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Old 08-13-2011, 01:21 AM   #1
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Trojans on our Trailer

So after a couple of years with our camper, I've retired a pair of Group 24 batteries, and replaced them with a pair of T-125 Trojan Golf Cart Batteries. Maybe not the best deal, but got both for $300 from a distributor.

Found an odd battery box that allows them to fit end to end. This is the only model I could find that was less than 11 inches wide. Doesn't look like it's made for outside mounting, so I added latches and locks.

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Put in a Volt and Amp Meter and installed a safety drain switch that cuts off the Battery when the voltage drops below a safe margin. This unit has an on-off switch so that the LED display has no parasitic drain on the battery.

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Added a Kill Switch at the bed which turns off the 12v power to the LCD tv, Satellite Dome, Dish Receiver, Antenna Booster and unfortunately, the bathroom. So I added a battery powered motion sensor LED light for late night trips.

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...continued next frame...
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:25 AM   #2
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We have discovered that although it is nice to have full hookups, we like the campgrounds in the Sierra's that are mostly US or state run. So maximizing the battery life is the goal here. I don't have room for more than the two batteries, but I should get about 30% more run-time over my G24's.

Credit to my helper.

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Old 08-13-2011, 08:17 AM   #3
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Nice setup.

What is the model Volt and Amp Meter and how was the setup?

You didn't mention it, but you also might want to install a battery disconnect switch.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borwick View Post
We have discovered that although it is nice to have full hookups, we like the campgrounds in the Sierra's that are mostly US or state run. So maximizing the battery life is the goal here. I don't have room for more than the two batteries, but I should get about 30% more run-time over my G24's.

Credit to my helper.

Attachment 7360
Yep! Those National Forest Service campgrounds out West are Very Nice. We go to the Big Horns a lot.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Triguy View Post
Nice setup.

What is the model Volt and Amp Meter and how was the setup?

You didn't mention it, but you also might want to install a battery disconnect switch.
The Volt/Amp meter was something I picked up on eBay for about a hundred. I wanted something that didn't have any draw when off, and had both Volt and Amps at the same time. A seller named ColemanAir builds a variety custom items like this. Came with the shunt, easy to mount box, and clear instructions.

I put the shunt just before the WFCO box 12v battery in terminal. Plenty of room behind it.

The voltage drop safety switch has an overide function. I mounted the switch inside the WFCO panel. It disconnects the battery before coming to the power center just BEFORE the meter shunt. The only thing that is not protected from this switch is the power hitch. Another eBay find.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:04 AM   #6
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I picked up my two 6v interstate batteries in may 2011 for $332. The price you paid doesn't sound bad at all. At least hope not! These 6v batteries are one of the best upgrades you can make on your rv.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:27 AM   #7
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So I just came back from a week long (dry) camp trip at Bass Lake (near Yosemite). This was my first trip with the 6v solution.

I was able to get 2 days out of the pair before firing up the Honda 2000, but I only could get 1 day per charge after that.

My voltage level each time I decided to charge was 12.0 - 12.1v unloaded. Our air temp was 65-90 per day.

The first run-time on the gen was 2 hours. This gave me barely one day before I got to 12.0.

The best daily avg was 3 hrs/day. This would give me 1 full day. I'm rather reserved about running the generator for long periods because this campground is mostly tent campers and I hate being a nuisance.

Wondering how long I would have to run the gen to get a two day charge again. The amps going to the batteries starts at 20+ but gets down to single digits at 3 hrs. We have a WFCO 3 stage power center.

Wondering how long I would really have to run the gen past 3 hrs to get two days of charge?

In case anyone is wondering, my draw down is due to television and radio output. I'm a news junky and need at least 3 hrs a day of my tv (4.5amps running), and the stereo draws about 2.5amps (4-5 hrs). The remaining is from lights (all LED), water pump, fridge (.8 amps while on propane), and an occasional iPhone on the 12v socket charge.

Maybe I should add a solar system to minimize gen usage?? I'm going to Yosemite for a week in October, and I hate the idea of running the gen 3 hrs per day.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:57 AM   #8
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Wondering how long I would have to run the gen to get a two day charge again. The amps going to the batteries starts at 20+ but gets down to single digits at 3 hrs. We have a WFCO 3 stage power center.
The two Trojans I have need 14.8 volts and I assume yours do as well. You would probably do better attaching your generator to a separate battery charger rather than going through the RVs converter.

Your WFCO is an OK converter but does not supply the voltage you need for your Trojan batteries. Its three modes are Absorption Mode at 13.6 Vdc range, Bulk Mode for when the converter thinks the batteries are less than 50% charged will give 14.4 Vdc for a maximum of four hours, and Float Mode is a trickle voltage of 13.2 Vdc if the RV is not being used for approximately 48 hours.


Quote:
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In case anyone is wondering, my draw down is due to television and radio output. I'm a news junky and need at least 3 hrs a day of my tv (4.5amps running), and the stereo draws about 2.5amps (4-5 hrs). The remaining is from lights (all LED), water pump, fridge (.8 amps while on propane), and an occasional iPhone on the 12v socket charge.

Maybe I should add a solar system to minimize gen usage?? I'm going to Yosemite for a week in October, and I hate the idea of running the gen 3 hrs per day.
Wow - that's quite a bit of news. I'm not the solar expert as I am still learning myself. But it sounds to me that solar would make sense for you. A decent size panel with a good charge controller should cut that generator time down fairly well.
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:09 PM   #9
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I was thinking about the separate charger. The WFCO puts out 13.6v at the highest amperage, and settles to 13.5v the rest of the time.

A question I have is if I put a battery charger onto the batteries, do I need to disconnect the power to the WFCO? Can it manage the 14.8v output of the charger while still powering the trailer?
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:33 PM   #10
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A question I have is if I put a battery charger onto the batteries, do I need to disconnect the power to the WFCO? Can it manage the 14.8v output of the charger while still powering the trailer?
That is a very good question.

I have ran the portable Stanley charger both with and without the batteries connected to the trailer (through a disconnect switch) but I have not run a load - other than the parasitic draws - in the trailer while charging through my charger. Usually I isolate the batteries and deal with the inconvenience of not having power to the trailer, though.

It seems logical that a load in the trailer would slow down your charge, but I do not know this for a fact.

I'll be interested to hear what others have experienced.
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