Living without AC power - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-27-2009, 06:57 PM   #15
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Yes, we do enjoy our headlamps. I had never thought of the red cover, though. Good idea.
In addition to keeping your night vision more intact while sailing, they are handy for when you are talking with someone and (repeatedly) forget not to look straight at them with your headlamp turned on (Moi?!? )

*******

If you have a lead-acid battery (the usual kind, where you put water in the top), then yes, it will outgas while you are charging it (actually, other types will too, but not as much).

Many people do put it on the tongue, but then there are the space and (a fair bit of) added tongue weight issues to consider.

If you put it inside, I think it's best to have it sealed off, and then vent the box to the outside. There are bits of hardware for this specific task at RV shops. Basically it's a small tube leading to the outside.

Others on here have set this up though, whereas I have not done it specifically on trailers (yet).

Raya
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:53 AM   #16
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You can purchase a sealed battery that will not outgass. They are sold at Walmart and the wholesale clubs and auto stores. They have round cells and the tops are red, yellow or blue and they cost $200+ USD.

It would be less of a problem to install one of those batteries than it would be to modify the camper to retrofit a battery elsewhere.

The Battery Charger: More than likely will Hummmmm when charging so you might not want to run it while sleeping.
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:00 AM   #17
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I do have one question. Does the battery give off fumes? It is stored in one of the dinette benches and I don't think there is room on the tongue to put it there. I was thinking I would put the charger right next to it in the bench and just be able to run a cord in the little door that leads from the back of the trailer to inside the bench.
This may work for your application. Necessitates some cutting through the shell tho.


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Found here: Battery Boxes that are Vented for your RV
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:08 AM   #18
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I have an Optima AGM battery from 4 years and no fume and no acid leak

Most expensive but more that a candy !!!

I dont care of my battery , several time empty completly and after recharge always plenty of power
When this Optima battery dead completly i replace them with an other Optima !!!

Yvon Chayer
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Old 11-28-2009, 09:55 AM   #19
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I am going to try to figure out if we could fit a battery and the new kind of propane tank on the tongue. That would free up a lot of storage space and put my mind at ease. Having a little kid, I use non-toxic cleaners and no-VOC paint, so lessening fumes to the absolute minimum is a priority for me. It's been hard enough using all these boat products with their danger warnings.

If it is true that the battery only really off gasses while charging and when completely dead and it seems that we will be taking pretty short trips for the first year (and not needing to charge with a charger while out and about), I may hold off on making this decision until our second season.

The other thing I will need to figure out is if there are problems with charging with a portable charger when the battery is outside. Can it get wet?
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:49 AM   #20
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Just have the charger inside and run the wire's from the charger out to the battery.

Bill K


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The other thing I will need to figure out is if there are problems with charging with a portable charger when the battery is outside. Can it get wet?
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:56 PM   #21
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Yes, that's true. AGM and gel-cell batteries off-gas less than traditional lead-acid batteries. To the point where it's like they don't offgas at all.

They cost more, and are more finicky about charging though, as a trade-off, so you just have to decide what will work best for you.

When they were still a fairly new thing, I bought 6 of them for a sailboat's house bank, plus a smart charger/regulator, etc. Ka-ching! Later, after doing some research (that was not available when I bought), it turns out that the absolutely worst type of charging for them is the constant slow trickle of solar panels and wind chargers. Guess what I had? Yep. Oopsie.

They much prefer the sort of charging that a power boat or a tied-to-the-dock boat gives them. That is, drain to 50%, then charge up all at once right to the top, then drain, then charge, etc. Exactly the opposite from a typical boat out sailing, constantly using the battery (still only down to 50%) and constantly charging at a trickle (solar panels, etc.).

Of course with a trailer that goes to a home base during the week, you will be giving it the kind of charge it likes (but they still like a smart charger and good regulation).

Lead-acid batteries are happier with the constant slow trickle of a solar panel, and are not as fussy about having smart chargers and regulators, etc. You can charge them with just a basic charger.

As with all of this sort of stuff, which one is best? It depends! To my mind you just have to weigh your situation against what each type of battery has to offer (and what it taketh away).

Raya

PS: Donna, that style of battery box for a lead-acid battery in the trailer looks nifty.
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Old 11-28-2009, 01:06 PM   #22
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The Optima spiral cell batteries mentioned by Darwin & Yvon are great batteries. They're a specialized type of absorbed glass matt (AGM) battery that packs the "glass matt" and lead plates into nested cylinders. They're particularly good for applications like off-road vehicles that bang the battery around a whole lot and for applications like solar-power systems where you want to capture the absolute maximum amount of electricity generated from the solar panels with the absolute minimum amount of loss. (Something you don't need to worry about if you're charging from your tow vehicle or a plug-in charger.)

