Scamp 16 Inverter Install - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-04-2021, 09:13 AM   #1
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Scamp 16 Inverter Install

Wondering where people have added an inverter to a Scamp 16 ft. I have not really dug into the wiring yet but the 12 volt fuse block is under the seat of the side dinette. I doubt 12 volt feed wire from battery is up to any significant output Inverter.

My understanding is one wants a fairly heavy gauge wire and a short run from the battery to the inverter.

I'm looking to install something along the lines of a 1000 watt, with 2000 watt peak. Maybe adding an outlet that can plug into the inverter so that inverter doesn't have to be out and accessible. Main use would be light duty, charging camera battery or running/charging laptop but want the ability to use a toaster, coffee percolator, or blow dryer for brief periods off of battery.

Just wanting to pick some brains on locations and wire gauges used.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:09 PM   #2
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Wire guide line

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Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
I'm looking to install something along the lines of a 1000 watt, with 2000 watt peak.
Just wanting to pick some brains on locations and wire gauges used.
Remember that inverters (and micro waves) are in efficient. My 700-watt microwave draws 1200 watts on the AC line. Next 2000 watts / 12 volts = 167 AMPS! The inverter should come with a recommended wire and fuse size, but this is in the ball park. I am running 4/0 on my 1800 watt (2400 peak?) fused at 200 amps. No not in my Scamp,it's on the end of a roll top desk in the ham radio shack.

Four AWG battery cables should be used on power inverters rated up to 1500 watts and most commonly used on 900, 1000, 1100, 1200 watt inverters.
1/0 AWG battery cables should be used on power inverters rated up to 3500 watts and most commonly used on 2000, 2200, 2500, 3000, 3300 and 3500 watt inverters.

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Old 08-04-2021, 01:32 PM   #3
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Wondering where people have added an inverter to a Scamp 16 ft. I have not really dug into the wiring yet but the 12 volt fuse block is under the seat of the side dinette. I doubt 12 volt feed wire from battery is up to any significant output Inverter.

My understanding is one wants a fairly heavy gauge wire and a short run from the battery to the inverter.

I'm looking to install something along the lines of a 1000 watt, with 2000 watt peak. Maybe adding an outlet that can plug into the inverter so that inverter doesn't have to be out and accessible. Main use would be light duty, charging camera battery or running/charging laptop but want the ability to use a toaster, coffee percolator, or blow dryer for brief periods off of battery.

Just wanting to pick some brains on locations and wire gauges used.
You may want to go larger than a 1K inverter if you plan to run a toaster, coffee percolator, or hair dryer. A hair dryer on high may draw more than 1500 watts.

If you have a single 12V battery, you may want to switch to a pair of 12V or 6V deep cycle batteries. The pair of 12V will have less voltage drop than the pair of 6V, but the 6V will last longer.

I added a 1500 watt inverter to my previous trailer using 2/0 wire & a pair of 6V batteries. Worked fine for the toaster & drip coffee maker & a 600 watt microwave - I don't have a hair dryer. I did have a problem with the inverter shutting down due to low voltage during a microwave run in the morning after a night of running the furnace. Solved that in my current trailer - 3 Battleborn lithium batteries.
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:21 PM   #4
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Wife has to make-do with a smaller blow dryer. I have a small 4 cup travel percolator which can actually run on 12 volt or 110, fast perc and fairly low draw. I would love to use my 6 cup Faberware percolator, it makes good coffee and 6 cups is more than 4 cups :-)

Mostly the coffee and toaster is for rest area or Walmart use. I have a stove top version of a toaster and percolator but it is a lot slower if I'm trying to get on the road with a bagel and some coffee. The blow dryer however is essential to getting dear wife out of the boondocks and back to civilization. If one wants to have a happy wife that gets hauled to where the wild things are... one has to make accommodations.

Quote:
Four AWG battery cables should be used on power inverters rated up to 1500 watts and most commonly used on 900, 1000, 1100, 1200 watt inverters.
1/0 AWG battery cables should be used on power inverters rated up to 3500 watts and most commonly used on 2000, 2200, 2500, 3000, 3300 and 3500 watt inverters.
is that wire rating for the continuous or peak? I would think peak but thought it worth clarifying.

