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Old 08-01-2017, 11:55 AM   #1
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Add 2 more AGM batteries

We just bought a 2017 Flying Cloud 25 FB twin and after boon docking for a few weeks, we've decided the pair of Group 24 AGMs that were provided (Interstate GPL-24T) aren't quite up to the task for our needs. I'd like to add 2 more batteries that I would assume would double the current 80 amp hour capacity to 160 amp hours.

I'm looking for suggestions as to where to get this done. I called an RV/Airstream dealer and they are going to call me back, but they seemed hesitant to do it. He admitted they'd never done it before to that particular model. So I'd prefer to find someone who is very comfortable with this kind of modification. We're retired and can go anywhere, so location is not an issue.

Also curious if we have to upgrade anything else in order to make this transition, such as converter, etc.

Thanks,

Joe
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:58 AM   #2
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Joe,

Rather than add more batteries, how about adding a couple of solar panels to keep the existing batteries charges and converting to group 27 batteries.

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by wareaglewalt View Post
We just bought a 2017 Flying Cloud 25 FB twin and after boon docking for a few weeks, we've decided the pair of Group 24 AGMs that were provided (Interstate GPL-24T) aren't quite up to the task for our needs. I'd like to add 2 more batteries that I would assume would double the current 80 amp hour capacity to 160 amp hours.

I'm looking for suggestions as to where to get this done. I called an RV/Airstream dealer and they are going to call me back, but they seemed hesitant to do it. He admitted they'd never done it before to that particular model. So I'd prefer to find someone who is very comfortable with this kind of modification. We're retired and can go anywhere, so location is not an issue.

Also curious if we have to upgrade anything else in order to make this transition, such as converter, etc.

Thanks,

Joe
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:00 PM   #3
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Adding more solar is an option. We already have the 2 80 watt panels on the roof that came with the Airstream and 200 watt portable solar panels. I guess there's room for more solar on the roof.

My main issue is using a CPAP every nite and having to use that darn inverter. One other option I'd like to look into is adding a 12 volt adapter so I can plug in the CPAP directly without having to use the inverter. Perhaps that would help our power consumption a bit.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:53 PM   #4
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Yes, get the 12V adapter, you will lose the overhead of the inverter. Also change to LED bulbs.

Bill

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Originally Posted by wareaglewalt View Post
Adding more solar is an option. We already have the 2 80 watt panels on the roof that came with the Airstream and 200 watt portable solar panels. I guess there's room for more solar on the roof.

My main issue is using a CPAP every nite and having to use that darn inverter. One other option I'd like to look into is adding a 12 volt adapter so I can plug in the CPAP directly without having to use the inverter. Perhaps that would help our power consumption a bit.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:07 AM   #5
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It's a 2017 Flying Cloud. All LED already. I think I just need more capacity so that's why I was asking about additional batteries.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:22 AM   #6
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Joe.
First..... War Eagle

The route I went was to put a battery box extenteder ring on and change the (2) group 24 batteries to (2) two deep cycle 6 volt T105 Trogan golf cart batteries. 220 amp hours and made for a true deep cycle use.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ts-165535.html

Also 12 cord for CPAP will be better as you are not loosing the power of running the inverter
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:50 AM   #7
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Didn't the 2017 Airstreams come with a modified battery box that allows taller batteries. Thought I read that somewhere.

If you switch batteries, swap out your Parallax converter charger to at least a Progressive PD4655 ($210).

Kelvin
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:57 AM   #8
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Did that also
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Old 08-02-2017, 12:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wareaglewalt View Post
We just bought a 2017 Flying Cloud 25 FB twin and after boon docking for a few weeks, we've decided the pair of Group 24 AGMs that were provided (Interstate GPL-24T) aren't quite up to the task for our needs. I'd like to add 2 more batteries that I would assume would double the current 80 amp hour capacity to 160 amp hours.

I'm looking for suggestions as to where to get this done. I called an RV/Airstream dealer and they are going to call me back, but they seemed hesitant to do it. He admitted they'd never done it before to that particular model. So I'd prefer to find someone who is very comfortable with this kind of modification. We're retired and can go anywhere, so location is not an issue.

Also curious if we have to upgrade anything else in order to make this transition, such as converter, etc.

Thanks,

Joe
We also changed to the six Volt batteries for 220 amps storage immediately upon purchasing our 28 International in 2009, and we simultaneously added 2 more for a combined battery bank if 440 amps. The Parallax converter handles this fine, and the batteries are still working great in 2017. (Note:you should be using a BlueSky or similar MMPT solar controller-this seems to help the poor Parallax not kill the batteries while getting much more out of your panels.) Your 20O watts of moveable solar should give you plenty--the equivalent of 400 watts of fixed solar if you re-aim a few times during the day to get plenty of good sun angle.

