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rep1158 01-14-2017 02:40 PM

my camper never had a battery
Its a 1986 play mor II. I see no wiring for a battery. should I get a battery and the wiring or leave it as is? Newbie here. any suggestions will help.

Jon in AZ 01-14-2017 03:19 PM

What do you believe you need the battery for?
What is your camping "style" (how, where, and for how long)?
How often do you plan to camp without an electric connection?

For us, the 12V battery system is the only mechanical system on the trailer we use every trip, every day. We use the battery for lights, to charge electronics, and (occasionally) to power the furnace blower. We take short trips, usually 5 days or less, and in over 50 days' camping, we have never plugged in. Even when electric sites are available, primitive sites are usually nicer (and cheaper). At some point I'd like to add a small solar panel to keep the battery charged on our longer outings, but so far, we've always gotten by with our small group 24 battery. Our electric needs are fairly minimal, and I like being able to meet them without an umbilical cord.

But everyone is different.

rep1158 01-14-2017 04:03 PM

Uses of my small brown egg
I just took a trip from my home in Spring Hill, Fl to OKC and Texas. 3 weeks. Stayed in state parks the most. I'm hooked to shore power and city water of course.I want to boondock soon. I have the mr. buddy heater, the small one, made a portable shower, have propane for cooking inside and out, and getting a generator(inverter type 3100w champion ) for a/c microwave.
i have a thetford marine head, and a 10 gallon fresh water tank and extra 6 gallon jugs.
Do I need a battery? I have puck lights all over the place for light.
My camper is 13' long looks like yours.
thanks for your input!

Bobbie Mayer 01-14-2017 04:15 PM

My Campster was wired for one but came without one (or an obvious place to attach it) and since only the lights ran off 12V I didn't see the point- nowadays an LED lantern works just as well.

Jon in AZ 01-14-2017 04:24 PM

It doesn't sound like it to me, either, though I'm not sure what the puck lights run on. Your two high power appliances require 120V power. A small microwave can run off a good-sized battery via an inverter, but the AC can't, so you're stuck with the generator. You can cook, refrigerate, and stay warm without the battery (follow all safety warnings carefully with that Little Buddy heater, especially as regards ventilation). If needed, you can also charge electronics while the generator is running, though it's probably not too efficient to run it only for that.

Try boondocking with what you have to start. If you find yourself frequently thinking, "I sure wish I had a battery right now," then you'll know.

Jack L 01-14-2017 05:16 PM

The only reason you would NEED a battery is if your trailer has brakes and a break away switch. After that, it's a question of what accessories you want in your trailer. If you are OK with a hand water pump, no 12 volt lights, radio etc. you would not need a battery.

rep1158 01-14-2017 11:57 PM

Thanks everyone for your ideas and suggestions. I think I will leave the camper as is and not get a battery. The puck lights are just battery"AA" operated lights I stuck on the walls. It provides enough light.
It just seems weird everyone has a battery for the RV but me lol. I guess thats ok though. The camper is 1000 pounds fully loaded GVWR, no electric brakes on the camper were ever installed.
Thinking and living the small rv life

Gerry 01-15-2017 06:10 AM

I've played the whole camping gambit.
From hiking the AT with just a 45 LB back-pack for weeks at a time to living as a work camper in my 32' Holiday Rambler and everything in between.
But the addition of a Battery is such an easy thing to do I think I would do it.
Better to have it and not need (use) it then Want it and not have it.
Mr Buddy will put CO in your camper and you may wake up dead:

Jon in AZ 01-15-2017 06:20 AM

Rick, another forum member says often, "You can't miss what you've never had." I think that applies in this situation.

My trailer came with a working 12V battery system, and we just got used to using it. It's nice to switch on a light, plug in my phone, or flip on the furnace on a cold morning. But if it didn't have it, I'm sure I'd have found other ways to do what needed to be done.

Time and experience will determine what you really need. In the meantime, enjoy what you have!

