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Old 02-02-2019, 09:49 AM   #1
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A Bunch of Electrical System Questions

Background--I have an Escape 19 on order and will be picking it up this Spring. Long time camper, newby to the trailer world. Went basic on the electrical system choices (do have a surge protector) after getting some fairly practical advice to use the new trailer for a season and see what you want after some experience, rather than making choices up front, and ending up with a generator you never use, a solar panel system that is inadequate, etc.

So, here are some questions:

Generator. If you want to run the air conditioner and aren't on shore power, how much inverter/generation capacity do you need (just the AC load, nothing else)? 2000 watts/3500 watts?

How long on shore power does it take the battery to recharge? Does it recharge automatically when the trailer is plugged in, or is there more to it.

Does anyone carry a second battery as a backup? It would seem like the cheapest and easiest way to double your power reserve? I didn't buy the battery upgrade for ETI, in keeping with my 'KISS' approach to the electrical system.

Does anybody know of a good basic orientation book/pamphlet/whatever for RV electrical systems. I've seen a couple of things along those lines for boats/marine systems, but not for RVs?

I'm sure any answers will prompt more questions.

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:04 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Seneca View Post
Background--I have an Escape 19 on order and will be picking it up this Spring. Long time camper, newby to the trailer world. Went basic on the electrical system choices (do have a surge protector) after getting some fairly practical advice to use the new trailer for a season and see what you want after some experience, rather than making choices up front, and ending up with a generator you never use, a solar panel system that is inadequate, etc.

So, here are some questions:

Generator. If you want to run the air conditioner and aren't on shore power, how much inverter/generation capacity do you need (just the AC load, nothing else)? 2000 watts/3500 watts?

How long on shore power does it take the battery to recharge? Does it recharge automatically when the trailer is plugged in, or is there more to it.

Does anyone carry a second battery as a backup? It would seem like the cheapest and easiest way to double your power reserve? I didn't buy the battery upgrade for ETI, in keeping with my 'KISS' approach to the electrical system.

Does anybody know of a good basic orientation book/pamphlet/whatever for RV electrical systems. I've seen a couple of things along those lines for boats/marine systems, but not for RVs?

I'm sure any answers will prompt more questions.

Thanks, everyone.
I have a honda 3000 is and it will run the air and microwave(and anything else!) at the same time...I don't use it that often but it lives in my truck all summer anyway for work. I got it with my previous trailer, if I was buying new I might consider the new 2200 model as I hear it can run the air and is WAY lighter. You need generator or shore power to run the air conditioner, an inverter and batteries is probably not practical unless you are really crafty.

I would add the dual 6v battery and solar panel set up from ETI if you plan on boondocking much....I hardly plug in my trailer anymore and always have plenty of juice for all my needs.


Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:16 AM   #3
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and read read this, part 1&2 The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 02-02-2019, 11:07 AM   #4
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I did not get the storage box or second battery in front of my 19 but it did come with a rack that would hold two batteries. Since I already had a deep cycle battery for my trolling motor, two new matching battery boxes from Walmart and I was almost done.

On the inside of the trailer I put a battery switch and always charge and use them separately. I never hook them up together as they are different makes purchased at different times.

And yes this gives you twice the storage capacity.
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Old 02-02-2019, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seneca View Post
Background--I have an Escape 19 on order and will be picking it up this Spring. Long time camper, newby to the trailer world. Went basic on the electrical system choices (do have a surge protector) after getting some fairly practical advice to use the new trailer for a season and see what you want after some experience, rather than making choices up front, and ending up with a generator you never use, a solar panel system that is inadequate, etc.

So, here are some questions:

Generator. If you want to run the air conditioner and aren't on shore power, how much inverter/generation capacity do you need (just the AC load, nothing else)? 2000 watts/3500 watts?
While a 2000 watt generator will likely run your AC as long as there is little other load, at high altitudes it may be a problem. Honda, along with some others, has increased the wattage of their inverter generator to 2200, which might be something to look for. While going to a 3500 watt generator would be a sure bet, at over 100 pounds, the additional weight makes it something that most of us are not going to haul out every time you need it.

