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Old 05-20-2016, 09:07 AM   #1
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My battery & charging upgrades

We've always had problems lasting more than a few days and then charging the normal dealer installed Interstate Dual Purpose group 24 battery with the generator became a 2x/day chore until we went home. At home, it's plugged in 24/7 so it's always fully charged when we leave for the next trip.

I've been on a mission to upgrade my electrical system to extend our dry camping time. We camp in the woods a lot so solar wouldn't be the "best" option for us and we have a pair of Champion 2K invertor genny's with parallel kit to use as needed.

With this knowledge, I've changed over to a pair of 6v GC batt's (230AH total), so I've almost tripled my battery capacity. I've replaced the factory generic 55A WFCO charger with a 75A Powermax Boondocker (PM4B-75 MBA) and, almost as important, I replaced all of the crappy crimped on ring connectors that the factory put on with proper tinned battery lugs because 3 of the 4 that I've replaced so far I've been able to pull off the end of the wire with my pliers ... meaning they had a very poor connection for charging!

BTW: all lights are LED, we have no inverter (so no 120VAC things) and we try to be very conscious of the power we use.

What do y'all think?
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:30 AM   #2
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Your upgrades will work out just fine, that will be a huge improvement for boon docking.

Congrats and Happy Camp'n !
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:38 AM   #3
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Where in relation to your batteries is your new converter installed?
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:41 AM   #4
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I have done the very same things. One other item that you may consider, check your Fridge to make sure you don't the version with an always on heater. It was recommended to me to do an easy mod to allow that to be disconnected and save power
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:41 AM   #5
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The charger is a direct replacement for the WFCO unit so it's in the same spot as original which is roughly 12ft from the batt's. The rig came with 6 awg wire and that should serve me well ... for the time being ... I hope.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:44 AM   #6
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It's the 1st Norcold fridge I've had so I'm not 100% sure if it does or doesn't have the heater. But, I don't think it does because I haven't found a switch ... yet.

On edit: anyone know if the Norcold has a perm type heater???
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:49 AM   #7
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I believe its the Dometic fridges that have the heaters. (at least mine was)

The issue is that they didn't put a switch on it, hence the Mod
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:10 AM   #8
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I almost always dry camp. My portable solar panel has been my best investment so far. If it's not raining, there is always some sunlight close enough to move it to. I have only used the genny for the microwave and that's not very often either
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:45 PM   #9
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@John... I think you've made very good choices though 75 amps is overkill for your present setup which can accept a max of around 45 amps in bulk charge mode...but it will be good insurance if you find you need another bank to meet your needs.
The next upgrade should be a TRUE battery monitor like from Trimetric or Victron that will let you know where you stand on the battery charge and charging process AND help you understand your usage & loads. It will also pay for itself in extending your battery life & cycles. No rush...but anyone who boondocks a lot need one! About $150 for the excellent Victron. A bit more for the also excellent Trimetric.
https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...-series-EN.pdf
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
@John... I think you've made very good choices though 75 amps is overkill for your present setup which can accept a max of around 45 amps in bulk charge mode...but it will be good insurance if you find you need another bank to meet your needs.
The next upgrade should be a TRUE battery monitor like from Trimetric or Victron that will let you know where you stand on the battery charge and charging process AND help you understand your usage & loads. It will also pay for itself in extending your battery life & cycles. No rush...but anyone who boondocks a lot need one! About $150 for the excellent Victron. A bit more for the also excellent Trimetric.
https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...-series-EN.pdf
X2 on what Camaradierie said. You will be amazed at the information you can view and learn from with a monitor. We have been very pleased with our Trimetric.
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