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Old 07-01-2024, 03:09 PM   #1
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battery backup question

Last week after a couple of cloudy days my battery ran down and the electrical systems shut down. The next morning, I got ready to leave. The sun was shining again, and the solar panel did its job. I thought about buying a generator but might use it less than once a year and would still need to maintain it. Has anyone found a good way to keep an electrical backup for infrequent usage and without spending too much money?
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Old 07-01-2024, 04:16 PM   #2
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If you can, keep your Escape connected to 30A shore power. Then the converter will keep your battery backed up all the time.
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Old 07-01-2024, 04:16 PM   #3
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Being a great believer in redundant systems I've always had a second battery. It's isolated from the other with a marine two battery switch. I never use both batteries at the same time and always have one in reserve. Hardly ever needed but I did lose a cell in one once and was able to continue the trip without interruption.

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Old 07-01-2024, 04:41 PM   #4
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Being a great believer in redundant systems I've always had a second battery. It's isolated from the other with a marine two battery switch. I never use both batteries at the same time and always have one in reserve. Hardly ever needed but I did lose a cell in one once and was able to continue the trip without interruption.

Ron
I notice the use of ancient flat-head mounting screws and not Robertsons?
And on Canada Day yet!
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Old 07-01-2024, 05:04 PM   #5
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Options?

You have a few. A portable solar panel is one option. A 1 or 2KW generator is the other. There's not much actual maintenance required for one. Best thing is to drain/run the fuel out before long term storage. There are portable lithium battery systems, but they can be pricey. A "spare" battery is certainly another option, and if lithium, manageable in size, weight and silence. It would require a special lithium capable charger. Switching to lithium batteries could possibly meet your electrical needs but would put a significant dent in your wallet.

I use two 200W portable solar panels and once in a blue moon take along a 2KW Champion generator.

Next nagging suggestion is to reduce your electrical needs to bare requirements of lights and water pump.
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Old 07-01-2024, 05:26 PM   #6
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I notice the use of ancient flat-head mounting screws and not Robertsons?
And on Canada Day yet!
You can always find out who the observant folks are. Having built a boat or two I have boxes of s/s fastenings with slot style heads. They're actually s/s bolts, I don't mess around. I prefer s/s with slots rather than steel with Robertson heads.

Canada Day. Walk around the block in my neighborhood and you'd never know it. I'm the only one with a flag on a flagpole. Couple of other flags half heartedly put out. Sad.

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Old 07-01-2024, 05:56 PM   #7
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Isolated second battery

Ron in BC, that is an interesting idea. Does the second battery stay charged through the usual charging systems? My one battery now is lithium and I suppose the second one would need to be lithium. Maybe it would not need to have as many amp hours?
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Old 07-01-2024, 06:01 PM   #8
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Some people would suggest a solar generator such as a Jackery. I would suggest a small gas generator such as the Honda EU2200. Since you already have solar, I personally would opt for another option for power.
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Old 07-01-2024, 06:49 PM   #9
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One better on the generator for maintenance is a duel fuel and only run it on propane and you will never get gas on your hands, and you don't have to drain it each year. We have a duel fuel champion 2500 we got ours on WM.com for $500 here it is on Amazon for $500 https://www.amazon.com/Champion-Powe...s%2C333&sr=8-2

Once you get the hang of starting it on propane it's easy to start even in the cold. It might not be as high quality as a Honda but for occasional use it works great. It also can run our Dometic AC on low even at 8,500 ft elevation on propane.
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Old 07-01-2024, 07:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MrLynn View Post
If you can, keep your Escape connected to 30A shore power. Then the converter will keep your battery backed up all the time.
you can use a 15A to 30A plug adapter and a outdoor grade heavy duty 15A extension cord, just don't try and run the air conditioner on this.

My trailer will run a full camping workload for well over a solid week with my solar shut off, and when its parked, even cloudy days generate sufficient solar to maintain the batteries, but I have 412AH of lithium and a 360W solar panel.
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Old 07-01-2024, 07:46 PM   #11
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Ron in BC, that is an interesting idea. Does the second battery stay charged through the usual charging systems? My one battery now is lithium and I suppose the second one would need to be lithium. Maybe it would not need to have as many amp hours?
Boaters have had two or more isolated batteries for as long as I can remember. A simple way to have a redundant battery is to have a two position battery switch. I sometimes leave one battery selected for several weeks but I do switch to the other one from time to time just to ensure it gets charged.

My second battery in trailers is often smaller, a Group 24 does just fine and if the main battery failed I could continue on my way without any difficulty.

