Battery charging questions - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-12-2013, 09:53 AM   #57
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
So far we have not boondocked for more than 3 days. (still have to show up for work) During the 3 days we always battle the depletion of battery reserves and have to run the tug or Honda to recharge. I kept thinking we needed more battery capacity. Adding a second battery only goes so far though. We may be fine with the single group 27 with a robust solar charger. The battery is set low between the front tongue frame members with no room for a second without raising them above the frame level. Adding the weight of another battery is another concern. We'll install the solar and see how the camping style evolves before thinking of a second battery.
Thanks everyone for your replies,
Russ
__________________

__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2013, 10:46 AM   #58
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,416
On my 13 foot Scamp I put together my Solar system to recharge my single Group 27 lead acid battery. According to experts I did it all wrong and it works great. I used (2) 30 watt mono-crystalline panels from e-Bay because they fit through my escape hatch. I used a cheap Sunflex 10A Pwm controller also bought on E-Bay and used Radio shack 12 awg ofc wiring used for audio systems, why, because I had it and its 2 wire and very flexible. I use a jumper between the 2 panels long enough so they can fit alongside the escape hatch. I splurged on a trolling motor plug and socket and a large size fuse holder used in audio equipment. The controller was installed wrong as it is inside the trailer by my Progressive Dynamics PD-4045 panel. Trolling motor socket is mounted by my incoming trailer wiring which goes close to where I mounted panel. I put the panels on top of my trailer and toss the cable to the front of the trailer and plug it in. With the plug in the front I can move my panels at whim should I have a shade issue. I tie my panels together around the escape hatch with rope. The panels are not noticeable up on top. Last winter we were in Quartzsite and the sun is low in the south. I hung the panels over the side if the trailer with the same rope around the hatch. We used the trailer with the heater on as the overnight temps were in the low 30ís.
My Attwood 2 furnace doesnít draw much power through out the night, comes on about once an hour at that temperature and I like the trailer fairly warm. All of our lighting is L.E.D.'s. I checked the battery every morning before the sun came up and we were about 90% and in four hours or so in the sun we were recharged. This was using a digital volt gauge and not fancy monitors. We use allot of light and have a water pump but we donít have a bathroom or shower using power after sundown. It works for us and we are happy with it. We live in Southern California so there is far more sun than shade. It cost me about $200 to put it together. Prior to this project the only thing I knew about Solar was what a Panel looked like.
__________________

__________________
stevebaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2013, 11:12 AM   #59
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
So far we have not boondocked for more than 3 days. (still have to show up for work) During the 3 days we always battle the depletion of battery reserves and have to run the tug or Honda to recharge. I kept thinking we needed more battery capacity.
Russ
Russ, is this a new battery or a battery that was on the trailer when you acquired it?

I can get by without much worry with one group 27 battery for 3 days of dry camping without draining it below 50% capacity & before I need to put the solar out to top it back up.

I use only LED lights in the trailer and use them only as really needed. If reading late into the night I use a head lamp. Fridge runs on propane so the lights and water pump and the Fantastic Fan (again used only as really needed) are the main power consumers and they are all pretty easy on the power consumption. When dry camping in winter and I need to use the furnace which is a power hog I restrict its use as much as possible - only to heat the trailer up prior to going to bed and again in the morning. I set it very low so it does not come on at all or if it does not that often during the night. If I know its going to be a very cold night I may even shut it right off to prevent it from coming on and off all night. Just use lots of blankets instead. I will often use the battery power for phone & camera battery recharging as well but not much else - I dont run the mp3 player (use a battery operated radio instead) or the tv when dry camping.

