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Old 05-19-2015, 11:15 PM   #1
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A minor electrical mod

After a particular battery incident a few weeks ago that we need not go into here, a change was in order. So I bought a new battery box and a group 27 battery to extend the dry camping time. I'll be out 4 nights this weekend and want to power my CPAP as well as the normal camper stuff, so its a good test. Here is the battery in the box.

2015-05-18 16.53.30 by b2220128, on Flickr

Because I wanted to put on a battery switch, the box is big enough for a group 31 but has a slide in retainer for smaller batteries. I orders it from Walmart.com where it was stock for same day pickup at my local store. The extra space provides the room for the bolts that hold the switch to the box. I bought a few feet of red 10 gauge wire and the appropriate crimp on ends. I also picked up 3/8 split plastic wire cover to protect the wires.

Here's the switch

2015-05-18 16.53.39 by b2220128, on Flickr

I bought a two position switch to reserve the possibility of setting up an independent power circuit that can be powered while the parasitic drains in the camper are shut off while I am away for the day. Perhaps for a fridge compartment fan.

I installed the wider box by cutting and fitting 2X10 lumber into the battery box rails rather than taking it to the shop and having the rails moved and re-welded. The lumber is attached to the rails and the box is screwed to the lumber and I have a ratcheting strap as a hold down.

The last part of the mod will be to cut and relocate the break away switch power wire to bypass the switch so it can be in the off position while traveling if needed.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:28 AM   #2
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Nice mod Tom. Adding a battery switch has been on my list for a while, maybe some day I'll get the time. Thanks for sharing. this weekend.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:27 PM   #3
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That switch on the box is cool.

Doesn't look like you'll be using the furnace for your test trip, although I am looking forward to seeing your review.

Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:53 PM   #4
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The 30 year average low is 58 with a standard deviation of 7. But we are dry camping so no furnace for me. Taking my down sleeping bag just in case.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:36 AM   #5
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the trip was a great success. It rained out west in the desert on Thursday with fog and heavy mist on Friday morning. Great fun when passing convoys of pressure pumping equipment. The desert sky cleared up Friday and was sunny the rest of the time. Unlike those unfortunate enough to be in the Hill County or suffered from flooding and loss of power back here in Houston. Or the storms elsewhere.

My battery proved to be insufficient to power my CPAP for four nights. Monday night the battery was too low, so near dead, and I had to use a rechargeable Li+ battery pack. So I guess my system engineering need to go toward providing more recharge capacity.

This weekend would have been ideal for solar, if I could have tied it down securely from the high winds. I'd like to have a rechargeable Li+ battery with a 12V to 12V battery charger that could be powered up by my truck electrical system in the daytime and recharge the camper battery or charge straight from the truck. All I can find is LI+ jump starters that may or may not do well in recharging a deep cycle camper battery. Perhaps I'll get a second house battery next time I dry camp for four or more nights.
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:49 PM   #6
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If you go solar here is something to look at.

http://www.amazon.com/Renogy%C2%AE-M...le+solar+panel
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1A Camper View Post
If you go solar here is something to look at.
Thanks
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:47 AM   #8
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Tom, we've run this one up the flagpole many many times but I gotta ask--
Are you SURE your refrigerator doesn't have that dreaded heater strip
between the fresh food door and freezer door??
Many do have it and some don't have a switch to turn it off.
My new rig is one!
It's relatively easy to test. Turn on the fridge and after a few hours put
your finger on the middle of the metal strip between doors.
If it's got the heater you can easily feel it will be warm.
If the heater is absent or off the metal will be cold to the touch.
If you've got the heater it will suck your battery in a couple days.

I just cut the wire to the heater in mine the other day.
We don't care about a little condensation there but do dry camp every so
often.
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:30 PM   #9
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Tom, we've run this one up the flagpole many many times but I gotta ask--
Are you SURE your refrigerator doesn't have that dreaded heater strip
between the fresh food door and freezer door??
A Frames come with small 3 way fridges that don't have a freezer much less such advanced technology as a heater strip. If the 12V switch is off, which it is all the time on mine, then there is no power draw.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:41 AM   #10
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here is a thought .....
I too use a CPAC machine and have been struggling with the issue for a couple of years when camping off line. What i have done in the past is bring along a Xantex 800 series powerbox, and use this as my powerbase. I didnt have a 12 volt converter so i powered this through the inverter ... yea i know ... its not that efficient... but hey
This will last me a couple of nights. I have a dedicated 40 watt solar panel that plugs directly into powerbox, but some campsites are very sparse for sunlight ... so sometimes this has failed.
Tired of dinking around with the 40 watt panel, i installed a 12volt plug in the trailer that pulls power from twin group of good quality 27 deep cycles ...and i purchased resmed 12 volt converter ... hoping this will do better than the Xantex power box and the 40 watt panel.
Both batteries are topped up with a 80 watt panel during our trips ... and im hoping now that after reading your post that i will have enough juice to get me through a good week of camping when on a sunny camp site.
so .. all in all .. thats what i have done ...
but just a quick question for you ...did you run your humidifier when you went on your 5 night trip .... i dont .. as it is much more of a power draw than the pump itself ..

d-mo
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