Battery placement - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-12-2011, 10:20 PM   #1
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Name: Kristopher
Trailer: 197x Boler
British Columbia
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Battery placement

I see a lot of Boler trailers with one or two propane bottles on the front tongue but not a lot of batteries. Where are the batteries getting mounted or are they not getting used in a lot of trailers?

I have a flat tray on my Boler and it seems like it was for a propane bottle and no spot for a battery so I wonder if it is easier to fit a propane bottle in the gap between the frame or a battery. Maybe a small battery and small bottle side by side on the tray since I am only a weekender camper. Or at least think I will be when the build is done.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:54 AM   #2
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Some folks put their battery under the seats, if they're not on the tongue.

When I got my Boler, the previous owner had the battery under the back dinette seat. Since he didn't have a charging system setup, the only way to charge was to take a battery charger back there and open it up to clip the charger on... not a big deal, but a pain if the bed was made out. If he would have had a system installed to charge, then it would have worked to charge without hassle.

I've since had a flat plate welded to the tongue just ahead of the propane tray - and have mounted the battery there. I did that so I wouldn't have to reconfigure the propane tray - tho I probably would prefer them being side by side on the tray (if they fit).

Having the battery box ahead of it, pushes it close to the jack - of which I had to then replace my top-wind jack with a side-wind jack because the top-wind couldn't fully turn with the new battery! Sheesh, it never ends.

Lastly, the other reason I put it on the tongue is to get more tongue weight... I bounced pretty good before. I wanted to get in the 10-15% weight range, and this was an easy addition.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:28 PM   #3
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Two things to consider:

When drained batteries charge, they generate hydrogen gas. No issue if the battery is in a box on the tongue, but a potential issue if it is inside, sealed under a seat. I have an insed battery and use a vented-to-the-outside battery box with a screened inlet through the trailer floor, and a screened vent out the side.

The further forward you move the battery from the axle towards the hitch, the more you add to the tongue weight, The further back behind the axle that you move the battery, The more you reduce the tongue weight. Ideal tongue weight on a single axle trailer is 15% of the overall trailer wieght. (discussed in several other places on this site). Make sure you know the impact of your decision.

Vic
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Old 07-15-2011, 05:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LukeP View Post

Having the battery box ahead of it, pushes it close to the jack - of which I had to then replace my top-wind jack with a side-wind jack because the top-wind couldn't fully turn with the new battery!
Hi, Luke

What brand of jack did you buy?
I'd like to put on a sidewinder, too, but I'm having trouble finding one that's short enough.
Ideally I'm hoping for one I can install on the existing bracket, which has a 2-1/2" c-clip on the welded-on base...

Thanks!

Francesca
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:05 PM   #5
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Kristopher,

Last year we had a Casita 16 with the battery under a dinette seat. Casita solves the Hydrogen issue with a vented battery box. The real issue is servicing the battery, checking the water level. I suppose one could get a gel battery instead of a wet cell battery to eliminate the hydrogen problem.

I prefer my wet cell battery on the tongue though it does significantly add to the hitch weight. In my case I would never put a second battery there since we try to keep the hitch weight below 220 pounds.

On the Scamp the battery is on the tongue along with one propane tank. We compromise by only having one propane tank, soon to be a fiberglass tank. We like the fiberglass because it's lighter and you can always see the propane level. Actually we use very little propane. A tank seems to last 4-6 weeks for us.

Norm

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Old 07-16-2011, 12:29 PM   #6
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Good point. I am adding a 12volt system in my 13-foot Boler and I am concerned about having too much weight on the tongue if I place the heavy battery there (I am towing with a Subaru Outback 2006).

I was thinking of placing the battery at the back, on a plate welded to the frame, beside the spare wheel. The battery will be charged by a PD4045 converter/charger.

A good or a bad idea? Is this allowed in the first place?