If its an older battery that has been drained below 50% cap or drained dry a few times its not going to hold much of a charge for long and it can be as you say a struggle to get by.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2013, 11:16 AM   #60
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,307
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
So far we have not boondocked for more than 3 days. (still have to show up for work) During the 3 days we always battle the depletion of battery reserves and have to run the tug or Honda to recharge. I kept thinking we needed more battery capacity. Adding a second battery only goes so far though. We may be fine with the single group 27 with a robust solar charger. The battery is set low between the front tongue frame members with no room for a second without raising them above the frame level. Adding the weight of another battery is another concern. We'll install the solar and see how the camping style evolves before thinking of a second battery.
Thanks everyone for your replies,
Russ

There's a couple of ways to extend battery life. The one I prefer is to reduce usage. I changed all the lights to LED. In the case where you have of a water pump use water sparingly. Wet Ones for cleaning hands reduce a lot of water needs. Try to use the local bathroom facilities as much as possible.
Basicly try to determine where you can reduce the need for battery power. I can get by with a group 24 for 3 or 4 days, unless it's warm at night then I can go for weeks. The LED lights don't take much current. The only other thing I have is fan in the furnace. No TV, Stereo, or DVD player.
The other way is to increase the amount of battery or constant recharge from solar.
Power consumption is something each person has to evaluate for them selves and how to reduce it.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2013, 11:22 AM   #61
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,307
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
On my 13 foot Scamp I put together my Solar system to recharge my single Group 27 lead acid battery. According to experts I did it all wrong and it works great. I used (2) 30 watt mono-crystalline panels from e-Bay because they fit through my escape hatch. I used a cheap Sunflex 10A Pwm controller also bought on E-Bay and used Radio shack 12 awg ofc wiring used for audio systems, why, because I had it and its 2 wire and very flexible. I use a jumper between the 2 panels long enough so they can fit alongside the escape hatch. I splurged on a trolling motor plug and socket and a large size fuse holder used in audio equipment. The controller was installed wrong as it is inside the trailer by my Progressive Dynamics PD-4045 panel. Trolling motor socket is mounted by my incoming trailer wiring which goes close to where I mounted panel. I put the panels on top of my trailer and toss the cable to the front of the trailer and plug it in. With the plug in the front I can move my panels at whim should I have a shade issue. I tie my panels together around the escape hatch with rope. The panels are not noticeable up on top. Last winter we were in Quartzsite and the sun is low in the south. I hung the panels over the side if the trailer with the same rope around the hatch. We used the trailer with the heater on as the overnight temps were in the low 30ís.
My Attwood 2 furnace doesnít draw much power through out the night, comes on about once an hour at that temperature and I like the trailer fairly warm. All of our lighting is L.E.D.'s. I checked the battery every morning before the sun came up and we were about 90% and in four hours or so in the sun we were recharged. This was using a digital volt gauge and not fancy monitors. We use allot of light and have a water pump but we donít have a bathroom or shower using power after sundown. It works for us and we are happy with it. We live in Southern California so there is far more sun than shade. It cost me about $200 to put it together. Prior to this project the only thing I knew about Solar was what a Panel looked like.
I think you've got the right idea and the implementation is working for you. The experts aren't always. I've talked to several "solar experts" most haven't a clue. They've picked up a few buzz words and listened to lots of other experts and the myths continue to spread. You done good.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2013, 02:23 PM   #62
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,058
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
I think you've got the right idea and the implementation is working for you. The experts aren't always. I've talked to several "solar experts" most haven't a clue. They've picked up a few buzz words and listened to lots of other experts and the myths continue to spread. You done good.
yup. Raz
__________________
Raz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 12:36 AM   #63
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Russ, is this a new battery or a battery that was on the trailer when you acquired it?

I can get by without much worry with one group 27 battery for 3 days of dry camping without draining it below 50% capacity & before I need to put the solar out to top it back up.

I use only LED lights in the trailer and use them only as really needed. If reading late into the night I use a head lamp. Fridge runs on propane so the lights and water pump and the Fantastic Fan (again used only as really needed) are the main power consumers and they are all pretty easy on the power consumption. When dry camping in winter and I need to use the furnace which is a power hog I restrict its use as much as possible - only to heat the trailer up prior to going to bed and again in the morning. I set it very low so it does not come on at all or if it does not that often during the night. If I know its going to be a very cold night I may even shut it right off to prevent it from coming on and off all night. Just use lots of blankets instead. I will often use the battery power for phone & camera battery recharging as well but not much else - I dont run the mp3 player (use a battery operated radio instead) or the tv when dry camping.

