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Old 05-18-2017, 08:58 PM   #1
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6 batteries in Cardinal series

Can anyone describe how to install additional batteries in a Cardinal series? Photos would be helpful if you have them. The factory compartment holds two 12v batteries. And that isn't enough to stay above 50% with a Fridgidaire Gallery residential refrigerator running for 12 hours while boonedocking.

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Kristopher
2016 Cardinal 3850RL
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:34 PM   #2
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do you have a generator installed? if not that would be the obvious place. I don't know your floorplan. but on our cardinal there is a closet area that was designed for washer / dryer prep, which we don't have. it might be possible to build some battery boxes on the floor of that area. but then you have to figure out venting and how to run adequate sized battery cables. I also ran down the batteries when trying to run the refrigerator overnight.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:40 PM   #3
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the generator box has a Onan 5.5k LP.
I like your idea of using the Wash/Dryer space. AGM batteries don't emit gas and therefore don't require venting (from the articles I've read). But the wiring would be the challenge there, as you noted.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:35 PM   #4
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Based on a lot of testing that I have done, 2 good 12 volt deep cycle batteries should make it 12 hours with the Frigidaire Gallery that you have, which is the same as in my 2015 335DS. My 335 has 4 12 volt deep batteries, however, I can go about 24 hours. Now, if you are using anything else significant, like say your furnace, you will come up short. The reefer uses an average of 8 to 8.5 amps at 12 volts, so 12 hours would require around 100 AH.

You do need to up it to 4 batteries.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSLCouple View Post
Can anyone describe how to install additional batteries in a Cardinal series? Photos would be helpful if you have them. The factory compartment holds two 12v batteries. And that isn't enough to stay above 50% with a Fridgidaire Gallery residential refrigerator running for 12 hours while boonedocking.

Thanks,
Kristopher
2016 Cardinal 3850RL
Kristopher,

if it were me, I'd:
  • measure the surface area where the batteries are today, and if room, remove the 2 factory battery trays, and reinforce the area with some additional sheet metal/wood.
  • remove the 2 vent umbilical's
  • if it fits, I'd slide 4 AGM 6V batteries into the space
  • cover the tops appropriately to avoid electrical shorts.
That should give you about 440 A/H of power. I've just got a pair of 6V wetcells now in the standard trays. I also have the Genprep, but no generator. Eyeballing the battery space, it would seem like there would be room for 4 AGM's, but I haven't actually put a tape measure to it.

I don't boondock at all, so unless that were to change, I wont be going this route. I'd also add though that while travelling the tow vehicle has had no problems keeping up with the charging, as my batteries show full even after a full 8 hour day on the road.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:13 AM   #6
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That would do the trick. 440 would give a safe 220 AH capacity which would run that reefer for at least 24 hours without additional power input. AGMs are nice, but flooded deep cycle 6 volt units would do as well and would be significantly cheaper. All depends on how much maintenance he is willing to do.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:27 AM   #7
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That would do the trick. 440 would give a safe 220 AH capacity which would run that reefer for at least 24 hours without additional power input. AGMs are nice, but flooded deep cycle 6 volt units would do as well and would be significantly cheaper. All depends on how much maintenance he is willing to do.
Scott, you are right of course. I suggested the AGM's so that he could safely remove the venting snorkles to make more room for 4 batteries. if I were trying to jam 4 wet cells in there, I'd still want venting then.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:32 AM   #8
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X2. Mine are exposed but each RV is different. You are right, you have to vent flooded cells.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:57 PM   #9
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I have 4-6 V golf cart batteries in my cardinal. You should have plenty of room to do that even with the generator.
With this set up I can run my residential fridge for 48 hours before the inverter shut you down.
I don't have the built-in generator so I added solar panels.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:18 PM   #10
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I have 4-6 V golf cart batteries in my cardinal. You should have plenty of room to do that even with the generator.
With this set up I can run my residential fridge for 48 hours before the inverter shut you down.
I don't have the built-in generator so I added solar panels.
I bet you can, but inverter shut down is considerably below 50% SOC and you aren't doing your batteries any favors by waiting that long. I bet you are almost at 15% or lower. 24 hours is a much better position.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:55 PM   #11
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I bet you can, but inverter shut down is considerably below 50% SOC and you aren't doing your batteries any favors by waiting that long. I bet you are almost at 15% or lower. 24 hours is a much better position.
Good clarification! I don't suggest doing it but it's useful information for me to know how long I have till my fridge is going off and spoiling my food. My inverter doesn't shut down until 10.5V with a warning at 11.0V. Certainly well below the 40-50% recommended minimum recommended.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:05 PM   #12
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In my Cardinal 3850RL I have a battery bank with 4-6 volt Lifeline AGM GPL-4CT deep cycle batteries (see GPL-4CT - Lifeline Batteries), each rated for 220 amp hours. I chose this battery for its compact size since the 4 batteries easily fit into the approximately 25" wide space (10.2"Wide x 6.95"Deep x 10" High).

The battery bank is on the driver side of the coach next to the generator box. I removed the single 12 volt battery, closed the hole in the floor of the compartment with a piece of steel and reinforced the floor of the entire compartment with 2" angle iron 1/4" thick bolted to the outside bottom of the storage compartment.

I constructed a wood box to seal the batteries and used the existing vent and vent hose. The converter charges the batteries easily, we have a 2000 watt inverter and we monitor battery condition with the Trimetric TM-2030-RV battery monitor system. We can easily go 2 days on batteries camping in New England.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by NSLCouple View Post
the generator box has a Onan 5.5k LP.
I like your idea of using the Wash/Dryer space. AGM batteries don't emit gas and therefore don't require venting (from the articles I've read). But the wiring would be the challenge there, as you noted.
Check this month issue of Trailer Life ~~ batteries explained. Read about the AGM.
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Old 06-24-2017, 12:15 PM   #14
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I put 2-6 volt wet cells along with the 12 volts and use a Perko switch to go from one to the other(Never Both At Same Time). I also have 200 watts of solar on the roof to charge all of this. Found sealed battery box online for the 2-6 volts. Hope this helps.
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