I don't know how you got that 1000 pounds, but know that 13'ers of the Boler-Scamp type typically weigh more like 1300-1800 pounds loaded for camping. It wouldn't be a bad idea to load yours up and take it to a CAT scale (certified auto and truck scale, often at truck stops, recycling/waste stations, grain & feed stores, sand & gravel lots). If you do, try to get the axle weight as well as total weight (difference being the tongue weight) and post the data in our Trailer Weights in the Real World database. Yours would be the first Play-Mor in the database!

Jon in AZ 01-15-2017 06:26 AM


Originally Posted by Gerry (Post 623435)
...Mr Buddy will put CO in your camper and you may wake up dead:

Not if it's working properly and used according to the instructions. Chemical catalysts in the heating element eliminate the CO. It is rated for indoor use.

It can also deplete the O2 in the cabin if adequate ventilation is not maintained. I believe it has a low O2 sensor that shuts it down if that happens.

But any piece of equipment can malfunction, and users make mistakes, so it would be a smart move to install smoke and CO detectors. An LP detector would be good, too, but it has to be hard wired to a 12V system… :hmm

Raz 01-15-2017 07:01 AM

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I could live with a hand pump for water and AA, C, or D cell battery operated lights. But I would not want to be without my fan. And while my O2 cool fan was designed to run on D cells, they don't last long. Buying 8 D batteries per day will quickly exceed the cost of a simple 12 volt system.

flaco 01-15-2017 12:37 PM

semi batteryless
I have not had a battery on my Coleman popup for years. My electricity I use for the camper and its brakes comes from the tow vehicle battery. Connection to the camper is via an extension cord with 7 way male and female round plugs on the ends. Just turn the van on for extended use to help maintain the battery charge. It is a very quiet generator that doesn't annoy the neighbors. You could probably make a similar hookup if you have a 4 way flat plug setup. It is basic but that sounds like what you are looking for. Wonder if this will work on the new Parkliner I plan to get soon? I will have to ask them.

Mike_L 01-15-2017 01:13 PM

My first TT didn't have a battery either. The gravity furnace, fridge, stove and interior light all ran on propane. It had a hand pump for water. Very convenient and economical. I wired it and put in a number of LED lights and used a deep cycle battery. I put a solar panel on the roof. We boondocked for months at a time and never needed to charge the battery. It wasn't a major undertaking and worked well.

Borden 01-15-2017 01:39 PM

Battery required for the breakaway switch; but we have water pump, lights, furnace, hot water tank, and more in our 78 boler that use the battery. We purchased a deep cycle battery but later learn about fume free type with better capacity so upgrade was done the better one cost triple the price of the regular deep cycle.

rep1158 01-15-2017 03:22 PM

Thanks again for all the input.
Gerry:You say its easy to wire up a battery. I would not know how. Any suggestions to do that? I'm pretty sure waking up dead is not a good thing :)I have read those Mr. Buddy's are safe. You hear otherwise?
Jon: I have that weight information but I'm visiting my kids up in PA. When I get to FL ill share the weight stuff. and pictures of the camper. It's easy to lift the tongue up and move the camper around:)
Raz: I have that hand pump for water. Can I hook up that fan you have pictured on a small 12V battery?
Flaco: Are you saying if i keep the trailer wires hooked up at the site I can get lights and plugs to work in the camper?
Mike L: My stove runs good on propane, but dometic fridge runs good on electrcic but could not get it going for propane. Furnace plumbing was sealed off when I bought the camper.
Borden: I talked to the lady at Play Mor( yes their still in business, but I dont think they make fiberglass units anymore)she saif trailer was too light for brakes and the battery was an option. I dont have the electrical skills to put one in.

Mike_L 01-15-2017 07:00 PM

Ric, Dometic fridges come in various models. I had one that ran on propane when boondocking, 12 volt when towing and 120 volt when plugged in to shore power. My current unit doesn't have the 12 volt option. I bought my current unit new. One year later it quit working on propane. They currently use CHEAP chinese motherboards that delaminate. I bought a "made in the USA" replacement motherboard and now it works great. If it works on electric and not propane it's likely the motherboard.

