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Old 12-24-2015, 11:47 AM   #31
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Location: Clearwater, FL area
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Originally Posted by Cdash View Post

I'm looking to get a little more "knowledgeable" with our next setup and will likely invest in Trojans and thinking about Solar, but that's a whole different level of confusion. Some people say 100 to 150 watts per battery, then I see others with 250 watts per battery and planning to go to almost 400 watts per battery. Who is right?? I try to figure it out, but never can because you never get all the details with batteries, charge controllers, wiring, power consumption, etc. Makes me wonder if the lower watt per battery is an ideal system and the higher watts is a less efficient system?
At this point, seems like the best idea for me is to try it, with expandability in mind.
A basic rule of thumb for figuring out how much SOLAR is needed for your batteries is to have the same amount of panel wattage as Ah rating of the batteries (T105=220Ah = 250Watt SOLAR panel). That is usually a good starting point. If you do not recharge your batteries to 100% by 2pm on sunny days or 4PM on cloudy days, then you will need to get another SOLAR panel. Keep in mind that if you need to expand, your initial SOLAR charger controller needs to be large enough to accept the additional Amps.

We installed a 250watt (residential) panel with a 60 Amp MPPT charge controller and it has worked fine for our SOLAR CAMPING LIFESTYLE. The panel puts out 9 Amps (30VDC) and the MPPT output is 19-20 Amps to the batteries. I chose the MoriningStar 60 amp for Expansion and the ability to monitor the system on my smart phone, tablets (Wi-Fi) and the price was right at the time. There are a few good charge controllers out there, just research them.

Just remember that the basic rule for amount of SOLAR needed is for a battery Ah, the problem is most people have no clue as to how many Ah their camping life style uses, which is usually more than the Ah 50% rule of their current batteries and that will cause a shorter battery life.

2013 Jayco Eagle 284BHS
250Watt Grape Solar Panel, MorningStar MPPT 60 Charge Controller
1500 Watt Ramsond PSI, 2 Trojan T145 Batteries (260Ah)
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:47 PM   #32
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Location: Eagle River, AK
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My wife and I regularly boondock; in fact we boondock probably 9 out of 10 times. usually 3 to 4 days at a time. We have two 2 group 24 deep cycle batteries mounted. We understand and operate on the mindset that we are staying in a TT. Limited water, easy on the use of the toilet facilities, and careful use of all things battery powered. The longest we have managed to stretch resources out to was 8 days (this in the days before we had our solar panels or small generator). By day 4 we would just back the truck close enough and plug it in and let it run approximately 40 minutes. That would charge the batteries enough to get us another day or two.

Understanding your desire not to add additional payload to your tongue; and moving the batteries inside is a smart move. You should do fine. Everyone will have different experiences and methods. My point is careful use and planning can surprise you how far you can go. Try planning it out and camping in this way: even though you are in a trailer, set your mindset and gear and equipment usage as if you are in a tent and if your trip is for 2-3 days plan for 4-6. Portable battery lights, propane/gas (coleman type) lanterns, etc.

We are just a humble drinking couple with a hunting and camping problem.
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Old 12-24-2015, 03:02 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by TommyAjax View Post
So here is my real-world scenario - we live outside of Toronto, Canada, and head down to Florida for 3-4 weeks around the end of January. It is a solid three days of driving. First day I can get down to southern West Virginia (around Beckley) where it can be cool/cold so would need the furnace. Second day, can get down to Savannah Georgia no problem, but at that time of year, the furnace may be nice to take the chill out of the air. Previously, we did this with a pop-up and took hotels for those couple of nights each way, but we were hoping that with the travel trailer, we could Wal-Camp and save that $300-400 on each trip. Granted I have to spend the money on the batteries, but I see that as an investment that lets us get our toes wet in boondocking for a few days here and there (ie. we are only about 4 hrs away from the Alleghany forest and would like to do some dispersed camping there)
For what you're wanting to do, the solution seems bigger than the problem. First, on your trip south or north you will completely recharge your onboard battery [1 or 2] while you are driving [all day]. So 2nd nite you are again good to go with full charge. Same each day as long as your are driving for 5 or 6 hours. 2 batteries are more than enough and a small inverter as little as 400watts will run tv/sat receiver/phone charger etc, everything except the big draws [ac/microW/toaster etc].

Its your call but an extra 50lbs on the tongue doesn't seem to be that much. If you think it is, then put the 2nd battery in the bed of your truck and use quick connects to add it to the house battery for that extra day or two or when you are worried about the furnace in real cold weather.

Your needs are pretty specific and it just seems drastic to do more than just configure a 2nd battery
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:36 AM   #34
Join Date: Sep 2012
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I am not a big fan of AGM batteries. Sure there are advantages to them, but you pay the price !

I would go with 2 6V golf cart batteries (GC-1 is the size). These are specifically designed for deep discharge and you can buy them a a reasonable price at Sam's Club or Costco. The premium brand is Trojan (T105).

They do make a battery box that will hold 2 GC-1 batteries, but as pointed out this is a lot of extra tongue weight if you mount it there. The only other idea I could recommend is strap it down well inside the trailer until you get where you are going and the move it outside.

Trojan DOES make a 6V deep cycle AGM battery that they sell under the Reliant™ brand name.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:10 PM   #35
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I've got 2 6v Costco batteries and 2 100W panels that I put hinges on and some foldable legs. For us portable works well so I can move the panels to the sun. Always have 25' of cable. If needed I have a 50' extension I can use. I can go indefinitely on that setup with our use. Have an inverter to run the tv, Blu-ray player, and charge phones/tablet. Typically tv is running a couple hours every other night or so. This summer did 3 week trip with no problems. Week this fall in NM where it was in the teens at night so furnace was running a lot. Total setup was between $5-600.
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:37 PM   #36
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Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I have camped for 3 day weekends in April and Thanksgiving in October without shore power here in Manitoba. We just have one battery and have never had an issue with running out of electricity. None of my lights are LED so we bring along a couple of battery powered lanterns and use them almost exclusively for lighting at night. So that saves a lot of energy. The battery runs the furnace fan (which is cycling on/off all night and often a few times in the day, depending on weather) and the water pump.

If you have LED lights in your unit then you shouldn't need to worry about using them.

Anyway, just letting you know that unless your battery is a complete dud you shouldn't have any issue cold weather camping for 2 or 3 nights off the grid.

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