Trailer life has been incredible. Much like owning a home, you have little challenges along the way. Our battles in the beginning were learning how to deal with water and power . Conquering this power battle has been a fun little challenge. From the onset of owning this trailer, the on board battery supply on this trailer was inadequate at best. If you read my article regarding the power struggle we encountered during the beginning of our trailer ownership – you know all too well what we dealt with and the problems that insufficient battery power can lead to.
In short, trying to full-time in a trailer with just one 12-volt battery is a constant battle, and we were losing.
One week into owning the trailer we opted to install dual 6-volt deep cycle batteries, which are ran in series, acting as a big 12-volt battery. These are standard marine/RV batteries, unlike the 12-volt “car” battery that we left the dealership with. The dual 6-volt setup is the setup we were encouraged to use through research, and 2-months into this life style, this is absolutely the setup I’d recommend to anyone else looking to full-time in a trailer or van.
For starters – the discharge rate on the dual 6-volt batteries is fantastic. We can run our speakers, lights, fans for cooking, LEDs on the patio, etc., charge phones, and never worry about a catastrophic drain on the battery. By catastrophic drain I’m referring to a drain on that battery that is greater than it was designed for. Car batteries aren’t designed to drained much at all – they’re USELESS for trailer life in my opinion because they will deteriorate so fast, and paying attention to how charged they are all the time, they’re more maintenance than an infant. Deep cycle batteries on the other hand – we can discharge down to 15%, rarely think about, and never deteriorate the battery.
To my point in the previous paragraph, we can discharge our battery without thinking, and best of all.. we typically discharge the battery to about 40-50%, which is fantastic for battery life. Of course we do run our generator, once in the morning for 30-minutes or so and again in the evening.
Since we’ve yet to install solar, the generator is actually necessary for things like TV, coffee, and things that require major power consumption. This works well as it allows the batteries to charge while we’re brewing coffee or watching television in the evening.
Yet another advantage to the 6-volt batteries – recharge time. Dual 6-volt batteries recharge extremely quickly. In my experience it only takes about 30-minutes of generator use to recharge the batteries.