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Old 03-20-2014, 02:58 AM   #1
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Do we need to add extra batteries?

A couple questions.
1-When our 38RL gets here, it's going to have the generator and at least 2 160watt solar panels. We're new to boon docking and want to have the option to be able to camp anywhere that stokes our fancy, and would like to know if it's a good idea to add a couple more batteries to be able to do this.
2- The 5th wheel we have now, TV for sure (don't really know what else) will not work unless shore power is hooked up. What are we able to run on battery only in the 38RL?
Thanks
Don
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:09 AM   #2
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Don,

On delivery the coach will come with 1 cheap battery. As part of the purchase I had Fraserway supply 2 batteries.

With a 1500W pure sine wave invertor, we can run everything except the microwave/fireplace/AC/heat pump. Only having 1 x 160W panel and 2 batteries, we wouldn't survive more than a couple of days even with good sunshine on the panel. With the panel clean we were getting 3.5 to 4 amps going into the batteries during the day, while down in the desert.
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:05 AM   #3
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Thanks Andy
This is good news.Don't understand all the electrical jargon but if we've got at least 2 panels and a 2800W inverter/charger, we should be in pretty good shape for the times we're in a paradise somewhere. Found out today our unit won't be here now till Monday/Tuesday.
Suspense is killing us
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:46 PM   #4
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Might see you out there, we are heading out to Fraserway on Tuesday. Settle the bill for the Satellite and drop off a few things.

With 2800W you can even use the microwave.
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:48 PM   #5
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Don,
Although I haven't boondocked in our new Redwood yet, I moved the 4 - 6 volt batteries from my old rig to the Redwood. The dealer did a great job moving my box and installing all 4 in the front compartment.

Although we don't boondock much, we usually spend a few weeks in Quartzsite in January. The 4 - 6 volts have been sufficient to power the whole rig overnight (I use a heated cpap machine) and still have enough power to make coffee in the morning. Also, I use the inverter to power the entertainment slide continuously when off grid. My Dish Tailgater takes about 30-40 minutes to cycle every time I'd switch from inverter to generator power. This was unacceptable during football playoff season so I solved the problem by keeping the circuit on all the time with the inverter.

If you're looking at a 2800w inverter, you're going to need quite a large battery bank if you use it to power larger items such as a microwave, etc. BTW, I only had a 1500w inverter in the old rig.

I'm working on solving the same issues with the Redwood. The residential refer with the inverter/charger presents some interesting issues.


The 4 - 6 volt batteries seems to provide adequate power for our use.

Ken
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:14 PM   #6
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Thanks all for the info.
Don
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:07 PM   #7
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Don - when are you heading out to Fraserway next week?
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:44 PM   #8
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Hi Andy
We're going out Saturday/Sunday for sure to drop off the vinyl flooring. Things are a few weeks behind schedual so we want them on it as soon as it comes in. (Got to be out of the house by April 24) We can't get away from work til Thursday, so we'll be out there Thursday morning as well to go over the to do list with the service dept and buy what's needed.( Looking at all the hobby gear I want to keep, I'll be asking for a trailer stretcher as well) Going to have to do some more trimming in that dept.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:01 PM   #9
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Don - the service department is excellent. I had concerns that they could get the couple of warranty issues and satellite installed in 2 weeks. They started the day I brought it in and have completed everything except the awning lights, which don't arrive until mid April.

Once they finish they are delivering to our storage location in Maple Ridge, as we are out of the country.

Great service.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:52 PM   #10
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Andy, that's interesting on your panels. As you know I have 2 150 watt panels and a 25 amp MPPT controller. I am now pulling down about 15 amps during the day here in Phoenix. I'm sort of shocked at the output. Initially thought I could add two more panels before outgrowing the controller but now think 1 more and I'd be pushing the limits.

Also in case anyone is wondering if solar does anything when hooked up to shore power (I know I did...), you get the full benefit of it even when connected to a 50 amp A/C line. The reason why is that all the 12 volt devices in your coach pull power from your battery even when hooked to shore power. The converter typically charges those batteries as needed once they hit a predetermined voltage. The neat thing about a solar charger is that it appears it's voltage cutoff is higher than the converter and this in the daytime it charges the batteries prior to the charger kicking in. I did a couple of test to confirm this as I was trying to determine how to put a transfer switch in line between the solar and converter to charge the batts.

This new information has me considering putting a large inverter between the batteries and the coach so that I can use even more sun energy to run my coach. The only problem there is I'd need two more 6v batts, hefty inverter (3k+) and a couple more panels to make it really work. By then I've spent $2k-ish just to feel better about my own footprint on this planet...
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