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Old 08-03-2014, 08:52 PM   #1
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Batteries and worries

I've seen tons of people using 8D agm batteries, which Is what I'm planning on using. I've also heardof people saying not to use marine batteries in place of deep cycle batteries, on The Duracell website it says also not to use the 8d batteries for deep cell application. I'm wondering if I'm not understanding some portion of what deep cycle batteries are. I just want to power my house batteries with 2 8d 220ah batteries and an inverter. Is that so crazy.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:08 PM   #2
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Re: Batteries and worries

You will get a lot more cycles (discharge/recharge) with deep cycle batteries before you need to replace them. You will also do less damage to a deep cycle battery if you run it to low than you will with non deep cycle battery.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:15 AM   #3
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Re: Batteries and worries

I've heard the "real" deep cycle batteries last 6 to 7 years. And the "for god's sake, don't use" deep cycle marine batteries poop out really fast. We've never had the "real" deep cycle batteries. But we did put a deep cycle marine battery from Wal-Mart into a 1976 Midas Mini Motorhome (the Class C Das Mel lives in). That battery lasted 6 years before she replaced it (and I don't think the battery was the problem). The Class C had an old RV "dumb" battery charger/converter to charge the single house battery. So for our bus, we will use the "for god's sake, don't use" deep cycle marine batteries (Wal-Mart's Everstart brand... same one we had in the Class C). We do have a smart charger for the house battery (only one right now). We could use the 6v "real" deep cycle batteries but no one can tell me if I should trim the inch off the top or the bottom of the battery and how to do it. Otherwise those 6v batteries are a tad too tall for the existing battery bay and we ain't gonna build another one. If we are replacing batteries every 6 to 7 years anyway, why not use a cheaper priced battery.

For our use, our batteries will only run (via inverters) all the lights, the electronics on the LP range, the range vent, the 12vDC water pump, the outlet for my laptop (running a GPS mapping program) and probably the TV stuff (haven't decided for sure on that yet but leaning towards it). An LP generator will provide the power for everything else when not hooked up to utilities. I've did my research on batteries and have looked at how we will need to use grid and off grid power (typically and worst case scenario) to come up with a combination of what will suit our needs. Ain't no one way, but this is what will work for us.
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:37 PM   #4
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Re: Batteries and worries

Everything you need to know about batteries, solar and RV electrical systems.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:19 AM   #5
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Re: Batteries and worries

Here are some differences between deep cycle, marine and starter batteries:

Deep cycle:
- Thick lead plates. This is one of the reasons they are expected to last longer than the other types of batteries IF USED PROPERLY. Battery plates slowly corrode. Thick plates take longer to corrode away.
- Not designed for outputting significant current. You might be able to start an engine off of one, but it would not be good for the battery.
- Capable of outputting a modest current (amps) for a long time (running lights, appliances, etc.)

- Medium thickness lead plates.
- Moderate current output. Is designed to have the current output to turn over a smaller engine (i.e. boat motor).
- Capable of outputting a modest current for a while (still ok for running lights, appliances, etc.)

- Thin lead plates.
- Are designed to output LOTS of current very quickly. For an 8D, tossing out 400 amps to turn over a motor is expected.
- They don't do as well when outputting low current. Of course they'll work, but for their size they won't give you the length of low-draw use as a deep cycle or marine battery of similar size would.

For house batteries you will want to look closely at the Amp Hours over 20 Hours (Ah/20h). This is a good measure for low-draw, but long term use. I don't feel like explaining Ah/20h, but here's a link with a quick bit of info:

Now, if we want the most run-time out of our batteries we have options. Some just make more sense than others. Let's say we have an averaged load of 10 amps for a 20 hour span for running lights, pumps, whatever (this just makes the math easier). To keep the batteries above 50% we will need a battery bank with a total of 400Ah/20h (10amps * 20 hours / 50%).

