Body lifting a boler - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-29-2007, 07:55 AM   #15
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Trailer: Boler 1700SGH (Stage II twoftitis)
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anyway, i was thinking that on the way back my battery would get charged by my truck but when i got home there was still no power!

am i missing something? do you need to be hooked up to 110 when using the furnace? also, is there a problem with the electrical if my truck doesn't charge the battery?
I'd be starting with the battery. Sounds like it's not holding a charge. I wouldn't expect a lot of power to come from the truck. I understand vehicle alternators/regulators but don't understand how one could charge a dead RV battery from a vehicle with almost fully charged batteries. The regulator on your alternator is reading probably 14 volts and thinks your vehicle battery is charged, and so is switching on/off fairly rapidly... When in this state, the trailer is getting hardly any juice whatsoever. Just what it can suck out of the vehicle battery... For a one or two hour road trip, this is pretty much insignificant. At least that's my intuition. I like to think I understand electrickity sort of 'ok' but I could be missing something. Maybe if you turn on your headlights and some offroad lights while on the highway, you can fool the regulator in the truck to remaining on but even at 40Ah, you'd only put 80A into the system, but all your lights are going to eat a bunch of that, net result, still not much charge in the RV battery.

One thing I discovered is that the power converter that came with my 1700 is a verified piece of S. First, it didn't have a charging circuit in it so when plugged into 110VAC, it wasn't charging the battery. That makes it pretty useless. Then when on 110VAC, it couldn't supply any significant amount of juice to the system. Not enough to run the stove vent fan. When the furnace blower was running (pretty slow), if I turned on a light, the furnace blower would slow to almost a stop... So if you're relying on your converter to charge the battery, you might want to verify that there's a charging circuit in it.

I'm redoing the electrical on mine now. I got rid of the clunky converter, I'm adding a smart battery charger, plus added a 55W solar panel. So the net result is I'll always be running off batteries, when plugged into 110, the charger will keep the batteries charged, and the solar panel will also help.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:35 AM   #16
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Name: Per
Trailer: 2000 Burro 17 ft Widebody towed by Touareg TDI
Oregon
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Derek:

After a long, slow, painful learning curve I've come to a few conclusions about batteries/charging/wires. We were several times doing the long-distance driving on trips which should have charged the two group 31 batteries in our trailer (260 Ah). I'd find them barely able to cope with the moderate demand every night, so I thought I'd gradually get enough information to change that.

Our vehicle has a 115Amp alternator, more than enough to do the job. The next link is to get it to the batteries, and that's where the rub was. I use an inverter to run our refrigerator on 120v since the 12v element is pretty much a joke.

In order to figure out what was happening I decided a volt meter was not doing the job, so I got a Xantrex Link 10 battery meter, which was a true revelation in what it told me about the system.

I would start out driving with a set of charged batteries, the refrigerator on, and in a few hours I'd find that the frig worked fine, but it had taken a good part of its energy from the batteries, not all from the TV alternator.

Next step brought me to the wiring from the tow vehicle. The recommendations I had run across stated that minimum charge wire size should be 8 gauge, 6 being better. The voltage loss brought on by undersized wires can be likened to a pressure drop. If the incoming pressure was less than the pressure from the trailer batteries the frig would take a lot of its juice from the batteries.

I found long sections of the charge wire had been spliced together from 12 gauge wire, so I went the through the process of replacing it with 6 gauge (and a 40Amp Maxifuse).

The result should have been a significant reduction in voltage drop by the time it reached the inverter for the frig. Well, the last two times we have checked it we have started out with the batteries at about 82% of full charge, Running the frig I was hoping that the alternator run it and maybe put a little charge on the batteries too. Actually the additional charge to the batteries was quite significant, so much so that I'd put several % more charge into the batteries with just 1-2hours of driving.

On the Xantrex one can check charge/discharge both instantaneously and over time, and a reading of it confirmed the results.

