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Old 01-28-2017, 11:13 AM   #1
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Default Additional batteries on a 2016 FF 233RBS

Now that we're in the depths of winter and we won't be using our FF for a while I'm taking the opportunity to get some warranty work done (I'll post a separate thread about that) and start my solar/battery upgrade. Costco were doing a bit of an offer on 6v golf cart batteries ($75 each) so I bought two Interstate T105s. Interestingly, I called Interstate before I bought them as Costco also had a few T107s and I couldn't work out the difference. Interstate told me that the T107s were made by Johnson Controls but Interstate had recently moved their manufacturing over to Trojan who now make the T105s for them. I have heard good things about Trojan batteries so thought this was a pretty good deal.

So, I get my batteries home and take a look at the front of the TT to work out how I can move the existing single battery box and install a bigger box that will accommodate my 2x golf cart batteries and my existing 12 volter. Unfortunately, my 2016 233RBS has a rather pronounced front cap that curves forwards from the floor pan over the top of where I want to put the batteries leaving very little room (see photo - the FF has its winter coat on, but you get the idea). The other newer FFs seems to share a similar front cap, so I wondered if anyone has managed to install extra batteries there? Iíve scoured the net and canít find anyone with this issue, so any ideas how I might do it would be great.

The alternative, I think, would be to leave my single 12 volt battery where it is and install a new battery box inside the pass through storage compartment which is directly behind my existing battery. I can make new holes in the floor of the storage compartment to pass the cables but I would also need to vent the area to allow charging gases to escape. There seems to be conflicting information out there on how much ventilation batteries need, but I plan to err on the side of caution and vent a sealed battery box with a tube directly out one side of the storage compartment. I think charging gases are lighter than air so if I mount the vent higher than the batteries the bad gases should escape on their own without need for fans and the like. Does this sound like a good plan? Of course, Iíd much rather install all the batteries on the tongue.

Any ideas greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Simon



https://www.dropbox.com/s/7xcr20m9dg..._8886.JPG?dl=0
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:17 PM   #2
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Simon-
If interested, do a search on this form using the words "Solar Install." There you can read the four-part story of installing solar on my FF including the welding and placement of a twin 6v battery rack under the trailer instead of on the tongue (where I also could not find the room).

I think I may do a follow-up Part 5 now that I have had and used the system for a while. Good luck.

Jamie
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Old 01-29-2017, 08:51 PM   #3
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Thanks JB. I've read your solar posts a few times now to help me get my head around how it all fits together - v helpful! I really like your new battery rack underneath, but do the batteries sit in there naked, or are they in a box to keep the worst of the road dirt and rain off them?

Cheers
Simon
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:35 PM   #4
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They are in the plastic boxes. Never any problem even in driving rain.

Are you sure you cannot get the batteries end to end behind the propane tanks? Perhaps moving the battery rack rails on top of the wishbone frame members??

Another idea is to install sealed and vented battery compartments on either side of the TT above the pass thru luggage doors like Lance trailers does on its new 2017 models. (click through the pics at link below) These compartments are located on the Lance in a dead area created by the hanging closet configuration on either side of the bed. Perhaps your FF is similar enough to do the same???

https://www.rvtrader.com/dealers/Tra...1995-120144978

Jamie
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Old 01-29-2017, 09:58 PM   #5
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Thanks Jamie. I didn't see a photo of your batteries installed in their box in the rack. I don't have any space above the pass thru storage doors, but I probably have enough room underneath the TT between two of those support brackets to build a rack large enough for four 6v golf cart batteries. I'll just have my original 12v battery and the two new 6v batteries in there for now then I can upgrade down the line when the 12v battery dies.

Two questions for you: is it a concern of having the batteries, which are pretty heavy (especially four golf cart batteries) on one side of the RV so it might be unbalanced? And secondly, what type of box did you put your batteries in? From what I've seen they can get pretty expensive. I was thinking of using two of these: Century Plastics: White Heavy Duty Battery Box - (part#: GCE-G)

...or even four of these: http://www.batterymart.com/p-box-174...ttery-box.html

Cheers
Simon
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:27 PM   #6
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I bought the second battery box at Amazon for $20. Below is the link. My opinion is that more than two batteries on only one side might cause out of balance issues, but I'm no engineer. Send me a private message with your email address and I will send you all my installation pictures including the rack with the boxes installed.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:29 PM   #7
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I just clicked on the link you sent with battery boxes once again. Did you see the boxes for $7...great price!!

