Selecting a battery charger

Anything electric, AC or DC

Selecting a battery charger

Postby Pinstriper » Wed May 17, 2017 3:04 pm

I've seen discussions that kind of beat around the bush, so I am going to ask this one more specifically in the interest of clarity.

My new-to-me teardrop has a very simple system. Extension cord poked through the wall, end chopped off and run into a house style box with an outlet, then also chained to another house outlet inside the cabin. No exterior AC outlets. So much for the AC side, and I guess I'm depending on the shore power being gfci and a 15 or 20amp circuit.

This is all inside the trailer under a counter, behind a cabinet door.

Plugged into the 110/120vac outlet is a GE 5k btu air conditioner, and a Stanley battery charger that is a 1.5amp charger. That charger then ties to a deep cycle 35ah 12 volt battery about the size of a lawn tractor battery, but deep cycle.

From the battery terminals then comes a single run dc circuit, with a cigarette lighter port, ceiling light, a wall light, and a porch light. There is an inline 20amp glass fuse. No fuse blocks or switches. The lamps have switches built-into the housing and are all LED. No fan at this tome but it is on my mind.

Here are points I would like to hear about. Please disabuse me of my thoughts below:

1) I intend putting a battery disconnect on the battery, but this is a low priority - I'll do it but not let it prevent me camping.

2) I think with all the lights being LED that I can live with the single circuit design and 20 amp fuse. Does this change if I tap into the lines for a ceiling fan in place of my ceiling vent ?

3) Sticking with a single circuit means I don't have to open the walls to run individual circuits, and the only time to do that would be going with a fuse block at that time. See (4).

4) If I was going to gut the walls and rewire, that would be the time to go with a conventional PD 4135 type distribution/converter center. Not worth it for a single circuit.

5) I may replace the inline glass fuse holder with an automotive style fuse holder. Just because they're easier, to me.

6) When I picked up the trailer, the lights were not working. I discovered the ceiling light was crosswired, which was only a problem because they continued the wiring on to the next lights. I have corrected this when I changed the incandescent lamps to LED.

7) The battery is showing dead. Doornail dead, like 1.8v on the meter. I think the cross wiring either prevented charging or just drew down the battery. So I will be replacing the battery. I found this one, that is completely sealed and says safe in enclosed area:

12V 35AH SLA Battery for Minn Kota Endura C2 - Trolling Motor - Mighty Max Battery brand product https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QGLAHWS/re ... hzbM3WQFAZ


8) The charger is a 1.5amp charger, which strikes me as slow recharge, and of course I was to be able to run lights etc. while also plugged in at the campsite to recharge. I'm thinking of a higher amp chargers, smart charger. This one is 8 amps. Thoughts ? Need bigger ? Too big ?

STANLEY FATMAX BC8S 8 Amp Battery Charger/Maintainer https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PZ0PMSA/re ... hzb2TCTVPN

Thanks in advance !



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Let's eat, Grandma !
Let's eat Grandma !
Commas. They save lives.
User avatar
Pinstriper
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Outer SW Portlandia

Re: Selecting a battery charger/ one for multiple uses!

Postby working on it » Wed May 17, 2017 4:47 pm

  • I built my trailer with as simple an electrical system as I could, providing 12vdc, 120vac, and back-up power for both, using an on-board generator. Whoops, I actually complicated it too much, but I mainly used simple devices to make it all work. Extension cords, color-matching wire loom covering any exposed wiring in the trailer (no insulation, no disassembly to find problems), and multiple sources for needed power make it work for me.
  • The 12vdc is powered from an Optima Yellowtop in the tonguebox, thru 4 gauge cables to the master cutoff switch in the galley, to a keybox-converted to a fusebox- inside the cabin. A 50 amp on/off switch (routed thru a 40 amp circuit breaker) controls the five fused circuits (1-3 amp mini-fuses): for stereo, interior-venting computer case fans, exterior underdoor LEDs, galley LEDs, and one set of interior LEDs. A 400 watt inverter is in the box, also, to use if I need the battery to power any of the 120vac LED lights, main cabin fan, or electric heater, if the parkpower fails, and I can't/don't wish to use my generator. Another feature is the 2-6-15 amp Schumacher XCS15 smart charger (bought specifically because it can charge all three main types of automotive batteries) inside the box. I can use it to charge the battery from 120vac while in the cabin, or remove it, to charge my truck battery if needed (I also have separate 1.5 amp maintainers for both truck and trailer batteries, used whenever I park).
  • The 120vac is supplied either from a parkpower source (or in my garage), thru a 16 gauge, 14 gauge, or 12 gauge extension cord (depends on the distance from source to trailer), thru a waterproof entry into the galley, then thru a GFCI to a surge protection device, thence to a 14 gauge master plug (supplying both the galley and the cabin-though usually I'm either using one area at a time, so no overdraw occurs). If the parkpower source fails, the master plug then connects to the generator (2500 continuous watts). Also, if the 120vac parkpower plug is not working, I have 30 amp and 50 amp adapters for my inlet extension cord. The interior ac circuits have their own GFCI and splitters, while the A/C, and its' dedicated chassis-cooling fan and axial exhaust fan are on another GFCI circuit. Maximum amperage draw of all electrical (of the entire trailer) never approaches the amperage handling ability of the basic 14 gauge input.
  • I later added another GFCI at the main 120vac inlet, to safeguard the LED ropelights I use to light the ground under my trailer, and into my side tent(s). Since it is in direct contact with water on the ground, it serves a good purpose, as it has already prevented a shock the last time I was camping, when the connection between two strings was loose, and sitting in water. I heard it click off, reset it, it clicked again, so I found the bad connection, fixed it, and the lights worked sitting in the rain, all night.
  • I used a Reliance Amwatt tester to check my circuit draws, before I ever camped with it, and advise using a tester for any non-professional redneck-engineer, like myself. I also use a GFCI circuit tester at camp, to check the parkpower circuit, before I plug in.
  • Simple in concept, complicated in execution, but with everything (safety and accessibility) accounted for, using parts easily sourced for repairs, at most any locale. That was my plan, and I stuck to it (despite advice to the contrary). Your results may vary!
  • 102795 keybox/fusebox inside; inverter & charger if needed
  • 123006 waterproof power inlet, plug supplies main wire from here
  • 123160 I add GFCI plugs to any circuit subject to moisture
  • 122999 resettable surge protector shows faults or problems with 120vac input line
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
User avatar
working on it
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1501
Images: 427
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: DFW Texas

