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Old 07-24-2010, 12:26 PM   #29
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eMike:

I'll await the drawings. LOL!

I think I'll take measurements today and see if all will fit onto the existing tray. I was hoping to save the empty space at the jack for an additional two 6C house batteries.

I've never made up my own cables before, though surely it cannot be too difficult. Any suggestions on what to do/use/avoid?
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:39 PM   #30
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Out of sight out of mind, as the saying goes! If I did not have to open the battery compartment door to gain access to the engine oil and tyranny dip sticks, it would only be opened about once a month. That is too long a time not to do at least a visual check on the condition of the surface of the batteries. I then note how dirty the compartment is, any corrosion forming on the terminals, or associated areas, and it reminds me I need to clean up the area to keep the dirt down. This also then prompts me to clean and re-lube the posts with anticorrosive paste. So doing a little work in this compartment at least once a month is a good idea regardless of if I have flooded cell or AGM batteries. The maintenance is the same except checking the water level. Since I added the yellow cell caps things, I don't have to add nearly the distilled water I used to add. And lead acid batteries are cheap compared to the AGM's, and provide the same level of service with just a tad bit more effort. The costs of the AGM's to me do not justify the benefit of not having to check each cell. I still would have to clean the compartment monthly, so I'm still in there. I need to get my battery number for the model, because I think our coach has Interstate brand. That being the case, the batteries were installed in December 06, when the thing was made, and now they are approaching 5 years old. Next year, I will change them in the spring, before we head to Alaska (hopefully), so I know they are good. JMTCW.
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:58 PM   #31
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Concerning the cabling, I would go to a marine supply store, and buy red/black # 4 or 6 marine cables, depending on what is there now. WHY?

1. Marine wiring is all tinned copper at the factory, hence better conductivity and more resistance to corrosion than automotive wiring.

2. Marine wire tends to be more flexible, than automotive wire of that gauge and will be easier to work with.

3. You can purchase a crimper tool (eBay has them) which works with a hammer, and make up your own terminals (use copper or better tinned copper terminals-marine store again), but taking measurements and having a battery shop crimp on the terminals for you is easier as they have a machine. WRV used #6 (maybe #4) cabling for the jumpers between cells, and if you do battery maintenance regularly they will not degrade with time, so if the old ones look good, you can reuse them if clean.

Battery’s and the technologies surrounding them, was a two day instruction/discussion in my RVTC Training Center Class, and although AGM’s were superior technology, the costs of them versus the flooded lead acid technology did not justify the upgrade. Even supposing the life of the AGM’s is longer, it does not pencil out for me, because like many here, we tinker with our coach so doing the maintenance on the batteries is a labor of love like!!! Sorry for two posts.
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:06 PM   #32
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uhm, WOW. I can't wrap my head around 8x300 amp hour batteries. That's 1200 amp hours capacity.

I have to ask, how long do you Boon Dock?

I have 245 amp hours capacity right now, and find that suitable for a couple of days with some minor effort. At 1200 AH, I would be able to go for my longest trips easily.

Solar will be installed on the top of my coach here pretty soon...I may find that I want another set of batteries, but I kind of doubt it.

I still just can't wrap my head around needing that much power...what the heck are you doing with it all?

Follow the directions on wiring in the link in one of my previous posts. Size the wire for the largest current draw you will ever see, don't forget to consider charging currents. I'd either go to a place that specializes in batteries, or a welding shop to have the cables made. I prefer the wire that is used in welding. If it were me, I'd pby go with 2/0 wire and a good quality terminal ring. I'm sure the guy you are getting the batteries from can help you out on the wires you need.

With the capacity you are installing, you may want to think about how to charge the dog gone things...with even a 100 A charger, its going to take more than 6 hours to return them to full after a 50% discharge.

I'll stick with the flooded lead acid cells I have...I paid a little over $210 for the two 6V batteries I currently have, that's less than ONE of the lifelines you are looking at... As I've said before, I like the maintenance they require, it prompts me to pay more attention to other items...for me, the ROI on AGM's just isn't justified...YMMV, use care when opening, side effects may include...etc.
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:43 PM   #33
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uhm, WOW. I can't wrap my head around 8x300 amp hour batteries. That's 1200 amp hours capacity.
RocketDork,

Many Alpine Coaches have residential refrigerators - alternating current only. Also, Alpine Coaches have lots of parasitic draw from items such as the TV (not turned on), Amplifier (not turned on), Satellite receiver (not turned on), Microwave clock (microwave not turned on), Keyless entry, Vansco multiplexor, etc. That explains the need for lots of Amp-Hours for boondocking.

