Bigfoot 17 battery upgrade - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-28-2018, 07:37 PM   #1
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 17 Bigfoot CB
British Columbia
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Bigfoot 17 battery upgrade

My 17 Bigfoot has the classic fiberglass nose cone cover on the frame tongue covering the battery and 2x20lb propane tanks. Current battery is a 27 series deepcycle.
I want to switch the battery to a pair of 6v Trojan T105s. The available space under the nose cone looks tight for dual 6vs. I will need to install a battery tray to hold both. I also need to make sure there is enough clearance to pull out a propane tank to refill it. Has anyone successfully done this battery conversion, mounted a new battery tray, installed the higher 6vs, and had enough room in there to retain the nose cone? Thanks for any guidance.
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Old 04-29-2018, 08:39 AM   #2
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Boler
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Built a battery tray for two T105's slung it level with the bottom of the frame, works fine.
My 79 Boler does not have a nose cone, but would give up the cone if it meant that we had to abandon the batteries.
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Old 04-29-2018, 08:46 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2003 Bigfoot 17 (15B17CB), 2017 Escape 17B
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Here is a thread from 2009 and this BF is a 21 footer, but it would seem to work for you:wheels for My trailer
This would seem to be similar to what the other Tony is talking about.
Tony
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Old 04-29-2018, 09:39 AM   #4
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Bigfoot
Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishdeeper View Post
My 17 Bigfoot has the classic fiberglass nose cone cover on the frame tongue covering the battery and 2x20lb propane tanks. Current battery is a 27 series deepcycle.
I want to switch the battery to a pair of 6v Trojan T105s. The available space under the nose cone looks tight for dual 6vs. I will need to install a battery tray to hold both. I also need to make sure there is enough clearance to pull out a propane tank to refill it. Has anyone successfully done this battery conversion, mounted a new battery tray, installed the higher 6vs, and had enough room in there to retain the nose cone? Thanks for any guidance.
Not that this was what you asked for - but 2x type 24 12v batteries fit in there quite nicely....

Jim
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:24 AM   #5
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 17 Bigfoot CB
British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Nowak View Post
Here is a thread from 2009 and this BF is a 21 footer, but it would seem to work for you:wheels for My trailer
This would seem to be similar to what the other Tony is talking about.
Tony
Thats exactly what I need to do. Thanking for finding that post!!
I really dont want to move them inside the trailer.
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Old 04-29-2018, 07:29 PM   #6
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Trailer: Bigfoot 19 ft
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Bigfoot 17 battery upgrade

The problem solved itself as my nose cone fell off somewhere along the interstate 5. So I added a second marine battery and propane tank, and bought a Camco Propane tank cover. It's still a Bigfoot.
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:29 PM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 17 Bigfoot CB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane P. View Post
The problem solved itself as my nose cone fell off somewhere along the interstate 5. So I added a second marine battery and propane tank, and bought a Camco Propane tank cover. It's still a Bigfoot.
Certainly a cost effective option, and easier than welding. Just have to decide how much i want to retain the nose cone. Thx for the option.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fishdeeper View Post
Certainly a cost effective option, and easier than welding. Just have to decide how much i want to retain the nose cone. Thx for the option.
you can stow the nose cone for future sale of your trailer or you could put it up for sale. I originally tried to purchase a nose cone, but only found one for sale, and the owner wanted much more than I was willing to spend.

But it's nice to have options.
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Old 06-26-2018, 08:01 AM   #9
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Trailer: 2006 (25B21RB) 21 ft Bigfoot / Dodge 2500 Diesel
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Two 6 Volt Batterys Installed in 21' Bigfoot Trailer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Nowak View Post
Here is a thread from 2009 and this BF is a 21 footer, but it would seem to work for you:wheels for My trailer
This would seem to be similar to what the other Tony is talking about.
Tony
I have not logged into this website for several years and after logging into the site and searching for "Bigfoot", I found a thread referencing the write up I did several years ago.

It was rewarding seeing the work I put into the write up still being used. Thanks for referencing it Tony.

I still have that 21' Bigfoot trailer and that installation is working great. I would not make any changes to it.

