Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Camper battery bank wiring.

First there are a few rules of thumb to follow when wiring a battery bank.
1) Use wiring that is as large as you can afford, smaller wiring means power loss.
2) Keep your wiring from battery to battery the same length this will help insure proper charging.
3) You can use heavy weight welding cable between batteries it is more bendable.
4) Put in a battery cut off switch between the batteries and the RV
5) Use the same types of batteries and of the same age.

When I did my battery bank I bought a cable clamp tool and did my own and I also spent more and installed the larger 1/0 cable for the most power flow, that alone was $60.

You will have to decide on a 12 volt setup of 2 or more battery's or a 6 volt system of 2,4 or 6 batteries.

First the easiest system the 12 volt, you will want to use a Parallel wiring setup and you can even do a 3 battery system. Below are a couple of diagrams to follow. This will keep your system at 12 volts and if you are using say 150 ah battery's you would have a 300 ah system for 2 battery's or 450 ah for 3 battery's.
Remember to use batteries that are all the same type and age as they will charge more equally that way.




6 Volt systems
If you are using a small bank of 2 battery's you will want to go with Series wired setup follow the chart from Trojan below. This will give you 12 volts and your battery ah output will stay the same.

For a larger system you will want to go with Series/Parallel wiring, this will give you 12 volts and double your ah output so if you are using 232 ah battery's like I did then for 4 you would have 464 ah capacity.
Follow these charts below.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Camper batteries

Lets talk a little about camper batteries, I won't way the pro's or cons of wet, gel, agm or lithium here I am going to stick with wet battery info but the wiring would be the same with either. First some info on my battery set ups.
In my Coleman pop up I had 1 group 29 Walmart battery 122 ah per their specs and I ran my furnace and a double overhead light with the standard 12v auto bulbs and I would drain it down to 50% capacity or less before recharging and would be lucky to get 2 years out of a battery.



In our fifth wheel it came with a single Centennial  DC24MF battery rated at
Reserve Capacity 25 Amp Draw  140min
Amp Hour @ 20HR Rate 75amps


I would have to recharge daily, this battery installed by the RV dealer when I bought my trailer used was way to small a group 24 automotive size battery, but why was it to small ? Lets look at battery's for a minute and for the moment we will stick with the 12 volt ones.

First most Walmart batteries are Marine/RV like my Centennial and are not true deep cycles, they have CCA (cold cranking amps) listed on them and as in the case of the Walmart batteries their AH (amp hour) rating is wrong they use a (1Amp @ 12V) draw and the standard is a 20A draw. These batteries are typically in the 100 ah to 140 ah size which only really have 50-70 amps of usable power.

Here is a good rule to go by for using battery power, for longest battery life do not drain down past the 80% mark so on a battery like my Centennial that would be only 28 amps used before recharging. This will give you the most life out of your battery it also means daily recharging for a single batty system.

Since I was using Marine batteries I used a automotive 12 volt charger run off my generator at a 30 amp max. So I tied a Walmart group 29 battery to my Centennial in series for about 240 ah battery capacity, not the best thing to do with the battery's, but it gained me a extra day before recharging and I wasn't draining the batteries as much.

This talk of AH, CCA and draws my be confusing to you as it was to me when we first got our fifth wheel it didn't even concern me with our pop up until I had to drive over a 100 miles to get a new one so we could finish our trip. So lets talk about what these things mean and it is  the same for 6 volts or 12 volts.

An amp hour (AH) is a rating usually found on deep cycle batteries. The standard rating is an amp rating taken for 20 hours. What this means for a 100 AH rated battery is this: Draw from the battery for 20 hours, and it will provide a total of 100 amp hours. That translates to about 5 amps an hour. (5 x 20 = 100).
This is how many amps you have to use and is more important than battery volts, remember going down to 50% kills your battery's stay above 80% if possible. So if you have 2 100 ah battery's you have 40 amps of usable power before recharging, we consume between 20-30 amps a day so you would need to recharge every 1 1/2 days.




Reserve Capacity (RC) is a battery rating. This is the number of minutes a fully charged battery at 80°F will discharge 25 amps until the battery drops below 10.5 volts. It may be expressed as

Minutes of Discharge @ 25 Amps
I don't see this rating as very important I mean who pulls that much power continually while camping. If you were buying battery's and looking at them side by side I would go with the higher rating between the 2 simply because it means it has more capacity ie: more power in it.



