fridge draw - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-25-2006, 05:38 PM   #15
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...None of the yellow tops I can find are much over the 55 AH mentioned so I can't see yellow tops as much of a RV deep cycle candidate in a 12v load environment...
The bigger Optima yellow-tops are found in their Commerical selection, not under Automotive; from what I have read, these guys make a good product, but not a really easy-to-use web site. A while ago, someone even found a 3-cell (6V) product on a distributor's website which Optima doesn't list on their own site. I have no idea of cost or availability of any version except what I see at Costco.

12V batteries can be combined in parallel just as 6V batteries can be combined in series - either way works, so either approach can be used to build a high-capacity battery set from units you can find, and lift. Of course, two big Optimas would take a pile of cash, and I agree it's probably not the ideal route for most of us.
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Old 03-25-2006, 07:29 PM   #16
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Thanks for the battery tips. I have decided on 2 gel wheelchair batteries in parallel. That should do me. I am going to build an enclosure at the back of the boler to distribute the weight between the front tank and the 2 batteries. I figure a 30 lb propane tank and batteries mounted on the tongue was WAY too much weight.
Benny K. I cant really mount a battery on the front tongue because the tank i mounted is a horizontally mounted tank the same as mounted under a van or truck. You know the kind that are permanently mounted under a vehicle.
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Old 03-25-2006, 08:19 PM   #17
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Colin, I read back through this thread when you reminded us of the horizontal tank, and now I'm wondering: is that a 30 lb propane tank, or 30 gallons (your first description)? Even 30 lb would be enough, but I think 30 gallons at 80% full would be about 80 or 90 pounds of propane.
I can see how the battery can't go beside it; how long is this tank?
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:11 PM   #18
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Hmmm. 30 lb or 30 gallon. hmmm. Good question. The tank is 29 inches long and 11 inches high . Looks like a tylenol capsule. Has a guage on it. A big filler nossle . An overflow thing, and the flow tap. Its out of a vanamera van which was mounted i assume under the van as it was undercoated in black undercoat. Its now white. Since a bbq tank is 20 lbs and this tank is a little bigger because its longer i assumed 30 lb tank. But i dunno .
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Old 03-25-2006, 10:10 PM   #19
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.... The tank is 29 inches long and 11 inches high . Looks like a tylenol capsule. Has a guage on it. A big filler nossle . An overflow thing, and the flow tap... Since a bbq tank is 20 lbs and this tank is a little bigger because its longer i assumed 30 lb tank...
If that 29 inches is all tank (not brackets or guards) then I would guess about 45 litres capacity, or about 45 lb of propane at 80% full. Maybe smaller if some of that length isn't tank. Sounds like a good size for endurance, and a good fit across the A-frame of the trailer. The gauge will be nice to have, if it is a real liquid level gauge.

The Manchester Tank specs show a 30-lb horizontal tank as 12.2" in diameter, and only 19.6" long (cylinder body) or 23.4" overall (with valves and guard on one end). Colin's is presumably an RV tank, but Manchester's online RV Products page doesn't give specs.
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Old 03-25-2006, 11:41 PM   #20
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Yup. 29 inches and all tank. The brackets are under each end of the tank. So the tank fits perfectly across the widest part of the tongue. The guage is like a cars gas guage with a red needle encased in glass. I didnt want a tank this big but since i got it i might as well use it . If i sell the boler down the road the tank stays with it. Its just too bad the fridge wasnt a 3 way but i will have to make due until i figure out a good solar setup. I am thinking about having an array over the back window so when the boler isnt in use the array is down. In use and the array is up.

I figure with this tank and the only thing that is run by propane is the stove i should be good to go for about 10 years.
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Old 03-27-2006, 11:18 PM   #21
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Im with Steves', The optima is not the way to go, Go with the Exide or delco Group 31. they have a 5 year warranty, and don't mind being cycled a few times! But if you drop a cell, the warranty will fix that! Also, beware of the solar, I've heard of people overcharging there batteries, and boiling them. Batteries like to be topped off, they last to there full potential.

Good luck, Ryan
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:51 PM   #22
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...Also, beware of the solar, I've heard of people overcharging there batteries, and boiling them...
Any battery charging source requires control, and a solar panel is no exception. My 30W panel came with a warning to use a [b]charge controller, but the units up to 15W are claimed to be safe just connected directly - they can't push enough current through a typical battery to hurt it.

The most basic approach is to unplug it when the battery is appropriately charged, but this doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

The next step up is the same scheme as a basic automatic charger, which shuts off at a set voltage: the solar version is the same cutoff relay, set up to turn back on at some lower voltage. I have one of these, but it took weeks to get one since the store (Canadian Tire) never had them in stock. Mine can only handle 7 amps, but it was about $20, and all the other brands I could find were substantially more expensive.

More sophisticated controllers act like the nice three-stage chargers, but with a solar panel as a source instead of being plugged into AC power. One of those would be as much as a 15W panel, but I'm sure it would be worthwhile in a major solar installation.

The best solar panel power contollers are maximum power point tracking units, which step the panel output voltage up or down for the battery so both panel and battery are at optimum voltage. Very cool, very pricey, maybe worthwhile as an alternative to buying more panel.

It would be interesting to compare the total cost and weight of a 12VDC Norcold refrigerator plus enough solar panel, controller, and battery to keep up with it, to a 3-way fridge of the same capacity. The same comparison could be made with the Norcold, a battery, and a small generator verus the 3-way. Those 3-ways are expensive, heavy, and bulky (counting the venting space).
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Old 03-29-2006, 09:25 PM   #23
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Good stuff Brian. Where would one find a panel for my application? Is there a canadian website that sells panels and controllers? I would like to start sourcing things out and any guidance would be much appreciated.

Also. I would like to just get a group 31 battery but i have to mount the battery inside so i would have to vent it. Can you get a group 31 in a sealed battery so i dont have to vent?
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Old 03-30-2006, 08:34 PM   #24
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...Where would one find a panel for my application? Is there a canadian website that sells panels and controllers?...

Also. I would like to just get a group 31 battery but i have to mount the battery inside so i would have to vent it. Can you get a group 31 in a sealed battery so i dont have to vent?
There's now another topic for just this question: [b]Canadian Solar Panel, Where to buy. I'm no expert in this area - I bought my panel and cheap charge controller at Canadian Tire, and generally don't buy major items online (I like to see stuff in person). They're online, and so are many of the RV dealers who carry solar stuff.

While gell and AGM batteries do not vent except as an emergency pressure relief, the Safety and Handling page on the Optima website still says
Quote:
Install battery in a ventilated area for operation and during charging.
I doubt much vent is really needed, but I don't really know. A compartment with some outside ventilation and effectively closed off from the rest of the interior seems like a prudent idea to me.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:03 PM   #25
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Thanks Brian. I have the battery problem figured out. Finally.... Im going with a group 31 and building a battery enclosure under the dinette. While sitting at the dinette i found that there is a good chunk of space by your knee/foot that could be used. So its built and ready for a battery install. Just have to put a vent on the outside .
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