And, no one in this thread mentioned the need for 8 Lifeline GPL-6C AGM batteries. The only quantities I find mentioned are either 2, 4 or 6 - some in combination with 4Cs. Six Lifeline GPL-6C AGM batteries yields 900 Amp-Hours, not 1200.
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:55 PM   #34
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I thought someone had plans for 6 of the 6c's in the tray and an additional two in another location...I thought that's what I read...if I didn't, sorry.

Now I get it, but still, I'm amazed. It would be a little trouble, but I'd have all those parasitic things that are using power when "off" on a switch, I'd turn them truly off. I can take some inconvenience if it helps me extend the time I don't have to run the genset or buy additional expensive batteries...

It may just be an impression, but an Alpine coach seems to be designed to be connected to shore power most of the time...My little Winny seems to be more focused on boon docking...I'd pby still trade any of you straight across any day of the week, so don't take that as a jab or a negative thing.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:06 PM   #35
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For you non residential refrigerator owners, it uses quite a lot of power if you are heading into the back country through the inverter. I would guess starting current is 10A, running is 3-5A. But I'm really guessing. If you run the microwave/convection oven that too uses a bunch of power, and one fellow Alpine owner said I should use the generator, as it is less hard on the batteries/alternator to put all that juice back. Everything else can run on 12V power except the essential coffee pot, which again needs to have 120V @ 1500 Watts for about 10 minutes. Those three things alone, use up plenty of power. To keep from really using it, we have turned the breakers on the inverter side of the house off for the microwave, dishwasher, and any other things we can think of. That being said, when we boondocked, our batteries lasted fine, until just before 10PM AGS kicked the genset on and it ran for about 2 hours to charge them up again. I manually ran it first thing in the morning. I am guessing my batteries are getting weak, and will need to be replaced next year. The inverter/charger has standby current draw regardless if weather the coach is plugged into shore power or not. EM can quote what that number is, as I don't remember, so even if no load on the batteries from using 12/120V power, there is a small load on those batteries all the time. I have a 100W solar panel on the roof, but my guess it does not do much to keep the batteries up. As mentioned my fall back is my genset, I don't think I want to spend the money on more solar panels, since my ROI, wont' come close. I can purchase a lot of diesel for the close to 1K dollars necessary to install the next two 100 W panels, so I am just going to keep what I have.

We have 8 (plus 2 starting batteries) of these batteries and it is: P/N-VA-1255; Power-Volt GC; Reserve 125; AmpHr: 235AH. I thought they were interestate, but checking the website, nothing comes up, so either the models are different or they have a new numbering system. I will do additional research to find the exact replacement.
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:26 PM   #36
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Oh come on. Admit it. 1200 AH sounds thrilling. With a good solar array you'd never need the genset. Besides, it satisfies one's need for bigger is better.

Dork:

You were right. There have been discussions about going 8 batts. The new 6 CTs would obviate that. The 110 reefer does suck some power. As is, I can get by when boondocking with two hours genset charging in the morning and another hour in the evening. I have 6 Lifeline 4CT AGMs. It helps to turn off the reefer (or inverter) when going to sleep. My goal would be to strike a balance where the genset only ran for air-conditioning or exercise.

Just don't ask me to give up my 21 c.f. reefer. I like it stocked!

eMike:

I took the tray measurements. 31.25 deep and 24" wide. The overhang with generous wiring allowance is about 7-8 inches.

Turning the AGMs would work if the starters would fit under the overhang. The problem is they are too long (12.96", okay 13"). No fit. They are also too long for the space in front of the jack (10.4" x +/-18"). A pair of 6CT or 4CT can sit fore-to-aft.

