RV Batteries, Getting The Most Power Storage

Most RVs have an electrical system that simply plugs into a power source. When you’re at a more primitive site that has no power or water, your RV’s deep-cycle batteries had better be in top shape to power everything from your fridge, lights, stove and more. Many RV owners don’t always think about their batteries until they stop working, so it’s always important to make sure you have enough energy storage to power all your RV’s accessories. 

The way to ensure your RV has plenty of standby power is to ensure the batteries have enough capacity to handle the power load of all of your RV’s accessories. First, It’s important to know that RVs require a deep-cycle battery for this purpose. These batteries provide longer lasting power compared to regular car starter batteries that are designed to provide maximum power for short periods (to start the engine). Each deep-cycle battery is rated in amp-hours (AH), a measurement of the battery’s capacity. Most are indicated in the amount of current in amps that the battery can provide for 20-hours. 

For example, a deep-cycle battery with a 100 AH rating can deliver 5 amps for 20 hours, or 20 amps for 5 hours, before being discharged. Discharging deep-cycle batteries more than 50-percent will dramatically shorten their life. This is one reason why many experienced RV owners use batteries with the most AH rating they can get. When comparing batteries, make sure you compare them by the same 20-hour standard.

RV owners also switch to using multiple batteries to provide extra capacity. In many instances, this is done by using two smaller 12-volt deep-cycle batteries wired in parallel that will increase the AH capacity rating and leave the voltage at 12-volts. If you really want to dramatically increase your power storage, you can also switch to using two 6-volt batteries that need to be wired in series to produce 12-volts. This can more than double your AH capacity if you have the battery storage space to do so.

Keeping your batteries from being discharged below 50-percent is key to making them last longer, as can checking the water levels in the batteries. In some RVs, it’s difficult to access the batteries for monthly maintenance so some RV owners also install a single-point watering system that makes it easy to add water to each battery from one access point.

For more information on selecting the right RV batteries and maintenance tips on making them last longer, visit www.usbattery.com

Getting The Most Out of U.S. Battery’s Mobile App

U.S. Battery introduced its mobile app earlier this year.  This powerful tool allows users to access exclusive U.S. Battery content from their Apple or Android device. Here are a few ways that the app can be useful to you.

Battery Application Guide

When it comes time to replace one or more of your deep cycle batteries, selecting the right one for your application can be confusing. Battery powered vehicles and equipment often operate under different voltages and run-times, which makes selecting the right deep-cycle battery particularly important.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing created its mobile app to help you make the correct battery selection. The included Battery Application Guide makes it easy to find and select the right battery for a variety of applications including golf carts, floor machines, aerial work platforms, and more. By selecting your machine’s manufacturer and model, you can determine the batteries best suited to ensure your machine’s optimal performance.

Access to Product Spec. Sheets

From the app, you are able to easily access the most up-to-date spec. sheets and product information for all of U.S. Battery’s Flooded Lead Acid and AGM batteries.

 User-Specific Notifications

Learn about new products you might be interested in as soon as they are announced. Users can create a login and get notifications on new products, events, articles, and videos that are customized to their particular interests.

The U.S. Battery app is free and is available for download from iTunes and Google Play.

Camper Van Equipped With Solar And Battery Storage

Traveling Troy outfitted his Astro Van with a solar system and U.S. Battery AGM batteries for energy storage

Not many of us can pack up our van and head out onto the open road for extended periods, but Traveling Troy is a blogger who converted his Chevrolet Astro Van into a camper and is now enjoying the van life. “From the beginning of the build, I knew I wanted to be unplugged from the grid as much as possible,” says Troy. “I knew solar would be my main source of power, but we (my Dad and I) also installed the ability to use stored power and a battery isolator for those rainy days.”

