by Allison (Baltimore, MD)
Question: Yesterday my batteries were stolen from my RV. Unfortunately, I do not know what batteries were on the camper, so I am not sure what to buy. Looking at the manual and online have not provided me any useful information.
I have a 2004 Four Winds Toy Hauler, a 23SRVT. Also, the jerks cut the wires to my jack, so any suggestions for repairs?
I am new to the world of RVs. I just purchased this camper in June but I have been on three trips so far. I have been told I don’t need two batteries – is this true for the model I have? I know I need a 12- volt deep cycle but I do not know what amperage to get? Please help!
Sorry to hear of your bad luck on the theft. If we were in your position, we would first contact the manufacturer to ask what they suggest. There are so many variables that that it is difficult to be specific about what your camper needs. (Input welcome from anyone with the same brand and model RV!)
If you cannot get assistance from the manufacturer, then here is how to figure out what you need:
Start by determining the capacity of your charger and converter, so you can determine the maximum safe load on the converter and charger.
This will in turn let you determine the maximum sized battery(s) that the charger and converter can support. Converters are rated in amps and watts. Deep cycle batteries are rated in amp hours.
Lets say you had two batteries that were rated at 210 amp hours and were connected in parallel. There is a rule of thumb that says divide the amp hours by 5 to get the charging amps required. Since the batteries are in parallel you take 210 and divide by 5 for a result of about 40 amps. This means that your inverter/charger would have to provide a minimum of 40 amps to safely charge your batteries.
You also need to consider how much reserve battery power you need for those times that you will be boondocking. That may be the reason that you had two batteries.
Regarding the wiring to a the jacks, we suggest you look for a qualified RV facility in your area, perhaps ask the manufacturer for a recommendation.
Hope this is of some help. Please let us know the final outcome. Other input welcome.
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5th Wheel Batteries
by Kim (Punta Gorda, FL)
Question: What should I use for batteries? I need to replace my battery in my 5th wheel. I have heard about using golf cart batteries. Should I use 2 or 4?, and what should I use to connect them? Or should I use 2 RV/Marine batteries? Any help appreciated.
Answer: Replacing your battery can be simple or complex. You can go the easy way and replace the current battery with a like product or you can upgrade the batteries and type depending on how you plan to use the RV.
Certainly golf cart batteries would work fine. If you have one 12 volt battery now, you will need two 6-volt batteries. You just have to have the room for two batteries and to have them installed correctly. An advantage is that golf cart batteries are deep cycle batteries. You will have to make sure that your battery charging system is up to the challenge of charging deep cycle batteries and can provide a three stage charge to prolong their life cycle.
As for connecting them, the connections are simple enough. You will need good quality battery cables and connectors – these you can get from any battery or golf cart supply center. If you are familiar with battery wiring and are comfortable working on live batteries, then you can do all the work yourself. Here is a link that will show how to connect the batteries: http://www.zbattery.com/Connecting-Batteries-in-Series-or-Parallel.
However, if you are not comfortable working with live circuits leave this to the professionals. A small mistake can be very costly so do not be pennywise and dollar foolish.
Another option, if you have the room and charging capacity is to install two deep cycle 12-volt batteries. This is a good option if you do a fair amount of boon docking between connections to the grid.
As for marine or RV batteries that is just a general classification as to their application. When I buy batteries for my RV I look for deep cycle batteries from a reputable manufacturer that makes deep cycle batteries. You can buy a marine battery and it may or may not be a deep cycle battery, ditto for any “RV” battery. Be aware that deep cycle batteries are rated in Amp Hours not CCAs (cold cranking amps).
Another discussion is what type of battery, lead acid (flooded cell) or AGM. Flooded cell batteries require periodic maintenance (adding distilled water). AGM batteries do not require maintenance other than keeping the terminals clean and tight just like the lead acid batteries.
There are advantage and disadvantages to both. Lead acid batteries are old technology but are much less costly than the AGMs of similar capacity. AGM batteries can be discharged deeper without damage and will recharge faster but are twice as costly as their lead acid counterparts.