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Old 10-17-2016, 03:19 AM   #1
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Coach batteries

WOW.. I didn't know how many different couch batteries are out there, $100.00 to well over $700.00 each. Right now I am guess we have the cheapest Thor could find to give us just to get us by. I am looking at doing a little bit of boondocking soon and have been thinking about going from 2 batteries to four. What do I want to be looking for to double my time (or more) with out the generator starting up all the time? But not going over to solar just yet.
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Old 10-17-2016, 04:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mustang94@hot.rr.com View Post
WOW.. I didn't know how many different couch batteries are out there, $100.00 to well over $700.00 each. Right now I am guess we have the cheapest Thor could find to give us just to get us by. I am looking at doing a little bit of boondocking soon and have been thinking about going from 2 batteries to four. What do I want to be looking for to double my time (or more) with out the generator starting up all the time? But not going over to solar just yet.
you have more problems then you know, search my name and read my posts.
Bottom line, you will need cut off switches on coach and chassis battery, solar panels and a great amp meter to find your leaks.
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by mustang94@hot.rr.com View Post
WOW.. I didn't know how many different couch batteries are out there, $100.00 to well over $700.00 each. Right now I am guess we have the cheapest Thor could find to give us just to get us by. I am looking at doing a little bit of boondocking soon and have been thinking about going from 2 batteries to four. What do I want to be looking for to double my time (or more) with out the generator starting up all the time? But not going over to solar just yet.
A couple of questions to start...
What do you want to run while boondocking?
items like a residential fridge requiring an inverter draw far more than just 12v usage..

Do you have an issue with your batteries running down while stored? (petef does -others have... But not everyone has this experience...)

You can increase capacity (3 or 4 batteries... Solar...), or reduce draw...

I converted all interior bulbs to LED as example, added 12v fans, tv, and bluray so no need for inverter. Have no issues boondocking for long weekend on 2 good 12v batteries.
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Old 10-17-2016, 02:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mustang94@hot.rr.com View Post
WOW.. I didn't know how many different couch batteries are out there, $100.00 to well over $700.00 each. Right now I am guess we have the cheapest Thor could find to give us just to get us by. I am looking at doing a little bit of boondocking soon and have been thinking about going from 2 batteries to four. What do I want to be looking for to double my time (or more) with out the generator starting up all the time? But not going over to solar just yet.
Don, I am about where you are. My coach came with just the 2 house batteries, which I am pretty sure are originals (unit is a 2014). I plan on replacing them and when I do I was going to go with a 4 battery set up. My price point for each battery will be between $140 and $170.

I know with 4 batteries I won't be running air or much else. My desire it to be able to run the frig, a TV, water pump, and some lights for 12 hours without the gen set. If I can't then I will look at possibly a carry out solar panel.

I wouldn't get ahead of yourself. See what you can run and for how long on a 4 battery set up. Your needs may be different than mine as we rarely dry camp. If we do it is only a quick one night deal from about 6pm to 6am.
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:23 PM   #5
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We have a 2016 Ace and have spent many a day and night without any power other than our two house batteries and the generator. It has worked very well for us. We have only run the generator for about an hour a day except on hot days when we ran the air conditioner. We are happy with the setup.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:37 PM   #6
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I think you mis-stated the issue. The number of batteries or the price is not the issue, the issue is the number of amp hours your batteries provide in a 20 Ah rating. True, real, deep cycle batteries will have a 20 hour amp hour rating. Combo batteries do not give the 20 amp hour rating.

The Harris batteries are combo, back calculating in the 60's at the 20 Ah rating. A true deep cycle battery in the size of a 27 or 31 will be 95 to 115 range at 12 volts. Two 6v in these sizes are 205 to 245 Ah, but you need two. You can get a single 12v deep cycle at 215 Ah or a 6v at 360 Ah, these are big heavy tall batteries.

I have 2 6v Trojans at 306 Ah. They are 16" tall and weigh 95# each.