Their downsides, however, are that they are very expensive and aren't as "energy dense" as a regular AGM battery. If you compare Optima and standard AGM batteries of the same physical size, the Optima will store fewer amp hours -- about 1/3 less -- than the same-sized AGM battery. Putting that in real terms, I have a 55 Amp-hour Optima battery that cost me $180 US a few years ago when I had a single 55-watt solar panel and wanted to squeeze every possible watt out of my daily charging cycle. Now I have two panels and don't have to worry quite so much about capturing every single watt I could buy a standard AGM battery that's the same physical size and would hold 80 Amp-hours for $130.

Beyond differences in their vibration resistance, charging efficiency, and energy density Optima Spiral Cell AGM batteries and standard AGM batteries are pretty much the same. They out-gas the same, they last the same number of years or charging cycles, they maintain the same voltages when they're fully charged, and so on.
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Old 11-28-2009, 01:16 PM   #23
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Peter,

I haven't used the Optima type AGM batteries. Are they more tolerant of constant, slow trickle charging (and concurrent use) than regular AGMs? (It would sure be nice if they were.)

Raya
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Old 11-28-2009, 03:34 PM   #24
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Well, I'm obviously no expert, but after doing some googling it seems that AGM and gelled are quite different but that all types of AGM are able to be fully charged with solar.

http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm

http://www.exploroz.com/Forum/Topic/20258/...ent_charge.aspx

I am intrigued, especially after looking at the trailer tongue and feeling doubtful that I could fit the current battery out there. Is it possible that my tongue is so much smaller than other people's? (That's a strange question, isn't it?)



Quote:
Peter,

I haven't used the Optima type AGM batteries. Are they more tolerant of constant, slow trickle charging (and concurrent use) than regular AGMs? (It would sure be nice if they were.)

Raya
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:07 PM   #25
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We had four 240AH batteries on our sailboat that we lived aboard for eight years. They didn't have any type vent and just lived in the engine room with no special seals or battery boxes.

We never worried about or had any issue with gassing even though we charged the bank twice a day with a diesel generator. We used about 200 to 250AH each day.

Therefore I question whether a sealed battery box is even nessisary. However, when equalizing, Some venelation would probably be in order.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:13 PM   #26
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Hi Amy,

AGM and gel batteries are different, but people often talk about them at the same time because they are both "similar" in that they don't outgas as much as lead-acid batteries, and have other similar characteristics. They also came into being around the same time (as compared to lead-acid, which have been around 'forever').

Solar panels have no problems charging either AGM or gel batteries, that is true. But people seem to be finding, from experience, that AGM batteries don't really "like" to be charged and used at a constant trickle (especially when they never get their last 10% of "float" charge in), and so this shortens their lifespan. Given how much they cost, this is not a happy thing.

Look at it this way: Say batteries were people, and it took 1,000 calories a day to keep them alive and happy. The lead-acid people would be (relatively) happy eating steadily, all day long, just one small bite at a time. They could also get by on only 900 calories, for long periods of time.

The AGM people, on the other hand, would not be as happy with this, but would rather stop working and sit down to eat. They would like just one meal a day, all 1,000 calories in one shot, till they were totally full. Then they are happy to go work again, until it's time to sit down for the next 1,000 calorie meal. They especially would hate to go back to work after only having eaten 900 calories (and in the Battery family, that last 10% of the calories takes the longest to eat).

The AGM people would still survive on the lead-acid people's way, but they would not thrive, nor would they live as long.

On the other hand, the lead-acid people do just fine eating the AGM way. They are not only cheaper but less fussy. On the other hand, they outgas

Again, there is nothing wrong with AGM batteries. They are a great technology, and although they (and their preferred chargers) cost more, they have definite advantages. But they also have their weaknesses. So it just depends on what you want, and how you are going to use them.

Raya

PS: It was pointed out to me that all of these batteries have lead and acid, and that the ones I was referring to should really be properly called "flooded cell" batteries. That's correct and I hope I haven't confused anyone. By "lead-acid" I really did mean "flooded cell."
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:31 PM   #27
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We had four 240AH batteries on our sailboat that we lived aboard for eight years. They didn't have any type vent [b]and just lived in the engine room with no special seals or battery boxes.
But I'll bet that the engine room wasn't part of the main salon or one of the staterooms. Having the battery open under a bench inside the trailer is like having it right in the room with you. That's why it should be in a compartment that is sealed away from the main living space and vented to the outside, just like the back of the absorption refrigerator should be sealed away from the main living space and vented to the outside.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:38 PM   #28
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I wonder what type of batteries Judith had - she didn't specify. Granted, it's nice to have a battery box for any type of battery. But an un-vented AGM battery in the living compartment is different (and less of an issue) than an un-vented lead-acid battery.

You're right to point that out though, Frederick, as she didn't make that clear.

Also, most live-aboard boats would have more volume and more passive ventilation than most of our eggs. Sometimes the engine room is fairly sealed off from the living space; other times, not so much. It really does need more detail before one (Judith, not Frederick) can make a definitive statement like that, in my opinion.

Raya
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