RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×
 

Go Back   Keystone RV Forums > Keystone Fleet | Keystone RV Models > Travel Trailers
Click Here to Login

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-14-2020, 04:10 AM   #1
rabbit59
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Bradford
Posts: 44
Battery upgrade opinions

This is probably on here somewhere, but I want to upgrade my battery system. I say system as I'm thinking you want to do the whole converter and all. Am I correct in thinking this? What have people done as far as battery, 6v dual verses 12 volt? What are the advantages to this? Different battery technologies and such? I might get a thousand different answers or opinions or I'm hoping a consensus on what people recommend. Thanks for all the answers in advance.
__________________

rabbit59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2020, 05:18 AM   #2
flybouy
Site Team
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Joppa, MD
Posts: 5,423
You are correct, it has been discussed a thousand different ways on the forum. With that said, I'm sure folks will gladly share (some brag) about there mods but it might be more meaningful if you tell us what the reason is. How are you going to use this band what's you're budget. Narrow it down so you don't get the "replace the 12 v battery" to "spend $10K on solar and NiCad batteries" and everything in between, unless that's what you're looking for.
__________________

__________________
Marshall
2012 Laredo 303 TG
2010 F250 LT Super Cab, long bed, 4X4, 6.4 Turbo Diesel
flybouy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2020, 06:22 AM   #3
Canonman
Senior Member
 
Canonman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: South Jordan, Utah
Posts: 1,434
Marshall makes a good point. The real delimiter is how you plan to use your RV. If you think you'l be mostly staying in parks with hook-ups (at least AC power) then the upgrade track would go down one path. If you plan on doing more dry camping or boon-docking then I'd suggest another path.
We split our time roughly 75% dry camping and 25% with hook-ups. Our upgrade included replacing our 2, 12v batteries (they finally pooped out after 4 seasons) with 2, 6v golf cart batteries. No change to the converter was required. We also have a 200w solar set up to charge the batteries as well as an inverter generator for use as needed (not much). IMHO changing to more expensive battery types wasn't necessary as the ROI just wasn't there for us.
Give the forum a little more information and I'm sure you will get more suggestions.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	_MGL6263.jpg
Views:	73
Size:	431.5 KB
ID:	26457  
__________________
2017 Cougar 279RKSWE
2007.5 Dodge Ram 2500 6.7 Cummins
Retirement Training Completed
Mr. Rodgers did not adequately prepare me
for the people in my neighborhood
Canonman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2020, 07:19 AM   #4
GHen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Black Diamond
Posts: 286
I agree with above, to narrow down suggestions for upgrade we need more info. Although batteries are used even while on shore power, upgrades normally mean you will be Boondocking.

Where? Northern Canada or Arizona?
How many days? No power for one day or 7?
When? Primarily winter camping or summer?
What? Furnace, coffee maker, tv, microwave or just lights?
Backup? Do you have a generator?
Budget? $500 or $1500?

For us, here is my current and planned setup. 300 watt solar on the roof, 30 amp solar controller, four 6v CG batteries, 3000 watt inverter, stock converter and 4000 watts of available generator power. Need the generator when we are camping in the woods but the solar is great when we are in the sun. I would be happier with 400watts solar and six CG batteries. Normally we only boondock for a couple days, 7 days maximum. Over 7 days and water and sewer becomes the issue.
GHen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2020, 08:39 AM   #5
Hblick48
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Folsom
Posts: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by GHen View Post
For us, here is my current and planned setup. 300 watt solar on the roof, 30 amp solar controller, four 6v CG batteries, 3000 watt inverter, stock converter and 4000 watts of available generator power. Need the generator when we are camping in the woods but the solar is great when we are in the sun. I would be happier with 400watts solar and six CG batteries. Normally we only boondock for a couple days, 7 days maximum. Over 7 days and water and sewer becomes the issue.
We have almost the exact setup. 200 watts solar on roof and 100 watt portable suitcase panel (in case trees block roof), four 6 volt GC batteries, 1200 watt inverter, 4000 watt generator. Only need generator if no sun or need to run A/C, microwave or coffee maker. Solar is adequate for satellite tv, lighting, and other 12 volt usage. Boondock maximum is 4 to 6 days because of grey water capacity.
__________________
02 Montana 3250RL upgraded a bunch
05 Ford F-250 6.0 Bullet Proofed
Hblick48 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 02:20 AM   #6
KRumm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Palm Springs
Posts: 117
You really need to start at the beginning and determine your power needs...

