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 > Adding house batteries

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Ashley11

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Posted: 10/24/11 07:49am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a 2006 Jayco 30' Class C. Has Generator and one house battery. We want to add two maybe three additional batteries so we can run furnace at night without generator and to watch satellite TV without same. Several Questions depending on which track we need to go:
1. is there an onboard inverter already and where is it?
2. How would we hook up the plug ins used for TV and Sat?
3. What is better Parrallel or series?

If not using an already onboard inverter:
1. How would we hook up the new batteries and inverter to the generator so that the new batteries recharge? If we go this route it sees easier to just use extention cord for the TV/Sat.
2. If we have to add an inverter, would it be better to hook one additional battery to the house battery we already have and the other two for the TV/Sat?
3. If a different inverter is used for TV/SAT, how would we hook them up to the generator for recharge?

I appreciate any and all ideas for this. Thanks again everyone!

donn0128

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Posted: 10/24/11 08:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most RVs do not come with an inverter. So you will probably need to buy one. There are dozens ofpages covering your questions already. Use the search function above to search out each one individually.


Don,Lorri,Max (The Rescue Flat Coat Retriever?)
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EMD360

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Posted: 10/24/11 08:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I read a lot here about adding extra batteries and charging them and I still didn't really understand what I was doing until I got in and did it! There are a few folks in Tech Issues who really helped me when I asked the questions!

First thing to figure out is the important components of your charging system. Ours are in the back of our battery compartment and they are somewhere in your vehicle too. One is a "cut off" which is controlled by a switch at the door. This disconnects the batteries for storage. The other is a "transfer switch" which allows the alternator (while driving) OR the generator (also direct plug in) to charge the batteries. You would hook the new batteries to these devices. I added a switch to use one bank or the other because they are different types of batteries but if you use all the same, just keep them together--you'll get more power than from two separate banks. Read about the Peukart effect but don't expect to understand it! At least I haven't yet.

So the other important component is the converter/charger. Our converter is located under the storage closet--it has all the 120 volt breakers and 12 volt fuses and the charger/converter part is below the breaker area. This is where your wiring is located and where you would hook up the 120 volts from the inverter.

The reason you don't already have an inverter is that the generator already makes 120 volt electricity and that is converted to 12 volt to charge the batteries when it is running. An inverter is the opposite, it takes 12 volt and converts it to 120 volt power. If you are going to use the batteries to make 120 volt power, you'll need to add the inverter and those use tons of battery capacity and for automatic charging, you'll need an upgraded converter/charger to get them recharged after use.

My steps to adding battery power were:
1. Find the hookups for the existing batteries and figure out which device is which.
2. Decide whether to upgrade the existing batteries and/or add a separate bank--figure out if you can connect a second bank and where you will store them. (I put a set of AGM type batteries in the dinette seat above the existing battery compartment. AGM's do not give off toxic fumes so they don't have to be "vented" but they are expensive!)
3. Decide whether you will go with two (or four) 6 volt batteries for the most amps--this is where the series and parallel wiring comes in--6 volts are wired differently from 12 volt. (also solar panels are wired either in series or parallel where series increases voltage and parallel increases amps.)
4. Be sure you have enough amps to charge the batteries regularly. I bought a 40 amp automotive charger to bring along that runs from the 120 volt outlet, powered by the generator and charges the batteries more quickly than the existing converter--you can also replace the converter but this may require heavier wiring that you already have!
5. Now you can add an inverter which should be close to the battery bank and hooked up with very thick wire. The inverter needs to be sized to your battery capacity and the drain you want to put on it regularly for your TV/Satellite. If you want to power your existing 120 volt circuits with it, you can run a 120 volt wire back to the converter/power center and hook it up into your 120 volt circuit breakers. (I have not yet completed this step--but I ran the wire to the breaker closet, and I have a 600 watt pure sine inverter to install next. Most are closer to 1000 watts and pure sine is important if you are running electronic equipment.)

Or you can mostly camp with hookups... :-)
Are you planning to do this yourself or hire it done?

* This post was edited 10/24/11 08:54am by EMD360 *


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Ashley11

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Posted: 10/24/11 08:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks EMD360. To answer your question, we were hoping to figure it out ourselves....Not sure at this point. Since I know now we don't have an inverter onboard, I have a couple of questions:
1. Could we add a battery to our house battery now to extended furnace blower life without adding an upgraded converter?
2. If we did the above (1), could we use two other batteries hooked to inverter and direct plug TV/Sat into the inverter? If so, what would be the options to recharge those batteries (choosing easiest to hardest options).

I have searched the threads on this site but found it required more knowledge than we had to actually get started. Your response helped. Thanks.

donn0128

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Posted: 10/24/11 09:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ashley11 wrote:

Thanks EMD360. To answer your question, we were hoping to figure it out ourselves....Not sure at this point. Since I know now we don't have an inverter onboard, I have a couple of questions:
1. Could we add a battery to our house battery now to extended furnace blower life without adding an upgraded converter?YES. A typical converter charger has the capacity to handle multiple batteries without a problem. It may take a bit longer to recharge them is all.
2. If we did the above (1), could we use two other batteries hooked to inverter and direct plug TV/Sat into the inverter? If so, what would be the options to recharge those batteries (choosing easiest to hardest options).Typical inverter installation is to take 12VDV from the main line feeding the trailer, in other words directly from the battery pack and feed it into the inverter via as short of wires as possible. Depending on the inverter size you will need nothing less than 4GA wire and a really big fuse. From the inverter you can do like I did and run a line to a dedicated receptacle near the TV and simply plug into the power source you need at the time.

I have searched the threads on this site but found it required more knowledge than we had to actually get started. Your response helped. Thanks.


