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Author Topic: Battery not lasting  (Read 465 times)

Woogiebear

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Battery not lasting
« on: July 11, 2018, 09:13:48 AM »
Hey all! First post here. I need a bit of help. Got this new battery last year that the shop said would last twice as long as my original. We donít do much off grid camping but do go on at least one trip a year for a week at a time that has no hookups. We just run the refrigerator and use led lights minimally. Now and then the water pump for the sink. No heater or hot water heater. My battery only lasts about 2-3 days max.  My cousin has a battery that lasts a week easy using the usage we do. He has a different battery. My camper stays plugged in most of the time at home because we are in and out of it quite a bit throughout the year. Am I killing the battery by leaving it plugged in? The guy at the shop said that it wouldnít be an issue. Opinions? I wasnít able to attach a picture of the battery I have. Itís an interstate high cycling 31-mhd, cca-950, rc-195. Any help would be greatly appreciated! We are going away in August and Iíll probably be bringing a small quiet generator with us to recharge it every couple days. Was hoping I wouldnít have to but better be safe than sorry.

Rene T

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 09:18:37 AM »
Welcome to the forum.
I don't have an answer for you but someone is going to ask what brand and model converter do you have. How old is the RV?
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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Len and Jo

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 10:11:09 AM »
Surprised a single battery lasted 2-3 days running a refrig.  The question is amp-hours, amp-hours, amp-hours.  A battery is similar to a bucket of water but instead of water it stores amps.  The bigger the battery the more amps.  On the other hand the larger the refrig and or the hotter the day the more amps are required to run it.  Without info on battery amp-hour capacity (you can only drain 50% without significantly shortening the battery life) and your refrig power requirement can only talk in generalities.   A single decent sized new battery might store 100 amp-hrs and then therefore supply 50 amp-hrs to run stuff.  A newer small Norcold refrig can draw 2-3 amps per hour of operation.  So in a 24 hour day the refrig requires about 50 amp-hours to run and the battery would supply one day of power.  IF YOU DRAINED the battery it might run the refrig for 2 days.  You would be damaging the battery though and shortening its life (ie: buy another new battery next year).
 
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kdbgoat

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 11:06:09 AM »
Your battery is designed for cranking an engine only, it's not designed for deep cycling, nor does it have the capacity for that. What you need is a pair of GC-2 6 volt batteries if you have space for them or a true deep cycle 12 volt battery. True deep cycle batteries aren't cheap though. For 12 volt, here's an example of what would serve you well:

http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/t-1275/
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darsben

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 11:09:10 AM »
Your battery is designed for cranking an engine only, it's not designed for deep cycling, nor does it have the capacity for that. What you need is a pair of GC-2 6 volt batteries if you have space for them or a true deep cycle 12 volt battery. True deep cycle batteries aren't cheap though. For 12 volt, here's an example of what would serve you well:

http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/t-1275/

Exactly
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John From Detroit

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 04:59:00 PM »
Just so you know there are multiple ways to slice and dice battery types. FOr this chat there are 3 or 4
Starting
Marine
MARINE/deep cycle
DEEP CYCLE.

now the first THREE are all starting batteries.
A True "Starting" battery is rated for COLD Cranking amps (Max amps at zero F)
a Marine for "Warm" cranking amps (0C or 32F)
These batteries need to be kept fairly full. they are designed to be re-charged IMMED after use (by the engine alternator/generator) and kept 80% or better full at all times.
MARINE/deep cycle is a marine battery with a touch of "Deep cycle"  THis one can go a bit longer before re-charging and perhaps a bit lower. say 75%

THe odds of them recovering from a true DEEP DISCHARGE.. LOW. only slightly hiter for the last one but Next to ZERO for the first 3.

DEEP CYCLE. Well I ran my interstates into OH CR**! more than twice in their 9 years (might have made it to 10 had I not) and they can go down to half full before they start to age rapidly  THey can also stay below full for a longer period of time.

Using the wrong battery.. NOT GOOD.

What is the MOST COMMON Deep cycle?  THe common six volt GC-2 Golf Car (GC) battery.

Two of them in series make a BIG 12 volt battery. basically a 4D or 8D class.  220 amp horus give or take a bit and you can use half. that's about 1KWH of power over a 20 hour discharge.

NOTE.. THat 1KWH is seriously truncated.
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AStravelers

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 05:00:07 PM »
Hey all! First post here. I need a bit of help. Got this new battery last year that the shop said would last twice as long as my original. We donít do much off grid camping but do go on at least one trip a year for a week at a time that has no hookups. We just run the refrigerator and use led lights minimally. Now and then the water pump for the sink. No heater or hot water heater. My battery only lasts about 2-3 days max.  My cousin has a battery that lasts a week easy using the usage we do. He has a different battery. My camper stays plugged in most of the time at home because we are in and out of it quite a bit throughout the year. Am I killing the battery by leaving it plugged in? The guy at the shop said that it wouldnít be an issue. Opinions? I wasnít able to attach a picture of the battery I have. Itís an interstate high cycling 31-mhd, cca-950, rc-195. Any help would be greatly appreciated! We are going away in August and Iíll probably be bringing a small quiet generator with us to recharge it every couple days. Was hoping I wouldnít have to but better be safe than sorry.
Come on folks, be helpful. Don't just tell the poor guy the sky is falling, because it isn't.

First-- The guy most likely has a gas/electric fridge running on gas so that takes next to no 12V power.  About 0.1 to 0.2amp or 2.4AH to 4.8AH in 24 hours.
Second--  All he is running is the water pump and the lights for a little while.

So, YES, Woogiebear, your battery should last more than 2-3 days IF those things you mention are the only things pulling power from the battery and you have a good fully charged battery.

