Finally broke down - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #1
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Smile Finally broke down

. . . and replaced the NAPA group 24 DP battery on the Burro with a Deka group 27 DC from Eastern Marine. $119 which is a bit more than I wanted to give but have heard good things about these made in the USA batteries, at least in bikes and industrial aps. Battery box was priced reasonably at $9.50. Nothing wrong with the NAPA; it's on a trickle charger now and may come in handy as a starter battery sometime. Hope this increase in amp hrs. combined with my 80 watt solar panel will keep us safe, warm and illuminated.

jack
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:38 PM   #2
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My 30 watt solar is keeping my group 31 fully charged, haven't plugged in for awhile, just have the propane alarm, radio and tv plugged in so there is some parasitic drain- maybe 12 a/h per day.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:18 PM   #3
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If I RC, I think you retrofitted The Lance for solar, Jim. Is a 30watt panel enuf? Do you have an AGM battery to make hay while the sun shines? I mentioned Deka because the product looks to have a better rep than the Johnson Control rebadge batteries.

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Old 04-11-2012, 08:46 PM   #4
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Dry camped at Lake Mead for 3 days, running lights, water pump, TV, Sat receiver, fridge fans, wifi hotspot, and recharging phones and computers. Also one night we ran the AC electric blanket before bed.

We mostly ran our 1200 watt Inverter, charged our phones and computer during daylight when the solar panel was firing on all cylinders and did not run our fridge fans at night when they're typically not needed.

One evening instead of using the 1200 watt Inverter we ran two 100 watt cigarette lighter Inverters, one for the TV and one for the sat receiver. Worked fine. We probably could have used one, but the plugs are at opposite ends of the trailer. (One of many little things to address.)

We have an 80 watt panel and one type 24 battery. Never saw battery voltage drop below 12.5 volts though I'm sure it does instantaneously when the water pump turns on.

I'm going to look for a more energy efficient pump. As well the taped on panels are still working fine. 80 watts seems enough for us as long as we're not trying to run the AC though I'm still planning to add a second battery when I reach Seattle.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:33 PM   #5
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. . . and replaced the NAPA group 24 DP battery on the Burro with a Deka group 27 DC from Eastern Marine. $119 which is a bit more than I wanted to give but have heard good things about these made in the USA batteries, at least in bikes and industrial aps. Battery box was priced reasonably at $9.50. Nothing wrong with the NAPA; it's on a trickle charger now and may come in handy as a starter battery sometime. Hope this increase in amp hrs. combined with my 80 watt solar panel will keep us safe, warm and illuminated.

jack

A couple things to do to make sure you always have enough battery. Reduce the usage, one good way is to replace the incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, that will probably save you the most in battery usage.
Limit water usage so you don't run the pump much. Look at every thing that requires battery to run and ask yourself how you can reduce the power consumption.
My trailer is pretty simple, 3 cold cathode fluorescent lights, 5 LED lights plus the porch light which is LED. All of those on at once require about the same amount of power as one incandescent light (1147 bulb). The only other thing that uses power in my trailer is the furnace.
We just spent over 90 days traveling with only 4 nights of electric hookup. I think it was close to 3 weeks in Death Valley NP, 2 weeks in Big Bend NP, and 2 weeks at Katherine Landing in the Lake Mead National Recreational area. No hookups in any of those places.
My electrical system is an 80 amp hour group 24 battery on the trailer, a 50 amp hour battery for the ham radio plus charging computers, cameras, etc. A 65 Watt solar panel kept them both well charged.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:24 PM   #6
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As well the taped on panels are still working fine.
That is great! I think your install is amazing. I wondered how the tape was holding up. You should update your thread on that.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:56 AM   #7
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If I RC, I think you retrofitted The Lance for solar, Jim. Is a 30watt panel enuf? Do you have an AGM battery to make hay while the sun shines? I mentioned Deka because the product looks to have a better rep than the Johnson Control rebadge batteries.

jack
I think it is enough for any parasitic draw plus LED/tv/radio light use. Pumps and heaters will start to eat into my 50 a/h availability, so with careful use I can go 3-4 days before having to "recharge" with electric or generator. With no furnace requirements the 30 watt panel should be able to keep me going unlimited. I think I have 130 a/h battery.
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:03 AM   #8
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Rabbit

I wish you luck with those batteries,I had nothing but problems from mine.

I have tried Group 31's in a few trailers and switched a few trucks to them too all based on good things I had read and heard about all of the East Penn batteries.
There is also a local supplier near me so I figured I was good for service in case I had issues.

Well I did have issues and several new batteries in every place I had a Deka and now I have moved to Trojan and Lifeline batteries and now at last I have no problems.

I cant understand exactly how they could make such terrible batteries but I will never use or suggest them again.

Good Luck

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Old 04-12-2012, 04:58 PM   #9
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Gulp, I hate finding out for myself! The date code was Jan of this yr. I checked an internet site on how to read it before I went to Eastern Marine because they love to sell three tires and toss in one that's three yrs. old. They claimed they were turning over batteries fast and this time of yr. I would be inclined to think that's probably true and the date of manuf. confirmed. The Deka site claims they have special frames for the lead "paste" fiberglass-wrapped to avoid flaking and sedimentation, "demineralized" electrolyte, and possibly a piece of the true cross as well. Anyway, live and learn . . . to cuss.

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Old 04-12-2012, 06:44 PM   #10
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Taped Solar Panel Update.

We've towed at least 6,000 miles with the solar panels taped to the roof of our trailer. They have been in weather from the 20s to 95F, rained on, snowed on, sand blasted,.... There have been no negative issues and charge our battery easily.

I should write an update of our modifications, things that went wrong and right.
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:29 PM   #11
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I have seven LED "bulbs" in the trailer, eight counting the outside light. Only incandescent is the range hood light and it is hardly worth replacing with an LED. Have a 400watt inverter for computer, FantasticFan, water pump motor, furnace blower. I'm assuming around 100 amp hrs. on the group 27. Byron's report from (non)Death Valley is encouraging. I'll go out right now and sing "Long May You Run" to that Deka battery! My "tether to graze" solar panel appeared to do a good job charming the battery last spring but I didn't get much of a chance to check its performance in a camping situation as all but one of the four parks we visited since getting the trailer had shore power. Maybe this yr. will provide me with some experience as retiring from my glamorous career end of July. My wife intends to work two more yrs and then if we survive to a hundred and five, I suppose eventually we can try the gypsy life for a period greater than a couple days.

Later thought appended: Norm's TV got me wondering if we can use our 19" TV w/ built-in DVR off the 400watt inverter? Would a half hr. of news morning and evening be all I could expect or could I actually watch an hour+ DVD in sunny summer weather?

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Old 04-13-2012, 07:55 PM   #12
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Jack,

There is no doubt you can run your 19" TV with a 400 watt inverter. We can easily run our 19" LCD TV with a 100 watt Inverter. We have watched TV for four hours one night without issue. Once daylight comes it's not an issue because the solar panel meets the need of the TV.

Modern TV's are very efficient. Generally small load items like an LCD TV have less overhead power than larger Inverters.
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