Jim Tortorici
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Jim Tortorici
miketx wrote:
The battery that Riverside uses is not very good.   Ours died after 2 years of good care.

Definitely switch your bulbs to LED.....big power savings.   
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Jim Tortorici
Thanks Mike. The first time I went camping without a hook-up the battery died after 2 days.  I used to go camping with my old pop-up and the battery would go a week.
I bet the old pop-up hand a better battery as it had been replaced once by the original owner.
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Robin C
You may already done this, but have you checked the water level in your battery? If it's low, pour in some distilled water up to the fill line.

If you still think you need to replace your battery, Interstate is a good brand. We had an Interstate marine battery on our Little Guy teardrop for three years and never had a problem with it.

Robin
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barry4495
Hi Jim- I'd replace your battery with a good deep cycle marine battery that has a rating of at least 90 amp-hours. A few people have written to tell you what each 12v device uses so in "theory" if you are drawing. for example, 5 amps (say 2-3 bulbs for light) a battery with 100 amp-hours would last you 20 hours before needing a recharge. You really should subtract out another 15% for "loss" so it is a bit less than that. What I did was to buy a solar panel (I have a solar suitecase I got from Amazon) to keep my battery topped up. When the sun is shining and I have it pointed the correct way, I can get 20 amp hours added back to my battery in a few hours. It is really a nice way to make sure you have enough battery power when you are in the same spot for more than 2 days or so. Another option, of course, is to buy a second battery and hook it up so you have twice the number of amp-hours available but the 2nd battery weighs a lot (if you are concerned on weight and I am) so I carry the solar panels instead. They weigh 25 pounds. Replacing the bulbs with LEDs will also help a lot. Have fun!
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Annie
We took our 177se dry camping to Smiling River campground in Oregon a few weeks ago. We camped for 3 days and two nights. Our battery was still at 1/3 when we headed home. I turn off all but one interior light, and we didn't use the refrigerator. Most of our cooking is done on a propane BBQ grill outside.
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oldranger
I converted all lights to led right after purchasing our 166 in 2016.  A couple of them flicker quite a bit which is annoying. At any rate we were good for 3 days off the grid the first 2 years by supplementing with solar charged lanterns.  Last year the batteries began to lose some power.  Replacing the original battery this year with a Battleborn Group 31 lithium battery.  With the original charger in the trailer the lithium battery will take a charge to about 92% capacity. But my battery guy says that is better for the life of the battery. Will still hook up a small solar panel during multi day stops off the grid. I'm expecting  close to 5 days off the grid if we are careful.
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mkevenson
Oldranger, I too went to Lithium. I had a solar system before I switched. The controller was not capable of charging the lithium battery adequatley due to the battery algorithm. You may want to ask the solar folks about yours. I decided to use a stand alone charger that brings the lithium up to 100% I plug it in to the exterior AC outlet and use constantly. It is a smart charger and very portable.  Your new lithium battery will allow you to drop battery charge to just shy of 100% with no ill effect so you should get 2x the life per charge as your lead acid battery, assuming you were only discharging 50%, as is recommended. With 4-5 hrs sun and conservative use of battery you should be able to go as long as you want. You may find fresh water being a limiting factor instead of electricity. Good luck!
Mark
Please buy Made in USA
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TravelerGuy
Good information here, guys!  Oldranger and mkevenson, what capacity Lithium batteries did you buy?  100 amp-hour?  And are they Lithium Iron?  We have a 177SE with all led lighting.  We'd use the fridge, some inside lights for reading, charge two laptops & cellphones, and of course the water pump for toilet and cooking.
I'm considering a 100 amp-hour lithium iron, but they are so expensive.  For not much more, I can find 150 amp-hour on ebay.  I realize I need to be sure what I buy has a good on-board BMS system for safe recharging.  I have a 100 watt solar panel set, but I'd like to be able to go a reliable 2 days with no charging at all (some places I'd go have a lot of tree cover, so less direct sunlight).  Do you think I could do that with 100 amp-hrs. of lithium battery?  Should I get 150 amp-hour?

Regards,
TravelerGuy
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mkevenson
Travlerguy, do the math to extend to the theoretical end of the lithium battery. I found that the initial cost was less than the projected cost of multiple lead acid. Yes , mine is 100AH iron. There are other advantages with lithium. One is you can discharge to close to 0 as opposed to 50% with lead acid. Lithium is also quicker to recharge, or so I have been told. Time will tell. How long has your lead acid lasted? I am new but many I have Talked to say 2-3 yrs tops for lead acid.
 
