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Old 12-14-2016, 04:43 PM   #1
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Batteries... again?

Thinking about upgrading my stock battery on Jay flight slx 174bh Baha, had a lot of reading and kind of leaning towards 2x6v batteries but... can someone share some info that I'm still can't figure out?
Most of 6v batteries are vented, and I hate to deal with them, want as low maintenance as nothing. From sealed 6v batteries I only seen AGM. I kind of like the idea, but I don't get the manual/spec restriction/recommendation to never discharge ago battery below 50%... what's the point of having a bigger more expensive battery if you can't use half of it? I thought deep cycle actually meant that battery is designed for full charge discharge cycles... so what are your thoughts about AGM aside from the cost? Is it good for deep cycle applications?
Another questions bugs me is my converter/charger, do I need to upgrade my stock charger if I switch to AGM? I did not see any mention of AGM in manual...

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Old 12-14-2016, 04:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukrainian_Kozak View Post
Thinking about upgrading my stock battery on Jay flight slx 174bh Baha, had a lot of reading and kind of leaning towards 2x6v batteries but... can someone share some info that I'm still can't figure out?
Most of 6v batteries are vented, and I hate to deal with them, want as low maintenance as nothing. From sealed 6v batteries I only seen AGM. I kind of like the idea, but I don't get the manual/spec restriction/recommendation to never discharge ago battery below 50%... what's the point of having a bigger more expensive battery if you can't use half of it? I thought deep cycle actually meant that battery is designed for full charge discharge cycles... so what are your thoughts about AGM aside from the cost? Is it good for deep cycle applications?
Another questions bugs me is my converter/charger, do I need to upgrade my stock charger if I switch to AGM? I did not see any mention of AGM in manual...

--
Alex
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Tell us more about your camping style. Do you often camp with no hookups? Are you always plugged in? Do you run an inverter?
You have a fairly small trailer, so I would expect that your battery usage should not be too high. I also assume with that new a trailer that everything would be LED, which helps a lot. The deep cycle batteries are better able to withstand repeated discharges, that does not mean they "like" it. Non-deep cycle batteries will die is short order if you repeatedly discharge them.
Two batteries, either 6v or 12v should be enough for short weekend trips if you are careful with your energy usage. If you are thinking about longer off grid camping trips I would start looking at solar or generator for charging.
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ukrainian_Kozak View Post
Thinking about upgrading my stock battery on Jay flight slx 174bh Baha, had a lot of reading and kind of leaning towards 2x6v batteries but... can someone share some info that I'm still can't figure out?
Most of 6v batteries are vented, and I hate to deal with them, want as low maintenance as nothing. From sealed 6v batteries I only seen AGM. I kind of like the idea, but I don't get the manual/spec restriction/recommendation to never discharge ago battery below 50%... what's the point of having a bigger more expensive battery if you can't use half of it? I thought deep cycle actually meant that battery is designed for full charge discharge cycles... so what are your thoughts about AGM aside from the cost? Is it good for deep cycle applications?
Another questions bugs me is my converter/charger, do I need to upgrade my stock charger if I switch to AGM? I did not see any mention of AGM in manual...

--
Alex
==
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The deal with battery discharging is pretty simple if you think about it this way.

Why would someone pay for those bigger more expensive batteries? Because they hold a lot more Amp Hours than the one that came with your camper. You can use them a lot longer, before they drop down to 12 volts or less. So even though you are still limited to using only half of that battery capacity - you can basically double your capacity by getting the better batteries. Look at the Amp hours.

You are running a 12 volt system - so when you drain more than half of your deep cycle battery, you are below 12 volts. This seriously starts hurting the lifespan of the battery, the lower you go. Deep cycle doesn't mean you can take the battery down to 0 volts, it just means you can go from 14 (fresh off the charger) down to 12 a heck of a lot more (these are deep cycles) than you ever could with a typical lead acid car battery.

There's a LOT more to it, but I hope that made a little sense.

Regarding AGM batteries, get em if you can justify the cost increase, especially if you plan on installing them where venting might be an issue.

Lead acid batteries shouldn't go below 50% discharged.
AGM can go down to 80% safely.

More info - Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) Battery Information - Battery University
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:36 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Ukrainian_Kozak;474397]... I kind of like the idea, but I don't get the manual/spec restriction/recommendation to never discharge a battery below 50%... SEE THE CHART BELOW, EXPLAINS IT ALL

What's the point of having a bigger more expensive battery if you can't use half of it? If you mean BIGGER in relationship to AmpHours (Ah), then you have more Ah's to play with. IE... a standard 12VDC Interstate battery that comes with most TT's is about 85Ah of which you can only use about 40Ah (again the 50% rule... see a pattern here?
I thought deep cycle actually meant that battery is designed for full charge discharge cycles... Deep Cycle batteries are made with thicker plates which allows us to use the power of the battery for a longer length of time... TRUE DEEP CYCLE batteries never are rated in CCA or MCCA (Cold Cranking AMPS), if the battery you are looking at has this rating and says Deep Cycle it is a Hybrid battery (Made for starting and some deep cycle applications). The standard battery that comes with TT's (Interstate) is a Hybrid battery. ... so what are your thoughts about AGM aside from the cost? If you are mounting the batteries outside, I see no real benefit except for a little more Ah and no cells to check. The FLA batteries, if maintained properly (tight connections, never drop below 12.0VDC, don't try to recharge them with a FAST 50Amp charger (DEEP CYCLE batteries like a slow charge) , check the water level every once in awhile, they do real GREAT. Forget any of the above and any battery will not like it.
Is it good for deep cycle applications? Yes
Another questions bugs me is my converter/charger, do I need to upgrade my stock charger if I switch to AGM? I did not see any mention of AGM in manual... Open up your TT's battery charge controller panel and get the model number.. Google it and see what the charging voltages are and the max charging amps... the new TT's all have smart Battery Charge controllers and have about a 30 - 40 Amp capacity.

