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Batteries and Boondocking – The Last Piece of the Puzzle


I know there has been post after post on the blog concerning the problems and challenges

Messin' with the Boondocking Batteries

I have had with my house battery set up.  It is hard to convey the absolute dependence you have on a set of batteries when you have no access whatsoever to shore power.  I can’t pick up and go to an RV park or even get access to a common wall socket.   I can’t say I just have to make it through a weekend or a few days until I can get to some electricity.  I have nothing but the batteries and the Generac generator.

Some posts back, I talked about the slow charge of the batteries from the Progressive Dynamics PD9260 converter/charger.   With the generator running, the most I ever saw was 7 amps going into the battery bank and let me tell ya, it took a mighty long time to charge batteries at that rate!  With all the other problems I was facing, I didn’t address the slow charge one until today.  It is raining out which means no work.  I have the battery bank set the way I want it;  the Trimetric is working correctly so it was high time to solve the slow charge problem.

Working on the PD9260 converter/charger and the DC distribution panel

Two years ago I replaced the old Magnetek single stage charger with the PD9260 3 stage smart charger.  It was a drop in replacement.  I clipped the wires on the Magnetek and spliced the PD9260 in.  This morning I got out the wiring diagram for the Old Girl and pulled the converter/charger and the DC distribution panel out in the floor of the hall.

Through research I had learned that wire gauge might be a problem with my lack of amperage going into the batteries.  Well, I had #6 wire going from the DC distribution panel the the battery bank.  That was adequate.  I would rather have #4 wire but I do not think it is worth the trouble.   The connection from the converter/charger to the DC distribution panel in my RV was #10 wire.  That is the way the old Magnetek had been wired.   I thought maybe, just maybe, this might be a problem.  I had no #4 or even any #6 wire to beef up the connection.  I did have some #10 wire so I just ran a second piece from terminal to terminal.  I figured what could it hurt, right?

I put everything back together and crossed my fingers as I fired up the generator on the Fish Bus.  Eureka!  The Trimetric 2020 battery gauge showed 42.4 amps flowing into the house battery bank!

So I guess the Saga of the Fish Bus batteries is closed.  I feel certain I am at fault for the failure of the Universal 8D batteries because of  general battery ignorance.   If you  are going to depend on your house battery bank in your recreational vehicle for more than the occasional overnight Wal Mart stay, you need to invest some time to learn about proper maintenance and use.   The other imperative would be to invest in a good battery bank monitor like the Trimetric 2020.

End Note: Time Goes By by Buckwheat Zydeco from the Lay Your Burden Down album.  Some times you just feel like some Cajun music.

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1 comment to Batteries and Boondocking – The Last Piece of the Puzzle

  • Zydeco….reminds me of when I had trail rides when I was running the Bamboo Lounge back in Opelousas, Louisiana. Good Times!!

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