Good luck with your upgrade,

Dean
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Old 06-26-2018, 11:47 AM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 17 Bigfoot CB
British Columbia
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Some progress

I reealized that adding battery without upgrading some other parts was a waste.
Haven't rebuilt the battery tray yet, but here is what ive done so far:

-upgraded the 6300Q converter charger module to the Parallax PD4655VL 55amp model, so now have improved 4 stage 12v charging...fit right into the original frame.
-it came with a new 12v distribution circuit card also
-added a Siemens 2 circuit wallmount distribution panel w 30amp breaker to the 120vac shoreline power cable, and a 15a breaker supply to the new charger
-added a BDATs-30A transfer switch between the panel and the original 120vac side of the Parallax
-added a Samlex 2000w Pure Sine inverter (PST2000-12) so I can run the microwave (also got the remote control)
-upgraded battery cables to tinned marine 4ga (original is 8ga) with crimped and soldered connectors
-added a 200amp ANL fuse between battery and the battery disconnect
-upgraded the single battery to a Trojan T1275, it has 150AH rating
-installed a battery monitor gauge that lets me see amperage in (charging) and out (load) of the battery (monitor was cheap on Amazon and came with a shunt)
-everything fit into the under seat storage area

I can now run the 600w microwave (950watts input) off the inverter but it a 3 minute bowl of oatmeal knocks the battery down about 5%....but at least if i ever get in a spot where i cant plug in or run the Honda, i have the option.

I measured 12v amp usage for every LED light, fan, furnace, fridge controller, the inverter with no load, and with load, and the T1275 should easily get me through 2-3 nights in November with fridge on propane, and the furnace cycling thru the nite. This was the primary goal.
While not the complete off grid solution yet, this is an improvement over the previous setup where it was marginal to make it thru one cold (0 deg Celsius) night, and we had to turn down the thermostat to keep the furnace from cycling so much.

I was hopeful to see if i could run the fridge on 120vac from the inverter while running down the road plugged into the 30amp charging circuit on my tow vehicle. It does but The most i can get out of that vehicle circuit is 8 amps, Due to wiring most likely, and the fridge + inverter draws more, so by the time i get to my destination the battery will be down.
I dont like to run it on propane when travelling, as the pilot blows out, and the propane tank valve is dangerously open should there be an accident! so for now i will stick with pre-cooling the fridge on shorepower at home and getting the propane on as soon as we arrive at our campspot.

With all the wiring re-done, the next phase will be to modify the tray and add more battery.
Another T1275 in parallel will give me 300 AH total rating, so 150AH actual usage. I'm going to run as is for now this fall and get some actual usage info.

I have growth options, as the Parallax charger has a Lithium battery feature, if that ever becomes more affordable.
And based on what I understand, making the next jump to solar just requires panels, wiring, and a solar controller. I may try a portable panel first before going roof mount.

Sorry no diagram, Here is the wiring sequence:
30a shorepower --> dist panel with 30a breaker
30a breaker --> 30a transfer switch
--> 15a breaker in dist panel
15a breaker--> 120vac input for 12v converter/charger
Transfer sw --> supply to original 120vac dist panel in Parallax
T1275 battery--> 4ga wiring --> 200a ANL fuse --> original battery disconnect
( i considered getting a new battery disconnect solenoid but the original came with a latch lock so once the power is connected, it locks, and the solenoid requires zero draw to stay connected, versus others that continue to draw power to stay connected, and generate heat)
Battery monitor shunt on -ve battery terminal, with the display mounted on the bulkhead above the seat lid, just under the ledge where it is easily seen.
Original battery disconnect --> 4ga --> inverter
--> 4ga --> charger
Inverter 120vac output --> transfer switch
Transfer switch default is the inverter side, and priority goes to shoreline supply when it is on.

Was fun to do, i love learning this stuff, but the economics of getting less dependent on shorepower are not. Hopefully ive added some resale value to the rig.
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Old 09-24-2018, 11:17 PM   #11
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Name: Marcia
Trailer: Bigfoot
Colorado
Posts: 46
Hello fishdeeper! I am wondering how your improvements and new battery are doing? I have a 17ft CB bigfoot and have been looking into replacing my interstate group 24 battery with a real deep cycle battery that will be a good start for maybe a 200-300 watt solar system eventually. The BF tongue nose cone is a PITA to figure out a good battery option as the golf cart 6V pairs do not fit without major mods to the trailer tongue. And it is hard to find a "real" deep cycle 12V battery that will give a long life as most of the 24, 27, 31 sized 12V are not designed as rugged as the 6V GC batteries and suffer from short lives and wimpy amp hours.

