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Old 04-17-2021, 08:02 PM   #21
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An AGM battery is great economic choice if you have the space.

When I installed my 2500W Aimscorp inverter, I could have chosen Lithium because my inverter is also a charger that supports Lithium. But, I chose to go with (4) AGM batteries (from Windy Nation) instead simply because they cost less and they are totally maintenance free.

What I didn't know at the time was that I can use only half of the capacity of my batteries to avoid shortening the battery life. So, my 4x100ah batteries are effectively giving me only 200ah of useable energy.

Our camping style is to drive 6-7 hours, dry camp at a WalMart or Cracker Barrel, then drive another 6-7 hours the next day. Our AGM batteries haven't needed to fall below 50% yet, so I'm happy. And, the generator hasn't been used once except for maintenance runs.

But, when my AGM batteries die, I will replace them with Lithium because I can nearly double my battery bank capacity in the same physical space under the entry steps. With the addition of 4-6 100a solar panels on the roof, we'll be ready to try some real dry camping.

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Old 04-17-2021, 08:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJMike View Post
Whether Lithium batteries are worth the cost depends upon both how you camp and what equipment and appliances you have. Our RV has a compressor refrigerator and that alone is enough to eat up 60 AH overnight; more if it is warm. Add to that watching DVDs on the TV and using some other small electric appliances and you need more than what you get with a standard pair of wet cell batteries. If we are not in a park that has shore power it is very easy for us to have batteries well below the minimum recommended, and hence our change to Lithium batteries.

We are not yuppies, nor do I have money burning a hole in my pocket. We are retired folks living on a budget, and we camp rather than go to hotels and restaurants when we travel, and the Lithium batteries make it possible for us to do so when we are dry camping or boondocking.

If, on the other hand, you camp where you have shore power, then I think there is generally no reason for anything beyond the batteries that come with the RV.
Agree completely. Compressor fridge and induction stoves kill batteries quickly. 2 year old coach and Lithium is what I will get probably get sooner rather than later. Another factor is the length of time you plan to keep your RV. Lithiums last a long time, that and the ability to draw them down and the quick re charge capability is essential with the 2 battery draw factors I mentioned above.
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Old 04-17-2021, 09:29 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Wiley1 View Post
What I didn't know at the time was that I can use only half of the capacity of my batteries to avoid shortening the battery life. So, my 4x100ah batteries are effectively giving me only 200ah of useable energy.
Yes and no. I saw a chart giving cycle life vs depth of discharge for AGM batteries- see attached. At 50% you get 1,000 cycles. At 80% you get 500 cycles. How many of us camp 500 times during say a nominal 5 yaar life of your batteries.

I too have two new 100 Ah Windy Nation AGMs installed. If we camp only three days at a time our batteries should stay above 50%. But I am not worried about camping a 4th or 5th night every now and then and discharge them well below 50%.

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Old 04-17-2021, 09:39 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by mstng View Post
Agree completely. Compressor fridge and induction stoves kill batteries quickly. 2 year old coach and Lithium is what I will get probably get sooner rather than later. Another factor is the length of time you plan to keep your RV. Lithiums last a long time, that and the ability to draw them down and the quick re charge capability is essential with the 2 battery draw factors I mentioned above.
The Lithium batteries we added to our RV have changed how we camp. Prior to adding them we had 2 wet cells with a usable 60-65AH of power before they were drawn down far enough to harm them, so even a single night's camping often resulted in our batteries either right at or slightly below the minimum acceptable voltage and my wife was unable to use any of her electric appliances until I ran the generator to supply AC and begin to recharge the batteries. We had 200 watts of roof top solar that came with out RV, but that really did not generate any recharge power until perhaps 9:30 or 10 am so all we had until then was the generator and its noise and smell.

I replaced our wet cells with 2 100AH Lithium batteries which effectively gave us 180AH of usable power, and I added more solar cells on the roof to allow us to recharge more quickly. Now when we get up in the morning we still have plenty of power left and my wife can now use her electric tea kettle and toaster as she wishes. We now can run fans to cool the RV at night, I don't worry about recharging our phones, running our computer or tablet or using any other small electric appliance, provided they can be run from our 1000 watt inverter. The batteries have made our camping much more comfortable and removed the fear that I had that we would be without usable power in the morning. And living in Arizona I am additionally grateful that we don't have to use the propane stove as that just tends to heat up the inside of the RV.

