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Old 12-25-2020, 03:35 AM   #1
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Adding House Batteries - Where and How Many?

Hello all,

I'm getting close to purchasing my first RV and currently have the 22E in my scope.
I'm interested in boondocking and understand the importance of adequate solar power and power storage. Regarding power storage, from what I recall during the vehicle walkthrough, the single house battery is located under the second step when entering the house. I did not see how much room this area had but will need more than one battery to boondock.

Does anyone know how many batteries can be stored in this area? Per my calculations, I will need at least 3 batteries. Are there other locations you've used for large battery banks?

Also, I noticed this area was not enclosed, there is no protection for the battery from the elements. Is this a concern?

Looking forward to your comments. Thanks.
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Old 12-25-2020, 03:46 AM   #2
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1,000 youtube videos.

Lithium batteries fit anywhere inside the house you want to put them.
Or
I can get three into each fenderwell.

So. Many. Places.
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Old 12-25-2020, 04:54 AM   #3
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I'll check youtube, thanks.
Any concern about the elements getting to your batteries? Share pics if you have any handy.
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Old 12-25-2020, 02:36 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your upcoming purchase!
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Old 12-25-2020, 04:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tuchmybuttercups View Post
I'll check youtube, thanks.
Any concern about the elements getting to your batteries? Share pics if you have any handy.
That's totally intentionally designed that way for ventilation. Lead acid batteries emit fumes that can cause corrosion in enclosed areas.
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Old 12-25-2020, 05:12 PM   #6
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IIRC...
There was a battery thread on this Forum by an owner of same model as yours
He was able to modify tray under the steps to house 4 batteries (vs two)
Then, if you add a few solar panels (flex panels are lightest, solid panels last longer) you will be ready to boon dock very easily without using generator.

Another nice mod is to incorporate an integrated in-line inverter into your electrical panel. Best to have inverter with auto transfer switch (no integrated charger is necessary as your WFCO converter has a charger in it).
With an inverter, just like the big-boy RVs, you can watch TV or use small appliances without generator.

Use the SEARCH function on this Forum to find everything you ever needed to know.

Keep us posted on your mods.
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Old 12-26-2020, 03:18 AM   #7
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I have the 22E and there is only room for 1 more battery, unless you make a modify the tray, like taylorbob1 mentioned.

You didn't say how many solar panels you want to use, but there is not much room on the roof as the 22E is only 24'. Maybe 3 or 4- 100 watt panels.
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Old 12-26-2020, 05:16 AM   #8
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FYI
I have an E450 with the batteries housed under the steps
For me, two batteries is adequate
The two batteries are flooded lead acid deep cycle Interstate brand + two 100 watt solid panels mounted on the roof to keep them charged while boon docking.
Although I do live in an arid & sunny climate, I have no problems running my 1200 watt inverter all day long which powers TVs, Dome dish, & receiver as well.
I really enjoy the flexibility that solar offers...keeping batteries charged without having to continuously run the generator or start the chassis engine.

100 watt panels have become very affordable ($100 each), and are also now much more efficient than previously.
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Old 12-26-2020, 12:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bry899 View Post
I have the 22E and there is only room for 1 more battery, unless you make a modify the tray, like taylorbob1 mentioned.

You didn't say how many solar panels you want to use, but there is not much room on the roof as the 22E is only 24'. Maybe 3 or 4- 100 watt panels.
My current trailer is only 19 feet on the roof (21 foot box at the longest point) and the usual roof penetrations. I have 320 watts up there and could definitely get twice that without any real effort and probably 3 times that with careful planning. With some thought and planning I seriously doubt that roof space would be a critical factor unless going for a REALLY big array.

Larger panels (150, 200 watt panels) cost less per watt than 100 watt panels and reduce the number of mount points. Also, the panels don't all have to be the same size (watts). If wiring parallel, they should be the same voltage. If wiring series, both watts and voltage can be different. If going for more than a couple hundred watts, consider putting in an MPPT charge controller and wiring the panels in series instead of parallel (or for a very large array, groups of panels wired parallel with the groups connected in series) in order to reduce the wire size requirements and improve efficiency.
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Old 12-26-2020, 12:30 PM   #10
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atreis,
What's your opinion of flexible versus rigid solar panels?
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Old 12-26-2020, 05:13 PM   #11
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Ideally, I would like to keep all house batteries in one location. I'll have to see if there's opportunity for growth around the battery area in the 22E.

