeping my rig powered unattended.. and worst case.. it's much cheaper replacing a stand alone charger than it is to have to replace a converter/charger out of my rig.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:41 AM   #8
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Our rig is stored in a large metal shop. So are you saying that you keep rig plugged in to power and put a separate trickle charger on the batteries?
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:45 AM   #9
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No. I don't power my rig at all. Just physically disconnect the battery and put it on a trickle charger.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:23 AM   #10
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First; 6v vs12v, there is no definitive data that says one is better than the other, only opinion. Thats fine, but to make the statement one is better over the other is not accurate.
Batteries are difficult to rate in that the stated specs may not live up to their real life performance. There is no reliabe independent ratings on deep cycle batteries in real world RV usage that I have ever encountered. If someone knows of independent ratings, please by all means chime in.

That being said, if you plan to be off the grid while in camping mode, buy the highest spec(amp hr, etc) deep cycle battery(s) that will fit in your storage compartment. Learn all about battery does and don'ts by researching here and other excellent sources on the net.

You will find, like I have, that a little knowledge goes a long way in getting the best performance (and life) for your specific application. Like; never discharge below 50%, batteries love to be at full charge when idled, etc. Hope that helps.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:25 AM   #11
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How do you best keep your battery above 50% when dry camping for several consecutive days?
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:29 AM   #12
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How do you best keep your battery above 50% when dry camping for several consecutive days?
Not sure we understand your question. Battery amperage/voltage and its discharge thereof is a direct relation to amount of draw over a given time frame. That would include known and parasitic drain.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:52 AM   #13
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When you are dry camping....I read somewhere to run generator 2 hours a day to keep batteries charged. How can you avoid just discharging over the period you are camping. Last time we went out our batteries were completely discharged on our last day.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:55 AM   #14
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Battery Replacement?

You've got to know how much you're drawing, and then making sure you put at least that much back, either through the generator, solar, wind, dog on a treadmill, hamster in a wheel, etc....

Edit: dang ipad sends too easily.

This is why many on here recommend a good battery monitor as the first step if you're going to dry camp. Once you've got an idea of what you're using, you'll know how long you need to run the generator to replenish the batteries. Might be more than 2 hours, could even be up to 8.

A monitor should also help you understand your usage and what you'll need to do to cut that usage, like switching lights to LED, running the furnace less by setting the thermostat to a lower temperature, turning off the water pump except for when you need water, etc...





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Old 08-29-2014, 11:09 AM   #15
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Soapbox

When most folks are talking about 6v being "better" than 12v's they are basically talking about a significant upgrade in the type and capacity of the battery. There ARE verrrrryyy significant differences, and you'll notice the upgrade in capacity, but most folks don't have the set up to realize their full potential. Really even for deep cycle batteries.

It may appear that they don't live up to their rated capacities... but it's generally not the batteries fault.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:25 PM   #16
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Can anyone recommend a battery monitor?
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:29 PM   #17
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Can anyone recommend a battery monitor?
These are used by quite a few people. They have a good reputation.

TriMetric Battery System | Bogart Engineering
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:42 PM   #18
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OK now I am probably going to sound really stupid, but is there not a battery indicator built into the monitor display of the trailer?
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:52 PM   #19
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OK now I am probably going to sound really stupid, but is there not a battery indicator built into the monitor display of the trailer?
Not stupid at all. I was under the same misconception when I started out. The one in the trailer can only provide a 'point in time' measure of the battery (by voltage I believe). It doesn't compensate for float, it doesn't know anything about the batteries capacity, it doesn't monitor your draw, etc...

You also have to be sure you're looking at the right scale. The battery lights scale as 'F', 'G', 'C' which stands for 'Fair', 'Good', and 'Charging'. You'll note there's no concept of 'Full' or 'Empty' on that scale. As soon as you start your generator, or plug into shore power, if you click the button you'll see all the lights light up. That's because it's 'Charging'. Some people (myself included in the beginning) would look at that and think the battery's full, because we're looking at it like a scale. In reality, it could be almost dead, but still be charging.
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:09 PM   #20
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OK that explains it more. We really did not question any of this until we needed new batteries. Everything was fine on the previous trips we made until the last one when the batteries seemed to drain and now won't show a charge. I think we will buy 2 good 12 volt batteries for now and then think about adding the monitor. There is a big difference between owning a trailer and really understanding how everything operates. Thanks everyone for your input!
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