Electrical system advice for total novice - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-29-2014, 10:21 AM   #1
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Name: A
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 2
Electrical system advice for total novice

Hey all. Proud new owner of a 1982 Scamp here. The 120V shore power works great and have used it several times; it powers a couple of outlets and the mini fridge that were installed by the previous owner just fine. We're hoping to do some dry camping, and so we purchased an Evertstart 12V Marine Battery and an 8 amp automatic battery charger. I've been reading through the forum and getting some great ideas, but as a total novice who has never done any sort of electric work or wiring (but am eager to to learn), I was wondering if there are any good videos/resources/tutorials to get a better sense of the actual process. Not just diagrams and schematics, but more hands-on instruction.

And would you recommend getting some sort of power center (like the PD 4045)? We won't be running on big appliances while we're dry camping (no AC or anything like that).

And what are the options/viability for running the fridge while off-grid? Would we need an inverter for that, and is that even something a single 12V battery could handle?

Thanks so much in advance. Looking forward to continually picking the brain of this community!

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Old 08-29-2014, 10:54 AM   #2
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Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,507
I don't have the PD4045 but those that have one and those that have installed them in older FGRVs seem to like them. You should be able to run a "dorm" style fridge off an inverter, and in fact I plan on doing just that until I can do different in the refrigerator department. My plan is to purchase a 1000w pure sine wave inverter. I don’t know if pure sine wave is required for the refrigerator but it sure can't hurt and then I will have it for other stuff like a computer or other wave-sensitive stuff.

As to the single battery doing the job, a lot depends on the size, age, and condition of the battery itself along with the amperage of the fridge and how long you expect it to work between charging. I don't think there is a fixed answer to that question as there are too many variables specific to your equipment, situation, and expectations. In my case, as part of an overall revamping of the Scamp, I am installing two 6V "golf cart" batteries. I want to do extended boondocking and intend to someday (next year) purchase and install a 12V only refrigerator. I have already purchased a couple of 100W solar panels, a charge controller and assorted giblets for a solar system but have not hooked anything up yet.

These old trailers are definitely a commitment, but a fun and interesting one. I was laying under the tongue of my Scamp just last night taking measurements in preparation for mounting the two new batteries and noticed the driver’s side frame rail just back under the shell is cracked about half in two. We just got back from a 700 mile trip a couple of weeks ago, no telling how long it has been cracked. I replaced the axle earlier this year and it was not broken then. Oh well, I have welding equipment and the skill to repair this so will add one more thing to the repair list.

Good luck and keep asking questions, there is ridiculous wealth of knowledge on this board and people are very willing to share it.

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Old 08-29-2014, 03:20 PM   #3
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 1,704
This is a very good book on RV repair I highly recommend.

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Old 08-29-2014, 06:52 PM   #4
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,912
The PD-4045 power center is an excellent choice to update your Scamp. I have installed a number of them in FGRV's & mini-motorhomes and the results have always been as advertised. It will take care of all of your AC & DC power needs as well a provide a smart battery charger to keep your battery in tip-top shape.

AC vs. LP refrigerators is always a hot topic, especially when they are needed for off-grid dry camping. If there is any evidence of a previous 2 or 3 way refrigerator installation (outside vents and an LP line in place) I would consider shopping for even a used 2 or 3 way, and get back to that so you can run on LP when off grid.

To answer your question: Yes you will need an inverter, and how long the battery will last depends on how much wattage the refrigerator uses. Look on the specification plate and post the wattage numbers and someone here will figure it out for you. But rest assured, it won't be a long time with a single battery.

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