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Old 12-02-2012, 05:29 PM   #1
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Adding BD time, more batteries

I have 2 AGM batteries and a 115 solar panel which serves quite well. I would like to upgrade to more capacity (been watching Preppers) and was wondering the best way to do that. I was thinking of adding 2 more AGMs but would have to put them in the storage bin behind the tanks. This also puts them under the bed so do I need a vented box? I do have a Honda 2000 but use it very little, pretty much for wife's hairdryer. I DO think that going to LED lighting would be a good conservation idea as we have about 18 incandescents and halogens. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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I would consult the manufacturer about the necessity/degree of venting required.

I would be concerned about recharging. If you have batteries at various distances from the charger, they might not recharge correctly due to increased resistance through the length of the cable.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:09 PM   #3
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I think you will find you should add some panel wattage as well,AGMs still should have some venting even though they will gas much less than flooded batteries.Make sure to use a sufficient size cable to avoid voltage drop to the additional Batteries
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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try 6 volt batteries as well wired in series. and try to keep your battery bank as close together as possible. you'll have a huge amount of usable AH plus the cells in 6V batteries are more durable. Definitely up the amps in your panel as well. at 115 you might need three to get a good charge to those batteries. you're in california so you have great exposure.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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"I DO think that going to LED lighting would be a good conservation idea as we have about 18 incandescents and halogens. Any thoughts?"

Do the LED conversion first....

I found when we switched to all LED interior, step and porch lights the AGM's lasted considerably longer.

Bob
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:47 PM   #6
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I just bought one of these.. takes all of the guess work out of battery use.
TriMetric - YouTube

It measures and tracks charging as well.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altamont View Post
I have 2 AGM batteries and a 115 solar panel which serves quite well. I would like to upgrade to more capacity (been watching Preppers) and was wondering the best way to do that. I was thinking of adding 2 more AGMs but would have to put them in the storage bin behind the tanks. This also puts them under the bed so do I need a vented box?
Opinions vary. The conservative view is that AGMs still have a risk of gassing if overcharged and as such have to be vented. Any large battery poses a fire risk in the event of various failures. I take the conservative view. Others put them under beds and sofas.

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I do have a Honda 2000 but use it very little, pretty much for wife's hairdryer. I DO think that going to LED lighting would be a good conservation idea as we have about 18 incandescents and halogens. Any thoughts?
LED upgrades on the lights you use most often will make a difference.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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Talking update

I called LED4RV today and ordered led scare light, step light, 4 reading lights and 4 undercounter units for my aftermarket lights. I figured I can leave any and/or all of these on for the wattage of 2 of them in regular form. This should give me all the lights I need at very little battery life. All for under $160.

Thanks for all that contributed.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:20 PM   #9
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I have 4 AGM batteries - 2 are in the battery boxes and the other 2 are beside them under the gaucho. Since AGM batteries are sealed (unlike regular wet cell lead acid batteries), there is no requirement to vent them to the exterior. The Xantrex inverter/charger control panel takes care of monitoring the batteries and its usage. I also have solar panels mounted on the roof. Yes, I do boondock, and my only limit is the waste tank.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:51 PM   #10
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I have 4 AGM batteries - 2 are in the battery boxes and the other 2 are beside them under the gaucho. Since AGM batteries are sealed (unlike regular wet cell lead acid batteries), there is no requirement to vent them to the exterior. The Xantrex inverter/charger control panel takes care of monitoring the batteries and its usage. I also have solar panels mounted on the roof. Yes, I do boondock, and my only limit is the waste tank.

It's a myth that AGM batteries don't need to be vented....from the Lifeline manual.....

SAFETY SUMMARY
DANGER OF EXPLODING BATTERIES
Lead acid batteries can produce explosive mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen. Take the following precautions:
 Never install batteries in an airtight or sealed enclosure and make sure installation is adequately ventilated.
 Charge batteries in accordance with the instructions given in this manual.  Keep all sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries.  Connect cables tightly to the terminals to avoid sparks.  Wear proper eye and face protection when installing and servicing batteries.
DANGER OF CHEMICAL BURNS
Lead acid batteries contain sulphuric acid electrolyte which can cause severe burns to body tissue. Take the following precautions:
  
Avoid contact of the electrolyte with skin, eyes or clothing. Never remove or damage vent valves. In the event of an accident, flush with water and call a physician immediately.
DANGER OF BURNS IF TERMINALS ARE SHORTED
Lead acid batteries are capable of delivering high currents if the external terminals are short circuited. The resulting heat can cause severe burns and is a potential fire hazard. Take the following precautions:
 Do not place metal objects across battery terminals.  Remove all metallic items such as watches, bracelets and rings when installing
or servicing batteries.  Wear insulating gloves when installing or servicing batteries.  Use insulating tools when installing or servicing batteries.
DANGER OF THERMAL RUNAWAY
Thermal runaway is a condition in which the battery temperature increases rapidly resulting in extreme overheating of the battery. Under rare conditions, the battery can melt, catch on fire, or even explode. Thermal runaway can only occur if the battery is at high ambient temperature and/or the charging voltage is set too high. Take the following precautions:
 

Charge batteries in accordance with the instructions given in this manual. Do not install batteries near heat sources or in direct sunlight that may artificially elevate their temperature. Provide adequate air circulation around the batteries to prevent heat build up.
Document No. 6-0101 Rev. C Page 3 of 36

.....coach battery inside the living area....not for me.

Bob
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:11 AM   #11
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Unlike the flooded cell batteries, the vent is regulated to require 2 psi - which is a high enough level to cause the the oxygen evolved at the positive plates to largely recombine with the hydrogen ready to evolve on the negative plates, creating water and preventing water loss. The valve is a safety feature in case the rate of hydrogen evolution becomes dangerously high. In flooded cells, the gases escape before they can recombine, so water must be periodically added.

Thus the danger you refer too of vented flammable gases is not an issue. As well, since the batteries are kept away from heat sources and sunlight, the risk of explosion is minimal (never zero, but highly unlikely).

Thus it has become acceptable to use AGM batteries in places where flooded ones cannot be used safely - e.g., in the inside of an RV. This is an acceptable practice and I have seen it done in other Airstream trailers.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:14 AM   #12
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I'm slowly replacing the flourescent tubes with LED's, and tested the current draw of the tubes and oscillator/transformer at 1 amp. This is about 1/2 the draw of a comperable incandescent 1141 bulb.

The maximum number of the strips I can get into a 12" housing is four (15 LEDs/strip), and together they draw 200 milliamps, so about 20% of the power drain of the flourescents. Plus, they won't go out anywhere near as often as the flourecent tubes.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:03 AM   #13
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What is your goal for boondocking as far as time? Do you have a goal are you just going for more is better? You trying to boondock full time indefinately or what? Once you define the goal we can give you better advice.

Perry
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:50 AM   #14
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What about adding batteries to the tow vehicle??

I was thinking about adding several 12 volt batteries or one large 12 volt batteries...on the bed of my tow vehicle (truck). I want to wire this so it will charge when the truck is running, add the ability to charge at a campsite with 110volt power, and provide a plug and mains switch on my AS.

I'm hoping this will be a solution to add some boon-docking power to my rig without adapting the AS or loosing storage in the trailer...

Any suggestions, schematics, turn-key solutions?

Thanks, John T.
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