Battery size? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-30-2010, 09:11 AM   #1
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Shopping for a battery for my new Burro. Walmart has several sizes from about 600 cold cranking amps to about 850. Naturally the higher rated battery is a bit larger. The price was fairly close across the scale. Should I get the biggest battery that I can find?

I do anticipate that there will be times when I will be relying solely on 12v power.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:27 AM   #2
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Cold cranking amps are for starting cars, not for trailers. What you want is a deep cycle battery, preferably one designed for RV's or boats. For my Casita, I bought an Interstate AGM (kind of like a gel cell) type 27 with about 90 Amp hours. The benefit of AGM batteries is that you never need to check the battery since it's sealed. But the cost was about $250 so I guess it depends on your budget.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:44 AM   #3
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Shopping for a battery for my new Burro. Walmart has several sizes from about 600 cold cranking amps to about 850. Naturally the higher rated battery is a bit larger. The price was fairly close across the scale. Should I get the biggest battery that I can find?

I do anticipate that there will be times when I will be relying solely on 12v power.
I went with their EasyStart Marine Trolling Deep Cycle RV model 27 DC-6. Seems like it was around $100 and it's labeled 115 amp Hours. The next one up was a good price jump for not many more AH.

It's definitely not as rugged as Terry's AGM, but there's a lower start up cost and an accessible outlet for warranty returns most anywhere you might travel.
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:03 PM   #4
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As mentioned by Terri G, don't buy a "starter" battery rated in only CCA/Cold Cranking Amps. Look for deep cycle/marine batteries that have an AH/Amp Hours rating. (Some batteries are "hybrid" batteries designed for both deep cycle use and for starting a boat motor, so some batteries will have both ratings.)

Amp-hour ratings for the most affordable classes of batteries tend to be 55, 80, and 120 Amp-hours. Larger batteries are available, but not only are they much more expensive, they're very, very heavy. If you need the extra capacity it's cheaper and easier on the back to get a pair of 80 or 120 AH batteries than it is to pay for and heft one of the larger units.

Two main types of batteries: "Wet" batteries that have caps on top of the power cells so you can open them up to add distilled water. Wet cells are cheaper, but the reason they have those caps is because you need to open them up periodically and check, then fill the battery. Its best done once a week or more while you're out camping and at the beginning and end of each trip.

There are also sealed, maintenance-free batteries. There are two types, AGM/Absorbed Glass Mat batteries and "Gel Cell" units. The gell cell style of maintaiance-free batteries have very specific charging protocols that most charging systems don't follow, so they do not last as long as either wet or AGM units.

AGM batteries are more expensive, but last longer than wet-cell units, waste less energy off as heat as they are charged, and hold their charge longer. If you plan on installing solar panels, AGM batteries are a good first choice, if you can afford them.

Most modern battery chargers and trailer converters have a peak charging voltage of 14.5 volts or so, which is safe for AGM batteries. If, however, you have a trailer with a charger or converter built prior to 1990 or so, you might want to check its charging voltage before buying an AGM battery. Many older charger/converter units charge at 17 volts, sometimes more. These higher voltages are damaging to any deep-cycle battery, but are particularly hard on AGM units.

Deep-cycle, wet-cell batteries have a typical lifetime of two to three years if they are maintained properly. Walmart sells them with a two-year warranty for under $100, and if the battery fails within the two-year period they exchange it for a brand-new unit free of charge, even if they fail because you forgot to maintain them properly or have a 17-volt charger.

Maintenance-free AGM batteries last 2-3 times as long, sometimes more, but cost 2-3 timeas wht a wet-cell unit costs. (My AGM unit has lasted five years, but cost 3 times as much as a wet-cell battery.)

One last piece of information: a good investment for your battery is to not use yur converter to keep your battery charged while your trailer is being stored. It's much better to get a battery maintainer, and even better to get a BatteryMinder maintainer (about US$60), which will extend your battery life by forcing the battery's chemistry to remain activated in the charged state.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
One last piece of information: a good investment for your battery is to not use yur converter to keep your battery charged while your trailer is being stored. It's much better to get a battery maintainer, and even better to get a BatteryMinder maintainer (about US$60), which will extend your battery life by forcing the battery's chemistry to remain activated in the charged state.
I got a PM reminding me that some converters, Like Progressive Dynamic's "Charge Wizard" models, do have the more advanced electronics that maintain the correct float charge on the battery. This isn't the case with most trailers, but if you have an upgraded converter on your trailer you probably don't need to worry about switching your converter off and using a float charger for winter storage.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:42 AM   #6
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Hi Peter,

Could you recommend a specific battery maintainer? I went shopping for one and was surprised at the variety! Don't know how many amps I need, nor how "smart" it needed to be (how many stages). Want to buy exactly what I need yet not over-spend.

Thanks!
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