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Old 10-21-2020, 02:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 11
Batteries for Bus

My 2004 IC came with 3 batteries. I eliminated all unnecessary wires and have been running just one battery. I would like to use the other 2 for solar. Would it be ok to just use 1 battery to operate bus?

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Old 10-21-2020, 04:23 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 548
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126
I would hook the other 2 batteries back up and built a dedicated bank for solar energy for several reasons. Firstly, diesel engines draw a ton of current when cranking over, even more so when its cold out. Once it starts to get below 40 or even 50 degrees out one battery may not be enough to start the bus and it will be really hard on that battery. Even diesel pickups have two batteries. The batteries also help buffer the electrical loads in a vehicle before the alternator increases its output. Engineers paid more than me believed that three batteries were necessary for safe reliable operation of your vehicle and the previous owners of the vehicle agreed enough that they didn't try and save money by going to two batteries.

Also the chemistry in those batteries is designed for high output in a short amount of time and they do not appreciate being used past a certain percentage or the life of the battery decreases. IIRC its only about 20% discharged for lead acid starting batteries. Deep cycle batteries are designed to provide less power over a long period of time and can be discharged further without significantly affecting battery life. Also two group 31 batteries (the standard heavy truck battery) isn't a lot of available power, what do you plan to run with them?
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Old 10-22-2020, 12:50 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,853
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Ditto what Truthseeker4449 said.

We have two group 31 batteries in parallel for our house batteries.

The two group 31 batteries in parallel really just act as a buffer between the alternator and the inverter. When the engine is not running, they can keep the dorm room refrigerator and a 75W light bulb running off the inverter for 5 or 6 hours.
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