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IMHO, I think the advantages of increasing the size of your battery bank outweigh the risk of one battery going bad and draining the others.
By connecting multiple, similar, same-age batteries in parallel you are extending the life of your batteries more than is immediately obvious, due to the decrease in the peaks of current felt by each battery and by reduction in peaks of % discharge felt by each battery. And you'll get more available power also.
And isn't it the abuse (i.e., big peak % discharges) that actually causes a battery to go bad in the first place? So you'd be directly addressing the "battery goes bad" risk too.
So connect them up in parallel, cover them to prevent screwdriver-across-the-terminals accidents, and enjoy.
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Last edited by Bene505; 03-09-2010 at 11:36 AM.