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Old 07-27-2020, 05:52 PM   #1
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6V batteries and 12V motors

My 12V battery was starting to not last as long as it use to and we want to do more dry camping. So after lots of research I decided to change out the batteries with (2) Duracell 225AH 6V batteries.

When we went camping this weekend and I went to put down the tongue jack I could tell it was struggling. My wife then try to put the slide out and that exposed the beginning of our issues. It would go out about 6" at a shot then stop but did finally go out. When the water pump would kick on the lights would flicker. The lights were not as bright as they were on a single 12V battery. Even the refrigerator did not seem to like the batteries, like there was not enough power to create the spark for the propane at times and we had to reset the fridge.

My assumption is that the motors really like to have the CCA of my old battery but it would seem like if that was the case nobody would switch to the 6V batteries if you had to be plugged into the TV or a generator to operate motor loads. It is also my assumption that operating those motors when we setup camp drained the batteries enough to still operate light and the radio but when the water pump was used there was not quite enough juice.

Am I missing something? I used the same size of jumper as the +/- cables - 6 gauge. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 07-27-2020, 05:58 PM   #2
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Don't shoot me for asking but you did wire them in series, correct?
And were you plugged in prior to leaving home or did you fully charge them prior to your trip? There are a lot of parasitic draws that could take new batteries down to below 12v if left without being plugged in, the batteries disconnected from the trailer or using a battery disconnect switch to protect them from being discharged once they are fully charged.
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Old 07-27-2020, 05:59 PM   #3
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2 6 volt batteries have at least as much power as one 12V...

something is wrong with either one of the batteries or the connections are not tight... or they are not charged up

Do you have one of the battery POS + terminals connected to the other battery NEG - terminal? If not then you are only getting 6 volts which could be the problem.

do you have a meter to measure voltages? If not pick up a cheap $5-$10 meter at a hardware store... you do not need anything expensive to determine where the problem may be...

a meter should be in your toolbox to help solve these kinds of problems

watch this video to help figure out how to use the meter...

https://youtu.be/TdUK6RPdIrA
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:10 PM   #4
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Everything was charging for a few days before we left and they are brand spanking new and connected in series.

I have a real good fluke meter to check the voltage. I have had it on shore power since yesterday.

Thanks for the help.....I will post what I find out tonight.
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:43 PM   #5
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To start off... ( you probably know this, but will cover it anyway)
1. disconnect one of the trailer leads to one of the batteries to take any trailer loading out of the circuit
2. using Fluke measure from + on one battery to - on the other battery...
fully charged you should have at least 12.6 volts DC
3. if not 12.6 then each battery measured independently should be 6.2-6.4 volts.
4. If battery voltages check out, then follow one or both ( should be hooked to the + terminal) of the trailer leads under the tongue or trailer frame and look for a small 1 inch sized fuse ( similar to image below) with a tiny black or red push button on the side... make sure this fuse button is pushed in... this fuse may have blown during your install process, which effectively takes the batteries out of all circuits.

Hope this helps
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:55 PM   #6
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Can you post a picture of how the batteries and equipment are connected? You may have the batteries in series, but the equipment could be connected across one battery.
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsdata View Post
4. If battery voltages check out, then follow one or both ( should be hooked to the + terminal) of the trailer leads under the tongue or trailer frame and look for a small 1 inch sized fuse ( similar to image below) with a tiny black or red push button on the side... make sure this fuse button is pushed in... this fuse may have blown during your install process, which effectively takes the batteries out of all circuits.
No need to look for the above circuit breaker. If it was tripped there would be no DC power at all in the trailer.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:00 PM   #8
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So that I’m getting 12.65V across the batteries. I’m getting 13.65V from the inverter. I’m getting a 1volt voltage drop across the fuse. Note that there is no push button that I can see on it. When I unplug from shore power I get 12.35V across the batteries and no drop across the fuse block. I have to tried to operate the slide tonight but nothing has changed from this weekend.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:31 AM   #9
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You should not have a voltage drop across the breaker....if you did then your converter is powerimg everything on its own and something was tripped...were you plugged into shore power? I feel like I missed something in your post.

