2nd battery for Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-30-2020, 04:27 AM   #1
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Name: Biker
Trailer: Casita
Texas
Posts: 60
2nd battery for Casita

Hello,

We have a Ď99 Casita and was wondering if anyone has installed 2 batteries in the rear battery compartment?

If you have, what type of batteries are you using and how are they wired up?

Thank you!
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:37 AM   #2
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biker, i doubt there's enough room the the battery cave to install another battery. some folks have mounted multiple batteries on the tongue or in a carrier outside on the rear. (it's not advisable to use the stock bumper for this). then other folks have mounted them inside under the bed. that's where i put mine. 2 6v golf cart agm batteries...

p@
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Old 05-30-2020, 10:53 AM   #3
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Idaho
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Casita battery options

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrick crawford View Post
biker, i doubt there's enough room the the battery cave to install another battery. some folks have mounted multiple batteries on the tongue or in a carrier outside on the rear. (it's not advisable to use the stock bumper for this). then other folks have mounted them inside under the bed. that's where i put mine. 2 6v golf cart agm batteries...

p@
I too have been trying to figure out the best solution to "biker's" question. I purchased a new 2019 Casita that is still almost virgin. I hope to change that status in a few weeks, allowing for park closures, travel restrictions, etc.

I purchased the 12 Volt AGM battery upgrade with the trailer
The picture you posted of your installation appears to have 4 not 2 AGM batteries. Of more concern though, are AGM batteries (regardless of their voltage) safe without proper ventilation? I ask the question because your batteries are inside the trailer. Yes, I know the batteries are sealed, but I know very little about them.

Does the 6 VDC configuration provide a larger current capacity in the 12 VDC system? Why not the same number of 12VDC AGM batteries?

With the batteries at the rear of the trailer, how does that affect tongue weight? How do you compensate for it?

My trailer came with a particle board plate across the lower half at the back. If you trailer was the same did you remove that board? I assume the board covers up wiring and plumbing.

If you haven't figured it out, I am a neophyte at RVing.
Thank you in advance for your answers and comments.
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Old 05-30-2020, 11:58 AM   #4
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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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Go lithium and your can almost double the amount of usable power in the same physical size.. of course you need to get inoculated for sticker shock before you go shopping for the battery and replacement charger.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:24 PM   #5
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1993 CASITA 16SD
Texas
Posts: 55
Mine are under the left rear bed pedestal. There's plenty of room but you have to remove the pedestal; they won't go through the top access. Removal is easy. You just need a square drive bit on your drill. A half dozen on the top side and maybe another inside the bottom lip and out it comes giving you plenty of room to jockey the batteries in place and wire them up. If you use AGMs or some such you don't need to worry about venting them. There's lots of YouTube videos on wiring in series or parallel. Just make sure you use heavy enough gauge wire. Finding the correct battery tie-downs on Amazon helps keep them in place,

You didn't specify which model you have. Mine is a 1993 16SD. Newer Casitas have a battery bay reachable from the outside, I believe, and require a different strategy.

I have two 100ah AGMs wired in parallel and fed by 350 watts of solar panels. They power my Danfoss compressor fridge, a microwave with a reverter and charge all my electronics. If you dry camp, you won't regret it.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:24 PM   #6
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Idaho
Posts: 55
Lithium batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Go lithium and your can almost double the amount of usable power in the same physical size
Any suggestions or recommendations? Sources? I know everyone says Amazon, but that is not always the best answer.
I am using an EGO lawnmower and edger at home. So I am definitely sold on the lithium battery solution. My EGO lawnmower and edger purchases were a sound investment.

I am fully aware of how the national debt will be impacted by going with the lithium batteries.

