Battery charging questions - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-08-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Battery charging questions

My 2003 16' Scamp has an American brand converter, and a lead acid Costco RV 12v battery. I have installed a Trimetric monitor to see what is going on when charging and monitor power usage real time. I experience very long re-charging times, and see not much current being dumped into the battery. My question is would there be an advantage in installing a smarter converter, or would that be redundant if I went to a solar system utilizing a sophisticated MTTP controller later on? The PD4045 seems like it would be a step up from the stock converter, but is physically larger than the American, and may not fit under the side dinette seat. I hate to run the Honda gen for hours just to top off a 20% discharged battery. I also use a stand alone CTEK 7002 smart charger at times, but it is also slow. Any ideas?
Russ
__________________

__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 01:58 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
MCDenny's Avatar
 
Name: Denny
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
Michigan
Posts: 551
I use an Iota 30 amp smart charger/converter in my Snoozy. That is bigger than you would want for one regular size 12z battery. Unit is very compact, whisper quiet, cost $130.

Note the last bit of energy takes a long time to force into the battery.. When using the gas genny you might be better off starting when batt is at 50% stopping at 80% or 90%
__________________

__________________
MCDenny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 02:09 PM   #3
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: 6,308
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
My 2003 16' Scamp has an American brand converter, and a lead acid Costco RV 12v battery. I have installed a Trimetric monitor to see what is going on when charging and monitor power usage real time. I experience very long re-charging times, and see not much current being dumped into the battery. My question is would there be an advantage in installing a smarter converter, or would that be redundant if I went to a solar system utilizing a sophisticated MTTP controller later on? The PD4045 seems like it would be a step up from the stock converter, but is physically larger than the American, and may not fit under the side dinette seat. I hate to run the Honda gen for hours just to top off a 20% discharged battery. I also use a stand alone CTEK 7002 smart charger at times, but it is also slow. Any ideas?
Russ
This has been discussed many many times usually ending up with the thread closed.

I'll tell you what I do. I have the same American converter, with the circuit breaker set to the OFF position. In other words I never use it.
When the trailer is sitting at home in it's nest I use a Battery Minder to keep the battery charges and it has a desulfate mode to keep the battery in good condition.
When traveling I rely on the tow to keep the battery charged while in motion. When camped for more than 2 to 4 days or more depending on the weather I have a 65 Watt solar panel with PWM solar controller charge the battery. The biggest thing I did to improve the battery situation is change all the light, except the running lights, to LED.
I think the longest we've camped in one place using this system without electricity hookups was almost 30 days. A typical winter for us is in the SW for 90+ days without hookups.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 02:10 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Steve L.'s Avatar
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
Michigan
Posts: 1,690
Registry
Here's an article about recharging strategy. Note how once the battery is dragged back to whatever voltage the charger is using for the absorption voltage, the amps going in really drops off. A solar controller will do pretty much the same thing, that is, taper off the amperage as the battery voltage reaches some level.

http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Bat...whitepaper.pdf

Battery resources are like my pay...I can spend it faster than I can earn it.
__________________
Steve L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 03:09 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
I replaced the American (Brand) converter in our 13' Scamp with a PD-4045 without any problems, lots of room unless you have a water heater, in which case you may have to "Relieve" one corner of the case for clearance.

It's an excellent choice for a replacement converter/charger, I have done 6 or 7 of them in different FGRV's.

Yep, maybe this time it will stick to the question asked without falling into the abyss of battery charging engineering, mostly on the negative side (of the battery)
__________________
Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 04:28 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,418
I would check each battery cell with a hydrometer to make sure you don't have a goofy cell. Then I would check the connections to the battery and to the charger and make sure there are good connections not just at the battery but at the crimps of the eyelets themselves. Maybe wilggle the accessable wires while charging looking for a fatigued wire. Check the simple stuff first.
__________________
stevebaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 09:13 PM   #7
Member
 
