Burro Electrical Questions from a Newbie - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-05-2018, 10:48 AM   #1
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Name: Ashley
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Burro Electrical Questions from a Newbie

I've done a bit of research on how to get a battery hookup in my 1980 Burro and I want to make sure I understand this correctly. We eventually want to charge the battery from solar panels (but that will come later).

I'd like to get some feedback on my ideas and ask a few questions about the setup to make sure we do things as right as possible the first time.

I'm thinking about getting a 12V AGM Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery (possibly this one)

Our plan is to be able to power two 110V lights (wired through the cabinets and attached to the exterior of the sides of the cabinets above the sink) and to be able to charge two phones via USB, and have at least one AC plug for random items just in case. We will rarely if ever be plugged up at a campsite since we only use the burro for off-grid camping.

I'm guessing the battery attaches it to the blue and white cables coming from the "box" pictured below (I'm not sure if this box is a converter/inverter/breaker?). I know I might need an inverter for the 110V lights, but I'm really not sure what else I need or how to hook everything up.

I've read several forum posts, blogs, diagrams, and videos about RV power, but I'm stumped with figuring out what our Burro has and how to adapt it to our specific needs.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:45 PM   #2
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12 battery and 120V devices.

120 volt electricity is quite dangerous and you ought not to be messing with it unless you are trained.

I would suggest you go with the gel battery as you are thinking but instead of 120v lights, go with 12 volt lights and 12v phone chargers.
If you need 120V, you can install an inverter that you can buy from a truck stop or other locations. With this you can run a laptop, for example.

But you don't want to use anything big on 120v because you will drain your battery in no time.

I worked in an electrical lab and am quite timid when I work with 120v.

My thoughts.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:20 AM   #3
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I recently went through this same thing on my 13' Burro.
What I did, is make use of 12v LED lights, water pump, TV, vent fan, outlets/USB, etc.
Keeping everything 12v, makes battery, vehicle charge wire, solar charging, lights, etc. one simple unit.
I also have an inverter if needed, but don't use it often.
My 120v cord only powers the 120 outlets, and an onboard 12v charger, for times when I'm on shore power. Simple!
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wxmixte View Post
...
Our plan is to be able to power two 110V lights (wired through the cabinets and attached to the exterior of the sides of the cabinets above the sink) and to be able to charge two phones via USB, and have at least one AC plug for random items just in case. We will rarely if ever be plugged up at a campsite since we only use the burro for off-grid camping...
...I'm guessing the battery attaches it to the blue and white cables coming from the "box" pictured below (I'm not sure if this box is a converter/inverter/breaker?).
If you will rarely have shore power than forgot about putting anything 120 volts AC in the camper. No outlets, or 120 volt lights, etc. Only use 12 VDC stuff. How can I say that it really sounds like you don't know what you are doing without it coming out as sounding mean or unkind? At least get some competent and in-person / on-site assistance.
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:38 AM   #5
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I have to agree with Gordon, you need someone there with you for some on hands advice. The 110 wiring does not connect directly to a battery, although the wire ends in the one photo look like what would be used to connect to a battery. The one photo of the 110 outlet has a little push button on top which is a simple breaker. Our Uhaul had the same thing. Being as this is an old trailer, you never know what a previous owner has done, and whether it was done right or not. If you install a battery inside the trailer it is a good idea to use a sealed battery box with a vent to the outside. All kinds of options to end up with 110 and 12 volt electric in your trailer.
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
If you will rarely have shore power than forgot about putting anything 120 volts AC in the camper. No outlets, or 120 volt lights, etc. Only use 12 VDC stuff. How can I say that it really sounds like you don't know what you are doing without it coming out as sounding mean or unkind? At least get some competent and in-person / on-site assistance.
X2
You say you're "guessing" about it......that's not something you really want to do with electrical for your own safety. :boom:
Have someone qualified look at it/advise and go from there.
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Old 01-07-2018, 12:50 PM   #7
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Honestly, for off grid camping, I'd not try to utilize 120v accessories. They require use of an inverter, which is not efficient battery use. There's so many better choices for 12v LED lighting, it's a no brainer to me.
Although, I have 120v capability, I rarely use it, even when on shore power.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:28 AM   #8
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Thank you!

This is all very helpful. I will be sure to stick with the 12V and not even worry about 120V since we will be doing the majority of our camping off-grid. I agree I don't know much about the topic which is why I posted here before buying or working with anything electrical in the trailer.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:37 AM   #9
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asshley contact

Ashley contact lisa here on this board she goes by lisatania she can help you a lot.

bob
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Old 01-09-2018, 12:50 PM   #10
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Don't be afraid to ask questions, there's a lot of knowledge on this forum, and most folks are very willing to help.
12 volt LED lights are a cheap, efficient upgrade. Very little battery drain, and bright as you want.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:23 PM   #11
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We have used those small puck lights in places, they stick on, use AAA batteries. No wiring necessary.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:36 PM   #12
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when you're sizing your solar, figure on about half the solar panel's rated watts for 8 hours per sunny day. so, a 160W panel mounted on the trailer roof will likely give you no more than about 8 hours * 80 watts == 640 watt*hours. at 14 volts (charging voltage) thats 45 amp*hours neglecting conversion inefficiencies, or about half a charge on that 80AH battery. and thats when the sun is shining all day and you're not parked in the shade.

the solar panel is connected to a solar charge controller, which can be MPPT or PWM (MPPT is more efficient, PWM is cheaper), and the charge controller connects directly to the battery.

a regular camper setup ALSO has a 120V converter/charger, such as a PD4600 series, or a WFCO. these have a breaker-panel for your 120V outlets and stuff, they take in the 120V from the outside, and they convert the 120V to charge voltage (13-14V) and connect directly to the battery. they also have a fuse panel for your DC accessories (LED interior lighting, water pump, USB and cigar outlets, any other DC accessories). example WFCO power converter/panel below:
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:38 PM   #13
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also, any trailer over 1000 or 1500 lbs gross (I'm not exactly sure where the threshold is, and it may well vary by state vehicle code) *HAS* to have trailer brakes, these are usually electric, and require an on board 12V battery for emergency break-away braking.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:53 AM   #14
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These above counter LED's are hard wired in, and use .3 watts each. I put one above the table, also.
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