Battery Charger Needed - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-08-2006, 09:05 AM   #1
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I'm thinking about getting a new battery charger to keep my trailer battery charged. This would replace my 35-year old Montgomery-Wards (edited, see note below) one which works, but isn't very smart.

Any recommendations ala Wal-mart as the new source?

Note: Ah yes Wards. My company Mobil bought them in the mid-1970s after the first oil crisis as a way to diversify and hopefully divert attention from the fact they were an oil company! Alas, it was the last gasp for Wards and they were sold in the early 1980s and soon after folded their tents.
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:40 PM   #2
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J.C. Whitney www.jcw.com

I purchased a Vector, one that desulfates and is completely automatic and I can start the truck with it if the battery is dead.

The desulfate feature will greatly extend your battery life.

DR
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:28 PM   #3
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Pete Dumbleton did a bunch of battery charger research a while ago and can probably provide some good information and his experience with the unit he chose and has used heavily.

Following Pete's lead, I looked in the Vector line and chose their VEC1088-A. I bought mine at Wal-Mart, which may be the only local supplier here. There are nearly equivalent products from Schumacher: their best line are their Speedchargers, such as the SC-1200A. There are carried under a house brand name at Canadian Tire, but apparently are also available (under the Schumacher name) in some Wal-Marts.

I think the important features are fully automatic operation, "three stage" cycle control, and perhaps the "desulphate" or "recondition" function. Fortunately, all of the microprocessor-controlled state-of-the-art units are lighter and more compact than a traditional charger.

When I went shopping, I found that all of the chargers of reasonable capacity are affordable and comparably priced, so it's hard to go far wrong. I don't think it matters where you shop, since you get the same product anyway; while it's unlikely that anyone at Wal-Mart will have a clue about chargers, you don't really need them.
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Old 05-08-2006, 09:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for those ideas. I remember reading about the "desulphate" or "recondition" function months ago but had forgotten, so that would be a good thing to get if the price is right.

One WM we went to today had Shumacher and another brand, but were missing some stock so we will check at one of the mega-WM's for a more complete selection.
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:42 PM   #5
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I just have one of the smallest "smart" chargers sort of permanently installed. When travelling the tow vehicle keeps the battery charged. When parked, I keep 110 vac hooked up to the trailer and the battery always stays up.
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Old 05-09-2006, 05:27 PM   #6
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I just have one of the smallest "smart" chargers sort of permanently installed. When travelling the tow vehicle keeps the battery charged. When parked, I keep 110 vac hooked up to the trailer and the battery always stays up.
The battery will only stay charged up if the charger has either an adequate "float" or "maintain" mode, or if the charger will restart a charging cycle when it needs to. My Vector manual says it will not automatically restart after going through a charging cycle - no matter how low the battery voltage gets - but I thought Pete said that his (same model?) did anyway. Any model from any maker could work in this way or not, maybe even depending on when it was made (what revision of the design was in effect).
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Old 05-11-2006, 04:55 PM   #7
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I ended up getting a Schumacher model WM-1200A from Wally for about $45. This is a 2A/8A/12Amp charger that has support for deep cycle and AGM/Gel batterys. It also has the recondition/desulfate feature. And all the cables store within the small case so it's ready for the road.

Thanks for all the advice and I suspect this one will last me for the next 35 years!
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Old 05-11-2006, 05:50 PM   #8
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I ended up getting a Schumacher model WM-1200A from Wally for about $45. This is a 2A/8A/12Amp charger that has support for deep cycle and AGM/Gel batterys. It also has the recondition/desulfate feature. And all the cables store within the small case so it's ready for the road.

Thanks for all the advice and I suspect this one will last me for the next 35 years!

Did it look like this???
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Old 05-11-2006, 06:01 PM   #9
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That's it and what a great price at $29! I can only hope he charges $21 for shipping so I won't feel totally ripped off by Wal-Mart!

Checked and his shipping is $15.63 so I don't feel so bad with the WM return policy in my hip pocket!
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Old 05-11-2006, 06:06 PM   #10
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All this talk about batteries makes me SUPER relieved to have a hubby around who is in "charge" of this stuff!

He said something about getting a marine battery with a solar charger.............
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:43 PM   #11
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Don't get a Marine battery. They are different than Deep Cycle batteries.

Marine batteries are a hybrid of sorts.. intended for the big pull needed to start an engine, and the storage capacity needed for running lights and stuff. So they need compnents of Big Pull, which don't You compomise on the life of the battery when deeply discharging them.

