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Author Topic: Battery Question Is It Worth It?  (Read 988 times)

hoss10

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Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« on: May 17, 2018, 12:49:58 PM »
We have a Jayfeather 2011  242.  We tend to Boondock when we travel and some remote Parks do not Electrical hook up, so we are looking for some added capacity (plus our present 12 volt is 3 years old).  I have researching converting to 2  230 amp 6 volt golf cart batteries and have found a source (in Canada) for them at 145.00 a piece (US batteries)  I was about to order when I thought I better have a second measurement.  Height is going to be an issue these monsters are 11.25 inches to the top of the post.  The Jayfeather has a very round front profile and I have the room away from back edge, but I won't know if they can be mounted until I try to wiggle them in.  If they don't fit I have the batteries and will have to make some modifications.

I also will have to buy two batteries cases, and perhaps cut off the angle iron supports and move them forward and reweld (I have a welder).  All this is starting to sound like a lot of work, for how much gain.  After reading Gary's battery article (thanks Gary) I think have a handle on capacity, but are the golf cart batteries life span going to justify the work?

Second question were in the heck do I find battery cases this tall!

xrated

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 01:24:03 PM »
There are companies that make double cases for batteries....instead of having two separate ones, that might be an option.  I'm not sure what batteries you are looking at, but I switched over from one 12v to a pair of Trojan T105s, both in the same box.  I can't remember height, but it seems like when I was searching, there were quite a variety of double box sides out there. 
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AStravelers

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 02:41:08 PM »
Is it worth it go upgrade to a pair of 6V Golf Cart batteries?  Since you dry camp a lot, yes it is worth it.  Now if you are needing to start cutting and welding, I would consider going with a pair of Group 27 or 31, 12V batteries.  Here is a link to battery sizes with deminsions: https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/tools/bci-battery-group-sizes.html

I strongly suggest you invest in a battery monitor, like the TriMetric:  http://www.bogartengineering.com/products/trimetrics.html

For anyone doing a lot of dry camping or boondocking you really want a monitor which shows you just how many amp hours (AH) you have used and how many AH's you have put back in when charging.  You really want to get a lead acid battery charged back up to 100% at least every week, or the ability to provide the rated # of AH's will decrease fairly quickly. 
Al & Sharon
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2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

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hoss10

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2018, 05:48:56 PM »
The sales people I spoke to said that only two companies make true Deep Cycle batteries Trojan, and US Batteries and the most common and cost efficient is a 6 Volt Golf cart battery.  Is the correct information, if not what would be a good 12 volt to go with?

They might fit, it depends on the location of the posts and the case I can find, if not it's cutting and welding time if I do get them.


AStravelers

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2018, 06:48:58 PM »
For 12V true deep cycle batteries, there are a limited number of good mfg that have them.  Most of the 12V batteries are so called Marine batteries, which are a combo starting and deep cycle battery.  But you really pay $$$ for the Trojan and other true deep cycle 12V batteries.

Just about any 6V golf cart battery you find is a true deep cycle battery.  Will they last as long as a Trojan, maybe not.  However if the generic golf cart battery lasts 4 years and the Trojan lasts 6 years for 2-3 times the cost, which do you want to go with.

Keep in mind, you can pretty much kill an expensive Trojan battery by not taking care of, just as easily as you can a cheap golf cart battery.  Just discharge either battery several times to 80% or more discharged (20% capacity left) and you really reduce the life and usable capacity.  Let it go completely dead is another no, no.

The accidental discharge of a battery to below 50% is very hard to judge w/o a battery monitor such as Trimetric, which I mentioned earlier.

The charging and especially getting the battery to 100% charge at least every week is very important to battery life.  Trojan has published figures for their deep cycle batteries.  Discharge a Trojan only 25% and you get 3000 discharge/charge cycles, discharge to 50% and you get about 1500 cycles, go to 80% and it drops to about 750 cycles. 

There are so many variables involved in RV battery usage.  Such as what are your power requirements, what are your plans to recharge the battery.  It makes it difficult to recommend a specific battery, such as can you just go with a pair of 12V marine battery or do you really need a pair of golf cart batteries?   