My entire system of solar, charge controller, battery & inverter was designed to power my Italian Gaggia Classic espresso machine and coffee grinder while boondocking...
KRumm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 05:48 AM   #7
Logan X
Senior Member
 
Logan X's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,272
2 6v golf cart batteries and a small inverter will provide a lot of off grid power for a very reasonable price.

Keep it simple. Flooded lead acid batteries and keep the stock converter.

I would also recommend a good, shunt based, battery monitor. I use a Victron BMV 700. You probably already know this, but make sure you don’t discharge your batteries below 50% state of charge. Taking them below 50% will damage them and greatly shorten their lifespan. A good battery monitor allows you to know exactly how much battery life you have.
__________________
Mike
2017 F250 6.7 Powerstroke FX4 crew cab
2016 Hideout 24BHSWE (27 foot TT)

Check me out on YouTube if you love America:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmF...gJpypWJz5Lgl3w
Logan X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 06:48 AM   #8
rabbit59
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Bradford
Posts: 44
Can you trust the icommand system on all new Keystones, they give you this battery voltage, even remotely on my smart phone app? Not really sure if battery cutoff has to be on for this to work. Ill have to test this out. Thanks. Also, what do you mean "flooded lead acid batteries"? Acid levels way over plates? Don't go Lithium? Not sure what you mean? And stick with stock converter that came with cougar 22rbs? Thanks...
rabbit59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 06:51 AM   #9
rabbit59
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Bradford
Posts: 44
Like the sounds of camping next to you Krumm.....I love my coffee....
rabbit59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 06:57 AM   #10
rabbit59
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Bradford
Posts: 44
Also KRumm, what is your panel, controller, batteries, and inverter you use and why? If you don't mind sharing...Thanks
rabbit59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 06:59 AM   #11
rabbit59
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Bradford
Posts: 44
LoganX, How small an inverter would you think. I have one now but not too many watts I think. What inverter do you like/use? Thanks
rabbit59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 07:00 AM   #12
rabbit59
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Bradford
Posts: 44
And what brand GC batteries does everyone seem to like? I believe spend wisely the first time and get the best. Thanks all
rabbit59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 07:10 AM   #13
Logan X
Senior Member
 
Logan X's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit59 View Post
LoganX, How small an inverter would you think. I have one now but not too many watts I think. What inverter do you like/use? Thanks
I use a 300 watt inverter plugged into the 12v outlet by the tv. The only thing I use the inverter for is the tv. I run my Honda 2k generator to make coffee and run the microwave. Everything else pretty much runs on 12v and propane.

Here is the inverter I have-

https://www.amazon.com/BESTEK-300Wat.../dp/B07KQ4Q2L5

Disclaimer-the inverter is 300 watts but the 12v plug in my RV is not rated for that much power. Itís ok to run the tv or other small stuff but big stuff, like a hair dryer, would be too much.

Here is a video about my off grid power set up if you are interested-

https://youtu.be/iaQZY_naOdE
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	3405ED0B-CD25-4658-A320-63362538E91D.jpeg
Views:	49
Size:	124.1 KB
ID:	26493  
__________________
Mike
2017 F250 6.7 Powerstroke FX4 crew cab
2016 Hideout 24BHSWE (27 foot TT)

Check me out on YouTube if you love America:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmF...gJpypWJz5Lgl3w
Logan X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 08:30 AM   #14
Canonman
Senior Member
 
