Want to start boondocking, What battery should I buy?

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by Freedom72, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Your outside indicator lights are not usually on while camped, though some people have an accessory that allows them to be used for decorative lighting, so you can skip converting those for energy savings. Some have changed the running and signal lights to LED fixtures for better visibility, but that's a different issue.

    As others have said, do an energy assessment - and consider just how you need to use power, and how you can change habits, if necessary.

    We often base camp for 5-8 nights, in all sorts of weather and times of year, so being able to charge batteries is necessary. With our Coleman Cobalt pup, we had a furnace and two 1-bulb inside light fixtures (plus the CO detector), we changed the bulbs to LEDs. Often, we only used one fixture for most of the time we were inside. Our group 24 battery would stay above 70% SOC even on the coldest/longest nights (50% is the level most recommend staying above). We chose to go solar, since we tend to camp where it works,well, it's great just to put the panels in place and let them work, and we've never had space to tote a generator.
    The TT has more stuff, and came with a group 24 battery. Not sufficient as it was, and we had a defective one - made figuring things out interesting. Yes, the water pump seems to be an energy hog - we noticed the difference on our first trip this year, when it was cold enough that we did not use the water system. We now have two 6-v "golf cart" batteries; DH had to construct a holder to make that work on our crowded A-frame. (If the LP tanks had been installed 1/2" more toward the nose, things would have been easier.) We have three 2-bulb ceiling fixtures, and a couple of 1-bulb ones (all now LEDs) - we generally run one while dry-camped. We changed the porch light and work light on the front to paddle LEDs, partly so the light could be directed where it would do the most good. The water pump, 'fridge and hot water tank brains/igniters, LP/CO detector, and furnace are the usual power users. There are vent fans in the bathroom and over the stove that get short, intermittent use. If we charge the Kindle or phone from the TT power, we usually do so in the daytime, while the solar panels are charging the battery. It's usually topped off by early afternoon (or sooner) so we don't actually drain power we'd use that night. We also have a separate storage battery we can use to charge those, as well as run a fan or light anywhere in the campsite we need it. Since we still have our original set of solar panels, we can recharge that, if needed, separately from the TT battery.
     
  2. debndave

    debndave Just Time Travellin

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    Try your local scooter store many of them replace the batteries of their clients regularly per manual but the batts are still good and hold a longer charge than almost anything else you will buy.
     
  3. wl7cpa

    wl7cpa New Member

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    Harbor Freight has a nice deep cycle they sell with their solar kits, around $79.00 with 20% off. Seems to be a good battery.
     
  4. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    We also own a Honda EU2000i. Its a great little gen we use for construction at remote locations. Having said that, we've have never brought it along for camping, why not?? We used a gas lantern, LED head lights and cook with white gas. LED battery light in the camper. No AC, no furnace etc, etc.
     
  5. NorthernLights

    NorthernLights New Member

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    The Honda generators are very quiet. I bought the EU2000i to do double duty - for camping and power outages - but it maybe oversized for camping unless you are running A/C. When charging batteries there may not be much load if using it daily, even with using the "eco" mode.

    I had to figure out the duty, and my largest demand on the batteries is actually a CPAP machine - so when saying longer than two nights it is a deep drawdown. The EU1000i would probably been a good or better choice for that need. Both are very good on gas and noise reduction.

    Earlier in the thread, LED lights were recommended as replacements. I found this had a big impact reducing the drain, as my kids always want the lights on in the evening. Me, I'd rather sit by the fire. :)
     
  6. NorthernLights

    NorthernLights New Member

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    I also found the 12V unregulated DC to be worthless, and a little risky. Rather than that, I live with the losses using a 12V battery charger, as a small price for the regulation and safety, and the generator runs with a bit better efficiency with a reasonable load on it. And a thought for consideration in determining your needs, consider what changes you may have in your electrical demands in the near future...
     
  7. edh

    edh Active Member

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    There are many threads here about generator and solar options, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Suggest doing some searching for additional info. There are some other inverter generators now that compete with the Honda's (not sure Westinghouse is one of them, guessing that someone in China licensed that brand name and slaps that label on them; Westinghouse televisions are not so hot...).
     
  8. kojack

    kojack Member

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    We do alot of boondocking, but never with our pup. I have a honda 1000w generator. If I plug the camper into that using the shore power cord and adapter, does that not charge the battery as well? I thought the campers have inverters built into them to charge the battery...
     
  9. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    @kojack
    Whether or not your converter charges the battery depends on the specific converter. Most of the newer ones do charge the battery. What converter is in the pup? If you'd add the make, model and year of your pup to your signature line, it would be helpful for many questions and comments.
     
  10. kojack

    kojack Member

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    Cool...thanks. its a 2003 skamper 10 foot. my inverter is a WFCO. model WF 8725.
     
  11. mchance47

    mchance47 New Member

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    If a couple golf cart batteries are out of the question, shoot for an AGM over either the battery you have or a gel type (can't lay a gel on its side, if that is a factor). Get the biggest one your rig can hold. With a generator, you're much better off plugging in a BatteryMINDER that accommodates your battery type. With solar, I would consider something like Renogy's 100-watt portable unit. It will provide a much faster battery recharge than something smaller. As far as generators go, I would use the Honda as a baseline and try to find something less expensive, but comparable.
     
  12. West Coast Canuck

    West Coast Canuck Jumped to the dark side ......

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    If you can afford it, AGM is less maintenance and get at least a group 27. I have both the Champion 2000 and 3100 watt inverter generators and just got a Go Power 120 watt suitcase solar panel kit on Amazon.ca Now I have covered all the bases in terms of power needs while dry camping.
     
  13. kojack

    kojack Member

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    Ok, after some reading I know that when on shore power, my battery charges. I have a fair amount of room under the dinette chair where the inverter, power cord etc is located. I may put a leak free battery in there, or two if I can fit them, along with a bigger one on the front I should have a fair bit of power available. I am going to put a solar charger on the roof to keep them up. and use generator when needed to add charge/power.
     

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