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Old 05-04-2015, 01:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 117
New A-Frame owner - New to the forum

Hi everyone,

I've been reading this forum for about three to four weeks now, since I discovered and became interested in purchasing a Rockwood A-Frame. I just registered so I thought that I should say hi!

My 2012 A128 came home on a Friday evening three weeks ago. The very next weekend I was out in the wild camping with it.

I am an avid hunter and that is what drove the purchase. I learned that I have drawn a bull elk tag for the end of November into the beginning of December (Arizona big game is all on a lottery system). I have tent camped all my life, but the one other time that I was drawn for a late season elk tag, I was not enjoying the tent in overnight temperatures in the teens.

The A128 is perfect for me because of the easy up deployment, the double dinettes (my adult son is my primary hunting partner), and since this is not an S model, it fits into my garage for storage (the S model would be too long). I definitely did not want another monthly RV storage bill - not just because of the dollars, but also because it is such a hassle to retrieve it from a yard someplace to prep for a trip.

I don't want to say "never" but I don't envision ever using it in a park with hookups. That's just not my style. So the very first thing that I did over the weekend after it came home was to build a big battery box for it to install a large 4D-size battery. I also wired up solar ports on the sides of this new battery box and installed a solar charge controller inside near the radio. I currently have two movable 30 watt panels (60 watts total) on a 25 foot cable that I can move around to catch the sun.

First outing:

I have a tarp over the new battery box because it was still bare wood, and there was a threat of rain. The yellow cord goes to the solar panels sitting on the ground in the sun.

Battery box after paint:

The hinges are leather straps.

What's inside:

I left the inside wood unpainted. This battery is rated over 200 amp-hours. It weighs 130 pounds. The trailer towed great after this mod, though I may be on the heavy side of that 10% to 15% tongue weight recommendation. My Avalanche is rated for a max tongue weight of 600 pounds. Trailer and TV were flat across from stern to stem.

The red flag thingy is a master battery cutoff switch. The little green thingy is a fuse for the solar input current. There are two solar input ports, one on each side of the box.

Updated control panel on the inside:

I installed the solar charge controller on an aluminum backing sheet. The charge controller has a heat sink on the back, and the installation instructions recommend mounting it against a metal surface for reasons of heat dissipation. The backing sheet is pop-riveted to the thin wood panel.

Here's a closeup of the charge controller:

Notice that the solar charge controller has built in USB charging ports. Very handy! This display shows that the solar panel is connected and 2.9 amps of charging current is being sent to the battery. You can also display the battery voltage at any time. This older A128 model used incandescent light bulbs, which have now all been replaced with LEDs for better energy conservation.

What else I like about this older model is that it does not have any bubble windows on the front slope. That's the perfect place for a permanent mounting of a solar panel or two, with access to the solar ports on the battery box! Future mod.

I have already found out that the rear bubble window leaks, so some 3M Extreme Sealing Tape is on its way.

Your posts have been quite helpful and informative, and I'm glad to now be a part of this community.



2012 Rockwood A128 (no S)
2016 Ram Outdoorsman 5.7L Hemi 4x4
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:16 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,585
Welcome to the forum, Dan. I like the electrical setup.


2012 Rockwood A122S
2008 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4X4

Former owner of a 2002 Coleman Niagara GTE
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:41 PM   #3
A-Frame Don's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 92
Dan, another welcome to the forum. You're sure going to learn more about A-Frames than you thought possible. Your electrical mods are awesome.
2015 Rockwood A192HW
2011 KIA Sorento 6Cyl

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Old 05-04-2015, 07:25 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Iowa
Posts: 124
I like that charge controller! Can you tell the brand/model? I have a basic one that doesn't give me any data other than it's charging or not. I like the USB ports too!
2014 Rockwood A122BH
2014 Nissan Pathfinder
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:03 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 145
That's some nice work!

I have an A122 with no bubble on the front roof, and a 15w panel mounted vertically there. That panel keeps the battery charged just fine, although I always use shore power, and the battery is used mainly for the electric jack. If I ever decide to venture without shore power, I'll refer back to your post.

Enjoy your A frame camping, and hunting!
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:38 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 117
Thanks for the warm welcomes, folks.

I got the charge controller from Amazon:

2012 Rockwood A128 (no S)
2016 Ram Outdoorsman 5.7L Hemi 4x4
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Old 05-05-2015, 07:08 AM   #7
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Location: Ottawa Ontario Canada
Posts: 794
yea ... i really like the charging setup .. welcome to the forum


2008 Nissan Frontier 4x4
2011 Rockwood A122
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