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Old 05-14-2017, 10:44 PM   #1
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Santa Fe , New Mexico
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BC with solar package

We're seriously considering a BC, and are looking for input from anyone with the solar package and how useful you've found it. We will usually be boondocking and will rarely be connected to shore power. I did not notice a 12v receptacle in the 2017 BC -- did I miss this, or is it not there? If it's not there, how are folks hooking up an inverter?

We have no problem going without shore power, but still need the flexibility to plug in/charge things like a laptop. Not sure how easy this will be in a BC. Input / ideas appreciated!
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:50 PM   #2
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We have the solar package on our Basecamp. Although we have owned it for two months we've only had it on a two night camp trip (at dealer for repairs).

The solar worked well for us. During the night we used the lights, charged our devices, etc. We ran the battery down to 80-90%. By the time we got up in the morning and after just a few hours of sunlight they were back up to 100%. I was pretty happy with the performance but this was such a short test I am not sure if it is real-world or not.

After doing some more testing I would not hesitate to put an additional battery in it to provide a little additional capacity. The AGM batteries are a bit expensive but worth it in my opinion.

There is not a round 12 volt (cigarette lighter) outlet in the Basecamp. I was surprised at this. I don't think it would be difficult to mount one under the cabinet, or just hard-wire the inverter into the battery with a switch and fuse.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:59 PM   #3
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I plan on adding a second AGM battery to match what is there. I plan on operating ham radio from the BC so the dual battery and solar will be a sweet match. I will also be likely adding some panel mount power ports similar to what you see here:

https://powerwerx.com/panel-mounts

I need to get my hands into the BC (pickup is Saturday 5/20) so I can see what makes the most sense.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:38 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the replies and the information!

I think the lack of a 12v socket is a miss in the BC - there's no flexibility to harness the battery/solar with only USB ports. That said, we're still hooked on the model. We're working with the dealership to add the socket before we take delivery, which should be simple. I really like the flush mount socket in the link you shared, MrKenmore - thanks for that. Very sleek and appropriate for the Airstream design. We'll be ordering one

I saw one reference online that the USB ports in the pull-up towers in the galley are only functional on shore power - can anyone confirm this? That would also be a surprise...perhaps it was only the case in early prototypes?

We'll probably add a second battery after we spend some time in it. Joe_Julie I hope your BC returns from the dealership soon so you can enjoy more adventures!
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:10 AM   #5
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JR

I agree the BC should have some 12v outlets. These are readily available from Amazon for less than $10. We boondock normally and use the Endless Breeze fan from Fantastic Fans to keep us cool. It requires a 12v receptacle to operate.

Dan
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:51 AM   #6
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MrKenmore,
Thank you, thank you! You just answered a question and supplied a resource!! Powerwerks products. Awesome.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:32 PM   #7
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You are very welcome! The high output 4.2 amp USB charger is great. I have it in my old pickup truck. Make sure you get the right hole saw!!!!
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Old 05-25-2017, 06:23 AM   #8
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I too have the solar option and I did add a second AMG battery at the dealer. We boondock as well and the system has worked out great for us. Despite using the fan, heater, lights and such we've never dropped below 75% capacity and by mid-morning (or earlier) it's back to 100%. Really impressive in my opinion. There are some USB ports which are live with the solar/battery setup. One is in the "arm rest" storage area, one is behind the roadside backrest near the bathroom wall, and one is in the back on the lower part of the roadside bench. All work off battery power for charging phones, tablets and such. It's true the two pull-up towers in the kitchen area only work when on shore power, and the same goes for the plugs outside the camper. Hope this helps!
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Old 05-25-2017, 06:45 AM   #9
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Hi

Batteries can be a bit fussy. Without knowing how your monitor is wired, and how it is calibrated, it's a bit hard to know what your batteries are doing. A $20 multimeter with the probes right on the battery is more trustworthy than most "capacity meters". A 12.0 V reading on the battery (at rest) is a good point to stop pulling power from the battery. Is that 50% on your capacity meter or is it 10%? It is worth knowing if you plan to operate on batteries.

AGM's are great batteries to have. Unfortunately, like any lead acid battery, they are not very tolerant of being run flat. They will last a *lot* longer if you do not run them to zero. You can still light the lights with the battery at 10V and run the USB stuff at 9V on the battery. The battery would like stopping at 12V a whole lot more. Since AGM's are *expensive*, keeping them happy is worth the effort.

This is by no means Basecamp specific. It applies to any situation that relies on the batteries as primary power. There are a lot of threads on batteries here and on other sites.

Bob
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:45 AM   #10
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badgeruw - Do you know the make and model battery that was installed? I know it needs to match the stock battery but I have yet to open the access panel to check. I'll be ordering mine shortly so I can install.
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Old 05-25-2017, 10:12 AM   #11
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The amount you draw down your batteries is definitely related to their overall life expectancy. If you pull up the Lifeline technical manual (http://lifelinebatteries.com/wp-cont...cal-Manual.pdf) at the end of this publication, you will see a nifty graph that specifies the expected number of charge cycles vs. the average amount of draw placed on the battery.

For example, if you regularly draw the batteries to the 50% depth of discharge of 12.2VDC (DoD), you can expect around 1000 charge cycles. At 10% DoD, or light use of the batteries, you will get close to 5000 charge cycles. This is in lithium longevity territory and a definite reason to size your battery bank according to your needs with a bit of additional capacity. Continual over draw of your battery bank WILL severely decrease their longevity.

Also, a shunt based battery monitor system like Victron's MV-702 is easy to install and will gain you extremely accurate battery usage data that you can monitor on your smart phone.

Welcome to the 21st century!!!
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKenmore View Post
badgeruw - Do you know the make and model battery that was installed? I know it needs to match the stock battery but I have yet to open the access panel to check. I'll be ordering mine shortly so I can install.


Hi MrKenmore. I don't but for the fact it's an AGM. I think they replaced the one stock 12v with two 6v AGM batteries. Because access isn't that easy I have not opened up the storage area.
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Old 05-26-2017, 06:58 AM   #13
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Hi

Usually the "two 6V in series" replacement process happens when you switch over to T-105
batteries. They are high capacity conventional lead acid rather than AGM's.

Bob
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Old 05-26-2017, 07:09 AM   #14
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I'll be opening the access panels this weekend and snap some pics for everyone.
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