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Author Topic: battery choice for house?  (Read 3191 times)
John Z
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« on: January 29, 2007, 08:09:23 PM »

I stopped at walmart tonight to price a couple batteries i wanted to add to my house system, which right now is a single interstate deep cycle. After not seeing anything labeled "deep cycle" i asked, and was told that the Marine battery is the same thing, or is a dual purpose battery, and those were the ones to buy.

Has anyone else found this, and is this true? I thought there were differences between deep cycle and marine batterires.
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2007, 08:25:20 PM »

Hi;
   I just changed to two big Wal-Mart marine batteries approx 10days ago.  Just got back from
   three day outing in Quartzite Az.  They just take some getting used to as far as when to
   charge them.  Aside from that, they worked just fine for me.   Used to have L=16 sized
   batteries until they died.  Since I don't use the coach as much as I used to,  I went with
   the cheaper batteries.  Only have one outing on them,  so far, so good.
                                    Good luck. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 10:33:43 PM »

Personally have 2-8D Lifeline AGM batteries that are 255 amp hour each.  They weigh 155lb, so are a beast to handle.  Advantages- sealed, no water to add, can mount in any position, very slow discharge when not in use, able to take a charge much faster than wet cells since the AGM's have less internal resistance, life cycle- at least 5 years.  Disadvantage- expensive (about twice a normal battery)  Good Luck, TomC
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JackConrad
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 05:16:05 AM »

   I attended a battery seminar a couple weeks ago.  If I understood correctly, the best bang for your buck is 6 volt golf cart batteries. They have thicker plates and will take more deep discharges and recharges than a marine deep cyle. The down side is that they require more maintenence. You have to keep them clean and topped off with water. They also porduce corrosive and explosive gases when charging. They must be in a vented compartment.
    The gell cells are maintenence free but require a more regulated charging. The gell is actually more like a wax and if overcharged or charge to repidly, it "melts" and runs toward the bottom of the battery leaving part of the plates exposed to the air and no longer producing current. 
    The AGM (absorbed glass mat) uses a sponge like material that is saturated with electrolyte. This is why they can be installed in any position. Charging to rapidly or overcharging can cause some of the electrolyte to gas and escape thurough the vent that is built into the battery case. Hope this helps, Jack
PS: if any battery experts see any mistakes in my perception of the battery types, please correct me. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2007, 06:26:19 AM »

http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden//

http://www.phrannie.org/phredex.html

These are just 2 of the places you can read up on batteries & related items. There is lots more to batteries than just using them. If you treat 'em right, they can last a long, long time. Abuse them & you will be constantly replacing them.

In choosing house batteries, you need to determine your needs/ wants & choose a battery that best meets those needs/ wants. I'll be happy with Trojan T-105 (6V golf cart) with water miser caps (they condense the vapor escaping & drain it back into the cell, reducing required maintence).

Some others here prefer the more expensive AGM or Gel cell. & that is the battery that met their needs/ wants best.

It's your coach, what do you need/ want?
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2007, 06:37:56 AM »

Like Kyle said, a lot depends on how you treat your battieries.

I have 6 group 31's that I bought for my trucks back in 1999. They are still strong and happy after being in 2 different trucks and 2 different buses.

There were 8 of them, but one went to my fatherin law for a van and one went with a friend to make sure he made it home.

I clean my batteries at least twice a year with soap and water and make sure the terminals are clean everytime I hapeen to open the door. I also add ONLY DISTILLED water and charge with a multistage electronic charger.  I check the electolyte with a refractometer instead of a floating ball type battery tester because they are much more accurate.

When they start dieng, I'll probably replace them with t-145 6V deep cycle batteries, but for now, I can't forsee that happening anytime soon.

Good luck on what ever the choice is, but remember, you'll get out of them what you put into them.

Dallas
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John Z
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2007, 07:01:08 AM »

OK, thanks all for you input. After all the considerations being made, i am going with the group 31's, and will try to match the maintenance routine of Dallas.

How important is it that they are all the same age? Can i buy 2 of them now to use with my older single Interstate deep cycle, or should i not mix the two types?

Also, can i buy 2 of the 31's now, and then add 2 more this summer, or should i just buy all 4 of them now?