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby John61CT » Wed May 17, 2017 5:57 pm

Garage/hardware store chargers are usually cr^p. Marine or expedition/caravan industry better but pricey.

If you think you may end up getting a proper deep-cycle 200AH or more (batteries are consumables) get a 40-60A charger right from the start.

20A is minimum, but only if you stick to <100AH.

Remember to not run it down below 50%, and get it back to 100% full as many cycles as possible.
John61CT
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby working on it » Wed May 17, 2017 6:23 pm

John61CT wrote:Garage/hardware store chargers are usually cr^p.
I don't know about that. I have a "garage" charger from Northern Tool that I've used for many years, charging my drag car between rounds, and charging many batteries for hours on end. It was < $200 when new (it was a long time ago, in the '90s), and it still is working perfectly today. And, the Schumacher XCS15 charger I bought for the trailer...it has resurrected two dead AGM batteries for me, and charged up several regular batteries over the last five years. It also automatically switches to a lower charge rate, which I use to bring up batteries overnight, un-monitored; a feature I haven't had on more expensive chargers, from the old days. I've expected the solid-state circuitry to fail (they're not as long-lasting as old-school chargers), but it has been perfect, so far. I bought it at Walmart, for $50. Both chargers have exceeded my expectations; I'm not so sure that higher priced expedition/marine chargers would do any better (but, for the extra price...they had better be better).
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
User avatar
working on it
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1501
Images: 427
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: DFW Texas
Top

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby Pinstriper » Wed May 17, 2017 6:27 pm

Thanks, WOIT!

Thanks

That gives me an idea right away - using surface conduit to make new circuit runs, and not get tied up with pulling the walls down. I may get more ambitious with the electrical sooner.

Having a tester for the post at the campsite is great advice. With our big trailer one of the first times out, the breaker was loose in the panel and we had flickering lights and arcing taking place. I had them move us to a new site and shut that one down.

Now I always inspect before plugging in.

Sent from my RCT6213W87M using Tapatalk
Let's eat, Grandma !
Let's eat Grandma !
Commas. They save lives.
User avatar
Pinstriper
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Outer SW Portlandia
Top

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby John61CT » Wed May 17, 2017 7:40 pm

working on it wrote:
John61CT wrote:Garage/hardware store chargers are usually cr^p.
I don't know about that. I have a "garage" charger from Northern Tool that I've used for many years, charging my drag car between rounds, and charging many batteries for hours on end.
Sorry, yes of course right tool for the job.

Starter batteries for cranking are very different from deep cycling intended for House bank usage.
John61CT
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby pchast » Wed May 17, 2017 9:01 pm

Please check with th e battery manufacturer. Many of those smaller SLA batteries
have a maximum recommended charge rate for the greatest life expectancy.
pchast
Platinum Donating Member
 
Posts: 1274
Images: 96
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:47 pm
Location: Athens, NY
Top

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby John61CT » Wed May 17, 2017 9:42 pm

Actually those max charge rates are just CYA legal.

Any lead battery will only **accept** the current level it can handle, no such thing as too many amps **available** from the charge source.

This is assuming the Abs volts is properly regulated as per mfg specs.

Think about starter batts on 300+A alts on trucks.

Only safety issue is wire size, robust connections and fusing.
John61CT
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby Pinstriper » Wed May 17, 2017 11:37 pm

John61CT wrote:Garage/hardware store chargers are usually cr^p. Marine or expedition/caravan industry better but pricey.

If you think you may end up getting a proper deep-cycle 200AH or more (batteries are consumables) get a 40-60A charger right from the start.

20A is minimum, but only if you stick to <100AH.

Remember to not run it down below 50%, and get it back to 100% full as many cycles as possible.


I cannot conceive going to a bigger battery system than the 35AH. If I was thinking long term boondocking I'd be looking at solar etc. there's just not enough need for more, but the lights, recharge the portable electronics.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Let's eat, Grandma !
Let's eat Grandma !
Commas. They save lives.
User avatar
Pinstriper
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Outer SW Portlandia
Top

Re: Selecting a battery charger

Postby Pinstriper » Wed May 17, 2017 11:39 pm

pchast wrote:Please check with th e battery manufacturer. Many of those smaller SLA batteries
have a maximum recommended charge rate for the greatest life expectancy.


Hmmm. Good idear.

I do want the charger to put out enough to drive active loads and also charge the battery at the same time.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Let's eat, Grandma !
Let's eat Grandma !
Commas. They save lives.
User avatar
Pinstriper
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Outer SW Portlandia
Top


Return to Electrical Secrets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest