Battery power for my pop top

Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 20:42
ThreadID: 105280 Views:2776 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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Hi there poptopers!

Im new to caravans and just got myself a Coromal Magnum 280 (89) its a great little van!

I am keen to have power and ideally have the fridge running off the car, then switch to the battery when you turn off the car and switch to the 240v if I plug her in. Any ideas on the easiest way to set this up?

It has 12v plugs and the fridge is plugged into on, I don't understand why it would have this when im told it doesn't.

Any help on how to set this up would be great, I was considering buying one of those ARC battery packs but it seems like it would be constant fiddling around.



[img]
[/img] have a battery?? Pic attached.

Thanks for your help!
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Reply By: Dwy J - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 20:49

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 20:49
Sorry its a 98 not 89, cant figure out how to edit this forum!

Cheers
Dwy
AnswerID: 522155

Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 16:49

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 16:49
Note that it is a campervan not a poptop.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 10:28

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 10:28
Quote "Note that it is a campervan not a poptop."

It is not a campervan either. One of those would not get you into the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia as a full member.

See this link for a full listing of RVs in Australia.
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Reply By: rooster350 - Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 21:27

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 21:27
You do not want to run your fridge of a battery for a start, it will flatten it in real quick time.
As to just where you would a battery in such a small unit is another question, it does look as though it has one (or is wired for one) with the T plug there. Your car will keep the fridge running while it is running, you must disconnect the car when the motor stops or once again the fridge will flatten the battery in it. You really need to get an auto elecy in to have a look and sort it out with you what you want and what you can or cannot do...saves a lot of heartaches down the track..cheers
AnswerID: 522160

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 01:01

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 01:01
Firstly did you get a hot wire installed from tugs battery to pin 2 in the trailer socket at the tow bar. If you did not ask for that to be done when getting the tow bar installed you probably will not have it installed. Without that you will not be able to run your fridge from the tugs alternator.

The normal Way these camper trailers (and caravans) are wired is that there is a hot wire from the tugs battery that powers the 12 V lights and the 3 way fridge. The 3 way fridge will draw 12 to 18 A on 12 V. This is far too much for a battery alone. I have seen Falcon starting batteries discharged so low that the motor could not be started after a quick lunch stop. A good 100 Ah battery will last a bit longer but you will destroy it if you try to run your fridge from it night after night. The gas operation is there to run your fridge when not on 240 V power or your motor is not running.

If you follow the way Dometic suggest you wire the hot wire from your tug then it is not possible to run the fridge on 12 V without the motor running. They suggest that you wire a relay in the line that is activated when the motor is running (ignition switched wire when the switch is in the run position.) If you want to run your 12 V lights from the tug battery whilst camping there is an alternate way to prevent your fridge from destroying the starter battery. That is to install a Fridge Switch at the 12 V input of the fridge.

If you wish to install a deep cycle battery in your van I suggest you do not attempt to charge it from your alternator AND run the fridge from the existing hot wire from the tug. There will be too much voltage drop in the circuit to do that. The voltage in your van will be so low that the battery will be supplying power to the fridge instead of accepting power to to charge it.
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AnswerID: 522165

Reply By: Dwy J - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 19:28

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 19:28
Hi guys,

Thanks for the advice it :-) I rang a couple of auto elec today and it seems to get the set up I want im looking at $1500 to $2000.

I think I need to figure out how to use an Arcpak http://arkcorp.com.au/p/3231/arkpak-12v240v-battery-box

If I can get the car running off the 12v while I drive I can then use this when I stop.

I will need to figure out how to adapt it so there is not to much messing around.

Thanks again!

Dwy
AnswerID: 522199

Follow Up By: 178 - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:16

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:16
It will flatten that battery real Quick Those fridges can only be run on 12 V while motor is running. Thats it!
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Reply By: Dwy J - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:20

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:20
I have just posted this on a Arcpak forum, will be interested to see if my plan can work.

Hi there,

I have just bought a little pop top van and am keen to deck it out with some power. My ideal situation would be to run the fridge while I drive on 12v, when I turn the car off have it switch over to the battery for short periods (before I set up and get the gas or just stop for a few hours etc), when I set up camp run the fridge on gas and run the lights and charge devices off the battery then when I plug the van in have that power have it take over and power everything eg at a caravan park.

This will cost me around $1500 bucks for an auto elec to set up.

So im thinking what if I change the plug that comes in the van and run it to the arkpak, then run the external 240 plug to the vans current input for 240v, then simply run a cord from my 12v car charger to the arcpak.

Essentially the van would always run of the arkpak and when I plug the van in it would just be charging the battery. Am I a genius or is this much harder than it sounds?

Thanks heaps for your advice!

AnswerID: 522207

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:36

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:36
As others have said, it is not practicable to run your gas/electric fridge from a battery. These fridges run from heat - gas is a good source of heat, but they need too much heat to source it from a battery. Fridges such as the portable Engels and Waecos use a compressor to provide refrigeration and typically require an average of about 1 amp from a battery. A 3way fridge like yours requires a continuous 15 amps or more - not a problem to run it from the vehicle's alternator while the engine is running, but way beyond the ability of any sensible sized battery.

You may find Electricity for Camping a useful read.

Cheers

John
J and V
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AnswerID: 522209

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:42

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:42
Meant to mention - forget the Arcpak. It is simply a well dressed battery, and your fridge will completely flatten that battery in 6-10 hours. Such extreme discharging will kill the battery very quickly. Recharging is the other problem that deserves your consideration.

Please forget running any 3way fridge from a battery!!!

Cheers

John
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Reply By: Dwy J - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:41

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:41
Thanks John, im new to all this so thank for the advice :-) I was thinking the battery might be good to run the fridge for short periods while the car is turned off for lunch for a few hours. If I was seting up camp I would then switch over to gas. I read that a 9kg gas bottle will run a little 60l fridge for up to 18 days which seems to good to be true.

I also need a battery to run the lights and charge things.

Cheers,
Dwy
AnswerID: 522210

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:48

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 20:48
Dwy,

For a short lunch stop, ok, but be aware that an hour running the fridge will cost more battery power than all your lights, and chargers will consume that day!

Check out Electricity for Camping . I think you'll find it very useful.

Cheers

John
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Reply By: Member - johnat - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:46

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 21:46
You're possibly better off, financially as well as ecologically speaking, to invest the cash that a batt pack would cost into the installing of a solar setup. Plenty of roof real estate, and then get it hooked up into the house battery.

I mean, surely there's a battery in the boot, else how does things like lights work when not attached to tug?

I tried a Google search but not a mention of specs for that model, and the new ones are all pot-tops.

Cannot be more helpful, I'm afraid!
AnswerID: 522215

Reply By: Shany - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 13:02

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 13:02
Hi,
We made up I connected with alligator clips one end and trailer plug on the other end, clip one end onto battery which we kept in the tool box and plugged the van plug into the other end, walla power in the van without the re wiring, then charged the battery with solar when needed, but run your fridge off gas
Hope this made sense
AnswerID: 522316

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 20:57

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 20:57
Where do you find this " walla power " ? Is it cheaper than battery or mains power?

Perhaps you meant "Voila!" - the french for "there it is!" ;)
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Follow Up By: Shany - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 08:27

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 08:27
The power comes from the battery, we free camp so we don't have the option for mains power,
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