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Old 09-30-2011, 12:44 PM   #57
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So what is the appropriate way to wire them? I am new to all of this and with trying to read all the info on this subject on this site it is becoming a bit overwhelming
To add to what Forest said...

If you use 12 volt, you'll simply connect all the positive terminals together, ditto with the negatives. If you get 6 volts, like Trojan T-105's, you'll take two of them and wire one of the POS to the other's Neg. Now the PAIR constitute one big twelve volt battery. Obviously you have to buy them in pairs to make that work.

(One thing to consider, if you have a tight battery space, as I do, the Taller 6 volt batteries usually wont fit under the space provided. Measure first!)

I have a single coach battery under the door step...very common in many coaches. The other three 12 volt deep-cycles go under the Dining table seats, where I have lots of room. Inverter goes in there too, to keep heavy cable length to a minimum. I hook them all together in parallel, drilled a hole in the floor, and ran 4Ga welding cable over to the positive side of the Coach battery.

Negative cable went to a convenient bolt on the frame right near the hole. No need to run another big cable all the way to the original coach battery, as the frame serves as one giant Negative wire. Just make sure any negative connection to the frame is clean and tight.

The reason I did it this way was I didn't feel like relocating all the wires going into the original battery location. This setup used the least amount of cable and rewiring, and the 4 batteries really don't care if they are separated or not.

Another benefit is, I can put my 200 Amp meter shunt on the positive terminal of the original battery to monitor the power coming into the pack whether off the alternator, the converter, or the solar. I just like to see what's coming in to the pack... I'm weird that way.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:55 AM   #58
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Alright, sure. If you got an 8ft teardrop trailer and a 180 watt panel, you will get by just fine with a small capacity AGM for the weekend!

But for those of us with average and above RV's and extended stays in boondocking areas, you will need a whole lot more capacity than that unless you wanna run your battery dry every night. And that's even if you DO have conservation lighting, and turn everything off when not in use.

At least, you will if you want to enjoy any amenities of modern living like computers, television, cell phones, radio, etc...
I don't know about that. I have a Sansui 19" led tv that uses 23 watts and Sat reciever that uses 20 watts. You are only talking 4-5 amp draw. If I watch tv 5 hrs and have a 105ah battery I only use 1/4 the power in that battery. I'm sure that 180 watt panel will charge that back up even on a cloudy day.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:38 AM   #59
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Actually the teardrop is a 6X10 (big for a tear) and has when we want it a Sat dish, flat screen TV, Sirius radio, LED reading lights, 6gal gas/electric water heater, Bullfinch shower point and gas point for the grill, Eberspacher diesel heater, outlets for charging cell phones or the lap top. 12V water pump to take water out of lakes or streams and put it through the filters to fill the water tank.
I do have a 5000BTU AC unit that I would have to bring the generator for but I am working on/thinking about a small engine (driving a automotive type AC compressor) powered AC unit. Total wet weight 1450# (all aluminum frame) and I get about 24 MPG towing it with a Subaru. No it is not a big unit and yes you have to put up the potty tent for shower or porta potty but Higher fuel prices are not particularly scary and it will do some serious boondocking (including mild offroad) for extended periods of time.
I just picked up a 140W Unisolar flexible solar panel and Steca PWM controller. I do not know how well they will work together but the Steca is rated for 47 V input and the panel is putting out 42. The plan is to have it on an extension cord and able to put it out in the sun when needed (One of the reasons for wanting the higher voltage).
Ours is the small one

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Old 01-19-2012, 01:39 PM   #60
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Actually the teardrop is a 6X10 (big for a tear) and has when we want it a Sat dish, flat screen TV, Sirius radio, LED reading lights, 6gal gas/electric water heater, Bullfinch shower point and gas point for the grill, Eberspacher diesel heater, outlets for charging cell phones or the lap top. 12V water pump to take water out of lakes or streams and put it through the filters to fill the water tank.
I do have a 5000BTU AC unit that I would have to bring the generator for but I am working on/thinking about a small engine (driving a automotive type AC compressor) powered AC unit. Total wet weight 1450# (all aluminum frame) and I get about 24 MPG towing it with a Subaru. No it is not a big unit and yes you have to put up the potty tent for shower or porta potty but Higher fuel prices are not particularly scary and it will do some serious boondocking (including mild offroad) for extended periods of time.
I just picked up a 140W Unisolar flexible solar panel and Steca PWM controller. I do not know how well they will work together but the Steca is rated for 47 V input and the panel is putting out 42. The plan is to have it on an extension cord and able to put it out in the sun when needed (One of the reasons for wanting the higher voltage).
Ours is the small one


Nice!!

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Old 01-19-2012, 01:55 PM   #61
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I have a single coach battery under the door step...very common in many coaches. The other three 12 volt deep-cycles go under the Dining table seats, where I have lots of room. Inverter goes in there too, to keep heavy cable length to a minimum. I hook them all together in parallel, drilled a hole in the floor, and ran 4Ga welding cable over to the positive side of the Coach battery.
I hope the battery compartment you have under the dinning table seats is sealed from the living compartment or they are gel cells other wise you're asking for trouble. Also, the inverter should be separated from the batteries.
Batteries produce corrosive and explosive gasses when charging and inverters cause sparks at times.
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:06 PM   #62
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I have four 6 volt batteries under the seat of the dinette along with the charger thingy. At times I noticed the battery smell in the air while plugged in so I installed a relay that turns on four 3 1/2 computer fans that suck the air from under the dinette seat to the outside whenever I plug in the shore power.

