Adding Battery to 1997 Dutchmen Duck Camper

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by Will Shepherd, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. Will Shepherd

    Will Shepherd New Member

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    I recently decided to add a battery to my camper. After reading several forums I began the project. I am using a 12 volt deep cycle battery with a 20 amp circuit breaker. The trailer already had the positive / negative hookups for the battery. I was able to get power to the converter, but none of my outlets are working just a blue light on for 12 volt. I have replaced the 20a fuse for the wiring harness.

    When I plug into my garage I can hear a humming noise, and from my understanding, that means the converter is receiving power. Not sure where the disconnect is, but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Here are some pictures to hopefully help troubleshoot.
     

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  2. Will Shepherd

    Will Shepherd New Member

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    After looking closer my converters 3 way switch is missing. Any idea where I can get on one, and is this fairly easy to install.
     
  3. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    12 volt battery power will never power the 110 VAC outlets.
     
  4. Matt Benoit

    Matt Benoit Well-Known Member

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    In your situation, 12v is likely just for lighting. The furnace and 3 way fridge would also run on 12v (although not for long lol).
     
  5. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    it seems your 3 way switch requires you to plug in and/or connect/disconnect the battery!
    who knows how it is wired under the black tape!

    if you decide to change, look at progressive dynamics either the 4135 power center or a 9200 series stand alone converter (keeping yours for 120v).
    http://www.bestconverter.com/Progressive-Dynamics-Converters_c_81.html
     
  6. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    You converter is for converting 120V AC to 12V DC. To go the other way you’d need to an an inverter. What are you wanting to run off it? Most things can be powered off the 12V side more efficiently and then you can size the inverter for the things that can’t be.
     
  7. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    Not sure that old convert actually charges the battery. You might be better off putting in a new converter. You can get a lower power converter for about $100 and they are pretty easy to install and would give you the option for additional 120V and 12V circuits.
     
  8. Will Shepherd

    Will Shepherd New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the response, I really appreciate it! I was given a Goal Zero Maintainer 10 (solar panel) as a gift. This prompted me to invest in a deep cycle battery with the ability to stay charged when off grid. I am not planning on using my battery for anything other than my outlets, for charging devices. My outlets work when plugged into my garage. I am thinking about just getting a new converter, as it is a pretty old camper. This is the model I am looking at...http://www.bestconverter.com/Parallax-6730D-30-Amp-Power-Center-WDoor_p_325.html#.XtZ8r55KjIE

    Thoughts...or do I just need an inverter? New to this kind of stuff, so bare with me...
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  9. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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  10. Will Shepherd

    Will Shepherd New Member

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    So a quick update on my project. I decided to go with a 1000watt inverter to power my devices and was able to get my solar hooked up as well. Thanks for the help along the way!
     

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  11. Matt Benoit

    Matt Benoit Well-Known Member

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    Have you done the math to see how long that 1000W inverter will run on that small lead acid battery? Consider what you are trying to power with 120v AC. if just charging devices and such, that can easily be done with a DC (car) charger. Also, that tiny solar panel would not even be capable of replacing the standby usage of the inverter when nothing is plugged in.. I think you may have made something that could be used in an emergency situation, but likely not practical for regular use.
     
  12. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Worked for me.
     
  13. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Not me

    noway.jpg
     
  14. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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  15. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    that is where I went and clicked on the link Product Brochure with Dimensions which came up as not available.

    cuz converters that don't charge close to batt makers suggestions cause shorter battery life
     
  16. Will Shepherd

    Will Shepherd New Member

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    Thanks for the info Matt. So here is the breakdown of my solar panels capability, and a review I found online.
     

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  17. Matt Benoit

    Matt Benoit Well-Known Member

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    I am far from an expert on solar power, but a 10W panel will not be able to do anything other than maintain a fully charged battery.. What about the specs on your battery. Give us as much information on the battery and what you intend to power. At this point, if you use the inverter, you'll need to charge that battery every time you need to use it.
     
  18. Will Shepherd

    Will Shepherd New Member

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    Likewise Matt, thanks for the info. So we have a small tent trailer, that just me and my fiance use. The goal of the project is to be able to use the inverter for power when we are off-grid for (phones, tablets, etc) nothing big. With that being said it would be ideal if the solar panel would charge the battery while we are traveling and not have to charge it up for every use.

    My next question is how is this achievable? If I purchased a larger panel would it sufficiently charge my battery? Here is the link to the battery I am using...
     
  19. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    100w panel per battery is a starting place, the 100w with charge controller can be used camping to charge and as a maintainer. be sure and turn off your inverter when not needed, like the propane and CO detectors they consume power 24/7. The detectors will drain your battery in a week or 2 so disconnect the batt from the trailer and leave any solar connected 24/7 while not in use.

    Go camping and try not to discharge your batt below 12.0v, recharge ASAP when you have utility power. Many folks can go days on the same battery as you while others use lots more power and can't last as long.

    here is one of many folding portable options
    https://hqsolarpower.com/100-watt-m...uitcase-w-10a-pwm-common-positive-controller/
     
  20. Matt Benoit

    Matt Benoit Well-Known Member

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    I'm really surprised some more familiar solar folks haven't chimed in yet.. Anyway, looking at the specs on the battery you have, it's rated at 65Ah. Typically you should never use more than half of the batteries rated capacity on a regular basis.. Otherwise the lifespan of the battery is greatly diminished. So, moving forward let's say you have 30Ah of usable capacity on a full charge.

    If you were to have discharged your battery to the 50% level and attempted to charge it using your 10W panel, (which can provide a maximum of 0.83A at 12v), it could take approximately 36 hours.. Assuming 100% sunlight and performance from the panel. Given that you would only get 6 to 8 hours of solar production on a decent day, you can see how it would take many days to recharge that battery. And, that's assuming that your not continuing to try and power devices..

    Charging 2 devices simultaneously would probably use 1A at 120V, which is 120W.

    120W from your 12v battery would pull 10A of DC. So, unless my math is wrong, or I simply don't understand what I'm talking about (always possible lol) you would burn through your 30Ah capacity in 3 hours.

    Someone more familiar with solar and electrical power should definitely chime in here.. Regardless, charging devices like you want is much better done with a DC to DC charger (like a car charger). No losses from the inverter.
     

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