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Old 11-06-2012, 11:27 PM   #1
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6 Volt Battery Question

I own a 2013 Jayco 32BHDS with dual 6 volt batteries, This summer while camping (no hookups) I noticed I couldn’t run most items (laptop, TV etc…) off of my inverter. I have a 1200 Watt & 2000 Watt inverter which I plugged into the cigarette lighter receptacles (x2) within the trailer. If I plugged the inverter into my truck (dual 12 volt batteries) and ran an extension cord to the trailer I could power the items which were in question.

Quick question:

Would this happen because I’m running dual 6 volt batteries or would this be an issue in using the cigarette lighter receptacles within the trailer?

I guess the only way to test it would be to hook one of the inverter’s direct to the batteries and see if I can power the items up?

I was also wondering if there’s a way to energize all the outlet’s within the trailer while boon docking with no generator hooked up? Something along the lines of installing a larger inverter hooked directly to the batteries then actually plugging the trailer into the inverter. I have no idea if this is feasible or what kind of implications this might create but I thought I would ask, Probably only do this in the evenings when I'm not running a generator.

Any info would be greatly appreciated

Steve
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:54 AM   #2
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I run a 750 W inverter which is hardwired into my 12V system. This is the only way to use an inverter over 150W as the wiring to the 12Voutlet is not heavy enough. You need heavy guage wire to run an inverter that size your running. If you want a whole house inverter a 2000W would do but your battery bank needs to increase to accomodate it. 4-6 6V would get it done. Then comes the recharge which would either be a small genny or solar. Without a recharge source your not going to have any way to live off grid for long. I have the inverter for TV's, laptop and light electrical use when genny run times are dark.

I run the genny during proper hours to bring my batteries back up above 90%. This usually is about 2 hrs a day based on my usage. Mid week I might run it for up to 4hr to get them topped off at close to 100%. I hardly ever use high power items like A/C or micro but my genny can run all those should I ever need it to so consider that if your buying one.

As for the backfeed inverter question there are switches you can purchase to do just that, but again you will need a bank and re-charge power source. I went with the 2 - 6V and genny option since I already had the genny.

There are a few members on here who have done the solar setup and there are several good threads with detailed info if you search.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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First off you need to think of your two 6V batteries as ONE 12VDC Battery. It is just separated into "two" components. A typical single 12VDC battery will produce about 85-100AH's of 12VDC power. Your two 6VDC batteries connected in series will typically produce around 200AHs of 12VDC power. As you can see the two 6VDC batteries connected in series will produce typically twice as much power as one typical 12VDC battery.

Also using a 1500WATT PSW INVERTER here for running job related electronic test equipment on-the-road would drain down a typical rental car battery in less than 30 minutes if fully loaded at 1500WATTS. This relates to around 120AMPS of 12VDC power needed which most definately requires you to be direct connected to the battery terminals. Connecting your 2000WATT Inverter to a standard cigarette light will work just fine for using something something up to around 150WATTS but beyond that it will blow fuses or melt wires if no fuses are being used. A dangerous situation.

Your two 6VDC batteries should produce 12VDC at 25AMPS for around 400 minutes (over 6HRs) since they are designed for golf cart applications. Your two 12VDC Truck batteries probably are rated for around 200AHs which should produce 12VDC at 25AMPS for around 300 min (5.8HRs). My survival training has always taught me to never use my truck resources as this is the only way to get back home on...

This is how my OFF-ROAD POPUP trailer is layed out using two INVERTERS direct wired to my battery bank.


I ran two multidrop 120VAC extension cords enclosed in wiremode conduit to the two locations you see in the floorplan. I can plug my home entertainment and other 120VAC items like cell phone chargers, computer chargers, fan, electric blanket, etc.

I also have a 1500W PSW Inverter that is wired to an outside RV type plug next to the RV shore power cable which I can plug into the 1500W Inverter. This of course is not enough power to run my whole trailer so I have to flip some circuit breakers in the power panel first before using this or it trips the inverter right right away. I mainly use this just to power up all of my 120VAC receptacles scattered around the interior/exterior locations.

