Qwimby1

Best boondocking batteries?

34 posts in this topic

8 hours ago, BlueLghtning said:

I'm doing all that research now.

The three most important steps when designing a power system:

1. Energy audit

2. Energy audit

3. Energy audit

A clamp meter/multi and a kill-a-watt are your best friends and tools you'll use over and over again.

Then, in order of importance:

1. Battery bank

2. Wiring

3. Everything else  ;)

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I've got a Kill-a-watt that I've been using at the house and keeping track of stuff. I need to get back on that, thanks for the reminder! :D  

I'll be on a laptop all day with an external monitor along with the associated internet devices . The tough one is my wife. She'll be sewing and using a sewing machine and her emboridery machine, but the real killer is her iron. Thankfully it's only short blast of up to 1500w, but seems to drop down to 1.5w on standby. I just need to do some tracking on everything.

You got a suggestion on a clamp meter? I have some multi-meters. 

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1 hour ago, BlueLghtning said:

You got a suggestion on a clamp meter?

Like anything.. you kinda get what you pay for. I run a Fluke 325 that I'm very happy with, but they aren't exactly cheap. For a true-RMS clamp though.. it's not "terrible". The 323 usually runs around ~$95 and the 325.. ~$265.

A lot depends on what you want it to do. Take a look... 

There are others on the market. RMS isn't a requirement, but expect to pay right around $90-$100 for a decent one... $40-$50 would probably be doable, but I wouldn't know which to recommend in that range. Hopefully others will chime in.

The Klein Tools CL800 isn't a bad little meter. Pretty feature packed for it's price range. Probably a better buy than a Fluke 323 even though it's $5 more it'll do things the 323's can't.

 

Edited by Yarome

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10 hours ago, BlueLghtning said:

You got a suggestion on a clamp meter?

Before you spend the money to get the best, ask yourself how much accuracy you need and how often you will use the new meter? I have long been a user of meters by John Fluke and still prefer them, but I have also learned that less costly meters will do 90% of the jobs that I do and 100% of what the vast majority of RV owners do. For that reason, I now use meters by Triplett for much of my work because they cost far less and handle most jobs in the field, I suggest the Triplett 9200a which is available from Amazon for $40.

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Just to throw my 2 cents in ,I picked up 2 Trojan 105s and I can go 5 nights without the generator possibly more since our battery level is still reading 2/3 juice left,but 5 is usually what we do dry camping. We practice energy efficiency but we still will watch TV for maybe a hour a night. Plus I will take a shower about every other day so the pump gets used. I picked up mine for $93 a piece so it was a no brainer to get them. Meanwhile our camping friends are running there gen, early am and late evening.

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On 7/20/2017 at 11:46 AM, Yarome said:

Before other sparkies start jumping down my throat.. the following is not "technically" correct, but for ease of concept understanding...

That opens up another whole dimension to the charging issue that is probably best left for another day. ;)

Can I quote both of those Yarmoe?:)

A converter uses a different program than a true charger does. Primary purpose of a convert is to supply power. Primary purpose of a charger is (should be) maintaining the batteries.

I haven't run into a converter that requires a battery to power a trailer. Any info on these?

Our converter never idles below 13.4V. With a 3 amp load the converter is 13.6V-13.8V. It will remain (always on) at this level for days.

The ProN charger is programmed to "maintain" the batteries below +/- 13.5V. Rather than continually charging it goes sleep allowing the batteries to rest even with a 1 amp ghost load from our trailer. It will take +/-10 seconds to wake up when there is a large draw as such it cannot power the trailer without a battery.

When on shore power I rest the batteries by unplugging the converter. The ideal would be a converter with a program that allows the batteries to rest but I haven't found one.

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On 7/21/2017 at 3:59 PM, Yarome said:

A clamp meter/multi

 

........just told a buddy to buy a clamp on meter.  He came back with one that only measures AC amperage through the clamp and only 10amps DC though the probes.

The Fluke 325 is good. At 400amp it will check the DC amperage draw on an inverter.

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Yo J-T,

I like your post about giving the batteries a complete rest break time to time with NO CHARGING happening. My PD9280 Floats at around 13.2 volts which I think is plenty and likely not overly harmful, but I have also time to time turned it off completely and let the batteries go down to around 12.6 volts which is 100% SOC. I would have to dig out my manual but don't think if left to its own it ever shuts off all charge. I still question if and when or for how long I should leave the solar (or PD for that matter) operating when I'm plugged to shore power, batteries are at 100% SOC, and the PD if on is at the 13.2 volt float level. 

John T

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14 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

Yo J-T,

 I still question if and when or for how long I should leave the solar (or PD for that matter) operating when I'm plugged to shore power, batteries are at 100% SOC, and the PD if on is at the 13.2 volt float level. 

John T

When the PD is plugged into shore power batteries are not needed as long as the PD has enough output to run the trailer at peak loads. 

The batteries can be disconnected (I never disconnect the brakes) from the PD, house load and solar for week(s) or month(s) depending on the self discharge rate. Testing the battery voltage for the first 4-5 days tells what the self discharge rate is. 

 

 

Edited by J-T

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