Bottom line: what they say about the charge line gauge is not a joke, it really makes a huge difference (something i was sceptical about). I'd recommend 6 gauge all the way from the pick-up point to the converter in the trailer. It is a pain to work with, and the splicing technique may have to be modified, but the results are huge. Incidentally, because of other needs I'm using a Pollak 9-pin connector which luckily will accept thicker gauges more readily. A big help.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:08 PM   #17
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Name: Rob
Trailer: 1980 Bolar 1700
Massachusetts
Posts: 92
I also raised my boler 1700 for both ground clerance on logging roads and to better match my Titan. The original was a 4" drop axle on a spring under setup. I looked at blocks and spring over kits but in the end the easiest solution was to change the axle from a drop to straight. I gained 4" with an $87 change out. Of course I couldn't stop there and I went ahead with all new springs, brakes, drums, barings. When it came right down to it the whole deal was about $300 with shipping but I now have total piece of mind that the most criticle part of the trailer is all new and safe.

The bit of difference left between the hitch and tounge I make up with an adjustable height receiver. With a few turns of the wrench I can switch to a boat trailer or a utility trailer. http://www.etrailer.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?S...ategory_Code=BM
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:33 AM   #18
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Trailer: Boler 1700
Posts: 6
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I'd be starting with the battery. Sounds like it's not holding a charge. I wouldn't expect a lot of power to come from the truck. I understand vehicle alternators/regulators but don't understand how one could charge a dead RV battery from a vehicle with almost fully charged batteries. The regulator on your alternator is reading probably 14 volts and thinks your vehicle battery is charged, and so is switching on/off fairly rapidly... When in this state, the trailer is getting hardly any juice whatsoever. Just what it can suck out of the vehicle battery... For a one or two hour road trip, this is pretty much insignificant. At least that's my intuition. I like to think I understand electrickity sort of 'ok' but I could be missing something. Maybe if you turn on your headlights and some offroad lights while on the highway, you can fool the regulator in the truck to remaining on but even at 40Ah, you'd only put 80A into the system, but all your lights are going to eat a bunch of that, net result, still not much charge in the RV battery.

One thing I discovered is that the power converter that came with my 1700 is a verified piece of S. First, it didn't have a charging circuit in it so when plugged into 110VAC, it wasn't charging the battery. That makes it pretty useless. Then when on 110VAC, it couldn't supply any significant amount of juice to the system. Not enough to run the stove vent fan. When the furnace blower was running (pretty slow), if I turned on a light, the furnace blower would slow to almost a stop... So if you're relying on your converter to charge the battery, you might want to verify that there's a charging circuit in it.

I'm redoing the electrical on mine now. I got rid of the clunky converter, I'm adding a smart battery charger, plus added a 55W solar panel. So the net result is I'll always be running off batteries, when plugged into 110, the charger will keep the batteries charged, and the solar panel will also help.
thanks for getting back to me herb (and everyone else!)

i don't think that my converter has a charging circuit as well. i like your idea of running straight off of the batteries all the time. i will definately look into that. i read your article about your boler renos and i was happy to see that i wasn't the only one that thought the converter hum was annoying.

i have a couple more questions for ya, where did you get your smart charger and solar panel from? how much cashola should i expect to pay? is the solar panel critical to have when doing it the way you explained?

as you can tell i am pretty new at this "boler" thing. i've always had small campers so there was less things to think about before heading out. this year i was informed by my wife and son that "we need a bathroom". hence the 1700.....
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:53 AM   #19
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
The stock converter in a B1700 as of the Vanguard operation in 1979 (things change, many plants made Bolers,...) did not have a charger. When the 120VAC power is supplied, it switches the 12V circuits from battery to the converter output, simply leaving the battery disconnected (except to the tow vehicle). The optional charger connects converter output to the battery with some kind of control, but it is primitive by modern standards; I had the chance to buy the charger from another B1700 owner, but passed it up when I realized how poorly it would work. I run DC stuff on converter power when AC is available, on DC when it is not, and charge the trailer battery by connecting it to the van when driving, and with a smart charger before each trip. I don't have Per's cool monitor, so I really don't know how well this is really working...

