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Old 01-02-2020, 04:57 PM   #1
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Battery Upgrade - Thoughts?

I lurk on here a lot, so I figured I would toss out my plans for the first real mod I plan to do on my Jayco 174BH. It would be great to get some feedback before I go all crazy.

Right now, I have the basic battery box with a battery of questionable age and condition. We bought the camper used. I have it in storage so I don't really have a great way to keep the battery charged up.

On to the mod. First, I plan to remove the existing battery and box. I am thinking of putting in a small tongue box like this one. Which, based on the measurements should fit. I also plan to put 2 of these vents on the back for air flow.

I also want to put a second battery in there at some point. I don't really need it right now, but in the future... I've decided I want to go with a 12V battery. I am looking at the Universal Power Group AGM UB121000 battery, but I am open to reasonable suggestions.

I would also love to put a disconnect switch on there, but I haven't picked one out yet. Any suggestions here would be great.

Lastly, I hope to mount a solar battery tender on the tongue box to keep my battery topped up while it is in storage. There are a ton of options here, I wondered if anyone had better luck with some over others.

So, has anyone else done anything like this? Am I on the right path? Everyone here seems to be so helpful and friendly.

Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:00 PM   #2
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Biggest question would be why? How do you plan on using your camper? If you’ll be visiting campgrounds with electric power available then most any single 12v battery will be all that’s needed. If you’ll be Boondocking then a couple 6v golf cart batteries would provide better service long term. So far as a solar charger, great idea. I’d mount it on the roof to eliminate shadows issues.
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Old 01-02-2020, 08:16 PM   #3
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Fair question. Right now, I try to look for sites with power hook ups. Don't do much off-grid stuff. However, I would like to do some work on the camper while it is parked in storage which means I have to run lights off the battery. Also, I would like the ability to do some boondocking in the future which is where the larger box will come in handy.

Honestly, I doubt I get to boondock enough to make it worth putting 2 batteries in. But it is nice to know I can.
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Old 01-02-2020, 09:02 PM   #4
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I like your idea, sounds familiar, and yes, batteries will fit in there. Forget the 12v though and go with a couple 6v (or 4 if you want to be really prepared). You get deeper cycle batteries with thicker lead plates and more amp hours.
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Old 01-03-2020, 04:20 PM   #5
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I like your idea, sounds familiar, and yes, batteries will fit in there. Forget the 12v though and go with a couple 6v (or 4 if you want to be really prepared). You get deeper cycle batteries with thicker lead plates and more amp hours.
Did you have to weld the rails on the A frame that hold in the box or was that how you were set up already?
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Old 01-03-2020, 04:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Leaf_eagle View Post
Fair question. Right now, I try to look for sites with power hook ups. Don't do much off-grid stuff. However, I would like to do some work on the camper while it is parked in storage which means I have to run lights off the battery. Also, I would like the ability to do some boondocking in the future which is where the larger box will come in handy.

Honestly, I doubt I get to boondock enough to make it worth putting 2 batteries in. But it is nice to know I can.
Honestly for what you are describing that battery and box is overkill. A basic sub $100 deep cycle from a big box retailer (Walmart) would work fine. Pull it off and maintain it at home and install as needed. Save yourself $$$.

I can go without hookups for 4 to 5 days on a much smaller single battery. You can't run a microwave or AC off those batteries so it will be lights, radio, and fans plus the electronic control on the fridge.
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Old 01-03-2020, 05:28 PM   #7
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Did you have to weld the rails on the A frame that hold in the box or was that how you were set up already?
I welded two pieces of angle iron across the A-frame and then bolted the box to them. I cut a piece of rubber sheeting ( I believe it was an old door mat) to cushion the bottom of the box. I then drilled a few holes to drain any water intrusion if there ever was any. I vented it in the front and used an electrical junction box to exit the wires and keep it all weatherproof as possible. I removed the lock as I couldn’t access it. I had planned to strap the lid down if it ever tried to come open but the propane shield blocks all the airflow and it’s never moved.
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:54 PM   #8
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Thank you. I’m really liking that box idea. I believe I have easy access to a welder, I’m much more of a woodworker than metal worker.
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:06 PM   #9
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I know it is a bit overkill, but I like to tinker and I like to overengineer everything.