Here are links to additional info about batteries, charging and solar.
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm

This is an excellent source about batteries and their care:  http://www.jackdanmayer.com/Batteries_and_charging.html

This one is a bit of a rant and talks more about solar, but there is some info about charging batteries in here:  http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 06:57:36 PM by AStravelers »
Al & Sharon
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2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2018, 07:28:51 PM »
Quote
The sales people I spoke to said that only two companies make true Deep Cycle batteries Trojan, and US Batteries and the most common and cost efficient is a 6 Volt Golf cart battery.  Is the correct information,
Not really true. The 6v GC2 battery is an excellent deep cycle, but that size & type is produced by several companies, including the four biggies: East Penn Mfg, Johnson Controls, Excide and  US Batteries. Among the specialty battery manufacturers, Trojan is best known but Concorde/Lifeline, and Rolls-Surette are players too.
Most of the GC2 batteries you will find on the US market have private brand names, but they all come from one of the Big Four factories anyway. The rest are one of the above-named specialty mfgrs. They are all good quality, so you merely need to compare specs (amp-hours) and price. $145 each is a typical list price, but you should be able to get them for around $100 each if you shop around.

12v true deep cycles are a specialty item and thus rather pricey. More like $250-$300 for a Group 29 or 31 size. Group 27 may be a bit less. A 29 or 31 will deliver about 130 AH, while a 27 is in the range of 105-115 AH.  Any of those sizes is about 1.5" shorter than a GC2, but longer. See a BCI case size charts to compare specifics.
https://www.jegs.com/Sizecharts/bcigroup.html
Gary
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Frank B

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2018, 07:55:55 PM »

Quote
All this is starting to sound like a lot of work, for how much gain.  After reading Gary's battery article (thanks Gary) I think have a handle on capacity, but are the golf cart batteries life span going to justify the work?


I too am a Canadian, but I got Interstate GC-2's from Costco in the States in February (St George, UT) and paid $89 US each on sale (we returned the old ones as core).  Worked out to about $120 CAD each total.  These batteries typically last me 5 to 7 years.  We boondock as much as we can, and we have had good success with Golf Cart batteries over the years.  This is only my third set since we began using that kind of battery somewhere around 2004. So, the first two sets lasted about 14 years.


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kdbgoat

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2018, 05:53:11 AM »
Crown is another name to add to Gary's list.
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ant21b

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2018, 07:24:03 AM »
Best way to go is a lithium ion battery can be recharged in 2 hours and can be discharged to zero without damage. Battle born company in Nevada makes a good one its expensive but in the long run cheaper than golf cart batteries.

John From Detroit

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2018, 07:30:26 AM »
The sales people I spoke to said that only two companies make true Deep Cycle batteries Trojan, and US Batteries and the most common and cost efficient is a 6 Volt Golf cart battery.  Is the correct information, if not what would be a good 12 volt to go with?

Both Johnson Controls and East Penn Battery COmpany also make true Deep cycle as does LIFELINE (BUt theirs are AGM) so your sales people lied to you.

My OEM batteries were Johnson Controls (Interstate .. East of the Rockies) and my new ones are DEKA  (East Penn, only ones 100% US content)  And both are TRUE DEEP CYCLE.  I'm really liking my DEKA's but they are only 4 years old. Will be better able to talk about 'em in 4 more years.

Oh. One thing about flooded wet cell.
My original INterstate (johnson) Had to be wattered annually when new
My DEKA's 3 years 10 months.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2018, 08:58:06 AM »
Quote
Crown is another name to add to Gary's list.
Thanks for mentioning them. They are a small company so I often forget them, but their batteries are as good as any.
The key point here is that lead-acid battery is a very mature technology that is well know to all battery manufacturers. The difference between the very best and the least is tiny and involves things like case design and the methods of anchoring plates and posts.
For RV use, the key factor is battery selection is deep cycle design vs a starting battery design. The confusion comes in with the marketing of a battery called a Marine/RV deep cycle but is in fact a slightly modified starting battery. The typical 12v sold in RV stores or included with a new trailer will be that Marine/RV type and they have a much shorter service life than a deep cycle type (when used as an RV house battery). The 6v GC2 golf car battery is always a deep cycle design, thus very appropriate for RV use.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 09:08:49 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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solarman

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2018, 01:28:40 PM »
The sales people I spoke to said that only two companies make true Deep Cycle batteries Trojan, and US Batteries and the most common and cost efficient is a 6 Volt Golf cart battery.  Is the correct information, if not what would be a good 12 volt to go with?

They might fit, it depends on the location of the posts and the case I can find, if not it's cutting and welding time if I do get them.

Two.. LOL.. there are many more, HE just didn't know of any other..


If you have the room for GC-2 6Volts then they would be a good solution for you.

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solarman

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2018, 01:50:31 PM »
Best way to go is a lithium ion battery can be recharged in 2 hours and can be discharged to zero without damage. Battle born company in Nevada makes a good one its expensive but in the long run cheaper than golf cart batteries.