If its an older battery that has been drained below 50% cap or drained dry a few times its not going to hold much of a charge for long and it can be as you say a struggle to get by.
Carol,
Our battery is a Kirkland RV about 6 months old. I think its condition is normal, and healthy. We go pretty light on the lighting, and use headlamps. The furnace has been needed on a couple of occasions. The CPAP uses about 10% per night. I usually panic before the battery gets to 50% and then I charge it back up. I like to think of 50% as 0%, not wanting to deep cycle it too far. I think I'll allow the battery to get a little lower on the next outing and see how many days we can go.
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 01:00 AM   #64
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
There's a couple of ways to extend battery life. The one I prefer is to reduce usage. I changed all the lights to LED. In the case where you have of a water pump use water sparingly. Wet Ones for cleaning hands reduce a lot of water needs. Try to use the local bathroom facilities as much as possible.
Basicly try to determine where you can reduce the need for battery power. I can get by with a group 24 for 3 or 4 days, unless it's warm at night then I can go for weeks. The LED lights don't take much current. The only other thing I have is fan in the furnace. No TV, Stereo, or DVD player.
The other way is to increase the amount of battery or constant recharge from solar.
Power consumption is something each person has to evaluate for them selves and how to reduce it.
Byron,
We do splurge on a little xm boombox music, and like to use a tablet computer for internet, so have to charge the tablet and cell phone. I have not looked at the current draw on those items, so will have to check it out. We do try to utilize the public facilities when available to save water. I think the scamp only has about 10 gallons. We are getting pretty good about conserving the water. I can wash dishes using just the humidity in the air. (almost)
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 01:34 AM   #65
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
On my 13 foot Scamp I put together my Solar system to recharge my single Group 27 lead acid battery. According to experts I did it all wrong and it works great. I used (2) 30 watt mono-crystalline panels from e-Bay because they fit through my escape hatch. I used a cheap Sunflex 10A Pwm controller also bought on E-Bay and used Radio shack 12 awg ofc wiring used for audio systems, why, because I had it and its 2 wire and very flexible. I use a jumper between the 2 panels long enough so they can fit alongside the escape hatch. I splurged on a trolling motor plug and socket and a large size fuse holder used in audio equipment. The controller was installed wrong as it is inside the trailer by my Progressive Dynamics PD-4045 panel. Trolling motor socket is mounted by my incoming trailer wiring which goes close to where I mounted panel. I put the panels on top of my trailer and toss the cable to the front of the trailer and plug it in. With the plug in the front I can move my panels at whim should I have a shade issue. I tie my panels together around the escape hatch with rope. The panels are not noticeable up on top. Last winter we were in Quartzsite and the sun is low in the south. I hung the panels over the side if the trailer with the same rope around the hatch. We used the trailer with the heater on as the overnight temps were in the low 30ís.
My Attwood 2 furnace doesnít draw much power through out the night, comes on about once an hour at that temperature and I like the trailer fairly warm. All of our lighting is L.E.D.'s. I checked the battery every morning before the sun came up and we were about 90% and in four hours or so in the sun we were recharged. This was using a digital volt gauge and not fancy monitors. We use allot of light and have a water pump but we donít have a bathroom or shower using power after sundown. It works for us and we are happy with it. We live in Southern California so there is far more sun than shade. It cost me about $200 to put it together. Prior to this project the only thing I knew about Solar was what a Panel looked like.
Steve,
Looks like you have a good workable solution. What did the "experts" think was wrong with your system? I'm thinking about mounting the controller inside and putting a receptacle outside to plug in the panel cable also. My roof is too cluttered to put panels on, so a folding stand will have to do.
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 01:35 AM   #66
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
Carol,
I like to think of 50% as 0%, not wanting to deep cycle it too far. I think I'll allow the battery to get a little lower on the next outing and see how many days we can go.
Russ
Thinking of 50% as 0% is a good practise so do I. I actually have a small battery monitor that set off a small alarm to let me know when it hits 60% so I have time to get some sort of charge happening before it hits 50%.

