Discussion in 'Motorhome Help for the Beginner' started by TheDeckKing, Oct 11, 2014.
So what do I do?
if you have the room on top and below....both, without question.
Extra battery first as you already have the capability to charge that via hook up or the alternator and will give you double capacity.... Then Solar....
Both, especially if you're using it in winter, off grid.
As others have said, the ideal situation is both
Fit a battery to battery charger first, that will make your alternator earn its keep and give you RELIABLE recharging capability.
Not much sun during our winter months and the battery will sulphate through opportune charging. And that is if the solar can keep up with your energy demands.
And a b to b
since you haven't explained what type of camping you do, when you do it, where you do it, what kit you use and why do you need the extra capacity it's not possible to advise..
In many many years of motorhoming I have never had solar, nor any extra batteries... not because I always use EHU .. but because I use the battery power wisely and make it last..
I don't need or want a big inverter becuase I don't need or want a microwave, don't need or want a hair dryer.. or any other power hungry toy.. but I know we are all different .. .. some need extra power for medical equipment.. hence my first statement..
As a first step I would take Jon's advice and fit the B to B charger..
Having now fitted a B2B I would say forget solar and get second battery and fit the B2B. It is less weight than a solar panel and as already stated by jonandshell a great bit of kit when you cannot rely on the sun............
Agree with Jims post above, but as "unwise" people, we fitted solar and already had the second battery. Don't need to worry about power useage too much. EHU is used as well, depending on how we camp. The last thing we want to do is to worry about "should we turn the TV off" etc., so went for more than we need
Both, just been away for five weeks, no need to hook up, no worries about maintaining charge.
We have been away 5 weeks as well, although we are not big electric users we have a 110 battery and an 85 no solar no btob no hookup, and never came anywhere near running out of battery although we did do anything up to a hundred miles a day
Dogeared and Chaser, what do you run your fridge on, please?
What you do not state is what you are using on the single 110amp battery daily.
Many folk have phones charging, laptops charging tablets charging, TV on, shower running, I think you get the idea, so for many a single 110amp battery WILL NOT cover ALL these items. I understand that many perhaps like yourself run the MH 12 volt power on a "frugal" bases, but many want their MH to be an extension of their home and what all the comforts that that has. On average around 10amps per hour I guess would be the average MH owner usage and a 110amp battery will only give 55amps before it starts to DIE (50% of battery is used) so 5 hours of running MAX would be about right. Then you drive 100 miles ( say around 3 hours driving ) and your built in charging system regulates the amps returning to the battery ( this drops to around 3/5 amps PER HOUR after 30 minutes of driving - it will start of as 15/20amps, but drops very quickly ) so fact is your battery is only getting "topped up" nothing else NOT fully charged as many think or believe. So 3 x hours driving at 5 amps ish per hour gives you 25 amps back, but you took out 55 amps, this is why it takes 3/4/5 days of charging at 3/5 amps without a break in the charging cycle to FULLY charge a battery and NOT DRAWING power from the battery whilst charging is happening.
Most MH owners do not understand how the charging system works as long as is works!!!!! and that is why so many MH owners go through batteries like they fill up with fuel.
It has taken me months to read/understand all of this before fixing it. Now I have a system that fits my needs, which I fully understand may not be the requirements of others.
The fact is that many MH owners are not worried about 12 volts as many run on EHU ALL of the time..........
I understand and agree with all you say, but we do have an 85 as well as the 110, we have had this van 2 years and it came with the 110 according to the service history it was fitted two years before that , so it is 4 years old , the 85 came free so shoved that in as well this year, as I said we are not big users of electric, shower, lights, water pump and chargeing two tablets and three phones etc but it never gets below 12 v on the dial thingy and maybe up to 14 when charging , not a very accurate dial thing so these figures might not be gospel, but unless someone has fitted a btob type of thing that I don't know about, the normal charging thing keeps it up and has never failed, without hookup or solar.
Btw the 110 managed quite well on its own , I only put another one in as , I said , it came free so shoved it in.
Well, firstly you should always fit if possible ( the jury is out on this one! ) the same size of battery because it is said the smaller one will drag the larger one down!! so you could have 170 amps and not 195 amps as you thought. Then there is the "dial thingy", which I sure is not displaying anything more than "leds" so you really have no idea what the current voltage state of your battery is or for that matter what amps you are currently drawing whilst sitting in MH. In theory therefore you could be drawing down your batteries each night to 12.2, but your "leds" say 12volts!!! this is why having a good battery monitor fitted is paramount for keeping batteries "tiptop" hence my posting with photo's of things I have added that most of not all MH builders do not fitas standard: http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum...-my-findings-my-fix.91514/page-7#post-1128608
Before others say " you do not need those sort of things" I understand that, but as I have said above it "suits" me.
Depends if you camp in a field a lot with no EHU--
Most campers use a camp site with leccy included, so why bother with all that stuff, just hook up, sit back and forget about amps and stuff and have a beer out of a working fridge and knowing, after a winters day out walking that your MH will be warm inside after you leave your blown heating on low
Joner8888, I fully understand this and do NOT have a problem whatsoever with the idea after all it is their MH to do with as they see fit, however that is why I made my statement "Most MH owners do not understand how the charging system works as long as is works!!!!! and that is why so many MH owners go through batteries like they fill up with fuel. The fact is that many MH owners are not worried about 12 volts as many run on EHU ALL of the time.........."
Hi, having just bought my first motor home, and Autocruise Vision, I am amazed by the feeble charging mechanisms that seem to be on all motor homes. I am used to yachts and have a domestic bank of 600 A/H - yes I know - far too much for a MH.
The cables connecting the battery are tiny. If the full ampage of the alternator (60 a/h?) were to flow through it, I dare say it would start a fire!
I have checked the voltage at the engine battery when running (14.5V) and the domestics (14.2V). So loosing 0.3 of a volt down those small wires. Ideally this should reach 14.4V. I was proposing to add a second battery, and a Nasa BM1 battery monitor, as I have absolutely no idea what amps the lighting will consume (small strip lights). I presume that I should upgrade the wires with a reasonable section to get the voltage up at the domestic battery - which should improve the charging rate to that battery.
Any ideas - I know that the demands of a MH are not as great as those of a yacht when you cannot get any shorepower - EHU - not heard of that before!
EHU same as shorepower... ie Electric Hook Up .. available on most sites, and in the UK generally 16Abut can be less, maybe 10Amps.. abroad it varies greatly .. from as little as 2 amps , 6amps 10 amps and 16amps.. always check when plugging in..
cable from the alternator charging the habitation battery will be fused to protect it from overload and going on fire.. generally 25Amps , and usually found under the bonnet.. sometimes just taped to the loom..
an upgrade in the cable size will certainly reduce the volt drop..
but if you really want to improve charging install a Sterling bat 2 bat charger.
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