My stock converter has lots of DC output power for anything I have tried to run on it, including the furnace. Of course, if you have AC power available you would run the refrigerator on that directly, rather than on DC power from the converter. In fact, when the battery which came with my trailer proved too bad to run the furnace (which is picky about voltage), the solution (to prove the furnace worked) was just to plug in the AC power. I used the furnace on battery power last Sunday night; it worked fine for the hours I needed it (at least an hour of run time, plus use of interior lights).

The behaviour of the tug/trailer system when the two have different battery charge states will depend on how they are connected. Some have isolating diodes, and depending on the alternator control I can believe that they might not charge the trailer battery properly. Mine just has the trailer battery wired to the van battery, though a relay that shuts off when the van engine is not running. When the engine is running, the two batteries are connected in parallel, and if the van battery is more charged it will charge the trailer battery, regardless of what the alternator feels like doing. I think the wire gauge is important, as Per explained.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:14 AM   #20
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Trailer: Boler 1700SGH (Stage II twoftitis)
Posts: 284
Quote:
i have a couple more questions for ya, where did you get your smart charger and solar panel from? how much cashola should i expect to pay? is the solar panel critical to have when doing it the way you explained?

as you can tell i am pretty new at this "boler" thing. i've always had small campers so there was less things to think about before heading out. this year i was informed by my wife and son that "we need a bathroom". hence the 1700.....
I'm pretty new to this as well so you should definitely not take anything I say as 'gospel'. This is only my second trailer as well.

The solar panel is a Siemens 55W (or 50W) that my dad got from his previous employer and it's been sitting in my garage for a few years waiting for a new purpose in life. I was going to put it on the 1300 but since nothing significant runs off batteries on the 1300, I never saw the need. I've seen these panels for $450CAD. You can get lesser panels for about $150 that are 15W... Panels seem to be about $10/watt. a 50W panel can put about 4A per hour of sunlight into your batteries.. In a 10 hour day, that's still probably less power than your furnace would use in a night (just guessing here) so the panel is really there to help extend 'off grid' time. I've seen people idling their tow vehicles to charge RV batteries but I don't think they realize the alternator doesn't really do anything until the engine revs get up over 1000rpm or so... (or maybe I don't realize I'm wrong about that).

The solar panel pretty much requires a charge controller itself. I bought one locally from Carmanah Technologies for $70 I think. I bought a Morningstar Sunsaver SS-10L which I think is a 10A unit. It should probably handle 2 panels if I ever get a second one.

The smart charger is really just a canadian tire battery charger that claims to have some smarts. My dad had a spare that has 3 modes. a 75A mode, a 10A mode, and a 2A 'maintenance mode'. I think I have an older version of Canadian Tire number 11-1569-8. If I was going to buy one, I'd probably look at something like 11-1520-0.

I think this all depends on how you plan to use your trailer. So far, we're weekend warriors and our favourite campground has electricity on most sites... I'm trying to get my family accustomed to more 'backwoods' type camping so I'm setting things up to be more power conscious than if we were going to be strictly plug-in campers... I don't know how well any of my new setup is going to work. My intuition tells me it should work just fine but we'll see.
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:07 PM   #21
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
Posts: 5,000
When I was shopping for a smart battery charger I ended up with a Vector, but looked at the Schumacher Speedcharger line. Most Canadian Tire models are house-branded Schumacher products, such as the 11-1513-8, which is likely a SC-1200A; the 11-1520-0 is a similar model carrying Canadian Tire's "Nautilus" brand, used for marine products. I agree that these are reasonable units for our moderately sized deep cycle batteries.
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