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Old 12-21-2021, 09:25 PM   #1
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Name: Joe
Trailer: Boler
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I need a battery (I think)

I think I need a new battery for my Boler.

We have power in our Boler when on shore power, but --even after charging for a while--we get NO POWER when we switch to DC. This happened suddenly last weekend. Though the 6TAGM battery (pictured) is about 9 years old, it had always charged up to about 12 or 13 V and given us a couple of days of power--including last month's trip. Until last weekend...

Does my diagnosis of a dead battery sound correct? Or could it be a blown DC fuse?

Regardless, can anyone recommend a reasonable, available battery replacement 12V battery for our Boler? The military grade battery that came with our camper is not available nearby. I'd like to get one at our local O'Reilly's or West Marine. Our Boler has a fairly typical set-up with two AC fuses in the electrical panel and a bunch of DC fuses. If it is a bad idea to use a different type of battery, any suggestions for how to find one of these military grade units?

It is a 13' camper with limited power needs: lights, water pump, and seldom-used fridge. Someday I'd like to add solar and I think the trailer is "solar ready", but I don't have panels yet.
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Old 12-21-2021, 09:56 PM   #2
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one more thing...

Battery is stored inside the camper, so, based on some research sounds like I need an AGM battery. Would really appreciate recommendations on type... There is one at the local auto part store -- deep cycle, Group 31, AGM, 650A. Sound good?

...Could my problem just be that the negative terminal clamp was loose? I noticed that when uninstalling the battery and in doing some research it seems that could cause the battery to simply not charge?
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Old 12-21-2021, 11:52 PM   #3
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A loose clamp could definitely cause problems. If the battery has fully drained, it may be toast or at least has reduced life. I would recommend taking it to one of the forementioned auto parts stores and ask them to test it. They will put a charge on it overnight then test it with a full charge, assuming it takes the charge.

They will help you find a battery of similar size (dimensions) and capacity. If your battery box is vented, then a regular deep cycle battery should be ok. Don't get a marine battery. From experience, the battery in our 2009 Casita was a group 24 or 27 and there was a pretty small vent. The battery box was sealed from the living area.y
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Old 12-21-2021, 11:58 PM   #4
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Wish I got 9 years out of a battery.
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Old 12-22-2021, 12:09 AM   #5
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Yes, I agree 9 years seems like a good deal! Now I just need to find something to replace it as I don't have access to that item where I am.

Thank you, Dave for your reply.

The battery compartment basically a closed bench near the outside rear of the camper. It is not vented. I suppose some air can pass through where the tail light is attached? But seems like I should go with AMG...

There is plenty of room for any size battery.

The replacement auto part store battery I mentioned above is labelled as "Marine Starting/RV Deep Cycle" so it sounds like that is the wrong one--I need a "house" deep cycle battery, right?

Anyone have some good ones that are likely to be on the shelf at an auto store? The auto store people at the store I went to didn't have familiarity with my application and only had "starter" batteries.
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Old 12-22-2021, 12:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstew View Post
The replacement auto part store battery I mentioned above is labelled as "Marine Starting/RV Deep Cycle" so it sounds like that is the wrong one--I need a "house" deep cycle battery, right? .
Yes. You want a deep cycle battery, not a marine starting/deep cycle.

My choice is Trojan 27 TMX for my trailer. You can find a lot of information on the Trojan site.
Mine is flooded, but Trojan sells a full line.
https://www.trojanbattery.com/produc...p-cycle-gel-2/
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Old 12-22-2021, 09:33 AM   #7
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Converter Issue?

You also might want to check your converter to make sure that it is charging your battery.

My converter died and I didn't realize it until after a three night campout when my internal lights didn't work on the morning of the last day. By the time I got home, the battery was partially charged thanks to the connection from my tow vehicle during the 4+ hour drive home.

Short of using a VOM meter to check the converter's output, simply disconnect the battery and plug into "shore power". If the lights don't work, then the converter isn't working.
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Old 12-22-2021, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Yes. You want a deep cycle battery, not a marine starting/deep cycle.

My choice is Trojan 27 TMX for my trailer. You can find a lot of information on the Trojan site.
Mine is flooded, but Trojan sells a full line.
https://www.trojanbattery.com/produc...p-cycle-gel-2/
O'Reilly's said Marine/Deep Cycle is what they are all going to now. We had to have one last spring. I hated to hear that but seems to be true as of lately.
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Old 12-22-2021, 03:45 PM   #9
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I suggest going to Trojan site and look up stores that carry Trojan where you are. Could do the same with any battery company, I expect. Find the battery and then who carries it.
O'Reilly's is full of it. Just trying to sell you what they have.
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Old 12-22-2021, 05:08 PM   #10
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Between the failure being all of a sudden and the picture of the battery stating it is an AGM battery, I would be surprised if the battery is bad.

