New campers, battery setup.

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 13:58
ThreadID: 68134 Views:3083 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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I am after some opinions regarding what to do for our battery setup.
We will be traveling in a customline camper trailer. Have yet to purchase a tow vehicle. We will be running a Evacool fridge and plan to have some minimal lighting in the camper. Also we would like to charge a laptop and camera batteries as needed.
For power i would like to have a AGM batterey on the trailer. To recharge I think we would recharge through the car battery or at camping grounds with 240V.
Is it possible to have the fridge run in either the tow vehicle or the trailer (when camped)? what sort of cable do I need to ask for on the trailer to have the battery charged from the car.
We are both confused with this, the more we read and learn, the more we find out we dont know.
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Reply By: Member - Broe (WA) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 14:54

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 14:54
I am going through the same thing as you at the moment and am copying my mates setup which works well. He has been all over Aus with it with no problems.

Firstly, you will need an Anderson Plug so as to be able to charge your camper battery when hooked up, plus it will run everything you want when at camp and still connected to the tow vehicle.

Then, I would just get one hella plug near your fridge (it's like a cigarette lighter socket but better, and then one where ever you would run your versa lites. These lights are the best as they have minimal current draw.

In regards to the laptop, stay away from that one if you can but if you have to, set it up so that you run an pure sine wave inverter 1000 or larger. They are expensive and you want to protect it by mounting it in the vehicle.

Hope this helps.

AnswerID: 361078

Follow Up By: GerryP - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 20:42

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 20:42
Hi Broe,

With all due respect, I don't think laptops are as fussy as people sometimes think in relation to what kind of inverter you need. I have had several laptops and have run all of them, without any problems on a 300 watt modified sine wave inverter. I might add that my laptop is always on while traveling as it is basically my navigation system.

There was a thread on this recently if I recall correctly as well.

Having said that, the best way to run/charge a laptop from a battery is to use a proper 12 volt car adapter.

FollowupID: 628871

Follow Up By: PatrolSTL04 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2009 at 22:23

Sunday, Apr 26, 2009 at 22:23
Laptop batteries do not like non pure sine wave inverters.

Had replaced two over 6 months on modified sine wave inverter, before switching to a more expensive pure sine wave inverter.

Lucky for me the retailer replaced both under manufacturers warranty. Had a quiet word in his ear about what I was doing, and he told me to ditch and by a pure sine wave inverter...he sees too many batteries dying an early death.

18 months on and no problems.

FollowupID: 629491

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 00:38

Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 00:38
Rather than using an inverter to run your laptop, get a power supply that will run it straight off 12 V - you will loose less power in inefficiencies that way.

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FollowupID: 629499

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . . (WA) - Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 16:31

Thursday, Apr 23, 2009 at 16:31
The fridge can be situated in either the vehicle or the camper, just pick it up and move it when you need to, as to wiring that is a technical 12v question that requires more information before a viable answer is available.

Basically you need a battery system in the Camper capable of running the fridge for a few days with-out needing recharge, probably >100ah AGM DC, two would be better, so would three but you need a compromise somewhere.

You need (very thick) battery cable from the Alternator to the camper battery system, via a 'device' that will disconnect the Aux battery when the vehicle Cranking battery is likely to be discharged below a safe level.
Use a (large capacity) Anderson plug to connect/disconnect at the tow hitch area of the vehicle.

In the vehicle you can connect the fridge direct to the Aux side of the "device" mentioned above, via a (small capacity) Anderson plug, to save running the Cranking battery flat.
This same type of 'small capacity Anderson plug' can be used in the camper as a common connection method for the fridge also.

Use a Pure Sine wave Inverter to recharge the laptop and camera batteries as needed, in the vicinity of 300 Watts will be fine for these, but higher Wattage may be required for any more power hungry items.

Mainey . . .
AnswerID: 361098

Reply By: Ray - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 09:20

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 09:20
I have wired up my caravan to enable me to charge the caravan batteries. I have used 4 aswg cable from the starting battery through an isolator that is ignition controlled. I have used a 175 amp Anderson plug between the car and caravan and 8 aswg cable from the batteries to the lights and axillary equipment in the caravan. My fridge has a smaller, I believe 40 amp Anderson plug that plugs into the system. I have also installed an Anderson plug in the back of the car so that I can use the fridge in the car. This plug is wired in down stream from the isolator so that when the ignition is turn off there is no drain off the starting battery. The only problem with this system is that the caravan must stay connected via the 175 amp Anderson plug.
My advise to you is to use Aderson plugs for all your connections.
AnswerID: 361224

Reply By: Member - Wesley S (NSW) - Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 23:14

Friday, Apr 24, 2009 at 23:14
Hey just wanted to to say thanks for all your input!
we have ordered our trailer and cant wait!
AnswerID: 361384

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