Do you have LED lights? those were probable the best investment I made in reducing power.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 06:50 AM   #67
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,058
Like Steve, we have a very simple set up. With LED lights, water pump, and on a hot night, two fans, we use 5 - 15 amp- hrs per day. The panel will recharge the battery even on a cloudy day. It's a 42 watt amorphous cell I bought in 2004. Amorphous cells are not as efficient as crystalline cells but are very durable. The home brew controller is in a box that came with the panel. Raz
Attached Thumbnails
image-3827753299.jpg   image-3709569747.jpg  

image-3217940939.jpg   image-3857552769.jpg  

image-3796833147.jpg  
__________________
Raz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 09:36 AM   #68
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,416
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
Steve,
Looks like you have a good workable solution. What did the "experts" think was wrong with your system? I'm thinking about mounting the controller inside and putting a receptacle outside to plug in the panel cable also. My roof is too cluttered to put panels on, so a folding stand will have to do.
Russ
The experts want super fancy controllers, heavier wiring and the controllers mounted where the battery resides or remote temperature sensing of the battery. My $20.00 cheap Chinese controller mounted inside the trailer not sensing the battery is a big one. You’re not dealing with a whole lot of power from small solar panels so don’t wait until the power is drawn down. Set up the solar as soon as you set camp and let it do its job. Then forget about the battery and go have fun. I know it’s hard not to worry about battery charge but I slowly trust it all works. This is my first year with the trailer. It has been a learning curve to just let go. I started out worrying about the systems. The refrigerator temperature, the refrigerator, the propane, the propane, the heater, the heater, the battery the battery, the solar, the solar, now it just when's dinner and who's making it. I guess it’s better than tent camping where it is always what did we forget.
__________________
stevebaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 01:57 PM   #69
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Thinking of 50% as 0% is a good practise so do I. I actually have a small battery monitor that set off a small alarm to let me know when it hits 60% so I have time to get some sort of charge happening before it hits 50%.

Do you have LED lights? those were probable the best investment I made in reducing power.
Carol,
I converted all the lights to LED's soon after we bought the Scamp after reading the posts on this site. It is nice to see how little draw they have when looking at the monitor.
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2013, 02:17 PM   #70
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
The experts want super fancy controllers, heavier wiring and the controllers mounted where the battery resides or remote temperature sensing of the battery. My $20.00 cheap Chinese controller mounted inside the trailer not sensing the battery is a big one. Youíre not dealing with a whole lot of power from small solar panels so donít wait until the power is drawn down. Set up the solar as soon as you set camp and let it do its job. Then forget about the battery and go have fun. I know itís hard not to worry about battery charge but I slowly trust it all works. This is my first year with the trailer. It has been a learning curve to just let go. I started out worrying about the systems. The refrigerator temperature, the refrigerator, the propane, the propane, the heater, the heater, the battery the battery, the solar, the solar, now it just when's dinner and who's making it. I guess itís better than tent camping where it is always what did we forget.
Steve,
The experts are probably correct in that there is energy to be saved if you want to spend more money. Whether it is worth the cost is another matter. Very small gains for big money. Some people think buying a Prius for $10,000.00 more than a Honda fit is a good idea to eke out more efficiency, but it costs to get that extra free energy.
If your system provides enough energy to replenish what you use, that is all you need. A little reserve capacity for bad weather may be a good idea. I will probably go for a "fancy" controller with multi-stage charging just for the benefit of battery health and longevity. Your PD converter has that feature, so you can use it when the trailer is parked at home to maintain the battery. I will just use the solar for maintenance because my converter is single stage. (Dumb)
Russ
__________________

__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Battery Charging? nzwasp Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 4 07-17-2013 10:35 AM
Battery Charging SurfsideEd Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 19 08-23-2012 07:41 PM
Charging Battery and running battery lights when plugged in Nor_Cal_Todd Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 08-25-2010 02:44 PM
Battery Charging Chester Taje Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 4 08-01-2007 06:56 PM
charging the battery Mo22 Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 9 07-08-2007 07:10 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.