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Fitting A Second Battery


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We have a 2011 Lunar Delta TI plus a 120w solar panel. The current battery is just over a year old and is a sealed Numax CVX31 110amp. This caravan has a transverse bed with loads of space underneath. We have all the LED type lights and a 25w TV and 42w Sky Digibox which will be the main items drawing power. Only using the inverter for the Sky Digibox.

We are thinking of doing a lot more off grid camping next year and looking at options however generators are noisy and expensive so it seems the best option is to fit another Numax CVX31 110amp battery. Should batteries that are to be connected together be the same especially if being charged from the same solar panel?

Due to nose weight issues we cannot fit it into the front nearside wet locker therefore it seems the only alternative is fit the battery under the bed area. It would need to be connected to the other battery and also to be charged from the solar panel.

There is an existing locker door there which gives access to under the bed however it is a rather large door length wise so not sure if we will be able to fit a battery box in that area. I have been informed that a battery should vent to the outside in case of fumes however if it is a sealed battery is this really necessary?

I would really appreciated some input on this to make it our winter project. Thanks.

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Hi DT,

 

generators are noisy and expensive so it seems the best option is to fit another Numax CVX31 110amp battery.

Well, for the sake of pedantry I'll point out that a 2nd battery won't generate anything, like a generator does, it will simply give you longer between charges and make the charge cycle take longer.

 

No, the batteries don't need to be the same, but they do need to be the same TYPE (so you can't mix gel and wet).

 

Yes, the battery box needs to be vented to the outside. Even so-called sealed batteries release hydrogen.

 

Hope that helps,

Tony

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Thanks TJ. Generators are also very noisy and not camper friendly plus they need fuel and have to be drained after each use if long breaks of non use. Big plus is that a battery is a lot cheaper than a generator. :D We are looking at staying up to a week on a non EHU pitch using the solar panel to charge the batteries.

I take your point about the battery venting to the outside however this will no doubt present a problem in itself if fitting it under the bed area. I guess I will wait for some more suggestions and advice. LOL!

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Hi, what you are planning we have done. 2nd battery (110ah) 135w SP and a 2000w PSW inverter. Went on our first "wild camp" off grid in late July/early August and it was a total success. We put the fridge on gas (Safefill cylinder) gas much cheaper. We were able to have our toaster on each morning and the microwave when we needed it. Both were used with respect and the SP very quickly got to work to replenish all power used. Can't see us going back to EHU in a hurry. Instead of £13 a night we were £5 a night. Over 10% of our investment recouped with one 14day holiday.

Brilliant.

Edited by Speleccy
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Hi, what you are planning we have done. 2nd battery (110ah) 135w SP and a 2000w PSW inverter. Went on our first "wild camp" off grid in late July/early August and it was a total success. We put the fridge on gas (Safefill cylinder) gas much cheaper. We were able to have our toaster on each morning and the microwave when we needed it. Both were used with respect and the SP very quickly got to work to replenish all power used. Can't see us going back to EHU in a hurry. Instead of £13 a night we were £5 a night. Over 10% of our investment recouped with one 14day holiday.

Brilliant.

Interesting posting - this could well be of interest to others as it is a frequent question.

 

Could you be persuaded to write up the details in a blog for future use?

Or you write it up as a topic amd then we could pin it so others could find it?

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Hi, what you are planning we have done. 2nd battery (110ah) 135w SP and a 2000w PSW inverter. Went on our first "wild camp" off grid in late July/early August and it was a total success. We put the fridge on gas (Safefill cylinder) gas much cheaper. We were able to have our toaster on each morning and the microwave when we needed it. Both were used with respect and the SP very quickly got to work to replenish all power used. Can't see us going back to EHU in a hurry. Instead of £13 a night we were £5 a night. Over 10% of our investment recouped with one 14day holiday.

Brilliant.

I think you need to look at figures more closely. .....

 

A 135w panel has a theoretical maximum of around 10 amps, this assumes perfect weather and angles etc. assuming your batteries are discharged to 50% you would need over 11 hours of perfect conditions to fully charge them.

 

Now considering the mains appliances, a microwave is going to take around 1600w, at 12v this is over 140 amps, this gives you only 45 minutes of microwave use to absolutely flatten the batteries, without the batteries being used for anything else eg toaster, lights, tv etc. so even with conservative use and perfect weather and angles you would struggle to keep full charge on the batteries. 5 minutes of microwave use would need 1. 5 hours of optimum solar panel charge to replenish the batteries.