I am also using three 85AH batteries in the battery bank which gives me around 255AH capacity.

My setup allows us to do almost everything we normally do at a regular camp ground with electric except run the air conditioner or high powered microwave. With good planning I will draw around 20AMPs from the batteries from 8PM to around 11PM and then drop back to around 1 amp for the rest of the night until 8AM the next morning. My battery bank is now around 50% depleted and this is usually when i am allowed to run my 2KW Honda generator to re-charge my battery bank back up to 90% charge state. Now I can do all of this all over again for the next day/night camping off the power grid. You can only get a few battery cycles like this by only charging up to the 90% charge state and need to charge up to a full 100% state probably in a weeks time or you will start killing the good performance of the batteries. I also only use PURE SINEWAVE type Inverters so that I dont ever have to worry about the inverter from burning up any of my high dollar electronic items. PSW Inverters are cheap these days as compared to just a few years ago.

This cannot be successful unless you do alot of planning and making sure you have smart-mode converter/charging capability and also change out the automotive lamps for LED boards and plan your out your battery consumption. It took me around a year of working on this before I could say I was successful about doing it on every trip. I guess the longest I have ever stayed out was over a week. That's when i ran out of gasoline for the generator.

Worked out good for me...

Roy Ken
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:41 PM   #4
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First thanks for the feedback, it makes this a little clearer.

I’m guessing the issue I had with trying to power these items must have been trying to plug the inverter into the 12V outlet within the trailer. I’m guessing that the gauge of the 12V cable couldn’t accommodate the draw of the laptops power supply or the TV.

So it sounds like I have a couple of options.

Option 1: Hardwire one of the inverter’s directly to the batteries then run extension cords or power bars to power misc items. I think if I do this I might purchase a true deep cycle battery charger to ensure I get a proper charge on the batteries in a decent amount of time.

Option 2: Purchase a larger inverter/charger something along the lines of a xantrex Inverter/Charger freedom 458. Then hardwire the inverter charger to the batteries, create a new receptacle on the outside of the trailer that I can plug the trailer into. I guess I would also need to create a new receptacle that I could plug shore power into, which would go directly to the inverter/charger wich would share the power into powering the trailer and charging the batteries.

http://www.xantrex.com/power-product...eedom-458.aspx

Or am I over complicating this and basically just changing the original inverter/charger that came with my Jayco trailer?

Basically I want to power a couple of small items but I would like to do this through the receptacle’s which are already installed within the trailer. From what I understand I can’t power the receptacles within the trailer unless I’m plugged into Shore Power?

Thanks again for the feedback

Steve
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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Steve do you have the dual 6's wired pos to pos or pos to neg? it should be pos to neg so you get 12 volts.. ALSO unless you are running heavier wire to the cig plugs it might not have the capacity to carry 12 volt at that amperage needed for 1000 watts.
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:58 PM   #6
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Steve - your option one is what I do here. The game plan is to use very large battery cables from the battery terminals to the INVERTER terminals that will carry large amounts of high current. Once you make this happen and convert to 120VAC then you can run extension cords almost any length you need as the voltage drop will be minimal.

Of course the down side is the 2000W INVERTER will have such a large power drain on the battery it will discharge them is very short time period. Pulling 160AMPS or so from a single 12VDC battery source will only give you a few minutes of operation before the battery goes dead. You will need a very large battery bank to even think about pulling 162AMPS from it. Like I stated above on how long your battery will work was based on only drawing 25AMPs of power from the battery. This is in the range of 400WATTS not 2000WATTS. In other words with your two 6V golf cart batteries running in series you will be able to produce 400WATTS of power for around 400 minutes or around six hours. Then your batteries will be dead and will need to be immediately re-charged or they will suffer total failure soon. So you can add up all your 120VAC toys you want to operate and if they only add up to less than 400WATTS then you can expect to run them for about six hours of time before your battery goes dead.