Ironically, last night, I figured out the trojan T-1275 12V 150 amp deep cycle battery might just fit perfect into the Bigfoot nose cone and be a great choice, and today, I found your post. Then after reading your post, I understand the antiquated parallax 6332 converter in my 2004 BF needs updating before I invest in a new battery so I can properly maintain the new battery with a multi stage charger. I am thinking I get the same Progressive Dynamics PD 4655VL in case the lithium ion batteries ever become affordable. Upgrade Kits for Magnetek/Parallax

One thing I noticed is the charge pattern programmed into the PD4655VL does not match the charging instructions Trojan recommends for the T1275. http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/dat...ata_Sheets.pdf

Maybe the charge from the PD converter is enough (?), but I am a novice at best in understanding much of this. Trojan recommends: bulk charge of 14.82V, float charge of 13.5V and equalization charge of 16.2V (Yikes!!) The PD 4655VL converter has a 4 stage charge sequence that appears to be determined by the "charge wizard" microprocessor of: boost (bulk) charge of 14.4V till 90% charged, Normal charge of 13.6V, float of 13.2V and then an equalization mode every 21 hours of 15 minutes of 14.4V. The trojan has a bit higher charge recommendations with bulk at 14.8V and the equalization stage at 16.2V. Maybe you or someone else here knows this stuff and can chime in if the converter will not be charging the T1275 to a full charge as it is programmed?? Maybe it is no big deal or I buy a fancy aftermarket plug in charger??

I found a source for the T1275 with free shipping and am thinking I will spring for it along with the PD4655VL. Not sure about the other mods you did, out of my league, but I will want to upgrade the AWG8 battery terminals to AWG4 as that makes some sense to me to beef up the cables at least to the battery disconnect solenoid.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:58 PM   #12
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 17 Bigfoot CB
British Columbia
Posts: 7
T1275 charging

I havent noticed an issue with the Charge Wizard voltage levels. Everything I did seems to be working ok so far. I kinda think the inverter was a waste as the microwave usage will knock the battery down more than I would like. The T1275 is going to get a good test this fall when I go hunting in sub-zero and the furnace fan will be running a lot. If it proves to be insufficIent then I will just run the Honda a bit more, and then next spring ditch the nose one, and fab a secure battery tray for dual batteries.
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:19 PM   #13
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Name: Marcia
Trailer: Bigfoot
Colorado
Posts: 46
Good to hear..

Glad you are happy with system! I just ordered the pd4655VL today along with a surge protector. I talked with the tech at PD and he thinks the OEM wiring of AWG 8 is fine with the 55 amps and short run from battery to converter. I am having a hard time locating a trojan T 1275, everyone wants huge ($200) amount to ship as it is considered a hazardous product and I am not near a big city where I can just go buy one. Maybe you could recommend an online source?

I am also looking at a renogy 12V 100 amp hour battery as I can get it shipped easy as it is a gel battery and not considered a hazardous product. It looks to fit fine in a group 27 battery box and should fit on the factory tongue shelf under the cowl. I would lose on 50 amp hours and may or not live up to it's specs (china made deal), but might have a few pro's over a traditional flooded lead acid. It would be easy ( and safe) to eventually move it inside if I wanted to expand battery bank for larger solar or add some amp hours. They also make a renogy 200 amp battery I called to see if you could stand it on end to have it fit and the answer was, "yes", price is $438 and might be tough to stabilize it properly and some height issues in OEM cowl space. IF I get the renogy, I think I go with the 100 amp one for now and see how t works for my needs. I bet in a few years, the lithium ones will be the standard and prices will come down??

I am pretty minimalist, thinking of removing the microwave for more cabinet space. I make french press coffee with propane for boiling water and can use a skillet with a lid to heat up about anything I want, or toast bread. My lights are all LED. I bought a camco catalytic olympia 3 propane heater I might permanently mount to cabinet side below stove near entry to minimize use of the furnace fans. So down to lights, water pump, fridge controls, some phantom power waste,maybe a small fan if hot, and charging various devices on 12 volt (which I could do from the suburban. Maybe 100 amp gel battery with 200 solar system would be fine with a back up of idling with surban for about 8 amp hour charge in case of emergency?? Trying to avoid buying and messing with a honda generator, but if I ever wanted to camp in heat, then that would be the solution to run air conditioner.

There is a lot of hype and marketing with cheap batteries and we are very limited by the cowl and space on the BF. I found this article on lead acid batteries I like, really puts the whole deal into proper perspective, IMHO. https://marinehowto.com/what-is-a-deep-cycle-battery/
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:55 PM   #14
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 17 Bigfoot CB
British Columbia
Posts: 7
Unhappy Battery source

Sorry, not aware of an online source..i went to a local retailer here. If you havent already switched, consider converting all your lights to LED to reduce battery draw...including the fridge light. Remember, whatever your battery amperage max rating is, you realistically can only use 50% of that. Minimalist is good, but Its worthwhile to try and estimate your daily amperage needs and see if that fits into the 50% you have available before you commit to a specific battery. To do this you need to know the draw for each device you use, from specs or better if actual measurement....water pump, fridge, lights, fans, etc, and then estimate your daily usage, add it all up and see how big of battery you really need. Good luck!

Ps. While a propane catalytic works well for the trailer cabin, just be careful in freezing conditions because the furnace fan also supplies ducted heat to your water and holding tank areas.
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