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Old 06-29-2018, 08:37 AM   #1
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Upgrading my house battery, go up in size or double up?

My towable came with a single Group 24 battery. I need to replace it and I'm considering either going to a Group 29 or 31 or going with two Group 24s in parallel. I rarely boondock, and on the occasional time I have it will be no more than 3 or 4 days and I have a solar charging kit to boost the battery. My concern with the two batteries is additional weight on the tongue and cost versus the single battery installation.



Any harm in the single battery upgrade? Or should I move over to the dual battery setup?
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:59 AM   #2
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You will get a bunch of different recommendations for sure. Start with what and how do you use your trailer. My friend Bob only has to charge every 3-4 days but he doesn't watch TV and heats water for coffee etc on the stove. He carries a generator to top off the battery. The more amp hours the better IMO. The more amp hours the heavier the battery as well. The larger the battery (capacity wise) the larger the solar needs to charge it back up. So what do you need and how do you use your rig? This will give you guidance in the correct direction. I like Trojan and have had real good results in my marine applications. I opted for a 6 volt conversion when I replaced my house batteries. Make sure to measure your mounting bracket and get the biggest you can fit. IMO A T-1275 is 85 lbs but that will be maybe 40 lbs more (SWAG) that what you have and negligible in most cases.
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:12 AM   #3
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Mike, we very rarely do not have electric when we camp. This coming summer we're heading to the Smokies NP for 4 days and that will be only the 2nd time in 4 years that we've had a boondock experience. The current Group 24 battery I'm replacing because I got sloppy and I know for a fact it's discharged several times very low so that's why I"m replacing it knowing we have this upcoming trip.



I do hear great things about the Trojan batteries, but the cost of X2 of the price of the general DC batteries makes it hard to swallow. Especially given the rate we dry camp.



What I see us using the battery for will be run the led lights and perhaps some venting fans. Can't run AC on the battery, so that won't be an issue and TV isn't necessary during that trip. Maybe the FM radio briefly. Gas runs the fridge, hot water heater and stove.



My gifted 120 Solar Kit I have will be used for the first time since sitting under the bed for last 2 years. I'm assuming it'll help in topping off the battery on that trip but the site is pretty shaded so I'm not 100% sure what I'll get with it.



I guess I'm really just trying to decide on one 12v large battery or two 12v medium batteries in parallel? Benefits vs cons based on our usage.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:09 PM   #4
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Fast, consider a Trojan T1275...12 volts, 150 amp hours. It should work for you with conservative use.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:48 PM   #5
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I'm sure it's a great battery, but the Trojan prices I'm seeing are $240ish. Little steep for me.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:25 PM   #6
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For what you are doing, a single group 31 battery will work fine. In fact with the 120watt solar panel the group 24 will be fine. You don't use that much power with just a light or two at night and some running of the fans. If you had to run the furnace for cold weather that would be different.

The 120watt should put out 17-18V (nominal voltage). You can hook that directly to your battery with #10 stranded wire(#12 wire may work if the wire length is less than 20'-30'. Buy however much wire you need to reach sunlight and then prop the solar panel up so it faces the sun. 2-4 hours each day will do fine. Note: there can't be ANY shade on any part of the solar panel or you will get almost no power from the panel.

If you can't get any sun on the panel just be sure the group 31 is fully charged when you leave and limit your use of lights and fans as much as possible.

Go to Costco or Sam's Club and buy a deep cycle 12V battery. If they don't have a true deep cycle, the marine battery will suffice for your use.

I would not recommend this if you are planning doing quite a bit of dry camping or boondocking.
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:22 PM   #7
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What you u recommend?

For more serious dry camping I feel that the existing single 12v group 24 battery would not be enough in my Micro Minnie. I have bought a generator. So what else should I do? Wife uses cpap and all the little battery drain devices, detectors, clock, etc.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:10 PM   #8
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If one has the physical space and cargo capacity (OCCC) I would recommend going with two (2) 6 volt "GC2" golf cart batteries.

* They are not very expensive -- about $90 each at Costco or Sam's.

* They are true *deep cycle* batteries, as opposed to 'marine' batteries which are a compromise between engine starting and deep cycle.

* They can handle being deeply discharged much better than marine batteries.

* They have greater capacity than 2 marine batteries (let alone 1).

The only drawbacks I can see are more weight (GC batts weigh about 60-65 lbs) and a bit more up front expense.

I say "up front" because the GC batteries will likely last much longer and so will probably end up being less expensive in the long run.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by johnevans3 View Post
For more serious dry camping I feel that the existing single 12v group 24 battery would not be enough in my Micro Minnie. I have bought a generator. So what else should I do? Wife uses cpap and all the little battery drain devices, detectors, clock, etc.
First about the CPAP. Check with your wife and see if she can use the CPAP with the humidifier heater, and/or hose heater turned off. The heaters will pull 5 amps or more of 12V DC power, while the base CPAP only pulls from 0.5 to 1 amp. Check the specification label on the CPAP and see if it operates off of 12V or 24V. If it is 12V you can connect the CPAP directly to the 12V in your trailer. If it is 24V you can buy a small 100watt inverter and connect that directly to the 12V to power the CPAP. Another option is to buy a 12V to 24V DC converter to power the CPAP.

