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Old 01-06-2020, 09:12 PM   #1
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Using bus battery for power...

I just bought a bus and want to start converting it. in the process of de-seating it right now. I've been staying it it on and off, and use the auxiliary power from the bus to power a 400watt invert to power a series of LED xmas lights (~20w) and a set of computer speakers (max 100w, 30-50w average).

I disconnected one of the flashing lights wires from the auxiliary (15 amp fuse) to wire the inverter to it (it also has a 15A fuse). I'm afraid of any potential wear and tear this might be causing to my battery, and how long I could run something like this before needing to charge it up. I've been starting the bus and running it for 5-20 minutes whenever I use a little bit of power, but don't want to rely on that all the time. Seems unnecessary, but I don't want to risk draining my batteries and having to charge them or damage them.

I also have a 75 and a 95 amp battery idolater that I had for another vehicle, is there any way I can employ these into my system to charge another battery? Seems like they might be a bit on the small side, but I'm not sure what the bus puts out (Cummins 24 valve)


I also have a 6000watt generator I'm planning on implementing in the future, but still just getting started. Are there any recommended batteries for just small time power use that I can also store in the bus?


Thanks.
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:49 PM   #2
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Starting batteries and deep cycle batteries are different animals. Starting batteries are designed to output a big slug of power to start the vehicle then be quickly recharged by the alternator. They do not like to be deep cycled and just a few deep cycles can kill a starting battery. A fully charged starting battery will read about 12.7 volts and I recharge mine when they discharge down to 12.4 volts.

Deep cycle batteries are designed to be slowly discharged down to about 80% charge (about 11.5 volts) then be slowly recharged. They typically can be deep cycled a couple of hundred times but if you only discharge to 50% (about 12.1 volts) you could expect double or triple the number of charge cycles.

Marine batteries are a hybrid between a starting and deep cycle battery. Basically they don't do either very well.

If you have access to electricity a small battery charger will keep your batts topped up without all the wear involved with running the engine.
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:15 AM   #3
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The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, around $200 per 200+AH @12V pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club. Deka labeled same batts also sold at Lowes.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:02 AM   #4
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The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, around $200 per 200+AH @12V pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club. Deka labeled same batts also sold at Lowes.
I am very annoyed with Sam's club. They have the best buy on GC-2's around. Well.... The did until they closed every store within 500 miles of me.

I did come across Crown GC-2's for $104 each.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:08 AM   #5
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Great score that

Yes because lead is so heavy buy local, never pay for the shipping.

Great deals do come along, besides Deka/East Penn and Crown, U.S. Battery, Trojan of course, Superior's good

Rolls/Surette is tops but cheap they're not
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:17 AM   #6
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The best battery value by far is Duracell (actually Deka/East Penn) FLA deep cycle golf cart batteries, 2x6V, around $200 per 200+AH @12V pair from BatteriesPlus or Sam's Club. Deka labeled same batts also sold at Lowes.
Which battery are you referring to? I see Duracells at Battery Plus for GC2-215ah-$99, or a 235 for $129, 230ah-$125. Duracell is made by East Penn, Interstate by Johnson Control. Is there a difference between them, my search shows not. Interstate GC2 at Costco is $98.99, with a $15 core charge. Core charge at Batteries Plus is $36.99. Sounds like Costco has the best deal.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:19 AM   #7
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Great score that

Yes because lead is so heavy buy local, never pay for the shipping.
Only in my dreams

The nearest place for me to get decent GC-2's without paying shipping is Spokane.

Living in the sticks has its benefits but shopping options can be extremely limited and if you find it locally you are likely to pay a premium.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:25 AM   #8
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Which battery are you referring to? I see Duracells at Battery Plus for GC2-215ah-$99, or a 235 for $129, 230ah-$125. Duracell is made by East Penn, Interstate by Johnson Control. Is there a difference between them, my search shows not.
Absolutely yes, JCI made stuff doesn't even count as true deep cycle AFAIC, not even close to those Duracells. Maybe if half price I guess.

That list I gave is pretty much it for FLA in the NA market.But Interstate may contract Deka for some models dunno, I avoid relabelling brands that outsource you may not find out they switched for years. Starters no worries though.