I have the same batteries you have and have no problems with anything. It all runs longer and better than before it did with the single group24 12v so something else is wrong.Click image for larger version

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Old 07-28-2020, 08:01 AM   #10
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12.65 across the batteries is fully charged.
13.65 from converter (you said inverter) seems to be proper, but where did you measure it? it across the converter terminals that says the converter is working. but you should see the same voltage across the battery terminals. was the 12.65 that you measured across the battery terminals was taken while you had the converter plugged in?
the 1.0 drop across the fuse is concerning. it should be no drop or a total drop. if it it introducing a 1 volt drop then your batteries at 12.65 may only be delivering 11.65 to your load which is a pretty well discharged battery.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:11 AM   #11
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It sounds like the "fuse" (circuit breaker?) is bad.
What was the load when you measured the 1v drop? Was this measured on the screw terminals or wires?
When you put heavier loads, slides etc the voltage drop would go up.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:56 AM   #12
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I took the measurements at the breaker. On the battery side it reads 12.65V and on the converter side it reads 13.65V. When I unplug it from shore power then it reads 12.35V on either side of the breaker. So the 1V drop is only when the converter is on. There should have been no load except for what the converter was doing. No lights on or any other loads operating. Note that the 12V battery I took out was working fine but on its last legs and not able to hold a charge through the night. I can swap things back to ensure everything is working correctly but need to wait until this current heat wave is over. It was about 105 yesterday early evening and lugging those 6V batteries isn't that much fun when it isn't that hot out....LOL. Then again this is really bugging me and we have another camp trip planned in 2 weeks and I need to get this issue resolved. Thanks for hanging in there with me to get this figured out!!
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Old 07-28-2020, 10:49 AM   #13
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So you are saying the battery is only seeing 12.65 out of the 13.65 that the converter is producing? Sure sounds like there is an issue with the circuit breaker.

Just for the hell of it take one cable off a stud on the circuit breaker and put it into the other stud so the current doesn't Have to flow through the breaker. Then take voltages at the battery again. I’m only proposing this as a diagnostic tool, not a full time fix!
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:27 AM   #14
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That 1v drop across the breaker sounds like the issue, bypassing it as suggested or jumping across it to test will work, or just replace it.

Did you have your 12v battery tested? It is possible it was never getting a full charge do to this drop.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:27 AM   #15
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Great idea and an easy test!! I will post what I find tonight.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:35 AM   #16
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llr, I did not have the battery test as I planned to do more boondocking so I wanted something that would hold up better and not have to worry about bringing down the 12V battery below 50%. The battery seem to be good enough to repurposed as a battery for a storage shed I plan to build to have some lights in. So killing 2 birds with 2 6V stones. I think your right on the charging though.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:13 PM   #17
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If your battery is 12.35 shortly after a charge when disconnected...it is 40% down at a minimum and likely more since it should settle out for 12-24 hours for a true state of charge reading. The batteries need a good overnite charge from your converter when you get that breaker replaced. MINIMUM 13.6V -14.4V to start and not less than 13.2 V when you are ready to unplug at the terminals.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:16 PM   #18
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camaraderie is that what I should be seeing as a voltage range at the battery once I unplug?
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:59 PM   #19
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Sorry not to be more clear. I was referring to your comment that you were seeing 12.35V off your batts when disconnected shortly after having them plugged in and charging. Theat would mean they were 60% charged at the MOST and would drop further in voltage if left unplugged for 12.-24 hours.
Now assuming you have a camper that is of a recent vintage...5 years or younger...You have a 3 stage charger which on a discharged battery will start charging at 14.4 volts or so for a little while...then drop down to 13.6-8V for a longer while and then finish topping up AND maintaining your battery at 13.2 Volts or so for 3 hours + while plugged in. When you disconnect from shore power AND remove your negative battery wire...voltage will drop while you wait for the surface charge gets wiped off the plates and you'll get a true reading of battery voltage. A FULL 12V wet cell will read 12.7 or 12.6V... If you see over 12.7V you need to wait longer to test! ...(24 hours is ideal) ...A battery with loss of some capacity (age or damage) will be in the 12,4 range and a significantly compromised battery will read 12.2 or less and should be replaced.
Hope this clarifies. I agree with those who suggest the breaker is an issue as you should not be seeing a drop there. The other question in my mind is if the 6V batts have damage as it seems they were deeply discharged based on your descriptions.
Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:14 PM   #20
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camaraderie thanks for the clarification. I'm going to start with the breaker tonight and see where that goes. Hopefully it is that and a quick replacement and I'm back in business. It should be a cool 105F tonight by the time I get home so if it is much more than that it will have to wait for the weekend. Thanks again....
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