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Old 09-12-2022, 12:40 PM   #1
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Slight battery upgrade (12v to 6v?)- need advice

I searched, but didn't know exactly the search terms to use. I know this has been discussed at length, but I am hoping to get some direction. I know we killed our OE battery staying just two nights. I am hoping to get two, maybe three nights before we need to worry.

As I see it, my options are
1. Add a 2nd 12v battery in parallel (but I don't know that I have the space for that yet).

2. Convert to 6V (but I really don't know much about this concept and what am I gaining by doing so?)

3. Forget all this and buy a generator to charge the battery, but the Gen I'd want would have to be big enough to run the AC, which then gets quite expensive.

I am trying to compare effort and cost to see what makes most sense for right now.

I appreciate your advice!
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Old 09-12-2022, 12:58 PM   #2
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Having 2 batteries is big improvement for camping w/o electric. If you add another 12V, you really want identical batteries - including same age and amount usage if possible.

Going to 6V (golf cart batteries) is also going to require 2 - they need to be in series to get 12V output. They tend to be a little heavier duty, so for lead acid, they tend to last longer.

Or the other option is something like a 200AH lithium ion battery. These have some benefits, but also more $$ so all your options are trade-offs. Its a matter of figuring out which one works best for you.
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Old 09-12-2022, 01:16 PM   #3
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Suggest that you Google "the 12 Volt Side of Life". It's a good primer on the two different RV electrical systems.
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Old 09-12-2022, 02:23 PM   #4
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Thanks guys!

I assumed that if I went to 6v batteries, I may end up with 4 to gain some extra capacity, but I also have not looked into how they differ in size compared to what I already have.

I did see somewhere that you want to get two new batteries if adding one to the system. That makes it less appealing.

To the googles....
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Old 09-12-2022, 05:14 PM   #5
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I do a lot of remote camping and have two 6 volt interstate batteries that I got from from Costco. 6 volt golf cart batteries are lead acid similar to the 12v batteries that came with your trailer. The difference is 6 volt batteries are designed to be deeply discharged and recharged (down to 50%). Whereas, 12 volt batteries, although they claim they may be deep discharge, are not designed the same.

My two 6 volt batteries provide 225 amp hours. Of this, approximately 112 is usable assuming a discharged floor of 50%. I have never come close to this. Mainly because I recharged my batteries during daylight hours via solar or generator depending on the weather.

Nevertheless, even if you don't recharge your batteries during the day, you will get more time out of two 6 volt batteries then you will out of two 12 volt batteries.

Again, I do a lot of remote camping. In other words, there are no other people around in the places I camp. So, having reliable deep cycle Power important to me.

Finally, I use two 6 volt batteries because the cost is a lot less when compared to lithium, but also because the converter in my trailer is designed for lead acid batteries. Perhaps, in the future, I will upgrade to lithium batteries and a lithium capable converter. However, for now, my two 6 volt light acid batteries provide all the power I need.

Good luck!
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Old 09-12-2022, 05:48 PM   #6
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After doing some digging, I need to measure my space and see what I can do. I can move supports closer to the body if needed, but was hoping to avoid messing up the powder coated frame.

To dumb it down for myself the scenario looks like this using interstate's pricing:

12V G24 (SRM24) with 81 AH is $135 ea. So theoretically you get 162 AH using two batteries.
or
6V GC2-ECL-UTL is 225AH, are taller and $175ea. However, in parallel would give me 63 more AH, or if you consider 50% is usable, then we're still gaining 31.5AH.

Then I have to consider summer camping...and needing the AC for that in a lot of locations. So do I just bite the bullet and do a Generator and use it to charge batteries when needed?

I like to buy once and buy right...
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Old 09-12-2022, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesus_man View Post
After doing some digging, I need to measure my space and see what I can do. I can move supports closer to the body if needed, but was hoping to avoid messing up the powder coated frame.

To dumb it down for myself the scenario looks like this using interstate's pricing:

12V G24 (SRM24) with 81 AH is $135 ea. So theoretically you get 162 AH using two batteries.
or
6V GC2-ECL-UTL is 225AH, are taller and $175ea. However, in parallel would give me 63 more AH, or if you consider 50% is usable, then we're still gaining 31.5AH.

Then I have to consider summer camping...and needing the AC for that in a lot of locations. So do I just bite the bullet and do a Generator and use it to charge batteries when needed?

I like to buy once and buy right...
You don't connect 6v golf cart batteries in parallel. You connect them in SERIES.
12v batteries are connected in parallel.
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Old 09-12-2022, 06:08 PM   #8
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I think my math reflects that right?

