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Old 08-19-2012, 03:57 PM   #1
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How Many Batteries....

Just got us a Gulf Stream and its last owner put a new 2000Watt Charger/Inverter on it....

Now being BRAND new to RVing and such, some one told me my 2 Deep Cycle batteries would not be enough?

Would it be better with more or just deal with the couple hours of TV watching I was told I would be limited to?

Any advice would be helpfull. Don't know how much dry camping we are going to do, but want to be prepared.
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:11 PM   #2
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With a 2000 watt inverter four 6 volt deep cycle batteries are about the minimum.
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunny068 View Post
Just got us a Gulf Stream and its last owner put a new 2000Watt Charger/Inverter on it....

Now being BRAND new to RVing and such, some one told me my 2 Deep Cycle batteries would not be enough?

Would it be better with more or just deal with the couple hours of TV watching I was told I would be limited to?

Any advice would be helpfull. Don't know how much dry camping we are going to do, but want to be prepared.


check this resource.

Batteries -- and Other Electric Stuff by phred
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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I will second what MR D said. the rule of thumb is 200 amp hours per kilowatt Each pair of GC-2 batteries is about 230 amp hours (At the 20 hour rate)

DO NOT BE FOOLED by the stores that advertise the "Amp hours at 1 amp" figures, Just ignore those.

NOTE.. I have run a 2KW inverter on one pair, but I did not do it long.

If you can do it adding more batteries means longer run time betgween recharges. AND longer battery life (overall). Or recharge every day and still LONGER over all life.
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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A DC powered TV is going to use less power than an AC TV pulling power from an inverter for starters. Calculate your overall load and one way to do this is with a Tri-Metric current gauge which shows current out, current in, and charge status of your battery bank. Like a fuel gauge for your batteries.

When you know how much power you are using each night you have an idea of what battery capacity is needed and what it will take to recharge the batteries during the day.

Trailers provide lots of roof space for solar panels and the cost for a solar setup is comparable to a generator but the solar is set it and forget it with no fuel or maintenance costs and you do not have to be at the trailer to have your batteries getting recharged.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
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I'm a KISS kind of guy (retired Navy Chief), so my answer is . . . Just because it's a 2000 does not mean you are going to use anything near that, and two batts just may be enough for you. Do the experiment . . . boondock for a night and see how it goes, if you need more batts, get more. Asking for advice so variable in scope is, in my opinion, worthless except maybe to make a person feel that they are part of something. Ed
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:27 AM   #7
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I agree with Elkhornsun, get a Trimetic battery monitor. Then you will know exactly how much of your battery you use each day. With this information you can decide on what (size) batteries you need to purchase. Here is a link, about $200 with the shunt and cable.

Trimetric TM-2025RV Battery Monitor System
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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Send a message via MSN to chwhnd

I have 4 U145 251AmHr batteries for my house and another 12 for my 4KW 24V Sine Wave inverter. It is pretty near impossible to have toooo many batteries if you intend on living off the grid! I also refrain from discharging more than 25% SOC.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:40 PM   #9
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If you boondock a lot in sunny climate, add some solar panels to keep your batteries charged up, greatly decreases the need to run your generator. I spent 14 days boodocked in the North Cascades of WA state this summer in 80+ degree weather, was parked with early morning shade, afternoon sun, Southwester exposure, with 400 watts of solar on my motorhome roof, a 2000 watt inverter and 4 6VDC interstate batteries. Batteries running 2 temperature controlled Fantastic ceiling fans set for on/off at 70 degrees, 1 endless breeze DC fan from 8 in morning to 9 at night, 1 DC portable refer/freezer set to 0 degrees, the other normal hotel loads, AC drip coffee maker every morning, AC toaster most mornings, curling iron and blow dryer whenever DW needed them. Never started the generator the entire time, lowest battery voltage in the morning noted was 11.9 VDC, after 2 days of cloudy weather. Afternoon battery voltage during full sun days was always over 14VDC, several days batteries were fully charge when the sun when down. During heat of the day solar panels would put out between 20 to 24 amps.

IMO solar is the way to go, when boondocking in sunny areas, to supplement your batteries, but you have to be willing to make the investment which is bit pricey. Don't skimp on a solar installation, it is one of those products/installations that you truly get what you pay for! Hi output solar panels, hi output adjustable charge controllers and extra heavy guage copper wire are also expensive, but a must to maxiimize the effectiveness of a solar installation.

