Power set up for camper trailer

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 16:02
ThreadID: 97056 Views:8372 Replies:6 FollowUps:12
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Hi All

i'm setting up a 12V / 240V system in my camper and looking to make some changes to my existing dual battery set up in the car and would like to ask for comment / advice from the good folk of Exploroz!

before we get started, let me clarify that i'm a qualified electrician and will be taking all precautions in regards to protection and cable sizing on the 240V side.

i cant upload pictures so i'll have to describe what my plans are, hopefully it comes through clear enough :-)

my current setup is a second battery in the back of my ute (Navara D22 with canopy) being charged off a Ctek D250S dual from the main battery. the fridge runs from this when in use except if we're in a van park with 240V available. at present the camper has NO power at all.

My thoughts are to remove the Ctek from the car and go back to a solenoid / isolater to charge the Aux battery and run the fridge when travelling. From the main batt side of the solenoid, i plan to run a cable (+ve and -ve) to the camper (via anderson plug) and re-mount the Ctek in the camper next to a new deep cycle battery. I'll also utilise the solar input to the Ctek to charge the battery when set up.

From the battery off to a neat 12V outlet panel i found on Ebay (12v Panel Ebay) for lighting and fridge when set up. Also, and i'm not 100% fixed on this, to a small inverter to allow small capacity recharging (camera batteries etc) basically very small appliances when we dont have mains power available.

I want to be able to use 240V when its available so i thought about having a couple of 240V in key areas (fully protected of course) for general use. i'm also going to install a 240V battery charger to maintain the battery both in caravan parks and at home when the camper is parked in the garage. I was thinking something like a Ctek MXS 7.0 but i'm open to other suggestions!

Our plans are for a 3 week trip to Qld (from Geelong) and back down the east coast in october, but more significantly, a long trip next year for however long i can get off work so we want to have the ability to be away from civilisation from time to time.

I think that about covers it, hopefully it makes sense. you might need to draw a picture to visualise it! Any other suggestions or ideas greatly appreciated.

cheers

Jackson
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 16:30

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 16:30
Phew, Jacko!!! Thanks goodness you clarified that you are a qualified sparky.

Could hear the OHS knights rattling their swords, strapping on breatplates and saddling their white chargers, ready to do battle with you over neglect to public life and limb. (insert belly laugh here)

Why are you proposing to hook the Ctek 250S to main side of isolator? Wouldn't that mean it would take longer to charge your starting battery?

Otherwise sounds good, you got room for me? Re the Ctek MXS-7, if it's only 7 amp charger, I'd go for the 15 amp, or better still, the 25 amp one. That way your auxiliary batteries can be fully charged overnight.

Bob.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:09

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:09
Second the larger battery charger as well.
Peter
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:14

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:14
Sounds good Jacko and also about the qualifications up front.

I also ask why off the main cranking battery, but for a different reason. One reason people use an isolator is to make sure that the cranking battery is not flattened by radios, lights and fridges while camped away from any resources like 240V, and ultimately so that the car can be started. Leave the cranking one alone.

We have three under the bonnet hooked up with one isolated as the cranking battery and the other two in parallel on the "other" side of the Redarc SBI212 to run the two fridges in the back of the car and any lights, radios or hot shower pumps while camped.
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Follow Up By: Jacko84 - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:09

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:09
Hey Bob - yeah i've read plenty of posts on here before relating to power issues and i know how quick people are to remind you to use A-grade elect! wanted to clear that up from the start.

appreciate the suggestion about the bigger charger, will definately look further into that one.

in regards to the D250S on main side of the isolator, i'm not concerned about charging the main when camped. the way i see it working (in my head at least) is that when in transit, the main and Alternator will charge the trailer battery via the D250 and also the aux car battery via a solenoid powering the fridge.
when camped, i will be able to leave the car totally disconnected from the trailer and (depending on the sun Gods) have the camper self sufficient to a degree from either solar panel or 240V mains when available. hence my interest in getting the d250 in the trailer to utilise the solar input.

when not towing, the car aux will be managed via the solenoid and the anderson plug wont draw anything. might put a circuit breaker in to isolate it when not in use, now that i think about it...

PJR hopefully that answers your question too.

HumVee, thanks for the recommendation!
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:48

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:48
Got you.

