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Old 06-10-2015, 11:51 AM   #11
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Trojan 6V "Golf cart" batteries. If you look at Optima, the Blue is NOT the way to go. It is a marine starting battery. Their true deep cycle is the yellow top. Lifeline and Trojan also make AGM batteries.
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Old 06-10-2015, 02:08 PM   #12
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I use Motorcraft (Ford) batteries. 36 month free replacement and pro-rated up to 8 years.
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Old 06-11-2015, 07:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
It seems like ideally they should be the same age and type, but would one of a different age (while not ideal) work to add a little "umph" to my system?
What happens with a battery as it ages, its internal resistance changes with time. Just like when we age things change. Even if you maintain your battery as directed and have never dropped below the 50% battery level (which is 12VDC) the aging process still continues. The issue when adding a 2nd battery to the system is that the internal resistance does not match that of the existing battery.

When the internal resistance of each battery is different so are the charging needs of each battery (older battery needs more/longer charging than the newer one). On the outside you may not notice a difference in voltage, but the Ah output is affected. So the 2 batteries average out the voltage and the TT's battery charge controller is looking at an average voltage and not the actual battery voltage (the newer battery voltage drops and the older battery voltage increases). Whereas with 2 matched date/month/Ah/mfr the internal resistance of each battery is very close.

When you have disconnected shore power and you are on battery power, the older battery becomes a load to the newer battery and you have a reverse charge, where the newer batteries excess power (greater than old battery) is heading into the older battery. Batteries connected in parallel eventually (with load) will seek an equal level. As time goes on the newer battery ages faster because of this and will eventually be at the same output of the old battery. So the life-cycle of the newer battery is then reduced dramatically.

The rule of thumb is that the batteries be manufactured in the same month/year. They need to be identical, manufacture, model, voltage, and rated Ah. So when you go shopping you need to look for batteries that have the same month/year and do not have a lot of shelf life (storage) as many places do not properly maintain there batteries while sitting on a shelf. When you decide on a specific battery mfr, log on to their website and get the date code (month/year) conversion information, so you can figure out the code on the batteries. When I purchased mine, they originally brought out 2 batteries that had different mfr months and took the older one back and replaced it with the same mfr date as the newer one. I purchased them in the month of May and they were mfr in April of that year, so I was happy. They were a main distributor and had a fast turnover of batteries.

As for which is the best, that is another one of those questions that has a lot of answers. Research is your best tool in selecting the proper battery to meet your needs. Your budget will be a big part of your decision.

You indicated that you want to spend a 2 or 3 days off the grid, so you need to have an idea as to how much energy you use before thinking about a specific batteries. If you use a lot of energy even the bigger Ah batteries may not meet your needs either, which would become costly should you continuously drain the batteries below the 50% level (12VDC point). You need to do an energy audit, just like at home before you pay the big $$$ for batteries.

OK, now with that being said and you have a basic understanding of what happens with old/new batteries connected, if you are not one that is used to following the 50% rule or check your batteries water level regularly (if off grid I check mine at least once a month with SOLAR charging), I would recommend adding an another inexpensive battery (same mfr/model/Ah) like the one that you already have and use them as a learning experience. You may not get a long period of time out of them (a couple years), but you will have learned the requirements for dry-camping on a set of inexpensive batteries, and you may not even like dry-camping, so you will not have to sink $$$ into unneeded batteries.

If you want there is additional information on batteries on the "RVing with SOLAR" social group, it mostly has SOLAR info, but some on batteries.

Do not rule out a small generator.

Don
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim L View Post
... If you look at Optima, the Blue is NOT the way to go. It is a marine starting battery. Their true deep cycle is the yellow top. ...
Whoops. I misremembered my Optima batteries. 100% correct there.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mustang65 View Post
What happens with a battery as it ages, its internal resistance changes with time. Just like when we age things change. Even if you maintain your battery as directed and have never dropped below the 50% battery level (which is 12VDC) the aging process still continues. The issue when adding a 2nd battery to the system is that the internal resistance does not match that of the existing battery.

When the internal resistance of each battery is different so are the charging needs of each battery (older battery needs more/longer charging than the newer one). On the outside you may not notice a difference in voltage, but the Ah output is affected. So the 2 batteries average out the voltage and the TT's battery charge controller is looking at an average voltage and not the actual battery voltage (the newer battery voltage drops and the older battery voltage increases). Whereas with 2 matched date/month/Ah/mfr the internal resistance of each battery is very close.