Thanks again.
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2007, 07:26:05 AM »

Do not add new batteries to old.
Buy them all at the same time & make sure they were made at the same time & are from the same lot.

For the reasons behind this, you will have to read the sites I suggested & develop an understanding of how they work. You won't learn it all with the first reading, but over time it will become clearer & all the maintence & care of the batteries becomes as easy as checking your oil.

For those who don't want to bother with learning about batteries, just do whatever you want to 'cause it doesn't matter to you.

Just don't be surprised at the poor performance & inconvience of frequently replacing your batteries.

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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2007, 07:46:35 AM »

Follow Kyle's advice Above

Same lot, Same Date, Don't Mix

Nick-
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2007, 04:39:40 PM »

 I use the Sams club 6 Volt golf cart batterys ($62 each)  I started with good intentions, but I ended up really abousing them. Took me 4 years to murder one. I will replace them with the same and probobly abuse them again!
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2007, 05:25:06 PM »

John Z,

If you are going to have 4, get them all at the same time.

I agree with Kyle, and the sites he listed are good reading.

Cliff
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John Z
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2007, 05:33:47 PM »

OK, 4 new batteries are on the shopping list.

OK, now for what might be a real rookie question. How are they all hooked together? Is battery 4 cabled to battery 3: then 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 and then 1 to the bus? All of the positives are cabled together and same for the negative ones, this would be for 12 volt batteries.

Will 6 gauge cables work for this bank?
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2007, 05:55:34 PM »

What voltage do you want out of the battery bank? Do you have an inverter? What does the manual show?

Here is another GREAT source for learning about this stuff-

http://www.purplebear.com/busnuts/bus_elec.html

This one even has some schematics showing an overview of the whole electrical system.

Every time I re-read these links, I improve my understanding a little more.

As you have noticed, there may be simple questions, but no simple answers.

Have fun with your new batteries! Be carefull & be safe.
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2007, 07:53:20 PM »

Here is a link to the Help topic board. Look under Batteries for a couple of helpful links.


Click Here for Favorite Links

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John Z
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2007, 08:59:02 PM »

Kyle, that is a great link! I went through it rather quickly, and some of it soaked in. I really appreciate having the diagrams; they help so much instead of just being told i need to install this or that, but not having any instructions on how to do so.

I also appreicate the brand name recommendations he makes too. I know i should have an isolator or solenoid switch to allow me to charge my house batteries off the engine while OTR, but have no idea what to buy, or how to hook it up.I read about some of these things, then go to ebay to find one, and there are many different brands-ratings-sizes etc. So it is nice he mentions brands.

I know i will be back to that site several more times as i get to different areas and tasks on my coach.
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2007, 09:40:40 PM »

John Z, if you really want to get some satisfaction out of your house batteries, be sure to buy and install a DC power meter.

They aren't cheap, but they take the guesswork out of your setup; you can tell when you've discharged the batteries to a given level or if one of them is going bad. There's no substitute!

Good luck with your house system.

Tom Caffrey
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2007, 08:03:46 PM »

This has nothing to do with batteries --- I couldn't help but notice John Z's bus serial number (PD-4104 1439).  Mine is PD-4104 1438, so our buses probably came out of the plant on the same day.  Small world. 

As for batteries, I'm using eight 6-volt AGMs by C&D Technologies.  Their web site is interesting -- www.cdtechno.com -- these batteries are normally used for standby power systems.  So far, so good.

Kirby
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John Z
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2007, 08:43:27 PM »

For the time being while i look around for a DC power meter or a good deal on an inverter, i took the low buck approach and wired in a digital voltage meter to read either the bus start batteries, or my coach/house batteries.

To how low of a voltage can the batteries be taken before they should be recharged? It seems i read that you should not take them any lower than 12.00 volts, but i am not sure. What do you guys recommend?

Kirby, i think i have seen your web site, on your repower etc. It was impressive!
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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2007, 04:43:44 AM »

There is a nice chart in the Phred's Poop Sheets link . . .

BATTERIES--AND OTHER ELECTRIC STUFF
phred Tinseth 1999-2002 Reproduction permitted
Web site:  http://www.phrannie.org




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