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Old 08-27-2012, 08:20 AM   #10
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We boondock nearly 100% of the time and are in our rig 6 months at a stretch (as of today we haven't plugged in for 3 months).

I think that just as important as "how many batteries?" is "how will they get charged?" You shouldn't deplete your batteries more than 30%. But you need to be able to put that much back in just as easily.

Two deep cycle 12-volt batteries may give you 140 amp-hours total, allowing you to use ~45 amps per night if they are fully charged and you don't have a generator running. Next day you gotta get those 45 amps back in, whether by solar, generator or alternator.

Our setup is: four 6-volt batteries, 490 watts solar (4 solar panels), 60 amp charge controller, 1100 watt pure sine wave inverter. That is enough for us to live as we would in a house and not think about power consumption. The only thing we can't do is run the air conditioner.

We turn on the inverter when we wake up and turn it off before bedtime. We run 2 laptops, 26" tv, microwave, stereo, hair dryer, lights, power tools, even a pump to keep our tires up to pressure, etc.

We lived for a year on a much smaller setup: 2 12-volt batteries, 130 watts solar, 10 amp charge controller, 800 watt modified sine wave inverter. That was fine for summertime if we were conservative. In the winter it was not enough -- we felt like we were "camping."

If you are just looking to do a few days of dry-camping at a time, the smaller setup would be just fine for you.

The parts for our "full-timer's setup" I described, including everything, are about $3,000 if you shop carefully. The parts for the smaller setup are about $750. We did the installations ourselves.

I hope that helps -- we've got more info on our website, as we have put solar power on 2 RVs and a sailboat and have learned a lot in the process...
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:56 AM   #11
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Try it a couple times and see – everyone ((me included) wants to run out and buy stuff for there new toy prior to going and see what you need.
Good info here from the folks. I only have/use 2 house batteries, but I only boondock for 2 or 3 days at a time (and do not run the gennny or solar charging. I have LED lights and use a DC power to the laptop to watch DVDs. I don't use the TVs when boondocking (no stations anyway). Works for me, but it is definitely more camping than full timing - luxury camping.
P.S. Coffee and cooking via LP gas or cammpfire - microwave and AC aren't options for me either. The Fantastic fan keeps it aired out and cool.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:55 AM   #12
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Asking for advice so variable in scope is, in my opinion, worthless except maybe to make a person feel that they are part of something. Ed
Go easy on the guy Ed, the OP is new here and there isn't a set of rules on how to ask questions before you post a new thread.

The reason they ask is because the don't know and want to know and would like to benefit from all of our experience.

Who knows.......maybe the OP will be answering a question you post some day.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunny068 View Post
Just got us a Gulf Stream and its last owner put a new 2000Watt Charger/Inverter on it....

Now being BRAND new to RVing and such, some one told me my 2 Deep Cycle batteries would not be enough?

Would it be better with more or just deal with the couple hours of TV watching I was told I would be limited to?

Any advice would be helpfull. Don't know how much dry camping we are going to do, but want to be prepared.
Depends on what you want to do.
If you plan on dry camping all the time, as long as you aren't sitting in the coach all day watching TV and running a fan and lights it should last you a good weekend. With our class B we have 2 deep cycle batteries under the back floor. With watching TV in the evenings and running a fan when it's warm we can get 3 days use out of them.

We've been considering a 200watt solar panel system for the roof, but right now it's just not practical due to the layout of our camper.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:44 AM   #14
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As mentioned peripherally monitoring your usage is a very important part of care and feeding of your batteries and part of that equation is conservation. When I had our trailer built I supplied the marine LED light fixtures, solar controllers, and inverter. I Installed the 185 W high voltage solar panel and the Victron battery monitor. On our month long trip this summer we did not get below 70% state of charge.
The magic number is that you do not want to go below 50% but the occasional lower depth will not likely significantly impact the life of your batteries which are likely to age out first. This does however bring up the, do you know the current age/condition of the batteries you have question.
There is no substitute for knowing the numbers, what is your actual and anticipated load and actual capacity of the batteries and how far you are discharging them. I was a bit paranoid until I actually started monitoring depth of discharge/ state of charge.
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