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Old 03-04-2014, 04:20 PM   #1
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Battery/Inverter Install for Man's Camping Trip

The man's camping trip is coming up soon - women and children are not invited! Activities typically include beer, fire, fishing, BBQ and a lot BSing. I picked up a Rockwood 2280BH tent trailer last year and want to add a hockey playoff and poker night to the agenda.

I plan to buy a 1000W pure sine inverter and a Group 27/29 deep-cycle battery. This is overkill for my 100W TV and 30W satellite receiver I but may need more power in the future. I do not want to hook up the inverter to the tent trailer's Group 24 battery. I have a 80W solar panel for daylight charge-ups.

I plan to hook up the inverter and battery inside the tent trailer and leave it underneath the table. It will be hooked up just before game start and disconnected at the end of the night.

For this temporary setup, and on a scale of 1 to 10 with comments, how important is it to:

1) Install an ANL fuse on the positive cable?
2) Ground the inverter to chassis?
3) Anything else I may need to take into account or be aware of? I suppose the battery could release off some gases inside the tent trailer which I should be aware of (crack open the vent, no smoking, no stove, no furnace).

NOTE: The use of electric appliances will be a once a year event (i.e. man's camping trip). I do not plan to hook this up often. This could change when the 5 and 1 year old get older. The new deep cycle battery will be used a lot with the new trolling motor I plan to buy this year as well.

Any input would be much appreciated!
B.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:49 PM   #2
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I would place the battery outside or in a sealed box vented to the outside. It will off gas hydrogen sulfide and can result in a big boom. Don't over estimate the power provided by the solar panel. Most are about 70-80% efficient which means you are going to get less than 80 watts - and that efficiency is when you are aimed directly at the sun. If it is stationery figure about 5 hours per day at max efficiency. With a large battery you can probably get away without a charge controller.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:05 AM   #3
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Thanks Cadman for your input! I am not concerned about having enough energy. My setup uses less than 120 Watts, or 10Ah/hour. The battery I will buy is 120 Ah, so at 50% usage, this gives me about 6 hours. I may stretch it to 7-8 hours if we watch both eastern and western games but I doubt it. Most likely it will run for about 3-4 hours only when the Blackhawks play, every second night. Yes the solar panels state they are 80W but this is at 17.1 Volts. Maximum amperage is only 4.6A. To be conservative due to clouds and the angle of my movable panel, I've calculated a 50% efficiency for entire day, or

01-May-14: (14h 49m 05s) * 4.6A * 50% efficiency = 34.08 A/hr

I figure I will come close to topping up the battery on Day #2 and #3 and be ready for Night #3.

I am trying to minimize the lengths of my DC cables. I am still undecided if I buy the more expensive 1 Ga as opposed to 4 Ga (I cant find a good 2 gauge in my area). And, I don't really have a good idea how to bring the DC cables into the tent trailer. Hence why I was thinking leaving everything inside. My options I have been considering:

1) Install new Group 27 battery and inverter inside tent trailer using 1 foot DC cables. Tuck everything aside. Should I fuse and should I ground to chassis?
2) Place new battery on the ground outside and adjacent to side of tent trailer. Run 3-5 feet DC cables into tent trailer via side velcro openings and connect inverter inside. Should I fuse and should I ground to chassis?
3) Connect house battery and new battery in parallel using 1-2 feet DC cables. Energy potential increases 70 + 120 = 190 Ah. Make connection near front of trailer and underneath slide out bed. Connect batteries to inverter with 1-2 feet DC cables and install inverter underneath the slideout bed but exposed to outside. If attached to the bed's plywood underbed, it should be sheltered from rain if it happens to rain. I may need to build some type of hanging box. Run an AC extension cord from inverter to inside the tent trailer by going through velcro openings. Again, should I fuse and should I ground to chassis?

I liked the simplicity of option #1, but if there is a real threat of gaseous vapors and explosions, it may have to be option #2 or #3.

How have you other tent trailer users installed inverters? Maybe I just fork out the cash and pay the RV store to permanently install inside the tent trailer via the fuse panel/circuit breakers? Any input will be much appreciated.