And yes them's the ones, slight size difference is all,

black one is the GC2 - 215AH Deka Pro-Master GC10, gray one is the EGC2 - 230AH called the GC15, a 235AH is the GC25

Deka AGM suck btw, only their FLA and GEL are good.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:28 AM   #9
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Living in the sticks has its benefits but shopping options can be extremely limited and if you find it locally you are likely to pay a premium.
Oh well cleaner air nicer people cheaper rents make it worthwhile eh?
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:37 AM   #10
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Oh well cleaner air nicer people cheaper rents make it worthwhile eh?
Absolutely.

We occasionally have bad traffic. Usually due to having to wait for deer or turkeys to get out of the road.

Good hunting and fishing are a solid 15+ minutes away.

Yes it definitely has benefits. Shopping is just not one of them. I can buy a pound of bacon for $6 if I want to drive 70+ miles or $9 for the same bacon at the local market.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:43 AM   #11
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OP,

I would suggest getting educated on the care and feeding of deep cycle batteries. How you charge, discharge and maintain them can make the difference between a battery bank lasting a year or five years or more.

Don't discharge them too deep and charge at 8-13% of their C/20 rate. Keep them topped with DISTILLED water. Etc.

There are some great stickies covering battery maintenance over on solarpaneltalk.com

Good luck.
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Old 01-07-2020, 02:04 PM   #12
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There's a Batteries Plus near my house in Olympia so I'll probably go thru them to avoid shipping (on potential returns).

I see three 6v Duracell Group GC2 Batteries on their site, 215AH for $114; 230AH for $130; 235AH for $150. Seems like a considerable price jump between the three options, would the 215AH be much different than the 230, or the 230 vs 235?

So if I understand things correctly, In series Two 6V @ 215AH each = one 12V @215? And based on a 50% discharge I have about 107.5AH to use?

I want to get more in the future but want to get started with my conversion, so just a small capacity to get me off the bus batteries. Maybe add a small solar panel to reduce the need to run the generator to charge it. When I get a larger bank I'll be sure to get them all at the same time to make sure they stay close in capacity and use.
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Old 01-07-2020, 08:47 PM   #13
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215 to 230 is a 7% increase, to 235 is 9%.

If you get the weights the one with a higher weight per Ah is likely better.

But odds are they perform equally besides the capacity interest.

Having four gives redundancy if one fails out in whoop whoop.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:40 PM   #14
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Next question. C an I have these batteries inside the bus with me or do they need to be vented?

https://www.batteriesplus.com/productdetails/sligc110


How long can they remain at say 60% charge before I need to charge them?

I figured two for now would be a good place to start. I'm going to also work on getting a small solar setup to keep it topped off. How many watts would it take to keep these batteries charged?I know its a broad question based on a lot of things such as usage. My average is only 1.5hrs of sunlight per day according to one website. How much would a 190w panel charge on an average day?
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:01 PM   #15
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If the space and batt containment area are ventilated, not a problem. Do strap them down and use at least a tray that resists corrosion. Lid to prevent short circuit.

Soon as you seal them up, then need to vent to outside.

Same as if you find yourself bothered, but most have no problem.

If you want them to last get back to true 100% SoC quickly and as frequently as possible.

For 200Ah, 300-400W panels would be good, figure 30Ah per 100W per nice sunny day.

Charge from alternator & shore power as well whenever possible, take every opportunity.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:03 PM   #16
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Next question. C an I have these batteries inside the bus with me or do they need to be vented?

https://www.batteriesplus.com/productdetails/sligc110


How long can they remain at say 60% charge before I need to charge them?
FLA (flooded lead acid) batteries like those you linked to definitely have to be vented. Inside or vented is not necessarily an either/or proposition. They can be inside, and vented to the outside, at the same time. AGMs shouldn't gas unless overcharged, which means you probably could get by w/o venting, but since they can vent, I'd personally want my enclosure to vent as well.

Allowing any variation of lead acid chemistry to sit partially discharged is detrimental to battery life. You should keep them full charged when not in use. And, while you can discharge to ~50% SOC, the shallower your discharge depth per cycle, the more cycles you'll get out of them. Don't just draw them down that far because you can.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:58 PM   #17
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AGM needs no boxing up at all within a living space, thus no venting needed,

just hold down and short prevention.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:01 PM   #18
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I have a 2/10/50amp car charger/starter that charges SLI and deep cycle batteries. Will I be able to charge the two 6v batteries in series with a 12v charger?
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:58 PM   #19
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yes

site wants more characters
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Old 01-10-2020, 04:09 AM   #20
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yes

site wants more characters
John,

I humbly disagree. Since you joined the board we have plenty of characters

JK
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