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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  Small TT's

 > Which battery for small travel trailer

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Scottishman

Jackson, Wy

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Posted: 08/02/21 06:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OMG that's really great and detailed advice - and a lot to think about - At some point I have to take what I can from the incoming advice and make my choice.

So far:

a) From all of the above information is leading to installing a Victron Dc to DC charger for charging while towing.
b) Upgrade my solar panels to 400W and upgrade the controller to suit.
c) Considering KEEPING the Ampere time 200Ah (I now see it's good value at $760 compared
to Dakota, for example.) My only unanswered questions about those is...problems in freezing weather. I live in Jackson, Wyoming and travel to 8,000 - 9,000 every fall and spring when temps can get seriously below freezing. (I already took all the water systems out and it has no toilet.) If the answers to that persuade me to return it. Then I'll look at your specific battery recommendations above.
d) Here's a question about the Victron DC to DC charger installation. (I'll also copy this to those in the forum who suggested it.) All I can find on You Tube for installation is concerning motorhomes. I have Tacoma towing a TT - so the wiring has to be very different because of the Vehicle-to-trailer coupling. Who has suggestions about how to wire up this gizmo - like running the wires through the truck.
e) Continuance of above...there is ZERO room in this camper - even for that charger and I don't want to drill holes in the camper shell or floor to bring it inside anyway. Can I mount it to the tow frame / chassis of the TT? Is it waterproof? It would be ideal for ease of access.

Overall, the expenditure is going to be considerable relative to the value of the camper ($8,000)- but it's all easy enough to move over to the next slightly larger camper from when we're not quite so adventurous - (I'm 65)

I think that's all for now - what am I forgetting?

Scottishman

Jackson, Wy

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Posted: 08/02/21 06:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Scottishman wrote:

My wife and I have a FR Palonini 132FD. 16' LOA.

We use it for two three-week trips every fall and spring - and occasional camping in between.

We tow it with a Toyota Tacoma, and have a 100W solar panel on the roof, plus a spare 80W 'briefcase' solar panel

I always have problems keeping batteries charged and kill them. So this time I purchased a AmpereTime solid-state 200Ah Nickel/cadmium battery.
It's an awesome battery that is good for 2000cycles and will last many years - but the issue is that it needs 14.6V for charging and neither the tow vehicle, the camper converter on shore power (13.63V) or my solar panels will deliver that kind of oomph.

So I'm faced with spending a bundle on any of the solutions and that just seems like overkill. So I think I should return it and start over again - regrettably.

My question is - what's the best deep-cycle battery for this small camper, considering the type of use. We are VERY careful with power usage - just the fridge control panel; heater fan when in use; and occasional LED lights. Thank you


d) Here's a question about the Victron DC to DC charger installation. All I can find on You Tube for installation is concerning motorhomes. I have Tacoma towing a TT - so the wiring has to be very different because of the Vehicle-to-trailer coupling. Who has suggestions about how to wire up this gizmo - like running the wires through the truck.
e) Continuance of above...there is ZERO room in this camper - even for that charger and I don't want to drill holes in the camper shell or floor to bring it inside anyway. Can I mount it to the tow frame / chassis of the TT? Is it waterproof? It would be ideal for ease of access.

wny_pat

Western NYS

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Posted: 08/16/21 12:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No, they are not waterproof!!! They are water resistant to a point. They have to be mounted vertically on a non-flammable surface, with the power terminals facing downwards. I'm mounting mine in a "ventlated" box. Something to keep direct water spray from saturated the unit. They are rated to IP43 protection When installed with the screw terminals oriented downwards. IP43 is Protected from water spray less than 60 degrees from vertical. I am installing mine in a waterproof junction box rated at IP65 - Protected from low pressure water jets from any direction. Found it at www.amazon.com/dp/B07PDV2F2N?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details.