Troy had no idea how many solar cells and batteries he would need, so he began listing all of the electronic components and how often he would use them. “To determine how many watts of solar and the battery size needed, I listed all the power consuming items I planned to use while traveling,” says Troy. “This included my laptop, cellphone, gadgets, fridge, and others.”  U.S. Battery has an Interactive Energy Chart that helps determine battery storage requirements on the U.S. Battery websites. “We took the estimated watt usage from each of these items and determined how many hours or minutes a day I would use them,” he says. “This gave us an idea of maximum daily consumption.”

camper van power center Realizing how much power he was going to need, Troy says he figured to utilize as much of the van’s rooftop for solar panels. “It was decided that we would go as big as we could go with the limited space,” says Troy.  “That ended up being 300 watts of solar panels on the roof of the van and two 6 volt batteries with 210 amp hours inside the van.”

Troy decided to use U.S. Battery AGM deep-cycle batteries because of their compact size and because he wanted something maintenance-free. “We knew space was going to be limited in the small Astro van and every inch mattered,” says Troy. “The battery compartment was no exception.  We chose U.S. Battery AGMs because we wanted a deep cycle battery that was reliable, maintenance free and spill proof.  The plan was to install the batteries in the back corner of the van and build around them.  The area above the batteries and around the batteries was valuable build space.  Two years later, and the U.S. Battery AGM batteries are still going strong.”

The solar system installed in his camper van is a custom build, but many of the pieces are readily available. “Our solar systems consist of Three Renogy 100 watt Monocrystalline solar panels run in parallel to a Renogy PMW solar controller which charges two 6-volt AGM 2000 batteries from U.S. Battery,” says Troy. “All the components are neatly packed into our ‘Power Center’ which uses what would normally be wasted space around the back passenger wheel well of the van.  Some of the components include a 200-watt inverter, 12-volt cigarette plug, shore power breaker and shore power battery charger.”

power center 2 (1)So far, the system has worked well and Troy has had enough power to live out of the van and explore the country. “I’m in the third week of a 3-month road trip and it has been really amazing being on the road full-time and living out of the van, off the grid,” says Troy. “My plan is to explore Arizona and visit the Grand Canyon for my birthday.  Then I’ll be exploring Southern Utah and the Mighty Five National Parks.  Finally, I’m hoping to meet up with my dad and step-mom in Colorado while they’re on a road trip.”

Troy chronicles his trips and the continuous build-up of his camper van on his social media pages, travelingtroy.com. Additional information and videos on the camper van build are on Troy’s YouTube page. www.youtube.com/c/Travelingtroy.

 

 

 

RV Batteries- Tips To Extending Battery Life

Simple Steps To Ensure You’re Never Without Power In Your RV

Backup battery power in your RV provides a great advantage when visiting campsites or locations where hookups aren’t available. However when the maintenance of these deep-cycle batteries is neglected, it can dramatically shorten their overall performance and service life.

While it’s sometimes difficult to always remember to water and check your RV’s batteries, following a strict and regular battery maintenance program can dramatically increase their performance and longevity.

A regular maintenance program for deep-cycle batteries isn’t extremely difficult. Here are several simple procedures to follow that will make them last longer and save you money in the long run.

 

1) Safety Is Most Important
Be sure to wear gloves, eye protection, and work in a well-ventilated area. Remove any electrical loads, even a battery charger, when servicing batteries.

2) Check The Batteries
Open the battery compartment and check to make sure the vent caps on top of the batteries are properly seated. The vent caps contain spark arrestors to help prevent ignition of gasses in and around the batteries. Always keep them in place except during watering.

3) Clean Terminals
Use a solution of baking soda and water to neutralize any corrosion on battery terminals. Use a wire brush with a wooden or plastic handle to prevent accidental arcing. Rinse the area with water and dry with a clean cloth.

4) Check Connections
Battery terminal connections can come loose, so check to make sure they’re tight. The recommended terminal torque is 100 inch-pounds or just 15 to 18 pounds on the end of a six-inch wrench. Use insulated tools or wrap them with electrical tape to prevent accidental arcing. Add a bit of silicone spray on the terminals to resist corrosion.

5) Check Electrolyte Levels
Check the electrolyte levels of the batteries every two to four weeks depending on use. Some electrolyte is lost after each charge cycle, so it’s important to make sure the electrolyte is at the proper level—about a quarter inch below the bottom of the fill well.

