my camper never had a battery - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:40 PM   #1
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Name: rick
Trailer: 1986 Play Mor II
Florida
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my camper never had a battery

Its a 1986 play mor II. I see no wiring for a battery. should I get a battery and the wiring or leave it as is? Newbie here. any suggestions will help.
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Old 01-14-2017, 03:19 PM   #2
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What do you believe you need the battery for?
What is your camping "style" (how, where, and for how long)?
How often do you plan to camp without an electric connection?

For us, the 12V battery system is the only mechanical system on the trailer we use every trip, every day. We use the battery for lights, to charge electronics, and (occasionally) to power the furnace blower. We take short trips, usually 5 days or less, and in over 50 days' camping, we have never plugged in. Even when electric sites are available, primitive sites are usually nicer (and cheaper). At some point I'd like to add a small solar panel to keep the battery charged on our longer outings, but so far, we've always gotten by with our small group 24 battery. Our electric needs are fairly minimal, and I like being able to meet them without an umbilical cord.

But everyone is different.
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Old 01-14-2017, 04:03 PM   #3
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Name: rick
Trailer: 1986 Play Mor II
Florida
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Uses of my small brown egg

I just took a trip from my home in Spring Hill, Fl to OKC and Texas. 3 weeks. Stayed in state parks the most. I'm hooked to shore power and city water of course.I want to boondock soon. I have the mr. buddy heater, the small one, made a portable shower, have propane for cooking inside and out, and getting a generator(inverter type 3100w champion ) for a/c microwave.
i have a thetford marine head, and a 10 gallon fresh water tank and extra 6 gallon jugs.
Do I need a battery? I have puck lights all over the place for light.
My camper is 13' long looks like yours.
thanks for your input!
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Old 01-14-2017, 04:15 PM   #4
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My Campster was wired for one but came without one (or an obvious place to attach it) and since only the lights ran off 12V I didn't see the point- nowadays an LED lantern works just as well.
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Old 01-14-2017, 04:24 PM   #5
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It doesn't sound like it to me, either, though I'm not sure what the puck lights run on. Your two high power appliances require 120V power. A small microwave can run off a good-sized battery via an inverter, but the AC can't, so you're stuck with the generator. You can cook, refrigerate, and stay warm without the battery (follow all safety warnings carefully with that Little Buddy heater, especially as regards ventilation). If needed, you can also charge electronics while the generator is running, though it's probably not too efficient to run it only for that.

Try boondocking with what you have to start. If you find yourself frequently thinking, "I sure wish I had a battery right now," then you'll know.
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Old 01-14-2017, 05:16 PM   #6
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The only reason you would NEED a battery is if your trailer has brakes and a break away switch. After that, it's a question of what accessories you want in your trailer. If you are OK with a hand water pump, no 12 volt lights, radio etc. you would not need a battery.
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:57 PM   #7
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Name: rick
Trailer: 1986 Play Mor II
Florida
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Thanks!

Thanks everyone for your ideas and suggestions. I think I will leave the camper as is and not get a battery. The puck lights are just battery"AA" operated lights I stuck on the walls. It provides enough light.
It just seems weird everyone has a battery for the RV but me lol. I guess thats ok though. The camper is 1000 pounds fully loaded GVWR, no electric brakes on the camper were ever installed.
Thinking and living the small rv life
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Old 01-15-2017, 06:10 AM   #8
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Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
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I've played the whole camping gambit.
From hiking the AT with just a 45 LB back-pack for weeks at a time to living as a work camper in my 32' Holiday Rambler and everything in between.
But the addition of a Battery is such an easy thing to do I think I would do it.
Better to have it and not need (use) it then Want it and not have it.
CAUTION:
Mr Buddy will put CO in your camper and you may wake up dead:
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Old 01-15-2017, 06:20 AM   #9
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Rick, another forum member says often, "You can't miss what you've never had." I think that applies in this situation.

My trailer came with a working 12V battery system, and we just got used to using it. It's nice to switch on a light, plug in my phone, or flip on the furnace on a cold morning. But if it didn't have it, I'm sure I'd have found other ways to do what needed to be done.

Time and experience will determine what you really need. In the meantime, enjoy what you have!

I don't know how you got that 1000 pounds, but know that 13'ers of the Boler-Scamp type typically weigh more like 1300-1800 pounds loaded for camping. It wouldn't be a bad idea to load yours up and take it to a CAT scale (certified auto and truck scale, often at truck stops, recycling/waste stations, grain & feed stores, sand & gravel lots). If you do, try to get the axle weight as well as total weight (difference being the tongue weight) and post the data in our Trailer Weights in the Real World database. Yours would be the first Play-Mor in the database!
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Old 01-15-2017, 06:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
...Mr Buddy will put CO in your camper and you may wake up dead:
Not if it's working properly and used according to the instructions. Chemical catalysts in the heating element eliminate the CO. It is rated for indoor use.

