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Old 11-24-2013, 09:02 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by mtbdemon View Post
WOW!! that sounds like quite the rig!! I would love to see pictures if your set up. We rarely stay in a rv place with hookups so 90% of the time we are dry camping. Just recently we have had a decent size solar array and it's only 200 watts, but i really love it!!!
What batteries are you using and where do you have them? Thanks

200 W is sufficient for many purposes and 700 is probably all that is required for almost all purpose; however, son Cary just wanted to see if he could design and fabricate a system that would make us 100% autonomous with use of a/c, micro-wave etc - andit has proven to be such.

Will do photographs this weekend at son Cary's place for family holiday (younger son, wife and 16 month old grandson from Ft. Collins; daughter and boy friend from Las Cruces, NM; niece and her parents (aka brother/sister in law); etc). Cary starts sub-contract on 1.5 megawatt power company project near Las Vegas, New Mexico this next week. Cary did design and fabrication as family hobby project. He did this for fun and probably spent 50 to 70 hours on this. His labor was free and the items were at his contractor cost.

There are at least two good lithium iron phosphate fabricators: Manzanita Micro in WA and Lithionics (sic) in FL. Both are certificated to fabricate and ship their products by any means according to DOT. Johnson (the first to really do this with his 2007 Monaco) used Lithionics and is delighted. Manzanita Micro primarily fabricates for electric cars, boat and motorcycles. LFP (lithium ferrophosphate) are 3.5 V batteries so a suite of 4 in series gives 14 V and is excellent for the 12 V systems of RVs. The Manzanita battery suites have their own internal controllers (lots of little LEDs blinking and flickering away) as undoubtedly do the Lithionics.

The Open Range 337RLS 5th wheel we have has a forward baggage compartment designed to hold a 5.4 kW Onan plus peripherals. Called Open Range and they said it would hold 300# and possibly 400# (do not want to overload and dump stuff on the road). They four battery suites (40# each) are placed two on each side of the compartment under the slide-in propane tanks. Several other OR folks have up to eight PbS batteries (over 600#) emplaced similarly. Son Cary (Energy Concepts Corporation) worked in the controllers, 4.0 kW Magnum PSW inverter and 1.0 kW and 0.5 kW battery chargers.

We had problems with Mexican power in Baja and Yucatan and burned out micro-waves in both places. We did get a good surge protector and it turned off power more than it was on and that could cause terminal damage to electronics. Cary and family visited at the beach site in Yucatan (20 miles from Tulum) and brought down a battery charger and peripherals. We then merely charged batteries from the 20 amp circuit and these ran the 2.5 kW PSW inverter we had then. That system was 700 W of solar, the 2.5 kW PSW inverter and 400 amp-hours of glass mat batteries. We tossed the 50 amp cable and kept only a 15 amp cable. We have only hooked into line power to test system and our 1.0 kW Honda to test things out.

We boondock or dry cam0

We had an Olympic Wave 8000 BTU catalytic heater on former rig but had not been able to get a plumber to install a fitting (October is not a good time to find a propane plumber) and this could keep the rig above 65 at 20 F. This run 1/8 to 1/4 pound of propane an hour without any electric power. We would have kept up with the little solar we had but for the forced-air heating.
Reed and Elaine Cundiff

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Old 11-25-2013, 06:22 AM   #44
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There are two major differences between AGM batteries and Wet Cell of the same type (Starting-Marine/Deepcycle-Deep cycle/Golf Car)

AGM's do not come with a "This side up" warning, you can mount them any old angle you can cram 'em in.
AGM's cost more,, Much more

now an AGM is a low/no maintenance battery so if access to the batteries is a problem.. A Maintenance free type might be better, but again AGM's cost more than liquid types.

DEEP CYCLE batteries give you the most USEFUL power for any given size, You can take a DEEP CYCLE to half full and back many many times.. Marine/Deep cycle and other starting batteries,,, do not really care for half full all that much, they like to be much fuller.

THIS is why I recommed six volt flooded wet cell DEEP CYCLE GC-2 (or bigger) pairs.. Best bang for your buck.

Others will make fantastic claims for AGM, Longer life (Not true) Faster recharge (May be true for LIFELINE but not faster enough to justify the cost and only if you have the charger to do it).

Self discharge may also be lower but... I'm not convinced and I'm not convinced it is that improtant epically if you have solar to keep 'em recharged.

Home is where I park it!
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:48 PM   #45
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i am using Trojan J185H‑AC which is flooded type 12v 225ah. if your battery bay has enough height, this is a good one. you can get new for about 375/ea. i am using 3 so i have enough electricity for my outing.
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:19 PM   #46
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I have a bank of 4 6volt house batteries that are wet cell and I have the device that allows me to quickly fill all the cells with distilled water. I am very happy with this setup.

I also have 2 12volt. 31P 925CCA batteries for engine starting. These two batteries need to be replaced and I am considering AGM for these, since I don't have as easy an access for maintenance. Since they are starting batteries, I don't really need deep cycle as much as high power and cranking amps. I am looking at Optima blue top series 31 for $218 delivered on Amazon. This seems like a good value. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?
Tom and Karen
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:24 AM   #47
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I know this isnt the common route but ill post it anyways.

I am picking up an Artic Fox 860 next week that has 2 mixed and matched autoparts store batteries in it. I plan to install 1 2150 Odyssey battery. I paid $60, cant go wrong at that price. My business partner is running one in his RV and loves it. Whiles it not up to par with you guys running 4 $600 batteries it'll have to do on my budget.

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