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Old 09-08-2011, 07:17 PM   #1
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Minimal Battery/Electrical setup for a night or two...

Over the next 9 months we are planning a total of 5-7 nights without shore power (in National Parks). Outside of these two trips, I seriously doubt we'll spend anymore than a single night a year without power. I doubt we will spend more than 2 consecutive nights without electrical hook-ups.

I'm trying to determine what sort of minimal setup I can get away with that meets these requirements for my family of 5...
  • Assume 5p-9a power usage as I expect we will not be at the campsite during the day or during lunch.
  • Handle parasitic loads (detectors, radio standby [though I guess I could add a hard on/off switch])
  • Water pump usage (several flushes, brush teeth, wash hands, some drinking water and a small load of dishes)
  • Minimal camper lighting usage as I plan to purchase a few hockey-puck LEDs and/or LED lanterns to handle general lighting as that approach appears to be much cheaper than replacing the camper's lights with LEDs.
  • Possible furnace usage. <-- This is my biggest variable. I suspect it will be needed some, but I'm hopeful it won't be needed all night. "Put on a hat!"
  • What else am I forgetting?

Right now I have the stock battery/electrical setup on our new 2012 Roo 233S (single 12v battery, don't know type). And I plan to bring along our Honda EX700c genny primarily for recharging.

I realize there are quite a few variables, but what else do you think I'll need?

I'm thinking I'll need to add some more battery capacity (tell me if you think otherwise) and come-up with a charging strategy.
  • Would another 12v do? Should I hook it up or do the "swap-n-charge" game?
  • How long would you expect the genny will need to run to top off the batteries each morning?
  • I'm thinking I'd just connect the genny to the camper and let the camper's system do the charging. Unless you think a standalone charger (~$80?) and the "swap-n-charge" routine makes more sense.

Thanks for your suggestions...
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:22 PM   #2
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your ex700c is only 700 watts.
only 6 amps ...........
hmmmmmm
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
your ex700c is only 700 watts.
only 6 amps ...........
hmmmmmm
That generator should be plenty good to just charge the battery, with no other electrical load. A stand alone charger hooked directly to the battery will charge the batteries a little faster. But as a precaution, I unhook the battery from the camper if I use a stand alone charger. Where the built in converter charger has about 13.6 volts maximum, the stand alone charger may go over 14 volts, which may be too much from some of the camper electronics that might be online. For instance, even though the fridge is on gas, the circuit board runs on 12 volts, as well as the water heater, propane detector, etc.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
your ex700c is only 700 watts.
only 6 amps
That's what I have, so it'll have to make do.

It keeps my 17yo home refrig working during power failures. That's all I've ever really asked of it.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post
That generator should be plenty good to just charge the battery, with no other electrical load. A stand alone charger hooked directly to the battery will charge the batteries a little faster. But as a precaution, I unhook the battery from the camper if I use a stand alone charger.
Thanks. Any recommendations on a charger. The only one I have now is a ~$45 I bought from wal-mart a few years ago, I doubt it is one of fancy 3-step things (Here's the link). Will that do, or should I invest in something else?

Should I pick-up another battery and just swap them in/out? Or maybe put two 12v in parallel (seems like an inexpensive option)?
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BackInAction View Post
That's what I have, so I'll have to make do.

It keeps my 17yo home refrig working during power failures. That's all I've ever really asked of it.
Wasn't bashing what you have .... just was thinking ... It could be tough on one battery . someone on here will have a perfect or close to perfect solution to your concerns !

like previous poster I would use the gennie to charge battery only after being un hooked . I believe you should put a master switch on there and that would help .
If you have to run the heat it might be ok to get it real warm and then shut down .
the toilet we all ways turn the pump on to build pressure then shut it off and normally you can get 2 or 3 before water trickles .
battery operated lanterns are a good idea to conserve .
If heat is not required at night hit the master switch if you install one .

I dont know I am rambling . You'll get plenty of answers on here .
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:48 PM   #7
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I added a 2 battery bank on my recent camper as my last unit had only 1 battery and it would go dead by morning if the weather was cold and the furnace ran quite a bit during the night. I'm able to last about 3-4 days on this battery bank if furnace does not run much. (once or twice per night)I keep lighting to a minimum and do not use TV. Radio on for about 3 hours per day.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by f1100turbo View Post
You'll get plenty of answers on here .
That's what I've noticed. Plenty of friendly informative responses.

FWIW, I do plan to install a on/off switch on the battery if for no other reason than to keep it from discharging while in storage.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:52 PM   #9
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I added a 2 battery bank on my recent camper as my last unit had only 1 battery and it would go dead by morning if the weather was cold and the furnace ran quite a bit during the night. I'm able to last about 3-4 days on this battery bank if furnace does not run much.
Sounds promsing. I assume you just added an additional 12v battery in parallel with the original, correct? What do you charge it with? Or do you just wait 'till you get home and connect it to shore power?
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Old 09-08-2011, 08:00 PM   #10
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FYI I personally would not use the convertor to charge a dead or near dead battery .
I would use a small amp hour charger to slowly trickle it up if you have time.
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