Monday, January 10, 2011

Tech Talk: 6v or 12v batteries - which one is right for you?

We've recently seen some debates online about the differences between 6 volt and 12 volt batteries and which option is better.

Rod Ploeckelmann
Paul Evert's RV is very fortunate to have master technician (since 1995!!), Rod Ploeckelmann on hand, so we quizzed him and found he has a wealth of information on this topic.

PE's: What is the difference between a 6 volt and a 12 volt battery?
Rod: Amp hours, longevity, and weight are probably the main differences.

PE's: And what are amp hours good for?
Rod: The longevity - The 6 volts are designed more for the inverters purpose of charging the battery. Also, should there be an issue, even though it's best to replace all 4, you can replace just 1 - there are a lot of advantages to the 6 volt versus the 12 volt battery.

PE's: You said 6 volts are designed for inverters. Does that mean in a trailer that does not have an inverter, you would have to use a 12 volt battery?
Rod: No, you can use either one, but 12 volts are more customarily used in travel trailers and fifth wheels because they are more compact and lighter weight. However, if you have the room, I would still recommend using two 6 volt batteries.

PE's: Since there would only be one 12 volt battery instead of two to four 6 volts, should the two types be wired differently?
Rod: I'm glad you asked this! Yes, many times I've seen the wiring from the manufacturer be done incorrectly. 6 volt batteries need to have the positive go to one pair and the negative to the other pair so that the inverter sees it as one battery and doesn't have a leader or a follower.

PE's: So if a customer is having trouble with a 6 volt battery holding it's charge or they feel they are going bad too quickly, what should they do?
Rod: The customer should definitely bring their vehicle in! If they just take it anywhere and have new batteries put in, things will seem fine for maybe the first year, but then the same problem will eventually re-develop. However, I always check to make sure the wiring is done correctly before just replacing them - this ensures a full and long battery life.

PE's: It seems the 6 volt is the way to go. Do you know if there is a price difference between the 6v and 12v?
Rod: Yes, the 6 volts are going to be a little bit more expensive, but the customer will be much more satisfied with the longevity of the 6 volt. Also, if the customer has an inverter or demands a lot of usage, they'll be able to cut down on the generator starting because of the 6 volts additional amps. You see, two 6 volts are 105 amp hours each equaling 210 amp hours, whereas one 12 volt is only 80 amps.

So there you have it folks! Looks like the 6 volt is the way to go.

Pricing from the Paul Evert's RV Parts Department:
6v   - $164.49 + tax & core
12v - $108.24 + tax & core

Click Here for more info on joining our "Country Club" and how you can save 10% on your battery cost and even on labor if you have work done in our service department!

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