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Batteries and Boondocking - The Final Installment

Interstate 100ah and Universal 8D 250ah boondocking batteries

This battery saga has just about run its’ course. The new Interstate AGM batteries are performing fine.  At 100ah each, they are not going to power up an aircraft carrier but they do as well or better than expected in my RV.

I tried desulphation and equalizing to salvage the 2 8D 250ah monsters.  One of them is deader than a hammer.  The other one did respond and appears to have recovered quite a bit of its’  original power.  I tested it running the inverter for the last few days.  It will run the 1000w Xantrex inverter powering the  TV, DISH receiver and computer for over 48 hours with little noticeable loss in power.  I have not had it hooked to the Trimetric 2020 gauge to get the exact capacity.

So now the question is how to utilize the matched Interstate batteries and the mis-matched Universal 8D.  I obviously need all the battery power I can get in this boondocking location

Boondocking statistics:
I have been at this new location for 33 days.

The Generac propane generator has run 197 hours. High usage due to the depleted battery bank early on.

I have burned 126 gallons of propane. That equates to .69 gal/ hour. That is inline with previous usage data

The black tank (40 gallons) has been dumped 3 times.

I have used 140 gallons of fresh water.

The Interstate batteries are hooked in to the house battery system and monitored by the Trimetric 2020. I placed the 8D battery in the right side compartment and hooked only the Xantrex 1000w inverter to it. The 8D is not tied to the house battery system including the Progressive 9245 converter/charger in any way. The 8D battery is being used to power the TV, DISH receiver and computer. I have a Husky Smart Charger that has seen quite a bit of use lately. It has settings to properly charge wet, gel and AGM batteries at a 2/10/20 amp rate. It also has a desulphation and equalization mode. I have hooked the Husky charger to the lone 8D battery and it is doing a good job keeping it topped up.

One of the advantages of an AGM battery is they just soak up a charge in bulk charging mode. The experts say an AGM battery will accept a charge rate of 75% rated capacity — meaning a 100ah battery can be charged at up to 75 amps in bulk charge mode. I fully intend to supplement the on board Pogressive Dynamics charger with this external Husky charger — to double them up so I don’t have to run the generator so much.

I spent 2 days this past week at the old jobsite in Newton County finishing up some detail work.  When I returned to Calvert Friday, I towed our welding trailer back with me.  Today I exercised the 10kw generator onthe Miller Bobcat welder by plugging the Old Girl in to it and letting it run for a few hours.  It sure was nice to give the old Generac generator a rest.

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End Note: Photograph by Charlie Robison off the Good Times album.  There is Texas Charlie (good) , Trashville Charlie (bad) and LA Charlie (WTF?).  This is Texas Charlie.

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1 comment to Batteries and Boondocking – The Final Installment

  • Heh pay your website bill, lol, got into your blog again today and was interested in your boondocking equipment, specifically batteries and inverters and no pics, hopefully you can get them back.

    I have 4 six volt Crown batteries, very similiar to the Trojan’s, have had them for three years now. I recharge with two Iota 45 amp converter chargers with the Iq smart controller. I can get the batteries up to level in about 3 hours with my Honda 3000 watt genny.

    In the dead of winter in Canada here, I can fun the fiver for a whole day powering lights and the furnace. No problem. Generally what I do is around 4 pm, fire up the honda for 3 or 4 hours while I make dinner. watch tv or a movie in the living room etc. 8 pm the generator gets shut off, and I usually go to bed. In my bedroom I have a tv and dvd player, which is powered by a 1000 watt inverter. Can and usually watch tv till I fall asleep.

    It’s a good simple and reliable system, I have had the big Xantrex inverter charges with automatic switching and big power, but they fail. My 1000 watt inverter is 100 bucks and I carry a spare. But so far everything has been good.

    I have thought about solar, but generally boondock in the winter time, so not much sun up my way, summertime, I want the fiver under tree’s for shade, so unless my solar is portalble it makes no sense to me. Plus the cost of solar, I can sure burn alot of fuel in the Honda.

    The Honda runs me .7 litres per hour, so about 70 cents. Worse case is about a dollar a hour.

    I enjoy following your blog, I do heavy equipment repair in my shop and live very close the same as you do.

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