No shore power then the fans don't run but there is a bypass switch if the need arrises for them to run for whatever reason. When I get "Tinker" out of where she is right now I will take pictures of the set up and post.
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:36 PM   #63
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I have four 6 volt batteries under the seat of the dinette along with the charger thingy. At times I noticed the battery smell in the air while plugged in so I installed a relay that turns on four 3 1/2 computer fans that suck the air from under the dinette seat to the outside whenever I plug in the shore power.

No shore power then the fans don't run but there is a bypass switch if the need arrises for them to run for whatever reason. When I get "Tinker" out of where she is right now I will take pictures of the set up and post.
If the gasses build high enough you might cause An explosion when your computer fans come on unless the have a motor that does not make any kind of spark. the fans should be magnetic and not make a spark but I would check that out .Have you tried sealing the area the Batterys sit so that no gas comes in the MH? Gorilla tape would work on the seams.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:32 AM   #64
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Most computer case fans are induction so sparks are not a problem, however having a battery bank out-gassing hydrogen in a small compartment is a some what scary proposition.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:42 AM   #65
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Most computer case fans are induction so sparks are not a problem, however having a battery bank out-gassing hydrogen in a small compartment is a some what scary proposition.
My 460 AH of batteries rarely charge at more than a C10 rate on my smart charger, so significant gassing isn't much of a problem. When on Solar, it's more like a C40 rate. That being said, I drilled two additional holes at the top of the bench (as hydrogen is the lightest gas) to vent any hydrogen gassing that does occur.

As with all gases, it takes a certain stoichiometric concentration of air to hydrogen (34:1) before it becomes explosive, and long before that concentration occurs the gas just diffuses out. Building a tight battery box with complicated exhaust measures would allow that concentration to build up easier, it seems to me.

That being said, as a full-timer I've gone 3 years on the same battery pack thru hundreds of deep charge/dischargings with a charger and inverter in the same space and I'm still here! :-)
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:43 AM   #66
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Not only will the gases possibly be an explosion hazard but they are also corrosive. If you inspect the wood around the batteries if they are being affected the wood will be dark brown or black.
If you have been using them for 3 years they are probably not outgassing very much. That could change if the batteries go bad.
As long as you know the risks and are ok with that who are we to say don't do it?
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:01 PM   #67
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Wow, interesting thread.
I am a dyed in the wool boondocker. Not a big fan of campgrounds at all.

After I put in my solar charging system, I wanted a bit more capacity. Since my RV is so small and space is REALLY at a premium, especially compartment space, I began looking to replace my Trojan TMX27 Deep Cycles with something that would get more additional AH to use for overhead and extended cloudy days. i do have an generator and I'm not afraid to use it....so far my energy consumption on an average night with some heat is around 80AH. My batteries can supply around 115AH (2x115/2 for 50% discharge MAX) I'm ok with what I have, but I'm always looking for a better mousetrap.

I could fit 3 Group 27's and MAYBE 31's I would be adding a lot of weight to an already flimsy compartment.

I started to look into other battery technology and came across Lithium Phosphate. (LiFePO3) I've begun researching and developing a solution with some manufacturers and large resellers in the US.

I'm not finished yet, but the basic numbers are quite good. 80% discharge, much more efficient charging, they don't care about being undercharged. They are lighter. They have better energy density.

TANSTAAFL.

Stay tuned.

Oh, I wrote the first part of the article for the RV newsletter, it's on my weblog at:

WanderMan: How Much Do You Have In The Bank?

It may help....

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Old 01-23-2012, 09:26 PM   #68
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Most computer case fans are induction so sparks are not a problem, however having a battery bank out-gassing hydrogen in a small compartment is a some what scary proposition.
I bought four brand new Interstate U-2200's and put them in the back of my Odyssey on Friday. I drove home some 10 miles. In that short amount of time I could smell the fumes and my eyes burned slightly, and they weren't even connected up. There's no way I would have them inside the house portion of an RV unless in a sealed and well vented location.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #69
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I'll be finding out this summer. My 86 Winnie only has 1 12volt house battery. This summer I'll be adding either 1 or 2 more and solar panels to mine. I have one compartment I can get at least one more battery in so I'll have at least 210ah. My 19" led only uses 20watts and the Dishnetwork reciever uses 20-30watts so I won't need alot. I'm adding 2-80watt panels and MPPT controller which will keep them pretty well charged up.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:03 PM   #70
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Not only will the gases possibly be an explosion hazard but they are also corrosive. If you inspect the wood around the batteries if they are being affected the wood will be dark brown or black.
If you have been using them for 3 years they are probably not outgassing very much. That could change if the batteries go bad.
As long as you know the risks and are ok with that who are we to say don't do it?

Yeah, actually corrossion was my only real concern as I ventilated the under-bench area pretty well. Mounting my electronics on the floor I figured would keep the very light hydrogen off them, and so far I see no sign of corrosion. Nor any on the wood. The fact I haven't had to add any water in almost two years seems top testify to that too.

I knew early on I wanted a large bank both for flexibility to operate longer between charges, and vastly improved lifespan. I charge-discharge daily, and keeping a (usually) shallower depth of discharge preserves battery life and retards gassing. Having even half the AH\ I have now I am sure would have meant much increased maintenance and I'd be replacing the pack already.

If I'm charged up, I routinely (once,twice a week) let the batteries charge past 15volts at a C40 rate. I believe that has helped alot with maintaining them at like new output. Given they are just cheap, Group27 Wal-mart deep cycles, they've held in pretty well.

I am true believer in putting in more storage that you'll routinely use. Even if you have to build your own battery box. (I'm thinking @ relocating the three under the bench to a box I build between the driver/passenger seat). Since gassing as an issue has been eliminated more or less, it gives me the freedom to relocate more freely, and redistribute weight as I like. Not to mention get some valuable storage space back.
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