12V in parallel @ 81 AH is 162 AH
6V in series is 12V at 225AH
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Old 09-12-2022, 06:21 PM   #9
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i'm not in your position, but here are some thoughts anyway.

the really big question is whether you are going to need a generator to run the a/c. if you see that need then get the generator! which batteries becomes a less pressing issue then.

you're going to have to wrestle with what size generator.

assuming you buy 2 of either type of battery the cost on a per amp-hr basis if basically the same. common belief is that the 6 volt will last longer.

but if you're contemplating the two 6-volt for $350 you are in the range of considering lithium. there is currently a post running about a 200 amp-hour lithium for $399. it give you more discharge than the 50% lead acid batteries do. but then you may have to swap out the converter. your existing one may or may not be lithium capable.

i know this is a bit nebulous but you're going to have to work through it.
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Old 09-12-2022, 06:28 PM   #10
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2. Convert to 6V (but I really don't know much about this concept and what am I gaining by doing so?)

Golf cart 6v are true deep cycle and can be discharged more.
If you just need a bit more capacity then this option will be the least expensive.


3. Forget all this and buy a generator to charge the battery, but the Gen I'd want would have to be big enough to run the AC, which then gets quite expensive.
depends on your air conditioner and what other appliances you want to run at the same time.. if you want to run the A/C and use electric hot water and charge your batteries , while the wife is drying her hair ... NOT going to happen

the smaller 2200W generator can run the a/c you MAY have to add a softstart to help the a/c start..

My own preference would be to use a 3000 -3500W generator I like the larger engine size which allows the generator remain closer to idle longer.
the 30amp generators are reasonably quiet and their weight / size is manageable....
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Old 09-12-2022, 06:41 PM   #11
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Sams Club has Duracell 6 volt batteries for $110 each. Costco has Interstate batteries usually at a comparable price. I bought mine about a year ago at Sams for $89 each.
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Old 09-12-2022, 07:36 PM   #12
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After a discussion with my wife, I think we're going to target a Generator. I started down this path before, but reality set in that we aren't going to get as much camping done this year as we had hoped. We have one big one we're planning in Oct, but I think we will have power for all but a couple nights.

I agree that I may very well need a soft start, but we are not generally power hungry people, and have rarely used our microwave. Mainly the AC and fridge. And throw in the water heater as needed as well.
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Old 09-13-2022, 07:12 AM   #13
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If budget is major concern... a used generator is an option


Would not buy batteries used!
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Old 09-13-2022, 10:26 AM   #14
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I will look at used options for generators once I educate myself on what I need. I will compare to new as well.
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Old 09-13-2022, 01:37 PM   #15
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Propane!

Quote:
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After a discussion with my wife, I think we're going to target a Generator. I started down this path before, but reality set in that we aren't going to get as much camping done this year as we had hoped. We have one big one we're planning in Oct, but I think we will have power for all but a couple nights.

I agree that I may very well need a soft start, but we are not generally power hungry people, and have rarely used our microwave. Mainly the AC and fridge. And throw in the water heater as needed as well.
Run the water heater on Propane, not electricity. It will then only use a tiny bit of electricity for the control circuitry. Heating water with electricity uses ~1500 watts, only useful when you are plugged in.
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Old 09-13-2022, 02:01 PM   #16
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I will do that. Need to learn how much propane that sucks down, along with cool weather camping, to see if I need to look into upgrading the volume of propane. I have a camp chef, so generally have a spare tank anyway. Have yet to buy the adapter to plug camp chef into trailer. Also, I like the flexibility to put camp chef wherever makes sense.
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Old 09-13-2022, 02:07 PM   #17
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Very little

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I will do that. Need to learn how much propane that sucks down, along with cool weather camping, to see if I need to look into upgrading the volume of propane. I have a camp chef, so generally have a spare tank anyway. Have yet to buy the adapter to plug camp chef into trailer. Also, I like the flexibility to put camp chef wherever makes sense.
The water heater uses very little propane. Once the water has been heated, it only runs a few minutes an hour to keep it hot.
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Old 09-13-2022, 08:14 PM   #18
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if looking at used generator
take the trailer with you to determine if the generator is good

plug it into the trailer to test the a/c will run on that generator
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Old 09-17-2022, 10:42 PM   #19
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What are you wanting to power, and for how long?

If you aren’t looking to use the AC but want to dry camp for 3 days or so and power your fridge, water pump, and some lights, I would go for lithium batteries instead of 6V golf cart. For about $700 I got two 100ah lithiums, and I can easily get 160amps of usage from them. (20% SOC) And at a way lighter weight than 4 6V batteries are.

If you are looking to use your AC also, or wanting to camp longer than 3 or so days, then just buy a generator and don’t even bother upgrading batteries. You would need the generator to power your AC, plus it would charge your batteries at the same time.
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Old 09-17-2022, 11:46 PM   #20
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I would get 2x 200 Ah 12v lithium batteries for a total of 400 Ah....
and then a 3,000 watt inverter to run the A/C....

just sayin'. Add about 800 watt solar to really be able to boondock.
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