Your option two doesn't have enough info for me to understand. It sounds like you want to connect a Xantrex Inverter/Charger freedom 458 directly to your 12VDC battery terminals to produce 120VAC which in turn you will operate your on-board converter/charger that will charge the same 12VDC battery. In other words this would run forever. This only works in the movies with using flux capacitors, dilithium crystals, or maybe even magic beans. Your option 2 will work fine if you plug the on-board shore power cable into a RV30A pedestal or 2KW generator for 120VAC power. Basic laws just doesn't allow you to use the same source to create power to keep that source continuing to operate. Needs an external source of energy to accomplish this.

Maybe I didn't understand your hookup correcxtly...

The only way my setup works is I run my batteries down to their 50% charge state and then I have to re-charge them back up to their 90% charge state using my 2KW Honda Generator. The Honda generator will run the on-board trailer on-board converter/charger or an external smart mode portable 40AMP battery charger. They have to be smart mode chargers to be able to re-charge in a quick 2-3 hors Generator run time.

This is my diagram on how my converter/charger trailer system is wired for up to four batteries including a 1500W PSW Inverter. Notice my 1500W PSW INVERTER has a 175AMP fuse in its 12VDC line and all battery cables around the setup are 4AWG which is border line on being to small. I would be alot better off using 2AWG cables.


sample photo from google images

Roy Ken
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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Looks like I got a bit carried away with how the Xantrex Inverter/charger works. Never been around one before.

A Xantrex inverter/charger is a combination of an inverter, battery charger and transfer switch into one complete system.

When AC power is available, the inverter/charger recharges the house batteries. It also allows any surplus AC power to pass through and power downstream AC loads, such as a television set or microwave oven.

When AC power is disconnected, the unit inverts DC battery power into AC electricity to operate the trailer AC loads.

Sorry about the above story about "Back to the future". It was a good story however....

Roy Ken
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I claim Horse Creek Country in Southern Ill - Momabear is from North Texas
We live in King George VA
RETIRED DOD DOAF DON CONTRACTOR Electronics Tech 42YRS

"We're burning daylight" - John Wayne
2008 STARCRAFT 14RT OFF-ROAD POPUP with PD9260C and three 85AH 12VDC batteries
2010 F150 FX4 5.4 GAS with 3.73 gears - Super Cab - Towing Package - 2KW Honda EU2000i Gen
K9PHT (since 1957) 146.52Mhz
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:28 PM   #8
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I like the movie so no harm was done...

In you first post you mentioned

“I also have a 1500W PSW Inverter that is wired to an outside RV type plug next to the RV shore power cable which I can plug into the 1500W Inverter. This of course is not enough power to run my whole trailer so I have to flip some circuit breakers in the power panel first before using this or it trips the inverter right away. I mainly use this just to power up all of my 120VAC receptacles scattered around the interior/exterior locations.”

The way I’m reading this is… You have your 1500W PSW Inverter hooked up directly to your batteries, then you are basically plugging your trailer directly into the inverter which in turn is powering all of your receptacles.

Am I correct?

If yes, then how do you deal with the feedback into the inverter, because wouldn’t plugging the trailer into the inverter also make the onboard battery charger start charging the batteries? Wouldn’t it close the loop and basically have it feeding each other?

Yes I know the batteries will be depleting from the inverter and I can’t charge the batteries without it being hooked up to power (shore power). I’m trying to figure out a way to power the original outlet’s within the trailer without being hooked up to power(plugged in).

I think the Xantrex Freedom 458 is over kill for what I’m trying to achieve, I think this option would be better suited if I was going to change out the entire inverter/charging system that the trailer originally came with.

As for inverter’s, if I’m not maxing out the inverter then the load shouldn’t be that bad… example: If I’m only pulling 200 watts it shouldn’t really matter what inverter I have in line, whether it’s a 750watt or a 2000watt as the consumption I’m using is only 200 watts… Correct?