So that's one issue. The second issue is how you are going to charge and maintain such a large battery. A full and complete adsorption phase takes that battery to the last few % of a complete charge then to float. Skip this stage too many times and you eventually will sulfonate the batteries. One hour of generator run with a 55 amp inverter isn't going to do it. You are looking more at 3 to 4 hours. That's why solar is so popular. I have 480 watts of solar.

We boondock for a week, often with teenage granddaughters, and never run the generator.
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Old 10-17-2016, 11:24 PM   #7
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If you want the most bang for your buck then use four 6v golf cart batteries. You will have to do some rewiring but 6v will provide the most in the long run. When you think about batteries you need to think energy storage and energy density.
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Old 10-18-2016, 12:13 AM   #8
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Golf carts have long used deep cycle batteries wether 6 or 12v. Floor machines, fork lifts etc. also use deep cycle batteries usually 12 v. So the common denominator is deep cycle not golf cart. You can find 6 v in standard battery sizes at some super stores. Or you can call one of the quality deep cycle manufacturer's distributor and buy one or more that way. There are quite a few cheap 6 v golf cart batteries and they are just that cheap. If you want a good deep cycle buy a good brand.
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Old 10-18-2016, 04:10 AM   #9
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Have you thought about getting a small Yamaha or Honda 1000w inverter generator. They are light 30 lbs or so and can run everything but the AC and microwave. You can run them for hours to charge the batteries on a qt of gas and unless you walk right up on them its hard to tell they are running. and they stow away in your storage bin in less space than a plastic milk crate. 2 good deep cycle batteries should get any coach through the quiet hours unless you have a commercial fridge. I run my TV and DVD player on a True Sine wave 400w inverter all evening and the next morning and my batteries are never below 60% even in cold weather when the furnace fan is running and that is the real power draw. They seem a bit expensive when you first price them but they are way cheaper than retrofitting to 4 house batteries with wiring unless your coach is already set up for that many.
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:25 PM   #10
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What Forest Gump said is true, deep cycle batteries! Golf cart batteries are very "energy dense" and are made to withstand many discharge and recharge cycles without damage which is why many coaches with multiple batteries use 6v. You will have to wire two pairs in series to get 12v and then wire the two pair in parallel for 12v to coach. Same setup we had on our Tuscany, never had a problem.
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Old 10-18-2016, 04:43 PM   #11
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We have 4 12V house batteries and 400 watts of solar. We boondock without having to use the generator for much other than AC (in the summer) or for microwaving stuff (or the hair dryer for DW!) We usually get a good 12-14 hours overnight including residential fridge, TV's, sat dish, iPads and phone charging before we even consider running the genny.