One lesson that I learned a long time ago. Do it right the first time. I can not tell you how much money I have wasted trying to save money. In the end, if I had gone for the "Rolls Royce", I would have spent less than what it cost me "saving" all of that money.
How does the weight of the lithium battery compare with the lead-acid battery?
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:31 PM   #7
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Idaho
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Casita configuration

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Originally Posted by CASITA BANANA View Post
You didn't specify which model you have. Mine is a 1993 16SD. Newer Casitas have a battery bay reachable from the outside, I believe, and require a different strategy.
I have the 17" Spirit Deluxe with the high rise axle and 15" wheels. The only upgrades I did not go for were the microwave and the TV.
I purchased the 230 watt solar panel suit case and the solar connection on the side of the trailer.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:39 PM   #8
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1993 CASITA 16SD
Texas
Posts: 55
So, its configured like mine and the same strategy should work. BTW the addition of another battery hasn't seemed to affect the handling. But I do carry 3 five gallon water containers in the bathroom when traveling which more than compensates for the extra battery. I've not read anywhere that AGMs need venting and I've not experienced any problems in the 5 years they've been there.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:40 PM   #9
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Idaho
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Second battery location

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Originally Posted by CASITA BANANA View Post
Mine are under the left rear bed pedestal. There's plenty of room . . .
I opted for the 25 gallon fresh water tank. I will have to check, but I believe I used up that space you are talking about with the fresh water tank upgrade. I believe the remaining space is about 8" if that much. I will need to check that out.
My other option would be to remove the particle board guard that is at floor level across the back of the rear dinette and placing the battery in a battery box there. I will have to do some measuring to determine space requirements. I don't know what that guard covers.
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Old 05-30-2020, 01:20 PM   #10
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Idaho
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Casita second battery location

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Originally Posted by CASITA BANANA View Post
Mine are under the left rear bed pedestal. There's plenty of room
You are correct. I just measured and there is definitely room for the battery even with the 25 gallon fresh water tank. Perfect. Thank you for that bit of really good information.

The space is next to the wheel well, so if you need more width, a platform under the battery will increase the width of the space for a battery.

I measured 8.5 from the base of the wheel well to the water tank. About 3 to 5 inches up the width is about 10 to 12 inches. Obviously since the bed pedestal is 24 inches wide, you could possible fit two batteries end to end in that space. It would be a very tight fit. I am thinking a plywood base with a frame to hold the battery in place. Or maybe just a battery box bolted to the floor.

Thank you for your input.

I am seriously going to explore the lithium battery option.
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Old 05-30-2020, 01:35 PM   #11
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Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Penn View Post
Any suggestions or recommendations? Sources? I know everyone says Amazon, but that is not always the best answer.
I am using an EGO lawnmower and edger at home. So I am definitely sold on the lithium battery solution. My EGO lawnmower and edger purchases were a sound investment.

I am fully aware of how the national debt will be impacted by going with the lithium batteries.

One lesson that I learned a long time ago. Do it right the first time. I can not tell you how much money I have wasted trying to save money. In the end, if I had gone for the "Rolls Royce", I would have spent less than what it cost me "saving" all of that money.
How does the weight of the lithium battery compare with the lead-acid battery?
I have a pair of 100 amp hour Battleborn lithium batteries. I purchased them directly through Battleborn, along with a Victron 100/30 solar controller & a Victron 712 battery monitor. They gave me a discount of $100.00 on each of the batteries & a good price on the Victron stuff.

31 pounds each, compared to 65 each for my previous 6V deep cycle batteries. I spent the winter dry camping at Quartzsite & was able to make a pot of coffee each morning, make toast with a pop up electric toaster, run my 1500 watt inverter to power a 950 watt microwave when necessary, and, of course, the furnace overnight. Heaviest discharge was 72 amp hours, typical was around 40 amp hours, usually back to full by 12:00 - 1:00.

Recharged with 480 watts of solar (2 160 watt panels on the roof tilted for the Quartzsite winter sun angle, and a 160 watt portable) & never needed a generator.
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Old 05-30-2020, 04:10 PM   #12
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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
I have a pair of 100 amp hour Battleborn lithium batteries. ...
But you forgot to mention the price.. $949 EACH!

I guess you got vaccinated against "Sticker Shock" but I have not... still, I am considering one for portable use of my HF Ham radio.
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Old 05-30-2020, 04:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
But you forgot to mention the price.. $949 EACH!

