Care & Feeding Deep Cycle Lead Acid Batteries

There are many more technical videos on You Tube about lead acid batteries, but this short video just shows how I take care of mine so that they take care of me when the need arises.

I try to check our battery water level every 30 days, but it often runs 60-90 days between watering. We are most often hooked to shore power in a campground or RV park and the Trace Engineering Converter/Inverter does a good job of monitoring the voltage and adjusting the charge accordingly so that the batteries do not “cook” and burn off a lot of the distilled water.

What about you? Do you find it easy to check your batteries regularly? Do you use an automatic watering system? Maybe you’ve switched to AGM batteries so you don’t have to worry about watering? Let me know what you do to maintain your system.

2 thoughts on “Care & Feeding Deep Cycle Lead Acid Batteries

  1. Sorry for the long post. 🙂 Battery’s are something of an interest to me right now.

    Our 2013 travel trailer came with 2 “Flooded Cell” (FC) marine batteries. I researched new battery options that would work for future planed solar solar charging system I decided on four 85Ah AGM’s and hold off on Lithium for a few years. I’ve been very happy with AGM’s. I treat them well by monitoring temps, charge levels and operating within published specs.
    I’m still in the process of auditing my power use to determine what size solar charging system I’ll need.

    I had to learn an expensive lesson with the FC batteries for our 2014 F-350 tow vehicle. Due to lack of maintenance I had to replace both starting batteries last June. I run lots of electronics in the truck while towing and had upgraded the gage wire supplying 12vdc power to the trailer charging circuit while hitched up and towing. Our 4 AGM’s on the trailer can draw up to 100 amps peak if the charging circuit will provide it. Apparently this with the combination of all the electronics over worked the truck batteries. I was not helping the situation at the time because I wasn’t checking the truck battery levels. 😦
    I ended up running both truck batteries low on water for too long and in pretty sad charge condition. After the expense of replacing them I’ve found for my application every 90 days is good for checking water levels.

    As far as maintaining my FC batteries, In my experience a hydrometer is the best tool for determining state of charge on a FC battery. Also, I purchased one of the battery Jug Water filler bottles that’s in the truck toolbox filled with distilled water so it only takes a few mins to pop the caps and fill levels if cells need fluid. The nice feature about the filler bottle is it auto shuts off at the correct level so you don’t have to have your face over the battery when filling. It will only fill to the correct level. At my 90 day inspection interval I remove and clean any battery connections with corrosion. Once the connections have been cleaned and re-connected I re-coat the connections with CRC Battery Terminal Protector.

    After a couple of months of research and testing, attempting to restore my failed FC “starter” batteries, I discovered Pulse type chargers can restore a FC battery to full charge and return to daily use when a 3,4 stage battery charger will not and a hydydrometer will show the difference. There are lots of steps involved to accomplish this but the process proved to me this pulse technology does help with desulfurization. Since this finding with the pulse charger, at the 90 day inspection interval, if my hydydrometer shows any cell charge low I will disconnect the battery and put the pulse charger on until the hydydrometer shows the battery at full charge. The pulse charge folks claim this can extend battery life five times longer, that of course remains to be seen. For vehicles that are run and charged daily they even have a small pulse device that you can install permanently on the vehicle battery which provides this pulsing action. One things for sure, my FC starter batteries should last longer then the 1st set did. By the way, the 1st set of batteries were completely restored to daily use in another vehicle at a cost of about $20 for distilled water and new battery acid. Something to remember. Enjoy your posts, safe travels.

    1. Thanks for all the info Larry, hopefully some others will get value from your comments as well. Not sure, but I think the pulse charger you talk about is already part of our Trace Engineering Converter/Inverter. It has 3 stages of charging; Bulk, Absorption, and finally Float, all depending on the current state of charge of the battery bank. I like the idea of the auto level filling device, I’ll have to get one of those for sure. Spent the day in Hot Springs, it was hot and muggy but beautiful. See you down the road,

I'm curious ... what are your thoughts on this?