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Trailer Batteries


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not really an HDT Thread but I was hoping it would be ok to ask here, I am getting ready to replace the batteries in my trailer, and I am debating about just using group size 31 starting batteries.  I know that supposedly they will not last as long as deep cycle batteries.  I normally use the marine starting batteries because they are cheaper  than real deep cycles, and I dont really use my trailer to stay  in, or frequently.  The batteries that are in there to run the winch for loading my wagon, and keep a couple of ARB refrigerators going while we are on the road. and an occasional 12v light here and there.

 

At this point the batteries are only lasting 2-3 years.  I figure if I change to group size 31 batteries that they will probably last the same,  especially since they are always connected to the truck batteries anyway. am I completely crazy? the main thought behind this is that the group size 31 batteries are cheaper and larger than anything else I can buy.

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You'd be way better off going to Sams and getting their GC2 golf car flooded lead acid batteries.  Should be less than $100 each and they are made for deep discharge with large plates.  Marine deep discharge batteries really don't compare.  The GC2s will be 6 volts so you'll have to buy/wire them in pairs for 12 volt application.

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I'm totally okay with your posting here, but that's just me. Of course, you can just use starting batteries, with the understanding they won't hold up under deep cycle usage. Starting batteries have much thinner plates to generate high amperage for starting use, while deep cycle batteries have thicker plates to withstand deeper cycling use. If your usage is only the top 10% or so, they might last a reasonable time. I'm thinking, for the price, why not try? Worth a shot.. Jay

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I prefer the Optima Yellow tops, I have them in my Jeep, my Dodge One Ton, and the ancient ones from the Dodge are now in the trailer.

One is 10 years old and the other is 11 years old.  I use them to make coffee, watch tv and toast bread in the camper when traveling.

I keep them topped off with a battery minder.

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Follow Jim's advice about golf cart batteries unless you want to switch to AGM or Lithium.  The group 31 may not really be cheaper as suppliers I have bought them from require a group 31 core or pay a very high core charge.  If you are going with a single 12V lead acid battery get a group 27 or 29 deep cycle.  Walmart and Costco both have acceptable products at affordable prices.  Starting batteries are a poor investment since allowing them to drop below 10.5 volts several times typically spells reduced output or an early death.  They really do not perform well with 3 or 4 stage "smart" chargers as their design is for recharge with high current 14 to 15 volt output from a vehicle alternator. 
Bottom line....... you won't save any money with a group 31 starting battery.

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11 minutes ago, RandyA said:

Follow Jim's advice about golf cart batteries unless you want to switch to AGM or Lithium.  The group 31 may not really be cheaper as suppliers I have bought them from require a group 31 core or pay a very high core charge.  If you are going with a single 12V lead acid battery get a group 27 or 29 deep cycle.  Walmart and Costco both have acceptable products at affordable prices.  Starting batteries are a poor investment since allowing them to drop below 10.5 volts several times typically spells reduced output or an early death.  They really do not perform well with 3 or 4 stage "smart" chargers as their design is for recharge with high current 14 to 15 volt output from a vehicle alternator. 
Bottom line....... you won't save any money with a group 31 starting battery.

I agree with pretty much everything here, as there's generally little to no savings going with group 31 vs deep cycles. However, in my experience a good 3 stage charger kept my boat starter battery going for almost 20 years, so... I'm happy with that. The battery died because the charger died in storage. Who knows how much longer I might've got out of that battery? Jay

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On 1/9/2020 at 7:39 PM, Jaydrvr said:

I agree with pretty much everything here, as there's generally little to no savings going with group 31 vs deep cycles. However, in my experience a good 3 stage charger kept my boat starter battery going for almost 20 years, so... I'm happy with that. The battery died because the charger died in storage. Who knows how much longer I might've got out of that battery? Jay

Jay, I did not intend to imply 3-4 stage chargers were not a superior advancement to constant voltage brute force chargers.  But, a vehicle alternator supplies 14-15 volts at whatever current the battery requires at any given time that the alternator can supply.  Therefore, starting batteries like the group 31 referenced are built to withstand this constant higher voltage better than deep cycle batteries (without boiling dry).  Actually, starting batteries that are not allowed to reach 14-15 volts will "sulfate" quickly returning a shorter lifespan.  When not used in a vehicle they need that 4th stage of bulk charging - even 3 stage may not reach a sufficiently high voltage.  Almost 20 years from your boat starting battery?  Wow - I want one of those!

Edited by RandyA
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House; if I may jump in your thread, since I can't make up my mind, these are the two batteries I am considering. Hope it helps you with your decision.

This is a 6V, 232AH battery: https://www.batteriesasap.com/product/us2200-xc2-us-battery/

This is a 12V,  115AH battery: https://www.batteriesplus.com/battery/marine-and-boat/deep-cycle/bci-group-31m

Since my MH came with 3, 12 house batteries, I'm inclined to cheap-out and stay with them; although 4 of the 6V batteries offer many more AH's available down to 50% SOD.

Edited by Ray,IN
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2 hours ago, RandyA said:

Jay, I did not intend to imply 3-4 stage chargers were not a superior advancement to constant voltage brute force chargers.  But, a vehicle alternator supplies 14-15 volts at whatever current the battery requires at any given time that the alternator can supply.  Therefore, starting batteries like the group 31 referenced are built to withstand this constant higher voltage better than deep cycle batteries (without boiling dry).  Actually, starting batteries that are not allowed to reach 14-15 volts will "sulfate" quickly returning a shorter lifespan.  When not used in a vehicle they need that 4th stage of bulk charging - even 3 stage may not reach a sufficiently high voltage.  Almost 20 years from your boat starting battery?  Wow - I want one of those!

Frankly, I was shocked the last time we went to the lake and it held up for the entire week. I can't believe I didn't check the date on the battery when it died. It did pretty much just live on the charger... After the kids were grown and gone, we only went to the lake (Dale Hollow) for a week every three years or so. So, twenty years is just my (kinda) educated guess. The boat just turned 30 years old, so.. Jay

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