I attached my Power Audit (excel converted to zip). The template was provided for free via the link below. This helped me get an idea of my solar and capacity requirements. If you're interested in completing for yourself, there's a video above it's download link that walks through how to fill out correctly.
https://www.explorist.life/what-size...ower-a-camper/

My file is a living document as I continue to learn about what's in vehicle and what I'll be adding. If you see something missing/incorrect, or know power requirements, please share.

taylorbob1 and arteis, I'm curious what your ~daily power requirements are. My requirements call for 600W of solar (assuming fridge runs 100% LP)

As far as roof space, looking from the top of the ladder, there looked to be plenty for three panels...so there's my 600W. And I plan to go the MPPT route.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Camper Power Audit by EXPLORIST.life - mk1.zip (21.5 KB, 9 views)
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Old 12-26-2020, 06:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by atreis View Post
My current trailer is only 19 feet on the roof (21 foot box at the longest point) and the usual roof penetrations. I have 320 watts up there and could definitely get twice that without any real effort and probably 3 times that with careful planning. With some thought and planning I seriously doubt that roof space would be a critical factor unless going for a REALLY big array.

Larger panels (150, 200 watt panels) cost less per watt than 100 watt panels and reduce the number of mount points. Also, the panels don't all have to be the same size (watts). If wiring parallel, they should be the same voltage. If wiring series, both watts and voltage can be different. If going for more than a couple hundred watts, consider putting in an MPPT charge controller and wiring the panels in series instead of parallel (or for a very large array, groups of panels wired parallel with the groups connected in series) in order to reduce the wire size requirements and improve efficiency.
Ok for clarification, The 22E is a Class C, if you subtract the front and rear roof caps the box is only 15' long. The overall length is 24' bumper to bumper.
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Old 12-26-2020, 07:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bry899 View Post
Ok for clarification, The 22E is a Class C, if you subtract the front and rear roof caps the box is only 15' long. The overall length is 24' bumper to bumper.
With solar flex panels and Eternabond tape...you could use the front end cap area which hangs over the cab
Flex panels fastened this way are virtually flush with the roof-line
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by taylorbob1 View Post
With solar flex panels and Eternabond tape...you could use the front end cap area which hangs over the cab
Flex panels fastened this way are virtually flush with the roof-line
Oh, that's appealing.
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Old 12-26-2020, 11:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
atreis,
What's your opinion of flexible versus rigid solar panels?
I used flexible panels for two different projects. The results were similar. They lost 15% of their output each year.

The first project was three panels mounted on a sailboat's Bimini. They worked fine for the first year. Then after selling the boat, but keeping the panels, I checked their output five years later. They were down to less than half of rated output.

The second project was for an RV buddy. He bought two 175 watt no name panels. They actually produced about 125 watts each when "new" a few years ago. Today I bet they are down to less than a 100 watts each.

That seems to be the nature of flexible panels. They don't last.

David
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Old 12-26-2020, 11:22 PM   #16
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atreis,
What's your opinion of flexible versus rigid solar panels?
Avoid flexible panels unless you really have no other option. Even then, fasten them in such a way that you can replace them easily, because if you keep your RV for more than 2-3 years, you'll probably be replacing them.

Solar panels degrade faster if they overheat. They also lose efficiency while overheated. The air gap underneath rigid panels helps to keep them from overheating.

As another poster commented, plan on flexible panels direct mounted on the roof losing ~15% of their capacity annually.
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Old 12-26-2020, 11:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by bry899 View Post
Ok for clarification, The 22E is a Class C, if you subtract the front and rear roof caps the box is only 15' long. The overall length is 24' bumper to bumper.
Good point! That should still leave room for something like 600-700 watts with planning.
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Old 12-29-2020, 02:48 AM   #18
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I posted a while ago about putting four batteries in my 24FS. It can be done but not plug and play.
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f2...ight=batteries
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Old 12-29-2020, 03:53 AM   #19
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I posted a while ago about putting four batteries in my 24FS. It can be done but not plug and play.
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f2...ight=batteries
Thanks for sharing. That does sound like a bear.

Why 4 6Vs and not 2 12Vs? Going into this project I was focused on using 12V, but this forum has reminded me of the existence of 6V, so trying to see which is better for my application.

I see you painted the tray to protect against rust. Did you create a protective "tub" for them to sit in also?
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Old 12-29-2020, 04:30 AM   #20
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6 volt batteries are better for this application than 12 volt batteries. Just as cheap and last longer. AGM are better yet but the cost is quite a bit more. Lithium batteries are even better but cost a lot more. Most people mistreat their batteries so the 6 volt option is less costly come replacement time.
I did line my battery tray with some conveyor belt material I had lying around from my aircraft days.
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