 

I'm not saying you didn't manage for 2 weeks, I'm saying that the state of charge in all likely hood would be declining throughout. This sort of set up needs more solar power, especially when not in peak solar period i. e. Summer.

Edited by nme2no1
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I'm more interested in where you can stay for £5 per night.

 

We have a solar panel and try to stay on pitches without EHU. Most sites we've been to charge £15 with EHU and £12 without, so £5 sounds like great value.

 

Can you let us know which sites you go to that only charge £5?

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I'm more interested in where you can stay for £5 per night.

 

We have a solar panel and try to stay on pitches without EHU. Most sites we've been to charge £15 with EHU and £12 without, so £5 sounds like great value.

 

Can you let us know which sites you go to that only charge £5?

Yep that does sound good, please do tell.

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All this talk of wild camping. Has me in mind of a simple tent, no car, no Sky Box. .....

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I'm more interested in where you can stay for £5 per night.

 

We have a solar panel and try to stay on pitches without EHU. Most sites we've been to charge £15 with EHU and £12 without, so £5 sounds like great value.

 

Can you let us know which sites you go to that only charge £5?

Yep that does sound good, please do tell.

If you're ever in sunny cornwall, Poniou Lane CL near Gulval, and Rosevidney Barton CL near St Hilary offer £7 and £5 per night respectively

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All this talk of wild camping. Has me in mind of a simple tent, no car, no Sky Box. .....

Freeview :o

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Hi guys, right, firstly I Did say in my post that we treated the system with respect! We didn't thrash the hell out of the batteries by doing 6 rounds of toast each or running the microwave for more than 3 or 4 minutes. (it is about 1200w so pulls about 95 amps) We were though, able to be as comfortable as we had been with EHU. Now,had we got kids with us which we did have at one time,(4) then we may have had to do some toast under the grill etc but, the system that I have installed worked as expected. I can always have more SP put on the roof if I felt I needed it but, on the summer holiday, we didn't need it. We may need it in the winter and will have to see what the system does with the sun low in the sky. The SP is large enough to keep everything charged and the alarm and tracker in healthy condition. I happen to think that Solar Panels are probably the most exciting innovation for us caravanners and will have the most far reaching effect. Having said that, they are limited in capacity but, if you are serious about being "green" then a large capacity SP is the starting point. 150w is probably a starting point. We even take our electric 240v toothbrush with us and with the assistance of a small inverter which is built into a plug that fits into one of the 12v sockets we can charge that with no problem (maplins)

 

As far as the £5 a night is concerned, we stayed at a CC CL Leddon Farm, Welcombe, North Devon. There are many others. I just feel that £13 for EHU is steep as really, the only advantage to me would have been to power the fridge! £112 saved!

Edited by Speleccy
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Hi guys, right, firstly I Did say in my post that we treated the system with respect! We didn't thrash the hell out of the batteries by doing 6 rounds of toast each or running the microwave for more than 3 or 4 minutes. (it is about 1200w so pulls about 95 amps) We were though, able to be as comfortable as we had been with EHU. Now,had we got kids with us which we did have at one time,(4) then we may have had to do some toast under the grill etc but, the system that I have installed worked as expected. I can always have more SP put on the roof if I felt I needed it but, on the summer holiday, we didn't need it. We may need it in the winter and will have to see what the system does with the sun low in the sky. The SP is large enough to keep everything charged and the alarm and tracker in healthy condition. I happen to think that Solar Panels are probably the most exciting innovation for us caravanners and will have the most far reaching effect. Having said that, they are limited in capacity but, if you are serious about being "green" then a large capacity SP is the starting point. 150w is probably a starting point. We even take our electric 240v toothbrush with us and with the assistance of a small inverter which is built into a plug that fits into one of the 12v sockets we can charge that with no problem (maplins)

As far as the £5 a night is concerned, we stayed at a CC CL Leddon Farm, Welcombe, North Devon. There are many others. I just feel that £13 for EHU is steep as really, the only advantage to me would have been to power the fridge! £112 saved!

You did indeed say you used it carefully, I had no wish to rain on your parade either, I just felt the full picture should be considered. I agree 100% that solar is a great fit for caravanners needs if sized appropriately. I have 150w on my roof, I will be adding another 150w this year along with a second battery. I intend to make the second battery portable so it be charged whilst we drive around in the tug, plenty of surplus power there!

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No comfort and no pleasure lol

 

maybe not the comfort, but lots of pleasure (especially without Sky!)

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maybe not the comfort, but lots of pleasure (especially without Sky!)

