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Old 06-06-2019, 02:00 PM   #1
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Converting from 12v to 6v battery system

As an owner of the new Navions with a 200W solar system trying to support the troublesome Norcold compressor fridge, I am considering converting from the existing relatively low AH coach 12v battery bank to two 6v batteries in series for a total of 240 AHs. While I'm learning a lot in this process, most of what I'm learning is how much I don't know about how this whole system works and, while I know I may have to modify my battery compartment, going to two 6v batteries will keep the required mods to a minimum while greatly increasing my AHs over the current group 21 OEM NAPA junk. So, its a time and money compromise I Know.


So, the decision is still evolving, I'm trying to factor in as much as I can and I've already learning a lot from many of you in this forum with far more expertise than I have.

In general, Is there a downside to converting to 6Vs? Given that the Mercedes chassis does charge the coach batteries when the engine is running, will this be a problem for the 6vs in series? Given that battery chargers have to be set for type of battery, will this be a problem for the engine if I move to AGMs rather than wet cell?
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:17 PM   #2
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battery circus

Join the crowd of unhappy campers with the cheep NAPA batteries. The two 6v batteries fit with minor changes. I did the two T-1275 Trojan batteries for 300 Ah. It is not a difficult change to the box. Hit my picture on the left and go to my albums where there are a lot of modifications that I have done to my View. You may want to add anther panel to the roof to get 300 watts. Good luck.
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:50 PM   #3
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Thanks Tucsontoy, I’ve looked at your pics earlier. it will probably come to that modification and I’ll use your guidance. For now, I’m just pulling together all my options. Did you remove the fuse on the top of your fridge?

As others have said, I was well aware of the fridge related issues before I pulled the plug on this coach but the folks at Winnebago assured me repeatedly that it had all been corrected on my particular coach. Right.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:00 PM   #4
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No major downsides. You'll have to religiously add water to your 6v batteries. They off gas, too. So, you have that minor issue. You have to be sure to connect them to chargers and loads using both batteries. Don't connect pos and neg charging and load leads to just one battery. Think of them as one large 12v battery with a pos lead on one and the negative lead on the other.

It's a LOT more expensive... but you should at least consider LiPo4 batteries. Really a lot bigger job and more expense. But you might be ending up there anyway in the near future.

Also 2-6v batteries are going to weigh a fair bit. Some would say a ton.

From what I hear, the new Views are seeing their 12v compressor fridges running all the time and this is what's using all the power.

We have a 110v Residential fridge and it runs off of the inverter - but it is super efficient and the installation was well thought out.

PS. Forum member Kayak73 has this issue and installed the two 6v batteries and he's posted extensively on this subject. I think he suspects that the Converter is not up to fully charging the batteries. He's also found that when the batteries are charging that the solar charger is hampering a full charge. At least I think that's what he's said.

Here's a link to his thread: http://www.winnieowners.com/forums/f...le-354516.html
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:25 PM   #5
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Yes, extensively, but I really just want to help others who I know are struggling with the new V/N rigs. Just a note to help Free Ranger. Today my remote pendant for the PD9245 came in. Uncovered the converter and plugged in the pendant and solar was on and charging at low amps (raining), converter was off, battery probably down 30%. Turned on converter (using the breaker) and it immediately went into float mode and the blinks on the pendant confirmed my prior testing. I do think this converter is also going down. This will be my second PD9245. When in bulk mode I measure only 13.9 - 14.0 at the battery connects of converter, should be 14.4.



Held down the button on the pendant and forced the converter into bulk mode - it worked! So there is a tidbit you want to remember. The little pendant remote is only $11 from Amazon - get it! When you get behind dry camping and want to charge the battery, start the generator and set the converter to bulk charge (green led on pendant steady on). Of course I took the hard way but I'm happy I have the shutoff switches to isolate the solar panels/controller when working on batteries and testing, etc.


There's a bunch of good info at battery university - google it, read and get on top of batteries, connections etc., it is something you always deal with in the RV, one way or another.
https://batteryuniversity.com/
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:10 AM   #6
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Thanks again Kayak73. Your information is always helpful and appreciated. Retirement RVing wasn't supposed to be a career.
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:08 PM   #7
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You are welcome and after 20 years of this it is always a learning curve with each RV. Technology changes, engines, everything changes, mux wiring systems and I agree, would be nice almost to get back to the basics or Luckenbach, TX or something. It really does seem like a career sometimes.


