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Old 08-11-2014, 09:05 PM   #1
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Tell me what I need

I've started boondocking a little bit,I run my generator at night so we can have the ac and charge up the batteries,after about three hours,my house battery is showing about 12.3 volts(is that letting it get to low).I just have a single 8D battery for the house side.I'm wanting to go solar,will I need a different battery or add another one,I run my frig on LP,The battery is new,so I thought it would last longer.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:50 PM   #2
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If you are plugged into your generator and your battery is going low then you need to check your converter. It may not be charging your battery.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stan5711 View Post
I've started boondocking a little bit,I run my generator at night so we can have the ac and charge up the batteries,after about three hours,my house battery is showing about 12.3 volts(is that letting it get to low).I just have a single 8D battery for the house side.I'm wanting to go solar,will I need a different battery or add another one,I run my frig on LP,The battery is new,so I thought it would last longer.
Hi Stanley,

Do you know exactly how much power you routinely use each day (energy audit)? Do you have a battery monitor? If not, I would put that on your need list. I have a Trimetric and love it but there are several good options. This device will tell you how fast you are using your stored power, state of the battery bank, and when it is fully charged. One thing I enjoy doing is switching varies items on and off to see how many amps they consume.

What is the amp-hour capacity of your battery? I'm guessing at about 250 amp-hours for that size.

Once you know how you are using your power (energy audit) you can determine if you need more storage capacity. I recently read of a (big) RV that had phantom loads of 30 amps!! That is huge, my rig is only about 1.5 amps. There is not right or wrong, just different equipment and operation. I only have 230 amp-hours but that seems to be plenty for me. Here in the southwest, my 650 watts of solar have me fully charged by about 9am. If I were elsewhere or using the microwave or other big-draw items (from inverter), I would expect to at least double my capacity.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:06 AM   #4
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We have 4 six volt batteries with factory solar and find that marginal.
FYI: most "boondocking" facilities (national & state) either do not allow generators (Big Bend NP) or daylight hours only (BLM - Quartzsite)
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:21 AM   #5
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Tell me what I need

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Originally Posted by stan5711 View Post
I've started boondocking a little bit,I run my generator at night so we can have the ac and charge up the batteries,after about three hours,my house battery is showing about 12.3 volts(is that letting it get to low).I just have a single 8D battery for the house side.I'm wanting to go solar,will I need a different battery or add another one,I run my frig on LP,The battery is new,so I thought it would last longer.

I agree with the other advice given regarding energy audits and a trimetric battery monitor. If you are trying to read voltage as a guess of SOC (State of Charge), you can't do that while the batteries are charging, OR have a load on them...which pretty much makes most other simple battery gauges useless. My guess is that your batteries are still holding more charge than your gauge is telling.....but then that is while you need a battery monitor that takes the guess work out of it.

Install this monitory first, then it will help you do the energy audit....finding out exactly how much energy you are using. This will help you size a solar array exactly to your needs (if you decide to go this route for extended boondocking)

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Old 08-13-2014, 07:54 PM   #6
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Stan....

From your picture it appears that you have a class A, so I'm surprised that you only have a single coach battery.... I have four in mine and I can go for days if I run the generator for a few hours during the day....

If you have the space, I'd see about adding more batteries in a series which would really serve you so much better....
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:05 PM   #7
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I don't know why they put the big 8D in there,
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:00 AM   #8
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A typical 8D deep cycle would be rated for 225 (gel or AGM) or 250 (flooded) amp-hours, roughly the same as three Group 24 12v or two Group 31 12v or two GC2 6v's. That's a moderate amount for boondocking, but plenty for fridge, water pump and some lights for a couple nights. Not so much if you want to watch a lot of tv, use computer all evening, keep coffee warm, etc. As JFNM says, you need to assess your daily energy needs and size the battery bank accordingly. Solar is basically just a nice alternative to the generator for charging - it doesn't give you any more stored power.

4 x 6V GC2 (golf cart) batteries would nearly double your battery reserve, about 470 AH. Usually the best value on a cost per amp-hour basis.
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