12v upgrades - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-28-2011, 05:47 PM   #1
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Maryland
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12v upgrades

After replacing the busted stabilizer jack, I decided to work on the 12v system on our '84 Scamp 13. When I bought it last year, it didn't really have much of a 12v system, other than a dead battery and two 12v lights. There was no charging system at all.

I didn't want the extra weight on the tongue, so I did away with the battery. I bought a power pack from Harbor Freight on sale the other day -- 12v outlets, 400w inverter, air compressor, work light, and jump starter. It can charge from a 12v outlet or 120v AC.

I installed a 12v plug on the Scamp's wiring so I can plug it into thpe power pack under the dinette seat. I also installed a 12v receptacle near one of the AC outlets for charging cell phones, etc. Since the power pack doesn't have nearly the amp hours of a traditional RV battery, I also upgraded the interior lights with LED bulbs. At first they didn't work, but I found that both of the light fixtures were wired backwards -- fine for an incandescent bulb, but not for a diode.

We don't do a lot of dry camping... In fact, we never have! However, I plan on doing a few walmart stops in the future, so I would like to have the 12v system. Also, I can plug the Scamp's 120v plug into the into the power pack's inveterate outlet. Only 400w, but would work for small loads.

I'm excited to have lights other than the florescent 120v fixture or my battery powered lamp!
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
I decided to work on the 12v system on our '84 Scamp 13...

I didn't want the extra weight on the tongue, so I did away with the battery. I bought a power pack from Harbor Freight on sale the other day -- 12v outlets, 400w inverter, air compressor, work light, and jump starter. It can charge from a 12v outlet or 120v AC.
I think you are headed in the right direction! I like your approach!

I also put in LED lights (interior & exterior) - carry two battery jump packs - wired two 12v outlets inside - carry an 800 watt inverter in the tongue box and a 15 watt solar panel, etc. Simple is good - we also like to take advantage of "Camp Walmart' and stay in the high mountain areas away from utilities. Who needs that 30 amp service to have fun? ;-)

Bill
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:49 PM   #3
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Just imagine how much fun you can have with a Big Battery then!
You don't need expensive add-ons to have exactly what you have now but also a big battery.

All Jump Start boxes seem to have either 7ah or 18ah batteries.
Say you get an 80ah battery.....longer fun!

I use one of these routinely to charge a big battery,works great and $20.00 at Walmart and Lowes.

Black & Decker Tools | 2 AMP Automatic Float Mode Battery Maintainer - Smart Battery Charger

That charger and a battery can keep you out there longer.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:27 PM   #4
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I don't want to add any tongue weight... I'm pushing 150 pounds as it is. If I wanted to use a full size battery, I would need a vented box, which means another hole or two in the side wall. Also, I would need another charger. The battery pack will run my LEDs for days. I don't dry camp that long. If I did, I would get a larger solar panel.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:26 AM   #5
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All-righty then.

Just throwing out ideas.
There are LED's on the Battery packs I have I guess for changing tires and the like and it is amazing how long the pack will run them.

I have even removed the battery jumping cables from 2 of my packs as they were just in the way for trailer use.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ed Harris
All-righty then.

Just throwing out ideas.
There are LED's on the Battery packs I have I guess for changing tires and the like and it is amazing how long the pack will run them.

I have even removed the battery jumping cables from 2 of my packs as they were just in the way for trailer use.
One of the things that bugs me about most jump packs is that they won't put power out to a completely dead battery. They will only work if they sense the proper polarity. Two out of the three times I tried to jump start cars with one, it wouldn't even try to work.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
One of the things that bugs me about most jump packs is that they won't put power out to a completely dead battery. They will only work if they sense the proper polarity. Two out of the three times I tried to jump start cars with one, it wouldn't even try to work.
I have a friend with a V8 BMW that lives out of town 1/2 a year and the car is always dead when he returns.
We typically have to use 2 Jump Packs and Booster cables to get it going again.
For some reason the Battery is in the trunk but the recommended jump point is a lug under the hood?!?

It never gets going if we just try the under hood point,always requires a direct shot to the battery?
I have also discovered that by leaving a pack connected for a little while they will bring a dead battery up enough to make it jump......if I remember to turn the pack power switch on.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Harris

I have a friend with a V8 BMW that lives out of town 1/2 a year and the car is always dead when he returns.
We typically have to use 2 Jump Packs and Booster cables to get it going again.
For some reason the Battery is in the trunk but the recommended jump point is a lug under the hood?!?

It never gets going if we just try the under hood point,always requires a direct shot to the battery?
I have also discovered that by leaving a pack connected for a little while they will bring a dead battery up enough to make it jump......if I remember to turn the pack power switch on.
Sounds like your friend needs a battery tender.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:54 AM   #9
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Sounds like your friend needs a battery tender.
He seems to feel I am the Battery Tender?
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:32 PM   #10
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Unhappy

Every time that battery "dies", it is hurriedly being sent to an early grave. I would suggest not letting it die at all, but to keep it on a trickle charger or disconnect it outright. Running a battery down to nothing will destroy it quicker than anything I can think of, (except maybe severely overcharging it.)
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:39 PM   #11
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It is also the most expensive car battery I have ever seen.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:37 PM   #12
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Battery tender is the only way to go if you have a battery in storage.
Battery Tender Junior 12V @ 0.75A - Motorcycle - Batterytender.comClick image for larger version

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Old 05-05-2011, 05:44 PM   #13
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I don't have a battery period.

At least not that needs help.
I have more charging and jumping and conditioning and inverting devices than a lot of stores.

Funny thing is that my friend did buy the BMW maintainer that plugs into the cig.lighter and then an outlet but then he parked this year in the garage and I went by today and the power is out!

I did put 5 gallons of water in his 2 golf carts batteries that he told me he had left unplugged and asked if I would plug them in.
The power must have gone out only after draining those batteries too.

Too many batteries too little time.
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:59 AM   #14
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What about a kill switch on the BMW to help maintain the power level and kill the power to the car when not needed. I use one on my Street Rod that doesn't get driven all year round.
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