Best in what way ?  do you have shares in the company ?

Best advice I can give is to stay well away from LFP drop-in's

1. They are incredibly expensive for their capacity ( $950 for 100 Ah ! )
2. They cannot be discharged to zero SOC, below 10% and you have already caused irreversible damage
3. Battle born's claims are somewhat exaggerated, of the best cell makers, A123 in the US and Kokam in Korea specify
1000 cycles for typical lifespan before capacity degradation. The Chinese just flat out lie and claim 2000+ cycles
so their claims of 3000 cycles is questionable at best.
4. they have a 3 year warranty, that's less than a good pair of GC-2 Trojans. if they are so good, why only 3 years ?




« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 01:59:31 PM by solarman »
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hoss10

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2018, 08:20:51 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice. 

After finding battery cases to fit the 6 Volts I don't think they will fit without cutting the battery angle iron supports and moving them forward a few inches.  With curved front of the Jayfeather, the Propane tanks and WDH mount there is not a lot of room.  It's doable but a lot of work.  So I'm exploring other options.  I can get a US Batteries US31DCXC  at 130 amps for 186.00 (I'm in Canada) it's a group 31, I do wonder if it is a true deep cycle or a hybrid.  Any good options in a 12 volt deep cycle? 

Thanks Ted

Frank B

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2018, 08:29:21 PM »
While they are substantially more money, you can get AGM golf cart batteries that can be mounted inside the trailer wherever it suits you. They do not gas or leak.
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2018, 08:53:43 PM »
Best advice I can give is to stay well away from LFP drop-in's
Plus temperature limitations. Apparently the OP is trying to mount these batteries outside so the high and low temp limits on lithium would be an issue. Who wouldn't love tons more capacity in a lighter battery? But the temp issue alone eliminates lithium for me as I am routinely in temps well above and below the limits.
Then there's the question of the charger.....
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Sprucegum

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2018, 10:41:34 PM »
I am using two 12 volt deep cycles and like them; Trojan 225's

And I boondock a lot
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2018, 08:57:48 AM »
The specs for the US Battery 31DCXC & 31DCXC2 are consistent with a true deep cycle, so it looks like an excellent choice if it fits.

http://usbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/usb_31DC_data_sheet_2017.pdf
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hoss10

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2018, 06:57:29 PM »
Well I made an about turn and bought 2 US Batteries US 2200 6 Volt golf cart batteries, they were exactly the same price as the Costco (Johnson Controls)  Golf Cart Battery. 139.00 Cad. each,  these things are expensive up here.  Strange thing is Gary the sales guy at the Battery Store thought the 6 Volts would be more durable then the 12 volt deep cycle, who knows.

They will fit in the stand without the battery box,  It turn out the batteries are actually aprox. 1/2 inch lower then specified. 

 Now a seemly strange question, What is the purpose of the battery box?  The commercial ones I have seen might not fit on the one side.  If not I could make double box out of some Marine Plywood that I have and then making it waterproof,  would this be OK.  Or is plastic a better material.

Thanks for the help. next question will be about a Voltage gauge!
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 08:16:49 AM by hoss10 »

AStravelers

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2018, 08:59:32 AM »
Well I made an about turn and bought 2 US Batteries US 2200 6 Volt golf cart batteries, they were exactly the same price as the Costco (Johnson Controls)  Golf Cart Battery. 139.00 Cad. each,  these things are expensive up here.  Strange thing is Gary the sales guy at the Battery Store thought the 6 Volts would be more durable then the 12 volt deep cycle, who knows.

They will fit in the stand without the battery box,  It turn out the batteries are actually aprox. 1/2 inch lower then specified. 

 Now a seemly strange question, What is the purpose of the battery box?  The commercial ones I have seen might not fit on the one side.  If not I could make double box out of some Marine Plywood that I have and then making it waterproof,  would this be OK.  Or is plastic a better material.

Thanks for the help. next question will be about a Voltage gauge!
About the "Voltage Gauge". Go back to post #2 where I recommended the Trimetric Battery monitor.  This is what you want, not a voltage gauge. 

While is possible to get a guesstimate of the state of charge (SOC) of your batteries by only using voltage, it is a bit detailed and then it is more of a guess than an accurate reading.  To use voltage to guess at the SOC you need to be sure your load is down to 1-4 amps and then let your battery sit for at least 30 minutes to recover from whatever load you had on it.  If you have just charged your battery, the voltage is up around 13.2-13.4 volts.  Now you have to let sit for a few hours for the surface charge to dissipate, or to add a load of 10-15 amps for some time  and then remove that load to be sure the surface charge has dissipated.