Quote:
How long on shore power does it take the battery to recharge? Does it recharge automatically when the trailer is plugged in, or is there more to it.
How long to recharge depends on how low you have discharged the battery. Recharging is automatic, and fully charging can take a number of hours, or even days, again depending on how far down your battery was before plugging in.

Quote:
Does anyone carry a second battery as a backup? It would seem like the cheapest and easiest way to double your power reserve? I didn't buy the battery upgrade for ETI, in keeping with my 'KISS' approach to the electrical system.
While some do carry a second unconnected battery, I find it easier to simply install a second battery (the pair of 6V that Escape offers as an option is a good choice).

Quote:
Does anybody know of a good basic orientation book/pamphlet/whatever for RV electrical systems. I've seen a couple of things along those lines for boats/marine systems, but not for RVs?
I'll second the 12V Side of Life, parts 1 & 2 as a good source of information on the 12V systems in your trailer.

Quote:
I'm sure any answers will prompt more questions.

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:31 PM   #6
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Am thinking you may regret omitting the dual 6V option, particularly with the exchange rate discount you are getting. Thought I was going to be fine with a single Group 29 12V, however after a year it was apparent we needed more amp hours.
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:57 PM   #7
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I would add the dual 6v battery and solar panel set up from ETI if you plan on boondocking much....I hardly plug in my trailer anymore and always have plenty of juice for all my needs.
I agree. Unless you install it yourself a solar package will be much more expensive after the build. Also the dual 6V batteries are a good option to increase amp-hours available whether you have solar or not. Personally if I was building new I wouldn’t omit these options but might hold off on the inverter. Depends on your style of camping.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:13 PM   #8
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Looking at work that will be more expensive, and difficult to accomplish, after the trailer is built I would have the solar wiring installed plus the Zamp solar plug installed. That gives you the flexibility to do solar your way going forward. On not doing solar if your camping style do not require it.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:20 PM   #9
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Am thinking you may regret omitting the dual 6V option, particularly with the exchange rate discount you are getting. Thought I was going to be fine with a single Group 29 12V, however after a year it was apparent we needed more amp hours.

Our thinking was that we'd be fine with the 12V Group 29 battery. A couple of times though, we were running extra stuff (musical instruments, mostly) and got a little close. So, all we did was add another 12V, wired in parallel with the other 12V to double our current capacity. On our 17, it was easy to mount another box on the other side of the rear bumper. But, on all the other Escapes, the second battery location takes more planning. Because they're in parallel, the second battery doesn't have to be in the same location.

19, 21, 5 owners, what say you.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:50 PM   #10
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I had the group 29 battery on my 2014 E21 with the 95 watt solar. After one year I replaced the single battery with dual 6 volts and doubled my storage. The good news is the oversized battery box is the same size as the dual 6 volts, so I was able to use the stock battery box. See here for details Upgrading your battery system....
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:05 PM   #11
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I second the motion for two six volt batteries. I also think the front storage box is a no brainer you will never regret getting. Personally I would get as many options you could afford from the factory. I would also get solar if you plan on boondocking and are not handy doing your own wiring. When we bought our 2016 Escape 19 we got $10,000 worth of options and I don’t regret it one bit. We love our Escape and don’t plan on getting anything else.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:26 PM   #12
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Seneca,
I hope your build sheet choice deadline hasn't passed. I wouldn't have an Escape without the solar on the roof, and the two 6 volt batteries.

