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Old 04-07-2010, 01:54 PM   #1
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michelle
Experience with 6v batteries ...

I searched the site and didn't find any posts which directly answered my question. So here goes:

We have a T2363 and want to purchase two 6v batteries since we dry-camp alot on the west coast. I've search the web and found many discussions on the T-105 Trojan vs COSTCO/SAMS 6v batteries, but didn't find anyone who claimed to have actually used both kinds, or could actually provide any technical comparison. Plenty of loyal fans on both sides, but no actual data.

Have any of you experienced Sunline campers used both kinds? Or have any actual data on which works best? Our 12v battery set has seen its last trip and we need to get ready for summer ...

Thanks so much from Nerdvana Sunny (Silicon Valley, CA).
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:37 PM   #2
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We have Trojan 105's in our Motorhome. They are now 13 years old and still work well. Our motorhome has 100,000 miles and we've been to everystate but one and all the Canadian provinces and territories.

We keep them on the inverter continuously and regularly add distilled water. Our Inverter has a desulfation mode.

At 13 years and counting I consider them a best buy. I have nothing negative to say about the Good Sams batteries. Is their a difference in cost?

Our Motorhome engine battery is from Walmarts and now has 4 years on it with no issues.

Hope this helps a little
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:32 PM   #3
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michelle
From what I'm seeing the COSTCO/SAM's club price is about 2/3 that of the T-105s, but COSTCO doesn't post the specs on their batteries on-line.

I'm wondering if the COSTCO batteries would last as long as your T-105s. Our marine batteries can't maintain a charge after 3 years of service. I'm also looking into how to secure the batteries since batteries in this area have a bad reputation for disappearing if left on the trailer. I found this website that claims to lock down the batteries: http://www.b-drvbatterylock.com/

Has anyone tried securing their batteries? Maybe that's just a problem here in the wild wild west.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle
Has anyone tried securing their batteries? Maybe that's just a problem here in the wild wild west.
No, but I have heard of some people who do. The easiest solution I can think of is to get some sort of aluminum/diamond plate box for all of them to go in, that would be lockable. Have all the wiring go into the box and have it securely fastened to the tongue. Most important of all, make sure it is relatively waterproof yet still vented.

Jon
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Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:40 AM   #5
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michelle
Lockable boxes are a great idea - my folks use one on their trailer. We've had trouble finding a box that would be tall enough for 6v batteries, but still fit under the T2363 slanting front. My folks' trailer is pretty much square in the front and so they had lots of room to play with. The T-2363 slant has frustrated our efforts to get a box so far. Those lockable clamps are the best solution I've found so far, but a box would be preferred.

BTW, what batteries do you use Jon? Honda's record with the T-105s is pretty impressive.

Do most Sunliners use their on-board equipment to charge their batteries, or an external charger?
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle
BTW, what batteries do you use Jon? Honda's record with the T-105s is pretty impressive.
Mine is 100% original, with the Deka Group 24 that came from the dealer. Just the standard 12V RV/Marine battery.

My coach is stored inside a locked building, so I don't worry about things like that disappearing. When it was broken into one time, they never even went near the trailer.

For the short times I do store it outside, I remove the battery and store it in the garage. On the older trailers before there were battery disconnect switches, the only way to turn off the power was to actually remove one or both of the battery cables, at which point it was no big deal to just remove the battery itself. I've always figured with it disconnected, it would be simple for someone to remove if they wanted it that bad.

Norm's battery situation is very unique. NO battery should last 13 years, and the fact that his have is just amazing. I'm lucky to get around 6-7 years out of a RV/Marine battery. My parents had a set of four Trojan's (I think 205's), and they lasted only about six years, and they were constantly maintained by the on-board charging system (which could handle it) and my dad filled them with water once or twice per year, depending on if they needed it.

Jon
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:44 AM   #7
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I have four of the Sams Club Energizer branded 6V batteries on my 2363. I've only been running them about 18 months, so I can't speak for long-term life, but I am very pleased with the performance.

There is also no doubt that the trojan is a high quality battery. The price does indeed reflect this.

In general, 6V Golf Cart batteries are much more durable than the average "deep cycle" marine battery due to the plate construction. The plates are much thicker - this is readily apparent the first time you pick one up.

All that said, batteries are complex beasts that require care and feeding. The most expensive battery in the world won't last more than a season if you abuse it. Take care of it (them) and they will generally take care of you.

Bad things people often do to batteries:

- Discharge too deeply. Some say don't go below 60%, some say 50%, etc. You need to come up with your own comfort level of discharge, but the bottom line is that the shallower the discharge, the longer the battery lifespan.

- Left in a partially discharged state. When a battery is discharged, it should be recharged as long as possible. Leaving a battery sit in a partially discharged state increases sulfation and decreases battery life. A deeply discharged battery doesn't need to sit around long before it's a very big paperweight.

- Run them too low on water. Under no circumstances should the plates ever be uncovered. Water level should always be above the plates, but not so high that they leak. Some use the split ring as a guide - never fill above the split ring. When water is needed, distilled should be used.

- Overcharging. Unless you have a more modern, intelligent charger you run the risk of overcharging the battery. This will result in increased water loss, which can lead to the plates being exposed. In extreme cases, batteries can boil from overcharging and even be run bone dry.

