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