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Old 02-02-2021, 03:54 PM   #21
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Name: John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
Propane has little odor so the manufacturer adds mercaptan, an odorant, so that leaks can be detected. Propane should never be stored in an enclosed containment unless it is ventilated. If you detect an odor you have a leak. Is there sufficient gas to cause an explosion, hard to say without a gas monitor. Even a slow leak can accumulate over time and over time, leaks usually get bigger, not smaller.

Propane is heavier than air and will accumulate in lower areas so concentrations can vary in different areas.
Also, if the the temperature gets high enough, the safety valve can open. Storing a propane cylinder in a closed camper shell, in the sun, could cause this. When the safety does open, it is a real eye opener. I've had it happen and it made me much more cautious.

I agree on the smell. If you smell it, it must be leaking.
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:58 PM   #22
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If you have space for one battery you likely have room for two, with some modification of the battery plate. The additional weight may or may not be a factor.
At the risk of opening a can of worms, I see you would use two 6 volt batteries? Would these replace one or would they replace two 12 volt batteries?
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:06 PM   #23
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Lithuim

I saw this video the other day and if it had been around about a year ago I would have done this instead of the Battle borns.

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Old 02-03-2021, 09:05 AM   #24
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escape— 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
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We have survived for weeks at a time on one 20 lb tank of propane , one 27F deep cycle battery and one 100 watt portable solar panel .
Food and water have basically been the only issue
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Old 02-04-2021, 09:01 AM   #25
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I'm not certain of the layout of your BigFoot, but I was able to place my (DIY) 100Ah LiFePo4 under one side of the front bunk of my 13' Scamp. It's weight is about 16lbs and it fits neatly and entirely out of sight and harms way with the battery management system (BMS) and inverter.
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Old 02-04-2021, 03:16 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by ThomasC View Post
I saw this video the other day and if it had been around about a year ago I would have done this instead of the Battle borns.
Here is my implementation using the same 280AH LiFePO4 cells. Battleborn batteries is overprices hoax. I have a 280AH battery for $550 total in size 31 box now.


Edit: forgot to mention the battery weight - about 50 lbs.
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Old 02-06-2021, 11:39 AM   #27
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Trailer: 2008 Taylor Coach 17 ft
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Our setup

Two 6 volt golf cart batteries, 205 amp hr, and charge controller in the bed of the pickup. Two 130 watt solar panels on top of the 8 ft long she’ll on the pickup. Panels can be swung up at various angles to the sun (adjustment made while I’m standing on the ground). And one 12 volt, group 31, 105 amp hr, battery on the tongue with two 5 gal propane tanks. Wires running from truck to trailer are 6 gauge and fitted with easy to connect fittings. Wires are in two different sets with one at 16 ft and one at 18 ft. So the truck can be parked up to 30+ feet from the trailer by connecting the two sets.
Winter camping at Padre Island National Seashore can be chilly and rainy for days on end but this system has not been overwhelmed (batteries never run down below 50% capacity) but came close a few times!
Solar panels on the truck is a real advantage for hot summer camping with trailer parked in the shade and truck in the sun.
Anyhow think about our setup in terms of your boondocking needs.
Cheers John.
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Old 02-06-2021, 12:37 PM   #28
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John, you bring back memories. When I first got my solar panels I didn't know where I would mount them so I put them on the tonneau top on my truck, Worked great. Easy to access. My only concern was someone would trip in the wire from the tug to the trailer so I parked as close as possible.
Before I got my solar panels I carried extra batteries in my tug but since installing my solar panels the house battery never goes below 80% charge. My tug is a diesel with two 1050 amp batteries. They are not deep cycle so I was reluctant to use them as house batteries but decided I would try to see how it would work. After one day, no impact on the batteries, after two days still good and after three days minimal impact according to the gauge in the truck. I only did this once to see how it would work but good to know just in case.
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:12 PM   #29
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Extra battery under the seat

I do not know the set up of the 17' but in our 21' Bigfoot we were able to place a second battery in the storage area under the seat in the front of the trailer. Half the area is filled with controllers and vents but there is a space at the front that contains the connections for the outside battery. We added a switch to isolate the battery if needed. It is inside of a standard battery carrier to prevent accidental contact with the posts. We vented the storage area to the area containing the heaters which is vented to the outside.

Only issue with two batteries is to make sure they are the same. Different batteries charge at different rates and can cause problems.

With a suitcase solar panel we have spent a week out in the desert in the winter (yes, low light, lots of furnace use, TV, computers, etc) with no generator use.
We even cooked a meal in the small crock pot on pretty much solar only.
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:30 PM   #30
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Photo of Our Setup


Name:   BCD36371-E33B-43CA-8A7F-EB814D38B497.jpeg
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Size:  39.1 KB


Here is our setup.
No one has ever tripped over the wires. Lucky?
Top photo with two panels was taken a couple years ago near Why, AZ.

Bottom photo was taken in winter of 2008/09 at Padre Island National Seashore. With only one solar panel we discovered that after 3 days of cold nights and no sun we were getting to close to a 50% drawdown on the battery capacity (estimated by me because we didn’t have the better electronics that would actually measure this). So we went to two panels.
BTW the golf cart batteries are still in use although I think getting weak. The 12 volt is only a couple years old. The original 12 volt was a “deep cycle” marine grade that started failing after 10 years.

