Camping power system.

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Camping power system.

Post  bencld on Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:43 pm

Hey all. After some suggestions as to the better deep cycle batteries to use for a caravan power system ? What do people out there recommend/use ?

ta
Chris.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Paulc on Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:52 pm

Hi Chris
I have a 40amp deep cycle battery recharged by 80 watt solar panels. The battery is connected to a 300 watt inverter. I'm about to head out for some fossicking for a couple of months. I got let down by my generator at the sapphire fields last year and chucked it. Anyway I need the fuel I carry to run the pump for the highbanker. I have a 240 volt battery charger that I'll be charging a 28 amp hour battery and 7 amp hour battery off the inverter. These two are for running a small 12 volt pump. The 7amper is for backpacking into gorges or footslogging to spots. The bigger ones get very weighty. Off the 40 amper/inverter I'll also be charging my laptop for internet, movies and downloading photos and my Camera/video, phone and anything else. I have solar charged shed lights for the night. My vans going into storage so I can go off road so I'm doing without a fridge this trip.
I was at the 4wd show a few weeks back, well worth the trip. You can have setups to run anything if you've got a fat wallet and space and can carry the weight.
Remember Amp hours equals watts divided by volts. So if an appliance is 50 watts your drawing about 4 amps.
If your running something that's drawing two amps all day that means you'll be drawing about 50amp hours and they recommend you nearly double your available amps because batteries dont at a constant discharge, they get to a point where they go down hill fast. So your looking at a 100amp hour battery. Then your looking at charging that battery with a duel charging system off your car or solar or running a generator once a day. 80 watt solars will give about 4amps per hour by ten hours of sunlight=40. Unless its cloudy.
If its just 12volt lights and a 45 watt LCD TV for a few hours each night, a 40 amper with a 300 watt sine wave inverter should be enough but I'd go as big as you can carry.
Try not to deep discharge your battery as this shortens its life span. The glass fibre batteries are the go but they're expensive.
I'm still trying to work all this out if that's possible.
Cheers Paul.
Also you need a regulator so you dont fry your battery unless you have a trickle charge small setup.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Nightjar on Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:09 am

Morning Chris,
Have a tried and proven setup here that has been used/modified since the release of the SD2100 through until now with the GPX-4500.
Originally I had Arrid regulator and a ZZ70 lead acid battery but moved up to the Orora and two 6 Volt deep cycle in series.
This box is mounted on the rear of my ute when I head out prospecting, when these batteries die the set up is going to be transferred to my caravan.
Current setup in the caravan is two 80 Watt Solar panels regulated through an Orora regulator charging two deep cycle 12V batteries (parallel)
The ute setup (pic below) includes;
64 Watt Solar panel mounted on top of cab.
300 Watt inverter
4 amp battery charger
Orora regulator
4 X 12V outlets
2 X 6V Deep cycle batteries
Detector batteries are charged from here. Two Engel fridges run continuous, one on freeze. At end of the day when the generator is started the trickle charger tops up the batteries if there has been cloud cover.
Tip: If you own a Engel fridge and want the usual long life out of it, always run it on 12V when away from the grid power supply. Do not run it hooked up to a generator even if it is an Inverter Generator.



Cheers
Peter


Last edited by Nightjar on Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:14 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Included more info.)

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  bencld on Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:55 pm

Thanks for the replies guys.

"Remember Amp hours equals watts divided by volts. "

Paulc. If I am running a hybrid where some of the equipment runs on 12v and other through an inverter at 240v, does the same formula above apply ?

IE. Run a 240v fridge off inverter. It draws 150watts. Does that mean Amps = 150/240 ?

Ta.
Chris.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  GoldstalkerGPX on Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:12 pm

.