There is a device called a battery isolator that allows both batteries to be charged at the same time and only one be "on line." I have a brand new one, actually about 15 years old, never installed. They do drop the charging current a tad and I'm so used to my system that I don't give it a second thought.

Right now I'm in a unique hybrid situation. I have a lithium battery as my primary and the secondary battery is still lead acid. I just have to make sure the I go through "off" and not "all" when switching. I will be swapping out the LA battery with a 50Ah lithium one but since the LA battery is in good shape, no hurry.

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Old 07-01-2024, 07:58 PM   #12
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you can use a 15A to 30A plug adapter and a outdoor grade heavy duty 15A extension cord, just don't try and run the air conditioner on this.
Why not? except for the extension cord I mean.

We were in Texas for the eclipse and to see family and we ran our AC with our 30A power cord with an adaptor on a 15A receptacle. We have the Dometic Penguin which thankfully was louder than the air traffic from Love Field flying over until around 1:00am. The batteries were fully charged from solar so the converter wasn't drawing too much power, I ran the refrigerator on propane and made sure the water heater electric element was turned off.

It ran fine on low, we never needed or tried it on high. We didn't start any fires and I guess if we did any harm to the ol Penguin the sooner I can replace it with a Houghton, so we're ok with that.
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Old 07-01-2024, 08:00 PM   #13
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DanandDaphne, I thought about a dual fuel generator. A lot of reviews say they are hard or impossible to start on LP and I do not want to carry a gasoline can. What is the secret? Champion seems to be a good brand.

Ron in BC, something like a Jackery seems like an OK backup. I could have it charged before leaving and it only would need to keep the refrigerator, lights, and maybe the furnace starter for a few hours.
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Old 07-01-2024, 08:04 PM   #14
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I notice the use of ancient flat-head mounting screws and not Robertsons?
And on Canada Day yet!
Heresy!!! Someone bring a stake and firewood for this heretic!
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Old 07-01-2024, 09:27 PM   #15
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Refrigerator?

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Originally Posted by tom&pam View Post
Ron in BC, something like a Jackery seems like an OK backup. I could have it charged before leaving and it only would need to keep the refrigerator, lights, and maybe the furnace starter for a few hours.
If you're running your refrig on 12V off your battery, that is a high load. Why not use propane?
The electronics for the refrig are a pretty low load. The cooling is a high load on the battery.
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Old 07-01-2024, 09:38 PM   #16
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If you're running your refrig on 12V off your battery, that is a high load. Why not use propane?
The electronics for the refrig are a pretty low load. The cooling is a high load on the battery.
thats true for an absorption fridge, but not a compressor fridge. My N2175 6 cu ft DC compressor fridge draws under 40AH per day, my 412AH Lithium would run it for 10 days straight without any external source of power. Toss in a 360W solar panel, and I'm fully charged nearly all the time.
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Old 07-01-2024, 09:56 PM   #17
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thats true for an absorption fridge, but not a compressor fridge. My N2175 6 cu ft DC compressor fridge draws under 40AH per day, my 412AH Lithium would run it for 10 days straight without any external source of power. Toss in a 360W solar panel, and I'm fully charged nearly all the time.
I have no experience with Solar or 12v fridge except with teething this past week on our new to us 19.

The fridge is a Dometic 2554 Absorption 3 way. When I threw it on 12v, it sucked the batter down quickly. Even after being on propane for the previous hours of my test. I put it back on propane and the battery went back up on solar charger just as quick as it drained.

My plan is Propane for the inside fridge when boondocking. An EcoFlow River 2 Pro power station for the outside fridge (Iceco) hooked up to an external solar panel.

That setup should easily last meet a week without the need of carrying a second battery, which I used to do.
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Old 07-02-2024, 01:14 AM   #18
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DanandDaphne, I thought about a dual fuel generator. A lot of reviews say they are hard or impossible to start on LP and I do not want to carry a gasoline can. What is the secret? Champion seems to be a good brand.

The secret is to RTFM. I couldn't get mine to start easily on LP, and then I read the manual on the start procedure. Now it starts every time on the first pull. I expect most people having problems haven't read the manual, and try to start with LP the same way as gasoline.
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Old 07-02-2024, 05:10 AM   #19
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The secret is to RTFM.
That helps with lots of stuff.

Like the old saying goes: "If at first you don't succeed, RTFM."
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Old 07-02-2024, 07:42 AM   #20
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How noisey are these "dual fuel" generators?

Don't be that guy in the "basic" camground with the noisy generator.
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