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Old 10-05-2020, 01:35 PM   #1
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6V Battery Life

We have a 2013 Cedar Creek 36CKTS. We had to replace the 4-6Volt Trojan T-105 at about 3-1/2 years, now we are at 4-1/2 years, 8 years total. Is this normal for todays batteries? Seems at approx $150 each they should last longer.
On 1 out of these 4 batteries the case is bulging a little so I am thinking it has a dead cell. Everything seems to be working ok but the constant low water in the batteries and the bulging case is worrisome. So gonna go ahead and replace all of them.

It also seems that the recommendation is to replace all of them at the same time, right?

Next question, we leave the unit plugged into shore power while in the camper shed, should we disconnect the batteries while we are not using? We like to keep the a/c on 82 in the summer and a heater on in the winter when not is use, (so we don't have to take out food supply). We do have a house type of fridge so we don't need the inverter while plugged in.
We have read so many different opinions on leaving the batteries connected.
Thanks all.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:02 PM   #2
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My Cedar Creek is a 2012 model and I still have the original 4 batteries. I hope I didn't just jinx mine!
Mine are Interstate not Trojan, not that it matters. Trojan are supposed to be the best. Shortly after we took possession of our camper, I installed a Progressive Dynamics converter with 4 stage charging. I also set a monthly reminder to add water, if needed. And, my camper stays plugged into shore power at all times except when rolling down the road.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:14 PM   #3
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Battery Life

Joe_GA, do you leave your batteries connected at all times too?
Forest River replaced the converter shortly after the first batteries were replaced, it is a WF-9865, 65amp automatic three stage. We do check our batteries every month too for low water installed those little things that have floaters to tell me when and if they are getting low.
Your 2012 looks exactly like our 2013.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:44 PM   #4
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Not sure if this helps or not. My 6 volt batteries were installed at purchase. They have been used and abused. We did not know about the 50% rule then and still do not have a good way of measuring charge levels. Any way, the batteries are now 4 years old and still with us. They are NOT plugged in full time.
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:19 AM   #5
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:53 AM   #6
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I just replaced my 2 Duracell GC2 "golf car" batteries. Sam's has them for $89.98 ea which is about what I paid for the 1st set 6 years ago. We don't boondock much anymore because our favorite nearby national forest now has electric hookups.
Still go to Mammoth Cave NP occasionally which is no hookups.

I wonder about the "constant low water" mentioned. My batteries boiled dry or nearly dry on a FL trip in Jan/Feb 2019.
My WFCO charger apparently went into boost mode every time we un-plugged and plugged back in. Since we moved every week or 2 plus stops on the way south and again going north we cycled the boost charge about 7 times. It cooked the batteries so dry that on my last night our Schwentek slide refused to go out due to a "over voltage error" on the board.
I had to unplug and turn everything on- lights, fans in order to pull the voltage down and get the slide to work.

Long story- sorry. I still used the batteries another year including a winter trip to AZ, TX and NOLA in Jan/Feb 2020.
I pulled out my WFCO charger and replaced it with a Progressive Dynamics before that last big trip. Hopefully the new PD charger won't cook my new batteries!
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Old 10-06-2020, 08:30 AM   #7
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I have had dual six volt batteries since 1972. English cars.

If the water level is monitored they typically last over 6 years. Often more!

I suspect some other issue.

The cheap converters in these rvís could be an issue. I wonder about overcharging.

But, in my case, they were not charged 24/7 365 days a year.

I assume you use a battery monitor. With a residential fridge it is easy to discharge batteries.

I would try not charging more than quarterly or before a trip. Plug the fridge in direct if necessary.
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Old 10-06-2020, 08:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flattyattack View Post
Joe_GA, do you leave your batteries connected at all times too?
Forest River replaced the converter shortly after the first batteries were replaced, it is a WF-9865, 65amp automatic three stage. We do check our batteries every month too for low water installed those little things that have floaters to tell me when and if they are getting low.
Your 2012 looks exactly like our 2013.
Thanks
Yes sir, my batteries always stay connected. As far as watering, I bought one of those systems where you just connect a hose with a squeeze pump and place the loose end of the hose into the distilled water jug and pump. As each cell is filled a float valve closes it off. When the squeeze bulb gets hard, you are full!
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Old 10-06-2020, 08:48 AM   #9
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I wonder about the "constant low water" mentioned. My batteries boiled dry or nearly dry on a FL trip in Jan/Feb 2019.
My WFCO charger apparently went into boost mode every time we un-plugged and plugged back in.
I ran across another Cedar Creek owner and, as we were talking, I mentioned something about putting water in the batteries. His face changed to a shocked look. He said he had NEVER put water in his batteries! I told him how bad that was for the batteries and about the danger of explosion. We checked and his batteries were bone dry. His Creek was a few years old by that time, so he opted to go buy new batteries.
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Joe_GA View Post
Yes sir, my batteries always stay connected. As far as watering, I bought one of those systems where you just connect a hose with a squeeze pump and place the loose end of the hose into the distilled water jug and pump. As each cell is filled a float valve closes it off. When the squeeze bulb gets hard, you are full!