When you mentioned the isolator I wondered why you do not use the one that you already have isolating the auxiliary battery in the car. No need to get another. Just parallel the anderson plug/trailer off the auxiliary battery.

But then, we do not use 240V at all so I do not make allowances for it.
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Follow Up By: Jacko84 - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 20:03

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 20:03
nah currently i have the D250S between the 2 batteries in the car and dont fancy spending $300+ for another because solar input into the trailer is a must have. trying to use what ive already got to keep the budget down!
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 20:11

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 20:11
Good to see that you have done your homework.

I better leave you with it. I have a Simpson trip plan to finalise and we leave in just under a fortnight.

Catchya
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Reply By: Cravenhaven - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:19

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:19
I'll add to the larger battery charger vote. I have a 7 amp charger and have found a few situations where I have had access to a generator for charging for a short time rather than running the vehicle engine, but my charger is too small to do it any justice. I also have a solar panel but the sun dont always shine consistently, particularly in those lovely shady spots we all like to camp in.
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Follow Up By: Jacko84 - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:43

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:43
thanks Craven, decision made - bigger charger!
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Reply By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:55

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 17:55
Jacko that is what I have done except I have a 30amp charger also have circuit breakers on all 12v leads plus fuses. I also hard wired the inverter to the 240v with a 3ph relay to cut out the inverter when external 240v is used
AnswerID: 491578

Follow Up By: Jacko84 - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:42

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 18:42
hi Barn,
actually had considered the relay to isolate the inverter when on mains, also to isolate the isolate the 12v from the charger when NOT on mains. will have to check my scribbles but think i ditched that and replaced the relay as you mentioned with a manual isolator.

bigger capacity charger seems to be the consensus...

thanks!
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Reply By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 19:21

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012 at 19:21
Jacko I wired the coil to the external input to cut out the inverter so there was no conflict with cycle. Barnray
AnswerID: 491584

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 10:51

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 10:51
Hi Barney
Actualy a simple 3 pole relay does not meet the requirements
It need to be 3pole double throw for correct neutral earth switching
Refer Fig3.1 AS3001
Done that way to meet the requirements of AS 3000 for isolation

Peter
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 07:46

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 07:46
Hi Jacko,

Looks like you have it fairly sussed out.

You haven't mentioned how the battery in the tub is mounted, but you may like to consider a Sidewinder Flyer which is a smart battery box to contain the auxiliary battery. This has a built-in isolator and the included cable kit is connected directly to the main battery.

A heavy duty patch lead with an anderson connector on each end can then be employed to connect to the output of the flyer and out the tailgate of the Navara for connection to the trailer cable.
Mounting the Ctek in the camper is a smart move as close proximity to the remote battery in the camper is the most sound method.

The above is the way I have mine set up.
The battery in the tub runs the Engel, while two 80Ah AGM batteries in the camper run the on board Waeco upright fridge and lighting, etc.
A bifold solar panel supports the camper batteries when camped for a few days, connected to the solar panel input on the Ctek D250s Dual.

All works extremely well.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Jacko84 - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 18:11

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 18:11
Thanks Bill, yeah I have a very similar setup for the aux car battery.
To open a whole other can of worms, what size panel (physically and electrically) do you have?
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 07:23

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 07:23
I have a pair of 40 watt bi-fold panels for a total of 80 watts.

This panel array is usually used to support a portable Thumper 75Ah battery pack running the 40 litre Engel that I use when camping with the Oztent.

However it still puts something back into the the batteries in the camper, although a 120 watt panel would be probably more appropriate for the two 80Ah batteries.
I have added a second patch lead to bypass the on-board regulator on the panel when connecting to the Ctek D250S dual, which as you would be aware, has a much better solar regulator built-in to it.

Bill


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Reply By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 10:44

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 10:44
Hi Jacko

All sounds good to me
You have put a lot of thought into it

My only suggestion is you obtain a copy of AS/NZS 3001:2008 to make sure you do ALL that is required under the standards for" Transportable structures" that covers 240v in vans ,camper trailers etc

Take special note of the requirements for permanently wired inverters & the method of isolation from mains inlet

Peter
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Follow Up By: Jacko84 - Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 18:07

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 at 18:07
Thanks Peter, will definitely check that one out.
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