The easiest remedy would be to use mixed capacity. I'm waiting for empirical proof it is okay. Until then, I'll likely have to stick with 4 CTs (maybe 8 of 'em?).
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:51 PM   #37
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IIRC my 6c's are ~7.125x11 footprint, same as a U2200, but 13" high.
W/tray 31 x 24, and allowing 8" for one starter under the frame, that leaves 31 - 8 = 23" for three batteries of 7.125" each. 23 / 3 = 7.7" so the three rows of 7" batteries should fit w/some spare for slop. At 24 wide that's good for two 11" running fore-aft.
The second starter (call it 8" x 13") should fit in the space between jack & batt door. The starters would need new cables. The 6c's would need one or two new home run cables depending.
That was my thought.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:37 AM   #38
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Oh come on. Admit it. 1200 AH sounds thrilling. With a good solar array you'd never need the genset. Besides, it satisfies one's need for bigger is better.
It does sound thrilling...I have to admit. I don't even want to think about the size of solar array that is going to keep 1200 AH alive and happy. The nice thing about one that would handle it, is that they tend to last a very long time, 20 years or so, so the ROI is decent. If I don't have to run the stinky, noisy generator, it really makes them a good deal.

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Everything else can run on 12V power except the essential coffee pot, which again needs to have 120V @ 1500 Watts for about 10 minutes.
Get a Melitta 10 cup pot and a Vacuum Pump Pot. Makes great coffee, and doesn't use any electricity (if you use a match to light the stove). If you must have an Espresso in the morning, try one of the many hand press espresso machines out there.

There are lots of ways to save power along the way, and still have comfort.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:04 AM   #39
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eMike:

Not sure why I didn't think about splitting up the starter batteries, other than wanting to save that extra space by the jack for yet another pair of chassis batteries. However, an increase from 660 AH to 900 would be great.

Dork:

You'd only need a solar array to replace the usage of one day (or oversize it to 1.5 days). The alternator ought to leave everything at full charge when you stop and set up. Please do the calculations and get back to me....
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:52 AM   #40
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There was mention of going to a marine supply store for wire/cable. Marine grade cable is very expensive and not as flexible as welding cable. Marine cable is a great choice, especially for those near the salt water, if the cost is okay for you. BTW, do a web search and you'll find much cheaper prices. If you're going to the additional expense of marine grade cable make sure you use closed end connectors and not the less expensive open ones. Also use adhesive coated shrink wrap over the connector and cable. There's no sense in spending the extra money and leaving the wire exposed.

With these large battery systems, you want to limit the length of the huge battery cable runs. For your house bank--not starting bank--you want to fuse the battery bank cable as close to the batteries, as possible. The fuse is to protect a short circuit between the battery bank and the house DC load and should be sized for the maximum DC house load. Those with sizable inverters and those with chargers that are capable of charge current far exceeding the coach's DC load, you should have multiple fuses at the battery bank (one for house load, one for the inverter, and one for the charger). The reason for multiple fuses is to allow for isolation from these 3 systems and to reduce the size of the feeder cable from the bank to these 3 systems.

The cable size running from the above fuses needs to be sized for maximum load, length (that's to and from length, not one way), and acceptable voltage drop. In the marine industry they recommend no more than 3% voltage drop. There's some good information at Blue Seas (marine related) Part 1: Choosing the Correct Wire Size for a DC Circuit - Resources - Blue Sea Systems .

If you follow the above, you'll likely have a less costly and safe DC electrical distribution system. BTW, in you're in Northern VA, stop by and you can borrow my lug crimper. If not, and you know the exact lengths you need, most truck shops will crimp the connectors for you.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:05 PM   #41
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Dork:

You'd only need a solar array to replace the usage of one day (or oversize it to 1.5 days). The alternator ought to leave everything at full charge when you stop and set up. Please do the calculations and get back to me....
Not enough info to even get close.

How far is up?

If you are really interested, I'd be willing to try. I'm just a neophyte on the Solar stuff.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:55 AM   #42
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Gil,

Alpines come with a fuse for the Inverter/charger and one for the house load. See in photo below. Far left cable runs from battery terminal to inverter fuse. Cable from same battery post (can't be seen) runs to junction post on red insulator base, to house fuse. Solenoid below and to the right of the fuses, is to jump the house and chassis battery banks for charging and emergencies.


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