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Old 09-18-2015, 10:28 PM   #1
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setup for dry camping

I am taking delivery of a 2016 PrimeTime Tracer Ultralite 2850RED next Thursday and trvaveling with her and my 1500 RAM across the country to Oregon. I have a 4850/3750 dual fuel generator but I thought I would also ask the dealer to upgrade me to AGM battery and wire 2 of them in parallel.

Any thoughts on this? They are twice the price of the DEKA deep cycle battery that comes with the rig but considering that I will be doing off-grid stuff for days when I can I thought I would post it here.

Thanks all for your thoughts.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:41 PM   #2
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Have a great trip. Drive safe.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:21 AM   #3
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Check the 'group' size of the standard battery...it is probably the small group 24. You want as much juice as you can get if dry camping. Make sure you get a group 29 battery. Or better yet 2 group 29's.

A small group 24 battery costs $100 and much better group 29 battery costs $129 from Interstate.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:46 AM   #4
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You would be surprised at what just one 140 watt solar panel will do to keep batteries charged.

If you really want to stay off grid, 4 Trojan 105 batteries, 4 140 watt panels, a 3 stage charges and a 2000watt inverter and you can sell the generator
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:08 AM   #5
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battery groups

Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
Check the 'group' size of the standard battery...it is probably the small group 24. You want as much juice as you can get if dry camping. Make sure you get a group 29 battery. Or better yet 2 group 29's.

A small group 24 battery costs $100 and much better group 29 battery costs $129 from Interstate.
will the Group 29 fit in the 2 battery compartments?
Would you bother upgrading to the glass mat batteries?

What You Need To Know About Your RV Batteries - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

Thanks all.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:35 AM   #6
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will the Group 29 fit in the 2 battery compartments?

Would you bother upgrading to the glass mat batteries?

AGM batteries are spill-proof so they would be an advantage if you need to cram the batteries into a smaller space that they would not normally fit....I.e. If for example you need to lay them on their sides, or any other unusual position where flooded cells must only be installed in one orientation or the electrolyte leaks out. AGM also produces no corrosion since no acid leaks out in normal operation. AGM also doesn't require you to replace lost water in the cells.

That being said, the power density is roughly the same as closed cells. You would need a very specialised (high amp ) charger if you wanted to take advantage of the fact that AGM batteries can charge faster due to their lower internal resistance....so really not an advantage in your situation.

So get the AGM only if you agree to pay for the convenience factors.....not because you think they will power your trailer longer. Look for the Ah (Amp hour) rating to know the capacity. CCA numbers are meaningless in your situation.

For either type of battery.....don't discharge the battery below 50% before recharging. If you do, the lifespan of the battery will be cut much shorter and could fail early.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:45 AM   #7
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Get a digital voltmeter. Readings taken when there is no load on the battery, AND when no charging has taken place in the last few hours.

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If you are serious about boondocking you should get a meter similar to this one to keep track of your batteries. It measures and keeps track of how much current has gone into and out of the batteries at all times....making it much more accurate than "idiot lights" OR a voltmeter reading.

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Old 09-19-2015, 10:36 AM   #8
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Stay with the standard batteries, at least until you get the hang of living on batteries. Just keep an eye on the water level.

By the time they fail, you will have much more experience in managing them.

Then you can make the decision if you want or need to go with AGM.

A battery monitor is a battery users best friend.

Like others have said, whether AGM or wet cells, the capacity is about the same, for any given size of battery.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:59 AM   #9
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battery recommendations? Not AGM

They say the Tracer comes with a $90 Deka battery. I assume that is a group 24.
I would like to upgrade to two group 29 batteries based on the advice I received in this thread (thanks all). Are Deka batteries good? Any advice? Links I can send to dealer appreciated and I probably still have time to order myself.

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Old 09-22-2015, 08:22 AM   #10
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Deka makes a good battery. Many electric forklifts use Deka batteries. Make sure to get "fresh" batteries.....not ones that have sat around uncharged in a warehouse for 6 months or more.

Trojan makes an excellent deep cycle battery as well.


If you have a Sam's Club near you, the golf cart batteries are usually a good choice also. If you get the GC2 batteries, make sure to wire 2 of them in series (not parallel) to get the proper 12 volts for your trailer.

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Old 09-22-2015, 08:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfwright View Post
You would be surprised at what just one 140 watt solar panel will do to keep batteries charged.

If you really want to stay off grid, 4 Trojan 105 batteries, 4 140 watt panels, a 3 stage charges and a 2000watt inverter and you can sell the generator

X2 to solar!!!

I would go with a slightly different design but Jim's point is right on the money! Solar is fantastic when dry camping/boondocking. People like to make solar systems complicated and expensive, they don't need to be.

Disclaimer: I hate noise (generators).

No matter how you approach it - have a wonderful trip!!
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:23 AM   #12
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I have two Crown 260 6v deep cycle batteries. I also bought an Iota 15.5v 50amp charger I have permanently mounted in my pass through. I monitor my batteries with a Trimetric meter. This investment was several hundred dollars but well worth it. I can dry camp for 4 days and run my Honda 2000 generator for 2 hours and be back at 100% when conserving. You are hard pressed to hear the Honda generator outside your camp site when the only load is charging. When not conserving I can go 2 days easily between charges. This includes watching my 12v TV, electric stab jacks, awning, slide out, LED lights, radio, heat, fridge, etc... The only time we start the generator is for charging and for my wife's hair dryer. I'm looking into a good inverter setup for the hair dryer.

Check out Crown, they are arguably better than Trojan for similar price and you should consider 6v batteries and I'd avoid AGM, no need to spend the extra money if your batteries are outside.

We went with this type of setup instead of $olar because when we camp we are usually in the forest and there is always shade or shadow on the trailer. It is rare that the trailer is exposed to enough sunlight to do any good. If I lived in AZ or CA I'd definitely consider solar but our setup is doing extremely well for a fraction of the cost of solar and I have a nice backup generator to boot It is surprising how often state parks lose power!
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