Pick up a Digital Voltage Display like either of the ones below so that you can keep an eye on the battery voltage level while camping. When it hits 12.0, start shutting things down.

If you plan on cold weather camping (needing the TT's central heating system), I would recommend a 2nd battery. Also, if you do plan a lot of dry-camping I would also recommend either a small generator or SOLAR.

Reading the things below should keep you busy. Also, check out the Forums "RVing with SOLAR" social group. There are posts regarding batteries, 12volt vs 6 volt, solar.....

If you have a lot of money look at the LifePO4 batteries, no water just $$$$ and you can run down the voltage a long way as those batteries the voltage drops off a cliff at a certain point. But they do not like HOT temps above 80ish...

If there is no dry camping in your future... the regular battery will do fine

Replacing Deep Cycle batteries on an annual basis because of abuse will be expensive.

Don
Attached Thumbnails
BATTERY - AMP-Voltge Digital Display - AMAZON Picture.jpg   ELECTRONICS - 12VDC Voltage Display.jpg   BATTERY - AGM Life Cycle Chart Graph.jpg   BATTERY - ELECTRICAL - PD4000 Battery Charging Stats.jpg   BATTERY -Trojan  Life Cycle Chart.jpg  

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Old 12-14-2016, 05:38 PM   #5
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I'm from a different school. I don't believe anything in life is maintenance free. I like maintenance. It keeps me aware of my surroundings. Save the "set it and forget it" to the midnight HSN shopper.
I wouldn't be too concerned about venting 6v batteries unless they're installed inside. If they're installed in a box on your front hitch, it's no big deal to install a vent in the box. Topping them off is a simple flick of the wrist. Nice big fat plates to store ground breaking energy in biblical proportions. In my opinion save the maintenance free batteries for the cubicle worker driving the Prius in the HOV lane. Recently shopping for battery upgrades, I'll leave the AMG thing to others, I have my thoughts about them.
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:30 AM   #6
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Thank you folks for all replies. You got me almost right (cubicle worker, driving Nissan Leaf when not camping) so I would gladly spend $100 extra for a piece of equipment that I will not have to touch for 5 years. As of camping style, i want to be able to make few 1-2 weeks long trips and have an option to stay 2 nights in a place with no hookups. I do have all Led lights, so my main current draw will be either furnace (I'm from Pacific Northwest, in some places even in the middle of summer nights can be pretty cold) or fan if I venture further east or south. Plus I would like to have the ability to recharge laptop, cells and other electronics during those 2 nights as well. So I feel that stock 85ah battery will do the trick...

And yes, solar is my next thing I'm thinking about, so my battery upgrade should be supporting that.

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Old 12-17-2016, 12:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukrainian_Kozak View Post
Thank you folks for all replies. You got me almost right (cubicle worker, driving Nissan Leaf when not camping) so I would gladly spend $100 extra for a piece of equipment that I will not have to touch for 5 years. As of camping style, i want to be able to make few 1-2 weeks long trips and have an option to stay 2 nights in a place with no hookups. I do have all Led lights, so my main current draw will be either furnace (I'm from Pacific Northwest, in some places even in the middle of summer nights can be pretty cold) or fan if I venture further east or south. Plus I would like to have the ability to recharge laptop, cells and other electronics during those 2 nights as well. So I feel that stock 85ah battery will do the trick...

And yes, solar is my next thing I'm thinking about, so my battery upgrade should be supporting that.

--
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We've been taking a couple of 10-day trips to Utah/Nevada/Arizona each season since we got our 195RB which is very similar in equipment to your 174BH. The first season we used just the one Group 24 battery it came with and in the warmer climate had no trouble going a couple of days without hook-ups on the one battery. However, when you start adding in extra loads such as charging other devices and for us in the warmer climate running a fan it can be more difficult.

With the relatively low cargo capacity of these smaller campers the heavier weight of the 6v batteries can be an issue. The regular models have about 600lbs CC - our Baja model with the higher GVWR is 735lbs CC per the yellow sticker. The small holding tanks also makes them less than ideal for longer term dry camping, although I do see that for 2017 they've increased both the gray and black tank capacity a bit.

I added a second Group 24 battery at the beginning of this last season for about $125, including battery box and cables to wire it in parallel with the original one. I got the battery from the dealer where we bought the trailer so it is identical to the original one. For the occasional times that we end up being some place without hook-ups - usually in-transit from point A to point B - that provides plenty of reserve. We do carry a 2kw inverter and I'm also looking at the potential for a portable solar option.
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