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Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Dry As Toast Posty

As I write this, Lovely Ouray sleeps, a cover of darkness pulled over her head... wild and crazy REM dreams bouncing off Box Canyon walls. What in the hell am I doing... up with the bread bakers? I should be REMing out with Marylyn, or Cher, or, God forbid a nightmare on Oak street, Madeleine Albright. Maybe I'm sleepless in Ouray because of a Lazy Daze list that seems to grow by two items for every one I cross off. The countdown is on and we are down to days, hours and minutes. 

While soaking in 104 degrees of Hot Springs mineral water day before yesterday, I noticed the first snowplow of the season drive by. Red and blue lights flashed ambulance-like as it headed up the switchbacks, bound for Red Mountain Pass. Probably some serious snow going on up at 11,000 feet... or rockfall... or both. The first few freeze and thaws after a snow seems to dislodge a new batch of rocks every season. Then come December, avalanche season begins. I don't know which would be worse, being crushed by a multi-ton boulder, or being broadsided by a hundred mile per hour snow-slide. It takes Major Cojones to plow Red Mountain all winter long. More than a few drivers never made it home. 

Weather guessers predict the sun will come out of hiding today, which always jinxes our forecast. I tried working on Goldilocks during this cold snap and it kinda took the fun out of it (shiver). I guess I should consider long pants. 

And now, I have a question for the Electric Techs in the audience. Flipping through the Lazy Daze Manuel, I noticed a capitalized bold printed sentence that, more or less, said, "When adding batteries, DO NOT use one or more 12 volt batteries with the existing two six volt factory installed batteries.

Well, I already did. Nothing has happened (yet), and everything seems to be working just fine. But now I'm worried, trying to figure out why one shouldn't do that. I bought another battery yesterday, just in case, to replace the perfectly good two six volt batteries, but I hate to waste them as they are new. Any Ideas why you shouldn't be able to ad in parallel three 12 volt batteries to a pair of six volters wired in series to make it 12 volts?  Any help would be appreciated. Happy Sunday, Mark.


  1. Mark, The difference in how 12 volt batteries and 6 volt charge is the issue. Because the batteries charge differently the gas given off during charging is also different. The gas is highly explosive and by mixing the batteries one or the other will give off excessive gas leaving the potential for the gas to explode. Here is a website that explains it better than I can. http://www.rvforum.net/miscfiles/batterycon-1.pdf

    Enjoying your fall through your pictures.


  2. I know nothing about electric systems so hope the above link helps you out.

    I also don't do cold and snow, if I can help it. Surely time to hit the road.

  3. My, my, my...judging from Mindy's response above you asked a really good question. Wow. Good thing you asked. Don't want any explosions going on in the Lazy Daze!

  4. Mark, if you were charging the 6 volters at the maximum rate, it would probably be too fast for the 12 volters, which might hurt their lifetimes.

    But if you're charging each battery at 10-15 Amps -- which is slow -- I doubt there is a problem.

    You didn't say what kind of charger you had. If its the OEM 1994 model, I'll bet it puts out 13.6 Volt, isn't even a multistage charger, and therefore charges SLOW, so I don't see a problem.

  5. Maybe that 10-15 amp charging for EACH battery should be changed to 8-10 in my last comment.

    If you bought a new multistage charger, its circuitry might get confused about the state of charge if you are mixing 6 and 12 volt batteries.

  6. Beautiful photos as always - thanks for sharing. Good luck and safe travels as you reach your departure date! :-)

  7. My take on the battery situation: you may be able to get away with it in the short run, but as Mindy said, due to the differing charging characteristics, it's not a good idea in the long run.

    I should add that for questions like this one, a great place to get answers is the Yahoo Lazy Daze discussion group. The folks there are super-helpful, and have gotten me out of a number of jams with their expert advice. (Disclaimer: I moderate the group. :-)

  8. One other thing... and I hate to say this, because it's probably too late... but for the record: those Everstart marine batteries you installed aren't the best choice for house batteries. Quoting the RVForum article, "DON’T be tempted to buy 'Marine/Deep Cycle' batteries for use as your house batteries. At best, they are a compromise between a starting battery and a deep cycle battery. While some do a fairly good job of both, none can match the performance and longevity of a true deep cycle battery."

  9. what Andy said and also for future reference... You'll almost always get significantly more Ampere hours out of 2 six volt batts then 2 twelve volts. they ain't apples and apples. Not sure of the physics/why... just that it's the way it is. ;)

    the "marine" are a hybrid between the High draw for a short time starting batteries and the low draw for a long time deep cycle.

    They were engineered to do two different things... Ie. high amps of cranking a motor vs. the low draw of lights and the stereo. :)

    I got into the routine of keeping our batteries at 12.4 volts or above (roughly 20% discharge) that extends their life span considerably... doing that ours are just now really starting to show their age... and well over five years old!

    One other thing... adding NEW batteries to OLD batteries... the NEW batts quickly get pulled down to the level/performance of the OLD batts. Adding fresh to anything with any age on them at all, and the capacity loss that goes with that age, you only throw away that much of the capacity of the New :(

    Now that we've all cheered you up... I'll just go to bed now!

  10. Chris and Mindy,
    Thanks for the link. I changed out the two six volters for a 12... just to be safe. Looks like I didn't get the correct "deep cycle" batteries tho :((

    Apparently I don't know enough about DC systems. I've wired houses... but RV's are peculiar, I guess. We are down to days till our windshield has a road in it :))

    Travel Bug,
    No... no explosions, nor fires. I don't think the Insurance company values Goldie as much as I do. It would be a shame to lose her.

    The charger is original equipment, I'm sure, so I don't know if it meets the criteria you set forth. I hate to replace the charger since I've seemingly bought the wrong batteries. We'll see how long I have to run the Honda 2000 to recharge them and go from there.

    Desert Diva,
    Thank you... photos, I know :))

    Thanks for setting me straight... and ruining my day :)).
    I have always had pretty good luck with Marine hybrids in all my RVs... and i've had a bunch. I don't doubt that what you say is true tho... it seems like their is always something better out there for those with deeper pockets that live in big supply cities. Unfortunately, I live in a small town next to a slightly bigger small town that has a Walmart.

    I tried to find prices on the true deep cycle batteries that you speak of and they seem quite a bit more expensive. So here's my question, or statement... if I spend half as much for a battery system that lasts half as long, money wise, isn't it a wash? Maybe the Marine battery hybrid won't last quite as long in between charges, nor have the life span of the true deep cycle, but if I lay out less money for the hybrids and just run my Honda Generator a little more every night, maybe it's not the end of the world. That's what I've always done before with every kind of RV you can imagine.

    We'll see how this plays out, and I'm sure the next time I need RV batteries I'll take your advice and go the way of spending more for better quality and amps. For now, tho, running five sets of twin bulb florescent lights for most of the day, the furnace motor on and off, and misc. other things while the Lazy Daze was unplugged... these batteries remained in the "GOOD" range after four days. Time will tell.

    I appreciate your expertise and that you shed some light on my DC shortcomings.

    You are never around when I need you!!!
    Oh well, If a guy learns by his mistakes, I'm a pretty smart man. One thing about me, tho, I never keep an RV long enough to see how the Battery question works out :)). Thanks for your expertise!

  11. "One thing about me, tho, I never keep an RV long enough to see how the Battery question works out :))."

    Oh, that's just wrong....

    PS:I can try and have Marc address your battery/charging questions if you'd like.

  12. Claudia,
    It is "wrong," isn't it?
    If Marc can add anything to the conversation I'd appreciate his opinion... he is, after all, the Jack Master of all trades.
    thank you!


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