A battery cycle is one complete discharge from 100 percent down to about 50 percent and then re-charged back to 100 percent.
This will give you a estimate of the usage you will get out of the battery, so if it has 100 cycles and you discharge it to 50% every 2 days then recharge you will only get 200 days from it, keep it to 80% and get a year.


Here are sum typical batteries you will see in RV's.
12 volt

Duracell Ultra SLI 27MDC
Capacity 20hr:          90AH
$118


Duracell Ultra Deep Cycle Battery for Deep Cycle 12V RV - SLI27MDC
Interstate Batteries SRM-24 Marine/RV Deep Cycle Battery
140min Reserve Capacity (RC)@25 Amps
$138
Interstate 27DC marine/rv
Reserve Capacity(RC): 160min
These are the typical batteries you will find at places like Costco, Batteries Plus and auto stores and only one the Duracell gives a 20hr rating and it is low at 90 ah and you will be paying up to $150 with trade in for one of these. Below is a more expensive, longer lasting, more power option.

Trojan T-1275 Plus
It's ratings are.
Amp Hour @ 20HR Rate     150 amp
Capacity 25 amps                 280 min
 $238


I went with 6 volt batteries knowing I was going with a 4 battery bank at the start and not Trojan.

US Battery US 2200 6 volt
232Ah @20Amps
474 Min @25Amps 
$160-180

I bought these at a local solar power store and didn't even have to pay a core charge.



As you can see 6 volt batteries have a lot more power than even good quality 12 volt and they are comparable in cost to the better 12 volt battery's, the down side is you have to buy 2 to get 12 volt power and you will need more wiring too.

I will follow this post with one on wiring for a battery banks.

Food saver power usage test.

This is our fourth appliance power usage test we used our Food saver from the house it is a little to large but is still light enough for carrying while full timing.






The test, we again started with 100% battery capacity and the Tri-metric battery monitor showed the same 00.4 ams used by our 1000 watt inverter it went to 00.5 amps when the food saver was turned on and went to 11.4 amps when we sealed a bag and 11.1 amps when it vacuumed out the air. The batteries stayed at 100% . Why a food saver, it is not much use when just camping but a full timer could pair this with a small dehydrator and dry and package fresh fruit or jerky and other stuff.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Toaster power usage.

Ok this is our third appliance power (amps used) test. It is our Oster toaster which will also do bagels & waffles.






We did a few minutes of recharger with our Boondocker battery charger and started our test with 100% battery capacity.

The test started with the same 00.4 amps used by our 1000 watt inverter and the toaster usage was 64.8 amps for only a short time and our batteries stayed at 100% on our Tri-metric battery monitor.
This amount of power usage is very acceptable for a boondocker with a good size battery bank.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Coffee pot power usage.

Ok this is my second post on power usage for use in our trailer. A little review of our setup, we have 4 6 volt deep cycle batteries in series/parallel giving us 12 volts and 464 amp hours and a old 1000 watt inverter with a dedicated plug in at the counter top.

The test subject is a Walmart Mainstays coffee maker for single servings 8-14 oz using k cups or grounds.


We monitored the test using our Tri-metric TM 2030 RV battery monitor we started with 99% battery capacity and ran 10 oz of water and our meter showed 00.4 amps used by our inverter and the single brewing took 77.1 amps and dropped our batteries to 98% capacity.

Now you may wonder why I am checking this, we are planning to add 500 watts of solar panels once the weather stays clear long enough and they will put out 30 amps of power in full sun so we would need 2+ hours of solar charge time to recharge the batteries for every cup of coffee I want in the morning not what I want to see but it is still a acceptable situation 2 cups of coffee and 5 hours recharge time, I could live with it.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Here is a poll for you, what type of camping do you do.

Please select all that apply.

What type of camping do you do, select all that apply.
Truck camper
Class b or Van
Class c
Class a
Pop up trailer
Tear drop
Travel trailer
Fifth wheel
Toy hauler
Tent
Create Online Surveys

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Thinking about changing kitchen cabinet color


which kitchen color scheme do you like best

Gray
Beige
Created with Poll Maker

Sunday, December 8, 2019

City Parks and camping

I have added pages for city park camping in Montana & Wyoming, look on the left side of the site in the camping area.