BTW, I'm pulling those high dollar cutoff switches to use later in the battery compartment etc. I found two 30amp switchable breakers at DellCity for 7.50 ea. That will work just fine for the solar disconnects.
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:51 AM   #8
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Got a link to that switchable breaker
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Touchdown2 View Post
Got a link to that switchable breaker

https://www.delcity.net/store/Del-Ci...FXf_4wcdUJEDbg


Now where is that tiny url thing I used before...


Or...just google Del City 30 amp switchable breaker
part 76855


Get two, one for the lead from the panel NEG to controller and one for the controller NEG to battery ground. I've been told to disconnect the NEG from panels first, then the other. You should provide a 20% margin increase in current to trip the breakers so if you should max out the 3 port Zamp system you will still be good with these because you would/should never have more than 24-25 amps going into the combiner - same reason.
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Old 06-11-2019, 06:18 AM   #10
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Just trying to understand something here...connecting your two 6V batteries in series will give you 12V, but not effect the amperage. It should remain at whatever the original Ah capacity was for the batteries. No?
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylake View Post
Just trying to understand something here...connecting your two 6V batteries in series will give you 12V, but not effect the amperage. It should remain at whatever the original Ah capacity was for the batteries. No?

There is a link to the battery university given...


Batteries in series double the voltage, amperage is the same as one of the single batteries. Two 6VDC batteries at 125AH ea yields in series, 12.7VDC at 125AH.



Batteries in parallel the voltage remains the same as a single battery but the amperage is added together, ie., two 150 amp 12.7vdc batteries in parallel = 300AH at 12.7VDC


This assumes, know what that means, that we have identical brand new batteries in perfect condition and at spec. Each connection method has plus and minus (benefits) depending on the application but normally when only TWO batteries are involved and they are both deep cycle, high end quality spec batteries it is a wash but most favor series connect for longevity. That's simply because the 6volt batteries will have normally larger plates for the desired amperage and voltage.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:46 AM   #12
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Somewhere in the refrigerator discussions I put up a link that shows charge rates for a typical deep cycle battery. I mention that because it can get very steep trying to put a charge back into deep cycle FLA batteries. The more AH you put in that battery tray the more of a challenge it becomes to get a charge put back into them. So...as everyone starts a sentence with now...plan your recharge ability and think of the battery bank as a gas tank. You don't always need it full but if it runs dry it is dead and need replacement likely sooner. You want to manage the load, discharge rate and charge ability in hours required. Float the discharge between 50% SOC 60% SOC, recharge to 80 or 90% SOC. It is very difficult to do with our 12volt refrigerator. I'm not saying impossible but very difficult for those of us who want to dry camp. It is not simply about tossing in enough AH to run overnight, I have done that and I can make it 3 nights no problem. Then I am too far behind on the recharge and down in the power curve to get back without a 24 hour converter/charger run.



Solar is great, it works for those is some areas better than others. If you camp in long sun days, open areas etc. it helps a lot but it is more a supplement than a solution for the 12vdc refrigerator. FLA batteries have a high resistance to charge. AGM, less and will recharge a bit faster, LiFeP04 has almost no resistance to charge and will take all you can throw at it up to 1C.


Don't think you can toss in a 100amp charger and get those FLA batteries back much faster either, all you will do is boil and out-gas because the internal resistance or charge rate is too high to take it and you get energy dissipated in heat -> boiling and gassing.


Long term the only real solution for dry camping with this refrigerator is probably lithium, otherwise your generator will need frequent oil changes.


Now if I could find good 24 volt panels that would fit on my roof I would put in the MPPT and down rate charge at higher amperage but it would still not provide a real payback and solution for the fridge. It would work far better with lithium also.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:25 AM   #13
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Short answer... yes. A 215 ah 6 volt battery becomes a 215ah 12 volt battery when 2 in series.
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:57 PM   #14
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Remember that you don't really have 250 or so usable amps--FLA or AGM batteries should not be discharged to more than 50%, or 12. 2 volts.

If you want the best--go with LiFePO4 batteries. But you will need a special battery charger, a different relay to connect with the alternator, plus really understand batteries. We have done this on our boat--didn't do it with the Via 25T, because some pieces of the puzzle were not easily available at the time (having to do with charging). Now, I would go with the Li batteries. Weight is about 1/3 for the more amps. But they are expensive. The boat with pure sine wave 2000 watt inverter, 85 amp charger, battery to battery charger and 2 100 amp hour (usable) cost about $3,000.
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