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Old 11-11-2014, 09:52 PM   #1
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Boondock power upgrades

We did 8 weeks in NM and AZ last winter in our Vibe 6501. So many great places to check out, especially if you're willing to go without electric. The problem I had with our Vibe is that it doesn't seem to be boondock ready. This is my first rig but I imagine the story is a common one across many makes and models.

In short, if you're cool weather camping and boondocking you'll be drawing a lot of amps with the furnace fan. The factory supplied marine battery isn't really a true deep cycle battery with high amp hours that can get you through the night. The next day when running the yamaha generator, the factory supplied power converter (WFCO WF-8955PEC) never seems to kick into 'bulk mode charging'. So what should be a 2-3 hour charge will take 10 times as long. This is a known reported issue with that converter.

I'm sure many of you have different components and needs, but for me, I'm leaning towards:
1) Replacing the marine battery with a true deep cycle battery with at least 85 ah.
2) Replace converter with a true 3 stage converter that is 'plug and play'. Goes into same space and uses same connectors.
(I think I can do both the above for a total of $400)

On a bigger rig, the easy choice would be 6 golf cart batteries and a solar panel. But on these little Vibes, space and weight are at a premium.

Interested if others have had these issues and what you all have done to be 'boondock ready'.

Cheers
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Old 11-11-2014, 10:28 PM   #2
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I would go with 2- 6 volt batteries and a true 4 stage converter from Progressive #4600 and 70 amps. this will come with a charge wizard that you can control and put in bulk anytime you want and charge at 14.6 volts much less time charging It's a 4 stage charger not 3 and a direct replacement for the WFCO 55 amp now, you will never look back again. google that model and you will see why I said that.
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Old 11-11-2014, 10:39 PM   #3
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gljurczyk View Post
I would go with 2- 6 volt batteries and a true 4 stage converter from Progressive #4600 and 70 amps.
X2 That would be the optimal upgrade from what you described as your want's and needs. The only other addition you might consider is a decent battery monitor and shunt. The Trimetric is pretty much considered a "best option" in large or small applications. Not terribly spend... rock solid performance... and really invaluable information.

Remember when purchasing batteries and looking at amp hours that only 50% are effectively available ah's. aljurczyk's suggestion of 2- 6v'rs would bump up your capacity to a more practical range if you want too have a couple 2 or 3 days off shore power and still live comfortably.

That would give you up to 220ah (110 @50%) versus the 85ah (42.5@50%) you mentioned. So for a few dollars more you will more than double your capacity.

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Old 11-12-2014, 04:34 AM   #5
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What is a good digital battery monitor besides my $400 Fluke meter that I can mount perminutely inside.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:00 AM   #6
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What is a good digital battery monitor besides my $400 Fluke meter that I can mount perminutely inside.
Your Fluke is not the tool for the job. You need a monitor that counts coulombs.
LINK
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:07 AM   #7
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What is a good digital battery monitor besides my $400 Fluke meter that I can mount perminutely inside.
It depends on what do you want to monitor? Voltage or amps? They do have some good ones that will do both, just press the function that you want. I was either on Amazon or ebay yesterday and they had some on there that will do both for you, but you would also need to get one with a shunt. But still not break the bank buying one.Check out the link Ham-Bone just posted that is a good one for $159.00 bucks on sale.....
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ham_Bone View Post
Your Fluke is not the tool for the job. You need a monitor that counts coulombs.
LINK
X2 I know they have the newer 2030 unit out, but I would still stick with the 2025. There is such a thing as TMI. The only difference between the 2025 and 2025-rv is flush mount or case mount.

IMHO, about the best non-integrated monitor on the market regardless of price.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:20 AM   #9
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Bogart Engineering TM-2025A TriMetric Meter

$139.70 4 left
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:00 AM   #10
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You can not mount two batteries on the 6501, the battery is mounted on the inside under the bench seat. I have a group 31 battery about 110 AH. I use solar panels to recharge the batteries. The battery that is in your unit was probably from the dealership not FR. I picked up a BEP power monitor (used on boats more than RV) from a local surplus store. it monitors my battery voltage, current draw and capacity, it also monitors AC voltage and current.
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