One thing I have not considered is the new induction cooktops, so I did not know that they were heavy power users. In fact I thought that the whole idea was that they used only a small amount of power so I am surprised to see you comment that they are power hogs. I don't doubt what you say; I am just a bit surprised. And, in addition, my wife is not interested in buying compatible pots and pans.

One side effect of the Lithium batteries is that we now almost always dry camp or boondock unless it is too hot to sleep without the air conditioning. While we initially stopped at regular RV parks with shore power perhaps 80% of the time we now almost always dry camp or boondock except for our summer trips to the Gulf Coast when it is too hot to sleep without the air conditioning. The dry camping/boondocking saves us considerable money although that is not why we do it. We just love the open spaces and the beautiful views and my wife appreciates that there is never anyone closer than perhaps 100 yards from us, so we don't have to listen to other people's noise.
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Old 04-17-2021, 09:45 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
... two new 100 Ah Windy Nation AGMs installed. If we camp only three days at a time our batteries should stay above 50%. But I am not worried about camping a 4th or 5th night every now and then and discharge them well below 50%.
We're not terrified to go below 50% but we do try to avoid it. The longer I can keep these AGMs going, the longer it will be before I have to fork over for lithium. We consider that bottom 50% to be for emergencies only.

You have somehow found a way to camp for 3 nights on 100ah total, without running the generator? That's pretty amazing. No solar panels?

When we stay one night at Cracker Barrel, we wake up to find our FOUR AGM batteries at 55%, so we've used 180ah in one night. That's with nothing running except one TV and a maybe a couple of 4" fans and a little laptop charging time. The fridge, cabin heater, and water heater are using propane.

What's your secret?
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:02 PM   #26
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You have figured out a way to camp for 3 nights on 100ah total, without running the generator? That's pretty amazing. No solar panels?

When we stay one night at Cracker Barrel, we wake up to find our FOUR AGM batteries at 55%, so we've used 180ah in one night. That's with nothing running except one TV and a maybe a couple of 4" fans and a little laptop charging time. The fridge, cabin heater, and water heater are using propane.

What's your secret?
That seems like a lot of power to be using in a single night.

In our Fuse, with the 2 100AH batteries at 100% at 5:00 pm (when the sun is too low in the sky to provide any useful power) we run the DVD player and the TV, the LED lights in our RV, set out some 110 volt fans to cool the RV, run our compressor refrigerator and, in the morning, use an electric tea kettle and, sometimes, an electric toaster and still have 55-60% of our power remaining. That means that we have used something like 80-90AH over 12-13 hours during the night.

Of course you say you are using your cabin heat, propane refrigerator and water heater and all of those use electric. The cabin heater uses a fan that might draw considerable current, the propane refrigerator uses electric for its controls and turning the gas flow on and off as the refrigerator cycles and the water heater does the same. On those times when we use our cabin heater (also on propane) I have noticed some heavy electric use from the fan which seems much less efficient that the cooling fans that we use. In general we never run the cabin heater until the morning. Perhaps that is the source of your power usage.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:30 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by AJMike View Post
That seems like a lot of power to be using in a single night.
Of course you say you are using your cabin heat, propane refrigerator and water heater and all of those use electric.
That is certainly true.

When I first connected my SoS analyzer, I tested every device, both 12 vdc and 120 vac via the inverter, and created a spreadsheet of how many amps each thing used. I thought I had included everything but you've just pointed out a few that I missed.

I guess I need to go back and finish the job.
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:14 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Wiley1 View Post
You have somehow found a way to camp for 3 nights on 100ah total, without running the generator? That's pretty amazing. No solar panels?

What's your secret?
We have only done one overnight camping trip since we got our new Axis, but it was a controlled experiment.

I shut off the Girard water heater during the day since we did not need hot water and it draws 0.2A. The weather was chilly so we ran the furnace for about 10 minutes to warm us up in the morning. It drew 7A but for ten minutes that amounted to one amp hour. Recharged a couple of iPads overnight. Did not use any fans. The fridge was on but since it was chilly it didn't need to do much. It draws 0.5A when the burner is lit. The Axis has a manual propane valve, solenoid valves draw almost an amp. There are ways with a diode and capacitor to reduce this significantly if you have one.

We used 30 amp hours in a 24 hour period. That is probably as low as we can go, maybe 35-40 amp hours in warmer weather with more fridge on time and maybe a fan. But we never camp in really warm weather.

So the secret is attention to loads and a coach that is slightly energy friendly. But no where near as good as our old simple T/T which used half of the above Ahs.

David
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:50 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Wiley1 View Post
That is certainly true.