Deep cycle batteries are strictly for powering 12v items (Or 6.. depending on your application) and can stand being "Deeply" discharged many many times. This is what you do in your trailer when boondocking with no charge source. You run it down and bring it back to life.. through many cycles of use.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:20 AM   #12
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Whoa! Gina, you're a little bit off the track on this one.

Marine battery generally refers to a battery designed basically for use in a boat -- In addition to the normal post terminals, it also has the wingnut terminals for easy disconnection (to take it out for recharging or storage) -- It also has plates designed to take the pounding that often occurs in boats.

http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknow...ne_battery.htm

There are now three basic kinds of marine battery:

1. Marine starting battery

2. Marine deep cycle battery (aka trolling battery)

3. Marine dual-purpose battery (a compromise between a starting and deep cycle battery)

A Marine Deep Cycle battery is a good battery for use in an RV and is commonly available at reasonable prices (The battery from my Scamp 13 was recently stolen from a storage yard; I just bought a marine deep cycle, Group 24 size, from Wally for $43 inc tax).
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:29 AM   #13
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Ya learn something new every day! Thanks Pete!

I had only heard of a #3. Battery store guy told me not to get one for the reasons I listed. I got a regular Interstate group 24 Deep Cycle. (I have been happy with it tho).

Of course, I DO #1, 2 AND 3 when I get on a boat..



(No boats!!!!!)
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Old 05-12-2006, 04:43 PM   #14
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Store Guys. I bet he didn't have any marine batteries.

I'm a store guy and I sell many things, especially the thing that I just had a customer look at a few minutes ago and will be back, that is unless you buy it right now.

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Old 05-12-2006, 05:34 PM   #15
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My new charger worked well, bringing my battery from 80% charge to 100% in just a few minutes. It does generate some RF interference to my radio 20 feet away. Or maybe it just didn't like Rush!

My original Scamp battery doesn't say Deep Cycle but since it has screw terminals can I assume it is?
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:10 PM   #16
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Or maybe it just didn't like Rush!
How can you tell the difference between screeching RF and Geddy Lees voice?



I am IN my room.

I guess I will have to send myself out of it
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Old 05-13-2006, 01:05 AM   #17
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"My original Scamp battery doesn't say Deep Cycle but since it has screw terminals can I assume it is?"

Nope! (Reread my previous post in this thread) Wingnut terminals means it's one of THREE kinds of marine/rv batteries, one of which is deep cycle/trolling, altho if it's the original battery Scamp furnished, then likely it's a deep cycle.

You can sometimes tell by the capacity label:

1. If it only sez Amp Hrs(AH), likely it's a deep cycle/trolling battery.

2. If it sez Marine Cranking Amps (MCA) and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA), likely it's a starting battery.

3. If it sez either MCA or CCA (I forget which) AND it sez AH, then it's a dual purpose (compromise) battery.
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Old 05-13-2006, 07:35 AM   #18
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After reading this thread I've gained a slight understanding about the type of recharging system we ought to have in our trailers, but I'm still a bit confused.

My Bigfoot is 21 years old. It has a convertor built in to it and I was told that the convertor also would recharge the battery when I plugged into shore power. Now, I added a second deep cycle battery and installed a 1500w invertor.

I use the invertor to make coffee on mornings when we are boondocking. I can also run the TV and Dish receiver and be able to have enough juice for a two night weekend. I've used the toaster on mornings also.

After I get back home I plug my trailer into shore power in my driveway to bring the batteries back up. Now, here is where I get into trouble. The convertor charges the batteries back up, but doesn't shut down after they are fully charged and a month or two latter,(if I forget to unplug) the batteries have lost their water and are dead. I refill them with rain water and they come back to life after a week or two plugged into shore power and using the convertor to recharge them. ( at least this occured twice so far).

What can I put inline in my trailer that will stop the recharge juice from boiling my batteries after they charge back up? Is there a smart charger or some sort of control that I can put between my convertor and the batteries that will stop the recharge juice and then open up again if the batteries lose a bit of charge? Is there a way I can keep the trailer plugged in at home so I'll always have cold beer in the fridge and not have to worry about the batteries boiling over?


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Old 05-13-2006, 08:44 AM   #19
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Paul, your experience is exactly why I wanted a modern charger for keeping my battery charged at home, and quickly recharging after using an inverter on the road.

The charger function built into the converters are known to be rather dumb and dangerous for long-term maintence charging, and I doubt there is anything you can do about it.

I believe some people have replaced their converter with a good charger which makes sense to me, although my converter has a fuse/breaker panel so it would be a little complicated on mine.
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Old 05-14-2006, 09:17 AM   #20
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There are some smart converters with a smart add-on that keeps the onboard battery charged. Check with camping world.

Of course, they are higher priced.
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