It’s time to go shopping for house batteries for our Winnebago motorhome. For those armchair travelers or newbie RVers, I’ll give you a quick explanation, keeping in mind that I am not a technical person.
Most motorhomes have two separate battery banks. One bank is called the “coach” battery bank, and is used to start the engine and power the headlights, taillights, etc. on a motorhome. Depending on the size of the motorhome, this bank usually consists of one or two 12 volt batteries.
The second battery bank are the “house” batteries, which power the 12 volt interior lights, the fans for the furnaces, supply power to start the refrigerator when operating on propane, and provide spark to light the water heater, among other tasks. Again, depending on the size of the motorhome, the house battery bank can be anything from one battery to as many as you can carry.
House batteries can also be 12 volt batteries connected in parallel, or 6 volt batteries wired in series. Connecting two or more batteries in parallel keeps the same voltage of the individual batteries, but doubles (or triples) their capacity. Connecting two or more batteries in series doubles the voltage, while keeping the same capacity, as I understand it.
Anyway, when we bought the Winnebago, the previous owner told us that he had put three new deep cycle house batteries in a couple of months earlier. Terry and I have noticed that the batteries do not hold a charge very long when we have done any dry camping, so while we were visiting with Mike Steffen a few weeks ago, we pulled out the battery tray and discovered that the house batteries in the motorhome are actually starting batteries, which do not hold up to RV service.
In our bus conversion, we had three huge 8D Lifeline Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries, which provided a lot of power and served us very well. The Winnebago cannot accommodate such large batteries, it has the smaller Group 31 size.
As with all RVers, our needs have changed over time, and we do not expect to do as much dry camping as we have done in the past. Back when we did a lot of boondocking, we once spent over seven straight months off the grid. But these days we may spend two or three nights in parking lots as we make a trip, or at an RV rally, but that’s about it. We prefer to be in an RV park, so we do not feel that we need to spend the extra money for AGM batteries. We will probably go with regular deep cycle RV batteries, which cost much less than AGMs.
I stopped at a battery store yesterday, and they carry Deka batteries, in both standard RV style deep cycle, and in AGM. I’m not familiar with the Deka brand, but in looking online, I see a lot of good reports on them. I think they are better known in the eastern half of the country. Does anybody here have any experience with Deka batteries?
Once we get the batteries replaced, we’ll be tire shopping, but that’s another day, and another blog.
Thought For The Day – God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.