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Old 02-19-2015, 11:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
I'm not sure why the arguments against the 2nd battery.

the smaller fridges have no DC draw when running on propane.

no solar panels to be tended in the wind

Remember, you don't need true deep-discharge batteries if you don't discharge below 60%, and only get that low once or twice a year.
I don't believe anyone was discouraging the OP from adding a second 12v. He was talking about moving from a 12v to T105 6v batteries. For 1 trip every couple of years, I was just saying that doesn't really justify the expense of moving to 6v batteries for the time being.

Even propane fridges require 12v for the control board, gas ignition, and fans (if so equipped).

There are no wind considerations for mounted solar panels. At least I have never heard of any properly mounted panels being ripped off in the wind.

With the batteries I think you might be talking about true deep cycle batteries? They will always be your best option for RV use. Other wet cells lack sufficient amp hour capacities and have sponge plates rather than thicker solid plates like you will find in a true deep cycle.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:10 PM   #12
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The reason I was considering batteries is that there is a place near me that is selling Deka golf cart batteries for about $79 and the Trojan T105 for $120. The prices include a $25 core trade in.
One thing to keep in mind is that "golf cart" batteries refer more to the size of the case... not necessarily the type of construction. Be careful to ensure that you are actually getting a true deep cycle battery. Any references on the battery to CCC, CA, or MCA will indicate that it is not a true deep cycle.

Those prices aren't too bad though. If you have a Sam's Club or Costo nearby you might compare their 6v's with those Deka's.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Yarome View Post
I don't believe anyone was discouraging the OP from adding a second 12v. He was talking about moving from a 12v to T105 6v batteries. For 1 trip every couple of years, I was just saying that doesn't really justify the expense of moving to 6v batteries for the time being.

Even propane fridges require 12v for the control board, gas ignition, and fans (if so equipped).

There are no wind considerations for mounted solar panels. At least I have never heard of any properly mounted panels being ripped off in the wind.

With the batteries I think you might be talking about true deep cycle batteries? They will always be your best option for RV use. Other wet cells lack sufficient amp hour capacities and have sponge plates rather than thicker solid plates like you will find in a true deep cycle.
Points I was trying to make:

- smaller fridges (my previous large pop-up and my current A-frame) do not use DC when on propane. They run continuously with the flame adjustment being done manually by a propane metering valve. No thermostat, no igniters, no fans once started.

- for once or twice a year, provided you don't deep discharge them (below 50-60%), marine/RV batteries will work just fine and cost a lot less than true deep-cycle.

- again, coming from the PUP/a-frame world, solar panels are seldom permanently mounted. Wind is an issue when setting them up. So are awnings in Colorado :-) Personally, I prefer solar over a genset, but there are drawbacks and certainly cost more than a second battery.

- totally agree with just adding a second 12V rather than converting to 6V. 6V cart batteries will last longer and have more capacity in the same space, but are an unnecessary expense for limited dry camping.

my thoughts and experiences, yours will differ
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:36 PM   #14
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I'm not so sure about being that much more expensive. If one wants to go to dual 12v, he/she should buy a matched set. (trying to keep the cost down by not getting an a/b/both switch) So, one would have to spend about $160 (2x$80) for a generic deep cycle battery and then only have around 160-200 amp hours.

If the OP can get T105's for about $120 each then it would cost about $240. He/ she would also have about 220 amp hrs, better built battery that should last longer and not weigh much more than a pair of 12v batteries. To me, that's cost effective.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:38 PM   #15
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I would add a second Group-24 battery, and call it good. Here's why:

First, I'm assuming your tow vehicle can handle an extra 60 pounds tongue weight. If not, I guess you're stuck going with a generator. ...but assuming you can handle the weight, don't let it be a factor in your decision. Additional tongue weight won't hamper stability unless it results in the vehicle's max tongue weight being exceeded.