I guess you got vaccinated against "Sticker Shock" but I have not... still, I am considering one for portable use of my HF Ham radio.
By the time I finished, it was even more. I have a page describing the switch to lithium that includes a cost spreadsheet. Yes, it was expensive, but, with the exception of running the air conditioner, I can now use my trailer the same way whether I am dry camping or on hookups. As many have said, "You can't take it with you"!
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Old 05-31-2020, 07:10 AM   #14
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Name: p@
Trailer: Casita
South Carolina
Posts: 289
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Quote:
I too have been trying to figure out the best solution to "biker's" question. I purchased a new 2019 Casita that is still almost virgin. I hope to change that status in a few weeks, allowing for park closures, travel restrictions, etc.

I purchased the 12 Volt AGM battery upgrade with the trailer
The picture you posted of your installation appears to have 4 not 2 AGM batteries. Of more concern though, are AGM batteries (regardless of their voltage) safe without proper ventilation? I ask the question because your batteries are inside the trailer. Yes, I know the batteries are sealed, but I know very little about them.

Does the 6 VDC configuration provide a larger current capacity in the 12 VDC system? Why not the same number of 12VDC AGM batteries?

With the batteries at the rear of the trailer, how does that affect tongue weight? How do you compensate for it?

My trailer came with a particle board plate across the lower half at the back. If you trailer was the same did you remove that board? I assume the board covers up wiring and plumbing.

If you haven't figured it out, I am a neophyte at RVing.
Thank you in advance for your answers and comments.
bob,

AGM batteries are considered "safe" for interior use. i know there are folks that take issue with that, but my experience has caused me to think they're safe. they've been under the bed for a couple of years and haven't exploded yet. and those batteries are pretty big so it may look like 4 there's only 2.

the batteries provide 225 amp hours which is a considerable increase over the original set up (90 or so Ahr). my reasoning at the time about the 6v choice was based mostly on cost and from what i've read 6v have thicker plates and that gives them an advantage over the same size (physical) 12v.

my batteries are not located completely to the rear of the cabin. my goal was to get them as close to the axle as i could. this turned out to be a compromise so as to have a small amount of floor in front of the batteries for shoe storage and to avoid removing that in the floor table post receiver. i used a trailer tongue scale to measure the effect on tongue weight and it didn't make a major difference. the tongue of my trailer is heavier that as delivered because i have a propane tank cover with a honda generator mounted on top. so, i could stand to loose a few pounds up front. since the batteries are not up close on the rear wall i left the slant board where it was.

i hope this helps and if you've more questions let me know and i'll try to answer. please bear in mind that if far from knowledgeable regarding things electrical but i do know enough to seek out others that are when working on stuff that makes blue smoke.

p@
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:53 PM   #15
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Idaho
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P@, thank you for your response. You answered a lot of my questions and gave me a some things to think about.

Some excellent points have come out of this discussion. I was pleased with the solution provided by Martin of placing the second battery in the left rear bed pedestal. With careful planning and fitting, I may be able to fit two of the lithium batteries in that space.

My first trip of the year will take me to vicinity of the Battleborn lithium battery factory in Sparks, Nevada. Before I make my final leap into the deep end, I thought I would visit them to determine what my options are and see if I am able to do any price negotiation with them considering the investment involved. I will take a look at Jon's spreadsheet and determine just how much pain I am willing to suffer in order to go the lithium route.

I very much like that the lithium batteries are able to be depleted much further than the AGM batteries giving me more bang when I need it for boondocking. I believe they have a much longer life (Battleborn claims 8 to 10 years) than the AGM batteries (3 to 5 years?) which in the long run partially mitigates the high cost of lithium. Lithium's reduced weight (40 to 50 percent less?) over AGM is also a consideration.

I know that I have rambled on here a bit, but I like to lay it out for the masses to put in their 2 cents worth. I take all input seriously. In the end, I will still be the one responsible for the final decisions I make. I definitely appreciate everyone's input.
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Old 05-31-2020, 04:41 PM   #16
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Casita
Idaho
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Highly recommended reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
I have a page describing the switch to lithium that includes a cost spreadsheet.
I just finished reading Jon's complete narrative on his conversion to lithium batteries on his RV. Very impressive and well done! Clear and easy to understand photos to back up the narrative. I learned a lot! I will have to analyze the Casita electrical system and compare needs/requirements. I highly recommend anyone considering changing over read his blog (link in the quote above). Before I make the change myself, I am going to have to read it again and do a lot of serious thinking about it. This is obviously not an undertaking to be taken lightly.
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