Sean45 – my batteries are hooked up from pos to neg.

Thanks again for the replies

Steve
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:41 PM   #9
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6 volt battery question

Steve,
Like you, we all have to start somewhere when it comes to RV electrical. Roy has given you a lot of GREAT information and I will add a little more to Ron’s list of items. It looks like you already know how much drain you are going to have on your batteries and if you are not totally sure, purchase a “Kill A Watt” 120 volt meter (Amazon.com). It is a great all around tool. It measures your AC load (Fridge.. TV.. Microwave..) for each item. I was surprised that the large TV in the 2013 Jayco Eagle 284BHS only used .8 amps.

Battery Selection:
This is definitely an individual’s preference here. I prefer using (2) 12volt batteries for the sole reason that if one of them goes bad I still have the second 12 volt battery to hobble home with, whereas if one of the 6 volt batteries goes bad, there is no battery power for the trailer, not counting the Tow Vehicles connection. In the old days the 6 volt batteries produced a substantial amount of power over their 12volt brothers, but now they are in the same ball park. One thing I do recommend is that you do not purchase the deep cycle batteries that are rated using CCA/MCA (Marine/RV), as these batteries have plates that are thinner (More power for a shorter duration), than the true deep cycle batteries. USBATTERY.COM has an excellent list to look at. I use the “Minutes @ 25Amps” numbers. Divide the number by 60 and you have how many hours it will last @ 25amps. And of course these are only reference numbers and on NEW batteries. Secondly, only buy batteries that have the SAME month date code (usually located on the top next to the + terminal) as the internal resistance of the batteries will be closely matched. If you buy one battery and add one at a later date the batteries will reach the end of their life sooner, as the higher internal resistance of the older battery will drain down the newer one. If you like buying “AMERICAN” USBATTERIES are made in the USA. I am in the process of ordering the US 185HCXC from them. Two batteries will have 886 minutes @ 25 amps (14.76hrs), which will be just fine for us. One last item, go on Amazon and order a 300 amp ANL fuse holder and at least 2 fuses to protect your inverter/trailer in case of a larger than expected power surge. Best $15 you will spend!
Sample battery list:
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Extension Cord elimination:
I hated using extension cords so I ran a permanent 12 gauge 3wire with ground cable from the front storage compartment to the rear storage compartment, where my campsite 120VAC cord is stored. I then installed a 30 amp female campground outlet (Lowes has them) on the end of it in the rear storage compartment. My 1500 watt Ramsond DC>AC Pure Sine Wave inverter is located in front storage compartment (wired directly to the batteries using less that 4 feet of welding cable for each connection). I took the end of the 12 gauge wire and put a heavy duty male plug end on the cable from the rear storage compartment and plugged it into the inverter. So, when I do not have campsite AC power, I go to the rear storage compartment and plug the trailers 30 amp AC cable into the outlet that I connected to the inverter. I turn off the trailers battery controller (which I wired to a new breaker I installed in the spare location), turn on the inverter and I have power to all the trailers outlets. Last weekend we went to Daytona (Good Sam’s Rally) and had plenty of AC all weekend. Also, when I travel, I use the inverter to run the refrigerator while driving (since the truck charges the trailers batteries) and we arrive fully charged.
Eagle Off Grid Wiring Diagram
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Front Storage Compartment:
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2013 Additions:
In January I will be adding (2) Affordable Solar 235W- 20VDC Panels ($220 each) on the roof (470 watts total) and a Xantrex (Schneider) Battery Controller (C-40-DD). These items should get us through our trip to CO, AZ, NM, TX, WY, and SD in 2013.

Sorry I got carried away with this…. but I even could keep on going. I enclosed a few links and pictures. Have a GREAT EVENING!! Hope I did not put you to sleep. Any questions just yell!!

Don
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