There's some very good articles online worth reading. One is titled "the 12volt side of life" and it explains a lot of this information.

Hope this helps and good luck!

- Frank
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:00 AM   #8
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Battery Life

I wish I knew why our Trojan 105s have lasted so long. As well as the two house batteries lasting for 13 years, the truck battery lasted for 9 years, also a long time on a much less substantial battery.

I admit to monitoring water level carefully, probably monthly checking the water levels and only using distilled water. When we are away for 7 months or so the water level is not maintained on the rig left home and when we return I have to add susbstantial amounts of water.

Our rig left home is continuously powered with the Inverter always on.

On our trailer we have a marine/rv battery that is six years old. Since we've owned it we've had it on an inverter with a desulfation mode.

All our batteries have been subjected to rough rides. Both of our rigs have seen a lot of rough roads and actually any road in our motorhome seems rough. We have had the experience of a battery jumping off it's mount and disconnecting a cable (battery since tied down) on the road into Chaco Canyon N.P.

In general we do not deeply discharge our batteries though we have done it a number of times when dry camping. On the motorhome we usually turn on the generator for morning coffee and TV and for the evening meal. (We do not have a large inverter on the motorhome like we do on the trailer (1200W) though we use small ones (75 -400 watts) for the TV at night.)

My suspicion is that the Inverter's desulfation mode is the reason they've lasted so long. In the motorhome during the evening when the desulfation mode comes on the lights initially eerily get very bright for about 5 minutes as the charging voltage leaps up over 14 volts. I'm sure this is not good for bulb life. We never notice it in the trailer because most of the lights we use at night are LEDs.

If I were to guess I'd say good maintenance and desulfation.

We have one more battery that is now six years old, the Honda's engine battery. It's supposedly a zero maintenance battery, with all the cell openings covered by a label saying zero maintenance. One day two years ago it would not start the Honda. I pulled off the label and looked in a cell and the water level was way down. I added distilled water and the battery has worked fine ever since.

Hope this helps, like many things in life we don't understand the underlying details but the process has provided good results.
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:39 AM   #9
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This wont answer your question the way you want it answered, but dont ignore the Lifeline batteries.

We've used four 6-volt Lifeline's for going on 4 years now with zero maintinance to them. We've killed them numerous times and charged them back up with no problems.

They're sealed AGM's so there is nothing you have to do to maintain them and they can be mounted sideways, upside down or in any configuration you want to mount them.

On the security side of things, Most people dont camp in areas where you have to worry about giving someone enough time to steal your batteries.



Ours are mounted on a rack in the front of the camper and held down with straps. Never had any issues with them coming loose and never had anyone try and steal them
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:42 AM   #10
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I ditto Pat on "theft concern". Before we started RVing I read plenty of stories about the topic and personal safety. In all our travels thru every US state and province of Canada we have always felt safe and have not had anything stolen.

We mount our battery the same way Pat does, in a plastic case with a simple bucket strap.

Pat, What model Lifetime do you have?
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:28 AM   #11
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Norm,
You mentioned that "we don't understand the underlying details".
This is off topic, but I thought interesting nevertheless.
After my father died in 1978, I kept his 1974 VW Beetle, the fifth in a row, and I use it to get around when I visit Scandinavia.
After a number of years I saw an ad in the paper that promised "FREE BATTERY TEST", and the shop advertising sold the same brand batteries that I had.
It is important to note that I was working then with limited vacation time, so I could only visit and drive the Beetle once a year for four to five weeks. The rest of the time the car sat idle in a detached unheated garage, and one time it sat unused for two years.
So I drove down to the shop for the test, and got an "O. K." verdict.
I asked if they could tell how old the battery was, and after looking at the markings, they said 14 years! So, when I told them the car was going to sit for another year, they changed their minds and recommended a change.
I have no idea how I got 14 years of perfect service out of that battery, and I never noticed any weakness. Of course, I did not vacation in the winter time, so all use was during the summer, but it never saw a battery charger or a "desulfate mode".
Needless to say that I never again have seen a battery last that long. With similar treatment I have changed the battery three or four times since.
Roar
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:46 PM   #12
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Roar,
Now there's a second example. When I was a Physics student we'd always say ."if something happened three times it was science".

It's obvious that it's possible byt we don't know why though we do know somethings that people can do to enhance battery life.

Unlike your VW my Motorhome is regularly used with over 100,000 miles, a lot for the typical motorhome since it seems few people drive extensively though a fossil hunter in our park, the Peace River is known for fossils, has 250,000 miles on their fossil hunting Motorhome
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:23 PM   #13
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michelle
lifeline batteries

We looked into the Lifeline batteries. They are sealed AGM 6v and do look REALLY nice.

http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/rv.php

http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/rvd...ebatteries.php

The GPL-4CT appears to be roughly equivalent to the T-105 in the 20hr Rate AH. It is expensive though - the local dealers wanted $272 each for them.

Locally the T-105 sells for $130 and the T-105+ for $149 each.

We tried and tried to find a lockable box that would fit under the overhang on our T-2363, without success. We're going to try the lockable brackets:

http://www.b-drvbatterylock.com/6-volt-bracke6.html

Will report back on how they work....
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