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Old 07-31-2015, 12:32 PM   #11
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If you are interested in monitoring your battery(s), take a look at the Trimetric tool from Bogart engineering. I have been using at model TM-2020 for the past 10 years and have been pleased with the information.

TriMetric Model Descriptions, Present and Past | Bogart Engineering

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Old 07-31-2015, 12:36 PM   #12
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As mentioned solar power is dependent on the panel seeing the sun. I use a 150 watt solar panel with a controller to keep my battery charged for week long dry camping trips. My experience is that the standard battery supplied by the dealer will run my trailer dry camping for about 2 day with a charge. That is assuming the battery is in good shape and is fully charged when that time period starts. One thing missed my a lot people is that the fridge when running on propane requires 12 volts from the battery. The Domestic fridge on my trailer requires about 2.25 amps. This load included with the phantom loads of LP Gas Detector, radio light and any other unknown loads will run a battery down faster than they think. The incandescent lights standard in the trailer draw over an amp for each bulb. Changed my light to LEDs. If you are dry camping and do run the battery down a set of jumper cable connected to your truck and you can recharge the trailer battery.

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Old 07-31-2015, 02:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bradybr View Post
Even if you're running the AC with 2 Honda 2000s linked together?


You shouldn't have a problem with that. Problem many have is their gen is too small. I run a 13,500 btu unit on a Honda 3000 watt gen with no problems.

I think sometimes people blame things on something when they really do not have a clue what happened. Could, or would, that starting capacitor gone bad on shore power? Who knows.

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Old 07-31-2015, 02:30 PM   #14
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Generator Ain't Too Bad...

We now use a Yamaha 2400i. Plenty to run A/C if we ever need it here in MI! We wouldn't run the A/C and the microwave at the same time, or I should say, the generator wouldn't run it! (We got an overload quite quickly.)

Prior to having that huge heavy generator to drag around, we used a combination of solar and a battery charger connected to an inverter.

You have to really like wires to do this, but it does work quite well: We have a 45 watt solar panel with a charge controller. Light and convenient. We store the panel on the bed while on the road. Being MI and it's full of woods here, we don't count on solar too much, but if it is enough to keep the charge up a little, it's worth it. And we look so eco with that solar panel out front.

The backup plan before the generator was an inverter that ran off the TV. We have a really nice Xantex, $$$. We hook it to the battery and start the truck, now with 110v available, we can run a Schumacher battery charger and charge the trailer battery. We bought a Xantex because we wanted perfect sine wave for our laptops and phones.

This is a bit of overkill, but we had the charger already and were never intending to use air conditioning, so the inverter was bought mainly for laptops and phones.

The battery charger will recharge the trailer battery quite quickly, but I think we could also have not used the battery charger and just plugged the trailer into the 110v on the inverter as long as we didn't try running the microwave or A/C. The built-in charger seems to work very well. I did some quick tests and I think the built-in charger can recharge our battery in just over an hour. That's from 12.03v back to fully charged. I don't think we have ever let it get that low while out in the boondocks. I would not like to run the truck for an hour.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Fletchkl View Post
We have just taken delivery of our flagstaff T21QBHW. We don't spend much time in RV parks and are wondering what the best way to keep the battery charged for a 2 1/2 week trip into the backcountry. We do not feel we want or need a generator. Is solar the way to go? If so, should we buy a second battery or would we be OK with just the one? If solar is the way, any recommendations? Also does anyone use/have added a way to keep track of the battery charge? How are we to know if the battery about to die or completely charged? Thanks for any comments or help you can give.
You might want to look at these threads:

Solar, 200 watt or 400 watt?

thinking about solar?

If you do a search you will find there is a lot written on this subject.

Keep in mind one battery will probably not be enough so you will be adding a fair amount of weight, plus the weight of your panels. It adds up quick!