When you have disconnected shore power and you are on battery power, the older battery becomes a load to the newer battery and you have a reverse charge, where the newer batteries excess power (greater than old battery) is heading into the older battery. Batteries connected in parallel eventually (with load) will seek an equal level. As time goes on the newer battery ages faster because of this and will eventually be at the same output of the old battery. So the life-cycle of the newer battery is then reduced dramatically.

The rule of thumb is that the batteries be manufactured in the same month/year. They need to be identical, manufacture, model, voltage, and rated Ah. So when you go shopping you need to look for batteries that have the same month/year and do not have a lot of shelf life (storage) as many places do not properly maintain there batteries while sitting on a shelf. When you decide on a specific battery mfr, log on to their website and get the date code (month/year) conversion information, so you can figure out the code on the batteries. When I purchased mine, they originally brought out 2 batteries that had different mfr months and took the older one back and replaced it with the same mfr date as the newer one. I purchased them in the month of May and they were mfr in April of that year, so I was happy. They were a main distributor and had a fast turnover of batteries.

As for which is the best, that is another one of those questions that has a lot of answers. Research is your best tool in selecting the proper battery to meet your needs. Your budget will be a big part of your decision.

You indicated that you want to spend a 2 or 3 days off the grid, so you need to have an idea as to how much energy you use before thinking about a specific batteries. If you use a lot of energy even the bigger Ah batteries may not meet your needs either, which would become costly should you continuously drain the batteries below the 50% level (12VDC point). You need to do an energy audit, just like at home before you pay the big $$$ for batteries.

OK, now with that being said and you have a basic understanding of what happens with old/new batteries connected, if you are not one that is used to following the 50% rule or check your batteries water level regularly (if off grid I check mine at least once a month with SOLAR charging), I would recommend adding an another inexpensive battery (same mfr/model/Ah) like the one that you already have and use them as a learning experience. You may not get a long period of time out of them (a couple years), but you will have learned the requirements for dry-camping on a set of inexpensive batteries, and you may not even like dry-camping, so you will not have to sink $$$ into unneeded batteries.

If you want there is additional information on batteries on the "RVing with SOLAR" social group, it mostly has SOLAR info, but some on batteries.

Do not rule out a small generator.

Don

Good advice. I would add to this in that I would add in a battery monitor before spending a bunch of money on new batteries. That will tell you how much energy you use while boondocking and you can then taylor your battery capacity to suit if you plan to dry camp a lot.

TriMetric Model Descriptions, Present and Past | Bogart Engineering

Best batteries....

Trojan
Crown
Lifeline
Rolls

Lots of people have had success with Costco or Sam's Club 6v GC2 batteries though at about half the cost of the above.
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Old 06-11-2015, 02:02 PM   #16
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Optima Batteries

The OPTIMA battery is a VERY GOOD battery. No argument there! But the Optima is a hybrid battery, and it is neither a pure starting nor a true deep cycle battery. It is as advertised, a Marine Battery aka Golf Cart Battery.

So with that said, starting or cranking type of batteries have multiple thin plates to maximize surface area so as to allow very high discharge currents for short periods of time, and then be recharged very quickly via an alternator. If pressed into deep cycle service will quickly deplete the thin plates and only last a short period of time..

A TRUE Deep Cycle Battery has fewer, but very thick heavy plates. The thick heavy plates allows them to supply moderate amounts of current, for long periods of time, and can be slowly recharged many times.

A Golf Cart or Marine type battery is in between, and not something you want for true deep cycle applications (extended long periods of dry-camping). The Optima batteries are great as auxiliary batteries in vehicles where they perform EXCEPTIONALLY well for large wattage stereos or hydraulic suspension pumps. This is where they EXCEL.

I am not downgrading any particular battery here, but even with the Trojan T-105 golf cart battery you can make an easy observation. If you look at the specs for the VERY POPULAR T-105 and compare it to a T-105RE you will note that the RE (Renewable Energy) model is (if I remember correctly) 5 pounds heaver than its cousin the T-105. That is a lot more lead!!!

So the real question is do you want your energy distributed over a longer period of time, then you would probably want to go with a TRUE DEEP CYCLE battery.

Compared to a few years ago, the selection of TRUE deep cycle batteries has really expanded, so that means MANY more options.

Good Luck!

Don
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2 - AirSight Wireless IP Cameras (used as rear view cameras)
EnGenius WI-FI extender, D-Link wireless (n) modem
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