Battery & solar panel - new purchase

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by MyName, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    Apr 12, 2017
    Manitoba
    Question about how many AH a 12v fridge uses. I have a three-way fridge in my PUP. The propane part of it doesn't work. It won't light. Assuming I can't fix it, I'm considering running it on 12v for 2 days while we are at a dry site.

    The fridge will already be cold, with cold food in it. Exterior ambient temperature will likely be 20-25C (68-77F).

    Does anyone know approximately how many Amps my fridge will use if it's at a med-low setting?

    I'll have a group 27 battery hooked up. My other usage will be as follows (as per the handy list that davido posted):

    1AH - waterpump for 10 minutes run-time
    2AH - LED lights for a few hours
    1AH - CO sensor, Propane detector, smoke detector
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  2. mpking

    mpking Active Member

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    Jun 17, 2014
    Raynham, MA
    @GreatBigAbyss,

    Just to be clear, there are:
    • 12volt compressor Fridges
    • 12volt settings on 3way Fridges
    • 12volt Thermoelectric fridges.
    A 12volt setting on a 3 way fridge would kill your battery in a few hours. They draw around 10 or 11 AMPS, constant!
    The dometic 12V compressor fridge i have is rated for 0.85 Ah/h (at 12V, 41F interior, 90F ambient)
    Themoelectrics draw around 3-4 amps.
     
    MyName likes this.
  3. mpking

    mpking Active Member

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    Jun 17, 2014
    Raynham, MA
    Try cleaning the burner. It's very simple to do, and fixes the issue around 80% of the time.

    Start your own thread, we'll all chip in to help!
     
  4. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    Apr 12, 2017
    Manitoba
    Ahh. That's what I suspected.
     
  5. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    Apr 12, 2017
    Manitoba
    I was trying to get it lit last year. I'm not sure how it disassembles. I'll tackle it again this spring when it warms up and the snow melts. Will start a new thread at that time. If I can get the propane 3-way fridge working, then it will make dry-camping a whole lot easier.
     
  6. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Jan 12, 2018
    Ca
  7. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    Apr 6, 2017
    New Plymouth, ID
    My DC outlets are connected to the main DC line coming off the battery, I do have a master disconnect at the battery that shuts all DC power off to keep parasitic drain from depleting my batteries.

    I use a BatteryMinder Plus to maintain my batteries, & they happen to be on sale right now:
    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200332201_200332201

    Once I get my solar panels set up (I'm going for a permanent rooftop installation), I shouldn't need the BatteryMinder any longer...I'll let y'all know when I get it set up & running.
     
  8. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Jan 12, 2018
    Ca
    @xvz12 Thanks for the BatteryMinder plus tip. I just bought it. I would love to see you solar panel set up.
     
  9. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    Apr 6, 2017
    New Plymouth, ID
    I'll post pics when I get them installed......might be a coupe of weeks or so before i can get to them. Now that I've got everything to get them done, it's turned winter around here again.....
     
  10. mrkrag

    mrkrag Active Member

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    Dec 22, 2017
    Palm Harbor, FL
    Wow, is that all!? I had no idea. Maybe they ARE worth the cost...
     
  11. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    Apr 12, 2017
    Manitoba
    I've done a little research, and the NOCO Genius line of chargers/maintainers seem to be the best. They're the type that you can leave plugged in 100% of the time.
     
  12. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    There are plenty of utube videos onthis subject.
     
  13. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    Apr 12, 2017
    Manitoba
    Yeah. I checked them out. Nine of them showed the problem I was having. It's almost like the burner tube is filled with insulation. The pilot would light and burn with a large yellow flame, burning the insulation. I don't know what is supposed to there and what isn't
     
  14. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    I would start here. &
     
    shuang2 likes this.
  15. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Jan 12, 2018
    Ca
    Hi guys,

    I ran the wires for my USB outlets. I plan to cut the holes and install them this Saturday. Let me know if pics are wanted.
    I'm installing
    1x double USB,
    1x double USB,DC outlet double combo
    1x double USB,DC outlet voltmeter combo

    I also have my Duel 6 volt batteries installed in the new box, they just are not as exciting.
     
    Eric the P4ddl3r likes this.
  16. Jorja

    Jorja Active Member

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    Oct 6, 2017
    Delaware
    I just started reading this thread because we are thinking about solar for our pup.

    Yr thread is very similar to what we are looking for.

    If you are taking pics of yr installs - that would be helpful to look at!
    Our older camper is not pre wired for solar.


    Question:
    If you are getting the Renology suitcase are you planning on storing it in your TV when not charging?

    Didn't know if the Suitcase 100w is something that could be mounted.

    Wondering about theft of the solar panel for our pup. Since we may not be around the camper during the day if we are kayaking/hiking.
     
  17. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Jan 12, 2018
    Ca
    I store my batteries (maintaining with AC power) and Solar panels in my garage.

    Plan A is to use a tie down to secure the solar panel to the roof once I get to camp. I haven't tried this yet, but I don't want my kids knock it over and break it. I am hoping the seam in the middle will hold it flat in case it get windy.
    Plan B will be to have it standing somewhere .
    I am going to get a metal dog leash or something similar to secure the solar panel to the pop up.
    The draw back of the suitcase solar panel is the controller, attached to the back, is not waterproof. so I have to take it inside if it starts to rain.

    I will take pics of my USB installations. The only thing I did that I didn't like was I used blue wire instead of black for the Ground (-).
     
    Jorja likes this.
  18. GreatBigAbyss

    GreatBigAbyss Active Member

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    Apr 12, 2017
    Manitoba
    I would like pics, please, because I am planning on doing exactly this.
     
  19. mpking

    mpking Active Member

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    Jun 17, 2014
    Raynham, MA
    Ditto
     
  20. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    I have a used a 100w Renogy suitcase for over 3 years. It works very well to keep up with my energy needs.
    I am left wondering why you would need a battery maintainer when your solar panel will do the same job? My trailer is parked in a side yard, behind a gate. I leave my panel hooked up 24/7, so my trailer's battery is always on "float", at least for the couple of hours the panel is in direct sunlight.

    First thing you should do is remove the controller from the back of the panel. It is attached to a swing plate with double sided tape, so you can slide a utility knife under it to cut it off.

    You need to have the controller close to the battery to minimize voltage loss over distance. If your controller is putting out 14.6 volts during it's bulk phase at the controller, it will be (potentially) much less when it gets to the battery, depending on wire size and distance. Use 10g landscape wire (I have about 25 ft of it) to run directly from the panel to the controller. Originally, I mounted my controller with velcro onto the battery box, used the alligator clip pigtail to connect to the battery. This way I could remove it for travel, and when set up at the campsite, the controller would be protected from rain by the overhanging front bunk.


    If you are planning on mounting your panel, the suitcase probably isn't the best for you. A single 100w panel will be much cheaper (1/2 price), as you are paying for the convenience of an all-in-one, portable, folding panel. Because of this, it's relatively heavy- I think it's around 30 lbs. The trade off being you can move it around to find sun as needed.

    At the campsite, I leave mine out charging all day while we're gone fishing/hiking. An hour or two in the sun isn't going to fully charge your battery, unless you're literally only using an amp or two overnight. We end up using between 20-30 amps each night, depending on furnace usage, so we'll need at least 4 hours to get back to 95-100% state of charge.

    I've never worried about it being stolen, although I may get a dog run cable to lock it up this year.
    Even then though, it won't be very "secure", and even then it would be just another "thing" to bring along and set up.
     
    Jorja likes this.

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