One of the things to consider is your charger - if you go from 2 batteries to 4, it will increase your charging times and you may also want to check the high end to see if the charger will ever get the batteries beyond 90 percent capacity. That was the one reason we added solar - it works to top off the batteries with a separate controller.
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:14 PM   #12
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I just replaced two leaking Harris garbage batteries with the same size Duracells from Sam''s club. $79.98 each.
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:37 PM   #13
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We are getting by with 300 watts of solar if we can get 4 to 6 hours of full sun. The unknown pair of Grp 27's start out the night at full charge and effectively dead by morning, 12.0 volts. Our usage is two leds for 3 hours, the water pump for about two ten second flushes, and the ~1amp draw of the refrig on LP. 3 to 4 cycles of the furnace doesn't seem to have much impact.
These batteries at so called full charge show weak when checking the specific gravity.
Our plans are to replace with a pair of Exide stowaways, 105 Ah at $90 each from Tractor Supply.
We don't watch TV and parasitic current draw is reduced to a minimum. This includes pulling the in dash radio fuse since it's an additional 1/2 amp load even when off. The bedroom radio has been unplugged.
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Old 10-25-2016, 02:50 AM   #14
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Hope I am on the right thread...but boondocked this past weekend and had to use the onboard "jump" to start coach....arrived fri and left Sun. This was a first as we had boondocked for weekends before and no problem. The only thing I did different was charged phone from dash USB. Would that drain starting battery?
BTW .. just replaced my Harris house batt's with sealed Optimax, best deal was from Amazon
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Old 10-25-2016, 04:21 AM   #15
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I had a GPS unit that was left plugged in that killed my chassis battery but that was for weeks and in the winter. Do you have a long drive to your camping spot. I ask because if you are only making short trips after the RV has sat awhile it may not be charging the battery fully and after several trips with the battery going down a little each time you hit critical voltage. I dont know how your unit is set up but being on shore power or the generator running does not charge the chassis battery just the house on mine. I now have one of those 5 watt solar maintainers that suction cups to the side window and plugs into the cigar lighter just to offset the normal drain of the computer and internal discharge.
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Old 10-26-2016, 02:53 AM   #16
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Samven
We camped an hour away at Pacebend Park and have been using MH at least once a month since bought in March. Like I said before the only thing I have done different was charge phone from USB....
to be safe I went ahead and connected a 5 watt solar panel that I had left over from my bumper pull...
Dragging my boat this weekend and fishing the "Castaway Cup" rods tournament in Galveston so will see how all works out
Wish me luck!
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Old 10-26-2016, 03:21 AM   #17
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My Thor original batteries (2) Grp.27 160 AH each 5 mos old.
I tested them to just run my house refrig off inverter, to see how long they would last just running refrig, started about 2:30 PM and left it to run over night. Some time during the night. The inverter shut it all down when voltage got below 11.9 volts. So definitely need better batteries. But currently Planning Solar 320W
with 3 batteries or 6 -6 volt AGM's undecided due to battery height available space on the 6 volt.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:26 AM   #18
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An hour drive might be enough to keep the starter battery on the edge with the sitting. I dont think charging your phone was the problem. I would put that battery on a charger just to be sure it got a full charge and then use that solar charger to make sure it does not start the slow drain again. But just in case you might want to pick up a voltmeter and keep an eye on the battery voltage, you may have a parasitic load somewhere. You can get a cheap meter at Harbor Freight for less than $10 if you dont already have one and they are invaluable in a motorhome for checking house batteries to fuses to lightbulbs. Your battery should sit at 12.6-12.7 volts when fully charged and 13.2 with that solar charger plugged in.
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:48 PM   #19
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My work up includes the following, 6 panels mono solar @ 100w each for 600w solar to a combination TriMetric Battery Monitor with TriMetric Solar Controller, I have 4 - 6v golf cart batteries at 220ah each with wiring in parallel/series I get 440ah. I also have a residential refegerator and a 2000w inverter. We watch TV at night with the timer on to turn it off. I can go a week without additional charging so long as I have full sun. When I need to boost charging and/or equalize my batteries, the solar controller has a setting for this, but that would mean I need constant sun while equalizing. So, I use the gnerator for this along with a TruCharge 2 charger set up for just equalizing the batteries (that way I don't have to depend on sun to get a proper cycle done). Everything goes through a shunt which is monitored by the battery monitor, with a history maintaining software for a PC. I also have an additional charge controller that is standard for the MH a WFCO 55. I have boondocked for over 2 1/2 weeks with no problem, but one must keep a watchful eye on the whole cycle. While my coach is in storage I have never even turned the battery switch to off, I let it do it's thing and help exercise the cycles of discharg and charge. In addition, ALL my lights are LEDs, I also have a BIRD switch that maintains the chassis batteries as well, this is also monitored by the "Battery Monitor". It took me a year to set all this up as I did a little at a time, but I feel it has been worth it as we both like to sit in the open desert, anytime of year.
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Old 10-27-2016, 12:19 AM   #20
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Yosemitebob, You have a better standby system than 50% of the rural Hospitals I have seen. You know you can never sell that RV now.
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