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Old 08-03-2016, 11:36 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 24
Charging an RV Battery and Solar

I had many questions with our new A-Frame, the most popular is how long will the battery last and how much solar to I need.

I struggled with really scientific articles that covered all kinds complex math...then I found this article.

It's written by an electrical engineer and It's a good read about how deep cycle batteries work as well as some good guidelines with solar. I found it to be very informative.

Just thought I'd pass it along.

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Old 08-04-2016, 10:21 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Santa Rosa
Posts: 87
Nice article, but everything is a compromise on our A frame trailers. Right now I have the original group 24 battery on my trailer and both 100 watt solar and a generator for my trips.
I find when camping with out power I can go one day with out solar or generator or a few days with just solar (with full sun) or I need the generator an hour or two every day. I do have all Led lights inside my trailer and I notice the refrig has led lights on all the time and I know that the propane detector and most likely the smoke detector is drawing power and of course I do charge my kindles and phones while camping.

I am looking to upgrade my battery since one cold night I keep my heater on and it really drained my battery and I was in an area that did not allow generators. So, I am most likely going to a group 27 to bump my total power a little as two 6's are too much tongue weight with all my other toys.

2014 A194HW
2004 Toyota 4runner V8 4WD
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:21 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 24
You're right that everything is a compromise. I think that I've determined that I'm probably not going to be able to top off my batteries to a "full" status in a day of full sun, but I'll get close. My driveway testing has shown that I'm going to need a couple of days of sun to top to a full charge. I'm ok with that. I'll stay above the 50% mark and if I can manage to not have too many rainy days in a row we should be ok.

What surprised me most reading that article was how to effectively charge up a deep cycle. Honestly I had no idea that it required such a high voltage. I confirmed with the manufacture of my batteries that 14.8 is preferred for optimum charging. I'd never see that with the WIFCO or my battery tender. It would take weeks for either one to get them back to full. Now I understand why guys go with a full blown battery charger with selectable voltage.

I'd look closely at the 6V's...when I did my research I found that the difference in weight of the group 27's and 2 6v's was marginal. If you take a look at the Costco or Sam's club batteries, you'll be out less for 2 6v's than the one 27. I went with 2 6v's and its surprising how much longer they last. I can send you a link for an inexpensive larger battery box too. It's a project, but one that I would suggest to any one.

We are headed up this weekend and the forecast is for lows in the 30's...the heater will be running and it will be a good test to see how much juice we are using!
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battery, charging, solar

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