Name: Derek
Trailer: 2007 Bigfoot 25b25rq
Washington
Posts: 67
When camping, do not try to charge the battery to 100% using the generator. It would take far too long, even with a good converter/charger charging at over 14 volts. When the Trimetric reads around 50% run the generator for a few hours and stop when it gets to 85-90% as mentioned above. When you get home and plug it in to shore power it will charge to 100% over a much longer time. While not charging completely is considered bad because the crystals that form on the plates of a discharged battery are more likely to become permanent the longer they are left on there, you won't be going that long before taking care of it with a complete charge at home.
__________________
Derek Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 11:53 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
The smarter converters could in theory speed up the charging. But that last 10% is going to take time from what I have gathered. It will cost a few hundred for the converter, some 45 amp capable cables out to the battery, and fuses. Maybe I should really be thinking a solar setup, which would add boondocking capability, and would keep the battery charged at home when in storage. I use a CPAP which blows about 10% of my battery capacity per night. The trailer has all LED lighting. The roof of the trailer has very little space for panels. One could go above the roof AC unit, and one could go between the AC and front. The AC could cast a shadow on the front panel unless it was raised to the same level. Shadows really kill the output of some panels from what I have read.
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2013, 12:08 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
I would check each battery cell with a hydrometer to make sure you don't have a goofy cell. Then I would check the connections to the battery and to the charger and make sure there are good connections not just at the battery but at the crimps of the eyelets themselves. Maybe wilggle the accessable wires while charging looking for a fatigued wire. Check the simple stuff first.
Steve,
The battery is only 2 months old, and it will take a 100% charge with enough time. What seems strange though are some of the readings I get with the Trimetric during charging. During my last campout the battery was down to 86% after the first night. I fired off the Honda and plugged in the shore power into it. The voltage read in the low 13's and the amperage read minus .2. I tried adding load with the water pump and some lights to see if the current would change. It only fluctuated a tenth. Why would it be showing discharge with the converter online? I also tried unplugging the shore power and using the CTEK charger. Same reading! Discharge.... Weird. I ran the Honda for about 4 hours and got the battery up to 100%, so it must have been the Trimetric giving me a bad reading?
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2013, 12:18 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
This has been discussed many many times usually ending up with the thread closed.

I'll tell you what I do. I have the same American converter, with the circuit breaker set to the OFF position. In other words I never use it.
When the trailer is sitting at home in it's nest I use a Battery Minder to keep the battery charges and it has a desulfate mode to keep the battery in good condition.
When traveling I rely on the tow to keep the battery charged while in motion. When camped for more than 2 to 4 days or more depending on the weather I have a 65 Watt solar panel with PWM solar controller charge the battery. The biggest thing I did to improve the battery situation is change all the light, except the running lights, to LED.
I think the longest we've camped in one place using this system without electricity hookups was almost 30 days. A typical winter for us is in the SW for 90+ days without hookups.
Byron,
Does your battery minder do a better job charging the batteries than the solar controller? Is the controller a multi-stage type? I have LED's in all the light fixtures, but my CPAP draws a couple of amps x hours slept. I have to put those amps back every day! Maybe need lunar panels?
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2013, 12:27 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
I replaced the American (Brand) converter in our 13' Scamp with a PD-4045 without any problems, lots of room unless you have a water heater, in which case you may have to "Relieve" one corner of the case for clearance.

It's an excellent choice for a replacement converter/charger, I have done 6 or 7 of them in different FGRV's.

Yep, maybe this time it will stick to the question asked without falling into the abyss of battery charging engineering, mostly on the negative side (of the battery)
Bob,
My converter is mounted under the side dinette seat just above a transom storage door. It looks like the PD 4045 is about an inch taller and about an inch wider than the American unit. It would require moving the storage door hinges outboard a few inches and maybe move the door downward until it just overlaps the cutout. It will probably look crowded and kludgy, but may be doable. I don't know if the PD would need any vent cut outs, but that should be easy. They would also let fan sound out though.
Russ
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2013, 12:31 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
Posts: 588
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCDenny View Post
I use an Iota 30 amp smart charger/converter in my Snoozy. That is bigger than you would want for one regular size 12z battery. Unit is very compact, whisper quiet, cost $130.

Note the last bit of energy takes a long time to force into the battery.. When using the gas genny you might be better off starting when batt is at 50% stopping at 80% or 90%
Denny,
I'll read up on that converter.
Thanks
__________________
ruscal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2013, 01:03 AM   #13
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: 6,308
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
Byron,
Does your battery minder do a better job charging the batteries than the solar controller? Is the controller a multi-stage type? I have LED's in all the light fixtures, but my CPAP draws a couple of amps x hours slept. I have to put those amps back every day! Maybe need lunar panels?
Russ
The battery minder is only for when the trailer is at home. My solar panel charges with 4 amps with direct sunlight. In your case a bigger solar panel is probably a good idea. The solar charge controller is a MorningStar PWM. The panel is 65 Watts 4.1 amp. With my solar system if you sleep 8 hours you'd need 4 hours of sun the recharge.
I've got mine set up for portable use, meaning I move panel around to keep it in the sun.
I think I would be tempted to go with more battery and a larger solar panel than I have so that could go an extra day if needed. Also some days are cloudy you don't get as much from the sun.

If you're always plugged in then all this doesn't matter.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2013, 08:26 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
You can buy a new PD-4045 From Frank Bear at Vintage Technologies, a Teardrop Supply House: Teardrop Trailer Parts for about $160 including shipping. I have bought a lot of parts and PD stuff from him and he is excellent for prices, service and delivery.

That American (Brand) converter only has about a 85% chance of smoking at some point. It's better to be proactive and replace it on your terms rather than wait for the inevitable to happen.
__________________

__________________
Bob Miller 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 09:04 AM.


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