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Old 02-02-2012, 10:05 PM   #29
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Just because you have that many lights doesn't mean you have to have them all on.
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Most RV batteries live a long and useful life, some are murdered.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:24 PM   #30
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The most I saw out of my Parallax 55A converter was ~13.6V. I'm gonna try using one of my Smart chargers the next trip to see if I get a better, longer lasting charge.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:04 PM   #31
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My understanding is that to "equalize" means to stir up the electrolyte. Me thinks just driving a MH would be enough, but what do I know?
Not according to the manufacturers. It also de-sulphates (removes the deposits) from the plates, which driving won't do.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:17 PM   #32
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I really hate to "equalize" batteries. It seems undue stress on them. The "Smart" charger due here next Wednesday has both. Gonna have to read up on what they and the manufacturer of the batteries say.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:19 AM   #33
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Conservation is indeed the name of the game. I provided the marine LED light fixtures that went into the building of our trailer. I also opted out of having a Fantastic Fan installed and used two three speed computer case fans. I also am using an Eberspacher diesel heater and I am working on the design of a small motor powered AC unit.
My situation is different as the trailer is small but the principle is the same.

One other big issue is that batteries in a bank must be virtually identical, same age same manufacturer same AH. This comes in the Peukert's Law category, internal resistance varies as batteries age. The way around this is by having separate battery banks that you can switch between.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:40 AM   #34
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Keep us informed on how that goes. The diesel generator sounds interesting.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:33 AM   #35
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There are several incorrect assumptions in post #33.
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Old 05-05-2012, 04:23 PM   #36
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re: "I really hate to "equalize" batteries. It seems undue stress on them."

An equalization charge is an intentional overcharge for the purpose of equalizing the charge level in all cells in a battery. The classic version requires careful battery monitoring including hydrometry which gets into significant hazmat territory. Equalization is needed only when battery charging is weak and often insufficient for a full and complete charge. That is why it is most often seen in solar power forums.

In RV usage where the batteries get connected to grid with a decent battery charger and maintainer, given 8 to 12 hours for a full and complete charge, then provided with a storage maintenance charge that implements a sulfation inhibiting technique, equalization charges are not needed.

A classic equalization charge will mix up the electrolyte like any vigorous charge will and will reverse some sulfation as that is what battery charging does. In the classic version, it also does as any overcharge does and tend to enhance plate shedding and electrolyte loss.

Note that Progressive Dynamics refers to their periodic charge bump as an equalization charge. The thing is that it is for only a very short period so all it does is to mix things up a bit, inhibiting sulfation, and assure a full charge, again inhibiting sulfation.

re: "There are several incorrect assumptions in post #33." -- I'll call. IMHO it does no service in these discussions to make vague statements that tend more towards the person than towards the issue. If you think a correct assumption is made, quote the part of message you see as making the assumption and explain why it is incorrect. Then we can all learn.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:10 AM   #37
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I framed my post that way so that some that care might want to check further to determine if the provided information is in fact correct. If I give you my opinion of why I believe some of it is incorrect it has no more value than the OP. If you take the time to verify one way or the other whether it is right yourself you will have information you can trust.

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Old 05-06-2012, 06:51 PM   #38
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And what do you feel is incorrect?
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:16 PM   #39
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I would start by replacing the tungsten and halogen lamps inside with LED lamps which are sold on Amazon for $10 a bulb which is not very expensive. They will last forever and your 43 amp draw will be reduced to 4.3 amps.

Also use a amp meter to show how much is going into the batteries and how much is going out. It is a fuel gauge for electricity. They cost $150 plus installation (not difficult) and are the first place to start as then you will have a way to monitor what is happening and whether any fixes are effective.

A fridge is pulling amps all the time and the amount can double if it is run on a dry setting to avoid frost buildup. Phantom loads can include a instant on TV that is never truly off, stereo system, CO monitor, furnace solenoid, and your inverter which has a current draw even when nothing is attached to it.

It is not unusual for manufacturers to undersize the cable from the alternator back to the house batteries. With a motorhome this can be a very long run and the current has to flow back with DC so 30 feet becomes 60 feet. When a chassis ground is used for the negative side this also makes for more resistance and limits the voltage available from the alternator at the engine that actually reaches the battery bank.

Once you have a good understanding of how everything is working and have the current setup finely tuned it would make sense to add a couple of 100 Watt or more solar panels. The advantage of solar is that there is no maintenance costs and the slow steady output from the panels is better suited to the slow steady charging of the deep cycle batteries. Even when a generator is used the run time is much shorter as it can be used to "top off" the batteries every few days.

Highly recommend the book Boondock RVing by Bill and Jan Moeller. Half the book is devoted to the electrical aspects of boondocking and it is very thorough and helps greatly to get a good understanding of all the systems in today's RV's.
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