The challenge with the four AGM's is tongue weight. The four will weigh almost 300 lbs! We are way heavy on the tongue, and it is not practical to relocate because all the wires lead to the controller which is forward.

So our solution going forward, and my recommendation to you, is to replace your battery bank with a 300 amp hour (or 400) lithium battery bank. Because the lithium batteries can be discharged 85% and the AGM's only 50%, the 440 amp hour AGM bank only gives us 220 amp/he's usable, but the 300 amp/lithium bank will yield 265 usable. A 400 amp/hr lithium setup would give you 340 usable amp hrs. And the 300 amphi lithium bank weighs a slender 84 lbs!!! Downside--very pricey, but thought to last much longer.

For installation if either, Lew Farber who goes by Lewster on the Fprums is THE MAN. Since you can travel to him, really the very best way to go. He is in Hood River, OT on the Wash/OR border in the summers and Naples, FL in winter. Contact him soon as he is booked well in advance. He is extremely knowledgeable, easy to work with, and does meticulously clean work.

Let us know how it works out!
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Old 08-02-2017, 01:01 PM   #10
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Hi Joe,

The easiest and least expensive way to go is by just adding to more of the same batteries that you have. Any decent RV dealership can do that for you (or a marine shop). That will give you enough capacity for your current needs.

I added a 12 volt outlet to the stand between our twin beds for my CPAP (see middle top of picture). In the short run, all Airstreams have a 12 volt outlet somewhere. Ours had two (one by each television outlet). You can buy extension cords if they are too far from your bed. You will also need to get a 12v adapter cord for your CPAP.
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Old 08-02-2017, 01:01 PM   #11
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I bought a 2012 27'FB 3 years ago. As long as I have owned it it has had 4 24 series AGM's. Two are mounted in the battery compartment and 2 in the storage compartment under the bed. Any equalizing hitch or distribution hitch is designed to handle this additional tongue. I not very have had any problems. The modification from 2 to 4 batteries is very simple. Any RV shop be able to do this.

If the price comes down on Lithiums and they develop better charging technology that will improve charging at temps below 32F then I will switch. For now my AGM's work fine.
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Old 08-02-2017, 01:12 PM   #12
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"I bought a 2012 27'FB 3 years ago. As long as I have owned it it has had 4 24 series AGM's. Two are mounted in the battery compartment and 2 in the storage compartment under the bed."
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I bought a 2016 27 FB 18 months ago, having two Group 24 lead/acid batteries, which I immediately sold and replaced with two Group 27 AGMs, which I put in a battery box in the storage cabinet under the bed (as they would not fit without modification to the AS battery box on the A-frame). No problems so far.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:33 PM   #13
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To reduce the voltage loss due to wire resistance as much as possible, I ran 10 gauge wire from the 12 volt fuse box back to the bedroom. This allows me to run my CPAP as efficient as possible. I also shut down the heater in the CPAP hose and humidifier as well. Since this is the biggest load I have the extra effort was well worth it.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:54 PM   #14
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Hi

You likely are putting 4X as much power into the inverter as the CPAP is using. Get it converted to 12V before you do any other wild stuff. Next step would be to put it on a separate battery stack.

Bob
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoscoMN View Post
To reduce the voltage loss due to wire resistance as much as possible, I ran 10 gauge wire from the 12 volt fuse box back to the bedroom. This allows me to run my CPAP as efficient as possible. I also shut down the heater in the CPAP hose and humidifier as well. Since this is the biggest load I have the extra effort was well worth it.
I have a CPAP that runs on 12v and will run all night on an 8 amp hour gel cell.

In winter, I supplement the unit with a water tank in a COSTCO lunch box (silver padded soft insulation) and put two Zippo hand warmers running on lighter fluid in the padded lunch box with the water tank. I used a bunch of "Hot Hands" with one Zippo initially and it worked but I woke up twice during the night to restoke the Hot Hands that I pre-positioned close by. The "heater" keeps the water warm so I don't get a "brain freeze" that is typical from cold water in the winter, and uses no electricity. I currently have 5 each 10 amp hour gel cells that I rotate and recharge during the day on either shore power, generator power, or solar. Not fancy but it works. This is made possible by the Puritan Bennett CPAP, no longer available, but I think there are other models available that will work on low draw DC.
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoscoMN View Post
To reduce the voltage loss due to wire resistance as much as possible, I ran 10 gauge wire from the 12 volt fuse box back to the bedroom. This allows me to run my CPAP as efficient as possible.
I installed a 12V automobile receptacle (aka, cigarette lighter) in each corner of our trailer by tapping into the wire leading to the lights in the corners. The feed wire to the lights was 12 gauge, as I recall. Just need to remove the speakers to get access to the wiring. And drill a hole for the receptacle.