Put a DC meter on the battery and read the voltage. As long as you are looking at the battery terminals, make sure the connections are clean and tight.

The problem could be a blown fuse. Check all of the fuses at the converter, and look for a fuse in-line near the battery.

Let us know what you find.

--Dan Meyer
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Old 12-22-2021, 11:57 PM   #11
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Findings

The battery tested out "good".

I purchased a $2 shim for the negative battery pole so the terminal clamp would be tight. DC power is working now!

I think the clamp just loosened over time from jiggling and just got to the point where connection wasn't tight enough to power the camper (and probably to get charged up). So simple.

I haven't yet re-charged the battery, but I have no reason to think it won't charge now. Battery voltage after test was at 12.7.

In response to some recent posts:
-No fuses were blown.
-I didn't do the converter check while the battery was removed, but shore power was working when the battery was not (my original problem), so I guess that serves as a check and confirms the converter works.

In summary:

I hope this conversation can be useful for people looking for battery replacement (and/or diagnosing if one is necessary). Here is my conclusion:

Have battery problems?
-Check fuses
-Check converter
-Check battery connections
-Test battery

Need a battery? For an application such as mine, replies and research suggest best options are:
-AGM does not require ventilation
-"house battery" (not a "starter"), though perhaps new marine/RV deep cycle might be ok
-lithium is a good option to replace AGM despite up front cost (requires compatible power system)

Thank you.
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Old 12-23-2021, 12:54 AM   #12
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if your charged battery at rest was 12.7 volts, thats good, fully charged if its around 'room temperature'. if its very hot or very cold, then thats not quite correct.

double check that with the battery at rest, then plug in your trailer, and ensure the converter breakers are on. if it is working, you should see at least ~ 0.6 volt more on the battery than before you plugged in, so like 13.2 or higher means the converter is working. if it is a newer smart 3-stage converter, you might see 14.2-14.4 volts for a few hours, then it should drop down to a 13.x volt holding voltage.

note these voltages are all read with no DC loads turned on, for example, use a flashlight instead of your trailer lights.

if you're not seeing converter voltage at the battery, remove the cover from your converter, and your DC fuse panel should look /something/ like this...


(thats a Progressive 7xxx in a 2008 Casita)

on this one, far right, the upper block square terminal with the big black wires is positive, and the lower block square terminals with the white wires is negative. check for voltages there, with the 120V power unplugged, and with it plugged in....

if measuring at the battery didn't show the charging voltage, but measuring at the fuse panel battery terminals does, then look at your battery cables, make sure they are clean, and tight enough. you should not overtighten, do not deform the clamps.

if that doesn't look correct, measure from the negative terminal to that "CONV POS" terminal top center, which on mine has a blue wire. If *that* is correct, check the two 30A green fuses on the upper row.

if that is bad, make sure your converter is switched on, the battery is enabled, and the AC wiring is correct. the ac wiring is behind the circuit breakers, you have to remove the rest of the front panel of most converters to expose that, and before doing so, unplug the power.

the battery positive cable probably goes to a thermal breaker, and then to the batt connector in the fuse panel. it also goes the emergency break-away switch, and the trailer hitch, this will probably be spliced somewhere in back of the power center, on my casita they were under the rearmost streetside bench and accessible through interior covers.

here's the back of the 'wfco' brand power center of my escape. you can't see much, but all the black wires on the right screw are the DC grounds, including the battery/solar negative, and the DC converter's negative. all the red stuff on this trailer is DC positive. all the AC wiring goes in those ports on the far right, below/right of the DC ground post. to the left of the power center is a pair of these thermal breakers, each one has two studs on it, they are square, black and silver things. they shut things off if there's TOO much current via heat, so they will cool down and turn them on again automatically eventually. hopefully you've found/fixed the short.


you CAN test for 120VAC with a voltmeter, set the meter for the proper AC voltage range, and be careful not to short stuff with the probes, as it will make big sparks if you bridge the wrong circuit, and also be careful not to touch the metal part of the probes or the circuit, because 120V will shock you hard. plug it in while you do your tests, then unplug it when you are done, before poking around, and/or putting the cover back on.