It can also deplete the O2 in the cabin if adequate ventilation is not maintained. I believe it has a low O2 sensor that shuts it down if that happens.

But any piece of equipment can malfunction, and users make mistakes, so it would be a smart move to install smoke and CO detectors. An LP detector would be good, too, but it has to be hard wired to a 12V system…
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:01 AM   #11
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I could live with a hand pump for water and AA, C, or D cell battery operated lights. But I would not want to be without my fan. And while my O2 cool fan was designed to run on D cells, they don't last long. Buying 8 D batteries per day will quickly exceed the cost of a simple 12 volt system.
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Old 01-15-2017, 12:37 PM   #12
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semi batteryless

I have not had a battery on my Coleman popup for years. My electricity I use for the camper and its brakes comes from the tow vehicle battery. Connection to the camper is via an extension cord with 7 way male and female round plugs on the ends. Just turn the van on for extended use to help maintain the battery charge. It is a very quiet generator that doesn't annoy the neighbors. You could probably make a similar hookup if you have a 4 way flat plug setup. It is basic but that sounds like what you are looking for. Wonder if this will work on the new Parkliner I plan to get soon? I will have to ask them.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:13 PM   #13
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My first TT didn't have a battery either. The gravity furnace, fridge, stove and interior light all ran on propane. It had a hand pump for water. Very convenient and economical. I wired it and put in a number of LED lights and used a deep cycle battery. I put a solar panel on the roof. We boondocked for months at a time and never needed to charge the battery. It wasn't a major undertaking and worked well.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:39 PM   #14
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Battery required for the breakaway switch; but we have water pump, lights, furnace, hot water tank, and more in our 78 boler that use the battery. We purchased a deep cycle battery but later learn about fume free type with better capacity so upgrade was done the better one cost triple the price of the regular deep cycle.
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:22 PM   #15
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Name: rick
Trailer: 1986 Play Mor II
Florida
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Thanks again for all the input.
Gerry:You say its easy to wire up a battery. I would not know how. Any suggestions to do that? I'm pretty sure waking up dead is not a good thing I have read those Mr. Buddy's are safe. You hear otherwise?
Jon: I have that weight information but I'm visiting my kids up in PA. When I get to FL ill share the weight stuff. and pictures of the camper. It's easy to lift the tongue up and move the camper around
Raz: I have that hand pump for water. Can I hook up that fan you have pictured on a small 12V battery?
Flaco: Are you saying if i keep the trailer wires hooked up at the site I can get lights and plugs to work in the camper?
Mike L: My stove runs good on propane, but dometic fridge runs good on electrcic but could not get it going for propane. Furnace plumbing was sealed off when I bought the camper.
Borden: I talked to the lady at Play Mor( yes their still in business, but I dont think they make fiberglass units anymore)she saif trailer was too light for brakes and the battery was an option. I dont have the electrical skills to put one in.
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:00 PM   #16
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Ric, Dometic fridges come in various models. I had one that ran on propane when boondocking, 12 volt when towing and 120 volt when plugged in to shore power. My current unit doesn't have the 12 volt option. I bought my current unit new. One year later it quit working on propane. They currently use CHEAP chinese motherboards that delaminate. I bought a "made in the USA" replacement motherboard and now it works great. If it works on electric and not propane it's likely the motherboard.
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:14 PM   #17
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Or maybe the problem is the propane comes from Alberta?
Stuff is made all over the world these days. My Dometic fridge was made in Sweden and the parts came from who knows where. Bad parts can be made anywhere.
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:37 PM   #18
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Name: rick
Trailer: 1986 Play Mor II
Florida
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responding

Thanks to everyone this is a helpful site
Mike L: The guy i bought the camper said he just replaced the fridge. It works good. They never used the propane. The pipes could be blocked. Gotta check on that. No battery for third option, of course.
Glenn: Thats another thing. The previous owner did not use propane either. I had to clear the pipes and clean them out and put in a new bottle. The camper has a bracket for a battery but no wiring for it.
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Old 01-15-2017, 09:36 PM   #19
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Rick, when the previous owner replaced the fridge did he even hook up the propane? When he said it worked, did he say electric and propane or just electric? Was the replacement new or used? Cheers!
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:47 AM   #20
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
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Rick, you fail to mention if you have a converter in the trailer and tell us if the trailer ever did have Battery power.
You do mention that there was battery trays so I can assume it may have all the wiring and Lights still in camper.?.
If so...in rear of converter is a terminal for the battery hook up.
Just run a wire from Battery with an in-line fuse to this and voila. Excuse my french.
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