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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Battery question
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 04:41:00 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 22 Aug 2007 03:25:58 -0400, bill horne <> wrote:

>I've had numerous WalMart batteries, and haven't had a problem with
>any of them. Yet. But I have a neighbor up the road who has had your
>experience. He gets nearly apoplectic when I mention Walmart batteries.

Chattanooga area Walmart and Sam's seem to have changed vendors or something, for
I've had two recent bad experiences in contrast to previous satisfactory results.

The last bad experience is still underway until I can get back to a Sam's and get rid
of 'em.  I put a pair of 8D diesel cranking batteries on my cube van to replace the
OEM (8 yr old) batteries.  The new batteries spin the starter even slower than the
old ones.

This is one instance where I got bit by going cheap.  $30 more a battery would have
gotten me FreightLiner batteries which kick ass.  Four of 'em spun that big 13 liter
engine in my semi truck like it was a car engine.

I bought a 120 amp-hour AGM battery from Outdoor World to use as the house battery in
my semi truck.  I'm fairly impressed with it.  Very low impedance.  Runs a 750 watt
inverter at nearly full load until nearly discharged.  It's a chicom-made battery
private labeled for Outdoor World.  Mom's geezer scooter has a pair of identical
batteries but with the Chicom branding.

This is the type that uses screw-in caps similar to wet cells but with the caps
sealed with gobs of epoxy.  I broke the seals on this one to observe the electrolyte
level just in case I ever have to water it (glass mat sopping wet with a little free
electrolyte on top at full charge .)  I've had to water mom's batteries several times
thanks to the crappy charger.  They're 5+ years old and still going strong despite
the abuse from the charger.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: deep cycle 6 and 12 volt
Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2007 00:45:12 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Mon, 03 Dec 2007 21:22:52 -0500, John Andrews <> wrote:

>Everybody needs to understand that all batteries are local.
>These things are heavy and shipping them long distances is
>unrealistic.  All battery vendors buy from relatively local
>manufacturers.  See:

That's one of those net.myths that contains elements of truth.  It's probably true
that many brands of consumer grade batteries are made in the same plant, it is NOT a
universal truth.  Fer'instance, the Hawker plant a couple of miles from my old home
in Cleveland makes ONLY Hawkers.  During my year of truck driving I hauled several
loads of batteries from the mexican border to places in Indiana and surrounds.

But let's look at this from another angle.  Suppose I operate a contract food canning
company.  If I run a gourmet soup for Fresh Market in the morning and some rot-gut
meat-byproduct stew for Save-a-Lot in the evening, can any general quality
conclusions be formed?  I make the FM product to their spec and the S-A-L to theirs.
Polar opposites of quality but they're both "soup" and they both came from my

Exactly the same thing applies to batteries.  I know for a fact that Wallyworld's
specs are among the lowest in the industry, barely better than the fly-by-night

Even this is changing.  China now owns the AGM and Gel markets, almost regardless of
the brand name, a few like Hawker excepted.  I expect "made in china" to show up on
Wallyworld and other low end brands in the near future.  All that scrap lead that
they're buying has to go somewhere.

>Now tell me again that Wal*mart and Sam's Club are pure garbage.

OK.  Can do.  Wal*mart batteries are the scum of the earth.  Sam's batteries are
lower middle class.  They are down significantly from what they were 4 or 5 years
ago, at least in my experience. Used to they offered a great value.  Nowadays the
quality spread between their stuff and quality brands like Hawker and Trojan makes
their premium prices the better values.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: New Converter
Date: Thu, 08 May 2008 23:54:48 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 8 May 2008 22:07:03 -0400, "tim fm ct" <> wrote:

>        They clearly say deep cycle in the printed brochure.  BTW they also
>have a Deep Cycle 27DC-6 that has 115max amp hr and sells for even less.
>Would that be better.
>                          Tim fm CT

