Wiring 6 & 12 Volt RV Batteries Properly

In my last post I wanted to offer my readers some insight on RV Batteries.  Specifically 6 volt batteries vs a 12 volt battery.  Here is the follow-up article to that post. If you decided that 6 volt batteries are the way you are going to go on your camper. Here is the way to do it properly;

If you are going to buy new 12 Volt or 6 Volt batteries for your RV, it is important to know how to wire them properly so that you do not damage your RVs electrical system. Although this is an easy concept to understand, many people tend to get this wrong. Basically, there are two ways to wire your batteries: in series or in parallel. In RVs where 6 Volt batteries are used, you may need to use a combination of both these methods to get 12 Volt output and increase the amount of total Amp Hours simultaneously. Let’s discuss this further and provide some examples:

Batteries wired in series:

  • With batteries wired in series, the Voltage increases but the Amperage remains the same.
    • Example:  If you take two 6 Volt batteries that have a capacity rating of 220 Amp Hours each and you wire them in series, you will get a total of 12 Volts of power; however, the total Amp Hours will remain the same at a total of 220 Amp Hours.
  • With batteries wired in series, the positive (+) from one battery is connected to the negative (-) terminal of the other.  The remaining free positive (+) terminal and negative (-) terminal are used to connect to your RV.
  • This is how you create 12 Volts from two 6 Volt batteries.

Following is a graphic that represents two 6 Volt batteries wired in series.

six volt batteries wired in series

Take a look at the diagram above. Here we have two 6 Volt batteries wired in series. With the positive from one battery connected to the negative of the other battery you have in essence created one 12 Volt battery out of two 6 Volt batteries. As I stated before, when you wire batteries in series, the Voltage increases and the Amperage stays the same. That is why in this scenario we have 12 Volts output; however, even though each battery is rated at 220 Amp Hours, we are still only receiving a total of 220 Amp Hours. The only thing that has increased here is the Voltage. If in this scenario each battery was a 12 Volt battery, you would have a total of 24 Volts output (which would not be good for your RV).

Batteries wired in parallel:

  • With batteries wired in parallel, the Voltage remains the same but the amperage increases.
    • Example: If you take two 12 Volt batteries that have a capacity of 210 Amp Hours each and you wire them in parallel, the Voltage will remain the same at 12 Volts; however, the total Amp Hours will increase to 420 Amp Hours.
  • With batteries wired in parallel, the positive terminal connects to the positive terminal of the next battery and the negative terminal connects to the negative terminal of the next battery.
  • This is how you increase the total amount of Amp Hours you can get out of your battery bank.

Following is a graphic that represents two 12 Volt batteries wired in parallel.

two 12 volt batteries wired in parallel

In this scenario we have wired two 12 Volt batteries in parallel. As a result, the Voltage has remained the same (at 12 Volts) however the total Amp Hours increases to 420 Amp Hours, which is the total of the two batteries added together.

In my 5th wheel, I used a combination of series and parallel wiring. By taking six – 6 Volt batteries and wiring pairs of batteries in series, I can basically create three 12 Volt batteries that I can then wire in parallel to increase the amount of total Amp Hours that are available. Let’s take a look at how this works:

2 six volt batteries wired in series with a volmeter attached

Take a look at the diagram above. Since this scenario gets confusing for some people I am going to try to make it as simple as possible. This diagram consists of two 6 Volt batteries wired in series.  If you were to take a digital Voltmeter and measure the Voltage from the combination of these two batteries (holding one probe at the free positive (+) terminal and one at the free negative (-) terminal) you would get a reading of 12 Volts. For all intents and purposes, you can now think of this as one 12 Volt battery.  In this scenario the Voltage has increased but the amperage has remained the same.

Now if I want to ensure that I have more total Amp Hours for all my toys, all I have to do is take several of these 6 Volt battery combinations (that are wired in series to give me 12 Volts) and wire them in parallel. Take a look at the diagram below.

six volt batteries wired in series and paralled

In this scenario we have taken six – 6 Volt batteries and wired them in series and parallel to give us 12 Volts and 660 Amp Hours of battery capacity. How did we end up with 660 Amp hours? Remember that each 6 Volt pair of batteries wired in series gives us 220 Amp hours. We have now wired the three pairs of batteries in parallel and when batteries are wired in parallel, the amperage increases. So since each pair produces 220 Amp Hours x 3 pairs = 660 Amp Hours total.

