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Old 05-04-2010, 08:20 PM   #15
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What I've seen

I've been to one rally where elec. was not available. The AS'ers were using generators to charge thebattery. But not through the converter. They brought a small automotive type battery charger. They said it charges the battery faster this way than going through the converter. It also saves amount of gas used during boondocking.

Ricky
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:22 PM   #16
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The way I see it, the voltage regulator on the TV, which regulates the output of the alternator, reads the state of the TV battery, and adjusts alternator output accordingly.
When you connect your trailer, putting the trailer battery on the circuit, the trailer battery will try to equalize with the TV battery. Over time, it will do just that, drawing down the TV battery, thus causing slightly higher output from the TV alternator.
If the voltage regulator was "seeing" the low trailer battery, it would overcharge the TV battery in short order.

If there was a switch to disconnect the TV battery and connect the trailer battery after the TV is running, the voltage regulator would then "see" and charge only the trailer battery. However, this would have to be a "make before break" switch or you would blow the diodes in the alternator, as disconnecting a running alternator from a load is a no no. Also, with today's auto electronics I think you might be playing a dangerous game.
Just a thought.
Perhaps someone with more expertise?
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3 Dog Nite View Post
..They brought a small automotive type battery charger. They said it charges the battery faster this way than going through the converter. ...Ricky
A SMALL 3 stage on-board charger is good for 20 amps, a BIG (small) automotive charger is good for 8 amps...

Fire up the genny, plug to the trailer and let the onboard charger do it's job is my $.02

2Air hits the point on a second battery...add one.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:56 PM   #18
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A SMALL 3 stage on-board charger is good for 20 amps, a BIG (small) automotive charger is good for 8 amps...

Fire up the genny, plug to the trailer and let the onboard charger do it's job is my $.02

2Air hits the point on a second battery...add one.
The cost (parts+labor) to upgrade to an onboard 3-stage converter-charger is much higher than a BatteryMinder. The OEM converter-charger in new Airstreams is adequate at best.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:02 AM   #19
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The battery "group number" refers to the physical size of the battery. This sometimes, though not always will affect the amp hour output. I'm pretty sure the way that works is if two batteries are of different dimensions yet have the same volume will probably have the same output.

My on board charger/converter is a Progressive Dynamics Intellicharger which has 3 levels of charging. Using the Charge Wizard, when plugged into a generator I can manually set onto the highest (fastest) charge level.

Christopher
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:08 PM   #20
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boutdoors- here is a fantastic reference for a straight-forward explanation of your deep-cycle battery, what the sizes mean, and how you can prolong the life of your battery indefinitely by your usage.

Essentially, the best way for you to accomplish what you want is to fully understand how your deep-cycle battery works, and therefore understand how your power usage affects your battery. Depending on your current understanding, you could probably skim a lot of the material on this website...

Deep Cycle Battery FAQ

I slightly disagree with the person who said a workable solar unit will cost you $1000. For work, I use solar panels to charge deep-cycle batteries that I abandon in remote places, and they are amazing, but our power budget is very, very low compared to the draw of a fridge or TV. I also do not know what type of roof-mounting system is necessary for the Airstreams yet, so there may be some additional cash spent there, but these are the panels I use for work, and they are rockstars....

55 Watt GridMaxx Solar Panel

They are listed in the $350 range, but I have purchased them for as low as $180 (small quantity too) within the last year. You can find deals if you have the time and inclination.

Bottom line: your power budget can be thought of as your checking account. Just find the power usage of all the appliances you have, figure out how much power you use per unit of time, and then subtract that from your battery supply.

Another easier solution might be to hook two deep-cycle batteries up in parallel and then put a regulator on them that limits the voltage output to your Airstream system to 12v (similar to what you must use inbetween your solar panel and your deep cycle battery). Found here for $16...

Solar Charge Controller
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:25 PM   #21
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... The OEM converter-charger in new Airstreams is adequate at best.
We agree on this point. It'll boil a battery quicker than a Southern'er will a crawfish...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ostream View Post
The cost (parts+labor) to upgrade to an onboard 3-stage converter-charger is much higher than a BatteryMinder....
I guess I miss the point here...a battery minder is a long term float charger, right?
I was sayin'...even the crappy onboard charger (see above) will top off the batteries quicker than a Walmart clip on unit...BUT a good 3 stage will do it faster and without fryin the lead cells...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...tml#post568527
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:37 PM   #22
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Refrigerator

Hello!
I don't know about all the others that have posted here, but my current Dometic and my past Norcold refrigerators all required 12 VDC even when switched to run on LP. My current fridge has an LED control panel and it's always on when the fridge is running. I've tried to find out how many amps the fridge uses while on LP, but the owner's manual doesn't say; it only lists amps when using 12 VDC to actually cool the unit. I'll bet it's pulling at least 1 amp. Does anybody know?
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:03 PM   #23
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I stay on one battery for 10 days and could probably longer.
The trailer consumes amps even when everything is OFF. So battery has to be disconnected when not needed. In my case it consumes about 0.4 amps so in 2 days half of my battery would be gone.
I assume you will take the tow vehicle for a ride at least every other day. When I get back I equalize the batteries between camper and vehicle. Take measurements - >12.7 Volts OK, <12.25 no good.
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:32 PM   #24
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Hello!
I don't know about all the others that have posted here, but my current Dometic and my past Norcold refrigerators all required 12 VDC even when switched to run on LP. My current fridge has an LED control panel and it's always on when the fridge is running. I've tried to find out how many amps the fridge uses while on LP, but the owner's manual doesn't say; it only lists amps when using 12 VDC to actually cool the unit. I'll bet it's pulling at least 1 amp. Does anybody know?
Kirk
.9 amps in the normal mode and .4 with the hidden Climate Control switch "off" for my Dometic.

I have 3 group 27's and just completed a 6 day stint with NO hookups. I monitor the charge with a TriMetric monitor, phantom draw plus the fridge pulls me down 2% a day (that would be 6% on a single battery). I never got below 89% even with 2-3 hours of inverter driven TV/DSS. A two hour tow only got me from 89% up to 91%. A all day tow always got me to 100%.

A crappy solar panel added 2% back, keeping me topped off if I had a low usage day, otherwise I ran the Honda 2000i for an hour in the morning + one more in the pm to get to 100%.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:04 PM   #25
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Generator sounds like the best option. One question - if you charge by using the generator can it be too fast for the battery? How can it be controlled?
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:35 PM   #26
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Generator sounds like the best option. One question - if you charge by using the generator can it be too fast for the battery? How can it be controlled?
I bit the bullet and bought a Progressive Dynamics 60 amp 12 V PD9260C RV Converter from eBay for $150 with free shipping. I had a bit of metal work to do on the old case and had to hard wire a plug so the new converter had a place to plug-in. The original one was hard wired.

You can read more about the converter at:
Intelli-Power PD9260C 60A Electronic RV Converter/Charger


Total swap took about 2 hours but I could probably do it in 20 minutes now

I now run my generator for 1 hour in the AM and 1 hour in the PM by plugging the AC cord on the trailer into the generator. Given the way the converter monitors the battery, I don't worry about overcharging the battery. I also carry a $5 hydrometer to measure the battery charge.
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