Tim, my experience with the Wallyworld house brand (EverStart) has been very
poor, both cranking and deep cycle batteries.  When Wallyworld quit carrying
"native" name brand batteries and started house labeling cheap sh*t batteries
is when things went to crap.  When they sold Stowaway batteries, they were

If you're not going to go for a premium deep cycle battery like Trojan,
Surette, Hawker, etc., my recommendation is the Group 29 deep cycle battery
that Sam's club sells.  I've had consistently good results.  Allegedly Sam's
uses different manufacturers in different regions but all I've ever seen in
the South has been Exide.  I'm not a tremendous fan of Exide but in this case,
the product is a good bang for the buck.  I forgot to check the price last
week when I was at Sam's but typically they run in the $75 range.

Given the skyrocketing price of metals including lead, you need to be aware
that the low end manufacturers and big box retailers are cutting the lead
content for a given size battery.  Perhaps they've figured out how to make
plates out of lead foil.  Or perhaps they're lying about capacity.

I recently needed a Group 27 deep cycle battery in a hurry.  An Autozone was
the closest store.  Their "Group 27" (sic) weighed less than half what my
trade-in weighed.  I decided to drive a bit farther to a NAPA store.

Since then I've been checking battery weight with my Mk 1 fingertips :-) every
chance I get.  Every one I've tested in a big box store has "gone lite".  With
the price of lead doubling (or more) in the last year, to maintain about the
same prices, something's gotta give.

I bought a set of 3 Group 29s at Sam's last fall for my MH.  Same weight as
usual and the performance is still satisfactory.  Apparently Sam's isn't
cheapening the product like wallyworld is.

Back to your original problem.  I'm suspicious of your entire bank dropping to
10 volts simultaneously.  That sounds more like one battery losing a cell and
the others having back connections.  I suggest charging and testing each
battery individually.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Batteries
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2008 21:08:56 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 3 Jun 2008 15:17:15 -0700, "oso-mike" <> wrote:

>NO?  So what would you recommend?
>I don't have room for 2 6V btrys.  I would like a maintenance free 12V.

I'm very pleased with the Sam's club/Exide Group 29 deep cycle batteries.  My
little rig currently has 3, soon to be 5, under one dinette seat.

Walmart used to carry name brand batteries like Stowaway but since they've
gone to their house brand, the quality has evaporated.  I purchased one
"everlast" or whatever it is that they call it.  Emergency situation, late at
night, getting ready for a car trip.  I took it back for a refund a few weeks
later.  New out of the store, it would barely turn over my little 350 V8,
something that my start pack that contains a 17amp-hour AGM does with vigor.
Sam's club has so far stayed with good brand names.

You REALLY REALLY don't want a maintenance free battery.  "maintenance free"
means "designed end-of-life".  A MF battery still uses water, just not as
much. Unless your charger abuses it, of course.  The difference is, you can't
add water to an MF battery.  Unless you pry open the lid, of course.  When it
runs out of water, you buy a new battery.

With a good charger/converter (PD Intellipower/charge wizard or Iota for
example), watering a wet battery is at most, a semi-annual affair.  If that's
a problem or space constraints require the battery to be mounted off-level
then you'll want to spend the extra money on an AGM battery.  Larger and
heavier and about half again as much money as a wet battery but totally
maintenance free.  Also more vulnerable to overcharge damage.  A smart
charger/converter is almost a must.

I have a 120 amp-hour AGM trolling battery that I bought at Outdoor World.  I
forget who made it but it's a major quality brand.  I use it in my vehicles
other than my RV to run my Engel portable refrigerator/freezers.  Only bad
parts are that it cost around $140 and it's almost too heavy for one person to

If you want a VERY high quality battery (with price to match), take a look at
the Hawker/Enersys Odyssey line.  This is a deep cycle AGM battery that has a
low enough internal impedance to also be a starting battery.  That
characteristic is also handy if you want to run a high powered inverter from a
single battery.  This is, IMO, the best battery available to the consumer
market by a long shot.


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