B.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:46 AM   #4
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Just a quick question... What group27 battery has 120amp hours?

You may expect around 20-25 amp hours at best from your 80 w panel on sunny days.
I would take your option #1 and fuse and ground properly. There is virtually NO risk from "vapors". (Otherwise known as hydrogen!)

You don't mention your charge controller/regulator for the panel...but I assume you will not be trying to hook up that panel directly to your battery ...right?
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:47 PM   #5
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Walmart's Everstart 27DC-850N is rated at 120 Ah but I think they are smoking something or not using the 20 hour rating specs. Its also rated at 180 RC, so perhaps this is closer to 180/2=90 Ah. The MAXX 29DC is only $10 more and rated at 114Ah and 210 RC. This one is probably closer to a 105Ah. So yes, I probably should of stated Group 29 at 105 Ah.

Is there not a threat of hydrogen sulfide?

If I go with option #1, installing everything inside, the 150 ANL fusing is easy. The grounding to chassis is easy too, but would require a #8 AWG wire going outside. What really is the purpose of this? I've seen many debates on some manufacturers requiring grounding to chassis while others do not. My inverter is a 1000W Motomaster Eliminator pure-sine inverter which is a slightly modified Xantrex unit (i.e. no GFCI circuits).
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:38 PM   #6
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I wouldn't believe any rating over 100 a/h on a group 27...which is not to say that the batts are not a good deal...just don't plan on getting 20% more than Trojan specs out on its' best!
As to the ground screw...it is needed to go to chassis to eliminate noise. This will show up on TV's particularly...but you can try it with and without. Suggest if it is a problem that you can go to 12Gauge with no problem.
I can't see you generating much hydro with the set up you have. I slept over a bank for 1000+amps/hours being charged by 140amps for years. You've got plenty of ventilation and you're not going to be boiling off fluid...no worries!
Nice inverter for the money!!
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:23 PM   #7
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Interstate deep cycle group 27 rated at 5 amps - 18.9, 15 amps 5.5.

If you are not worried about potential of a hydrogen explosion read this -
http://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/ref/41_6739_0112.pdf
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:17 PM   #8
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Not getting a "warm fuzzy" after reading about this battery.

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Walmart "Deep Cycle" Batteries - Number of Cycles

The only number in Wal-Mart's web page says it has 675 Cranking Amps; nothing about AH. Dual Purpose Marine batteries like this one usually have their storage capacity in RC or Reserve Capacity. THAT number is in minutes of use at 25 amps draw. To convert RC to AH (hours at 20 amps) you need to multiply the RC by 0.4167

Everstart is a Wal-MArt "house brand" made by Delphi and some by Exide.

Who Makes Everstart Batteries? - Ask.com Answers
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:55 PM   #9
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Why not set it outside, battery inverter and all, then run an extension cord inside to run the TV? Battery and gasses outside, out of the way, DC cables as short as you can make them.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herk7769 View Post
Not getting a "warm fuzzy" after reading about this battery.

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Walmart "Deep Cycle" Batteries - Number of Cycles

The only number in Wal-Mart's web page says it has 675 Cranking Amps; nothing about AH. Dual Purpose Marine batteries like this one usually have their storage capacity in RC or Reserve Capacity. THAT number is in minutes of use at 25 amps draw. To convert RC to AH (hours at 20 amps) you need to multiply the RC by 0.4167

Everstart is a Wal-MArt "house brand" made by Delphi and some by Exide.

Who Makes Everstart Batteries? - Ask.com Answers
Ummm...unless something has changed...I think Johnson Controls makes 'em all. Johnson Controls selected as sole battery supplier to Wal-Mart
In any case...you're right...they are dual purpose batts not really designed for the same cycle life as true deep cycles...but fine for the purpose at hand.
Your formula is correct for converting RC to AH BUT there is a big mistake...you are converting to amp hours at the 25 amp draw rate with that formula. The deep cycle rating is typically reflective of the number of amps you can steadily draw for TWENTY hours. i.e. a 100amp hour battery can draw 5 amps for 20 hours. So there is no direct comparison to a true DC battery.