Will distance of the wire run impact the gauge needed much? I would guess less than 10 ft of wire from tongue to say under a seat or cabinet. I recall Fiat had real issues with battery in the trunk due to voltage drop leaving the Electronic Control Module at too low a voltage, in cold weather they wouldn't start. Testing showed something like 10 volts at the ECM until the battery cable was beefed up.

I would like to put a double battery holder on the tongue. Have seen a nice set up that included a small storage box as well as two battery boxes. Only thing I don't like about that is maintaining two batteries is more of a headache. Good thing about having two is not having the furnace cut out in the middle of the night due to low battery. wouldn't be so bad if wife cuddled with me, but we end up fighting over cuddling with the dog when it is cold. Side effect of sleeping with our heads at opposite ends for more clearance in the bed is it is less convenient to cuddle.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:27 PM   #5
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From what I have been reading on this site recently, it also matters what kind of battery you use, and how long you intend to run an inverter with a high load. If I understand it correctly, the standard starting battery is not designed for a large output for an extended time. So if you're planning on drawing 100 amps for longer than 5 min. You may want to invest in golf cart batteries, or LiFePo batteries.
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:15 PM   #6
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From what I have been reading on this site recently, it also matters what kind of battery you use, and how long you intend to run an inverter with a high load. If I understand it correctly, the standard starting battery is not designed for a large output for an extended time. So if you're planning on drawing 100 amps for longer than 5 min. You may want to invest in golf cart batteries, or LiFePo batteries.
By "standard starting battery" do you mean the dual use marine starting/deep cycle that are commonly sold as "deep cycle" for RV use or do you mean a real starting battery such as the tow vehicle uses?

I have had dual 6 volt batteries and I had horrid luck with having them fail individually, or getting some corrosion under the connecting cable that interferes with charging or...<insert weird failure here> They are superior in a lot of ways but it seemed every other season I was replacing one or the other. Pair of 12 volts might have a failure but I can switch to just using one rather than being forced to run out and buy another battery just to have 12 volts again.

If I get a two battery set up I'll have to take a look at how to upgrade the batteries. Haven't written off dual 6's but it is an uphill climb to get me going that direction.
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:24 PM   #7
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Starting battery

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By "standard starting battery" do you mean the dual use marine starting/deep cycle that are commonly sold as "deep cycle" for RV use or do you mean a real starting battery such as the tow vehicle uses?
To me "standard starting " means a car battery. Marine means nothing with out stating the type of marine battery.
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:24 PM   #8
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First off, I am no expert on batteries. I believe that the starting battery referred to is the standard car starting battery. Though it may also refer to starting/deep cycle batteries, but less so. I don't know. The idea is that unless the battery is designed for sustained high output, significant voltage drops may occur during long periods of high load.
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:23 PM   #9
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First off, I am no expert on batteries. I believe that the starting battery referred to is the standard car starting battery. Though it may also refer to starting/deep cycle batteries, but less so. I don't know. The idea is that unless the battery is designed for sustained high output, significant voltage drops may occur during long periods of high load.
Makes sense the deep cycle delivers slower and charges slower but can sustain that lower delivery rate for longer period. Starting battery is intended to deliver cranking amps all at once and over a short time frame.

I can recall when there was deep cycle and there were starting batteries. Marine was more about application than which of those two the battery was. Someplace in there the true deep cycles disappeared off the store shelves to be replaced by batteries for Marine/RV that had ratings for cranking amps but also connections for the lights and accessories of a boat or camper.

I think the reason they get labeled "Marine" is because the available cranking amps for automotive applications would be pretty low. Suitable for starting boat outboards with electric start and running the lights and electronic devices.

Golf cart batteries I think are true deep cycle, designed for sustained output and draw down to lower voltage than a non-deep cycle can tolerate without damage. Only thing I recall about deep cycle design was the plates don't go down as far so that sediment on the bottom can't short the plates. Don't recall if that sediment was a byproduct of deeper discharge or what. Just that it was one of the differences between cranking and deep cycle batteries.

I'm looking at running wire under the floor and putting the inverter under the side dinette seat. Can use the table for cooking and mirror is on door of bathroom so I would expect that to be a good spot for using a blow dryer. My wife keeps her hair fairly short so it would only take her a few minutes to dry and style. Coffee pot takes maybe 5 minutes +/- to make a pot. toaster is biggest draw but only for a couple of minutes. Charging camera batteries is a long small draw. I would suspect my max need would be 2 toaster cycles, and a pot of coffee. With only one running at a time.

