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Old 07-20-2016, 09:32 PM   #1
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2 6v vs 4 6v Batteries & 1000W vs 2800W Inverter

DW and I are ordering a new FW. One of the options is 4-6V Batteries and a 2800W inverter. We will do a fair amount of boondocking. It is a $1500 upgrade at 30% off MSRP. Is this be an upgrade we "need" or is it money ill spent? An ONAN LP 5500 will be available as well. Appreciate your advise...

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Old 07-20-2016, 09:39 PM   #2
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We have 4 8D 12 V (230 amp hours each) wet cells, a 3000 watt PS inverter and 400 watts of solar. We boon dock for a couple days (usually heavy travel days) then find a park.

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Old 07-21-2016, 12:34 AM   #3
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In my TC I have 2 group 31 AGM, 200 watts solar and a 1000 watt PSW inverter, just went a week with only partial sun without using genny. Our fifth wheel has 4 x 6 volt, 300 watts solar and a 2000 watt PSW inverter, lasts about the same time. It sure is nice not having to run the genny very much.
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:59 AM   #4
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What brand / model is the inverter? Is it PSW? Best If like a Zantrex or Magnum with transfer switch, etc.

If you are going to dry camp the 4 batteries is a must/minimum IMHO.

So I would say yes to the option.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:23 AM   #5
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It somewhat depends on how you plan on living. If you are going to insist on using a coffee maker and microwave like you were on the grid you will need the capacity. If you plan on being on the power grid all the time you will not need it. If you want to be off grid a lot and are willing to conserve electricity then you may not need all that Inverter capacity. If you are going to be off grid much I would probably do the battery upgrade in that case and think about the inverter as it would buy more off grid time between charges. You might want the larger charging section of the larger inverter for faster bulk charging of batteries and some solar for float charging. If you are expecting to use A/C and electric loads like a cook top and residential refrigerator you will be running the generator anyway. Your first problem is to decide how you want to live in your FW.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:12 AM   #6
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Be sure the upgrade includes the proper sized cables. I would have the 4 golf cart batteries.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:56 AM   #7
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If you are going to do a bit of dry camping, are the holding tanks on a FW large enough? Next how are you going to re-charge the batteries?

My last rig had 4x6vdc batteries, a 2000w modified sine wave inverter, and 4x135W solar panels. I would skip the 5500W Onan. If you need A/C, the cost of fuel for the Onan will almost pay for a night at a RV park. Plus it takes up the front compartment.

I could run the TV, microwave, elec coffee all off the inverter and use around 200 amp hours a day. I was usually fully charged up by noon or 2PM.

I would question wiring size by the factory. Most is undersized, often times it is better to do it your self, you get it the way you want and understand how it all goes together.
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Old 07-21-2016, 01:00 PM   #8
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$1500 is a decent price for four Golf Cart 6V deep cycle batteries and a 2800W inverter (Zantrex or Magnum and with remote control), all factory installed. The extra capacity of the 2800W inverter over the 1000W one allows you to run more loads simultaneously. The 1000W inverter may not be able to even run a microwave alone.

Considering that you intend to do "a fair amount of boon docking", I would recommend some way of recharging your batteries on a daily basis while boon docking - a generator and/or solar panels.

Four 6V GC batteries with a 225 AH rating will give you a battery bank with a max capacity of 5400 watt hours at 12V. Discharging the bank by 50% yields 2700 watt hours and a 20% discharge yields only 1080 watt hours. Running a 1000W microwave for a daily total of 15 minutes a will burn 250 of those watt hours. The less you discharge your battery bank, the more "cycles" you will get from it before you need to replace the batteries. The difference between a constant 50% discharge cycle and a constant 20% discharge cycle can be as high as 40% more discharge cycles. I always shoot for 20% or less discharge per day on my battery bank and the ability to fully recharge the bank each day.

Additionally, if you intend to boon dock in an environment that requires the use of air conditioner(s), you will need a generator of sufficient capacity to run the air conditioner(s).
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:27 PM   #9
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I bought used and it came with the magnum 2000 watt PSW and four 6v gc and we are happy. The best thing is it was ordered with a 50 amp plug on the front of the unit with a transfer switch. I can plug in front or back which is convenient but the plus is I can carry a 3000 watt Yamaha with boost in the bed of my truck. I drape the cord over the tailgate and can run one ac unit so we can leave the dogs and go eat or sightsee a little. I can precool the trailer before getting to a campsite. If we boondock I just park the truck on the side with the Eco switch on and it's quiet. I'm glad it doesn't have an LP gulping Onan in my storage area. YMMV

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Old 07-22-2016, 06:44 AM   #10
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The hungry Onan is very handy and trouble free.
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Old 07-23-2016, 06:22 AM   #11
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We had a Cardinal 2850RL once with a 5500 LP Onan. It was handy for the A/C at NASCAR race but REALLY sucked the LP! Good thing there were trucks that would refill your bottles on site, otherwise it would have been a giant PIA to take them to fill. Got a couple of Yamaha 2000s now and a gas can. A lot of new trailers have ZAMP solar plugs, don't know about them but it sounds like a good idea.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:19 PM   #12
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Hmm, some folks like to have things dealer installed but there is obviously a price to pay for that. A good 2500 watt PSW inverter can be had for say $350. 2 additional 6 volt Trojan batteries can be found for around $300. That's $650 in hard costs. Add in some good cables and battery boxes with your labor .... well, you do the math. For me I would save the money and do it myself but most of my friends would write the check.

As far as whether you should have it all or not is another discussion but I'm setup with an LP Onan, 2 -6 volt GC batteries and 300 watts of solar. I can live off the grid for quite a long time although we don't bother with the microwave or electric coffee pot. Our black can handle us for 2 weeks and for our grey I have a tote in case I need to empty it. Also have a bladder to refill the fresh water if needed.

Having 4 - 6 volt batteries is not always the answer. It takes longer to get 4 batteries charged back up than 2 and, for us, we don't needed more than the 225 AH our 2 batteries provide us.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:52 PM   #13
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If they are going tosell tou that Onan for under 4 grand buy it. If not go to Norwall power and they sell Onan 5500 for 4 grand. That is where l got min no tax and free shipping.

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