Glenn Baglo 01-15-2017 07:14 PM

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Or maybe the problem is the propane comes from Alberta?
Stuff is made all over the world these days. My Dometic fridge was made in Sweden and the parts came from who knows where. Bad parts can be made anywhere.

rep1158 01-15-2017 07:37 PM

Thanks to everyone this is a helpful site:)
Mike L: The guy i bought the camper said he just replaced the fridge. It works good. They never used the propane. The pipes could be blocked. Gotta check on that. No battery for third option, of course.
Glenn: Thats another thing. The previous owner did not use propane either. I had to clear the pipes and clean them out and put in a new bottle. The camper has a bracket for a battery but no wiring for it.

Mike_L 01-15-2017 09:36 PM

Rick, when the previous owner replaced the fridge did he even hook up the propane? When he said it worked, did he say electric and propane or just electric? Was the replacement new or used? Cheers!

Gerry 01-16-2017 04:47 AM

Rick, you fail to mention if you have a converter in the trailer and tell us if the trailer ever did have Battery power.
You do mention that there was battery trays so I can assume it may have all the wiring and Lights still in camper.?.
If rear of converter is a terminal for the battery hook up.
Just run a wire from Battery with an in-line fuse to this and voila. Excuse my french.

Raz 01-16-2017 04:56 AM


Can I hook up that fan you have pictured on a small 12V battery?
The reason we use a lead acid battery on our trailers is because it provides a large capacity, that is , lots of energy in a small package. So while you can use any battery to run the fan, they probably won't last long. And the lead acid battery is typically outside the trailer for safety reasons.

Mike_L 01-16-2017 12:28 PM

If you use a lead acid battery, it should be outside the trailer as the hydrogen gas it produces is explosive.

Glenn Baglo 01-16-2017 12:54 PM


Originally Posted by Mike_L (Post 623663)
If you use a lead acid battery, it should be outside the trailer as the hydrogen gas it produces is explosive.

Or it should be in a sealed battery box with a vent to the outside.

rep1158 01-16-2017 02:25 PM

Gerry: Yes there is a converter area under the dinette cushion. I will definitely check out that location in back of the converter. Unfortunately im at my dads house in Pennsylvania for a few more weeks. When I get back down to Florida ill post pictures and check all these recommendations out. This is a beyond helpful site THANK YOU ALL. I missed the French LOL
What type of battery is recommended for my application?

Raz: So if I can hook up a battery it should be outside? That makes sense since there a battery bracket near thew tongue.

Mike L. The previous owner only used it some weekends with his fiancee and small child. Im not even sure if the propane to fridge is hooked up. I'll check when I get back home. Just the electric worked. He said it was new and it looks new.

rep1158 01-16-2017 02:28 PM

Play Mor II 1400 series, inside layout is very similar to the 13' Scamp from what I have seen. The floor of the play mor is fiberglass and it has a straight door.

Gerry 01-16-2017 02:45 PM

What type of battery is recommended for my application?

Rick, you'll get as many answers tot his question as there are people here.
If I had the $$$ I would go with 2-6volt deep cell batteries but as $$$ is an issue with us I am fortunate enough to be shop a dealer who sells reconditioned deep cell batteries for $45 and gaurantees them for a year.
A 12 volt group 27 or this last one I got there was a group 31 will give your years of service if you do not let them discharge too low.
If you buy new be prepaired to pay $100 +

rep1158 01-16-2017 04:29 PM

Gerry: I have a deep cycle marine battery for my boat. But I have to look up all that battery jargon stuff. Thanks !!!!

Mike_L 01-16-2017 08:27 PM

All the best with that Rick. It may be as easy as hooking up the propane line.
If you are getting a battery, get the RV deep cycle one. They last longer than the marine units.

rep1158 01-16-2017 10:34 PM

OK thanks Mike L. and everyone !

neparker 01-17-2017 04:09 PM

You may find that a portable power source (Battery+inverter+USB+cigarette lighter) will meet any miscellaneous power needs you may encounter. They come in many configurations. We've found ours to be useful for powering our O2 fan, recharging cell phones, playing music, pumping up the inflatable, etc. when off the grid. Although we have house batteries, we generally use this first and save the house batteries for pump and other things that are 12v hard wired.

rep1158 01-19-2017 12:00 AM

Neparker: I will check into this alternate power source. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll google that see what I come up with

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