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Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries

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Doneworking

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2015, 10:10:21 am »
That would be a great idea, Ron.   I envy you with the location you have for your panel.  Ours (2013 2350) is located behind the driver's seat and is a pain to lean down and read if the light is not just right.  Probably, the hood has changed over the years not allowing such an arrangement.  We stack and store a lot of stuff between the driver's seat and the couch and that makes it sometimes a little more difficult to monitor the monitors.  Not a big deal, but still having the info out in the middle of the coach is much better IMO. 

By the way, you might consider also a wireless thermometer in your refrig with the monitor on that panel.  We really love to be cognizant of that temp at all times without opening the door.

Paul

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2015, 10:23:33 am »
I envy you with the location you have for your panel.  Ours (2013 2350) is located behind the driver's seat and is a pain to lean down and read if the light is not just right.  Paul
Hi Paul,

Like you say, our monitor panel is in a very convenient location.  But with all things "RV" there are trade-offs.  Our venting hood with monitor panel places the microwave oven so very high.  My wife would say it is much better to have a microwave oven/vented hood combo placed that much lower, rather than our current configuration.  At 5'-2", she has a hard time with the height of our microwave, placing & removing food, and monitoring the cooking process.  It doesn't help that we have vents between the microwave and the hood.  That makes her situation worse yet.  I don't want to mess with the venting around the microwave oven for I am sure it is needed when using the convection oven setting.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 10:25:27 am by ron.dittmer »
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TomHanlon

Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2015, 12:05:30 pm »
Ron, our Xantrex inverter on the wing behind the drivers seat tell me the volt when I turn it on. Don't you have one of these also?

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 12:20:59 pm »
Ron, our Xantrex inverter on the wing behind the drivers seat tell me the volt when I turn it on. Don't you have one of these also?
No Tom, we don't.  Our older Tripp-Lite's switch panel under the fridge has no meter reading.  Just LEDs and a switch for "Auto Invert" & "Line Charge Only".

Here is a picture of our Tripp-Lite control panel, the panel to the right.  You can see the green/yellow/red LEDs along each side.  The lights work as follows.

- Green = Good
- Green/Yellow = Not As Good (in reality, the batteries are already severely drained)
- Yellow - Fair  (in reality you waited too long)
- Yellow/Red = About To Die (you'll need days on a slow charge to bring them back to a usable but permanently weaker condition)
- Red = You Killed The Batteries (it's over, just buy new batteries)

This is not a good method for monitoring the health of our batteries.  On top of that, I only turn on the inverter when we want to use inverted 110v which is not very often.  So this monitor is nearly useless to us, hence I want to install a voltmeter that is always on and in plain sight.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 03:50:35 pm by ron.dittmer »
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TomHanlon

Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2015, 02:32:17 pm »
Oh.

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2015, 04:54:27 am »
I'm clueless about these things but would it make sense to mount a new battery monitor in the same place as the old one? My brain says all the wires are already there, they just don't feed to a digital display. Even if the wires aren't there, you could run them and just pull out the old monitor since it is useless anyhow. (Though the height might be an issue).

I know you'd find a use for all those rectangles over the stove. They will call to you until you use every one.
John, Holly, and sometimes Chloe.
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2015, 06:56:11 am »
I'm clueless about these things but would it make sense to mount a new battery monitor in the same place as the old one? My brain says all the wires are already there, they just don't feed to a digital display. Even if the wires aren't there, you could run them and just pull out the old monitor since it is useless anyhow. (Though the height might be an issue).

I know you'd find a use for all those rectangles over the stove. They will call to you until you use every one.
The easiest, cleanest, and least risk installation will be to leave the existing monitoring alone.  I plan to simply utilize the blanks on the right side of the panel.  12V power will be tapped from the existing volt meter.  In the end I will have two working volt meters.

1) the original segmented LED volt meter
2) a digital volt meter

I did buy the 3 function digital meter and supporting switches on ebay for a grand total of $19.44 including shipping.  The plan is to have it appear as an original feature, very nice & professional.  It does seem to be a fairly simple project to do.
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2015, 11:26:19 am »
I received the 3-function display (volts, temp, time) only to learn that I ordered the wrong one  :'(  I bought the one that reads out in celsius and has a 24 hour clock....all my own doing, a senior moment no doubt.  I reordered in fahrenheit and 12 hour clock, waiting once again.  Oh well.  At least I got to study the unit closely and play with it a bit.  The right unit will be a nice & useful enhancement to our control panel.
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2015, 07:30:26 am »
I got the right one and installed it.  CLICK HERE for the details.  It turned out great.
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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2017, 03:37:36 pm »
It has been a good long while since I followed up on this.

The two Sam's Club Duracel 6V AGM batteries in the house are serving us extremely well with never a mess of checking acid levels and cleaning up boil-overs & battery terminals.  With the house-battery volt meter installed in my kitchen hood monitor panel, and a second volt meter plugged into my Ford V10 chassis cigarette lighter outlet in the dash, I monitor both house and engine battery voltages all the time, and they tell me everything is doing quite well.

