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Old 05-23-2016, 07:32 AM   #1
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New TT Battery options

Next month or early July we'll be buying a new travel trailer and I'd like to try and provide some future options for it with regard to the battery. Eventually we would like to do some boondocking for 3-4 days at a time and I'd like to be able to cover that with extra battery power and a solar charging option. The dealer can provide an Interstate Group 24 battery with 85 amp hours but I'm wondering if there is a better option that I can provide and just hookup the battery myself. Any recommendations knowing that I want to add a solar charging system in the future? I would probably just need one battery now but would add it's twin later.
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:25 AM   #2
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Your best choice would be paired, 6V golf cart batteries. If you will do a lot of boondocking, install as many pairs as will fit.

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Old 05-23-2016, 08:28 AM   #3
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This is where you need to start your homework
What you think you need and what is reality are often some distance apart.
I would start with https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/ he is opinionated but but with good reason and it works. Batteries Deep Cycle Battery FAQ gives you an understanding of battery types and what they will do.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MapleKing View Post
Next month or early July we'll be buying a new travel trailer and I'd like to try and provide some future options for it with regard to the battery. Eventually we would like to do some boondocking for 3-4 days at a time and I'd like to be able to cover that with extra battery power and a solar charging option. The dealer can provide an Interstate Group 24 battery with 85 amp hours but I'm wondering if there is a better option that I can provide and just hookup the battery myself. Any recommendations knowing that I want to add a solar charging system in the future? I would probably just need one battery now but would add it's twin later.
Lithium all the way. It costs more up front, but you save more in the long run. Smaller, almost 50% weight reduction (per usable Ah), constant voltage output across the discharge cycle, etc. You can see the benefits here: Lithium Ion Batteries for RV Motorhome House System - LFP / LiFePO4 | Technomadia and you can see a simple cost analysis here: Cost Analysis of Lithium Ion Battery Systems for RVs | Technomadia .

I'm looking at having a unit built by North American Custom Built | North American Rv (best insulation in the business) and am trying to get Starlight Solar RV Lithium Battery to do an install of a full 1000w solar panel system feeding a 1200Ah lithium battery bank. With a 6.5k Onan and collapsible wind turbine, I feel like I'm going to be able to go just about anywhere and keep myself and Dixie the Wonder Dog more than comfortable
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:29 PM   #5
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If it were me, I would buy use a setup that allowed for 4 x 12 volt batteries. Short term, that will give you the ability to adapt to the more common 12 volt standards by wiring them in parallel. Longer term, the world is shifting to 48 V and higher systems and you can re-wire to 48 volt by putting them in series.

If you setup for 4 x 12 volt now, you will be able to reuse the batteries down the road when these upgrades are available.
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:43 PM   #6
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As mentioned 2ea 6 volt deep cycle is a good starting point. Next would be Group 20 or 31 deep cycle 12 volt.

I can't see 48 volt any where on the horizon. I've worked with 48 volt quite a bit being a communications technician where every thing runs on 48 volts.
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Old 07-31-2016, 04:02 PM   #7
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It would be hard to go wrong with 2 6V GC batteries in series. I recommend an added disconnect switch so you can eliminate parasitic loads when your rig is not in use.
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:09 AM   #8
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I might be wrong, but personally I think that there is going to be a general movement to higher battery pack voltages than 12 volt. For lighting, it doesn't matter. For inverter use, it can potentially make a big difference.

Take the example of wanting to run a 3000 watt inverter:

For a 12 volt system
- 3000 watts / 12 volts = nearly 300 amps
- That is serious current and super thick wire
- Heavy fat wire, big fuses
- Difficult to make connections with low resistance
- Serious battery decisions

For a 48 volt system
- 3000 watts / 48 volts - around 60 - 70 amps
- That is still thick wire, but not nearly as thick as for 300 amps

For inverters greater than 3000 watts
- It seems likely that even higher DC bus voltages will become interesting

There are products either on the market or coning out in the next 12 months that will definitely begin to take the market this direction.
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:38 PM   #9
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The obvious way to save money, and possibly frustration, that could come with long wire runs of very heavy gauge wire for large DC loads of any "low" voltage battery system is to try to do everything possible to make those runs as short as possible.

