Battery in a caravan

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 04:17
ThreadID: 11535 Views:5320 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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Sorry to ask yet another battery question but my perusal of the archives didn't really solve my problem. I want to put a battery into my van so that the missus has power for lighting etc while I take the vehicle off and go play for a few hours.

I looked at the Waeco type things and liked them for the sealed unit and plugs already attached but when I saw the price on them I nearly needed another power source just to restart my heart! I'm wondering about fitting a decent sealed N70ZZ sort of thing but I'm unsure about leaking Hydrogen while the van is idle for those unfortunately long periods in between excursions. I read about the Odysseys and the Extremes and I intend to ask the auto 'leccies opinion as well but I'd rather go in forearmed with the experience of others.

Cheers,

Hilly
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Reply By: Rosco - Bris. - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 08:19

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 08:19
Hilly

An ordinary battery in a box mounted on the draw bar's the way to go. You can wire it up to be charged off the vehicle and also connect a female trailer plug to match that on your vehicle. When you stop join it to the van plug and hey presto.

Cheers
AnswerID: 51888

Follow Up By: Hilly - Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 11:58

Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 11:58
Thanks Rosco. That sounds like a nice easy system and well worth considering. I'm assuming that the battery boxes vent somehow but still keep out the elements. I'm stuck in the house this morning but I'll try and get out to the caravan shops and view on this weekend.

Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Rosco - Bris. - Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 12:35

Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 12:35
Yep

One of those black plastic jobs such as the boaties use. Available everywhere for about $40.
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FollowupID: 313849

Reply By: Member - Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 08:28

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 08:28
Hilly

Al has a battery set up for our van....if you would like to contact us about it..email me at grierson@hotkey.net.au....and I'll send you a pic of what he's done...and try to get him to explain it to you....it runs the lights, the fridge [when travelling], the radio/cd player,

cheers

Lyn
AnswerID: 51890

Follow Up By: Hilly - Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 11:59

Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 11:59
Thak you. Email on the way.
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Reply By: Andy - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 09:03

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 09:03
Hilly,

I have to agree with Rosco. If all you are doing is running a few lights then an exide extreme is all you need. Just put it on charge every 3 mnths when not in use, or perhaps get a tiny solar panel to trickle charge it.

Have fun

Andrew
AnswerID: 51895

Follow Up By: Hilly - Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 12:00

Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 12:00
Simplicity 2
Expensive gadgets Nil
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FollowupID: 313844

Reply By: Rosscoe - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 09:42

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 09:42
Technically it is illeagal to carry, store or use a battery in a vehicle unless it's mounted in a correctly vented enclosure. On the draw bar in a battery box as has been suggested is probably the most economical way of achieving the result you are seeking.
Deep Cycle Batteries have earnt a bad reputation because of early failure. From what I have read and understand this is because of less than adequate charging and frequent deep discharging, below 40%.
There is an excellent book by Collyn Rivers, called Motorhome Electrics available from Caravan and Motorhomes Books which covers what you need to considerabout installing and maintaining and operating a battery supply for a caravan.
Collyn Rivers advocates a correctly sized and installed solar system as the best way to achieve an acceptable level of power and battery life.
I run a dual battery system in my car and also have a battery in my caravan. I have run heavy cable (> 6 mm square) all the way from the aux battery to trailer plug AND to the van battery to minimise voltage drop. Even doing this I am led to believe the best I can achieve is about 70% charge and if I limit the discharge to 40% the useable power is only 30% of the battery's rated capacity. You need to calculated how much power is need whike you are away playing.
AnswerID: 51900

Follow Up By: V8troopie - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 14:56

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 14:56
I do have a decent battery box (vented) securely mounted behind the drivers seat in my troopie. Its purpose is to run the fridge and fluoro light as well as the radios on the overhead console.

Never had a problem with that arrangement but then the troopie is not exactly air tight either.

With a caravan mouted battery, the battery gives off nothing at all while its being used. Only during the final stages of charging is there some 'gassing' where hydrogen gas is a byproduct. Its lighter than air and easily escapes a vented battery enclosure. There is not sufficient of it created to become an explosive mixture in a large space like a caravan if the van is in use. Trickle charging the battery while the van is not in use would not generate much gas if the charger is set correctly.

What you *have* to make sure is that the battery box is very sturdy and securely mounted. You do not want the battery jumping out nor its terminals shorting out if you hit a pot hole.

Rosscoe, try a seperate charging socket for the van battery on the back of your car and a separate charging cable. The standard trailer plugs have a lousy connection once the brass terminals tarnish a little, easy to loose volts across the connection even if the wires are up to it.

Klaus
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FollowupID: 313714

Follow Up By: Rosscoe - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 15:29

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 15:29
Hi Klauss,

I have run 8 AWG which is about 10 mm square audio power supply cable from my aux battery in the front of the car to a 50 Amp Anderson plug at the rear of the car. I am modifying the caravan wiring system so that I have a separate feed to my van 3-way fridge and to the house battery. Currently there is a charging diode across which you typical loose 0.6V
I also have a 12-pin Britax trailer plug. The lower 5-pins are rated for 30 Amps (assuming they a clean etc)
The limiting factor still remains the standard voltage regulator in the car which is factory set for 14.2 volts or so. This cannot be readily changed nor can a so-called smart regulator be used because modern cars use computerised engine management systems which rely on the factory set regulated voltage.
Re having your battery inside the cabin of the troopie. I hear exactly what you say. I just get very nervous these days with anything the insurance companies may use to decline a claim.
My 1963 VW beetle used to have its 6 Vbattery under the back seat as standard!! No enclosure and no ventilation - maybe that's why I'm a bit wierd these days.

Rosscoe
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FollowupID: 313719

Reply By: macca - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 16:34

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 16:34
Because I havn't the room to set up a dual battery system under the bonnet, I have set up my wagon/Caravan/Camper this way.
I run heavy duty wiring via a regulator to an Anderson plug in the rear compartment in the wagon(one of the storage boxes) and also one to the rear of the wagon. Both the camper and caravan has an Anderson plug setup on each to take my deep cycle SLA battery. Thus dependening on what Im using, the battery is being charged either in the Caravan ,Camper or in the rear of the wagon.
AnswerID: 51926

Follow Up By: Hilly - Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 12:05

Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 12:05
I have a dual battery setup that handles the fridge in the car and most other power needs. It's the van that I'm wondering about. Am I right Macca, in understanding that you move the one SLA (not sure what that stands for) battery between vehicles depending which one you are using or towing at the time?
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FollowupID: 313845

Follow Up By: macca - Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 13:52

Friday, Mar 26, 2004 at 13:52
Hi Hilly,
Yes your assumptions are correct. I have a Hybralec SLA Battery which is 100 amp/hr SLA means Sealed Lead Acid and this type of battery does not need ventilated areas as in the "Normal" type battery. In the back of the wagon it sits in a bolted down Battery box i made myself, In the Caravan it sits clamped down under one of the lounges and in the camper it sits in a bolted down box i set up for it. The only drawback with it is the weight (32Kgs). but saves having 3 batteries.
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FollowupID: 313857

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