*Don’t mix batteries. If you are going to install new or improved batteries, make sure they are all of the same type (AGM, gel or flooded) and make sure that they are all purchased at the same time and are of the same age. Mixing older batteries with newer ones will most likely limit the longevity of the newer batteries and cause them to degrade or fail sooner.

*Use true deep cycle batteries. Don’t get sold on marine batteries as they are not a true deep cycle battery and are constructed to be somewhere in between a starting battery and a deep cycle battery.

*Before you connect your batteries to your RV or inverter, use a digital voltmeter to ensure that you have wired your batteries properly to output 12 Volts. The last thing you want to do is pump 24 Volts or more through your RVs 12 Volt electrical system accidentally and ruin all of your electronics.

*When installing or working on your batteries make sure you use insulated tools. There is a lot of power stored in a battery. If you accidentally touch both battery posts with your wrench or touch the RV chassis, you could get shocked, burned or even short the battery out and cause it to explode.

*When working on your batteries use protective clothing, safety glasses, and rubber gloves to protect yourself from shocks.

If you have any questions on how to properly wire your 6 volt battery configuration or would rather allow an RV professional do it for you, give your Central PA RV Service Center a call at 800-722-1236.

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The perfect gifts for the RVer/Camper in your family.

RV Christmas Tree Lot @ Lerch RV, Keystone RV, Open Range RV

Tis' the Season...

Christmas seems to come faster every year. If you are like me, then you probably wait until the last minute to find gifts for your friends and loved ones. It can be hard trying to pick out that special present for those who mean so much to you. If you are looking for the perfect gift for the RV enthusiast that you know, you may not know what to get. There are many great gift ideas to make RVing easier and more fun for RV owners and passengers alike.

One of the things that you have to take into consideration when buying gifts for an RVer is space. RVs may have more room than other vehicles, but in terms of living space, being economical is key. One great gift for the avid reader would be an e-book such as a Kindle, Nook or maybe a new Kindle Fire. These devices will free up a lot of storage space currently being used up by books, many of which are read once and then never touched again. Less flashy things, like portable meal trays, are a great way to open up more room for someone who is living in an RV. One of the best gifts that you could give an RVer is the gift of more living space, so you may want to look for items that will take up little space or allow more space to be used.

Another great part of RVing is being outdoors. Making life better while at a campsite is a great way to make an RVer happy on Christmas morning. Outdoor furniture such as chairs, tables, and even outdoor recliners will make living outdoors a lot easier. Outdoor carpets/area rugs for under the awning are always a hot seller too.  If you are looking to get a gift for the chef in the family, kitchen utensils and appliances are always a hit. Just look for items that will take up minimal space and open up possibilities in the kitchen.

There are many great products and possibilities out there for RV owners, so be sure to start your shopping now, because Christmas is just around the corner. Be sure to visit your Pennsylvania RV dealer for all your RV Christmas needs.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Stay warm on those cold RV nights

With the weather starting to get colder, and the days shorter, you are probably experiencing a bit of a chill at night now. This is also the time of year where you are still RVing in cooler climates before either heading south for the winter or storing your RV until next season. Staying warm and comfortable in your RV is a key to have a great trip this time of year. No one likes sleepless nights shivering the whole time, so how should you stay warm? The easy answer is your RV furnace, but you may be out at a camp site when that breaks down, so what are you back up options?
"Keystone RV" "Lerch RV" RV "PA RV Dealer" camper camping campers "tag along" "tow behind" "bunk model" "bunk house camper" "RV lifestyle" glamping caravan "Go RVing" RVing "new camper sale" "camper dealer" "new camper" "RV dealer" "PA RV Dealership" towing "used campers" "weekend fun" "family fun" "recreational vehicle" recreation "summer fun" "keystone rv company" "glamping" "fith wheel" "5th wheel camper" "travel trailer" "Open Range RV"

