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Old 10-27-2010, 07:44 PM   #1
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Moving the battery and electrical equipment

I have gutted my 73 Sovereign, and was planning on a full remodel; new floor, frame restoration, new wiring, cabinetry..etc. I have seen some awesome electrical setups and battery boxes on this forum, but being a new guy that has never camped in a trailer or RV park, I need to ask a question...typically, where is the electrical connection in the RV park, relative to the trailer? I have seen batteries in the front, side, and rear. What position makes the most sense. I personally would like to make a tongue mounted battery work for me. I would prefer the inverter/charger and distribution panel to be in a cabinet in the front area of the trailer.
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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Bauxter most park hookups are roadside at the rear of the trailer. Considering that you have gutted the trailer and plan a full remodel you have a blank slate to work with. You can palce your battery,converter/charger(not inverter) and 12VDC fuse panel where ever you like. Typically the 110 VAC breaker box is close to the main line in from the park hookup so that almost all of your wiring is circuit overload protected. You can then run wires to each circuit and the converter from there. Just so you know a converter changes 110VAC to 12VDC and an inverter does the opposite.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:11 AM   #3
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I have been looking at a lot of threads on this subject, and I was thinking that the inverter/charger was the way to go. A full sine wave 2000 watt unit, although they seem very expensive. The batteries would provide the 12 volt power, the charger functionality would keep the batteries charged (while attached at a park), and the inverter functionality would allow 120 volt electronics use while dry camping. One thought is, would it be better to draw the 12 volts through the battery, or directly from an additional converter, while in an RV park?

Inverter Charger | Freedom SW 2000 Inverter/Charger | Xantrex

OR just buy a convert/charger, and just use the 120v while in a RV park, and save the dry camping niceties for a later date?

My current dilemma is not buying the units, but rather to plan the electrical system, so I can figure out where everything needs to be on my blank slate, better yet (my empty canvas). The rear roadside position of the park electrical, is a little worrisome, as my preferred electrical entry point is at the tongue, requiring a 50' or so shore power cord (31' + unknown slack).
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:40 AM   #4
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Hi Bauxter,

For what it's worth, on our refurb of a '72 Sovereign, I put the shore power connector in the middle of the trailer, just over the front axle. The converter I'll buy will combine the 120 VAC circuit brakers and the 12 VDC fuse panel all in one unit, and it will be mounted just forward of the front axle. The batteries will be on the tongue. I'll run pretty heafty battery cable between the batteries and the converter.

We chose the center location for the shore power connector because many parks have the electric hookup towards the center of the trailer as well as towards the rear. Some places we've stayed at over the years even had the electric hookup towards the front of the trailer. Rare, but they're out there.

Chris
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:13 AM   #5
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Bauxter

As others have noted the power pedestal at campsites is customarily located roadside towards the rear of the trailer, most typically near the roadside rear corner.

You should locate your inverter/charger or converter as close to the batteries as possible particularly if you choose a large unit like the Freedom 2000.

It is the experience of many that a large inverter is unnecessary. I do not have any 120v loads in my trailer except the air conditioning, electric heat, electric water heater, microwave, cake beaters, and television. The television and cake beaters will run from a small portable inverter that plugs into a 12v outlet. The other items aren't practical to use on an inverter due to the high power draw.

The large inverters make more sense for marine use where an engine is running much of the time providing a good deal of 12v current. They are also applicable in a handful of MH setups where there's no propane system and extra batteries to make up for it.
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Hi Bauxter,

For what it's worth, on our refurb of a '72 Sovereign, I put the shore power connector in the middle of the trailer, just over the front axle. The converter I'll buy will combine the 120 VAC circuit brakers and the 12 VDC fuse panel all in one unit, and it will be mounted just forward of the front axle. The batteries will be on the tongue. I'll run pretty heafty battery cable between the batteries and the converter.

We chose the center location for the shore power connector because many parks have the electric hookup towards the center of the trailer as well as towards the rear. Some places we've stayed at over the years even had the electric hookup towards the front of the trailer. Rare, but they're out there.

Chris
I plan to install a new combined panel (12v, 120v & converter) just as Minno has described above. The panel likely mount in the base of the
bench seat just to the front of the highway side wheel well. The shore power connection will be mounted just outside of the shell from where the panel will be. The battery(s) will be in the front of the coach under the front window. Likely I will be building a wrap around dinette/couch and the battery(s) will be below the seat at the front window. I will build a new battery box that will vent through the old univolt vent opening.

My question...do you think the battery cable run from the new battery location to the converter is excessive(probably 10-12 feet)? Will I need to increase the cable size? What size cable is typically used between the battery and the converter(copper or aluminum)?

Also, I mentioned building a new battery box. Is a battery box made from aluminum acceptable? I intend to use sheet aluminum for the sides, top and bottom and angle for the corners. Is there any other concerns with building a battery box besides venting?
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
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Silverado, I would defer to another on the question regarding wire size. I am certainly not experienced enough to determine what is needed.

Does it make sense to cluster all of the connections at the same point i.e. water, cable, shore power?
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:56 PM   #8
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My question...do you think the battery cable run from the new battery location to the converter is excessive(probably 10-12 feet)? Will I need to increase the cable size? What size cable is typically used between the battery and the converter(copper or aluminum)?
Whether to upsize the wire is a judgment call as it affects charging performance, not safety. If you have a converter with a remote voltage sense feature (most don't but there are some exceptions) you do not need to upsize the wire. If you are not especially concerned about rapid charging you do not need to upsize the wire.

For a 60 amp or smaller converter you can get away with 8 gauge copper wire but at that length charging performance will be affected unless you wire up a remote voltage sense.

You would need 1 gauge copper to get full charging performance, because that is the point at which the voltage drop would be 0.2 volts at 60 amps.

Quote:

Also, I mentioned building a new battery box. Is a battery box made from aluminum acceptable? I intend to use sheet aluminum for the sides, top and bottom and angle for the corners. Is there any other concerns with building a battery box besides venting?
[/quote]

Depends a little on battery type.

With flooded (wet cell) batteries there will be sulfuric acid vapor in the battery box and that will tend to corrode aluminum or stainless steel. Plastic is best.

With AGMs it doesn't matter much.
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:12 PM   #9
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Jammer, my panel is the Progressive Dynamics 4560 which includes the 9260 converter. The description for the 9260 says that it has..."built-in Charge Wizard microprocessor that constantly monitors the battery voltage then automatically adjusts the converter output voltage to provide the correct charging voltage for fast recharges and proper long-term maintenance"...but it does not say it is "remote". Do you still thing that 8ga will be sufficient?
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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Charge wizard or not it will work but it will take longer to charge a battery that's discharged most of the way. Me, I'd use 4 gauge wire, if there's room, which would at least help a little.
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