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Old 01-04-2015, 01:58 PM   #31
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I've attempted to attach a before and after photo of this project. The single interstate marine battery was replace with two Vmax 6v golf cart batteries. Because the new batteries are AGM (sealed), the vented battery box could be removed saving lots of space. The two new batteries fit with no trouble at all. I think there would even be room for four of these, but that would be another 130 lbs of weight.

So the finished mod is:
2 Vmax 6v GC batteries $500 total
1 Progressive Dynamics 55A converter $200
1 300 Watt pure sign wave inverter mounted under the dining table. $230
1 master cutoff switch $20

So about $1000 total and about 5 hours of effort to make the rig boondock ready. Solar would be nice, but we'll leave that for next year.

I can already tell the new charge converter a big improvement. It has a blinking green led that tells which stage of charge its in, plus an override button to force a stage....handy when the generator is connected.
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Old 01-04-2015, 04:22 PM   #32
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I just read through this thread and I would like to suggest moving spare tire.This may be possible with the 6501 as it was with our 6503. You would need to build a rack to hold tire, with the 6503 the tire fit perfectly in front of axle and behind fresh water tank. That would help in shifting weight to the front. Possibly another idea would be to change the construction of dinette seat a little to allow space for two batteries. These two things I did with the 6503 but I did it not to add two batteries, I just wanted more usable cargo space. I have read that AGM batteries still need to be vented. I replaced our battery with a AGM but I still have it in a vented battery box.
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Old 01-04-2015, 04:59 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I am in agreement that more battery power is needed....especially since you only get to USE half the amp hours that you buy. Instead of gettig 6V's (which I like for FOUR battery applications)...I'd suggest true 12V marine deep cycles in whichever size you can get in there...group 31 or 27 preferred to give you around 200 amp hours. (See DEKA/Penn Marine Master with DC in the model #!)

The REASON is that if you have a SINGLE 6V battery failure ...you have O power. With a 12V pair....all you need is one.
Next... you must understand that ALL wet cell batteries are going to be limited to taking BULK charge amps at about 20% of RATED capacity. Thus for a 200amp hour battery bank...any charger over 40 amps will not get you one minute faster charging. So...if you are "refilling a 200amp bank from 1/2 full....i.e. trying to put back 100 amp hours....you'll have about 2 hours of BULK charging to put in 80 amps and than roughly another 2 hours of absorbtion and float charging to get to 100%.
If you want to charge more quickly...you need to move to AGM's which can take AT LEAST 50% of their rated charge in bult mode,,,,which then means you could charge at 100amps on a 200 amp hour bank. You are still faced with a big slow down for the last 20% but you should be able to charge to 100% in about 2 hours.
Suggest that IOTA DLS chargers with SmartIQ feature provide excellent price and performance and are widely available. If you go with AGM's then their DLS90 would be a great choice.
I also prefer the Victron Battery monitor over the Trimetric....but they both perform the same essential functions and no boondocker should be without one or the other if they want to keep their batteries rather than kill them!

X2 on the Deka's and Victron. Trojan's are good to. One more note about charging, the most efficient way to charge while limiting the generator time etc. is to run the generator in bulk charge mode for an hour or so to get you to 80% and do this in the morning, and then let a solar panel put the last 10% or so during the sunny part of the day. The last 10% comes VERY slowly as the Amperage curve tapers off to very few amps at the cut off voltage and you end up running the generator for very little return.


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Old 01-04-2015, 11:41 PM   #34
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Agree garbonz...that is an excellent way to keep the batteries topped to 100%.
**********
@...jgallo...good choices for the upgrade. Now that you have AGM's....remember they are more sensitve to charging routine than wet cells and need to go all the way to 100% when you charge them for best life. They do not last as long if you don't spend the time to get them to 100%. This is likely not possible every time...but do it every chance you get. Never store them for a few weeks without first topping all the way up.
All best with your nice new system!
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:36 AM   #35
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a note about 12v power

Everyone should note that when dealing with 12v battery power that large gauge wire is needed. I have my 2 batteries connected together with 2/0 welding cable. The wiring going to my charger converter is 4 gauge and the converter is only 3 feet from the charger. My Coachmen TT had the charger about 30 feet from the battery and used 10 gauge wiring. Even when the batteries were depleted the charger was only able to push 13.8 volts to the batteries when in bulk mode (and needing 14.4 volts). 13.8 is not nearly enough to do the job unless you can charge for days.
The wire from the charger to the battery should be of adequate size. From the charger/converter to the rv circuits can be smaller wires as you find in typical rv wiring. There are voltage drop calculators available thru internet searches.
Much of the problem we campers have with batteries not lasting is that they aren't getting charged fully and then discharged too far and that will kill a battery in short order.
They won't keep a furnace running all night and they won't last more than a year or two before needing to be replaced.