Last edited by GoldstalkerGPX on Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:30 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : pointless)

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Birdman on Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:52 pm

What do you think of the scorpion system from bcf.... 230 dollars i am going to buy one

not as good as the solar system.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:56 pm

Chris
caravan power system
What are you planning to run of the 12 V system?? or are you after a info on the different type of deep cycle batteries.
Everyone has different ideas and power demands and it comes down to what you can afford or what you can get by with or what your research leads you too.
4WD forums or off road caravan forums etc are a good place to get ideas do you research.
My set up is pretty simple 2x100 amp AGM batteries
120w solar panel using a better quality solar reg (panel was from flea bay and is in fact a 80w one i suspect).
Ctek 25000 battery charger
Honda 20Ui geny.
System runs 2 40L engels (one a freezer).
Portable DVD player
Charges detector battery (once a night)
12w fluro light.
Running the above i can cycle the batteries over every 2-3 days (depending on outside temp), the solar panel will recharge the battery over 2 days once charged it is then swapped over and the other is then charged.
If a battery fails i have 100% redundancy.
Overcast weather no problem can last for 3 days in most cases (with one battery) 5-6 days for the two batteries, but i never run down both at the same time so the geny comes out to charge the battery up.
With the Honda geny and the Ctek charger the battery will be 85-90% charged in 3 hrs i normally leave it going for about 6-8 hrs to completely charge the battery to float charge state.
Also chuck on things that need a 240 v to work like AA battery chargers phone chargers etc.
I also some times run a bread maker machine when i run the geny (might as well done something with the excess power).

Thing that are important to consider, deep cycle battery are not cold cranking batteries and don't like to be heavily charged (IE: thur the car alternator) it will shorten the life of them. My 100 amp ones are rated at a max of 25 amp charge rate as an example.
Flea bay solar panels are always over rated, so a 120 w one is a 80 w one etc so look foir a 200 w one or maybe 160w.
Almost all batteries are made in China these days even brand names and most are fairly good quality so you don't need a brand name one just make sure they have a shop front and offer a 2 year warranty.
Invest in a quality geny, battery charger and solar PV charger (a good priced one is around the $120 mark).
Although the fridges use 4amps each you have to consider that they do not run 24/7 (unless your using as a freezer and have it set on maximum or are in 40C temp) so i usually half the power usage as a rule of thumb and try and keep them around the +2-3 C and the freezer at around -5-7C this tends to use a lot less power.

My first set up involved a Kipor 1Kw geny and a battery charger (same as nightjar has but a 4000 instead) and 2 second hand 80 amp batteries (ex UPS ones id say).
The geny after running for 2 days the oil turned to liquid silver (lucky i had decided to do a run in oil change) and severed me well for a year until it would just stop for no reason and one day wouldn't start. This is why i got the Honda geny, i latter fixed the Kipor (spark plug gap bridged out with scale ).
Both batteries failed after a year (one i stuffed by charging off the car alternator the other just died).
Solar panel replaced the projector 4000 battery charger.
So dont be to skimpy as it will only cost you more in the long run.
Regards
John

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Birdman on Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:02 pm

Just going to recharge the minelabs of the scorpion.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  bencld on Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:53 pm

Hey all. Thanks for the replies. After a fair bit of reading and searching I have settled on the following.
I have 2 104 AH batteries stored in a well ventilated area under one of the front seats connected in parallel giving me a total of 210 AH. I have a 1500 watt sine wave inverter that I can connect to the vans 240 volt system and power everything. I can also run off the inverter directly. It has an isolation switch between the inverter and the batteries so I can switch it off and it will draw no power. The batteries are also connected up to the 12v wiring in the van so I can also run lights directly off 12v.

The panel is a 65 watt fold out job with a 30 watt on the roof for trickle charge when not in use.

I have tested the equipment I will be using, computers etc. and they are as follows.

Laptop draws 45 watts. Laptop has all my mapping and goldfields software on it and I can play movies and also have a USB HD TV dongle for it so it is an all in one.
19 inch monitor (spare and will act as the TV screen) draws 25 watts.

15 watt compact lights.

So with all this, I will be able to be self sufficient out in the field for a while and have a fair amount of redundancy.

Chris.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  bencld on Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:11 pm

This is what the setup looks like from the outside. As you can see the regulator and all other cables go through the junction box. The switch is an inverter isolation switch so I can completely isolate the inverter from the batteries. The grey box is temporary but it measures voltage, amp hours in and out etc. The inverter plug is wired to an external weather proof plug which I just use a short lead to connect to the vans external power socket which powers everything in the van when the inverter is in use or I can connect to mains when available. The batteries are under the seat next to the cupboard and the compartment has been sealed with an external vent for gas escape. Will give it a try soon and see how it all goes.


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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Nightjar on Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:42 pm

Looks a great setup Bencld,
If I have read your description correctly your setup prevents plugging 240V external power supply into your van without first disconnecting your inverter supply or vice versa?
In other words your 12V/240V inverter power supply and your external home/generator power can not be connected/operated together?