I need to hit up my buds at the scrap yard to keep an eye out for some wire of sufficient gauge that is long enough. Too bad corporation bought the one yard, they always got a lot of heavy wire from industrial customers. Corporation won't sell scrap to public.
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Old 08-05-2021, 03:19 PM   #10
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..
I'm looking at running wire under the floor and putting the inverter under the side dinette seat. ..
I'm not clear on the plan but no matter. You should put the inverter is a safe place as close to the battery as possible. Then run 120 AC wiring or even 10-15 foot extension cords as needed from the inverter. The wiring to the battery will be thick. The 120 VAC wiring from the inverter will be easy to work with and have little loss for any length you will need in practice.
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Old 08-06-2021, 10:13 AM   #11
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You do NOT want to be using lead acid batteries of any kind with a 2kw inverter. Lifepo4 150ah. Or better. 2kw / 13v = 153 amps.

https://mortonsonthemove.com/best-rv...-test-results/
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Old 08-06-2021, 11:53 AM   #12
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I'm not clear on the plan but no matter. You should put the inverter is a safe place as close to the battery as possible. Then run 120 AC wiring or even 10-15 foot extension cords as needed from the inverter. The wiring to the battery will be thick. The 120 VAC wiring from the inverter will be easy to work with and have little loss for any length you will need in practice.
Good to consider that the output side tolerates longer cords better than the input side of the inverter.

Floor plan has a bathroom and closet across the front of the camper. With the battery on the front tongue the closet would be the only place an inverter could be mounted "as close to battery as possible" I suppose I could do something in that location.

Maybe run weather proof 3 wire with male plug going into inverter in closet. Run the wire under floor and come up to an outlet at kitchen. Essentially an outlet box on end of an extension cord plugged into inverter. Only nicely mounted

On old camper I also had an outlet outside under the floor that could be plugged into the inverter. If I was careful about draw I could plug the trailer into the inverter, as well as plug in items outside. Then an additional single outlet inside that could be plugged into shore power or inverter. This plug was the usual way to access the inverter.

I'll be looking into battery possibilities. I don't anticipate the inverter will get heavy usage. Primary use for myself is camera battery or laptop. The coffee pot, toaster, or blow dryer are not regular uses. More for the on-the-go occasional use case. I have in the past lamented not being able to make a pot of coffee on the go without firing up the stove so I put in an inverter able to do that. I used it 3 times on 2 long trips. Laptop has run a couple or three episodes of a show off the inverter as the max use for that device.

I liked having inverter when I used it but limited use does set the limit for how much I'll spend on battery for that amount of use. As soon as I take off tow vehicle charges battery. In a pinch I could even run tow vehicle for the time it takes to complete a task using the inverter. Blow drying, or breakfast is 10 - 20 minutes of load.

I have generally 50 amp hours available in 100 amp hour Group 27 battery when traveling since charges from tow vehicle. Any reason that won't cover these use cases?

I also bought an inverter with a remote on/off switch to avoid vampire draw when inverter not in use.
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Old 08-06-2021, 12:12 PM   #13
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I'd bet most anything you can find a 12 VDC charger for the laptop. How hard is to to make coffee on the stove? Buttered bread in a fry pan might not be toast but its tasty. Based in what I am hearing you will be going to a great deal of time, expense and hassle for very little benefit. Maybe try some alternatives before going the inverter route.. I find a 100 AH battery a reasonable size for use in my small camper but running an inverter much at all would make the battery insufficient for other things like the roof fan and furnace. 200 AH LiFePO4 would be different.. about two grand different when you add in the heavy wiring and new converter or charger.
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Old 08-06-2021, 03:03 PM   #14
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Let's be reasonable

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Based in what I am hearing you will be going to a great deal of time, expense and hassle for very little benefit. Maybe try some alternatives before going the inverter route.. I find a 100 AH battery a reasonable size for use in my small camper but running an inverter much at all would make the battery insufficient for other things like the roof fan and furnace. 200 AH LiFePO4 would be different.. about two grand different when you add in the heavy wiring and new converter or charger.

If you insist on a pair of Battle Born then yea, 2 grand. A single chin's LiFePo4 gives me a real 100ah for $450. I put one in and didn't even change my charger. It is drop in replacement for a lead acid. (Really) A 2kw inverter is waaaay overkill though, given the use case. 1K would match the 100ah LiFePo battery and provide a solid amount of AC. A small microwave would run.