I found it odd that both volt meters read the same all the time when the engine is running, just shy of 14.0 volts.....~13.8v, and it never seems to change whether driving on the open road or idling.  Apparently the Ford V10's alternator/regulator just pumps out a consistent ~13.8 volts regardless of load or lack there-of.

Just after the V10 engine is turned off, all batteries quickly settle to around 12.7 volts unless a load is present...something turned on, especially popular with the house batteries where it could drop to around 12.5 volts.

The Ford V10 chassis battery is easy to ignore since it doesn't get used much when parked.  I never let the house battery voltage drop below 12.1 volts.  I'll charge them up with my Black & Decker charger running off the generator for a quick efficient recovery.

The two volt meters have taught me a lot about the health and care of our batteries.  I am so glad I have them.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 08:37:12 am by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2017, 10:48:50 pm »
Thanks for your diligence on following up the old post.    Great information.   
Would replacing my  single 12 volt house battery  with an AGM  be beneficial ?
Where did you find the plug-in 12 volt  meter  ?

jim

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2017, 12:44:31 pm »
With just one 12V house battery in an easy-inspect roll-out tray, I think the cost for an AGM is not worth the expense.  As well, I am not convinced that if you have two 12V house batteries, the cost for AGMs is worth it.  To me, the AGMs are ideal when you can't easily check fluid levels like I now have with my current 6V conversion.

My experience with two 12Vs is that they drain out of sync with each other.  One drains much faster than the other, then boil-overs happen when charging.  With all that going wrong, your power reserves suffer, and battery life suffers too.  I am no expert, but that has been my experience with two pairs of 12V batteries, and one pair of 6Vs.

I look at it this way.  Every battery operated toy, flashlight, or other electronic devise using rechargeable or disposable batteries, the maker stacks the batteries (in series) like the two 6Vs are in my PC for "best energy utilization".  With 6V AGMs, I surely don't have any boil-overs.  I wonder if PC owners with wet acid 6V batteries deal with boil-overs.

Oh, I forgot about the cigarette lighter plug-in volt meter.  I bought mine on Ebay for a couple dollars.  They come in many different color read-outs.  I bought green to match my dashboard color.  HERE is a blue/red for $1.83 with free shipping.

HERE is my green one for $5.35 with free shipping.  Buy two, plug one in the dash up front, the other in your 12V socket to the right of your main TV and you're all set.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 02:48:22 pm by ron.dittmer »
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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2017, 02:34:28 pm »
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000EVWDU0/ref=mp_s_a_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1487013739&sr=8-22&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=12+v+volt+meter+cigarette+plug&dpPl=1&dpID=4105fQmT1vL&ref=plSrch

This is an easy to use meter that checks battery voltage.  It has a cigarette lighter style plug thus allowing it to be used to check chassis battery voltage by plugging into the the center console receptacle .  It can also measure coach battery voltage by plugging into a coach receptacle.  I have also used it in our car to check on battery voltage and alternator charging voltage.

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2017, 05:03:46 pm »
Thanks Ron and Fandj, another good  tool to have !

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Re: Converting From Two 12V Batteries To Two 6V Batteries
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2017, 10:41:12 am »
Today on another forum, I explained my experience with two sets of 12V batteries, and the benefits converting to two 6V batteries.  It seemed a good idea to share it on this thread.

Ron

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We had two sets of 12V batteries prior to the pair of 6V batteries we have now.  The two 6V batteries perform much MUCH better. Unlike 12V batteries wired in parallel, the 6Vs drain in unison and charge in unison which provide more extended 12V power than two 12Vs.

Our 12V batteries wired properly for power balance, one 12V battery always drained faster than the other.  When charging them, one would always get over-charged while the other never got fully charged. Eventually one battery becomes ill from it all, causing us to replace the batteries prematurely.

Our 12V batteries, year #1 was always good. Year #2 was okay. Year #3 was rocky. Once we tried year #4. As Trump would say, year #4 was "A Disaster". With our 6V batteries, they are AGM batteries selected for their maintenance-free benefit, we finished year #3 and they performed like year #1. They do so well that I leave them wired up to our PC off season so I have interior lighting. When I power-up, my power panel display shows their voltage around 12.6V +/- 0.1V which is right where they should be. I do put them on a secondary Black & Decker charger over-night about once every 2 to 3 months for maintenance.

I bought our Duracaell 6V AGM batteries at Costco. You can also get standard lead acid there.  The AGMs cost about 2/3 more but well worth it for the maintenance-free, boil-over-free benefit.

If switching from 12V to 6V batteries, make sure your battery compartment can handle their increased height. 6V batteries are a few inches taller. I had to modify our battery compartment to accommodate for the extra height.  AGM batteries will require chargers with an AGM setting. So if switching to AGM technology, make sure your RV charger has an AGM setting. I think the AGM setting pumps out a slightly higher voltage.  Our 2007 Tripp-Lite inverter has an AGM setting via changing jumpers per the owners manual.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 10:46:12 am by ron.dittmer »
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