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Old 04-06-2016, 08:29 PM   #1
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Adding Two Batteries To The Legacy Batt Bank

Adding solar to our MH also required adding two more batteries (total of six) to our Legacy's battery bank. Tough since there didn't seem to be enough room and the compartments next to the batteries were non players. My answer was to add a shelf that I made of aluminum. The requirement was basically that it could handle about 130 pounds of batteries. The space between the batteries and the new tray is about 3 inches and would be a pain to service so we are going to switch to AGM batteries.
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:25 AM   #2
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Hi, do you have any build plans?
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:16 AM   #3
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Builder Plans.

Let me clean up my design and Ill post the plans. Things got a little complicated and some mods had to be made I'll try to get them out today or tomorrow.
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:01 PM   #4
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Battery shelf plans

Here is a quick sketch of my design I used to build my battery shelf. I will post the parts list and instructions soon.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:36 PM   #5
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So why do you have to add batteries? Are they going to be in the existing bank, or isolated and switched, or?
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:57 PM   #6
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The solar system we are adding requires 6 batteries to give us the storage we require.......along with about 1000 watts of panels. But that means we have to replace all of our coach batteries so they are all the same age and rating. The battery compartment on the Legacy just isn't long or wide enough for all six. I was concerned about the venting with two more batteries in that compartment but I have been assured that it will not be an issue.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
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The solar system we are adding requires 6 batteries to give us the storage we require.......along with about 1000 watts of panels. But that means we have to replace all of our coach batteries so they are all the same age and rating. The battery compartment on the Legacy just isn't long or wide enough for all six. I was concerned about the venting with two more batteries in that compartment but I have been assured that it will not be an issue.
Wow, nicely done. I didn't go with quite that many solar Watts just because of the battery issue, has not been a problem for us so far with one year travel under our belt. Just curious, what controller did you use?
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:22 AM   #8
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My wife wants to get out in the styx for days at a time so we had to have some system that would allow us to do that. We knew almost nothing about solar so looked to a solar expert that we found on here to help us out. He made all the suggestions and to be honest we haven't really gotten it all together yet but looking forward to giving her a test run soon. The controllers we are using are the BlueSky 3024IL and the IPN pro remote. Each controller can only handle 650 watts so we have to use two of them.
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:16 PM   #9
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My wife wants to get out in the styx for days at a time so we had to have some system that would allow us to do that. We knew almost nothing about solar so looked to a solar expert that we found on here to help us out. He made all the suggestions and to be honest we haven't really gotten it all together yet but looking forward to giving her a test run soon. The controllers we are using are the BlueSky 3024IL and the IPN pro remote. Each controller can only handle 650 watts so we have to use two of them.
Same controller I used, I did my own system. I am only using one controller but pushing it to the max. Anxious to see how yours works out. We attend bluegrass festivals, always dry camping. So far no issues. The residential fridge has not been as big of a deal as I thought and we make good use of our Auto Gen Start. As long as the sun is out, our 600 watt system more than covers our use during the day with a little left over. An hour or so with the generator in the AM and we recover from the night even with using the furnace. Last festival we were out 7 days, used only a couple gallons of diesel total for the generator.
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Old 04-08-2016, 04:05 PM   #10
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Weight of extra batteries and why not use L16 Batteries?

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Here is a quick sketch of my design I used to build my battery shelf. I will post the parts list and instructions soon.
This is a nice job. I've also thought about adding battery capacity, and have one idea and once concern, so I'd be interested in your thoughts or information on these.

1. L16 batteries are industrial batteries (for floor sweepers, I think) that have about the same foot print as golf cart GC1 batteries. They are also 6 volts, but they are 16 to 17 inches high. Four of them would get you to about 780 Amp Hours, versus about 400 for 4 GCs. And, you can get them in AGM or flooded. That would save having to build the shelf,

2. Are you concerned about the extra weight? Is the battery bay strong enough to handle it? I have asked Forest River if our Berk 34QS battery bay will handle 500 pounds of weight, as in the L16s, but haven't heard back yet. Did you do any reinforcement?

–Gordon
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:59 PM   #11
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Same controller I used, I did my own system. I am only using one controller but pushing it to the max. Anxious to see how yours works out. We attend bluegrass festivals, always dry camping. So far no issues. The residential fridge has not been as big of a deal as I thought and we make good use of our Auto Gen Start. As long as the sun is out, our 600 watt system more than covers our use during the day with a little left over. An hour or so with the generator in the AM and we recover from the night even with using the furnace. Last festival we were out 7 days, used only a couple gallons of diesel total for the generator.