note that the 120VAC wiring also uses black and white. black is 'live', while white is neutral. any connections on the breaker side are all 120VAC. the power cord from outside comes in, and has a black (live), white (neutral), and green (ground) wire, they go to the appropriate bus bar in the breaker box. the converter, and all the other loads, have their black wire tied to an individual circuit breaker, and all the white wires go to the neutral bus bar. household circuit breaker boxes are wired the same way.
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Old 12-23-2021, 12:54 AM   #13
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oops, just read your update, so it WAS the ground terminal. hah! its always the simple things.

oh well, I just wrote an opus on generic camper DC system troubleshooting, so I'm gonna leave it right there, feel free to ignore, hah hah
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Old 12-23-2021, 01:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
O'Reilly's said Marine/Deep Cycle is what they are all going to now. We had to have one last spring. I hated to hear that but seems to be true as of lately.
I go to Oreillys to buy wiper blades, carwash supplies, and sometimes motor oil.

most of the rest of what they sell is generic car stuff, they aren't going to have true deep cycle batteries, and I'd rather buy my good batteries elsewhere.

find a regional trojan or east penn dealer or a non-chain auto parts store that will order them for you. 'winchester auto parts' near me can usually get any of these in 1-2 working days.

trojan deep cycle,
https://www.trojanbattery.com/produc...p-cycle-gel-2/

and east penn's deep cycle batts,
https://www.eastpennmanufacturing.co...lyer-0909-.pdf
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Old 12-23-2021, 10:53 AM   #15
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John--

Thank you for the extra info. I can't use a gel-type battery as mine is stored inside the vehicle. Do you still recommend Trojan for their AGM battery? Seems like the line is called "Motive".

https://www.trojanbattery.com/motive-agm/12v/

Thanks.
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Old 12-23-2021, 12:37 PM   #16
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Gel is also non-vented. If I could, Id get the Renogy lithium which I think is still on end-of-season sale. Check their website. Price is delivered.
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Old 12-23-2021, 03:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jstew View Post
John--

Thank you for the extra info. I can't use a gel-type battery as mine is stored inside the vehicle. Do you still recommend Trojan for their AGM battery? Seems like the line is called "Motive".

https://www.trojanbattery.com/motive-agm/12v/

Thanks.
Gel is a variation on AGM, its a sealed battery, will not vent, and can be installed inside just fine. Gel batts have better deep cycle behavior than conventional AGM, but it can't output as high peak currents (such as engine starting)

with lithium, you need a lithium compatible power converter and solar controller (if you have solar), and you may need a DC-DC charge controller in the charging circuit from the tow vehicle. also since the system voltage of a lithium system when being charged is like 14.4-14.6 volts, some of your accessories may find that voltage is too high, I've heard Maxxfans have this problem, and need to be put behind a 12V regulator.
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Old 12-27-2021, 10:06 PM   #18
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As with the OP, I think that I too may need a new battery. My circumstances are as follows:

I recently purchased my 2015 trailer and was told by the prior owner that the lead acid battery (group 27) was only a couple of years old and had been stored outside of the trailer and kept topped off with a trickle charger. He also told me that he had switched all of the lights to LED. About a week ago, I forgot to turn off the light in the bathroom (which turned out to be an old incandescent bulb) and did not have the converter plugged into shore power. The net result was that the battery dropped down to 8.5V. after going un-noticed for two days.

I pulled the battery and topped it off with distilled water. Three of the cells were a little low but the plates were not showing. After that, I plugged in the converter and noted that the battery was accepting a charge at 13.4V. I left it to charge overnight and checked it in the morning. Initially, the battery showed 13.4V after the shore power was unplugged. After about four hours with no load, it dropped down to 12.8V and remained steady. The next night, I turned on all of the lights (after switching the bathroom light to LED) and ran them for about six hours. Unfortunately, the voltage dropped to 10.5V in that short period with hardly any load. I guess I could take it to a battery place and have them do their load test but I’m thinking my goose is cooked?
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Old 12-29-2021, 12:18 PM   #19
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Yes you need a new battery. 5 years is normal average life for a lead acid battery.

Your choices:

1. Get another AGM
2. Get a Lithium Iron Phosphate

AGM is going to work for you for another 5 or so years. It will be heavy if you get a good one. Why, more lead equals more amp hour capacity equals a heavy battery. Group 27 100 amp hour will be around 80 lbs. Remember you only get half of the rated amp hours for normal use.

Lithium will be lighter, about half the weight. a 100 amp hour will give you approximately 80 amp hours of usable capacity. They are most costly than AGM. 2 to 3 times. It will last much longer, maybe 10 years.
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Old 01-01-2022, 06:51 PM   #20
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Does anyone have any experience with a Silicon Dioxide Battery? I understand they are better in climates where a cold weather charge may be necessary. Lithium do not like the cold when charging. I need a battery and am considering my options.
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