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Old 02-09-2014, 11:05 AM   #21
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I'm looking into having an inverter put in, but have a number of questions.

1. What kind of batteries are in the FR3? I find nothing in the documentation and can't see anything on the batteries. Would it be helpful (and possible) to replace them with more or better batteries?

2. I primarily want to be able to watch TV and run the furnace (can live w/o the microwave)... oh, and the computer. For how long would I be able to do so for different sizes of inverters?

3. What happens to the appliances I'm running if I drain the batteries using the inverter? Would they potentially get damaged as the power goes down?

I do understand the whole watts = volts* amps, but I don't know how much charge gets stored in the batteries or what the discharge curve looks like.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Barbara
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:14 AM   #22
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Okay, I looked at the curve posted above... I guess what I don't know is what amp-hours the batteries are rated at.

Oh, another thing: how long would I have to run the generator to recharge the batteries?

Thanks.

Barbara
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:40 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbaraG View Post
Okay, I looked at the curve posted above... I guess what I don't know is what amp-hours the batteries are rated at.

Oh, another thing: how long would I have to run the generator to recharge the batteries?

Thanks.

Barbara
Barbra,

Amp Hours vary by manufacturer and may even have to be calculated from the Reserve Minutes (RC) that some use (multiply RC by 0.4167 to get AH).

Since you should NEVER discharge any deep discharge battery below 50% capacity, recharge can take anywhere from 4 to 36 hours depending on whether you use a dedicated charger or the converter in your camper.

My battery, water level and charger - it's surprising what I don't know

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Old 02-09-2014, 11:57 AM   #24
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Barbra,

Amp Hours vary by manufacturer and may even have to be calculated from the Reserve Minutes (RC) that some use (multiply RC by 0.4167 to get AH).

Since you should NEVER discharge any deep discharge battery below 50% capacity, recharge can take anywhere from 4 to 36 hours depending on whether you use a dedicated charger or the converter in your camper.

My battery, water level and charger - it's surprising what I don't know

Herk
I wouldnt say NEVER discharge below 50%, but you significantly reduce the battery life if you do.

Barbara, the inverter size doesnt matter, the battery size is what matters. The FR3 comes with two group 27s that are about 200 amp hours total. With our charger, if you discharge to about 50%, youll need to run the generator for about 2-2.5 hours conservatively to get back to full charge.

When we dry camped a few weeks ago, it was particularly cold (which hurts battery performance anyway), but running the furnace, watching a little TV with the Blu Ray player, charging the cell phones overnight, and running a bedroom clock, we were at 50% battery in the morning.



We were at 12v even. Remember, it was in the 20s that night, which meant we ran the furnace A LOT.

As far as what happens when the batteries die, well, lots of weird stuff can happen that you probably dont want to think about.

If having an inverter is something youre really serious about, youll either want to switch to two 6v golf cart batteries, or better yet, upgrade for 4 6v batteries (I plan on doing the latter). The 12v provided with the coach will work in a pinch, but you wont dry camp for more than 2 days at a time on them if I had to guess.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:16 PM   #25
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Two things:

1) Even 3 hours of charging will not replace a substantial amount of the lost capacity due to the staging in the converter or battery charger. It certainly will not bring it back to 100% as FLOAT charging starts at about 90% (and no load) and the charge rate is measures in milli-amps. Voltage will recover to above 12 volts quickly (surface charge), but the battery will still need to replace the lost electrons (capacity to deliver) at a safe rate to prevent boiling the battery and can take more than 36 hours on shore power or generator to reach 100%.

2) The Battery lights are not a reliable way to determine capacity as what most people use as "FULL" is actually "C" for "charging." The "F" is used only when checking your holding tanks and propane is equipped. The lights will still be "Good" (3 lights) until the battery capacity drops below 50%.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:18 PM   #26
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Okay, here is what I'm getting:

  1. I probably should get 4 deep-cycle golf cart batteries if I'm going to get an inverter.
  2. I don't want to let the batteries get below 50% of their charge. How do I know if the battery monitor lights are not reliable?
  3. Inverter size doesn't determine how long I can run TV, etc., on my batteries, the batteries do. What then does inverter size determine?
Does anyone know a good reference for this stuff so I don't have to be asking for a tutorial on the forum?

Thanks much, all.

Barbara
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:45 PM   #27
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Re:3 the inverter size determines the total amount of items it can power. If you have a 200 watt inverter you can only power an item that draws approx 1.75 amps.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:22 PM   #28
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You must convert AC amps to Watts by multiplying by 120 volts; THEN convert those Watts BACK into DC amps by dividing by 12 volts.
OR, you could just multiply AC amps by 10 to get DC amps. (120/12 = 10)
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:26 PM   #29
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If you are going to be operating on battery/inverter for any significant amount of your camping time, a good battery monitor system is a must.

I use the less expensive Trimetric TM-2025RV monitor system.

http://www.solar-electric.com/tr20mosy.html

You input the total capacity of the battery bank at 100% charge and it monitors the actual amperage in (charging) and out (discharging) and it will display remaining battery life as a percentage remaining.

You can also monitor the voltage on the batteries; a solar panel's output; and instantaneous amperage in/out of the battery bank using a shunt.

ADDED FYI: The 13.6 amps of charging is the maximum charging current I can get on a 50% discharged battery bank (2 - Deka DP-24 75AH batteries) with the OEM WFCO converter).
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:01 PM   #30
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Quote:
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OR, you could just multiply AC amps by 10 to get DC amps. (120/12 = 10)
You meant divide as in the example correct?
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