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Old 01-14-2014, 08:42 PM   #1
woodwork1955
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Exclamation I need a new battery

I have a 'new to me' 2007 Challenger 29RKS and the battery is old. We will be 'planting the 5er and it will be on shore power for 7 months at a time.Ive' only seen comments on here about checking the water levels when using shore power. Can I use a sealed battery like in my car or do I need to get one with caps on top?
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:10 PM   #2
JRTJH
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Essentially, if you're going to be on shore power almost all the time with no (or very little) dry camping, all you need is a quality deep cycle battery to act as a buffer for the converter when actuating the slides or landing gear/front hitch jack. No matter which battery you buy (with some very expensive exceptions) you'll need to check the electrolyte level frequently. How frequently depends as much on the type of converter you have as it does the battery. If you have a 3 stage converter (relatively new one) it should have a "maintenance charge" cycle which is like a "battery maintainer" which is not likely to evaporate your electrolyte. You should check your batteries monthly with this type of charger in your converter.

If you have one of the older 2 stage converters, there is a good potential that you could overcharge your battery and destroy it unless you check the electrolyte frequently. How frequently? That depends as much on trailer electrical use as it does on the humidity/charge cycles, etc. I'd start off by checking them weekly. If you don't see any electrolyte evaporation, then go to every 2 weeks, if still good, then go to 3 weeks and keep increasing. I would suggest you check at least monthly.

You said your RV is a 2007 model, so you "may" have a 3 stage charger or you "could" have a 2 stage charger. I'd suggest looking at the owner's manual to see what is installed in your RV. If you don't have the manual, get the name, model number and google it. You'll find the manual online. It will give the specifications and in them it will list the number of charging stages and the voltage delivered to the battery in each stage.

You don't want to use a "car battery" in your RV. Some car batteries are not designed to open the vent caps, and the constant discharge/charge will cause it to fail faster than a deep cycle battery. What you want to install is a "DEEP CYCLE" marine type battery. WalMart, Kmart, Sears, and a number of other places have them in stock. Most are guaranteed for one year, some longer. Almost all are marketed as "maintenance free" but they really aren't free of the "need to care for them". Even the "new" maintenance free deep cycle batteries have battery caps, they are just molded into a strip that looks like it's a part of the battery. There are usually 2 such strips on a 12 volt deep cycle battery. Look closely, you'll see a couple of slits where you can slip in a common screwdriver to pry the caps off to check electrolyte levels. With any battery you install in your RV, you'll need to check the electrolyte level frequently. Most of us do it monthly with a 3 stage charger, more frequently with a 2 stage charger.

The only batteries you wouldn't need to check electrolyte on are the AGM sealed batteries, and they are upwards of $250 each. Some people like them, others complain that they are no more reliable than conventional deep cycle batteries. I have them on my ATV's and snowmobiles, and they are reliable there, but I've no experience with them in an RV. I prefer a 6 volt setup since we dry camp most of the time.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:44 AM   #3
steve eboe
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I like AGM batteries

I strongly recommend going with an AGM deep-cycle battery. I have been using them in my campers for about 10 years now and am extremely happy with them--especially with the fact that they are totally sealed and you never have to check water levels. They can be mounted in any position (even on their sides or upside down). I have also found that they hold their charge longer and recharge faster than conventional batteries.
Plus, I notice that that they have come down substantially in price in recent years. I purchased my current one at my local "Fleet Farm" store for about $120 (group 27 size) and it is serving me very well.

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Old 01-15-2014, 03:50 AM   #4
woodwork1955
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Thank you so much for the very detailed reply, it was very helpful.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:09 AM   #5
airforceret
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I've run deep cycle Interstate batteries since 1999... add a little distilled water once in awhile and they last a long time. I too have mine plugged in most of the year.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airforceret View Post
I've run deep cycle Interstate batteries since 1999... add a little distilled water once in awhile and they last a long time. I too have mine plugged in most of the year.
Interstate batteries are very well made! That is what I buy.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:21 PM   #7
woodwork1955
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One more thing...should I disconnect and take my battery home at the end of the season or can I leave it connected. There is NO power from Nov. to mid Apr.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:06 PM   #8
Ken / Claudia
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I would disconnect it with a aftermarket battery switch or remove the wires at the posts. Since the trailer will drain the battery even if there is a factory on/off switch. I would leave it there unless you think it might get stolen.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:21 PM   #9
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Parma OH is up near Cleveland, and it gets very cold there. Almost any battery that is left disconnected and unattended for more than a month or two will self discharge. Once there is no charge in the battery it will freeze and damage the plates. This will probably render the battery unserviceable and you'll need to buy a new one in the spring. You say that it will be unattended with no power from November until April. That's a 6 month period and your battery won't survive freezing weather for that long without having regular maintenance charges to keep it conditioned. I would suggest taking the battery out of the RV, take it home, store it in the garage or basement on wood or rubber if you leave it on the floor. Use a battery charger monthly to top it off or hook it up to a trickle charger (battery maintainer) and check the electrolyte level monthly.

Of course, you could drop it off at WalMart, get a credit and pick up a new battery in the spring. If you leave it in your RV in subzero weather for 6 months, that's what you'll be doing in the spring..... picking up another new battery.
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