So, you should keep/move your charger ,if at all possible, to as near the batteries as possible and use the correct wire. It's THAT important if you want to be successful with dry camping.
Voltage drop is why we use 120 volt power in our homes. 120v can travel long distances over relatively small wire and keep it's voltage. 12v drops very quickly over short distances.
If you ask your dealer about this stuff he will not be telling you what you need to know. Most don't really understand what's needed and they just default to what the factory did when your rv was built. Use the internet to find info, search engines will be your best friend when trying to upgrade your 12v systems. (google Handy Bob and read his stuff, you can learn a lot even if you're not going solar route. He knows what he's talking about believe me) I've had two very large boats and battery banks and now several rvs. I never could go very long on battery power until I read his stuff. Now I go days without charging if needed.
You'll see lots of people disagree with this but my setup is proof to me it is necessary.
Good luck and happy camping.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:03 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by aquaholic3 View Post
Everyone should note that when dealing with 12v battery power that large gauge wire is needed. I have my 2 batteries connected together with 2/0 welding cable. The wiring going to my charger converter is 4 gauge and the converter is only 3 feet from the charger. My Coachmen TT had the charger about 30 feet from the battery and used 10 gauge wiring. Even when the batteries were depleted the charger was only able to push 13.8 volts to the batteries when in bulk mode (and needing 14.4 volts). 13.8 is not nearly enough to do the job unless you can charge for days.
The wire from the charger to the battery should be of adequate size. From the charger/converter to the rv circuits can be smaller wires as you find in typical rv wiring. There are voltage drop calculators available thru internet searches.
Much of the problem we campers have with batteries not lasting is that they aren't getting charged fully and then discharged too far and that will kill a battery in short order.
They won't keep a furnace running all night and they won't last more than a year or two before needing to be replaced.

So, you should keep/move your charger ,if at all possible, to as near the batteries as possible and use the correct wire. It's THAT important if you want to be successful with dry camping.
Voltage drop is why we use 120 volt power in our homes. 120v can travel long distances over relatively small wire and keep it's voltage. 12v drops very quickly over short distances.
If you ask your dealer about this stuff he will not be telling you what you need to know. Most don't really understand what's needed and they just default to what the factory did when your rv was built. Use the internet to find info, search engines will be your best friend when trying to upgrade your 12v systems. (google Handy Bob and read his stuff, you can learn a lot even if you're not going solar route. He knows what he's talking about believe me) I've had two very large boats and battery banks and now several rvs. I never could go very long on battery power until I read his stuff. Now I go days without charging if needed.
You'll see lots of people disagree with this but my setup is proof to me it is necessary.
Good luck and happy camping.

Here is a good voltage drop chart. The rule of thumb is to limit voltage drop to 3% if possible, but 6% is probably not a problem for most of RV use. According to this you would have to have a REALLY lot of wire to drop the voltage from 14.4 to 13.8 so I am not sure what was happening there. Anyway, the size wire used stock in many RV's may be a bit undersized, especially if you are using a really big charger. Ironically, the closer you get to full charge, the less current you are pushing over that wire and the less impact it has on the voltage, so it really should not affect the final charge on the battery, just the amount of time it takes to get there.

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/am...uge-d_730.html


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Old 01-07-2015, 12:08 AM   #37
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Good link Garbonz...important for others to know to calculate TOTAL length of wire to and BACK from converter to batteries... So in your chart...a DISTANCE of 15 feet for a 50 amp charger results in a 30 foot toal length and a need for big ol' 2 gauge wire.

Quote:
Aquaholic 3 said...My Coachmen TT had the charger about 30 feet from the battery and used 10 gauge wiring. Even when the batteries were depleted the charger was only able to push 13.8 volts to the batteries when in bulk mode (and needing 14.4 volts). 13.8 is not nearly enough to do the job unless you can charge for days.
This is spot on....mfr.s don't consider larger banks or converters of boondocking needs as evidenced by this entirely inadequate wiring size. Good advice ...cause your charging system is only as good as the weakest link...and wire size is an often overlooked one.
FYI...on my boat I had to use 2/0....and you don't wannna try to wrestle that stuff under the floorboards!
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