"The most important consideration in buying a deep cycle battery is the Ampere-Hour (AH) or Reserve Capacity (or Reserve Minutes) rating that will meet or exceed your requirements and how much weight you can carry. Most deep cycle batteries are rated in discharge rates of 100 hours, 20 hours, or 8 hours. The higher the discharge, the lower the capacity due to the Peukert Effect and the internal resistance of the battery. Reserve Capacity (RC) is the number of minutes a fully charged battery at 80 o F (26.7 o C) is discharged at 25 amps before the voltage falls below 10.5 volts. To convert Reserve Capacity (RC) to Ampere-Hours at the 25 amp rate, multiple RC by .4167. More ampere-hours (or RC) are better in every case. Within a BCI group size, the battery with higher ampere-hours (or RC) will tend to have longer lives and weigh more because of thicker plates and more lead. " https://www.pacificpowerbatteries.co...aq/dcfaq4.html
+

A ROUGH approximation may be made by dividing the RC by 2 and adding 16...but that is a GROSS approximation. I'm told that Peukerts law prevents a direct correlation and that makes sense. If you don't see a 20 hour rating...it ain't a real deep cycle and the rest is guesswork.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cadman99 View Post
If you are not worried about potential of a hydrogen explosion read this -
http://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/ref/41_6739_0112.pdf
Was that meant for me? Did you read and understand that hydrogen is only an issue ONCE you have reached the FLOAT stage (i.e. 100% charge) or if you are doing EQ?? And only if you are FLOATING above 13.8V for a 12V battery? How is he going to get fully charged and even GET to float off of that...let alone exceed proper float voltage with a controller?
Did you also understand that the hydrogen has to reach 4% and this is a tent camper?
NO I am not worried that his single 80 watt solar panel charging system is going to blow up his tent.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:50 AM   #12
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I understand there are lots of maybes here but batteries off-gas during charging and discharging. The potential for problems in this case are very low but they do exist. Batteries in most rv's are either in a sealed box and vented or open to the air.

If I had a choice I would error on the side of caution and place the batteries in a vented box or outside.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadman99 View Post
Interstate deep cycle group 27 rated at 5 amps - 18.9, 15 amps 5.5.

If you are not worried about potential of a hydrogen explosion read this -
http://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/ref/41_6739_0112.pdf
I've noticed it states hydrogen gets created and vented during the charging process and nothing about when simply in use. I will look into this more and verify.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Herk7769 View Post
Not getting a "warm fuzzy" after reading about this battery.

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Walmart "Deep Cycle" Batteries - Number of Cycles

The only number in Wal-Mart's web page says it has 675 Cranking Amps; nothing about AH. Dual Purpose Marine batteries like this one usually have their storage capacity in RC or Reserve Capacity. THAT number is in minutes of use at 25 amps draw. To convert RC to AH (hours at 20 amps) you need to multiply the RC by 0.4167

Everstart is a Wal-MArt "house brand" made by Delphi and some by Exide.

Who Makes Everstart Batteries? - Ask.com Answers
Walmart's online information is sporadic and inconsistent. I had to jump back and fourth from USA and CAN sites. The 27DC-850N battery I seen with my own eyes does state CCA=675 MCA=850 RC=180 and AH=120. I assume they are using a non 20 hour test period to achieve a 120 Ah rating. The label states it is made by Johnson Controls.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Was that meant for me? Did you read and understand that hydrogen is only an issue ONCE you have reached the FLOAT stage (i.e. 100% charge) or if you are doing EQ?? And only if you are FLOATING above 13.8V for a 12V battery? How is he going to get fully charged and even GET to float off of that...let alone exceed proper float voltage with a controller?
Did you also understand that the hydrogen has to reach 4% and this is a tent camper?
NO I am not worried that his single 80 watt solar panel charging system is going to blow up his tent.
Usage will occur indoors (tent trailer), disconnected at night and recharged outdoors.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:49 PM   #16
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Even better. You have ZERO to worry about....instead of merely .00000000000000001 chance in hell of anything bad happening!
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:46 PM   #17
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Even better. You have ZERO to worry about....instead of merely .00000000000000001 chance in hell of anything bad happening!
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