I can never understand comments like this. ... If sky causes you so much displeasure, why do you have it and why on earth do you feel the need to switch it on?

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I can never understand comments like this. ... If sky causes you so much displeasure, why do you have it and why on earth do you feel the need to switch it on?

 

I don't have Sky.

 

My original comment was merely a light-hearted observation as to what we consider wild camping these days.

 

Apologies to the OP for thread creep!

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Nme2, I know you were not being critical. So no problem and of course it's important that folk understand the implications of fitting a panel etc before they do it as it can be quite pricey. However, This was something I decided to do 18mth ago as it became apparent to me that I would not be able to do the amount of caravanning I wanted to had I not reduced running costs, a position that no doubt, many are in. I sourced the best I could buy if that doesn't sound too big headed but there seems to be a wide spread of quality out there and I didn't want to have to start replacing components too quickly because I had skimped on quality. Buy cheap, buy twice as it were. For us, in the middle of summer, it was a fantastic experience to harvest the sun which shone virtually everyday. The other thing that we used was the vacuum cleaner which again, was not run for ages but it was run till the job was done properly and it performed fantastic. I am thinking of fitting more SP capacity to the van next year. Now I have seen the benefits of my system, I want MORE!Oh and by the way, I can close the inverter down completely. I have wired it through a switch to a 12v relay. Switch it off and the system is dead until needed again. Inverters pull power when switched on as I'm sure people know and if it's something small you are charging and using a large inverter to do it, the power drain can be disproportionately large and that's why I have a tiny inverter on the end of a plug that fits into a 12v charging socket so that the power drain is easily coped with by the panel. Wispman, if you want me to write this up, let me know

Edited by Speleccy
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I don't have Sky.

 

My original comment was merely a light-hearted observation as to what we consider wild camping these days.

 

Apologies to the OP for thread creep!

Ah ok, sorry.

 

You do hear many people make such comments as well as and best of all, no mobile reception. If they don't want sky or mobile phone simply switch them off #8o)

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Nme2, I know you were not being critical. So no problem and of course it's important that folk understand the implications of fitting a panel etc before they do it as it can be quite pricey. However, This was something I decided to do 18mth ago as it became apparent to me that I would not be able to do the amount of caravanning I wanted to had I not reduced running costs, a position that no doubt, many are in. I sourced the best I could buy if that doesn't sound too big headed but there seems to be a wide spread of quality out there and I didn't want to have to start replacing components too quickly because I had skimped on quality. Buy cheap, buy twice as it were. For us, in the middle of summer, it was a fantastic experience to harvest the sun which shone virtually everyday. The other thing that we used was the vacuum cleaner which again, was not run for ages but it was run till the job was done properly and it performed fantastic. I am thinking of fitting more SP capacity to the van next year. Now I have seen the benefits of my system, I want MORE!Oh and by the way, I can close the inverter down completely. I have wired it through a switch to a 12v relay. Switch it off and the system is dead until needed again. Inverters pull power when switched on as I'm sure people know and if it's something small you are charging and using a large inverter to do it, the power drain can be disproportionately large and that's why I have a tiny inverter on the end of a plug that fits into a 12v charging socket so that the power drain is easily coped with by the panel.

Sounds pretty good what you've done, I use a little Dyson the charges directly from 12v which takes me away from the mains vac. I plan to install an inverter for the microwave but I'm happy to use gas for toast. I'm in the middle of developing a battery gauge will display like a fuel gauge from full to empty along with how many minutes to empty at the current rate of consumption, minutes to full charge at current charge rate, volts and amps etc. I will be able to monitor more closely what's going on, I use a clip on ammeter at the moment.

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All I have to do now is some of the lighting and the jobs a good'un! 10w tungstens x 6 is alot of power so LEDs are going in. I like the idea of a battery gauge. My controller gives information and but not as detailed as that. Such a difference from the days you had a red and green LED on the early panels and you were just praying that the red one didn't come on!!

Edited by Speleccy
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All I have to do now is some of the lighting and the jobs a good'un! 10w tungstens x 6 is alot of power so LEDs are going in. I like the idea of a battery gauge. My controller gives information and but not as detailed as that. Such a difference from the days you had a red and green LED on the early panels and you were just praying that the red one didn't come on!!

I have used the NASA gauge before and it's very good, I'm just addressing some of it's shortcomings and hopefully adding a few features caravanners will find useful.

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If you want an accurate gauge there's only one - SmartGauge - http://www. smartgauge. co. uk

 

Anything else guesses to a greater or lesser extent whereas the SmartGauge is 100% accurate.

 

Tony

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