All the little detectors and the 12V for the control board in the fridge don't consume very much power. Generally less than 1amp total. However that does mean you will use 24AH a day for that backgound load. A group 24 battery only has about 70AH total. So just the background load uses 25% of your battery. If you need to run your furnace, that really uses a lot of battery power.

For best battery life you shouldn't use more than 25% of the battery before charging. However a good compromise between usage & battery life is to be sure not to use more than 50% of the battery power.

Yes, a pair of 6V golf cart batteries are an excellent choice for dry camping or boondocking with your trailer. Chances are that your battery is mounted on the outside front of the trailer. You can build a box to house the pair of batteries. Be careful not to overload your hitch with the extra battery.

Next is the big and very important question about "how are you going to properly charge the batteries".

About the generator to charge the batteries. You want to be sure you have a 3 stage charger (or converter). Many RV's come with a inexpensive single stage converter. These are designed to supply 12V while plugged into shore power and keep the battery charged. They are not intended to quickly and efficiently charge a battery which has been discharged 25-50%. It will take 12-36 hours to fully charge a battery with the single stage converter.

Additionally, lead acid batteries need to be brought to a 100% charge at least every week, or the plates will sulfate and start to loose capacity. While a battery discharged 25% (75% full) can be brought to 90% full in 1 to 1.5 hours with a 3 stage charger, it takes an additional 4 hours or more to get to 100%. If the battery was discharged 50% it takes even longer to get to 100%. This is where solar panels come in handy. Give your batteries a quick 1 hour charge using the generator, then finish them up with solar.

If on the other hand you will be boondocking for a few days to a week and then be connected to shore power for 24 hours or more, this will satisfy getting your batteries to 100% periodically.

Here are two links to some very good info about RV batteries, charging, and solar:
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
The 12volt Side of Life Part 2
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by johnevans3 View Post
For more serious dry camping I feel that the existing single 12v group 24 battery would not be enough in my Micro Minnie. I have bought a generator. So what else should I do? Wife uses cpap and all the little battery drain devices, detectors, clock, etc.
I hope you bought a quiet inverter type generator, such as a Honda, Yamaha, Westinghouse, etc. https://www.westinghouseportablepowe...er-generators/
If you bought one of the contractor type generator with engine and everything mounted on a frame, they are extremely loud. If you crank one of them up in a National Forest campground, you are going to have some very unhappy neighbors.

https://www.championpowerequipment.c...le-generators/
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:31 AM   #11
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I got sloppy and I know for a fact it's discharged several times very low so that's why I"m replacing it knowing we have this upcoming trip. .
These batteries are designed to be discharged and recharged. I would not replace it unless it failed me. After all it is only an inconvenience not life or death. IMHO, of course
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:51 AM   #12
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These batteries are designed to be discharged and recharged. I would not replace it unless it failed me. After all it is only an inconvenience not life or death. IMHO, of course
I believe FastTimes is going on a trip of 3 or 4 days where they will not have electric hookups. In this case if the battery goes pretty much dead each day by 7-8pm (or in the middle of the night when they want to flush the toilet, get a drink of water,etc) it will be very large inconvenience. For the cost of a group 24 battery the security of a new battery for this trip would be worth to cost to me.

If I was just traveling from one electric hook up site to another electric site, then I would totally agree to just wait until the battery totally quit before buying a new one.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fasttimes View Post
My towable came with a single Group 24 battery. I need to replace it and I'm considering either going to a Group 29 or 31 or going with two Group 24s in parallel. I rarely boondock, and on the occasional time I have it will be no more than 3 or 4 days and I have a solar charging kit to boost the battery. My concern with the two batteries is additional weight on the tongue and cost versus the single battery installation.



Any harm in the single battery upgrade? Or should I move over to the dual battery setup?

I suggest thinking in this manner instead. How much AH battery can I put in my available space. If my charger will support AGM's I will go that route.


You can counter the tongue weight by shifting load in the trailer while on towing. You could even carry a 'portable' battery to connect when you are set up.


Another thought is to go with Lithium's. Much more AH per sq in. Need the correct charge.
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Old 07-05-2018, 02:27 PM   #14
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I ended up buying a new Group 29 battery from Wally World for the extra capacity. This weekend I"m going to install the battery with a battery off switch for ease of disconnecting.

For our trip, my plan had been to use the solar kit I have and try to find some sun around our campsite to top up the batteries, but I'm afraid the site we will be staying in the smokies is just about complete shade, so not so sure that was going to work.

I purchased a solar generator https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 to see if that might work as backup for the cpap but in my testing the last two nights I found it only lasted about one nights worth of cpap use. This is with the humidifier turned off. This wont do. It does have an ability to charge from the 12V car port but I doubt it'll charge up enough in the amount if time I would be willing to run the car. I'm leaning on sending it back and applying the money returned to getting a full on generator set up. Living in hurricane alley I've put off buying one long enough, so this may be the tipping point.

The dual fuel Champion seems like a nice set up. https://www.amazon.com/Champion-3400...AVAAWSNB12HA47

Runs off of gas or propane and I can run the AC as well.
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