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FC (Forward Control Unique Issues) If you have a unique issue with your FC model coach and it can't be answered in one of the other forums here, then this is where you can list it.......List your FC Parts here too.

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  #1  
Old 01-02-2020
Frank W. Frank W. is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Woodbridge, VA.
Posts: 1,031
Default FC Battery life...a data point.

Offered as a data point as to battery life.

Our '84 FC 33' Wanderlodge has well ventilated battery trays that roll out for access/inspection/maintenance. A modern Progressive Dynamics programmable battery charger has replaced the old battery boilers. A digital battery monitor (charge state, volts, charge rate) is part of the 120 watt solar system. We have 6 each of GC-2, 6 volt deep cycle wet cell batteries, paired up to supply 12 volts. Wired as one big bank. About 600 amps (@20 hour rate) with say 300 amps normally "usable" (50% discharge). No changes to this set up in over a decade of use.

GC2's provide around 200+ amps each (215-235) in either the acid/plate type or AGM type at 6 volts...so a pair provides 12 volts and 200+ amps. Typical retail pricing on the acid/plate GC-2's are $80-90, and for AGM $260-300. Similar weight at 65-70#. That is about $600 vs. $1700 for about the same amps in my application.

I just replaced all my batteries yesterday. They were installed in March 2012...so 8+ years service. My prior install was in 2005 (7 years service). That's very good service life and also a great price per amp as well as price per year. And these are/were the typical mid priced lead acid type. One set from Sams Club and the recent set from Batteries Plus+ (order online, pick up in store- save 10%)

Here is an opinion:

Our RV is 35 years old and we have enjoyed it for over 15 years. The 12 volt system is well designed and works great and is mostly of OEM design. All wiring and components are properly sized, installed and maintained. Instrumentation allows detailed monitoring of charge rate, voltage, & amps used. A generator with an isolated/dedicated battery augment the basic bank if/as needed for boondocking or as a "lifeboat" engine start charger. A 120 watt solar panel system helps fight the OEM FC battery amp parasitic losses. The batteries are easy to access, inspect, and maintain and are sized for what our real world use is.

There are of course many other options. Build a system that works for your specific needs/demands. New battery types ARE very useful in the RV arena...but absent proper system design, installation and ensuring proper charging/discharge rates ANY system, even built with high $ magic batteries will not give you the service you desire.
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Frank W.
85FC33
Woodbridge, VA.

Coach photos & comments: http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.co...php?albumid=79
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2020
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Crit Bliss Crit Bliss is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,194
Default

Frank, in our FC's a good set of lead acid GC batteries are an unbeatable work horse in my experience
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'80FC33
250T
Cape Cod,ma
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2020
DW SD DW SD is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 1,590
Default

+1 - agree!

I had similar service life from costco golf carts in my old PT. And then upgraded to a premium brand whose life is now in the hands of its new owner. Crown.
I less liked the need to water regularly. But hard to beat the cost <$1000 for a robust house and starting bank that lasts reliably 7+ years.

I know these good habits contributed:
stripping parasitic losses which can needlessly tax batteries, dropping DOD.
600W of solar with an American made charge controller. Usually, with sun, the batteries were in float by end of the day.
Meticulous hibernation process: always stored with batteries shut off / disconnected and charged to 100% full prior.
Never (ever) running below 50% DOD. (usually not less than 20% DOD).
Kept battery area clean, especially contacts, insulated with insulating grease.
Check water levels regularly.
Regular equalization charge (6 months - ish).
Proper (per mfg) staged charging voltages.

I tend to think the Crowns would last 10 years with this type of care.

Doug
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2004 M380
Ex-PT36
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