Your battery recommendations? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-08-2015, 12:07 AM   #1
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Name: John
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Your battery recommendations?

This is a simple question, perhaps unworthy of you electrickal wizards, but here goes -- I need to buy a new 12v battery for my old Scamp. Does anyone have a favorite battery choice or source? Why? Is the cheapest choice best, or should I be looking for something extra?
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:40 AM   #2
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As with many things it all depends.
Because I camp close to 100 day at a time and off the grid a good true deep cycle battery is a good thing. I got by for several years with standard hybrids listed as marine deep cycle batteries. The difference is to me was most hybrids are 74 to 80 amp hour batteries, while my Trojan Deep Cycle battery is 100 Amp hour. Many people like to get AGM (Glass Mat) batteries, my take on those they're great for airplanes, but over kill for things that stay upright.

"Is the cheapest choice best"? If most of your camping is one of the following, I would say yes.
Most of your camping is where electricity is provided.
Your longest stay off the grid is a few days.
You camp about 2 to 10 nights per year.
All your camping is done in warm weather so the furnace seldom runs.

I'm sure there's other things.
That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:25 AM   #3
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Can only speak on 2.

I had 2 12 volt in parallel on my last trailer, an Interstate Deep Cycle group 24, and a similar Walmart. Bought them a year apart, the WM being the newer. Both were still working 8/7 years later although the gravity in the WM showed it didn't was starting to have issues. The only difference between the expensive one and the cheap one I noticed was the cheap one needed more maintenance. The water level dropped at least twice as much as the Interstate. The caps were mot nearly as tight on the WM.

If $ is a big concern and you don't mind taking care of it, the WM deep cycle was decent. If you'd rather spend more $ and get a better battery that takes less care and probably will last longer, go for an Interstate.

I probably hear the most praise for Trojans but find them hard to come by and over my budget. I have Interstates (2 @ 6V) on the Escape.
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:26 AM   #4
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I'm not a battery or electric specialist like some here so can only go by experience. I have four trailers in my drive way with different battery set ups . The one with the best working battery and least maintenance is the agm battery I bought used for 80 bucks . It easily charges with the 40watt solar panel and always remains fully charged.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:49 AM   #5
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AGM owner

I just bought a size 31 AGM its the largest I could fit into the battery box without doing some modifications. I have had it for a year but this is the first couple of trips that I have been on with it dry camping. I have monitored it with a volt meter the last couple of dry camps. After three days of liberally using all my accessories including my max fan I saw a drop from 12.8 v to 12.4 with a 5 watt solar panel. I understand that a critical discharge will go down to 11.9 v. After two days with no solar panel and using my maxx fan at night during the extreme temperatures we recently had in BC it was still reading 12.7.

I understand that these battery's will charge 4-5 times faster than a regular deep cycle. Which means I should have a full charge after driving for 4-5 hours which is realistic for me if I chose not to plug in I will have a fully charged battery when I get to my next stop.

They will also accept a charge faster while using a solar panel. I just bought a 25 watt upgrade but will see how that works through the next couple of years. I see that homes with solar systems use AGM battery's, the new Telsa solar electric vehicles as well.

They require no maintenance, they will withstand a lot of shaking so when I hit some those gravel roads it will not destroy my battery from all the shaking around.

Some marine applications have reported that they have had up to ten years service from one.

I also see that a lot of high end cars, and motor homes have started to use them.

At this point time will tell. I really don't want to be stuck with a dead battery as all the new fridges require a charge to keep the led panel on your fridge working. It goes out and so does your fridge.

That said they are not cheap, I paid close to $400 for mine through Canadian tire.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McMillin View Post
This is a simple question, perhaps unworthy of you electrickal wizards, but here goes -- I need to buy a new 12v battery for my old Scamp. Does anyone have a favorite battery choice or source? Why? Is the cheapest choice best, or should I be looking for something extra?
I like WalMart's best deep cycle battery.
I have had good service from them, but the main logic is that the battery goes on my travel trailer. When I travel there is nearly always a WalMart nearby in case I need service or battery warranty replacement away from home.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:50 PM   #7
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WALMART....simple warranty...a the batteries they sell are made by Interstate.
They do sell true deep cycle batteries....look for the units with removable cell caps so you can add water as needed. They also sell "maintenance free "deep cell marine batteries" do not buy any maintenance free units as they are not true deep cell units.
AGM batteries are hard to find and come at a premium price....mixed reviews on these....stick with Walmart...best price...full replacement warranty (save your reciept).

