12v electric for Boler 1300 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-25-2018, 12:51 PM   #1
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Name: Jack
Trailer: Boler
California
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12v electric for Boler 1300

I'm going to add 12v electric to my Boler. I'd like to have a few interior lights I can switch on and a couple charging ports for phones. I've thought about adding a 110v inverter, but the only thing I imagine doing with that is maybe charging a laptop.

I know everyone uses their camper differently; in my case, I doubt I'll ever camp where there's a 110v hook-up. I'm also not planning on any extended boondocking-type situations. I don't plan on firing up a generator while I'm camping.

But I'm interested in other people's opinions, experiences, and advice. If you don't have a 12v inverter, do you wish you did? I'm planning on a pair of 35AH deep cycle batteries and some LED lights. I'm not currently planning on solar for recharging -- although I suppose I could supplement charging during towing with the 12v from the car.

I'd rather not ever add AC, but maybe that's short-sighted? Will RV hookups with their 110v power start to look good to me at some point down the road when I'm dying inside my little camper/oven?
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:20 PM   #2
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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It really all depends on how you will use your Boler, and you provided a few clues to that but only clues.

If you dont expect to have shore power available often, then there is no need (or very little need) for 120 VAC wiring or a converter. You can keep it all 12 VDC. You can use a charger such as the CTEKs either mounted in the camper with a way to plug it in to shore power or not mounted at all and brought out when needed to charge the battery.

I wish I could camp only when the weather was not too hot, but to spend time with family I have to go when its mid-summer so for me A/C is needed so I dont toss and turn all night. If you want A/C then a full 120 VAC side wiring with a breaker panel is appropriate. By the way, do you have or plan on a fridge?

I would use, or plan on using solar if I were you. I prefer to have the controller mounted in the camper, and in view if the display is something that will be helpful. I prefer a recording ammeter to track battery state of charge. Unless you only go where the sun is usually overhead, I prefer to at least start with a portable panel or two. So you can plan on solar for later addition but I think you will eventually want to use it.

Whatever battery capacity needed is dependent on load but also on how long you plan to camp between battery charges and you only said not extended. A pair of 35 AH batteries means only 35 AH ideally available and thats not much. If all you have is a few LED lights its fine, but if you plan on a furnace, fan, or the like, then likely not. Forget about an inverter with only 35 AHs. A plan to expand battery capacity is also a good idea I think.

A detailed power budget should be drawn up.
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Old 10-25-2018, 01:32 PM   #3
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Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
Tennessee
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I think on board inverters are primarily used by those with larger battery capacity, good recharging capability and a desire to run something like a microwave. For your laptop I'd suggest a small inverter that plugs into the cigarette lighter in your tow vehicle. I would suggest a solar panel on the trailer roof to supplement the charging from the tow vehicle. You'll probably get less charging from the vehicle than you expect.
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Old 10-26-2018, 02:49 PM   #4
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Scamp 5th wheel
MB
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We have a 19 ft 5th wheel scamp which came with a group 24 battery. We got a 50 watt portable solar panel (with SunSaver charge controller). The first time wew were without shore power we ran out of power after 4 days but we were not at the camper during the day to move the panel for optimal charging. This summer I changed the batteries and installed two 6 volt deep cycle rated at 225 Ah and got another 40 watt solar panel. We also changed all the lights to LEDs. We have not run out of power since. We run the ceiling fan, recharge batteries (I used my Milwaukee tool batteries for flashlights etc), charge our phones and the like. We don't use anything that is a big draw. All in all this has worked out very well for us. I also installed a coulometer (bidirectional voltage and current meter) to monitor our power consumption, charging rate and voltage levels 9bought it on Amazon for $35)

If you install a power outlet (cigarette lighter) a small plug in inverter should charge a small laptop although we haven't tried this. If you are conservative with your power usage you should have no problems.
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Old 10-26-2018, 06:31 PM   #5
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Name: Jack
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Thanks!
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Old 10-27-2018, 08:46 AM   #6
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Name: mensie
Trailer: Boler
Alberta
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I just have an 12volt deep cycle battery I have a portable 100 watt solar panel with controller that does the charging ( Bought the solar panel on sale at Canadian tire) This battery runs my 12/110volt fridge, inside lights with led bulbs and charges the pones and ipads. Works well for us, I did keep the shore power hook up just incase.
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Old 10-28-2018, 04:10 AM   #7
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
Maine
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my Boler has an converter, but this past year I installed a Zamp Dual battery controller with a 100W panel and run 2-27 group batteries. I run my fridge and furnace on propane and I can go for ever without hooking up to 110 power. Even in shade or cloudy days the panel will collect enough energy to run appliances and LED lights for night time reading. I do not have an inverter because I do not need or want anything to run off 110V power.
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Old 10-31-2018, 10:15 AM   #8
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
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We use 12v exclusively for camping on our older model 16 ft. Casita. I do have a very simple three outlet 30 amp 120vac circuit that I use to power a built in trickle charger protected by an on board breaker. I use the 120vac powered trickle charger to keep the battery topped off while the trailer sits in my driveway. The three ac outlets also make handy extension outlets when using using power tools out in the yard. 30 amps is over kill for my use. I only chose it because I liked the nice water tight, twist lock plug where the power cord connects to the trailer that is available with 30 amp wiring.

Since I brought my derelict, $300, Casita back to life last June, I have been using a spare group 24 car battery that I had laying around in the shop for camping power. When it gives up the ghost, I will trade it out for a similar sized deep cycle battery or two depending on how many 12v. amenities I add in the meantime. Of course a solar panel would be nice too. Maybe next year. Thus far, only running LED interior lights and charging iphones, ipads, two bluetooth speakers and a Magic Fan, we haven't taken the battery below 12v. (monitored by an onboard volt meter) over 3 day stays in the boonies.

My only advice for extending stays with minimal power storage is to choose your 12v accessories wisely and keep parasitic losses to a minimum from things such as ongoing LED lights installed in appliances & fixtures to tell you that they are on. For example, my voltage meter is only on when I flick a momentary toggle switch. Another is that my marine USB charge ports have an ongoing LED light. I switched in the power to that fixture to minimize power loss when not in use.
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