Thanks for the info. I hope I have as much luck as you have. Our main concern was the fridge too. Good to hear its not that big of a deal.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:10 PM   #12
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This is a nice job. I've also thought about adding battery capacity, and have one idea and once concern, so I'd be interested in your thoughts or information on these.

1. L16 batteries are industrial batteries (for floor sweepers, I think) that have about the same foot print as golf cart GC1 batteries. They are also 6 volts, but they are 16 to 17 inches high. Four of them would get you to about 780 Amp Hours, versus about 400 for 4 GCs. And, you can get them in AGM or flooded. That would save having to build the shelf,

2. Are you concerned about the extra weight? Is the battery bay strong enough to handle it? I have asked Forest River if our Berk 34QS battery bay will handle 500 pounds of weight, as in the L16s, but haven't heard back yet. Did you do any reinforcement?

–Gordon

Hi Gordon. Your concerns over the compartment handling the weight are the same as mine. Im not OVERLY concerned. I took a good look at the mounting points and the box and I feel pretty good about it. BUT... I am going to keep an eye on it and I do have a fix in mind if I see any issues.

I had the very same thoughts about the batteries you mentioned and I think its a good idea but I haven't been able to find anyone that really answers the question either. I even shot the question to a solar expert that I know and he sort of side- stepped it. The numbers make sense and you are right about not having to build a shelf.....not to mention it would be easier to get to the batteries. I'll give the new batteries a good test run in about a week. Ill let you know how it works out.

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Old 04-09-2016, 11:42 AM   #13
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Hi Gordon. Your concerns over the compartment handling the weight are the same as mine. Im not OVERLY concerned. I took a good look at the mounting points and the box and I feel pretty good about it. BUT... I am going to keep an eye on it and I do have a fix in mind if I see any issues.

Cleatus
Cleatus,
Nice to know that we are thinking in the same direction. How were you going to strengthen things? My concern is that the whole bay structure of angle iron would break off the frame. It would be nice if we could get a better view of these things at the factory before they put things on.

The big concern is that the stresses will increase if you go over a sharp bump in the road, so a 50% excess capacity would be wise.

I'll get back to Forest River to follow up about my earlier inquiry, and let you know what I hear.

–Gordon
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Old 04-09-2016, 06:07 PM   #14
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Hey Gordon, You got my interest up and I stopped by the Legacy today and took a good hard look at all the mount points on the batter compartment. I got VERY under the motorhome and it was pretty interesting. I feel very good about it now. I took a lot of pics but after looking at them, if you didn't know what you were looking at you wouldn't know what they were.

SO......basically what I see is that there is a 1" (or so) square stock grid frame laying across the Freight Liner frame. It forms the floor of the whole motorhome and is supported from several different directions. Its attached to that grid, as is all of the compartments. The top of the Battery compartment (and probably all of other compartments) are welded on all four sides to another square stock frame that is attached to that main grid and in at least two places the square stock is doubled. The front (opening) of the battery compartment is bolted to a metal frame that runs down each side and PROBABLY across the top. There is also a large (aprox 3" x 1") rectangular tubing running and welded between the Battery box and the inverter box. There is a lot of support holding these boxes in place.

I would still be very interested in what Forest River says.....however Im not expecting them to say you can put anything other than what they put in it at that factory....the liability thing...
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:15 PM   #15
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Marine One,
You've done some good research here. I was at the parking spot for our Berk and did notice a really nice heavy frame piece at the top of the battery bay. Likely what you saw.

I'm going to bring it home in the next few weeks for the spring stuff and I'll build a ramp for the oil change, so I'll be able to have a good look for myself.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping to get an authoritative response to my weight query to Forest River. These folks have been helpful to me in the past.

–cheers, Gordon
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Old 04-14-2016, 06:32 PM   #16
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These pics show the final results of the battery install. The tray worked great. After about 150 miles of bouncing down back roads and highways and city streets the tray and compartment held up great. Im very pleased.

I did have to move the disconnect switch to make it easier to reach with the batteries installed and I am going to add some rubber to the bottom of the tray just incase there is some sort of failure of the straps or the tray. This will keep the metal tray from coming into contact with the batteries and causing a lot of sparking.
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:39 PM   #17
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These pics show the final results of the battery install. The tray worked great. After about 150 miles of bouncing down back roads and highways and city streets the tray and compartment held up great. Im very pleased.

I did have to move the disconnect switch to make it easier to reach with the batteries installed and I am going to add some rubber to the bottom of the tray just incase there is some sort of failure of the straps or the tray. This will keep the metal tray from coming into contact with the batteries and causing a lot of sparking.
Great job!
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:35 PM   #18
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Good work. Glad to see your experience in this.
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