Converting from 12 Volt Batteries
To 6 Volt Golf Cart Style Batteries

 

Many RVers that have 12 volt deep cycle house batteries would rather use the 6 volt "Golf Cart" style of batteries. The 6 volt batteries have a heavier plate design that produces more amps, resulting in longer battery life between charge cycles. When converting from 12 volt batteries to 6 volt batteries you need to be sure that you connect two 6 volt batteries in series in order to continue to provide 12 volts to your electrical system. Remember that batteries in series compound their voltage, but not amperage. Batteries in parallel maintain their voltage but compound their amperage. When using (4) 6 volt batteries you will basically create two pairs of 6 volt series connected batteries. In this manner the four 220 amp-hr 6 volt batteries will give you a total of 440 amp-hrs on a 12 volt system. Use the following diagrams to help understand how to connect them.

Mark S. Nemeth has written an excellent article entitled "The 12 Volt Side of Life." Part of that article on batteries is quoted below.

 

If you have room and want to change over to the 6 volt golf cart batteries, you must make an important wiring change. Most rigs that have 2 or more 12 volt batteries have them wired in parallel. When going to the 6 volt batteries, you must wire pairs of them in series to produce the needed 12 volts. This is actually simpler than it sounds.... see the diagrams below.

 

When installing new batteries, first mark the cables so you do not forget which one is which when you reconnect. If you are changing over from a pair or set of 12 volt batteries to a pair or set of 6 volt batteries, some changes in cabling will be required. See the wiring drawing above for an example... If you don't fully understand what the difference is between parallel and series wiring, I strongly suggest that you do not attempt to do the hookup yourself... get a competent RV mechanic to show you how. If you are building a bigger battery bank, see below for wiring info...

When replacing your batteries, remove the negative cable first because this will minimize the possibility of shorting the battery when you remove the other cable. Next remove the positive cable and then the hold-down bracket or clamp. If the hold down bracket is severely corroded, replace it. Dispose the old battery by exchanging it when you buy your new one or by taking it to a recycling center. Please remember that batteries contain large amounts of harmful lead and acid.

 

Submitted by Mike Sundberg - 2/07/06
 

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