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Old 08-04-2010, 10:20 PM   #1
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1959 18' Globetrotter
Durango , Colorado
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Lightbulb battery boxes on the tongue

I have a 1959 Traveler that I am restoring. Love it. I have a small box on the front for a battery. I'm converting everything to solar, have an 85 watt panel. I have installed a 1000watt inverter inside the box along with the battery. Now I'm out of room. I want to add three batteries to the mix for a total of four batteries to run in series. Right now I'm just putting them on the ground and running wire to the box, but I want to do a permanent box mount or something on the tongue. I have two large propane tanks that I could move forward a couple of inches if necessary. Does anyone have any pictures or ideas for doing a permanent install on the tongue for extra batteries? Boy that was long winded for such a simple question. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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1959 24' Tradewind
The Grass Capital of the World , Oregon
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numbers

hi there and welcome to the forums!

great to hear another 59 being restored and very happy to hear you going the solar panel route.

I have an idea or two about how/where to configure the solar panels and batteries. But first...

Do you plan to travel? Tongue weight is a concern for your tow vehicle's hitch and 4-5 deep-cycle batteries (60 lbs each) will most likely double your tongue weight. May want to consider distributing them in the cabin. And don't you want to hook them together in parallel for max battery life?

An 85-watt solar panel usually means a 5-amp max current for 12v DC power. Often panels are listed at maximum capacity, which means they may produce 17 volts during peak solar hours at a max of 5 amps (17v x 5A=85 watts). Typically you can expect 60 watts from them, enough for an incandescent light bulb, or many LEDs.

To simplify: are you planning on creating a 12v DC system, a 110v AC system, or a combo?

I plan to do something similar with my trailer, as soon as I can get the stinking plumbing system out of the way, so these are questions of curiosity.

'til next time Earthling...

p.s. Tuesday night was an incredible night for solar flares. That means yes, there actually *was* a disturbance in the force.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:20 PM   #3
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1959 18' Globetrotter
Durango , Colorado
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Hi and thanks for the reply. I don't have enough room to distribute the batteries inside. I'm not really worried about tongue weight. I do travel quite a bit and do need a bomber system to hold the batteries. I am running the positive to positive, and not doing any 12 volt with the exception of my water pump. Everything else is AC. I have the solar panel on a tripod that can be adjusted and tilted during the day to maximize the sun exposure. Right now I just want to get the batteries figured out so I don't have to haul them in the back of my truck and move them from here to there... Anyway I'm open to any and all suggestions. thanks!
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:48 PM   #4
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1959 24' Tradewind
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parallax

Excellent! - positive to positive means "in parallel", and keeps the voltage the same while increasing your maximum battery reserve capacity. Positive to negative means "in series", which increases your voltage while keeping your battery capacity the same. I was confused by the wording - not a big deal.

If I were to keep the batteries on the tongue, I would want to have them as far from the hitch ball as possible, and I'd want to rig some form of "double-decker" battery box. I would fabricate a piece of wood platform (non-conductive, good absorption of leaking battery acid) for two batteries to rest, and then a second, reinforced tier above them for the next couple batteries. I would cross my fingers for enough clearance from the front window, and I'd drill holes in the wood platforms if necessary to run the wiring.

I would build a box around these two platform shelves and I would make the entire front of the box a hinged door so that I could remove any individual battery. I would connect them to the other battery (and inverter) thru flex-conduit hose and make very sure the system was weather proof and the battery terminals were greased to prevent corrosion and damage from condensation (they're probably wet-cell deep-cycle batteries, and they create their own humid environment).

And then I'd paint something audacious on the battery box to make it look rad.

I'd want more juice flowing from the solar panel myself, but 5 batteries is a formidable bank. probably cheaper to just replace the batteries, but... remember your system is only as strong as the weakest battery.

Buy the biggest Amp-hour batteries you can find. I believe Sears DieHards come in 130 Amp-hour capacity.

Good luck. Post some photos when you can!
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