Thanks,

François


Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Benz View Post
Two things to consider:

When drained batteries charge, they generate hydrogen gas. No issue if the battery is in a box on the tongue, but a potential issue if it is inside, sealed under a seat. I have an insed battery and use a vented-to-the-outside battery box with a screened inlet through the trailer floor, and a screened vent out the side.

The further forward you move the battery from the axle towards the hitch, the more you add to the tongue weight, The further back behind the axle that you move the battery, The more you reduce the tongue weight. Ideal tongue weight on a single axle trailer is 15% of the overall trailer wieght. (discussed in several other places on this site). Make sure you know the impact of your decision.

Vic
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by François P. View Post
Good point. I am adding a 12volt system in my 13-foot Boler and I am concerned about having too much weight on the tongue if I place the heavy battery there (I am towing with a Subaru Outback 2006).

I was thinking of placing the battery at the back, on a plate welded to the frame, beside the spare wheel. The battery will be charged by a PD4045 converter/charger.

A good or a bad idea? Is this allowed in the first place?

Thanks,

François
Hi, Francois

I had my battery on my back bumper at first, and the trailer sagged a bit to the side.
A bit of other cargo opposite solved that.
You might be interested to know that I saw a pretty new "Escape" (Trillium Clone) recently, and it came from the factory with two six-volt (6+6=12v) batteries on welded plates on either side of the rear bumper!
It also had two propane tanks lined up one behind the other on the tongue, a configuration I'd never seen before. I presume the arrangement has to do with balance, though I wouldn't depend on a weight source that fluctuates as much as forty pounds for that...
By the way, the Escape is made in Canada, and legal to import to the U.S.A., so it's fair to assume their arrangement is legal in both countries.

Francesca
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Hi, Luke

What brand of jack did you buy?
I'd like to put on a sidewinder, too, but I'm having trouble finding one that's short enough.
Ideally I'm hoping for one I can install on the existing bracket, which has a 2-1/2" c-clip on the welded-on base...

Thanks!

Francesca
Hi Francesca!
Well..... I had a top-wind c-clip as well. I couldn't find an option to keep the bracket, so opted to change to an a-frame mount that doesn't flip up. As it turns out, I could have used a top-wind because it does now clear the battery box, but I didn't want to chance it - and got a side-wind. I actually like it better than the old one, no worries about not being able to flip the jack down when the angle is bad. Here's what I ordered - with both a foot and a wheel (that has saved my back many times by now, as I roll it around!) A-Frame Trailer Jack - Sidewind - 1,000 lbs. by Dutton-Lainson Dutton-Lainson Trailer Jack DL22530

Here's a pic of the jack, battery mount on my Boler.
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new coupler, jack, battery, 7pin, LP lines.jpg  
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LukeP View Post
Hi Francesca!
Well..... I had a top-wind c-clip as well. I couldn't find an option to keep the bracket, so opted to change to an a-frame mount that doesn't flip up. As it turns out, I could have used a top-wind because it does now clear the battery box, but I didn't want to chance it - and got a side-wind. I actually like it better than the old one, no worries about not being able to flip the jack down when the angle is bad. Here's what I ordered - with both a foot and a wheel (that has saved my back many times by now, as I roll it around!) A-Frame Trailer Jack - Sidewind - 1,000 lbs. by Dutton-Lainson Dutton-Lainson Trailer Jack DL22530

Here's a pic of the jack, battery mount on my Boler.
Hi, Luke

I'm kind of stuck with a swing-up configuration as I want to be able to open the hatch on my Kia while hitched up, and a fixed A-frame jack won't let me do that
Guess I'll keep looking...

Thanks anyway, though!

Francesca
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:47 PM   #10
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Gotcha! Would you be able to use an a-frame jack if you used a draw mount bar that extends "out", instead of dropping straight down - so you get a little distance from the hatch? We pull with a Honda Pilot, and it's not even close to our hatch - but I assume we'd be a bit higher (assuming your Kia is a car, not SUV).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Hi, Luke

I'm kind of stuck with a swing-up configuration as I want to be able to open the hatch on my Kia while hitched up, and a fixed A-frame jack won't let me do that
Guess I'll keep looking...