I'm going with two 6V. Do these look good? https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc...RoCT48QAvD_BwE
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:13 PM   #10
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If you have access to Costco or Sams Club you can pick em up @ about $90 ea.
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Leaf_eagle View Post
I know it is a bit overkill, but I like to tinker and I like to overengineer everything.

I'm going with two 6V. Do these look good? https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc...RoCT48QAvD_BwE
Thatís where I picked up my Duracell 6v. If I remember they were like $110 or so. They are 220 Amp hour batteries

Good luck on the mod, I love having the battery bank Iíve built and I feed it with a 400W solar setup from Renogy. Itís a killer self sufficient setup
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Leaf_eagle View Post
I know it is a bit overkill, but I like to tinker and I like to overengineer everything.

I'm going with two 6V. Do these look good? https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc...RoCT48QAvD_BwE
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:03 PM   #13
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I just changed over to 2 6v batteries this past season. I installed the Duracell batteries that are the same size as the ones you are looking at with a few more amp hours. I was very happy with how they performed. 4-5 days 4 people in the camper the batteries were good.

https://www.batteriesplus.com/productdetails/battery/rv/deep-cycle/6/sligc125
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:43 PM   #14
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Screwby, Am I counting right ? Do you have 5 batteries in that box? You mention you have Duracell 6v batteries. I'm assuming they are the SLIGC110 215AH model. 1) How did you get 5 batteries in that 35 inch box? and, 2) How are you running a 12v system with 5 batteries?
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:05 PM   #15
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Screwby, Am I counting right ? Do you have 5 batteries in that box? You mention you have Duracell 6v batteries. I'm assuming they are the SLIGC110 215AH model. 1) How did you get 5 batteries in that 35 inch box? and, 2) How are you running a 12v system with 5 batteries?
Nope, your math is off, there are only 4 batteries in the box. Funny, when I look at the picture I thinks it’s the labels or something, it does look like 5 batteries. I assure you it’s only 4 and even those were such a tight fit that I’m not sure if I can get them out again lol.
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Old 01-18-2020, 10:53 PM   #16
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If your only going to boondock a few times, two six's work just fine. With batteries, the quality shows up in the years of warranty.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:39 PM   #17
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Nope, your math is off, there are only 4 batteries in the box. Funny, when I look at the picture I thinks itís the labels or something, it does look like 5 batteries. I assure you itís only 4 and even those were such a tight fit that Iím not sure if I can get them out again lol.

I just figured that out by counting the Red positive terminals (with one missing the red cap on the bottom left battery). I notice the Duracells are very inexpensive compared to Trojans. How long have you been running them and how are they holding their charge?
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:33 AM   #18
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I just figured that out by counting the Red positive terminals (with one missing the red cap on the bottom left battery). I notice the Duracells are very inexpensive compared to Trojans. How long have you been running them and how are they holding their charge?
Iíve had them for almost 3 years now and they are working just fine. They are probably overkill for what we use them for but I like to over engineer. With the 400w of solar on the roof they never get plugged in unless I need AC or we are at a shady campground glamping. The Renogy solar controller is much smarter than my stock battery converter so Iíd rather it maintain them anyways.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:49 AM   #19
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Ditto on the 6v's. Sounds like you're leaning that way. We have a 26BH and had a local welding shop put the angle iron on the tongue. Simple and effective.

If you decide to go with 12v's, don't buy one now, and another later, as mixing batteries of different ages is undesirable.

Visiting your trailer at the storage area and using the 12v is the only reason you would need solar. Otherwise, a disconnect switch would work just fine for months at a time.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:58 AM   #20
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The most important thing to remember is the Duracell or other flooded batteries take maintenance. You have to take care of them so they can take care of you. Check the water level and clean/check terminals every time you check on the camper or set a schedule to do so (I did). Check the voltage of each individual battery in the bank to assure you aren’t getting a bad one that will ruin the rest of the bank. Keep them either plugged in, on solar, or remove them and bring them indoors and warm. Fastest way to ruin a battery or battery bank is to set it and forget it.
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