When I first connected my SoS analyzer, I tested every device, both 12 vdc and 120 vac via the inverter, and created a spreadsheet of how many amps each thing used. I thought I had included everything but you've just pointed out a few that I missed.

I guess I need to go back and finish the job.
If it were me I would check the coach heater first.

As I mentioned we don't run that at night but when we ran it in the morning I could see the battery power level drop from the fan usage. We have a Victron Battery Monitoring System and it shows the amount of current flowing to or from the batteries as well as the percent of power remaining and it was easy to see the power drop.

The propane fridge and water heater also use electric, but only small amounts to power the electronics that control the devices. Still it was enough in our older TT to run the single battery below its minimum level and when that happened the fridge also shut down because there was no power to the electronics that controlled it, and that was when I decided to buy a second battery for the trailer.
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Old 04-17-2021, 11:58 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
It drew 7A but for ten minutes that amounted to one amp hour.
Yes, but if you ran it all night it would have amounted to a sizable amount of power.

7 amps for 10 minutes means perhaps 5AH over one hour since the fan does not run all the time. Add that up over 10 hours and you get 50AH. If over 12-13 hours (from when it gets cold where we camp until it starts to get warm) you get 60-65AH. That alone was half of the usable power from our original wet cells and goes a long way to make up the difference between our usage of 80-90AH and @Wiley1 usage of 180AH.
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Old 04-18-2021, 12:49 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post
in over 6 years and 110,000 miles, and with 100-200watts of solar, and a large 2,000w inverter, I've never had any issues with 'normal' everyday deep-discharge golf cart style 6v batteries. The original 'factory' batteries lasted 5 years. I replaced them only due to one having a low cell that started creating issues, with Duracell brand from Sam's club/Batteries+Bulbs, at $99 each. I see NO reason to spend SO MUCH money on other types of batteries, especially for most any RVr who just needs what most other RVrs need - 12v power for everyday normal usage, solar or not.
Turner, I had to think about this... but a little perspective or context as to why I spent more for AGMs.

At $110k miles that is $35,936 worth of gas over a 6 year span. (assume 8 mpg & $2.59/gal) So that is $6,000/year. By comparison as a part timer; I have 13,000 miles in 1.5 years; so I am on pace to hit 78,000 miles over 6 years and a whopping $25,252 worth of gas. Given those numbers the $500 I just spent on pure deep cycle AGM not only makes sense; but it is a fraction of a impact to my overall financial experience; but actually a benefit in other aspects.

For example.
1. I get rid of the task to monitor / add water monthly once and for all. IMO - Maintenance free floods or AGMs ought to be the minimum standard on any new RV. There is enough to worry about with the RV as it is.
2. Capacity or Amp Hours reigns king. I don't have the luxury of any Solar system and have zero plans to get one. My factory Inverter is only 1000 watts, So I simply found the most cost effective way to get the most additional AHs in my existing battery compartment. It happened to be the VMax Tanks AGM SLR 125 (new net total of 250 ah). VMax advised me that the batteries I bought had more AHs than their own 6vdc Golf Batteries, and surprising; they had another model ($349) that featured 135AHs; but as I understood it; it would not be any more effective capacity over the SLR 125s I bought for how I would use in RV. The $349 model battery was designed for trolling and Vmax advised me against it for RV House application.
3. Once a month on some RV forum; I read where someone blew a fuse or shorted something out while working with their batteries. A true Deep Cycle battery will not have the dual terminal posts; so I saw the elimination of the automotive SAE post as a safety feature. My House batteries will never be for cranking; so the pure deep cycles can actually cycle almost twice as long as other dual purpose RV/Marine batteries.
4. When all is said and done, and you factor core charges, tax that I did not have to pay, and the discount I got from VMax directly, I may have spent $240 more than the floods that I replaced. That equates to $40/yr over a 6 year life, but these batteries are rated 8 - 10 years. I don't figure to have this RV 8 - 10 years from now, but the point is I don't see as "so much money " as it is inferred. Now in my mind Gas is !!!, but every time I complain about gas; I get hit with you shouldn't buy an RV if you can't pay for the gas.
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Old 04-18-2021, 01:00 AM   #32
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Let's talk furnace usage for a minute. We have rarely run our furnace full time overnight and never full time during the day. The only time I recall running the furnace overnight was when the overnight temps got down to the mid 20s so I set it for 60 overnight. We don't camp in those conditions anymore.