Cheers
Nightjar

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  bencld on Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:08 pm


Nightjar. Yes that is correct. It is to prevent any chance of 240v back wash into the inverter or the male pins in the caravan external plug from becoming live.

Chris.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Nightjar on Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:20 pm

Chris,
Your information will greatly assist anyone reading this post to safely install a power system in their RV and prevent a potential dangerous mix of 240v/12V.
Feel sure many will appreciate your contribution.

Cheers
Peter



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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:22 am

The grey box is temporary but it measures voltage, amp hours in and out etc
Can you post some info on this ive been looking for something to what you have described but havent found anything (or missed the info).
My PV controller only measure input amp hrs and i have to judge/guess sometimes when to put the geny on.
Regards
John
PS Only as safe as the person who remembers to switch the isolator off, my choice would be to run completly independent wiring (240v) from the invertor with different colour GPOs to indicate what is what for power supply (ideal but not always practical)or a seperate power board. Then you have no chance of mixing circuits.
It may meen a bit of unplugging and replugging stuff but only way to sure.




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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Scrubhen on Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:34 pm

Many thanks for excellent posts gentlemen.
However I just have to ask the idiot question

I assume the inverters are Perfect Sine wave
Not Modified Sine wave

I think the perfect Sine Wave inverter is required to run computers etc

Ron

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  GoldstalkerGPX on Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:58 pm

.


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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Narrawa on Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:12 pm

This also might be a dumb ass question, but the 240v power supply for laptops is converted to DC voltage through its own converter plug pack thing, how can a modified square wave inverter have an impact on it to the point of blowing up your laptop?

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:11 am

.....So the dumb bit is, does it matter to use a type for solar panels even if I do not intend to run one (not planned anyhow) or is this regulator only for the solar panels?
Not a silly question and not as simple as buying any old solar panel either, the link below will help a little bit.
http://www.energymatters.com.au/solar-panels-c-148.html
Solar panel volts (for 12V sytems ) ran at 19-20V with no load thats about all i know.It maybe the case for all but you offen see some as for house installs only or 12 V only.
The regulars (there are a few types) range in price from $10- up to $800+ (house systems mainly). The cheaper ones use only a on/off switching to charge batteries better ones use proper regulators to limit the current and volts.
A good reguator one will set you back about $120, check out flea bay and buy from a local distributor better for returns or even questions.
Narrawa pretty good point that may pay to do some net trawling for that answer but id be using a pure sine wave for mine regardless.
Regards
John
PS Chris i think i found that info is this the one you have installed?
http://www.bainbridgetechnologies.com/vmchk/meters-monitors/vena-ac-dc-battery-monitor
If so it pretty bloody expensive for a meter.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Narrawa on Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:15 pm

All interesting stuff, I ran a TV and multiple computers on my solar system back in the 90's, and the inverter was a silver series with a peak of 2300W, and never had any issues with TV or any of the PC's acting up.
I found it interesting to hear that an inverter was the cause of some PC's and laptops stuffing up.
Just waiting for some correction in what I thought to be the case of possible myth regarding this.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  davsgold on Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:13 pm

G'day Narrawa

Pure sine wave is better because it is the same as the power supplied to houses. So these inverters are better but cost more. Modified sine wave inverters have a square shaped wave instead of a smooth flowing shaped wave (like an "S" shape laying down) if looked at on oscilloscope.

Mainly things that don't work on modified sine wave are things that have timers and programes to make them run. For eg: our breadmaker won't go through its full cycle it just stays put on the mixing cycle, cos the program don't like the modified sine wave. I have heard that some microwaves will play up also but ours seems to run ok.

Our laptop runs quite ok but like you say it has to go through its own power supply after the inverter which then turns it into 19v DC anyway.

cheers dave

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Narrawa on Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:17 pm

Dave, no problemo, have had a few inverters and dabbled in the Quasi Sine Wave Inverters a few years back before settling in on the silver series as been tried and proven. The Quasi Sine Wave Inverter was put up against the one I had with same load and its cooling fans run almost continuously, so I opted to stay with the silver series, but was mostly looking for comments regarding those who have had a laptop malfunction through the use of an inverter of any wave form before dismissing it as myth.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Inhere on Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:59 pm

Yeah Narrawa, your right, those cheap inverters you buy at DS to run your laptop, that plug straight into a cig lighter ain't pure sine wave. As far as TV's etc, go, you pay your money and make your choice, I'd stick with the pure sine stuff, If I needed 240v but I keep everything 12v.