The two most popular choices are heating strips and portable heaters. Like all things, there are pros and cons that go with both, and it is more of a preferential choice. Let’s look at portable heaters first. The great thing about these are that they do a good job heating a small space. At night, shut the door to your room and turn one of these on and you will stay warm through out the night. They are also quiet, which is key to falling asleep. The problem with them is that they tend to break down easily over time. If you buy one you can expect to buy another after a few years. Also, there is always to risk of fire with these heaters, due to the exposed heating coils. If you use one, be sure to put it in a safe place out of contact with combustibles.

Another option is a heating strip. A heating strip is installed in the air conditioner and it is a 1500 watt heater. This option is good because it is generally more reliable than the portable heater, and it doesn’t take up any extra space in the RV. The not so great part about them is that you have to run your A/C fan through the night, and it doesn’t heat your rig nearly as well as the portable heater. You won’t freeze to death with one, but you won’t be toasty.

If all else fails, keep extra quilts and blankets in your RV and bundle up for warmth. If you are looking for a new RV ta stay warm in, be sure to come into Lerch RV.

Pennsylvania, Lerch RV has you covered this winter…

Lots of RVers like to head south for the winter, but that isn’t an option for some of us. While there are still a few good weekends left for camping this year, if you are one of those late season campers. However most of our customers probably already have winterized their campers by now.  If you are able to store your RV in a covered garage or storage center, then there is not a lot that you have to do to protect your RV from the elements.  Those of us who use an RV cover to keep our RV safe while not in use know there is more that goes into getting your cover on properly than simply throwing it over your rig.

"Keystone RV" "Lerch RV" RV "PA RV Dealer" camper camping campers "tag along" "tow behind" "bunk model" "bunk house camper" "RV lifestyle" glamping caravan "Go RVing" RVing "new camper sale" "camper dealer" "new camper" "RV dealer" "PA RV Dealership" towing "used campers" "weekend fun" "family fun" "recreational vehicle" recreation "summer fun" "keystone rv company" "glamping" "fith wheel" "5th wheel camper" "travel trailer" "Open Range RV"

A good cover can make a difference.

The first thing that you should do before putting your cover on is wash your RV. Dirt, grease, and any bugs left on your RV’s exterior can set in and ruin your rig’s paint and body. Give it a good wash and dry it completely before you put your cover on. If you have anything with sharp corners on your roof, such as antennas or solar panels, remove them. If not, cover them with towels or blankets so the sharp edges won’t rip your cover.

The biggest challenge of getting your RV covered is getting over the top. Instead of using a ladder and your hands, tie a rope to one side of your cover and pull it over on the other side. If you do choose to use a ladder, be very careful. Falls and accidents are quite common. And if you get onto the roof to center everything, watch your step. You may not be able to see air vents or other oft spots on the roof.

Letting your RV hibernate for the winter may be a necessity, but be sure to use a quality cover to make sure that it is safe when not in use. If you are looking for a good quality cover, just ask us for help in finding the right one. If you are looking for a new RV in Pennsylvania, then just stop by Lerch RV!

Have you ever thought about owning a Campground or RV Park?

As RV owners, we travel to campgrounds and RV Parks often. We usually stay a few days…or longer, if we are full-timers…and then go on our way. We almost always have an opinion of the place before we leave, but have we ever thought about owning one of these places?

"Keystone RV" "Lerch RV" RV "PA RV Dealer" camper camping campers "tag along" "tow behind" "bunk model" "bunk house camper" "RV lifestyle" glamping caravan "Go RVing" RVing "new camper sale" "camper dealer" "new camper" "RV dealer" "PA RV Dealership" towing "used campers" "weekend fun" "family fun" "recreational vehicle" recreation "summer fun" "keystone rv company" "glamping" "fith wheel" "5th wheel camper" "travel trailer" "Open Range RV"

Here is an opportunity to explore this option a bit further. The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has an upcoming conference in late November in Savannah, Georgia.