Cheers John
( With apologies for aluminum trailer!)
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Old 02-06-2021, 08:41 PM   #31
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Bottom line: you should not, nor do you need to discard your propane tank when adding a second lead acid battery or a single lithium battery.

I owned a ‘92 Bigfoot 19 for 12 years. I speak from experience as I regularly boon docked during the winter in Northern California & spring in the Pacific Northwest & Rockies. The BF 19 has the same floor plan as the Bigfoot 17, rear bath. It has a “basement” storage area in the front of the trailer and a fairly heavy tongue weight (530 lbs).

Yes, I mounted 2 deep cell lead acid batteries behind the propane tanks. (Photos below).

3-4 years into my ownership of the trailer, the original Bigfoot propane cover, which was flimsy, flew off the trailer and lost on the freeway, and I replaced the acid lead battery with 2 deep cell batteries. I bought a $35 propane cover for the tanks.

The additional battery made a huge difference in power conservation, and I highly recommend either 2 deep cell batteries or one lithium 100 ah battery for off grid camping. It more than compensated for the loss of the original propane tongue cover. Among other things, I added a 12 volt auto stereo system to the trailer.

You are blessed with advancement and in technologies that present options not available to me when I first bought my BF19. Take advantage of this: go lithium!

I now have a BF 21. The first thing I did was add a Battleborn, 100ah lithium battery, which I recommend over 2 deep cell batteries. Yes it is an investment, but going lithium:[LIST][*]will offer you a varity of placement options[*]is more efficient than lead acid batteries[*]is lighter than a single lead acid battery, so you really don’t have to worry about added weight.[/LIST

Lithium will anchor your eventual move into solar.

Where can you accommodate a lithium battery in your BF 17?
  • in the cubby area under the port dinette seat (see photo)
  • in the power cord cubby hole, against the storage area under the dinette seat
  • in the trailer's front "basement" storage area

You can also mount a lithium battery behind your propane tanks, but they are expensive and easier to steal. Plus, assuming it’s still on the trailer, you’d have to remove your propane cover.

Circling back to propane ... install a digital thermostat. It will save both propane usage and your battery. I did not tow with a truck and , due toe the weight configuration to my BF19, could not add weight to my tongue area. But I was able to safely mount a gas generator onto my BF19’s back porch.

Prior to my first foray into the Rockies, I setup my generator and never looked back. I used it sparingly, but it gave me piece of mind and allowed me to use my microwave. Even with solar, I like having the backup.

You have the option of purchasing an inverter or gas or duel fuel generator. With duel fuel you can use your propane tanks when recharging. Just a thought.

Note: having problems downloading photos. May he to add them to a second post. Sorry
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:04 AM   #32
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I disagree with the fridge using no power. The gas fridge in my Bigfoot 17 uses .8 a/h according to my coulombmeter. This will drain a 100 a/h battery in 2 days.
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:19 AM   #33
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I disagree with the fridge using no power. The gas fridge in my Bigfoot 17 uses .8 a/h according to my coulombmeter. This will drain a 100 a/h battery in 2 days.
It depends on the fridge model. Some gas fridges (usually the large ones) need 12V for control logic and fans, but some (like Dometic RM-2193 in my Scamp) do not.
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:20 AM   #34
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I disagree with the fridge using no power. The gas fridge in my Bigfoot 17 uses .8 a/h according to my coulombmeter. This will drain a 100 a/h battery in 2 days.
More like 2 and a half, but only if you are using the 50% limit. You can certainly go down below 50% discharge at the cost of reduced battery longevity, but the difference is not as much as people seem to think, and may be worth the tradeoff.

When you get past 80% discharge then battery longevity will be more drastically reduced.
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Old 02-09-2021, 06:32 PM   #35
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I have a 1999 Scamp with two 5 gal propane tanks and had a single 12v battery and a 30watt solar panel. In December when daylight is short and temps cooler, the battery got pretty low after a few days of boondocking. I cut the clamps off the ends of a jumper cable, put eyelets on both ends and put an Anderson plug in the cables near one end and connected another battery in parallel that I carry in the back of my p/u. The plug allows disconnection of the extra battery. I have since spent several nights in a ski area parking lot in Idaho during pretty cold weather and had plenty of juice for the furnace. Propane lasts a long time but I carry a spare tank in the truck if I'm going out for an extended time.
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Old 02-09-2021, 06:55 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by bobblangley View Post
I have a 1995 Bigfoot 17G with a single battery and two 5-gallon propane tanks outside the trailer on the hitch.

I mainly boondock and haven't put in a solar system yet even though I probably will.

It seems to me that a single propane tank lasts quite a long time while a single battery can run down fairly quickly.

So, I am wondering about removing one of the propane tanks and adding a second battery. If I were to do that, I would likely install 2 6-v batteries in series.

If you have made this change, please let me know how you like it.

If you haven't made this change, please share your thoughts about it.

Thanks to all in advance.

You could add the 2 6 volts and then up size the propane thank to a single 30 lb tank . If you have room
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Old 02-09-2021, 07:13 PM   #37
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You could add the 2 6 volts and then up size the propane thank to a single 30 lb tank . If you have room

And, if you are willing and able to lift a 30lb. tank.
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Old 02-17-2021, 10:59 PM   #38
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I always carry an extra battery but I never connect them in parallel. I find I get more run time using each one separately.
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