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Old 06-13-2022, 10:41 PM   #1
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Name: Willy
Trailer: Bigfoot
Alberta
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RV Battery Question

Hey all. So I am brand new to RV's. I recently purchased a 1979 Bigfoot. There were no batteries connected when I bought it but it came with a few inside disconnected.

My question(s) are:

1.) Do I just connect a 12v car battery to the terminals (they're there by the propane tanks) and it should theoretically power the lights etc inside and charge off my truck? As well how do I check the 12v from my 7 pin from my truck is charging on the trailer side? (Tested truck side already and it seems to be working)

2.) My purchase came with a Gel Battery and a regular battery, can I wire them parallel on the unit? I also got some solar panels and charger so I'm wondering if the gel was just for that, or will it work for both?

Thanks in advance any insight is appreciated!
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Old 06-13-2022, 10:54 PM   #2
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You test it with a no contact voltage/current meter to see how many amps of charge it is getting or not. Yes you can wire them in parallel but charge them separately first to make sure they charge to the same voltage (capacity). Otherwise one might be more worn than the other and will damage the good battery.


I'd suggest a walmart marine battery if you need to replace one for cheap. They are just as good as an agm battery. Otherwise cheapest option for lots of battery storage is a pair of golf cart batteries. See if there is a place called Batteries Plus near you. They sell Duracell 6v golf cart batteries for a good price. Standard is Trojan T105 batteries. You need 2 or 4 because they are 6v. It will give you a lot of power. Get a mppt charge controller and solar. I suggest victron w/ bluetooth.
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Old 06-14-2022, 12:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by RollinMike View Post
You test it with a no contact voltage/current meter to see how many amps of charge it is getting or not. Yes you can wire them in parallel but charge them separately first to make sure they charge to the same voltage (capacity). Otherwise one might be more worn than the other and will damage the good battery.


I'd suggest a walmart marine battery if you need to replace one for cheap. They are just as good as an agm battery. Otherwise cheapest option for lots of battery storage is a pair of golf cart batteries. See if there is a place called Batteries Plus near you. They sell Duracell 6v golf cart batteries for a good price. Standard is Trojan T105 batteries. You need 2 or 4 because they are 6v. It will give you a lot of power. Get a mppt charge controller and solar. I suggest victron w/ bluetooth.
Awesome Mike thanks again !! Are the 6v wired in series ? As well can they be used with the solar ?
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Old 06-14-2022, 12:31 PM   #4
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They are great for solar. People use them on sailboats that cross oceans, rvs, etc. 200w solar will get you started. They sell battery boxes that fit them perfectly. The duracell and trojan batteries are exactly the same size.
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Old 06-14-2022, 01:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RollinMike View Post
They are great for solar. People use them on sailboats that cross oceans, rvs, etc. 200w solar will get you started. They sell battery boxes that fit them perfectly. The duracell and trojan batteries are exactly the same size.
Awesome thanks !!! And they would charge off the truck as well? Iíll have to check how many watts my solar is and post back
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Old 06-14-2022, 01:33 PM   #6
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Costco has cheap GC2 golf cart batts, which are a budget version of Interstate ... they aren't as long life or quite as high capacity as the Trojans, but they are a fraction of the price. I had a pair of the Costco GC2 for about 4-5 years, and they were still working fine until I did my Lithium upgrade.
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Old 06-14-2022, 02:13 PM   #7
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Speaking of lithium, don't go cheap. According to authorities, there have been seven fire deaths in metro Vancouver so far this year. Five of those were caused by cheap batteries and chargers.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...isks-1.6487603
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Old 06-14-2022, 02:49 PM   #8
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Speaking of lithium, don't go cheap. According to authorities, there have been seven fire deaths in metro Vancouver so far this year. Five of those were caused by cheap batteries and chargers.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...isks-1.6487603
Those are Lithium ION batteries, which yes, are quite dangerous if overcharged. RVs are far more likely to use Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries which are nearly impossible to blow up. LFP batts are larger and heavier than Lithium-Ion, but half the weight and twice the capacity of old Lead Acid (which also can blow up from hydrogen explosions, splattering sulphuric acid on everrything around them).
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:22 PM   #9
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They are great for solar. People use them on sailboats that cross oceans, rvs, etc. 200w solar will get you started. They sell battery boxes that fit them perfectly. The duracell and trojan batteries are exactly the same size.
So on a side note I'll definitely look into the golf cart batteries. Upon looking the battery that is a Gel battery I was provided is a MK Model 8G24 Battery, it seems like its a good battery looking it up but we'll see if it's in good condition. I think I'll charge this up and connect just the one battery for now to get it going. Can I use my trickle charger to charge this initially?? Looks like the output of my trickle charger is 12v, 1Amp...
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:25 PM   #10
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a 1 amp trickle charger will take many days to charge a group 24 sized battery which is probably around 80 amp*hours. said trickle charger is fine for maintaining it once its already charged, and in long term storage