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Old 07-31-2015, 03:42 PM   #16
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Solar is the way to go.
If you just want to wet your feet, get a 3 panel set up from Harbor Freight, they are reasonably priced, and work fine. You can put them up on the ground in the little stand that comes with it, or mount them on the roof. You get 45 Watts, about 13-14 volts, and it comes with a controller to keep from cooking your batteries, and a one way diode so your batteries don't back charge into the panels at night. We keep our batteries charged for 4 weeks while elk hunting, in a dry camp, and only run the generator once, when we have the big party in the middle of the stay.
The panels keep up with pump, and lights, and even keeps up with the furnace when it starts getting coolish.
The real cool thing is when you decide to get a generator, you will STILL use it less due to your panels.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:53 PM   #17
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The one reply about damaging your A/C capacitor by running off generator.
I had a motorhome with a 6500 watt genny. I ran my generator (with A/C) every month for an hour each month and ran my genny with A/C on several trips especially while travelling on hot days for 12 years. I never had a problem with the A/C. A lot of people do this with no problems.
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:59 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by River123 View Post
If you are going to be moving your camper to different locations your vehicle should charge the battery while going down the road.
Most tow vehicles only provide a trickle charge.
You would have to drive hours to recharge the battery.
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Old 07-31-2015, 04:05 PM   #19
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To come up with an electrical system design that will last 2.5 weeks - basically indefinitely requires knowing key parameters.

1) How much power do you need on a daily basis? The easy unit to use is amp-hours (AH). How many amps does a given appliance/light/motor draw, and how many hours does it run per day? You will likely come up with around 40AH per day average, which is a lot to replace. So can you reduce how much you use (get it to 20 AH or less)? Areas to look at: light bulbs vs LEDs, length of time the heater fan runs, and what does your fridge use? High wall PUP fridges may or may not be thermostatically controlled. If not thermostatically controlled (older and smaller PUPs and A-frames), they run continuously and don't use any DC.

2) Size your battery capacity. The more days you can go without recharging, the less critical your daily solar input becomes. A larger battery capacity also reduces how often you need to run a generator, if that becomes a solution.

3) Size your solar panels. How much power a panel puts out depends mainly on cloud cover and tree shade, how well it is aimed, and latitude (in that order). In the Southwest, sunshine is abundant most days, and trees that block the sun are not as common. In New England, solar panel output is going to average a lot less. There are charts to help you with this.

You want your panels to average significantly more power in than you are using to allow for rainy days. And you want batteries sufficient to carry you through those rainy days.

Since you are looking at 2.5 weeks, you must also consider water (most PUP water tanks are only 15-20 gal - not much if you have a family or take showers). Propane usage will depend on gas used for BBQing, heating water, and heating the camper. The fridge is minimal propane use in comparison. Chances are you can go through 2 propane tanks in 2.5 weeks if you are not a little careful with usage.

If you are using a toilet inside the camper, the black tank probably won't last 2.5 weeks, either.

Finally, carrying food for 2.5 weeks requires thought, too. (You did say back country, not dry camping at a campground where you can drive out easily to resupply all except battery charge.)

Reality is that a full-featured PUP is not the ideal platform for 2.5 weeks in the boonies, especially if there are more than 2 of you, unless you just use the PUP as a very deluxe tent (as we do our A-frame, but only for 4 days at a time).

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Old 07-31-2015, 05:06 PM   #20
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If you are going to spend a lot of time in the sun, a solar charging system of some kind is in order.

We are planning on spending 2-3 months in the winter down on the Baja California, MX. We are just in the process of installing a "Solar Elite" system by Go Power. The Elite System has two 160 Watt panels and all the little extras like a 2000 watt inverter and an 30 amp pre-wired automatic shore power/inverter AC switching kit that switches everything over to shorpower/generator as soon as you connect. See link above for all items included.

My friend who spends his winters down there has a similar system and his batteries are charged back up by 10:30 am.

I will also install two new 12 volt AGM deep cycle batteries (totally sealed batteries) with a 100 amp hours rating each. These batteries are 28 times more vibration resistant than conventional batteries. Life expectancy is 6 times longer then regular flooded batteries. More money but hopefully more peace of mind.

Now if you are camping in the shade, a generator is the way to go. We use / installed a Yamaha EF2400ishc and it is great for extra power when needed.

Good luck

Anders Cortes Island, BC. Canada

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