For example, a remote switched inverter placed close to the batteries, maybe even right at the batteries, will reduce the amount of wire need to carry the huge amps needed to convert to 120v, as in the example of 3000 watts. The losses will be reduced, the gauge of wire might even be able to be reduced a "step", and the wire size needed for the 120v will be considerable smaller, easier to deal with, and cheaper. Seems like the best idea if you can swing it.

My only concern about battery voltages higher than 6 or 12 is the availability in a pinch. Sure, these things can be planned easily ahead of time, but if I'm in Muleshoe, TX, and I need a 48 volt battery of a certain design, where can I get one in the morning?

I guess we get stuck on 12v because that is a standard that everyone has found is easy to comply with across all sorts of segments of the automotive and vehicle industries.
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:54 PM   #10
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The obvious way to save money, and possibly frustration, that could come with long wire runs of very heavy gauge wire for large DC loads of any "low" voltage battery system is to try to do everything possible to make those runs as short as possible.

For example, a remote switched inverter placed close to the batteries, maybe even right at the batteries, will reduce the amount of wire need to carry the huge amps needed to convert to 120v, as in the example of 3000 watts. The losses will be reduced, the gauge of wire might even be able to be reduced a "step", and the wire size needed for the 120v will be considerable smaller, easier to deal with, and cheaper. Seems like the best idea if you can swing it.

My only concern about battery voltages higher than 6 or 12 is the availability in a pinch. Sure, these things can be planned easily ahead of time, but if I'm in Muleshoe, TX, and I need a 48 volt battery of a certain design, where can I get one in the morning?

I guess we get stuck on 12v because that is a standard that everyone has found is easy to comply with across all sorts of segments of the automotive and vehicle industries.
The OP is not talking about using a 48 volt battery. Rather, he would have four 12 volt (or eight six volt) batteries in series. Doing that would also allow for tapping off of them individually for 12 volt lighting, refrigerator and furnace control, water pump, etc.

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Old 08-02-2016, 01:01 PM   #11
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I know, I was just throwing that in there since 48v had been mentioned, as a point about availability and acceptance in the industry. Kinda strange that only that one point out of the whole thing I typed up raised a reply so far, though.
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Old 08-02-2016, 07:03 PM   #12
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I know, I was just throwing that in there since 48v had been mentioned, as a point about availability and acceptance in the industry. Kinda strange that only that one point out of the whole thing I typed up raised a reply so far, though.
I think that your points were very valid:
- Making high current wire as short as possible - always a good idea
- Getting spare parts in the middle of no - where. Another good point.
- Converting to 120 VAC as soon as possible so that conventional wire from a hardware store can be used - also a good point, although actually, this wire is usually not designed for mobile / vibration use.

For the most part, we are blessed in North America by the presence of UPS, Fedex, and the USPS for being able to (usually) deliver spare parts in 24 hours after clicking on a web site button.

I spend a lot of my time thinking about parts logistics and trying to make sure that spare parts are, when ever possible, readily available. My experience so far is that most of the challenges with getting spare parts to people has more to do with designs that try to use the "optimum part performance and price" for each design, rather than focusing on using common parts when ever possible.

To me, the biggest hurdle is really upgrading RV power systems is the battery cost. That is why I encourage people to consider options that would allow them to ultimately make their battery pack into a 48 volt pack ( 4 x 12 volt or 8 x 6 volt).

There are some amazing size 27 LiFe 12 volt batteries out there, but most people could not in any way justify them. Still, a couple size 27s in Pb acid might work for their needs and be small enough to allow for eventually using 4 x size 27s.

The 6 volt battery options are also good, its just a lot of batteries and a lot of mass for a smaller setup.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:55 PM   #13
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Discounting the addition of solar, a group 24 battery won't last through the night if you have to run the heater. My Itasca MH came with 2 Group 24 batteries and could barely make it through the night with the heater running. I swapped out the group 24 to 2 golf cart batteries (CG-2). It made over nighting more tolerable. Today, I added 2 more CG-2 batteries for a total of 4. One thing you need to factor in, when adding heavy batteries (CG-2 weigh about 64 lbs each) is the added weight on the trailer's tongue.
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Old 08-03-2016, 05:56 PM   #14
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I just made the switch from a motorhome (with a single group 27 battery) to a TT that came with a single 24. First thing I did was pick up a pair of GC2's. We do a lot of boondocking and learned to be very conservative with power in the old MH so these should last us quite a while.
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