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My 2009 Hawk needs some love: best battery?


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#1 Hydro

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 12:22 AM

Hi there! New to the forum and excited that WTW covers four-wheel pop ups! I have a 2009 Hawk that has had no upgrades or much maintenance since I bought it in 2009 and I'm a total NOOB at camper stuff. It needs a new battery, but not sure what type I should get since it appears as if lithium batteries are somewhat "newer" (?) technology. Is lithium the way to go, or are the old lead-acid batteries still a decent option? Any info or links to good batteries would be most welcome...Thanks!

 

PS. Would eventually like to get a portable solar kit (too lazy to mount and wire). Something like a 140-watt Zamp solar Legacy Series:

 

https://www.amazon.c...,aps,145&sr=8-1

 

Would battery choice make a difference based on solar panel use?

 


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#2 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 02:10 AM

Hello, Hydro!  Welcome to WTW!

 

I’m not the best on electrical systems, but I’m sure you’ll get good feedback from others.


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#3 Vic Harder

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 05:58 AM

if your battery lasted from 2009 until now, well.... wow.  That's awesome.  Buy another just like it and be happy.  Going Lithium could be a lot more complicated... 


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#4 m5040

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 10:57 AM

Are there any post that cover this topic so the old school campers can understand better on what advantages/disadvantages are involved with changing from lead-acid to ?

My battery is getting kind of weak...

s-l1600.jpg

 


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#5 TacomaAustin

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 01:36 PM

Welcome to the WtW - That 140 watt Zamp solar panel is way over priced.

 

With regards to old school lead acid batteries, here is my best lead acid experience. I hope that it is not too much info.

 

Before upgrading to lithium - I had a deep cycle AGM lead acid battery that lasted 6 years with proper care.   Proper care means that I never discharged the battery below 12.1 volts and when not in use, I kept plugged in to a battery maintainer.  Whether or not it was as good as new after 7 years -  all I know is it would still power my portable cooler style fridge for over 24 hours even after many years of use with no problem.  The secret weapon was I had the AGM battery encased in a now obsolete ArkPak 730 charging unit. 

 

The ArkPak has a downside in that its maximum charge rate is about 6 to 9 Amps - which is about 75 to 100 watts per hour. - which means slow. In its favor, the unit is able to step up whatever voltage that is received from the truck battery to about 14.1 volts during its bulk charging stage. After that the ArkPak output provided 13.7 volts at reduced amps for a very long topping off cycle for that last 10% of charge.  From there it maintains a 13.2 volt float charge.

 

To conclude - my biggest gripe with the ArkPak is should the AGM battery become depleted down to 12.1 or 12.2 volts at rest - the full DC to DC charging process could take up to 6 or 7 hours of driving before it reached its float stage.  My second gripe with the ArkPak is with a Group 27 AGM battery, the unit is monstrously heavy. 

 

 


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#6 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 02:04 PM

Are there any post that cover this topic so the old school campers can understand better on what advantages/disadvantages are involved with changing from lead-acid to ?

My battery is getting kind of weak...

 

There are quite a few threads on this.  Check the electrical sub forum.


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#7 Beach

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 02:14 PM

The simplist and least exspensive route is to stay with lead acid, either flooded or AGM. As Vic mentioned switching to lithium is more complicated. If you stay with lead acid be sure you get a true deep cycle battery and not a "dual purpose" like an Optima. I replaced my AGM about 2 years ago with a 100ah Renogy and have been quite pleased with its performance. Hopefully it will continue to perform in the years to come. Follow the battery manufacturers charging profile to get the best performance out of the new battery. 


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#8 ckent323

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 05:58 PM

What Beach and Vic said.

 

I will add that it is important to fully recharge lead acid batteries before discharging again in order to maximize the battery life.  Said another way,  do not allow the battery to cycle from a partially charged then discharge then back to partially charged then discharged again manner if you want to maximize battery life.

I suggest adding a good battery monitor such as a Victron BVM-712 or equivalent.   

Batteries don't care what the recharging source is (alternator, solar panel, stand alone generator, shore power) as long as the charge controller between the battery and the power source provides the charging profile that the battery manufacturer suggests.

When you consider solar - I advocate putting the largest rigid panel that will fit on your camper.   That is typically a residential type panel.  They are cheaper per watt than a lot of RV panels and a just as robust.  Rigid panels demonstrably last longer than semi-flexible panels although they are heavier.  Both types need to be mounted with and airgap between the roof of the camper and the panel to maximize panel life.  Using a single large panel is less weight and cheaper than two smaller panels adding up to the same or often less wattage.   (I have an LG 360 watt panel on my camper that cost about $300. It replaced two 100 watt panels).  Use a good quality solar controller, I prefer Victron but there are others.  Use 10 Ga wire for the solar connections.

I recommend using a Blue Sea ACR or equivalent relay and 4 ga wire fused at the truck and the camper ends with 120 amp fuse or breaker for direct truck to camper house battery connection.

I hope that helps

Craig


Edited by ckent323, 21 June 2022 - 06:03 PM.

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#9 Vic Harder

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 08:19 PM

Are there any post that cover this topic so the old school campers can understand better on what advantages/disadvantages are involved with changing from lead-acid to ?

My battery is getting kind of weak...

s-l1600.jpg

Love the picture.  Generally, lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are lighter, smaller and more powerful than lead acid.  Lead acid includes the old liquid style (Flooded Lead Acid FLA) and Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) types.  That said, they do best with different charging devices/setups than lead acid, so switching and getting the optimum result requires changing some gear.  Switching can be done without changing gear, but that is less than optimal.  AND, the LiFePO4 batteries are very expensive to purchase compared to lead acid.  That said, given proper treatment, the LiFePO4 batteries are less expensive over time.

 

The OP got a lot of life out of an inexpensive setup.  Whatever they were doing is working well for them.  I wouldn't muck with that.


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2015 Silverado 3500 crew cab 8' bed Diesel

2012 ATC Puma Shell build - https://www.wanderth...012-puma-build/

Power considerations thread - https://www.wanderth...e-power-scotty/

Building out an electrical system - So, you want to setup a good electrical system in your camper? - Electrical, Charging, Solar, Batteries and Generators - Wander the West


#10 BlueSky

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Posted 21 June 2022 - 09:14 PM

I'll be the dissenter here and say toss the lead acid/agm battery and get a 100AH LifePo4 and a Victron MPPT 12v 15 amp charge controller and 100-200 w solar panel(s).  I did and I will never go back to lead acid in the camper. Costs for LifePo4 are coming down, and there are tons of resources to help just about anyone figure it out. You don't have to get the really expensive LifePo4, there are cheaper ones on Amazon.


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