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Old 01-18-2015, 09:40 PM   #21
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

OP's head must be swimming. Short answer. Run generator when you can and if you can't drive it, run van motor at higher idle using a rock or something to maintain the higher idle. Running the van provided you are not packed in like sardines should bother your neighbors much less than the higher pitched generator.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:54 PM   #22
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Thanks Stan - this topic did get a little off track
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:54 PM   #23
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Off topic, but to address question about charging lithium ion batteries. I put this question to Advanced RV.

Me: Is there simultaneous charging with solar, shore and/or alternator?

ARV: Yes. LI batteries can pretty much take as much current as you can send their way. In your case we could recharge the pack at 800 AMPS if we could find that kind of source.


Now back to boondocking. When we still had our 2005 Pleasure-way Plateau Sprinter with one Group 49 wet cell lead acid battery and a Progressive Dynamics converter/charger we made a trip through California where most state parks did not have electrical hookups nor did the other places we camped. Consequently 13 out of 14 days in California we did not have hookups. We spent 5 straight days at extremely remote Bucks Lake National Forest CG when we scored a beautiful first come first serve spot over Labor Day weekend and we did not want to chance finding another spot over a busy weekend. How was it done? First, we were on the road just about every day going some place which charged the battery, but in the case of Buck's Lake we just made daily drives around the area for viewing, going to a restaurant, replenishing at a store or going to trail heads for day hikes. Just that little bit was enough to charge the batteries. The only time we ran our Onan generator was for about 15 minutes in the morning to brew a pot of coffee and that was enough to top off a bit as well. I felt no guilt because right across from us was a group of motorcycle campers and they were never quiet. There you go. You can do it on one battery especially in remote areas without TV and basically living and cooking outdoors as much as possible and thinking pretty much like a tent camper.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:08 PM   #24
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

As you say, probably wrong thread, but 800 amps into 800AH of battery is not much at all. Nearly any AGM will be able to do that. I wonder if they are current limited by the lithium battery protection circuitry instead of the batteries.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:38 PM   #25
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I just gave the answer verbatim ARV sent to my question. 800 amps into an 800 amp battery means recharged 100% in under an hour. Are you trying to say you can do that with AGMs? OK, the point is the second alternator in an ARV is capable of charging up to 300 amps per hour. 480 watts of solar on the open road under a sunny sky is going to simultaneously add to that. I can deplete the battery down safely 640 amps per ARV's programmed settings. So, about two hours or less on the road is going to fully charge those batteries. No 80%, no float. Also, no confusion about the charging source input.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:55 PM   #26
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Officially off in the woods. Hope OP didn't give up. Total T.M.I.. Not that someone couldn't take a Pleasure-Way Excel and load it full of lithium batteries and the proper charging system to go along with it but for one weeklong stay a year without hookups it might be overkill.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:01 AM   #27
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No, didn't say that at all. What I said was that AGMs could accept the same amount easily, which would take them to the 80-85% level at that rate. Of course you would still need the 2+ hours of absorption time to top them if you want good life.

What is being said is what has been mentioned before. Having batteries that can accept huge amounts of power, like the 5C ratings, is mute in almost all cases because no one has enough amperage to supply them that much. ARV is doing the right thing if they are designing a system that can't handle what the batteries will take, because the van won't supply it anyway. In the case of your 800AH bank, it could also be AGM and not be damaged by the charge rate, which is what a lot of lithium supporters (read sellers) would imply. That doesn't change the one huge benefit of lithium, that they can run in the middle of state of charge without damage, so you don't need the absorption time.

I guess a good example is the 185AH tppl battery that is used in some applications now. The claim is that it can charge at 5C, but the van will not give you anywhere near 925 amps, so it doesn't matter, and you still need the absorption time. The battery is small, so it will get to 80% quickly, but then the time is relatively fixed to get full, and will nearly triple the actual charge time.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:02 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
Officially off in the woods. Hope OP didn't give up. Total T.M.I.. Not that someone couldn't take a Pleasure-Way Excel and load it full of lithium batteries and the proper charging system to go along with it but for one weeklong stay a year without hookups it might be overkill.
I agree, this should be moved to the lithium battery discussion.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:07 AM   #29
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One curiosity about lithiums etc.. What would it cost right now to upgrade to all lithium batteries( 230 amp hours ) , solar and charger if the Op decided to go that direction?
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
One curiosity about lithiums etc.. What would it cost right now to upgrade to all lithium batteries( 230 amp hours ) , solar and charger if the Op decided to go that direction?
I wouldn't recommend that and I don't know the cost. I kind of went through the exercise and felt 400 ah of lithium with a large inverter would be the practical minimum if you wanted to use your 120VAC capability while boondocked. Whether anyone agrees with my assessment is kind of conjecture right now because there are few Bs on the road to corroborate it. Even I eventually kicked up my order to 800 ah which could be way too much if not using the air conditioner in a boondocking situation. If you can't achieve that I would not waste my money. I'm getting the solar but am more and more convinced it is just frosting backup as is using the second alternator as a substitute generator to charge batteries while idling. BTW, the second alternator gives more control over charge patterns for the batteries without messing with Mercedes Benz electrical according to Advanced RV. Faster charging is a side benefit.

