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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Why 6V battery instead of 12V?

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Kevin J

Indiana

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Posted: 04/18/13 05:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Forgive my ignorance, but I read a lot about using 6V house batteries instead of 12V and I don't understand why. It seems that a 12V battery will provide energy to a load at 1/2 the amperage that a 6V does and amperage is what we are trying to conserve isn't it? Would someone please explain to me why 6V is preferred?
Thanks.


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tenbear

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Posted: 04/18/13 05:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thee only way you can use 6 volt batteries is to use 2 of them in series to give you 12 volts. If you are using 2 batteries, 2 6v batteries in series will provide more ampere hours than 2 12v batteries in parallel. One reason for this is that 6v batteries have 3 cells while 12v batteries have 6 cells so there is more volume available for each cell in a 6v battery.

The down side to 6v batteries is if one fails, you are dead. If one 12v battery fails you can disconnect it and keep on truckin'.


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accsys

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Posted: 04/18/13 05:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your coach most likely has two 12V batteries hooked up in parallel for the house 12 volt needs. Usually you can get six volt batteries with the same footprint, though a little taller, so that when you hook two of them up in series it will give you 12 volts with a higher amp/hour rating. You might want to read up on The 12V Side of Life to get a clearer understanding of this.


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MEXICOWANDERER

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Posted: 04/18/13 05:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DURABILITY and FORGIVENESS of mistreatment.

skipnchar

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Posted: 04/18/13 06:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The pair of 6 volt batteries has more amp hours than all but the VERY BEST 12 volt batteries so they last longer when camping. The BIGGEST benefit is that the plates are further apart and MUCH thicker solid lead instead of a waffle cone which means they will stand up to FAR more deep discharges without being damaged. The marine/RV combination starting and deep cycle battery may stand up to a dozen deep discharges (IF YOU'RE VERY LUCKY) before it's toast but the 6 volt golf cart batteries will stand up to several hundred of those cycles. I get over 8 years out of duel 6 volt batteries as opposed to replacing 12 volts every couple of years at least. When my last set was 8 years old they were stolen from my trailer tongue so no TELLING how long they would have lasted. I dry camp frequently and the batteries get very hard use.

If you camp at sites that have electric hook ups then the Marine/RV batteries are probably what you need because you're not putting much use om the batteries.


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time2roll

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Posted: 04/18/13 06:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you have read a lot on 6v vs 12v.... what is still confusing? What concerns do you have for your situation?


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Kevin J

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Posted: 04/18/13 07:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you all for your replies, especially the link to "The 12V Side of Life".
I think my take on this is that, if everything were equal, 12V would theoretically be better, but in reality, 6V components are superior. When the time comes to replace my batteries, I'll look into the feasibility of installing 6V batteries in my MH.
Thanks again, safe travels.

pianotuna

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Posted: 04/18/13 08:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Kevin,

The real answer is "it depends". My system was designed using 12 volt jars because I use my inverter LOTS! Six volt jars would not work well for me at all. As the trend seems to be to larger and larger inverters don't rule out 12 volt jars.

The reality is that any voltage can be made to work extremely well in an RV. But you must plan it.

If I could afford it, I'd have six individual two volt cells.

The 12 volt side of life has a few errors in it. Try this site instead:

http://rvroadtrip.us/library/12v_system.php

Kevin J wrote:

I think my take on this is that, if everything were equal, 12V would theoretically be better, but in reality, 6V components are superior. When the time comes to replace my batteries, I'll look into the feasibility of installing 6V batteries in my MH.
Thanks again, safe travels.



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RJsfishin

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Posted: 04/19/13 09:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:
My system was designed using 12 volt jars because I use my inverter LOTS! Six volt jars would not work well for me at all.
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I am curious, why would using an inverter a lot not work well at all on 6 volt batteries. Could you please explain that ?


Rich

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pianotuna

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Posted: 04/19/13 10:03am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Rich,

The OEM configuration was able to support 3 group 29 jars. Going to 12 volt gave me 50% extra capacity over a 6 volt system. I've since added another four twelve volt batteries.

With the thicker plates in six volt jars there may be more voltage drop. If it drops too low then the inverter may cut out. I routinely draw 200 amps for an hour. The system parameters included running a 50 amp load for three hours at -40.

There is always a trade off, so what works well for me may be unsuitable for someone else. Statistically speaking the greater the number of cells the greater the chance of failure. However the other side of the coin is that the demands on each cell are 50% lower.

Longevity is more about taking proper care of the system than the voltage of the jars. In my case that includes solar charging to maintain the banks between trips.

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