Us, another battery question for. Newbie!

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Singinmom, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Singinmom

    Singinmom New Member

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    Hi. We are new to camping without a tent. We don't need much in our pop up camper, and were ecstatic just to have some lights at night. We need to buy a new battery and my husband tends to go overboard when researching and always thinks we need "the best". Sometimes, less is more. We are changing out our two interior bulbs with LEDs that use 160 MA. We have a propane detector that draws 70MA. By our calculations, using the lights for 3 hours a day plus the detector, we would be using about 3 amps/day. If we get a battery with approximately 100 amp hours and plan to only use 50% of that, that gives us 50 amp hours. Using only 3 per day, 50 divided by 3 amps is around 16 days. After doing a lot of reading online, this sounds ridiculous. I am mostly readin that people can boondock for 4 days with minimal usage. What am I missing? We will be doing almost all of our camping on battery, and we are trying to decide what we really need and what would be overkill. We think we might be able to squeeze in a 27 group battery, but only have a 24 box. Thank you!
     
  2. shuang2

    shuang2 Well-Known Member

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    If I were you, I would add a 100W solar panel and connect the battery with a controller. Since I use the power very conservative, I only need a group size 24 deep cycling battery. The solar panel will keep charging and top off the battery everyday. BTW: In the real life we have 110W solar panel connect to two group size 27 AGM batteries. After 16 days Redwood camping trip, we still have fully charged batteries.
     
  3. aslag

    aslag Pacific Northwest

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    We've boondocked for 5 days/nights and still had power left in the 115 amp hour group 27 Trojan SC200 true deep cycle battery we have. This was with several minutes each morning and evening of furnace use, water pump as needed, toilet flushing and lights, 2 or 3 on all LED's. A larger battery gives you the option of being a little less conservative, we don't try to conserve but we aren't wasteful either. One of my mods was to install a voltmeter so I could monitor our battery usage.
     
  4. kudzu

    kudzu Active Member

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    Will you be charging any electronics with your battery, like phones, tablets, headlamps, bike lights, etc? That's a reason to get more than you think you currently need.
     
  5. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Nutin'. Furnace use is the power hog (no furnace to use?), LEDs use minimal power.
    I wouldn't care to go more than a week before a recharge.
    Natural self discharge may be more than your usage if it is hot!
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Your math is fine. I suffer from the same affliction your husband does. But even if you double your estimated power usage you'll be fine with a group 27 deep cycle battery. They're generally in the 100-115AH (@20H rate) Probably one thing to consider just as much as the size of the battery is the brand/construction. Steer clear of batteries labelled as starting & deep cycle/starting. You want a REAL deep cycle battery that's designed to last 10 years with deep cycling (40-90% SOC). The Trojan 27TMX is a good one, but there certainly are others. If you want to keep that battery more than a couple of years though, you'll need a good charger/maintainer that will maintain the battery between trips.

    Batteries:
    East Penn Deka
    Trojan
    US Battery

    Chargers:
    Battery tender is a common one.
    But in general you want a charger that is a 3 or 4 stage.
    3 stage = Bulk, Absorption, Float
    4 stage = Bulk, Absorption, Float, Equalize

    There are a ton of battery maintenance tutorials around.
     
  7. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    A group 27 deep cycle would be my recommendation
     
  8. nomorecoop

    nomorecoop Member

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    Just got back from a 5 day boondocking trip - ran the furnace and water pump quite a bit - minimal lights.

    Came back with battery at 70% full for a size 24 battery.

    Using a good LED lantern inside works wonders for saving battery life.
     
  9. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    My rule of thumb is "We will always want more." A new battery box to hold a larger battery will only cost 10 - 15 dollars, depending on where you buy it. After camping with an Interstate group 24 marine battery for 5 years, Debi said she didn't want to have to worry about how long we ran the lights. I paid a premium for a Deka g31 battery and found the same battery at OReillys Auto under the brand Marine Master for 2/3 the price a year later.

    It all depends on your tongue arrangement. I had to move my battery rack to accommodate the larger battery but that's no biggee if you have or know someone who has the tools to do it.
    The same battery box typically fits g27-g31 batteries, so I would have had to move the rack no matter which battery I bought.

    The main difference between the dual purpose and deep cycle batteries is longevity. A well maintained DP battery should last about 5 years, a DC battery can be pushed to 7 to 10 years. The main thing is maintenance. Get a good 4 stage charger, not that expensive, and fully charge the battery before and immediately after every trip. The Ship and Shore chargers, available almost everywhere, offer a battery test feature and full 4 stage charging.
     
  10. NW_Dale

    NW_Dale Member

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    Another vote for going with solar. As mentioned, a 100 watt panel and charge controller should provide what you need. I like the Morningstar controllers. The one I have has a digital display that shows battery volts, solar input amps, and load amps. The load readout is very useful because if you turn on each of your devices one at a time, you get a very accurate idea of what your power consumption really is.
     
  11. Singinmom

    Singinmom New Member

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    Thanks everyone. We need to buy a battery tomorrow for our trip on Sunday. I think we plan to stay with the 24 group, but get a Trojan true deep cycle. I do think as we get more savvy, we might increase our needs such as adding chargers for electronic devices. Regarding solar panels,we love this idea, but almost always camp in shade. On our last outing, I had these solar lights( ending up being a pos) and I had to take them to the field across from our site to get any direct sun. So, I'm guessing solar might not do much for us. I am actually surprised that so many campers have enough sun to do solar. Thoughts?
     
  12. o740c314i9xt

    o740c314i9xt Member

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    Consider the Trojan SCS150 vs. the 24TMX; if you can get your hands on one.
    100AH vs. 85AH -- for just 3 pounds more in weight.
     
  13. Singinmom

    Singinmom New Member

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    Exactly the one we were considering! Definitely twice as expensive as a marine battery, and more than we probably need right now; however, it will last much longer and give us room to use more amps in the future.
     
  14. kudzu

    kudzu Active Member

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    Most of the newer, decent quality panels work reasonably well in less than ideal circumstances. They can still charge in some lower or less direct light situations. They do not do as well with shadows that fall across sections of the panels. My panels are portable, with cords that plug into a 12v connection on my camper. This allows me to park the camper in shade put put the panels in the sun, usually.
     

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