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Battery Power to the People

This week’s Question of the Week was, “How many batteries does your truck camper have, and do you want more?”

“I enjoyed reading about the new products from Torklift.  In March of 2011, I installed a second battery in my camper.  With two onboard batteries I am good to go for approximately fifteen days of dry camping.  That is staying in one spot and not running the truck or the generator. 

Keep in mind that I do all my cooking outside and most of my camping is done from late Spring to early Fall.  I do read for a few hours in the evening and/or listen to the radio, but these two functions do not draw a lot of juice nor does the water pump.  I did however have my cell phone plugged into an auxiliary outlet on my truck.  That pulled more amps then what I was aware of.  It’s always good to learn new things. 

I am a fanatic when it comes to checking my water, power, and grey/black levels.  I do that three to four times a day. 

I currently have two deep cycle batteries; Interstate 550 cca (6/10) and a Exide Stowaway 400 cca (3/11).  I remove both batteries before the first freeze and store them inside.  I do not use a trickle charge on them during this time. 

I have a 2008 Arctic Fox 811 that will hold a double battery in the battery compartment.  Now, if someone would come up with a quiet running onboard generator that would really grab my attention!” – Sue S., Michigan

“Four batteries with solar are okay for us.” – Skip Jennett

“We have a Host Tahoe 10.5 and the battery storage area holds two Group 27 batteries.  I’ve also hooked up two additional Group 27 batteries that I place in the truck bed just in front of the wheel wells. I’ve electrically connected all four batteries so that they are charged together and used for power as a group.  This arrangement has worked well for providing plenty of power for extended outings. 

The downside is that the placement of the batteries in the truck bed leaves little room for error when it comes to loading the camper.  These batteries are in battery boxes which does protect them.  The bottom line is that the camper has to be equally spaced side to side in order to not hit one of the battery boxes.  As soon as there is a Torklift HiddenPower for my truck I’m definitely moving those batteries!” – Dave Riddle

“Very timely.  We just upgraded our converter/charger and two new Group 27 AGM batteries.  This gives us enough juice for our truck camping style.  We can easily stay off the grid for four to five days without recharging at all.  We have gone for an entire month with no hook-ups when traveling and just charging from the truck.  When ski camping, we will bring a generator as our power requirements increase due to the need for heat.” – Bill Tex

“The camper we have came with two wet cell Group 24 batteries.  They did not have enough power to lift the camper, run the slide, and operate monitoring and normal lighting and refrigerator function of our Arctic Fox 1150B. 

I added two Optima gel cell Group 36 batteries sitting in the space front and back of the fender well on the drivers side of our one ton Chevy dually truck.  I also have a 55 watt solar panel on the roof to recharge during the daylight hours.  This helped with the power drain, but still did not accommodate the lifting and lowering needs that can only be accomplished by the camper mounted batteries. 

I replaced the Group 24 wet cell batteries with Optima gel cell Group 24 batteries, as the compartment size would not allow for bigger batteries.  This gives us the power that we need, if we are frugal with TV, satellite, hair dryer and lighting use.  We also need the sunshine that Colorado provides to keep the level where we don’t worry about the power. 

I use a 600W inverter to run 110v components.  The supplemental gel cell batteries in the truck bed are connected directly to the camper mounted battery posts in parallel.  I use a quick connect cable connector from a power winch system, so there is no line drain or heat from quick discharge use such as lifting or slide applications of power.  It is my belief that multiple 6 volt gel cell truck batteries run in series for 12 volt application would give greater storage and longer use application, but I have not invested in that change.” – Marv Krueger

“We have two Group 24 AGM batteries and 250-watts of solar with a Blue Sky 25A MPPT charge controller and monitor.  Our batteries are usually still 90% full in the morning, even after a couple hours of watching satellite television the night before in our 2012 Lance 1181.  We have all LED lighting and turn off our phantom ghost loads when we aren’t needing power.  We charge with 10-14 amps depending on full-sun angles.” – David and Sheila Knapp, full-timing in our Lance 1181

“My Eagle Cap 950 has one Group 31.  For summer camping, it is enough power for a whole weekend.  For winter camping with the heater running, I have to run the generator daily to recharge it.  I plan on putting in a Olympian Wave-3 Heater to allow me to not run the generator in the winter.  Given the option, I would rather have two Group 31s as my previous camper had that configuration and could make it through a two night weekend.  I should note that most of my winter camping is Arizona desert where it only gets down to the twenties at night so my heater requirement isn’t as high as people in other areas.” – Leonard K. Pennock

“I have four batteries on my 2002 Bigfoot.  They are 6 volt high capacity.” – Randall Rice

“My truck camper has four Interstate lead acid Group 27 Batteries.  At this point, I believe I have enough batteries on hand in the camper.” – Paul E. Foster, Jr.

“I have a 2012 Nothern Lite 10-2, which has two battery compartments.  The dealer sold it to me with two Group 24 Interstate batteries which had about 55 Amp hours each.  Having only dry camped for four days with them, they still seemed okay.  That’s probably because of the LED lights and propane refrigerator option.

However, I upgraded the batteries to two Group 31 Diehard Platinum AGM batteries.  They are maintenance free, okay with vibration and, most of all, increased Amp hours to 100 Ah per battery.  So I went from 110 Ah to 200Ah, and went from having check on batteries and adding water to now being maintenance free.  These new Diehard batteries are heavier at 75 pounds each.  If I add solar panel charger, I should be able to dry camp for an extended period of time.

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