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Old 05-19-2018, 06:24 PM
hunter88 hunter88 is online now
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I am about to set up a camper at a lake for the summer where there is no power. My plan was to bring batteries back and forth to charge, but then thought maybe I'd just set up a solar panel to charge between times I'm there. This is a private lake where you can leave your camper in one place for 30 days before having to move to another spot, and I've seen other campers with solar panels set up nearby.

Not sure if I'd need one 12 volt battery or two, but since I already have one deep cycle battery I thought I could buy another and set up two batteries in parallel. I also have a 1000 watt inverter. So here are my questions.

I have two batteries, A and B. When attaching the wires from the charge controller to the batteries, should I attach one wire, positive, to battery A and the other wire, negative, to battery B? Or should both wires from the controller go to the same battery?

Then should the same thing apply to the wires going from the batteries to the inverter? Should both wires come from the same battery, or should one wire come from each battery to the inverter?

I'm thinking of buying a 100 watt solar panel kit. I figure that should take care of my power needs since I won't be using very much power while there.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:29 AM
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You are correct. Positive to battery "A" and negative to battery "B". The paralleling cables should be as big in gauge as possible. Perhaps 6 or 8 gauge..

The age difference in the batteries could be an issue but in a temporary scenario this shouldn't be bad. The bigger the age difference, the bigger the chance..

Be careful with that inverter. One pot of coffee will put a big dent in the battery, even if it lasts the whole perk cycle! Remember the 10 to one ratio. One amp at 120 v.a.c. through an inverter connected to a 12 volt d.c. battery will demand 10 amps from the battery. (Not including the inverter losses) A 100 watt standard light bulb used through an inverter will put around a 10 amp load on the battery! Looks like cowboy coffee is the best option..

What kinda loads do you expect? There are options and I'm sure I can assist..
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Last edited by 12vman; 05-20-2018 at 10:32 AM. Reason: Hillbilly Fat Finger
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:03 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is online now
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I posted some of this in the conversation section, but I will repeat it here.

I have no plans to use the furnace, air conditioner, or fridge. I had hoped there would be enough power in two batteries to run the microwave, 800 watts, for a couple minutes at a time, or brew a couple cups of coffee in a small 4 cup coffee maker, 625 watts. Beyond that maybe use some lights in the evening for an hour or two. Or use a small TV for an hour or two. I know most small TVs are around 50 watts, give or take a bit.

I thought maybe I could plug the camper directly into the inverter, thus powering up all the plug-ins in the camper. I'd just have to make sure everything inside is turned off.

A concern may be the converter. By plugging in the camper, I'm activating the converter that changes 110 to 12 for the lights. I wondered how much power that would steal just sitting there running all the time.

I also thought about hooking up a cigarette lighter directly to the batteries and bypassing the 1000 watt inverter. This way I could plug in a smaller 150 watt inverter to run small stuff like charge a laptop, run a small TV, or even run a couple LED lights so I didn't have to use the camper lights. Then I could leave the 1000 watt inverter shut off so it doesn't use power when not in use. Perhaps that 1000 watt inverter could just be turned on for the microwave or coffee maker, if it can handle them, then then turned off again so it doesn't waste power.

Just trying to learn about 12 volt and solar, figured with you here I'd get some good knowledgeable answers.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:52 PM
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For an update.

I pulled the camper over by my barn and plugged it in. The built in radio worked along with the lights inside and out. Did not turn on anything major that I will not use. The microwave did not come on so it may not work. If so this would just leave the 625 watt coffee pot for any major power draw.

So it appears my main concern now would be does the converter draw power if the camper is plugged into the inverter, but nothing is being used. This would mean shutting the inverter off and on all the time, which would be a hassle since I'd thought of leaving the inverter outside close to the batteries.

I figured shorter distance between battery and inverter is better so I could go as heavy as I can with wire. Then the long run from inverter to camper would be with the heavy gauge main connection cord that comes with the camper.

I wonder if the draw from the coffee pot just long enough to brew the coffee, I'd put the coffee in a thermos instead of leaving the pot on to keep the coffee hot, is small enough I can just use one battery to start.

I have a 105 amp hour battery, so 700 watts for 5 minutes shouldn't use too much power.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:20 PM
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This calculator will be a good tool to use..
http://www.ohmslawcalculator.com/ohms-law-calculator

To find the current draw (amps) of the item you plan to operate, add the normal operating voltage (120) and the wattage (650) to the converter. In the case of the coffee maker, 120 for the voltage and 650 for the wattage. (Power) This comes out to be 5.41667 amps @ 120 v.a.c. (Normal operation)

To produce the power (wattage) to operate the coffee maker through an inverter , you will be converting 12 v.d.c. to 120 v.a.c. (A 10 to 1 ratio) On the calculator, change the voltage to 12 volts. Leave the wattage (Power) at 650. The current (amp) requirement increases times 10! (54.16667) *Not including the normal conversion losses in the inverter. It uses a little power to operate itself..

Batteries are usually rated at a 1 amp load for a length of time while monitoring the voltage of the battery. When the battery drops to 10.5 volts under load, it's considered dead. In the case with the battery you have, it will sustain a load of 1 amp for 105 hrs. until it drops to 10.5 volts..

One single battery will not generate 50+ amps for very long. Perhaps for 1 minute MAYBE. The battery will then be fully depleted, no doubt. 2 batteries.. Maybe 2 minutes. (Which I highly doubt) Like I said.. Cowboy Coffee or propane..