6) Add Water
If electrolyte levels are low, add water, but follow these procedures:
a) Always charge the battery before watering but make sure the electrolyte covers the plates before charging. b) Use caution when removing the vent caps to prevent acid splatter. c) Use only distilled or deionized water. d) Use a watering gun or pitcher to fill each cell to prevent over-watering (never use a water hose). e) Water all cells evenly and replace the battery vent caps assuring each one is properly installed and seated.

7) Perform An Equalization Charge
Every thirty days, you should perform an equalization charge, especially if your RV has been in storage. An equalization charge is an extended charge that is done after the normal charge has completed. It causes additional gassing in the electrolyte (bubbling) which is essential for mixing the electrolyte to prevent electrolyte stratification. Stratification is a build-up of stronger acid at the bottom of the battery that can reduce battery life. Make sure to check the battery manufacturer’s recommendations for proper charging to make sure the correct charger is being used. If your charger is equipped with an automatic equalizing mode, make sure the charger is connected and powered up long enough to complete a full equalization charge. If your charger is not equipped with an automatic equalization mode, assure the charger has completed a full charge and then restart the charger by disconnecting AC power and reconnecting. The charger should restart and extend the charge time by one to three hours.

According to Fred Wehmeyer, senior vice president of engineering at U.S. Battery Manufacturing, these maintenance procedures can dramatically increase the life of your RV’s batteries and save you the cost of having to replace them more frequently. In the long run, you’ll enjoy your trips and not have to worry about the power going out when you need it most.

For more information on U.S. Battery’s line of RV and Marine products, visit www.usbattery.com.

Lead Batteries The Most Recycled Product In The U.S.A. According To The EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency compared recycling rates for a multitude of materials and found that lead-acid batteries had the highest recycling rate of all consumer products. The facts were published in a June 2015 EPA report titled Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2013 Fact Sheet. The report assessed the disposal and recycling trends in the USA. In a 2013 study within the report, the EPA found that the rate of lead-acid battery recovery was about 99 percent (2.85 million tons), the highest recycling rate over other products such as newspapers, yard trimmings, aluminum cans, tires, consumer electronics, glass, PET bottles and more.

“The recycling infrastructure for lead-acid batteries is a closed loop (cradle to cradle) system,” says Fred Wehmeyer, Senior Vice President of Engineering at U.S. Battery Manufacturing. “As an example, new flooded lead-acid batteries are manufactured from recycled raw materials and the safe delivery methods used to ship batteries worldwide are also the same methods used to return spent lead-acid batteries to be recycled. Throughout the years the process has become extremely refined and efficient, making it one of the most successful environmental reclamation systems in existence.”

According to the Battery Council International, a variety of processes go into recycling lead-acid batteries in which recycling facilities are controlled under some of the strictest U.S. EPA regulations. Innovative systems have been developed to capture all of the components of lead-acid batteries for recycling. For example, lead from spent batteries is smelted and refined to be reused to build new lead-acid batteries. The sulfuric acid electrolyte is also captured and neutralized during the recycling process and then processed into fertilizer.

With a high recycling rate and low operating cost, the FLA battery remains the best solution for most electrically powered vehicles such as golf cars, floor maintenance machines, access lifts, and other battery operated vehicles. It is also the most efficient technology for storing energy and has the longest track record for safety and reliability. So when you combine this with the highest recycling rates on the planet, it stands to reason that this 150-year-old technology has definitely evolved into an energy source that’s hard to beat.
For more information on flooded lead-acid batteries and battery recycling, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit https://www.usbattery.com.