Mark
Please buy Made in USA
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KLandry
Lead acid batteries in cars and in the aircraft I work on average 3-5 years if properly cared for. That being said, if they have a small constant current draw on them and are allowed to completely discharge, this will shorten the life greatly. Recently had a customer with an 18 month old battery that was junk because of lack of proper maintenance. Hope this helps, Keith
Keith
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kirkdc
For my 150, I upgraded with a Battle Born Lithium ion 12 volt 100 amper. They are 950 bucks but excellent IMO.

LED's are a must and a simple shut off at the battery is a great option as well (kills vampire loads)

Another good option and way less expensive are lead acid 12v Trojans (300-400 bucks). I ran Trojans (L-16's) for years for my off-grid cabin and loved them. I got 10 years out of them and worked them hard (but maintenance is a must and you can't deplete them too much or they poop out)

Lithium drawbacks? They are a bit finicky and you'll need a good controller to keep them happy. They don't like overcharging (but have a built in BMS (battery-monitoring system) that shuts them down when voltage is too high or too low) No need to absorb either.. Once charged they like to just float at idle. Ad yes, they charge back up in no time. OTOH, as mentioned, you can drain the heck out of them and not damage them.
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mikes
True deep cycle batteries can last 10 years or more, if charged correctly soon after every discharge (and kept full of water). The typical group 24/27 marine/rv "deep cycle" batteries, aren't "true" deep cycle batteries - they're only a bit better than an automotive starting battery. Fine for a few hours running a trolling motor, powering a camper for a long weekend, not so much.

The most cost effective deep cycle batteries are made for golf carts, because they sell lots of them and they're widely distributed. But they don't come in 12V versions. You can get a pair of 6V ones for a couple of hundred bucks. The only issue is mounting them. Here's what I did, with a Craigslist bedframe and some cutting/welding:
[GC2_open] 

Those are Trojan "black box" batteries, very similar to the branded Trojan T-105s. Realistically, the pair provides about 3 times the energy a single 12V "RV" battery can, in addition to having a longer lifetime. We have solar, and can easily go a long weekend with overcast skies, and indefinitely with sun.

As kirkdc mentioned, they do make 12V ones, but they cost more than the equivalent in golf cart ones, are harder to find, and still won't fit in the stock location.
Mike
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TravelerGuy
Hi Mikes,
Thanks for the great info.  We don't do much dry camping (yet), but went 2 days last September.  Had 100 w. solar panels, but in the shade.  Camped Friday-Saturday ok, and Sunday morning woke to an alarm that the fridge wouldn't light.  Battery dead.  It was a group 24 Marine/RV battery.  So I quickly swapped batteries with the spare in the truck.  Later I discovered that the bad battery was very low on water.  My fault, shouid have been checking.

At a yard sale, I bought a group 27 Marine/RV battery that was probably 2 years old.  Charged it up, put it in and seemed ok.  Left the 177SE on shore power over the Michigan winter.  After reading Joe's advice to disconnect the battery for 3 days every so often, I just did that, but after 2 days of nothing but the usual phantom power draws, I checked it, and battery read zero power (no red led's).  Now I'm not sure about the group 27 battery I've got.  Gotta check the water level soon.

For a longer-term replacement, I'm torn between 2 golf cart batteries like you did (nice work!), or biting the bullet and spending $600 or more on a 100 amp-hour lithium iron battery.  I'm sure that once every golf cart and small vehicle has lithium-iron, the prices will come down drastically.  I'm so cheap that I'll probably wait...  But I won't be buying any more "Marine/RV" batteries.

Regards,
TravelerGuy
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oldranger
Be careful about purchasing the cut-rate lithium-iron batteries. I'm doing 2 things in my purchases (not only am I purchasing lithium batteries for my 166 but also purchasing 3 batteries for my fishing boat) 1. Going with established names (Trojan, Battleborn) and a local dealer who purchases lots of batteries so if there is an issue he will go to bat for me with a little more clout than just me who has purchased just one or two batteries. They will also do the installation and give me a couple of bucks for the old batteries.
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oldranger
Oh and the cost is the same as I can get on line.
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