Yes, you don't have the best battery for dry camping or boondocking.  However that doesn't mean it shouldn't work given the small amount of battery you are using.

Unfortunately I don't have a simple answer for you. 

I am assuming you have a gas/elect fridge, incandescent light bulbs (no LED bulbs) and no inverter.   I also assume you only have 1 or 2 lights turned on at night for an hour or two.

Troubleshooting:
--  Are you sure you have all the lights turned off in ALL the storage/water/dump compartments?  A light running 24/7 pulls quite a bit of power.
--  Next I would start with getting a volt meter from Walmart or any big box store.  They cost less than $20
--  Start with leaving your RV plugged in for a couple of days, then disconnect from shore power.
--  Your battery voltage while on shore power should be around 13.5V.  That is the converter supplying the 12V to the RV
--  Disconnect from shore power and monitor the voltage at the battery. Be sure all the lights are off and no other 12V devices are on.
--  After a few (3-5) hours it should drop to about 12.6 to 12.7V, which is the voltage of a fully charged battery.  If, after being off of shore power for a couple of hours, the voltage drops to 12.2V or lower, you probably have a phantom something pulling quite a bit of power or you have a bad battery. 
--  If after a few hours the voltage is around 12.6V then turn on 4 or 5 light bulbs.  Be sure it is light bulbs you are counting.  Some light fixtures have 2 bulbs.  Also florescent lights pull as much as 2 light bulbs.
--  Monitor the battery voltage and make notes of the voltage every hour, for 6-8 hours. 

Come back to the forum with details of what your testing shows and the folks here should be able to give you some assistance.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Woogiebear

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 06:07:00 PM »
Thanks for all the advice!
Yup, all the lights are off. Just a small fridge running off propane. Canít really justify the cost of 2 golf batteries (even though those look like the best option) for off grid camping about 1 week a year. My camper is a 2016 keystone passport exp. Maybe a new truly deep cycle battery is a way to go.
A couple quick questions.....
If I recharge off a generator can I just plug in the shore line power cable to the generator? My thought is it would work just like plugging it into the house.

While at home is it ok to keep it plugged in all the time or should I put a disconnect on the battery so it doesnít overcharge? I thought the built in system would prevent that.

Thanks so much for all the help!!!!

Woogiebear

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 09:15:18 PM »
And Iím def gonna check the battery with the voltmeter this weekend. Thanks!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2018, 09:16:44 PM »
I'm with AStravelers - this isn't the end of the world.   Could have chosen a more durable battery, but an RC of 195 ain't terrible even though it is designed to crank engines.  That's 195 minutes @ 25A!  Ought to last more than a couple days if the usage is as light as claimed.  It's a sealed battery, so nothing to do as far as checking cells or adding electrolyte.


A sealed cranking battery like this one can lose a lot of its capacity if totally drained a couple times - they just don't recover well. 
Make the tests that are suggested and that should give some clues.


Unfortunately a true deep cycle 12v in the Group 31 size costs as much or more than a pair of GC2 6v.

You may find my Library article on RV batteries to be helpful for making future choices.  See  http://www.rvforum.net/miscfiles/Choosing_right_battery.pdf
Gary
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Woogiebear

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2018, 11:29:39 PM »
Hmmmm. That makes sense. It has run all the way down a few times.

Woogiebear

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2018, 02:23:10 AM »
Your right about the cost. 2 gc batteries are pretty comparable. Seems to be the way to go.

Utclmjmpr

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2018, 03:34:13 AM »
You also may not understand how really long it takes to FULLY charge a battery,,and so it may not be fully charging.>>>Dan
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John From Detroit

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2018, 10:54:16 AM »
THe Cost of 2 Golf Car Batteries is less than $200 at Sam's Club or Costco.

The cost of Two Group 24's (less than half the usable power) is ... About the same.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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AStravelers

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2018, 11:36:09 AM »
For additional info about RV electric, batteries and charging here are 2 very informative links:

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm


Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Battery not lasting
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2018, 11:50:27 AM »
Thanks for all the advice!
Yup, all the lights are off. Just a small fridge running off propane. Canít really justify the cost of 2 golf batteries (even though those look like the best option) for off grid camping about 1 week a year. My camper is a 2016 keystone passport exp. Maybe a new truly deep cycle battery is a way to go.
A couple quick questions.....
If I recharge off a generator can I just plug in the shore line power cable to the generator? My thought is it would work just like plugging it into the house.

While at home is it ok to keep it plugged in all the time or should I put a disconnect on the battery so it doesnít overcharge? I thought the built in system would prevent that.

Thanks so much for all the help!!!!
About charging with the generator.  Yes, just plug the shore power cable into the generator.  You will probably need a 30amp to 15amp dogbone to plug into the generator. 

Note:  To get a full charge to 100% full takes several hours, up to 10-12 hours if the battery is discharged down to 50% full.  However, since you will be going out for several days to a week, just running the generator for about 1 to 2 hours each morning should bring the battery back up to charge which will last you for another day.  Just be sure to plug into shore power for several days when you get home. 

Take you voltmeter with you and check the battery voltage before starting the generator.  In the links I gave earlier there is a chart showing the "approximate" voltage to state of charge (SOC).  You do need to have all the lights & 12V loads off when checking the voltage.  Any load will pull the battery voltage down some and give an incorrect reading for SOC.

About leaving the RV plugged into shore power all the time when not in use.  Be sure to monitor the water level in the battery at least every month.  It is possible that the converter can cause the water to boil or evaporate out of the battery down to below the top of the plates.  When you do that, the battery is pretty much ruined.  If you find you need to add water every month, just disconnect the negative cable from the battery and leave it sit.  Just come back every 3 months, connect the negative cable and connect to shore power for 3-4 days.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/