Now lets look at some products:
A nice looking 8D battery. Measures in at 9.8"x11"x20.6". 170Ah/20h rating. So to get above 400Ahs, we would need 3 of these (170Ah/20h * 3 = 510Ah/20h)
Also a nice looking deep cycle battery. It has a smaller Ah/20h rating; only 155Ah/20h. To get above 400Ahs with these batteries we would also need 3 (155Ah/20h * 3 = 455Ah/20h). A little less capacity, but... it only measures in at 7"x11.375"x13.125"!! A single 8D battery is twice the size as one of these!

Marine batteries fall somewhere in the middle. They are jack of all trades, but masters of none. Overall, you'll find that marine batteries have higher Ah/20h ratings than starter batteries, but lower cranking amps. To get the most out of your battery bank you want to get the battery best suited to the job. Starting an engine? Get a starter battery. Running lights and electronics? Get a deep cycle. Marine batteries will work, but they aren't the right fit for most bus set-ups I've seen around here.
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:54 PM   #6
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Re: Batteries and worries

As Locutus said:

Originally Posted by Locutus
Everything you need to know about batteries, solar and RV electrical systems. through EVERYTHING Bob has to say!! It is mostly about Solar-Systems, but these use the same batteries you need - no matter where the juice is coming from - your batteries need to be charged PROPERLY - read especially about the proper VOLTAGE to charge batteries and how that volatage needs to be adjusted for ambient temperature AND about proper cable size and length!!

"Bob's rants" are an eye opener!
[Spent a few hours yesterday to read through it all - yourself a favour and don't spent any money before you read it too!]


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Old 08-05-2014, 01:12 PM   #7
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Re: Batteries and worries

plan your loads and size your system right. the battery material should not matter much except for cost, longevity, and ease of charging.

i used cheap batteries in my build because so much $$ is going elsewhere. when the bank gets replaced in a few years, i'll upgrade to agm.
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:49 PM   #8
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Re: Batteries and worries

My home is off grid and has been for the last 18 years. My wife and I live off batteries and solar, and have a very normal life. Meaning TV, frig, freezers, power tools etc.

the key to any good system is battery type and charging source. You can make any battery work but that's just it. Do you want to settle or live? Are you willing to compromise your life style or do you want to be comfortable and have a reliable system or would you just get by?This is something only you can decide. Once you make that decision then proceed and read and learn read some more and learn some more. Once you are ready make the plunge and buy what you decide on and others forgotten. Its your life. Just remember (no reflection on anyone) cheap is as cheap does. While I don't have pictures posted (for security reasons) my build is almost done and my battery of choice is Crown L-16 420ahr I get these at a discount from the dealer in my area and have more then enough solar to charge them. As I said my choice, you can use what ever floats your boat but I found out a long time ago not to use anything but deep cycle.

just my opinion and nothing else.

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Old 08-06-2014, 10:25 PM   #9
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Re: Batteries and worries

Probably the greatest responses on any thread in this forum.

You guys are all amazing.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:22 AM   #10
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Re: Batteries and worries

Jatzy is spot on. To add to his explanation:
Deep Cycle: fewer thick plates for long life.
Starting: multiple thin plates for short, hot starts.

He also explains the standard C/20 rating on deep cycle amp-hours (C = rated capacity). As stated, 400 Ah means 20 amps for 20 hours to the discharge limit, which is 10.5 volts in a 6-cell 12 volt system. Most people would be surprised to find they cannot expect to draw 400 amps for 60 minutes from that battery bank.

Drawing less than the Ah/20 rate can be expected to provide current before reaching 10.5 volts longer than the Ah/time calculation predicts.

I was surprised to see that the sealed batteries provided by one microwave communications company are rated at C/10, which means they would provide a higher current than a standard C/20 rating. In the 400 Ah example above, they are rated to provide 40 amps for 10 hours, which a 400Ah C/20 bank could not be expected to do.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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