Greg
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:16 AM   #17
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Hi

Ok some more math (oh joy !!) :

If your trailer is a 25' model, the longest straight "run" from the battery will be about 2 x 25 = 50'. Ten gauge copper wire is an ohm per thousand feet (easy number to remember). At one amp, a thousand feet will drop one volt (also a cute one to remember). 50/1000 x 1 = .05V. If it was a 2A load, you would have 0.1V at 50 feet.

Twelve gauge is 1.6 ohms per thousand feet. Multiply the loss by 1.6. At one amp, you get 0.08V at two you have 0.16V (a degradation of 0.06V).

A 10% loss at 12V would be 1.2V. A 1% loss would be 0.12V. For this light a load, there's not a lot of benefit in the heavier (as weights more) wire.

We talk a lot about "bigger is better" when it comes to 12V wiring. The *only* reason I bring up the above math is to show how you would work out "is it big enough" efficiency wise. There are lots of tables that show you the "fire" ratings on various cables. There aren't as many examples of how you work it out for loss. The case at hand just happens to highlight the rather cool ( = easy to remember) stuff about 10 gauge wire.

Why worry about "big enough?". Wire is heavy, trailers are weight challenged. Heavy wire is harder to work with. Attaching heavy wire to connection points that are not designed for it has reliability implications. It's not really a "bigger is always better" world.

Bob
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:46 AM   #18
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Lithiums are expensive. The easy fix is to replace the group 24 batteries with Trojan, or Crown six volt golf cart batteries. This will give you 110 usable AMP hours. If CPAP is your primary draw just add a 12V outlet using existing wires. This is what I did when I figured out my inverter uses over 3 AH just to keep it powered up. That's about 24AH a night...more than the CPAP will use.

I also installed 12v outlets for the TV and oscillating fan. These are powered by stand alone 150 watt inverters I bought from Amazon for $32.00. They just sip a small amount of current.

As to adding solar...If I had it to do again I would invest in more batteries rather than solar. I have 500 watts on my roof and it does a pretty good job, but nothing like my small 2000i Honda gen set running on propane. On a cloudy day the solar will not keep up with draw and the most I have ever seen is 24 AMP hours coming in. So the $1500 I put into solar panels could have gone toward lithium batteries.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:10 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver.Sanctuary View Post
I have a CPAP that runs on 12v and will run all night on an 8 amp hour gel cell.

In winter, I supplement the unit with a water tank in a COSTCO lunch box (silver padded soft insulation) and put two Zippo hand warmers running on lighter fluid in the padded lunch box with the water tank. I used a bunch of "Hot Hands" with one Zippo initially and it worked but I woke up twice during the night to restoke the Hot Hands that I pre-positioned close by. The "heater" keeps the water warm so I don't get a "brain freeze" that is typical from cold water in the winter, and uses no electricity. I currently have 5 each 10 amp hour gel cells that I rotate and recharge during the day on either shore power, generator power, or solar. Not fancy but it works. This is made possible by the Puritan Bennett CPAP, no longer available, but I think there are other models available that will work on low draw DC.
How do you recharge the gel cell? Another option I'm digging into is like your gel cell idea: smaller, separate battery packs and recharge with small solar panels.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:19 AM   #20
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Hi

Just from casual observation and not a really scientific logging process:

The factory "160W" solar on the roof puts 7 to 10A into the batteries around noon on a typical sunny day. That's at 13.7V. More or less, I get 137W out of a "160W" system. You could look at it as being in the 60 to 85% range. Would the batteries "take" more than 7A? They didn't with the (small) loads I was running at the time (or that was all there was coming in ... who knows)

Next "gotcha" is that juice goes in at 13.7 and comes out at 12.7. That's an 8% hit right there. Take the 85% "best case" above and the inherent 8%, you aren't getting above 80%. You may be below 60% .....

Would I go without solar? NO it's great stuff. I can't think of a better way to keep batteries topped up when you have very low usage (like storage, or away from camp). It's zero running cost and pretty much a "no think" kind of thing. I just would not try to depend on it for my full power when I live in the part of the country where the "nice" spots are in the woods. Often they are deep in the woods.

Bob
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