In our controlled experiment 24 hour campout described above, it got down to 45 overnight and hit highs of 60 the day before. The temps inside were fine when we went inside, took showers and crawled in bed. We rarely hang around inside in thr evening but usually outside around the campfire after dinner until we shower and go to bed.

The inside temps when we went to bed were in the mid to upper 60s. When we woke up about 7:00 the inside temps were in the mid 50s and outside was 45. Yes that was chilly, but in bed overnight with a heavy comforter on both sides with our dog on my wife's side and I added a throw blanket in the wee hours, we were very comfortable.

When I got up I turned the furnace on and fired up the coffee pot. When I turned the furnace off about ten minutes later when the coffee was ready it was in the upper 60s inside which was fine. We hung out and sipped coffee for maybe an hour until I went out and grilled some breakfast sandwiches outside about 8:00. By then the sun was on the coach and inside temps climbed to 70 and above all morning.

The point of this long disertation is that you don't need much heat inside a MH as long as you hang out around the campfire before bed and just use the furnace to "take the chill off" while you make coffee in the morning. If it were only 60 inside when we woke up, making stove top drip coffee would have warmed it up fine.

I was rather impressed with the insulation in the Axis.

David
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Old 04-18-2021, 01:30 AM   #33
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The stock Interstate batteries that came with my coach and with my bass boat failed in the first 6 months after buying new, I replaced my coach batteries with Gel Cell an have just ordered 2 new lithium for my bass boat, they are the Dakota brand and come with a 11 year warranty, your lead acid batteries only give you a 1 year warranty but usually only cost you a $100.00 or less depending on the size, I replaced my coach batteries with 4 gel cell and they have been in for over 3 years and no problems, manufacture said they should go 10 years in normal RV use, lithium are a fad right now but they are the battery of the future but are still a lot of money, if I can get 10 years or more out of the lithium than I am probably breaking even compared to the lead acid and I do not have to deal with them for the next 10 years, lithium will come down in the next few years and so will AGM and Gel Cells now that they have some comptetion, just depends on what you want and how long you plan to keep your rig, I am fed up with changing out batteries in my boat and having them fail when I am on a trip so I am willing to spend the money to see if the lithium will perform like they claim, I will not waste any more money on the lead acid batteries, even the major manufactures of cars have given up on lead acid batteries and have gone with the AGMs
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Old 04-18-2021, 09:33 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by AJMike View Post
Yes, but if you ran it all night it would have amounted to a sizable amount of power.

7 amps for 10 minutes means perhaps 5AH over one hour since the fan does not run all the time. Add that up over 10 hours and you get 50AH. If over 12-13 hours (from when it gets cold where we camp until it starts to get warm) you get 60-65AH. That alone was half of the usable power from our original wet cells and goes a long way to make up the difference between our usage of 80-90AH and @Wiley1 usage of 180AH.
Mike,

I was trying to discern if you had a frig that was designed for 120 VAC and operated from the inverter or one of the newer 12 VDC compressor refrigerators that works directly from the batteries. You do not show your coach and your signature just says "still looking".

Bob
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Old 04-20-2021, 04:57 PM   #35
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AJMije is AARight

I agree with AJMikes comment.

We boon-dock a lot and had constant battery charge anxiety.

Installed lithium batteries and replaced WFC controller. It has been a great upgrade. It was not cheap however. About $1600 all in for 2 Battleborn batteries and controller - self installed. Did not have to worry about alternator in our case.

With solar and lithium we have no battery worries like before. I have no regrets about the upgrade.

I also no longer have to worry about battery maintenance. Adding water was a pain because our batteries were not easy to service in location under the step
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:08 PM   #36
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LITHIUM BATTERIES would be great if you can afford them. However you need to change the AC/dc converter, the BIM, the alternator and all batteries to run lithium batteries. $$$$$
After a night of dry camping, it is really nice to have our battery bank automatically recharge as we roll down the road. Right now, our stock Ford alternator does a great job of getting our (4) AGM batteries back up to speed as we drive.

If a rich uncle dies, we might someday be able to afford 4 new lithium batteries. I can flip a switch on my Aimscorp inverter/charger to reconfigure the charging voltage, but what about the alternator? It just occurred to me that the alternator voltage won't be an exact match for lithium.