GoldstalkerGPX asked a question about using solar regulators without using solar
panel's.

There is a guy on the net who uses the power supplies from old computers to make his own switch mode12v battery charger..Switch mode battery chargers tend to be expensive to buy and don't tend to be long lived.

He mods the computer power supply to put out 18v-20v, and then runs that voltage through the input of a solar regulator, the solar regulator does the rest, bulk charge,
float charge. etc.

You do need to use a good solar regulator, maybe a 30a version of this,

http://tinyurl.com/39fnk38.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Narrawa on Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:15 pm

There is a guy on the net who uses the power supplies from old computers to make his own switch mode12v battery charger.........
I use one to power another DC battery charger when at home, the same charger (Swallow Advance) is used for out in the field stuff strait off 12v.
Having a cycle mode to rejuvenate cordless drill batteries AA, AAAA, NiMH / NiCad / SLA / Li-Ion and such, its a top bit of gear.
The (New model) has its on 240v supply built in.
Both are able to charge batteries at much higher voltage levels like 14v 18v drill and laptop batteries.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Inhere on Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:32 pm

That charger sounds like a top bit of gear Narrawa!
I will check it out. Wink

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Birdman on Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:53 pm

i used a honda generator.

It could recharge four batteries and run a large light. the light was great kept the mosquitos away and at the light.

It costs about a dollar 50 every four hours.

It took about four hours to top up the minelab 4500 battery.

Kind regards birdman. Very Happy

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Nightjar on Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:42 pm

Answers here to most commonly asked questions about inverters.

http://www.invertershop.com.au/frequently-asked-power-inverter-questions.html


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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Jigalong on Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:01 pm

Chris,
I had a look at your set-up. The 2x105 AH batteries sound good, but I don't see those two solar panels being enough to keep the system charged. One cloudy day and you might find yourself with nothing in the batteries. On my van I run 2x120 ah batteries and 4x130 solar panels (an overkill) and I get into trouble after a couple of rainy days. I take a little Honda for insurance.
Cheers,
Jig.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  bencld on Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:33 pm

Hey all. This has generated a fair bit of interest ! Took the rig out for three days for trials and was pleasantly surprised how well it all went. Loved the space and comfort compared to a tent ! Nice cold gas fridge = nice cold beer. The fridge was freezing stuff so had to turn it down. Managed these whilst out there. Big one is 10g and the flat one 2.9g. 14.66g all up.


The system worked very well except for the panels. We had a few over cast days and at one point the voltage had dropped to 11.4. I think the 60w panels will become the roof mounted trickle charge panels and I will need to invest in some bigger ones.

Freshwater. The grey box was off an old solar power system and I can only get it to display volts. Don't know how to get AH etc. The white cable you see from the inverter goes out to an external outside power point (under the van) and when I want 240v I connect a short lead from that to the vans normal 240v input up on the side. It then powers the van like you would if you where in a van park. The isolator switch is there just as an added caution and to stop the inverter drawing power from the batteries when the van is not in use.

Goldstalker. The reg came with the panels and is to regulate the charge going in. I am considering an LCD one that displays volts, AH in and AH out.

Scrubhen. The inverter is a sine wave and not a modified square wave. My laptops do not like the modified square wave inverters. I tried connecting one up on a small one in the car (150w) and then spent the next 4 days rebuilding the laptop ! Yes, I now use Norton ghost and image my disks so it only takes about an hour to rebuild !

Hope I got most of the questions.
Chris.

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Re: Camping power system.

Post  Birdman on Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:51 pm

All that stuff looks too complicated for me. I will stick with my unleaded honda generator. Very Happy

Kind Regards

Birdman.


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Camping Gears

Post  kevinLim on Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:33 pm

This was just an awesome Idea. Generators for the campers is a great idea. It was really interesting. I hope we could try this thing. When camping. we also used a light but it's only a flash light. And i want also to try that interesting generator. I will suggest that stuff to my friends.

lightweight tents is the best camping tent that we used in outdoor stuff.... Very Happy bounce queen king farao

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