My batteries are hard to see down into due to the location back under the nose of my trailer.
I want one of those squeeze bulb thingies! Any more info?
Name, brand, etc?
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:17 AM   #11
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My batteries are hard to see down into due to the location back under the nose of my trailer.
I want one of those squeeze bulb thingies! Any more info?
Name, brand, etc?
Dan, this is what I use. It ain't cheap, but I love it!

https://www.rvupgradestore.com/RV-Ba...-p/55-8752.htm
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:19 AM   #12
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KyDan, you will need 2 of those systems for 4 batteries, but you fill all 4 at one time!
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:25 AM   #13
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I think the answer to the question of how long two 6 volt batteries will last is that it depends on the actual use.

A couple responses indicated that the batteries were being charged (unit plugged in) all the time except when driving down the road. In other words the draw from the batteries was very little compared to when the user is boondocking for days.

There are also those who boondock and discharge (deep) and recharge frequently.

In the latter case the number of cycles one can obtain from a set of batteries is far less than when the batteries spend most of their time on a float charge with only minimal discharge.

Lastly, as batteries age they loose capacity. How many people truly know how much battery capacity is left after 6 or more years?
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:58 AM   #14
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The life of the battery depends on how many cycles it goes through and if the battery is stored always completely charged. Ask the people who say their batteries last 7 years how much capacity they have left. Personally, if my batteries had lost 50% of their capacity, they would be useless to me but someone else may think they are just fine.
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:46 AM   #15
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Thanks for the link to the battery water system.
Guess I'm going cheap.
I can access my 2 batteries but cannot get my head over the
tops to see down in the cells.
I'm going to try one of these from Amazon and other places.
It has auto shut off and gets good reviews. I think it will work for me.
Cost about $15 bucks.
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Old 10-07-2020, 08:26 AM   #16
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Thanks for the link to the battery water system.
Guess I'm going cheap.
Dan, if you can use one of those, that's great. I only have about 3 or 4 inches above my batteries. It killed me to have to spend over $100.00 to water my batteries, but I love that system.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:36 AM   #17
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Another vote for the Flow Rite system. I've moved mine from one unit to another, and it's now servicing my second set of Trojans in three fivers over 15 years.

Well worth it for not only the ease of maintenance, but the knowledge you are so seamlessly prolonging the life of those costly batteries.

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Old 10-08-2020, 10:51 AM   #18
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Hey Dan - I can't see down in very good the back half of my 12 V battery cells for the same reason....little clearance. I solve that problem by using a flash light and a hand mirror. Works really well. If I need to add distilled water, I pour some in a small paper cup and add as necessary....the mirror & flashlight really solves this issue for me. I just checked mine yesterday as a matter of fact.

Maybe it can work for you.
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Old 10-08-2020, 06:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
Thanks for the link to the battery water system.
Guess I'm going cheap.
I can access my 2 batteries but cannot get my head over the
tops to see down in the cells.
I'm going to try one of these from Amazon and other places.
It has auto shut off and gets good reviews. I think it will work for me.
Cost about $15 bucks.
This type of battery filler has been in use forever. When I worked in a gas station right out of High School (1961) we had one for every pump island and they were old than.

Just make sure the water dispenser cap is screwed on tight. If not it will let too much water out and over fill the battery.
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:35 AM   #20
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This type of battery filler has been in use forever. When I worked in a gas station right out of High School (1961) we had one for every pump island and they were old than.

Just make sure the water dispenser cap is screwed on tight. If not it will let too much water out and over fill the battery.
Hah, I bet you were using tap or even well water then too!
I know I filled plenty of batteries in my younger years with city water.

Thanks for the tip. One reviewer said he tested it by finish filling a water bottle and it shut off perfectly. I plan to test mine that way before each use.

I also tried the mirror and flashlite method but I ran out of hands before I got to the cup of water! Also bifocals make that -really- awkward. Fingers crossed the special dispenser will work as advertised.
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