ideally you'd want at least an 8 amp charger to be able to charge it overnight. and ideally that charger has a 'gel' setting because gel batteries like a higher charge voltage during the 'absorption' phase which accounts for the last 20% of the total charge.
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:25 PM   #11
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oh, and do NOT parallel different lead acid batteries, the stronger one will discharge itself into the weaker one.
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RollinMike View Post
They are great for solar. People use them on sailboats that cross oceans, rvs, etc. 200w solar will get you started. They sell battery boxes that fit them perfectly. The duracell and trojan batteries are exactly the same size.

Oh and it looks for now as if my solar panels are 55W with a 7Amp charge controller.......
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:30 PM   #13
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a 1 amp trickle charger will take many days to charge a group 24 sized battery which is probably around 80 amp*hours. said trickle charger is fine for maintaining it once its already charged, and in long term storage

ideally you'd want at least an 8 amp charger to be able to charge it overnight. and ideally that charger has a 'gel' setting because gel batteries like a higher charge voltage during the 'absorption' phase which accounts for the last 20% of the total charge.
Thanks John. Would the trickle charger still be OK to charge and leave it for days?? Or can you recommend me a "Gel" charger??
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:31 PM   #14
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oh, and do NOT parallel different lead acid batteries, the stronger one will discharge itself into the weaker one.
Ok thanks ! this is what I've kind of been reading thanks for the info. This is also why I'm gonna try one deep cycle battery to start and go from there...
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by WillyBigfoot View Post
Thanks John. Would the trickle charger still be OK to charge and leave it for days?? Or can you recommend me a "Gel" charger??
I use a NOCO Genius 10 to charge pretty much everything other than the big lithiums in my RV, that gets charged by a 360W solar panel, and/or the 55A PD4655LI power converter.
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:43 PM   #16
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I use a NOCO Genius 10 to charge pretty much everything other than the big lithiums in my RV, that gets charged by a 360W solar panel, and/or the 55A PD4655LI power converter.
Excellent thanks! So would it do harm to put my trickle charger on until I get a different one like you recommended?
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:51 PM   #17
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the 1 amp charger won't harm anything it just will take a really really long time and probably never fully charge a gel cell, maybe only about 80%, depending on its actual voltage output. Note a '12V' lead acid battery needs at least 13.6V to charge
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Old 06-14-2022, 10:54 PM   #18
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the 1 amp charger won't harm anything it just will take a really really long time and probably never fully charge a gel cell, maybe only about 80%, depending on its actual voltage output. Note a '12V' lead acid battery needs at least 13.6V to charge
Ok thanks John!
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Old 06-18-2022, 10:26 AM   #19
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Camping with my '83 Burro pretty much off grid from 3-5 days at the time. Considering a Group 27 Deep Cycle battery to run it, covering recharge of iPad and iPhone as well as lighting (LED) for the trailer. Maybe a fan (12V) as well. The plan now is to take battery home in TV and recharge, placing it back on parked camper with a full charge and keeping it topped up with a solar panel of suitable capacity. Does this sound OK? Is it overkill?

Future planning includes possibility of an electric pump to run the 1 faucet in the sink, but that shouldn't add too heavy a load. There is a possibility of adding a small tractor trailer style 12 volt fridge/cooler. How heavy a load does this place on the system and as described above, would I still have enough capacity?

Froggie
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Old 06-18-2022, 11:22 AM   #20
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i was able to keep a decent charge on the 27M on my Casita with a 100W solar 'suitcase', with the battery running the water pump, LED lighting, and a fantastic fan. and the furnace fan on cold nights. USB charging is a not even a blip. If I left the panel aimed where the mid morning sun would be, it was often fully charged by noon.
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