Now for the why:

You can add a second Group-24 without replacing your existing one. Assuming the existing battery is in reasonably good condition (it can accept a full charge), wiring them in parallel will work great even if the capacities are slightly different. Chemistry must be the same though; if you have a flooded lead acid battery, get a second one.

If your existing battery gets you two to three nights, dropping to 50% charge, then two will get you 4 to 6 nights from 100% to 50% charge. For very occasional use, it's probably not a big deal if you find yourself dropping a little past 50% charge too. Just don't do that regularly.

Adding a second battery box ($12), beefy battery cables for parallel wiring ($35), and a second Interstate 12v deep cycle battery (<$100), you're looking at a $147 upgrade.

Buying a decent inverter/generator will set you back many hundreds, by contrast. And solar will set you back at least $200, while not providing any guarantee that it will be adequate to the need, due to the unpredictability of weather, and overhead shading.

In my situation, I camp without electric hookups about 60% of the time. For my needs, I have dual Group-24 12v batteries and a cheap 1000w generator. I intend to add a 100w solar system this year. I can get 4-5 nights out of two batteries without dropping below 50% charge. Solar would extend that to somewhere between double, and indefinitely, depending on the weather and shading. My generator is pretty low on the list of things I want to be running while I'm camping (it's noisy), but it's there if I need it (which I seldom do).

In summary: For 4-6 nights, if you're careful with your consumption, dual 12v Group 24 batteries will probably be adequate.
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Old 02-19-2015, 01:23 PM   #16
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To be clear, my argument is against any 2nd battery - wether two 12 volt or two 6 volt.
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Old 02-19-2015, 02:57 PM   #17
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Thanks,

All good advice! I could get 3-4 days with my popup with a Group 24 battery. I have not dry camped with the Roo yet but based on calcs I have done and input from the site the battery demand is much higher for the Roo. The biggest draws being the frig and water pump (not counting the furnace). Certainly connecting to the TV has appeal as being the lowest cost. The generator would be a fun new toy and would be good long term but is also the most expensive! My current battery in going into it's third year and I think it is still in pretty good.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:07 PM   #18
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I am not convinced that connecting the house battery to the TV battery and idling the TV for 30-60 minutes will recharge a battery that has been depleted to 50%.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:07 PM   #19
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If your fridge runs on 12v, forget it! The battery would only last a few hours. If it runs on propane, then the current draw (possibly to hold open a solenoid, or to run an exhaust fan) would be minimal.

The water pump may have a high amperage, but its run-time should be brief; enough to pressurize the line, and then periodically as water is used, to maintain the pressure. The total impact on battery capacity should be minimal. Water heaters often have a solenoid to control the gas flow, but again this cycles on only on demand.

For most, the furnace, and devices like a television are the biggest consumers of power. My 20kbtu furnace consumes 2.7A while it runs. But a larger furnace will consume much more; possibly up to 8A. Battery conservation becomes a matter of minimizing heat loss. In a Roo, you could achieve a better degree of heat retention by using Popup Gizmos over the bunks, and possibly Reflectix in the bunk windows.

Televisions and computers are draws that consume a medium amount of power, but over a long period of time. That adds up much faster than a high load running for very brief periods.

Anyway, if you can get two nights out of one G24 battery, then you could get 4-5 nights out of two of them.

The generator would be a fun gadget, but there's the issue of noise, fuel consumption, etc.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:23 PM   #20
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I am not convinced that connecting the house battery to the TV battery and idling the TV for 30-60 minutes will recharge a battery that has been depleted to 50%.
It won't. The key is that lead-acid batteries accept the fastest charge when they are below 85% state of charge. So after 2 days you'll likely be down to around 50% SOC (which is the lowest you usually want to go), then after an hour on the TV it will be back up to 85%. By day 4 you'll be down to 40% SOC and after an hour it will bounce up to 80%.

At the 7 day mark (which the OP won't get to) a lead acid battery should be brought back up to 100% either with a long inverter-genset run or even better via solar or a utility hookup. This is to prevent sulphation.

The goal isn't to get it back up to 100% every day when you are off the grid.
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