Note: measure the size of the compartment your battery goes into...it is a good idea to up-size your battery for longer life.(most travel trailers come with a group 24 size from factory). I moved from a group 24 size to a group 27 size....if I had the space I would have gone with a group 29 size as the additional cost to move up in capacity is less than $10 per-step.

Happy Camping
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:36 PM   #8
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Here's the Walmart battery I'm looking at currently (see link at the end of this post). It's the EverStart "MAXX" that has the 2 yr full-replacement warranty. As Floyd states, not many places you will go that does not have a Walmart. This battery is built by Johnson Controls located in Wisconsin.

The 690 is MCA (Marine Cranking Amps) and not CCA (Cold Cranking Amps).

I've studied up on these batteries some and the "capacities" ratings are all over the place. I have a Northern that's currently in my Scamp that states it has 140 RC (Reserve Capacity). SO, reading Mark Polk's information, you take that and multiply it by .6 (60%) and you get the actual capacity of the battery- so that would be 84A. Here's the article if you're interested that explains how they come up with the RC rating of a battery:
What You Need To Know About Your RV Batteries - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

Well, FWIW, I took a snap-shot of the top of the Walmart battery when I was out there and it says it's a 92 AH @ 1A. Meaning that you should be able to pull 1A out of the battery for 92 hours. Well gee...who else has this rating on it?

Anyway, enough confusion. Here's the battery I plan on going with because of the 2 yr warranty and the $99 price tag.

EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Marine Battery, Group Size 24DC - Walmart.com
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Old 07-08-2015, 02:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
AGM batteries are hard to find and come at a premium price...
Only battery you can buy on line and UPS will deliver. My first one lasted 8 years and died a sudden death when the 12 volt element on the 3 way fridge was left on. I blame the dog. Sealed with virtually no off gassing. It sits in the basement all winter with no self discharge. You're quite right though they are pricey. $250 for a group 24 Lifeline. Raz
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Old 07-08-2015, 03:33 PM   #10
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Duracell agm deep cycle group size 34m $119.00 , group size 31 $179.00 available at SAMs club
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Old 07-08-2015, 06:21 PM   #11
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Trojan Endorsement

Hello,

I agree with Byron regarding the Trojan Battery....
I have had the Trojan SC225 for 6 years and it has
served well. I keep it on a battery maintainer when
not in use. My simple solar system of one 150W portable
panel and MPPT controller provide plenty of juice if the
sun shines. I have found that flooded batteries give
great service if treated and maintained properly.
I cannot recommend any WalMart batteries and do
not care for AGM batteries.

Good Luck,
Larry H
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:59 PM   #12
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Costco Group 27 Deep Cell has been going strong for 5 years now with lots of time spent camping off the grid. Use a simple solar system that works well at keeping it full.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Here's the Walmart battery I'm looking at currently (see link at the end of this post). It's the EverStart "MAXX" that has the 2 yr full-replacement warranty. As Floyd states, not many places you will go that does not have a Walmart. This battery is built by Johnson Controls located in Wisconsin.

The 690 is MCA (Marine Cranking Amps) and not CCA (Cold Cranking Amps).

I've studied up on these batteries some and the "capacities" ratings are all over the place. I have a Northern that's currently in my Scamp that states it has 140 RC (Reserve Capacity). SO, reading Mark Polk's information, you take that and multiply it by .6 (60%) and you get the actual capacity of the battery- so that would be 84A. Here's the article if you're interested that explains how they come up with the RC rating of a battery:
What You Need To Know About Your RV Batteries - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

Well, FWIW, I took a snap-shot of the top of the Walmart battery when I was out there and it says it's a 92 AH @ 1A. Meaning that you should be able to pull 1A out of the battery for 92 hours. Well gee...who else has this rating on it?

Anyway, enough confusion. Here's the battery I plan on going with because of the 2 yr warranty and the $99 price tag.

EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Marine Battery, Group Size 24DC - Walmart.com
92 AH @ ! amp. WOW... Most batteries are rated at XX AH @ 20 Amp.

Useable is 1/2 or 50% of rated capacity. That would mean your 92 AH @ 1 Amp is good for 46 hours.

Marine batteries are hybrids. Somewhere between a cranking/starting battery and a deep cycle battery.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:24 PM   #14
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The problem with the 92 AH @ ! amp rating is there's no correlation to the standard 20 amp method. Is it better or worse than the 74 amp hour @20amp rating of most batteries?