Diagnosing Battery Charger Problems

Undercharging is one of the most common reasons for reduced operating time and overall poor performance of golf cars and other types of electric vehicles that use deep cycle flooded lead-acid batteries. While many golf car operators blame the batteries, the problem can also result from a poorly performing charging system. Keep in mind that battery chargers are subjected to temperature extremes and corrosive environments that can affect their performance over time. So before you replace another set of batteries, try these diagnostic procedures to ensure your charger and charging methods are working properly. 1. Connect the charger and make sure it is on and charging. Test the voltage at the battery pack positive and negative terminals. On-charge voltage will normally continue to increase until the charger terminates the charge automatically. It is important to determine the maximum on-charge voltage and charge current (on the charge meter if available) observed near the end of the charge cycle just before the charge terminates. 2. Once the charger has completed a charge cycle and has automatically turned off, unplug the power to the charger. Wait one to two minutes and reconnect it. The charger should resume charging normally. Note the charge current and the time at the beginning of charge. This is usually described as an ‘equalization charge’ and should continue for at least 30 minutes before checking the charger’s performance. With many chargers, this step can also be performed by unplugging the DC power cord from the charger to the battery pack. If this method is used, confirm that the charger restarts and continues to charge for at least 30 minutes. 3. It’s at this point that you can begin to check the charger’s performance. Check the on-charge voltage at the battery pack’s positive and negative terminals. The voltage will normally continue to increase to the range of 2.50-2.60 volts per cell, until the charge terminates automatically. See Table I to determine the minimum and maximum on-charge voltages for the battery pack based on nominal pack voltage. If the voltage does not increase or initially increases and then decreases, record the following information. a) The maximum and final on-charge voltages. b) Charge current (if available). d) The charging time from the start until it terminates automatically.

 

Graph Battery On Charge Voltage

4. The next step is to check the on-charge voltage of each battery and compare it to Table II to determine the acceptable Charge Voltage Variation for each battery’s nominal voltage. If the voltage varies beyond the values stated in Table II (either variation from pack average or variation from highest to lowest), replace the lowest voltage battery and repeat the diagnostic test. Test the failed battery separately to determine mode of failure.

 

 

Graph Battery On Charge Volt Variation

Armed with this information, you may be able to determine that the charger is not working properly if:

a) Both the on-charge voltage for the battery pack or on-charge voltage for each battery fail to reach the equivalent of 2.5 volts per cell times the number of cells connected in series.

b) The on-charge voltage increases and then decreases (with charger still charging), and if the on-charge voltage of each battery does not vary by more than the values shown in Table II for 6, 8, or 12 volt batteries; either variation from pack average or variation from highest to lowest. c) If the battery pack on-charge voltage reaches the equivalent of 2.60 volts per cell ( the maximum in Table-I), and the charger does not terminate the charge after 1-3 hours. If you found that your charger is not working properly, keep in mind that your batteries may still be good. Flooded lead-acid batteries can be brought back to full capacity with a full charge.

If you decide to purchase a new charger, look for a programmable charger with a selection of multiple charge algorithms. Deep cycle batteries from various battery manufacturers require different charge characteristics to deliver optimum performance and life. Most charger manufacturers provide programmable chargers with selectable charge algorithms designed for each battery manufacturer’s products. Using the battery manufacturer’s recommended charging procedure will optimize battery performance and life of your battery pack.

After you fully charge the batteries with your new charger, you can always take specific gravity readings for each battery with a hydrometer to determine if the battery is at a full state of charge. Several cycles of charging and discharging with the new charger may be required to return the battery pack to peak capacity. For a more detailed version of this charger diagnostic procedure or more information on flooded lead acid batteries or specific gravity readings for batteries, visit www.usbattery.com.

U.S. Battery Products Receive Bold New Labeling That Also Provides Product Information At-A-Glance

U.S. Battery Manufacturing has updated all of its products with bold, new labels that provide information customers need to easily pick the right battery for their application. “Our new battery labels were designed to be larger, bolder, and allow people to easily see the battery’s performance data and the specific applications they are designed for,” says Don Wallace, U.S. Battery CMO/Executive Vice President. “We asked many of our global distributors to provide some input into the label design. So in response, we have included a QR code for quick access to information on our website as well as application icons that are easy to see and recognize when the batteries are displayed on retailer product shelves. These changes will also address the new labeling standards that will be required in 2016.” The switch to the new battery labels will be a rolling change that will begin February 1, 2015. In a short amount of time, all U.S. Battery products will be shipped with the new labels, and will feature all the same internal components that provide the efficient battery design U.S. Battery customers have come to depend on. Manufactured in the U.S.A., U.S. Battery products feature XC2™ Diamond Plate Technology® to provide the highest initial capacity, highest rated capacity, and the ability to reach peak capacity in fewer cycles than any other battery in their class. For more information contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit www.usbattery.com.