Thanks anyway, though!

Francesca
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:23 AM   #11
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Name: Dave
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On my Boler 1700, the stupid "profane" tanks are AHEAD OF the single battery placement (and mounted above the tongue). This means that the "profane" bottles hang out WAY too far on either side of the tongue and on very tight turns, the truck's bumper hits a bottle. I am gonna switch this around and move the bottles back against the front body of the trailer and have the battery sunk down inside the front of the tongue for protection from my own occasional stupidity.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LukeP View Post
Gotcha! Would you be able to use an a-frame jack if you used a draw mount bar that extends "out", instead of dropping straight down - so you get a little distance from the hatch? We pull with a Honda Pilot, and it's not even close to our hatch - but I assume we'd be a bit higher (assuming your Kia is a car, not SUV).
Hi, Luke-

The Kia's a Sportage (see below) and the problem is compounded by the swing-away spare tire carrier which also has to have room to open...it just misses the propane tanks, and I have to be parked "straight" to do that.
I'm not sure I could find a drawbar long enough to solve the problem.
And then there's the length of the combination to consider- as it's set up now, I'm just BARELY under the breakpoint in the fares on the State Ferry System.
Adding even a few inches will increase the fare significantly, going against my "Camp Cheapskate" philosophy

But thanks for the suggestion!

Francesca
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:50 PM   #13
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Name: Adam
Trailer: Boler 1300, 1972
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just curious, I am in process of installing a battery system into my b-1300. What size/style of battery are best used?

we are mainly going to be running the lights (not sure of their draw quite yet, but they are simple dome light style), and am installing a 1000w inverter/charger to allow for use of the 120v socket and on occasion run the fridge (again, not sure of the draw quite yet. not looking forward to pulling it out to check) main use of the wall socket will be to charge a laptop on occasion, and if she has her way, a hairdrier... (I believe that will be the largest demand item ever used, and I am really hoping it is not used often!)

just a little unsure of which direction to look beyond deep cycle. Ideally, twin 6v (I think that may be over kill for my demands though)

Any ideas?
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:17 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by adriemel83 View Post
just curious, I am in process of installing a battery system into my b-1300. What size/style of battery are best used?

we are mainly going to be running the lights (not sure of their draw quite yet, but they are simple dome light style), and am installing a 1000w inverter/charger to allow for use of the 120v socket and on occasion run the fridge (again, not sure of the draw quite yet. not looking forward to pulling it out to check) main use of the wall socket will be to charge a laptop on occasion, and if she has her way, a hairdrier... (I believe that will be the largest demand item ever used, and I am really hoping it is not used often!)

just a little unsure of which direction to look beyond deep cycle. Ideally, twin 6v (I think that may be over kill for my demands though)

Any ideas?
Hi, Adam

I'm no expert when it comes to batteries, but I can share my own experience...
A lot depends on your intended use...my approach is to minimize the necessity for power consumption- my 3-way fridge is always on propane unless I'm staying where 120v is available. According to my Trillium manual, the fridge will drain a battery dry very quickly- the 12v option is meant for travel, when the tow vehicle is constantly generating power.
I've got a single 12v deep cycle battery that I rarely run dry, but the only draw on it is my lights. I don't use a water pump, either- and I use a solar-powered hair dryer. Your wife's hair dryer, being a 120v heat-producing appliance, may overload your 1,000 watt converter- many hairdryers are 1500 watts.
I charge small electronics (camera, computer, toothbrush, etc.) with a simple lighter-socket converter, usually in the car. I do bring along a portable power pack as a backup for that purpose. It also can be recharged in the car, though I've never had occasion to do so.

Hope this helps!

Francesca
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