Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gears 'R' meshin' No smoke yet!

Well after much plannin' & measurin' I couldn't find any place to mount a second battery on the Lance, but I did find a spot fer one in the truck bed. Because we have a Fifth Wheel we have mounting rails bolted through the bed of our truck when the hitch is removed. So when we use the Lance I place a frame I've constructed of 2x4's turned flat, in the bed to clear the 5ver mounting rails. To this frame I've added a rectangular piece of plywood, in the front right corner of the bed to mount the battery on and a strap to secure the battery.


Then all I had to do was run some #8 wire from the battery compartment in the left rear corner, into the bathroom, under the vanity, along the wall past the furnace, behind the oven, into the kitchen base cabinet, across the water tank in front and out at the front right of the rig. I would have run #6 wire but I already had lots of #8 and figured I'm not going to be pulling a heavy amperage load from that battery. I use a 400 watt inverter to run the TV, Digital box and the DVD. Of coarse I'm not runnin' everything at once, it's the DVD & TV or the TV & Digital box. I use a 150 watt inverter in the truck to charge the laptop, which works out well.

I did an experiment one evening to test our one 125 a/h battery. I turned the Digital box & the TV on and left them on to see what kind of battery life we could expect. This battery is only 2 months old so it should be capable of 125 a/h, although I don't want to draw it down more than 50% to extend the batteries life as long as possible. Well at the start of the experiment the voltage on the battery, after disconnecting the shore power and allowing it to rest for a few hours, was 12.89 volts. After drawing from the battery for 5 1/2 hours, the voltage read 12.67, again I let the battery rest with no load for an hour. Doesn't look like I used much juice during the experiment. The TV is a 20" flat screen that might draw 50 watts and the Digital converter box, although I haven't checked it, I'm sure is a whole lot less. I realize this was not a true representation of 'Dry Camping' cause there was no lights, occasional water pump or other electrical draw, but it did give me the confidence that we can safely watch TV for 3-4 hours in the evening without killin' the battery. Let's face it when your pullin' an 'Overniter' at Wally World, you need somethin' to pass away the evening hours, so convincing the boss that it's OK to watch TV and carry on life without being in the dark all evening was a major accomplishment. Now with the addition of a second 125 a/h battery there should be no arguments. Our old battery just couldn't provide the power we needed for an evening of Dry Camping', even being extremely conservative on power.

To recharge the batteries for now we'll use our 2000 watt inverter generator, and shore power when were at a campground with hookups. Until I can make up my mind "Yea" or "Nay" on a solar setup for this camper.

Well that's all for now, until the next episode. Who knows maybe we'll see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind!

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