I have a Scamp 19, similar to a small fifth wheel. I am mounting mine on the front outside fiberglass wall. I would like to mount mine upside down on the loft over the pick up bed and am awaiting comments from their dealer. Your charger should be mounted as close to the trailer batteries as possible.

* This post was last edited 08/16/21 12:34pm by wny_pat *   View edit history


“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

wny_pat

Western NYS

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Posted: 08/16/21 12:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh, should have mentioned that you need to run a 6 gauge service connection from your pick-up's battery to the rear of your pickup bed. Here you will need a Anderson connecter to be able to disconnect from your trailer's cconnector going to the charger. Any place that specializes in Pickup trucks should be able to install one for you. Stay far away RV dealers for this installation! Places that do off road installations would be far better.

Scottishman

Jackson, Wy

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Posted: 08/16/21 06:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you so much - all very helpful. As my Mom would say - if it was easy everybody would be doing it.

Skibane

San Antonio, TX

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Posted: 08/16/21 08:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1. Are you sure that your DC power converter doesn't deliver 14+ volts while it's recharging the battery?

Nowadays, most converters are at least "2 Stage", with a higher initial charge voltage until the converter determines that the battery is charged.

2. Most solar panels will deliver well in excess of 17 volts. All you need is a solar panel charge controller that can be adjusted to the higher charging voltage your Lithium battery requires.

Scottishman

Jackson, Wy

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Posted: 08/17/21 08:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Skibane,

Thanks for that. Well, the only way I've found to rest the voltage delivered by the converter is to put a voltage meter across the two terminals that go to the battery from the converter (having disconnected the battery). It reads 13.62V. So I presume that's the charging voltage (?)
I also don't have enough faith in this (2016) converter to believe that it has two-stage charging as you suggest. I'll find the converter specs and look it up.
Thank you

Scottishman

Jackson, Wy

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Posted: 08/17/21 08:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just checked - the converter is manufactured by WFCO. Model No. WF-8735-P. The label says that the output rating (includes charging and load) = 13.6V - which concurs with my own test as above. I suppose, therefore, that this should be enough to charge the battery? It says nothing about two-stage.

Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

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Posted: 08/17/21 08:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

toedtoes wrote:

If you don't change your converter to a smart one, I would get a good quality trickle charger and make sure you have a battery cutoff switch. That way when it's home, you can isolate the battery and keep it on trickle charge.It is a LiFePO4 battery.That is considered by many to be the best type available A trickle charger is not needed or recommended

Did your prior batteries last the 3-day weekends on one charge? If not, how far short did they fall on your highest and lowest energy output trips?

I would aim for a battery(s) that can handle at least your lowest output weekend without recharging - so no furnace use. If you can get more, great, but set that as your minimum if at all possible.

I personally like the AGMs - it's just one thing I don't have to think about. I had good luck with the Optima Blue Top battery. It lasted in my clipper until the thieves stole it and f'd up everything. The battery was about 7 years old.

This time, because I needed new batteries in the trailer also, I went with the vtechs. Less expensive and same size. We will see how they last in comparison.

Lifeline agm are the most recommended AGM by folks here.

Flooded batteries are cheaper, but you need to remember to check them regularly. Sam's club and Costco batteries seem to get the most reference here.

A lifeline GPL-31T battery will run you about $400. That gives you 105ah. With the other $400, you could get a good trickle charger and pump up your solar a bit.



Huntindog
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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 08/17/21 09:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Scottishman wrote:

I just checked - the converter is manufactured by WFCO. Model No. WF-8735-P. The label says that the output rating (includes charging and load) = 13.6V - which concurs with my own test as above. I suppose, therefore, that this should be enough to charge the battery? It says nothing about two-stage.


Yes the converter is marginal for charging. Even Old fashioned lead acid batteries.
I didn’t believe it after a bunch of years with a better converter that charged batteries quickly and fully.
But our new camper has a wfco same as yours but 55amp. And it s Ucks at charging.


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