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Old 04-22-2013, 09:17 PM   #1
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Question Help - Basic Battery Question

Hi -

My girlfriend has a Rockwood 1640 (~3-4 years old) that we normally plug in when camping. However, we'll soon be taking a cros-Canada trip where we'll need to use a battery. The camper doesn't currently have one and she's tasked me with doing the research ...

I've looked all over the Internet and these forums for help on WHAT battery to get and I've only succeeded in getting more and more confused. I'm hoping that you guys can help shed some light!

1) Without any modifcation, what battery specs do I need to get to fit this camper?

2) what tips/tricks can you share that would make this install better? eg., 2 batteries vs 1 ... shut-off switches ... ???

3) any 'watch out for ...' advice is GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Ray
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:23 PM   #2
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Ummmm no battery?

In most places its illegal to run without a battery as it turns on your emergency break away switch.

Its also somewhat hard on the converter


How long are you going to camp with no power?

Will you have a gennie to charge now and again?

What year Rockwood?


Turbs
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:33 PM   #3
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Hi turbo -

I haven't verified that there isn't a battery at all (I'm in the US, she's in CA); she did tell me that she had the option (at purchase) to either have a 'furnace' installed OR a battery system and that she chose the furnace.

We'll be camping a total of 5 nights over 3 different sites (Toronto to Halifax), with power at 2 of the sites ... no power for 2 nights? Recharging on the road will come from plugging in where possible ... at home, we'll need a charger. We don't use alot other than a couple of 'house lights'; no chargers, or A/C or anything like that. The fridge is able to run off of propane ...

It's a Rockwood 1640 ... I think she told me it's about 3-4years old, but could be a year or so newer.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:40 PM   #4
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To start you will definitely want to purchase a Deep Cycle marine or RV battery (available at any Canadian Tire Store, Walmart, etc) You will need to get a schematic of the electrical system from Rockwood and preferable one that shows how Rockwood would install the battery as if it is an option from factory...then simply copy what they would normally have done.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:46 PM   #5
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How do I know what type of battery to get? I know deep-cycle ... but U27 or U31? other specs to bear in mind? I checked the online version of the Owner's Manual, but didn't see much in there about the battery specs ...
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:49 PM   #6
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Your propane refrigerator requires 12v dc for the controls to work, without a battery as soon as you unplug from ac service it is dead.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:50 PM   #7
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Welcome aboard! Very exciting trip you've got planned.

My responses are in blue below... I, and others, can help more once we pin down some of your questions just a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CAlover View Post
Hi -

My girlfriend has a Rockwood 1640 (~3-4 years old) that we normally plug in when camping. However, we'll soon be taking a cros-Canada trip where we'll need to use a battery. The camper doesn't currently have one and she's tasked me with doing the research ...

I've looked all over the Internet and these forums for help on WHAT battery to get and I've only succeeded in getting more and more confused. I'm hoping that you guys can help shed some light!

1) Without any modifcation, what battery specs do I need to get to fit this camper? Your trailer can fit at least one Group 24 battery (small 12-volt). The battery tray might allow two batteries. You can measure the trays dimensions and battery specs are easily found on line.

2) what tips/tricks can you share that would make this install better? eg., 2 batteries vs 1 ... shut-off switches ... ??? Lots of questions.

It's all about energy use and how fast you can recharge the battery. You need to do an energy audit to understand how much capacity you need while dry camping (camping without electrical hookups). Barring a proper audit, my advice is to get the biggest battery(s) you can fit and afford.

As for charging, do you intend to try and charge through the truck's alternator while driving between sites? Are you bringing a generator?

A disconnect is useful to maintain the battery when its not in use. It's a cheap and easy modification.


3) any 'watch out for ...' advice is GREATLY appreciated! Buy Harold Barre's book, Managing 12 Volts, and amaze your GF with your mastery of everything DC. Seriously, though, its a really good reference book and makes this all a bit easier to understand when you need it on the road. Things can and will go wrong at the worst times, so it helps to be prepared. Also, buy a multimeter and spare fuses, which are always good to have.

Thanks in advance,
Ray
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:50 PM   #8
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U31 is a bigger battery with more "juice"...otherwise identical to the U27. Try this site for the drawings...if it doesn't work I found these by googling "Rockwood 1640 electrical drawings"

Download Provider — rockwood_popup_camper_wire_diagram.rar
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:55 PM   #9
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IMO, I would go for a Group 27 Deep Cycle Marine/RV Battery (Interstate, Sears, Auto Zone) which gives you about 20 hours at 5 amps before charging. Also install a simple disconnect switch available at Auto Zone or Harbor Freight. Be sure to check your wiring in the camper since the ground cable may not be black...
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:59 PM   #10
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Thanks to all for quick responses and useful info ... time to dig deeper!
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