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Old 07-08-2015, 11:06 PM   #15
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That all sounds like wise advice. Too bad there's not more agreement! I do think I better keep it in the hundred-buck range, since I'm not a frequent camper and I just had to spend $600 on tires and bearings. I'll go out tomorrow and try to find a reasonably priced true, non-Marine deep cell. FYI, I'm sworn never to buy from Wallyworld...
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McMillin View Post
That all sounds like wise advice. Too bad there's not more agreement! I do think I better keep it in the hundred-buck range, since I'm not a frequent camper and I just had to spend $600 on tires and bearings. I'll go out tomorrow and try to find a reasonably priced true, non-Marine deep cell. FYI, I'm sworn never to buy from Wallyworld...
John. I'm a long term camper, 90+ days at time plus several 14 to 20 day trips a year. Also I'm never on the grid, meaning I never plug in to electricity while camping. Short trips and/or plugged in most of the time I would simply get the cheapest Marine battery I could find.
During my working years when I didn't have the time to camp like I do now I used a marine battery it worked just fine for about a total of 7 years. Two years of heavy camping I needed a new battery and went with a true deep cycle battery.
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:01 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Costco Group 27 Deep Cell has been going strong for 5 years now with lots of time spent camping off the grid. Use a simple solar system that works well at keeping it full.
I see no batteries listed at Costco's website. Do they still have them in stores?
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:22 AM   #18
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Ok Byron...you've got my interest up since you're an "Electrical" guy. When you say "50%". What voltage would that be down to? In the model airplane world, nicads I always tested. If I was testing a 4-pack (4.8v), I would pull them to apx 4.4v or 1.1v per cell for an as-per-factory test rating.

Back to deep cells. I have a chart that says that a 12v battery is FULLY discharged at 10.5V. I felt like my battery was/is going. I have a 12v 8-bulb arrangement I use to use to fully discharge my 7.4v Racing batteries. These bulbs as I tested pulls 2A ea. So the entire bar would pull 16A. I had my Scamp battery on a Battery Minder Maintenance charger for 2 weeks. I pull the charger, hook my Volt meter to the battery then the wires from the bulbs and start the discharge and monitor it. I was amazed when the battery went 4-5 min shy of 3 HOURS before hitting the 10.5v mark. Of course, I immediately remove the bulbs and begin the recharge with the Battery Minder. I'm not worried about hurting this old battery.

The charger/discharger I used on the nicads is digital and I can actually pull a load on the batteries and it will record the ah. Once it reaches the designated low voltage, it will shut off. I can pull a max 3A. I'd like to test it with it. Because as I stated, it seems the "AH"'s ratings on batteries are all OVER the place and I would actually like to test my batteries and SEE what they will do. (Would be good to test new and watch its progress over the years out of curiosity). From experience on nicads, you'll get more AH from a lower amp draw. (Keeps down heat)

Anyway, theoretically, IF my battery drained at 16a per hour and at 3 hours, that would be 48A capacity. The "RC" labeled on my Northern Scamp battery is 140. Here's an except from Mark Polk defining RC or Reserve Capacity:
***
Reserve Capacity rating (RC) is the number of minutes at 80 degrees F that the battery can deliver 25 amps until it drops below 10.5 volts. To figure the amp hour rating you can multiply the RC rating by 60 percent. RC X 60 percent
***
That calculates to 84A on my existing Scamp battery. I show it has apx 48A. So, again, it looks like I'm running nearly HALF capacity now?? Yep... 5 1/2 yrs on my Scamp.

Good stuff...hope this wasnt too boring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
92 AH @ ! amp. WOW... Most batteries are rated at XX AH @ 20 Amp.

Useable is 1/2 or 50% of rated capacity. That would mean your 92 AH @ 1 Amp is good for 46 hours.

Marine batteries are hybrids. Somewhere between a cranking/starting battery and a deep cycle battery.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:40 AM   #19
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The best bang for the buck available here in Denver seems to be a DEKA Deep Cycle Marine battery, 750 CCA, for $105 (or $130 at another RV store). Sears' comparable $100 battery has 33% less capacity, and their AGMs cost twice as much. No big sales out there- I'm noticing how few stores sell batteries anymore.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:03 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by John McMillin View Post
The best bang for the buck available here in Denver seems to be a DEKA Deep Cycle Marine battery, 750 CCA, for $105 (or $130 at another RV store). Sears' comparable $100 battery has 33% less capacity, and their AGMs cost twice as much. No big sales out there- I'm noticing how few stores sell batteries anymore.
The safety requirements around products that contain acid are making it difficult for retailers. Rubber aprons, rubber gloves, eye wash stations etc. as well as employee training are required in many areas. I know someone who worked for a big box store that had all the safety equipment but the funny thing here is that no employee ever used any of it. Try holding a group 27 battery with heavy black rubber gloves. Most likely you'll drop it. It amazes me that we see acid batteries on the shelf in a big box store where customers have self service access.
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