If you are electrically challenged then i suggest you find a friend or coworker who is competent to do the job for you. It is not rocket science, but doing the job wrong can end up costing you a lot of money if there is a fire or you damage other components in the process.

EMD360

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Posted: 10/24/11 10:25am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good for you. Just ask plenty of questions as you go and you should be fine, you seem to be hoping to get the most battery in the least involved way and two battery banks may be best for that idea, one for the furnace and 12 volt outlets and one for an inverter.

I agree with Donn. You can much more easily add a battery to the existing one--or just get two matching batteries which will provide more power because two batteries will even out to the lower capacity of the two. (Or something like that.) The existing converter will charge both (or the alternator when driving or when plugged in) and you will get more amps to keep the furnace powered for overnight.

The batteries should only be regularly discharged to 50% of capacity and then recharged to at least 90%. The discharge rate is by amps used per hour from the total capacity--usually rated for 20 hours. You can hook up a meter that will show the remaining voltage on the batteries and you should not go below 12.25 volts. The recharge to 100% can take days as the last part is really slow. But with my 40 amp charger I can get back to 90% or 12.6 or so in 2 hours of generator time. That is the ideal--running the generator for about 2 hours a day to replenish enough batteries to last all night!

Say you get two 12v 100 amp deep cycle batteries (I think these are also called Group 27) for the battery compartment, now you have 200 amps (parallel) to power your furnace all night. Should be fine to recharge from your existing converter each day.

Now say you get two more 6 volt 220 amp batteries (golf cart deep cycle) to hook up to your inverter--series will get you 220 amps at 12 volts. (Just a bit more than the 2 100 amp batteries.) The only reason you would get different types is how heavy and large they are for your existing compartment. Usually best to have all the same--many buy a series of 6 volts which require both series and parallel wiring. These are typically heavier and bigger all around than 12 volt.

How do you charge the second set? It is unlikely you can recharge them from the converter while also recharging the 2 12 volt batteries in a reasonable amount of time. Your amps of charge are limited by the converter--usually to 40 amps. The easiest solution is probably to add the automotive charger. The generator has enough power to run both the charger and the converter. Hook it up to your second battery set and charge away.

Unfortunately you can't keep any lead acid (liquid) batteries inside without building a battery box with a vent to get the fumes outside. And many will tell you it is a bad idea anyway. Maybe you could put them in a box on a rear hitch carrier although cold is bad for batteries too. They have less power when they are cold. You CAN use AGM's inside and ours are 12 volt Interstates at 100 amps each, wired in parallel.

So it depends on how much money you can spend and what capacity you have for battery storage. You CAN do it one step at a time too, which is nice. Start with just two matching high amp deep cycle batteries in the compartment. That will help you a lot with the furnace issue. Then decide where you could put more batteries and match the charging to whatever you can fit in for the inverter. Good luck!

Ashley11

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Posted: 10/24/11 11:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Only question at this point is the 40 amp charger you refer to. How is it connected for charge?

donn0128

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Posted: 10/24/11 01:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ashley11 wrote:

Only question at this point is the 40 amp charger you refer to. How is it connected for charge?


It is part of the converter/charger. As long as you have a battery connected it is charges while the RV is connected to 120VAC shore power, and you do not have any fuses blown.
You really are new to all this aren't you?
I would suggest that you find a buddy that knows about this stuff to give you a few lessons.

ron.dittmer

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Posted: 10/24/11 02:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ashley11,

Our motor home has a whole house 2000 watt inverter and two house batteries. We camp most often in camp grounds without available shore power.

When staying in one place for a while, with two house batteries we have to be aware of consumption when using the inverter. We leave the inverter off until we need 110V. When 110V is no longer needed, we turn it off becasue even sitting idle the inverter consumes 12 amp hours.

We do enjoy watching a movie after dark on our 26" widescreen TV and make coffee at various times as well, both use 110V. After three days of that, we have to charge the batteries daily for an hour using the 4000 watt Onan generator, but using a separate 40 amp charger we bought at Walmart. We find it best to charge that way to maximize our limited generator run times.

Like you said, once the house batteries die, just about all of the motor home dies including the fridge on propane, furnace, you name it. At least you can still cook on the stove top. You always want a certian amount of battery reserves overnight, especially when running the furnace. The furnace generates heat using propane, but the blower does eat up the batteries too. If it kills the batteries during the night, it also kills your fridge. The morning is then spent messing around getting batteries charged instead of enjoying the day. Oh, and if your RV does not have a 12V "share" switch between the RV and chassis battery, you won't be able to start your generator either. It can mess up an otherwise pleasent morning. Fortunately for us, we have a "share" switch and our 40 amp charger so we never get into too much trouble.

Here is my daily setup for one hour per day, using the 40amp charger, 110v supplied by the generator, done when staying so many days without shore power.



2007 Phoenix Cruiser model 2350, with 2006 Jeep Liberty in-tow


j-d

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Posted: 10/24/11 02:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bill (Westronics), our Moderator, has a Jayco and modified his to go from one house battery to two. He did a beautifully crafted job that involved expanding the "power bay" (my words for the compartment accessing battery and shore tie cable). He cut the sidewall to allow for a wider (or "longer" if that's easier to picture) door, and rearranged the support for the battery slide to make room for a larger slide. He might jump in with a few pictures. I think he used a new tray from Kwikee. You might use the dimensions to see if you can install a tray to hold four batteries. If you could, then four six-volts might be a good plan. Two parallel sets of two in series would give you 440 AH based on the numbers given above.


If God's Your Co-Pilot Move Over, jd
2003 Jayco Escapade 31A on 2002 Ford E450 V10 4R100 218" WB

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