‘Where Outdoor Hospitality Meets Southern Hospitality’ is the theme for the 2011 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) to be held November 30 to December 2. There will also be some pre-convention events in the days leading up to Nov. 30.

This all takes place at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa and Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

The educational programs have been revised to include all types of the outdoor hospitality industry. Here are some of the educational program key areas of focus:

  • Business Management
  • Business Technology
  • Employee Training and Motivation
  • The Latest in Green Technology
  • Marketing and Public Relations
The Westin has even discounted their rates for attendees. If you need more information, go to the ARVC website.
This looks to be a great opportunity to learn more about the outdoor hospitality industry, regardless of whether you want to own a RV Park, or just work in one!

Lerch RV can help you if you want to Finance your RV…

If you are one of many families across the country who go camping often and enjoy the outdoors, the next step is for you to invest in a RV. Unfortunately for many families, it ends there.

"Keystone RV" "Lerch RV" RV "PA RV Dealer" camper camping campers "tag along" "tow behind" "bunk model" "bunk house camper" "RV lifestyle" glamping caravan "Go RVing" RVing "new camper sale" "camper dealer" "new camper" "RV dealer" "PA RV Dealership" towing "used campers" "weekend fun" "family fun" "recreational vehicle" recreation "summer fun" "keystone rv company" "glamping" "fith wheel" "5th wheel camper" "travel trailer" "Open Range RV"

The average family of today cannot afford to purchase their own RV. Families have too many other stresses on the family budget that come first.

Lerch RV has the capability to assist you when it comes to purchasing a fifth wheel or travel trailer for the family.

Your new RV may qualify for some of the same tax benefits as a second home mortgage. Of course, check with your tax advisor, but to qualify for these benefits, such as the deductible of interest on the loan, the RV must be used as security for the loan along with providing basic living accommodations such as a sleeping area, bathroom and cooking facilities. The RV is considered a qualified second residence as long as you designate it as that for each tax year.

Your RV might actually cost you less in the end if you finance your purchase. The bottom line is that if you are thinking of buying an RV, you should check financing options to maximize your purchase enjoyment. What are the advantages of Financing through a RV Lending Specialist? Down payments are lower although final terms are determined based on your credit profile and the age, type and cost of the RV being purchased. And financing through RV lenders usually requires down payments in the 10% range.

Finance terms are longer / Monthly payments are lower, because RV finance specialists know that RVs maintain their value and resale appeal, they tend to offer more attractive terms. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find 15-20 year repayment schedules to help you afford the RV of your dreams. Consider allowing Lerch RV to help you in financing that new camper. And you’ll be on the road enjoying your new RV before you know it!

Laundry…by the bucket full.

Have you ever wondered how to do laundry effortlessly while on that family camping trip?  If you’re heading out-of-town by RV and need to do laundry, here’s a simple method originally from John Steinbeck in his book Travels With Charley:
Put your dirty clothes in a 5-gallon bucket with lid, cover the dirty clothes with water, add a little detergent, and secure the bucket somewhere in your vehicle so that it will not upset or tip over  during travel.

Do laundry like a pro on the road...

Photo by Paul Joseph.

Every bump or curve in the road agitates the bucket and when you stop for a meal your clothes will be clean and ready to rinse. Pour out the grey-water, wring the soapy water out of your clothes, place them back in the bucket and add clean water again as you drive for another hour or two. This is your rinse cycle. As you pull into your destination you can use a clothes dryer there or just carry a DIY clothesline to dry your clothing.

Traditional skills blog The Art of Manliness recommends using half the normal detergent you’d normally use for a load using this method. If you plan on dumping your grey-water outdoors, please consider using a  biodegradable detergent (we like Ecos—you can get it online or at Costco) so you’re not polluting the environment.

While not for everyone, if you’re traveling on an extended RVing trip this method of laundry might prove useful, especially if you’d rather not spend an hour or two of your trip looking for change to use at the laundromat. However a better way to do laundry would be to install a washer/dryer unit in your RV, this can only be done if your RV is washer/dryer ready.  If you are looking to have all the conveniences of home in your new RV, give your central PA RV dealer a call.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!