Ditto on the Honda 2200 and the front storage box. With solar, though, you don't really need the generator except for AC, and if it's that hot, I'll pay for power, or go to higher elevation.
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Old 02-02-2019, 11:17 PM   #13
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Generator. If you want to run the air conditioner and aren't on shore power, how much inverter/generation capacity do you need (just the AC load, nothing else)? 2000 watts/3500 watts?
2000 watts should do it IF you have a softstart (Dometic SmartStart) added. This seems to be a hard option to find much information on. The Dometic part # used to be 4220040, but I don't see much recent information on it. I think it might only be available from the Marine division of Dometic. ETI might be able to give you more information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seneca View Post
How long on shore power does it take the battery to recharge? Does it recharge automatically when the trailer is plugged in, or is there more to it.
This is highly variable, but let's say overnight is a good baseline. Yes, it charges while plugged in. I also highly recommend solar as has been pointed out by several others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seneca View Post
Does anyone carry a second battery as a backup? It would seem like the cheapest and easiest way to double your power reserve? I didn't buy the battery upgrade for ETI, in keeping with my 'KISS' approach to the electrical system.
Someone on this forum (Eggscape?) was using a 1/2/1+2/OFF switch to choose which battery to draw from. I like the idea of the solution, but it's a bit overkill for me personally. The build sheet dual battery option is probably the best KISS solution for 95% of the people out there. In a pinch, I guess you could always wire your vehicle battery to the trailer.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:09 AM   #14
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2000 watts should do it IF you have a softstart (Dometic SmartStart) added. This seems to be a hard option to find much information on. The Dometic part # used to be 4220040, but I don't see much recent information on it. I think it might only be available from the Marine division of Dometic. ETI might be able to give you more information.
When I inquired of ETI I was told that the now installed Air Conditioner has the softstart built into it.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:14 AM   #15
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Bat 1
Bat 2
Bat 1 & 2

Very good quality and easy to surface mount.

12V/24V Battery Switch Isolator Marine Car RV Boat Switch 4 Position 300 Amp US-in Car Switches & Relays from Automobiles & Motorcycles on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 914586A9-C26A-46BA-BD4E-64023C1D373F.jpg (113.7 KB, 10 views)
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:30 AM   #16
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As far as a generator goes, our 2016 AC runs on a 2000 watt Honda if everything else is turned off, The new Honda is 2200 watts so it should work just fine. You really only need it if you plan on boondocking in really hot weather. We keep dragging ours around and have yet to need it.
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:48 AM   #17
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Or you can plug in each battery manually.
I like to use a fuse right at the battery. Select one that works best with your inverter if you have one. (The 80 amp one is only for photo purposes and not what I used)

Here are some links good at time of posting.

1 side of a 50 amp connector with two pins. (Higher amps available)
MC4 Power Plug 50/120/175/350A Amp 600V Red Black Gray color Battery Connector Plug Connect solar panel battery SB50-in Connectors from Lights & Lighting on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

Tube style circuit breaker
12V 24V 20A 30A 40A 50A 60A 80A 100A DC Auto Car Bike Stereo Audio Circuit Breaker Reset Fuse Inverter-in Circuit Breakers from Home Improvement on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

Square style circuit breaker
50 300A AMP Circuit Breaker Dual Battery IP67 Waterproof 12V 24V Fuse Manual Reset Car Circuit Breaker -in Circuit Breakers from Home Improvement on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group
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Old 02-03-2019, 12:48 PM   #18
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...
On the inside of the trailer I put a battery switch and always charge and use them separately. I never hook them up together as they are different makes purchased at different times.

And yes this gives you twice the storage capacity.
Worth repeating: Adding a second battery of different age, make, or capacity - keep them separated with a switch. Use the switch to pick which battery you want to use this week.

I purchased two identical (agm) 12V batteries and wired them permanently in parallel. Once a year I take a look at them and promptly forget about them. One less thing to worry about.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:48 PM   #19
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When I inquired of ETI I was told that the now installed Air Conditioner has the softstart built into it.
There is a basic Dometic kit which is likely a capacitor and then there is the Dometic SmartStart and MicroAir Easystart. The later two are quite expensive and appear from reviews to be quite effective. The stock AC is not going to have either of these. This thread might be worth reading.

Installing Soft Start in Dometic AC
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:50 PM   #20
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and read read this, part 1&2 The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
Thank you for this recommendation!
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