U.S. Battery Attends 62nd Annual RVIA Snow In Southern California

U.S. Battery is exhibiting at the 62nd Annual RVIA show held at the Fairplex in Pomona, California October 10-19th. RV manufacturers, suppliers and owners can stop by the U.S. Battery booth #H7, located in the Exhibitor Tent, and speak with a U.S. Battery representative to get tips on improving battery performance in RV applications.

Because RV batteries are subjected to potentially high current loads when operating electronic appliances, stereo systems, televisions, and other accessories, U.S. Battery representatives can help access power needs and recommend a deep-cycle flooded lead-acid battery system for a variety of specific applications. U.S. Battery’s Deep-Cycle batteries are more efficient and last longer, because of the company’s exclusive XC2™ formulation and Diamond Plate Technology®. This improves charging efficiency with increased initial and overall capacity, and makes U.S. Battery products compatible with the wide range of chargers used in various make and model RVs.

U.S. Battery’s RV deep-cycle batteries are made in the U.S.A. and are available in a variety of sizes, amp-hour capacity ratings, and come in either 12-volt or 6-volt configurations. The battery’s construction and overall design is specifically adapted to provide the highest initial capacity, the highest rated capacity, and reach peak capacity in fewer cycles than competitive RV batteries on the market. For more information, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit www.usbattery.com.

Benefits Of Using A Single Point Watering System

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Dan Grigsby of U.S. Battery Manufacturing, demonstrates the benefits and procedures of using a single point watering system, and how a group of six flooded lead-acid batteries can be watered in less than a minute.  In addition to simplifying battery maintenance, Grigsby explains how proper watering can help extend the life and performance of flooded lead-acid batteries.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

How To Install A Battery Watering Technologies System 

U.S. Battery Recommended Single Point Watering Systems

U.S. Battery Manufacturing Now Offers Improved UTL-Style Battery Terminals

U.S. Battery Manufacturing now features an improved UTL terminal design, which provides greater resistance to torque failure caused by over tightening and constant re-tightening of leads to the battery. “These new terminals have a unique design in which a stainless steel hex head stud fits loosely in the terminal housing,” says Fred Wehmeyer, Senior VP Engineering for U.S. Battery Manufacturing. “The bottom of the terminal is swaged to capture the bolt and hold it firmly in place within the terminal. The result is a tremendous improvement in its longevity, while reducing the need to constantly re-tighten connecting leads to the battery.”  According to Wehmeyer, the new terminals operate much the same as bolt-thru designs like the offset ‘S’ or ‘L’ terminals that are completely loose until the hardware is installed and tightened to the proper torque value.

Manufactured from pressure die-cast lead alloy, U.S. Battery’s new UTL terminals are more rugged and less prone to failure. They’re installed on all U.S. Battery US12VXC products and average 350 inch-pounds of torque, versus 240 inch-pounds for standard terminals found on most competitive batteries. “Since the recommended torque to tighten UTL terminals is 100+5 inch-pounds, there should never be a torque failure with our unique, pressure die-cast terminals,” says Wehmeyer.
“Many of our competitors are claiming these new terminals are inferior because they appear loose, prior to installation” says Don Wallace, U.S. Battery CMO/ Executive VP, Sales and Marketing. “The facts are that it does not matter if the bolt is loose prior to tightening. What matters is that when the proper torque applied, the hex head nut, in combination with the supplied split ring washer, make a superior connection!“

U.S. Battery manufactures a variety of deep-cycle batteries that are all manufactured in the U.S.A. and are distributed worldwide. For more information, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave., Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit https://www.usbattery.com.