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 > Back up batteries for boon docking

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Mik68

Perth, Western Australia

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Posted: 11/30/13 07:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Haven't purchased FW yet but more than likely be a 35 footer with the standard stuff. We are not air con people ( love the heat) so certainly wouldn't be running a/c while boon docking. Very new to all this so bare with me. Is there a general rule of thumb ie 1 battery would last 24 hours? So if I wanted to boon dock for at most 3 nights, would 3 battery's cover it? And these would all get fully charged in how many hours of driving? Again, is there a rule of thumb for charging time? Or is a generator a must have?
Thanks Mik

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Plan on adding a modest solar system. That way every trip will start with the battery bank brimming full.


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 2500 MSW watt inverter.

Roads Less Traveled

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The limitation for batteries on a fifth wheel is usually the size of the battery box. And generally, if you can fit four 6 volt golf cart style batteries in your battery box you are doing well.

Whether those batteries could last you 1 night or 3 nights while being charged only by driving during the day really depends on how much electricity you use.

If you are conservative -- not too much computer use, not too much TV or stereo, not too many lights for too many hours at night -- you're batteries will stay charged longer.

A generator doesn't require any installation, but can be a pain to drag out, plug in and keep full of gas.

Solar power can be a reasonable alternative. It requires installation at the outset, but once it is installed, you never have to think about it again (or feed it any gas). And it's quiet, it works all day while you're out doing other things, and it doesn't need any maintenance.

If you are interested in learning about solar power, you might start with some info we put together after doing three installations (two RVs and a boat) that we lived with full-time…

RV Solar Power Tutorial


2007 Hitchhiker II 34.5 RLTG Fifth Wheel
2007 Dodge RAM 3500 Long Bed / Single Rear Wheel
Traveling full-time in an RV and sailboat since 2007
Our full-time blog: http://roadslesstraveled.us
-Stories, photos, and lots of RVing tips!!


Mik68

Perth, Western Australia

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Hi,

Plan on adding a modest solar system. That way every trip will start with the battery bank brimming full.

I didn't wanna go down the solar route until I got it back to Oz. Wouldn't the batteries be 'brimming full' from a descent amount of driving most days?

Mik68

Perth, Western Australia

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Roads Less Traveled wrote:

The limitation for batteries on a fifth wheel is usually the size of the battery box. And generally, if you can fit four 6 volt golf cart style batteries in your battery box you are doing well.

Whether those batteries could last you 1 night or 3 nights while being charged only by driving during the day really depends on how much electricity you use.

If you are conservative -- not too much computer use, not too much TV or stereo, not too many lights for too many hours at night -- you're batteries will stay charged longer.

A generator doesn't require any installation, but can be a pain to drag out, plug in and keep full of gas.

Solar power can be a reasonable alternative. It requires installation at the outset, but once it is installed, you never have to think about it again (or feed it any gas). And it's quiet, it works all day while you're out doing other things, and it doesn't need any maintenance.

If you are interested in learning about solar power, you might start with some info we put together after doing three installations (two RVs and a boat) that we lived with full-time…

RV Solar Power Tutorial

Interesting! If solar is the way to go then maybe I should consider it. I will also wait to see if anyone can answer my OP. You mention 6v golf cart style batteries. I thought they would be 12v car batteries?

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One battery with minimal loads will last a day or two. Two six volt batteries in series should last 4-5 days.
Minimal loads I consider as refer, lights and some TV. Does not include furnace running for 6-8 hours.


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Mik68

Perth, Western Australia

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

enblethen wrote:

One battery with minimal loads will last a day or two. Two six volt batteries in series should last 4-5 days.
Minimal loads I consider as refer, lights and some TV. Does not include furnace running for 6-8 hours.

Awesome, thanks! Not 12v batteries? Definitely only 6v? And the vehicle will charge these batteries? I told you I was inexperienced about all this.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Mik68,

The charging path is generally too long and so there is lots of voltage drop which leads directly to almost no charging while traveling.

Solar is about $2 per watt for materials.

Mik68 wrote:


I didn't wanna go down the solar route until I got it back to Oz. Wouldn't the batteries be 'brimming full' from a descent amount of driving most days?


smkettner

Southern California

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mik68 wrote:

pianotuna wrote:

Hi,

Plan on adding a modest solar system. That way every trip will start with the battery bank brimming full.

I didn't wanna go down the solar route until I got it back to Oz. Wouldn't the batteries be 'brimming full' from a descent amount of driving most days?
No, it could take 24 to 48 hours of driving to fully charge three low batteries due to the long thin wire from alternator to batteries on any trailer.

Depending on the converter (that does the actual charging) it could take just as long with a generator. You need to get 14.4+ volts on the battery if you expect 95% charged in four hours. Many converters will just slow charge at 13.6 volts. WFCO "3 stage" converter is notorious for this.

Since this is temporary I would buy a Honda 2000 generator and get on the road. If the converter proves to be a slow charge you can buy a portable 40 amp charger from an autoparts store. Honda is an easy resell at the end of the trip.

Get in the rig and post these questions. It might be set up just fine.

Solar will be fairly expensive fully installed with enough power to do what you expect. Could kill a week or two to get it all scheduled, fitted and finished.

Honda 2000 msrp $1,150 http://powerequipment.honda.com/generators
Can be had for less by mail order from places like wisesales.com/Honda

Solar will have very little residual value. Honda 2000 will easily sell for 75%+ of what you pay. So the real cost of a Honda will be about $300 + fuel.

* This post was last edited 12/01/13 02:42pm by smkettner *   View edit history


2001 F150 SuperCrew
2006 Keystone Springdale 249FWBHLS
675 watts solar
Send a PM if I missed something

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/30/13 08:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

12 volt or 6 volt is always an issue. It depends on your needs and wishes. For my desires 12 volt is a better fit.

Do an energy audit.

Here is a link to the rather special spreadsheet that N8GS has created to help size solar battery charging systems!
Solar Spread Sheet N8GS

For a nice explanation of solar, try this link: Golden rules of solar

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