With a battery monitor like Trimetric (there are others available but Trimetric is the most used by the RV'ing community) you see at a glance exactly how many amp hours (AH) have been discharged from the battery, and also when charging you see how many AH's you have put back in.  Also, again at a glance, you can see the the number of amps being discharged at that moment and the battery voltage. 

With the battery monitor, you know exactly what the state of your battery is at all times.  No more guessing. 

This AH measurement is very important.  Go to the document Gary provided a few minutes ago: http://usbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/usb_31DC_data_sheet_2017.pdf and look at the "expected life cycle" graph.  If you only discharge the battery 25% (75% of capacity left) you get 2050 cycles.  Discharge to 50% and the # of cycles drops to 1150 (about 50% less life).  Start discharging to 80% and the life drops to about 650 cycles. 

This life cycle chart is also assuming you are charging the battery to 100% full each time.  Start discharging to 60% full and then only charging to 85%-90% full, seldom getting to 100%, and the number of life cycles is reduced even more.  Usually significantly reduced.
Al & Sharon
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2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2018, 09:03:15 AM »
Well I made an about turn and bought 2 US Batteries US 2200 6 Volt golf cart batteries, they were exactly the same price as the Costco (Johnson Controls)  Golf Cart Battery. 139.00 Cad. each,  these things are expensive up here.  Strange thing is Gary the sales guy at the Battery Store thought the 6 Volts would be more durable then the 12 volt deep cycle, who knows.

They will fit in the stand without the battery box,  It turn out the batteries are actually aprox. 1/2 inch lower then specified. 

 Now a seemly strange question, What is the purpose of the battery box?  The commercial ones I have seen might not fit on the one side.  If not I could make double box out of some Marine Plywood that I have and then making it waterproof,  would this be OK.  Or is plastic a better material.

Thanks for the help. next question will be about a Voltage gauge!
A plywood box works fine.  I have used these in the past.  I have always taken and "painted" the box with fiberglass resin.  Just look in the paint section at your favorite big box hardware store. 

Do not seal the batteries in the box.  You want to allow for ventilation to allow the hydrogen gas to escape.  No need to water proof.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2018, 09:16:03 AM »
Quote
Strange thing is Gary the sales guy at the Battery Store thought the 6 Volts would be more durable then the 12 volt deep cycle,
Not really strange, it's just a popular misconception that battery voltage is the significant factor. Sales people are more often just skilled at selling and not particularly knowledgeable about the products they sell.
Plastic is generally more resistant to acid fumes and splatter, but a plywood box is fine. If home made, don't forget that flooded cell batteries require good ventilation.  BTW, "marine" plywood isn't any more waterproof than any other exterior grade. Marine plywood has no voids in the plies, but otherwise is the same as exterior grades. You still need to seal it for moisture and acid resistance.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 09:20:14 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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Frank B

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2018, 09:29:57 AM »
Quote
Marine plywood has no voids[/size] in the plies, but otherwise is the same as exterior grades.

[/size]Well... I continue to learn. Never knew that before... :)
[/font]
[/size]
[/size]
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hoss10

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2018, 12:56:29 PM »
Thanks.
So the box is there to stop people from dropping a bar on it and shorting the batteries, perhaps UV protection for the battery cases, and looks.  Not trying to be flip just trying to get a handle on what it needs to do.  If I strap down the batteries an upside down Tupperwear box could work, much like the cover on the Propane Tanks?


I'm a cabinet maker and really have a tendency to over build (and over think for that matter!). 
I'll have to stop myself from constructing a Epoxy encapsulated,taped seam, Occume marine ply box with 10 coats of Spar!
The irony of course is my father was an Electrician and I never paid attention!

Thanks again this forum is great.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2018, 02:10:50 PM »
Yeap, just basic physical protection for both the batteries and the people around them.
Gary
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Frank B

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Re: Battery Question Is It Worth It?
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2018, 07:23:49 PM »
Thanks.
So the box is there to stop people from dropping a bar on it and shorting the batteries, perhaps UV protection for the battery cases, and looks.  Not trying to be flip just trying to get a handle on what it needs to do.  If I strap down the batteries an upside down Tupperwear box could work, much like the cover on the Propane Tanks?

Thanks again this forum is great.


That, and keep road salt and crud off the posts and wiring. They corrode fast enough as it is!


And, yeah, this forum really is great!

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