Would the entire alternator need to be replaced? and the BIM, too?
Does it matter all that much for up to 10 hours of straight through driving?
Does anybody know?
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:30 PM   #37
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From my understanding the vehicle alternator will charge lithium batteries to 85-90%. The rest of the charge should come from the inverter / charger if you have one , the ac/dc converter/ charger, or solar if you have a large enough bank of solar panels.
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Old 04-21-2021, 04:49 PM   #38
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Wiley1, after I installed my 4 gel cell batteries I had to put a cut off switch between the engine battery and the coach batteries, because the engine battery is a lead/acid there is a chance that the alternator will over heat the Gel Cells an cause them to split open, so I bought a DC to DC charger, it is powered by the engine battery an has the settings for the Gel Cell, AGM and Lithium, it also has a heat sensor to attach to the coach battery to prevent overheating, if I ever need to do the emergency start I just close the cut off switch and then use the rocker switch on the dash to tie the engine battery to the coach battery, I bought mine from Renogy and they have different amp ratings, its been in for over a year and has been trouble free
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Old 04-21-2021, 05:37 PM   #39
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Exactly my thoughts and why the Trojan T105 AGM in the compartment

Getting away from the cable corrosion and subsequent cleaning was reason enough

We typically stay in dry camping like the Tetons often with generator time 7 to 7

With the Trojan T105 AGM we run heat, fridge, misc all over night and have battery left for coffee prior to 7

Everything I own has AGM including the stair chair
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
Turner, I had to think about this... but a little perspective or context as to why I spent more for AGMs.

At $110k miles that is $35,936 worth of gas over a 6 year span. (assume 8 mpg & $2.59/gal) So that is $6,000/year. By comparison as a part timer; I have 13,000 miles in 1.5 years; so I am on pace to hit 78,000 miles over 6 years and a whopping $25,252 worth of gas. Given those numbers the $500 I just spent on pure deep cycle AGM not only makes sense; but it is a fraction of a impact to my overall financial experience; but actually a benefit in other aspects.

For example.
1. I get rid of the task to monitor / add water monthly once and for all. IMO - Maintenance free floods or AGMs ought to be the minimum standard on any new RV. There is enough to worry about with the RV as it is.
2. Capacity or Amp Hours reigns king. I don't have the luxury of any Solar system and have zero plans to get one. My factory Inverter is only 1000 watts, So I simply found the most cost effective way to get the most additional AHs in my existing battery compartment. It happened to be the VMax Tanks AGM SLR 125 (new net total of 250 ah). VMax advised me that the batteries I bought had more AHs than their own 6vdc Golf Batteries, and surprising; they had another model ($349) that featured 135AHs; but as I understood it; it would not be any more effective capacity over the SLR 125s I bought for how I would use in RV. The $349 model battery was designed for trolling and Vmax advised me against it for RV House application.
3. Once a month on some RV forum; I read where someone blew a fuse or shorted something out while working with their batteries. A true Deep Cycle battery will not have the dual terminal posts; so I saw the elimination of the automotive SAE post as a safety feature. My House batteries will never be for cranking; so the pure deep cycles can actually cycle almost twice as long as other dual purpose RV/Marine batteries.
4. When all is said and done, and you factor core charges, tax that I did not have to pay, and the discount I got from VMax directly, I may have spent $240 more than the floods that I replaced. That equates to $40/yr over a 6 year life, but these batteries are rated 8 - 10 years. I don't figure to have this RV 8 - 10 years from now, but the point is I don't see as "so much money " as it is inferred. Now in my mind Gas is !!!, but every time I complain about gas; I get hit with you shouldn't buy an RV if you can't pay for the gas.
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:38 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by BASSMAN View Post
Wiley1, after I installed my 4 gel cell batteries I had to put a cut off switch between the engine battery and the coach batteries, because the engine battery is a lead/acid there is a chance that the alternator will over heat the Gel Cells an cause them to split open, so I bought a DC to DC charger, it is powered by the engine battery an has the settings for the Gel Cell, AGM and Lithium, it also has a heat sensor to attach to the coach battery to prevent overheating, if I ever need to do the emergency start I just close the cut off switch and then use the rocker switch on the dash to tie the engine battery to the coach battery, I bought mine from Renogy and they have different amp ratings, its been in for over a year and has been trouble free
Bassman did your coach come with a 160 amp or 225 amp. BIM (Battery isolation Manager)? if you have a BIM connection it automatically regulates the charge between the house batteries (WET, AGM, GEL). You should not need any additional cutoff switch the BIM takes care of that. If you have an emergency start switch on your dash it is connected to a BIM. Read the BIM manual or download it on line.
I have added an attachment if you do have this type of BIM. Happy camping.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Thor BIM 160 Battery Isolation Manager.pdf (711.5 KB, 6 views)
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