A 2KW inverter would run, though not at 2KW.
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Old 08-06-2021, 03:25 PM   #15
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If you insist on a pair of Battle Born then yea, 2 grand. A single chin's LiFePo4 gives me a real 100ah for $450. I put one in and didn't even change my charger. It is drop in replacement for a lead acid. (Really) A 2kw inverter is waaaay overkill though, given the use case. 1K would match the 100ah LiFePo battery and provide a solid amount of AC. A small microwave would run.


A 2KW inverter would run, though not at 2KW. I got the impression the OP already had that. Maybe not.
My understanding is that the typical flooded cell deep cycle battery charger will not fully charge your LiFePO4, nor charge it as fast as a charger designed for the LiFePO4. That might or might not be a concern but its quite possible you end up with something under 100 AH.

Also I suspect the inverter is 2000 watt peak, 1000 continuous. Thats what is common. In that case its close to 8 amps of AC power which is hardly overkill for things like a coffee maker. Some measurements from stuff I got around the house:

Toaster oven 1540 watts
Induction stove top (setting/watts) 2 / 550, 4 / 1068, 6 / 1372 (and it has a two higher settings also)
Coffee maker: 900 watts

Even at under $500 for the 100 AH battery.. I'd still avoid the inverter is possible.. thats just me.
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Old 08-06-2021, 04:20 PM   #16
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My understanding is that the typical flooded cell deep cycle battery charger will not fully charge your LiFePO4, nor charge it as fast as a charger designed for the LiFePO4. That might or might not be a concern but its quite possible you end up with something under 100 AH.

...

Even at under $500 for the 100 AH battery.. I'd still avoid the inverter is possible.. thats just me.
My understanding is that a lead acid charger watches the amperage that the battery is accepting to decide when to switch modes. A lead acid battery accepts a lot of current initially but slows way down (current in) as it charges up. That signals the charger to switch modes.

A Lithium Iron battery doesn't do that. It will accept a ton of current clear up to the upper charge knee at which point it too slows way down, but very suddenly. This triggers the lead acid charger to switch modes as well but the battery is almost fully charged by then. The lead acid charger goes into a float mode which voltage is high enough to finish charging the lithium battery. This according to Youtube videos by Battle Born's president.

The charger will sit at 13.8 or so which is well above the LiFePo "charged" voltage, so it essentially feeds that final little bit of charge over time.

Or that is my interpretation of what happens. Yes, it never gets up to 14.65 but that doesn't matter. That final little bit of charge is literally a couple of amps (way up the charge knee) and in essence because the Lead Acid charger goes into "float mode" which is significantly higher than the 13.35v which is "fully charged" (after settling anyway) the lithium battery basically "finishes charging" even though it never actually hits 14.65v.

The Battle Born guy says that a gel charge curve is "just fine" and even a plain AGM curve works just fine.

Given that a Lithium Iron battery really delivers close to it's actual C rating (100ah in this case) whereas a lead acid struggles to deliver anything close to 50% ever under any circumstance, I personally don't worry too much about maaaaybe losing an amp or two at the very top end. In fact I'd rather it not charge that final couple of percent.

And finally, a lithium Iron battery doesn't even care if it ever gets fully charged, as opposed to the lead acid where it is slowly damaged over time if it is not fully charged every cycle.

That's just me, and what I have gathered from dozens of hours of Youtube videos on the subject.
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Old 08-06-2021, 05:55 PM   #17
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My understanding is that ...That's just me, and what I have gathered from dozens of hours of Youtube videos on the subject.
Well sir, it is apparent that you have done some research... I will consider what you said...

Since you mentioned the BattleBorn videos.. let me add this quote which is is also from their website... I underlined one sentence because almost all RV converters are WFCO or P.D...

In some cases, you might have to replace the current converter/charger that come stock in the application due to the output voltage of 13.6 V. Some very common WFCO and Progressive Dynamics converters will rarely get to their higher boost of 14.4 volts when a lithium battery is connected.

Although these converters will charge your Battle Born Batteries (very slowly), they may never get to a 100% state of charge and will not trigger the passive balancing effect that starts at over 14 volts.
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Old 08-06-2021, 11:51 PM   #18
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Passive balancing

That makes sense. How Passive balancing is done is determined by the battery manufacturer. Chins stresses that it is a 'drop in replacement' and you can use the lead acid charger. Battle born may very well be different in that regard.