Your best bet is to forget the inverter and focus on the 12 volt option only. And yes, the converter in the camper will be a constant load on your battery through an inverter. Usually campers have an onboard battery and the converter charges this battery while connected to shore power and provides power for the low voltage items and the 120 v.a.c. things/outlets. When disconnected from shore power, this battery provides power to the low voltage lighting in the camper and that's about it..

Anything that creates heat is not feasible for battery usage. Heating is the biggest power hog of anything..
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:26 PM
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12vman, would it be practical for him to attach the inverter directly to his running vehicle battery for the heavy use stuff. I hook my inverter to my truck/tractor battery and start the vehicle if I expect a draw. Am I doing something stupid?
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:58 PM
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It appears my best bet would be to just work off a battery and smaller inverter.

I have a 100 watt inverter. During a power outage I ran a fan behind my wood stove, 35 watts, plus my router and modem so I'd have internet. I ran those for probably 8 hours before the power came back on.

I have a small TV that works off an internal battery for 2 hours, or can be hooked up to 12 volt. I've used that TV in my deer stand off a 12 volt battery and the battery lasted a couple hours a day over two weekends. It could go back and forth and be charged at home.

So it may be best to see how well a battery will do and just bring it home to charge it between overnight stays, rather then spend money on a solar system.

I can use the propane stove to make coffee, but I was hesitant because of the age of the camper and the fact there are so many other things attached to propane, furnace, fridge, and I assume water heater. So I was afraid of leaks somewhere along the line, and somewhere underneath or inside spaces where I couldn't find them.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doninalaska View Post
12vman, would it be practical for him to attach the inverter directly to his running vehicle battery for the heavy use stuff. I hook my inverter to my truck/tractor battery and start the vehicle if I expect a draw. Am I doing something stupid?
That could be an option for sure. The alternator will carry the load if it can produce 50+ amps. The battery would cushion the abrupt load and fade to the alternator..

No.. Not stupid at all! The alternator should carry the load, being it's creating the needed current. The battery alone can't produce that much current and sustain it unless it's a huge battery..

Remember, a battery makes power with a chemical reaction. It can only make so much in a quick need but will put out as long as the reaction can happen..
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunter88 View Post
It appears my best bet would be to just work off a battery and smaller inverter.

I have a 100 watt inverter. During a power outage I ran a fan behind my wood stove, 35 watts, plus my router and modem so I'd have internet. I ran those for probably 8 hours before the power came back on.

I have a small TV that works off an internal battery for 2 hours, or can be hooked up to 12 volt. I've used that TV in my deer stand off a 12 volt battery and the battery lasted a couple hours a day over two weekends. It could go back and forth and be charged at home.

So it may be best to see how well a battery will do and just bring it home to charge it between overnight stays, rather then spend money on a solar system.

I can use the propane stove to make coffee, but I was hesitant because of the age of the camper and the fact there are so many other things attached to propane, furnace, fridge, and I assume water heater. So I was afraid of leaks somewhere along the line, and somewhere underneath or inside spaces where I couldn't find them.
What exactly would you need an inverter for? Using that 100 watt system would make it so you wouldn't need to chuck batteries around if you keep your loads down..

I found these ceiling fans that only use 1/2 amp @ 12 v.d.c. I love 'um..

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Whit...72042e0e2VRQOa

Found them on Amazon..

https://www.amazon.com/Sunlar-Ceilin...lt+ceiling+fan

Here's a speed control. Avoid the PWM type..

https://www.amazon.com/Yeeco-Full-St...+control&psc=1
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Last edited by 12vman; 05-21-2018 at 08:16 AM. Reason: Add Link
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Old 05-21-2018, 09:52 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is online now
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What exactly would you need an inverter for? Using that 100 watt system would make it so you wouldn't need to chuck batteries around if you keep your loads down..
If the battery or batteries wouldn't be able to handle the 625 watts for the coffee pot for 3 or 4 minutes, then there isn't much else I'd need the inverter for. I could get by with my small 7" TV instead of using the normal 20" TV I have. Though I suppose since that TV is only around 50 watts, it could run off the battery for an hour or so in the evening.

A fan would probably be needed, but as you noted there are 12 volt models out there. I have two or three radios that run on batteries or an internal rechargeable battery that I can use. I just need to be sure my laptop and I pad are fully charged before I leave home.

Right now I'd say I'll be staying in the camper one night a week or maybe two. Lugging the battery around is not something I'd like to do, but you have to look at the cost of the 100 watt system, $189, and figure for this summer I might just take the battery home once a week, or maybe even every other week if it doesn't get much use.

If I start to stay more often or for a longer period of time, then it would be time for a change. I'd buy the 100 watt system, and invest in a pair of 6 volt golf cart batteries.


I'll order that fan and speed control. Should be able to mount that fan above the bed in the camper.
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Last edited by hunter88; 05-21-2018 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:39 AM
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Thinking this over, for what little need I'd have for major power, and overall costs, I'd be better off buying a 3500 watt generator. The cost would be the same as the 100 watt solar kit along with 2 golf cart batteries. And with the generator I'd have something to run my fridge or freezer when I have long power outages at home.

I could crank up the generator at supper time to use the microwave if needed, and I could also make a big pot of coffee at that time. I don't want to run a generator real early in the morning, but I could reheat my coffee on the stove if the thermos doesn't keep it hot overnight.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:10 PM
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Simple deduction brings the best option..

You can still use your battery. Use a battery charger and charge the battery while making coffee..
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Old 05-21-2018, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Simple deduction brings the best option..
Yes, but sometimes we have to overthink things, and complicate things, before we can come to the simple answer.
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