If you are not going to use your 120VAC appliances while boondocked then a two battery system can work as MarkoPolo and I pointed out with a little experience and understanding.

Why did I do it? Go to 800ah lithium ion batteries? I am the kind of guy that doesn't like to leave anything on the table. Probably the same reason I bought a 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus and still have 88 GB available.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:25 AM   #31
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"One curiosity about lithiums etc.. What would it cost right now to upgrade to all lithium batteries( 230 amp hours ) , solar and charger if the Op decided to go that direction? " Anyone know? I'll even settle for a ballpark or soccer stadium answer.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:33 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
"One curiosity about lithiums etc.. What would it cost right now to upgrade to all lithium batteries( 230 amp hours ) , solar and charger if the Op decided to go that direction? " Anyone know? I'll even settle for a ballpark or soccer stadium answer.

one of these 2400dollars -http://www.lithiumion-batteries.com/products/12v-200ah-lithium-ion-battery/

2500 for solar panel installation with contoller

say 5000 dollars
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:59 AM   #33
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Oh. Is that all?
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:16 PM   #34
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Default Re: Camping without hookups?

Periodically we go down this rabbit hole on batteries, charging, solar, etc. Some folks I guess enjoy the challenge and the tinkering.

For my use, I've found my single AGM battery just fine as well as my Progressive Dynamics converter/charger. Yes, I'd like a second battery, but I've been working around using the chassis battery a bit for my laptop charger. My laptop is native 12v.

Generally I can get two days out of my Group 31 AGM battery. That's with LED lights, fantastic fan, water pump, 12v TV and the stereo. Refer on gas. No use of the heater. I don't run a microwave, hair dryer or any AC appliances usually, so I don't use the small inverter I carry around just in case.

If I have to run the Onan for 1/2 hour to make hot water, it throws a bit of charge into the battery. My portable solar panel will put 7-8 amps into the battery if I carry it and set it up. Normally for a weekend trip, I find the solar panel not worth the hassle.

I don't have any expectations that a battery will last more than 2 years. If they do, then that is gravy in my book. My practices are not ideal for maxing out battery life. When my van sits in the shop waiting for the next adventure, I leave the 30 amp cord plugged in and the built-in charging should be floating the battery. Some would probably say cooking it! Replacing it is only a couple hundred dollars. I'm not going to fret about that and buying any expensive equipment to maximize battery life. I keep the chassis battery on a "battery tender" brand smart charger.

As far as costs go, I posted in another thread about the trailer I'm having built for my work lodgings. I got a 320 watt solar setup, a 2500 watt Xantrax inverter, transfer switch (so all outlets and appliances powered), four 6 volt AGM's on a slide out tray for around $3000 (installed). I thought this was a good value for money, but it's not exactly light. Batteries alone must be 350 lbs. I expect that I won't really need any electrical service at all unless I want to run air conditioning (which I didn't at all last year) or there is extended dark days. I didn't choose this option to save on an electric bill. I wanted to have the flexibility to place the trailer at a job-site with no services, to be off-grid for up to a week at a time.
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Old 01-19-2015, 04:31 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher
I don't have any expectations that a battery will last more than 2 years. If they do, then that is gravy in my book. My practices are not ideal for maxing out battery life. When my van sits in the shop waiting for the next adventure, I leave the 30 amp cord plugged in and the built-in charging should be floating the battery. Some would probably say cooking it! Replacing it is only a couple hundred dollars. I'm not going to fret about that and buying any expensive equipment to maximize battery life. I keep the chassis battery on a "battery tender" brand smart charger.
If you have the Progressive Dynamics 9200 series converter/charger with the built in Charge Wizard you would not have to worried about cooking your battery. You'll be fine. If you have the 9100 series then you should be worried but an inexpensive $33 Progressive Dynamics Charge Wizard module plug-in to your converter would solve your problem. I went through all this with my Pleasure-way Plateau.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:11 PM   #36
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We spent 3 1/2 days on Gabriola Island just off from Campbell River. At the provincial park there was no dumping station, no water, hookups--just a lonely outhouse near us. We were allowed to crank up the Onan generator from 0900 until 1400 hrs. Our single 90ah battery was used to lighting only after sunset. We used LP for the stove and fridge. Didn't need the LP run furnace. The grey tank was fine as we had very short navy wash-ups. The black tank despite showing near full at day 3(due to visits of daughter's twins too) survived without overfilling and having to visit the unwelcoming outhouse. We charged the battery each morning from 0900 until around 1000 hrs. I know our little Sprinter is old technology but we survived just fine. And, didn't run out of whiskey either. So, that IS camping "without hookups". Normally, like Davydd we are on the move and when we camp for more than a day we go to RV parks with full hookups or at least, hydro.
Our next RV will likely have solar included but we are not big power users anyway. Running the diesel engine to charge batteries does not appeal to me.
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