Passive balancing requires a voltage well up the knee simply because the flat part of the charge curve doesn't provide enough voltage variation to determine that the cells are in fact balanced. 3.8v is half a Volt above the resting voltage and plenty to allow a determination that all the cells are balanced. Whether battle born will trigger balancing at that voltage is up to them.

I purchased my battery specifically because it is lower priced and the manufacturer tells me that I don't have replace the charger.

If money were no object I would go with battle born. They are a fantastic battery and they definitely know their stuff. They also use the round cells as opposed to the prismatic (square cells utilizing the battery pouches) which chins and most of the lower priced batteries use.
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Old 08-09-2021, 10:00 AM   #19
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The comment about only being 1000 watt continuous and the 2000 is peak would be correct.

I want my wife to go camping. She wants to leave the woods ready to face the world. If that means she needs 5 minutes with a blow dryer I guess that makes the inverter a necessity. The added expense of the inverter and additional work ... that is just how the cookie crumbles. This also defines the metric of success. If she can do her hair then it works. Coffee or toast is all bonus but since I'm doing the work for the blow dryer I might as well get that bonus.

I have a percolator for the stove top. Takes 45 minutes or more to make coffee so is best done outside unless one doesn't mind the heat from stove inside the camper. A french press or Melita pour through both can use boiling water so less time. French press is a little messy and low volume but can work. However if I have an inverter that can run my electric pot it can be useful for making a quick pot in the morning when trying to get underway.

I have a coleman stove toaster. A metal plate with holes having wire stands that prop 4 pieces of bread upright at an angle on a stove burner to make toast. It works pretty decent. As long as one watches it and turns the toast top to bottom and side to side as needed. But again if I have an inverter it would allow me to do my normal breakfast routine when traveling without being in a campground with power (expensive to pay for just to brew coffee and toast a bagel)

This is a debate that is ongoing in our packing. There is boondock gear and modern campground gear. Which items is it just as practical to only take the boondock gear to save space vs the convenience of the electric gear. Can use a fry pan anywhere. An electric skillet is however very convenient option when one has electricity. Hot plate vs single burner butane stove or coleman 2 burner. On propane bottles or liquid fuel. Longer trips may include both types of camping. So do I give up the electric convenience to save having to take those appliances?

I don't figure the inverter is ever going to be the answer that resolves this question in favor of all electric appliances. It does justify bringing the 2 slice toaster and small percolator if it can run those. Hot plate or electric skillet are too much draw to be practical or cost effective. Pair of $450 batteries seems like overkill too. Be like buying a generator to charge the phone.

Push comes to shove I can start the vehicle to make breakfast since that charges house battery. We are talking about 10 minutes of draw to make coffee and toast a bagel. Followed in most cases by driving which charges battery or solar panel deployment that charges battery.

Spending $450 on the battery to get more from the inverter is a non-starter. The requirement is about 5 minutes of 500 watt blow dryer. Maybe less time than that. It could be a 750 watt blow dryer but don't need more than that. To run that a few times a year isn't worth the cost of the "best" batteries.

I am going to look into a 12 volt power supply for laptop. Just for efficiency sake. Lot of loss going through inverter to run a 12 volt power brick of the laptop. I need to put some work into installing some 12 volt outlets too come to think of it. I think that power supply would extend run time or reduce load that solar has to compensate for.

The approach I think I will pursue is mounting inverter in front closet with out put running to outlet near table or kitchen counter. That keeps the heavy 12 volt line short. Since I also need to do shelves in that front closet it will need to be incorporated with that so that inverter has sufficient air for cooling and isn't in danger of getting banged around by stuff in closet.
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Old 08-09-2021, 11:02 AM   #20
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Another battery

I have to confess, I purchased an AmpereTime (Chins) 100ah battery as a placeholder, to get me through until... I quite intend to somehow add another 280-300ah battery. Maybe two of them. That said I do know how to build a battery and most likely will purchase parts from China.

My reasoning is simply that I intend to boondock or dry camp. I intend to have solar, nut it is difficult, or maybe impossible to get 600-800 watts of solar on the roof of my 19' Scamp. Even if I do, clouds happen.

So the objective is to have much more ah than I need on a daily basis to handle that time when I can't get a good charge.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
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