6 Volt Battery Box & Lid by NOCO (Part#: HM306BK)
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:58 PM   #8
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Well - more than one solution I'm sure. I have a small 210UDS. I had to move the propane tanks - by moving the tray as far forward as possible. Then fabricated a larger battery tray. I fit 4 deep cycle Interstate RV batteries on it (in a NOCO box).
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:44 PM   #9
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I have 2 deep cycle batteries on my trailer.. I keep them juiced using a solar panel when boondocking. 2 seperate boxes for the batteries. Works fine always have plenty of power. I use two yamaha 2000 portable generators to power the trailer also.
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Old 06-28-2017, 04:58 PM   #10
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I ended up installing the two golf cart batteries in a battery box in the front storage compartment vented to the outside. I also replaced the converter/charger with a Progressive Dynamics three-stage smart charger and then ran new 2/0 AWG cable between the batteries and the converter/charger in the distribution panel to mi9nimise voltage drop.

Next up is an inverter and then some solar panels.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 07-31-2017, 02:17 PM   #11
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Finally bit the bullet & installed two 6-volt batteries in series. Picked up at Costco (Canada) for approximately $300. They are Kirkland GC2 listed as 107 mins at 75 amp (each). Grew sick of the original Interstate 12V battery barely making it through one night.

Wow... what a difference! Currently waiting on receiving a new converter to install but had to go camping for seven nights. There was only a 15 amp hookup which barely ran the air conditioning but these 6 volts made the difference as, without the converter, we ran everything else off 12V. As soon as we docked, batteries dropped from full to 2/3... & remained there until fifth night, when I threw them on a charger for two hours (as I knew we were moving sites for finally two nights & would be full on boondocking). After finally two nights, we left with still a 2/3 full charge! Wish we would have done this sooner as we both we thinking 'So this is what piece of mind is like, not having to worry about battery charge everyday?'.

As I couldn't find appropriately sized boxes to fit these GC2s' I used some scrap wood to fill in the spaces on the front trailer mount & strapped them up tight. Now to find box(s) or to DIY one...
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Old 07-31-2017, 03:27 PM   #12
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It's great eh? Some of the best $300 spent IMO to get two GC2s. We have a small baby so we run the furnace all night in the Rocky Mountains with the thermostat set to 68 and after three days we haven't had to charge the batteries.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 07-31-2017, 03:53 PM   #13
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Default Here's what I did...

The batteries wouldn't fit on the tongue, so I ended up installing the GC2s length-wise in a Century Plastics battery box inside the front storage area: https://www.allbatterysalesandservic...cfm/4,576.html

What's nice about this is it's the closest I can get the batteries to the existing tongue-mounted 12v battery, thus shortening the cable run as I just bored a hold in the floor of the storage area. I vented the box to the outside and ran 2/0 AWG welding cable from the batteries to my converter to limit voltage drop, then I replaced the original converter with a PD-4655 three-stage converter. I installed a switch so I can choose whether to run/charge either or both batteries and breakers close in the positive cable of each battery replaced the crappy in-line blade fuses.

Once that was all up and running, I installed a 1,000W pure since wave inverter and wrestled for about a week over how to wire it up. I ended up speaking to Progressive Dynamics who were ridiculously helpful and the easiest, cheapest and safest thing to do was install a sub-panel to power the receptacles (all I wanted the inverter for was to charge laptops, phones, the TV and kitchen appliances) and avoid the situation where the inverted energizes the converter and gets in a nasty battery-draining feedback loop. I added in a Progressive Dynamics auto-transfer switch which automatically switches the power between shore power and inverter power.

I bought a Xantrex pure sine wave inverter as it has great reviews everywhere I looked and, having installed it and used it for a while, it’s super quiet and does the job. Time will tell if it’ll last but I’m really not pushing it. I also installed the remote switch for it so I can turn it on and off from inside the RV. Oh, and I wanted to avoid installing it in with the batteries so I put it in the closet immediately above the GC2 batteries so the cable run was nice and short but it’s in a different airspace to the batteries. It called for a bonded ground so I ran that too.

Everything works great which is nice I tend to leave the inverter on all the time unless we’re out and with the furnace running all night (thermostat set to 68F) we’ve done three nights boondocking running pretty much everything normally and the batteries haven’t needed charging which is great cos I don’t really like running the generator when there are tenters around (I think we’ve all been there and it’s annoying). It was cool being able to pick up an LTE phone signal, tether my smart TV to it then watch Netflix in HD powered off the inverter. The wife wasn’t that impressed, but I don’t blame her, it’s pretty geeky lol!

The next thing I’ll do is get two or three 100W flexible solar panels and an MPPT charger so we can go for even longer between generator charges. I have plenty of roof space on the FF so I think I could put three panels up there. I know flexible panels have their limitations, but I really don’t want to add 50+ pounds per panel going the rigid route.

Cheers
Simon







EDIT: Man I can never get image to post on this forum grrrr! Here are the links to the pictures of the finished installation:
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
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