Canonman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: South Jordan, Utah
Posts: 1,434
Logan's set up is very nearly the same as ours. A simple inexpensive way to dry camp and extend your camping alternatives. I used the Duracell 6v golf cart batteries from Sam's Club, $89 each plus I got a $49 discount for using a Sam's credit card. Costco sells an Interstate GC battery also $89.
A small inverter for running the TV and charging the cell phones, lap top etc. is all we've needed. A 300 to 750 watt inverter should be large enough to do the job without unnecessary overhead draining your batteries. Cost is about $50. One difference is I ran some #10 wire from the batteries to the inverter location in the trailer just to be sure I didn't loose too much voltage from the batteries to the inverter.
Finally, if you're looking to do more dry camping, I'd suggest looking into some sort of solar set up. 100w minimum for keeping the batteries charged. Quieter than a generator and less expensive. We already had our genny from a previous trailer but only used it a couple of days last year when summer camping required running the A/C.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_6800.jpg
Views:	48
Size:	1.70 MB
ID:	26508  
__________________
2017 Cougar 279RKSWE
2007.5 Dodge Ram 2500 6.7 Cummins
Retirement Training Completed
Mr. Rodgers did not adequately prepare me
for the people in my neighborhood
Canonman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 09:04 AM   #15
KimNTerry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Windsor
Posts: 136
Current electrical:

4 Duracell GC Batteries from Sam's Club with it's own cutoff switch in the battery compartment (We can easily get by on 2 and I may reduce to 2 this season to save weight.)

An 1800 Watt Xantrex Inverter Charger with a built in transfer switch to run the DW's small hair dryer. The on board converter is bypassed so it does not accidentally get turned on. The 40Amp charger on 2/0 cables a few feet from the batteries does a much better job of the charging the batrtteries than the WFCO converter. In my case the onboard converter does not go past 13.8 Volts at the battery due to the circuitous routing of the rather anemic 6 gauge wire. Voltage drop is real. No idea why 30 ft of wiring is used on the converter or why the converter is in the middle of the trailer. The converter should be next to the battery on big fat cables.

All 120V outlets are availble to the Inverter. I just turn off the AC and microwave breakers to keep them from turning on.

The wired remote for the inverter does show voltage, but it is deceptive as when an item gets used, the voltage drop can show drastically, you have to wait until the load stops and the batteries settle a bit to use voltage and guess at State of Charge.

For power generation I have 2x Yamaha EF2000is generators that can be connected in paralell.

I added a Hard Start Capacitor to the AC and can start and run the AC using a single generator but nothing else.

Most of our camping is boondocking in the mountains and we don't typically use the Microwave or need the AC. If I know I'm going somewhere AC is required, we look for spots with electrical or paralell the generators. If I know I'm going to be at 10,000 feet with a high of 70 degrees F I'll only bring one generator to charge the batteries if required. With 4 GC batteries we can go an entire 3 day weekend without charging.
For coffee and/or tea I heat 1/2 gallon of water on the stove and pour it into a vacuum carafe that keeps the water drinakbly hot until early afternoon. I have a single serve drip coffee maker I put on a thermal mug and make my coffee 1 cup at a time. (I usually have time on my hands when camping to do this.)

Future plans:
A shunt based battery monitor to better see what is happening with the batteries.

I would like to acquire a smaller hard wired 300 watt inverter for the TV and entertainment stuff as running the 1800 watt inverter does use some extra energy that is not required for those items. I have tried running a 150 watt inverter, but the samller 10 gauge? wire used in the trailer at the opposite end of the run furhtest from the batteries does not lend itself well to that. We can't even make it through a movie before the small inverter reads an under volatage condtion and shuts down. Again DC voltage drop on long wiring runs is a real thing.

400 Watts of solar panels to keep the batteries topped off and bascially not let them get below 70-80%.
Solar Charge Controller to be determined. I keep going back and forth on the technology between PWM and MPPT compatring costs and different wiring requirements and brand(s) to use etc. I have researched this to death and have speced out many options right down to wire gauges, connectors, fuses and fasteners. It's all a mental exercise until I have a budget in place and funds comitted. I was going to try this year until the pandemic hit reality stage and my salary was cut 20%. So, on-hold yet again. Which is a shame since I have an extra day each week I have the time to to do the install.

I can fill the generator with fuel many many times and not equal the cost of a solar install even a DIY install. $1,000 fills that genrator a lot of times.

No plans on Lithium Ion Batteries. (The cost/benefit is not there for me yet.)
__________________

2016 Cougar 1/2 Ton Series 283 RETWE
2018 F150 EcoBoost FX4 Lariat Max-Tow and Heavy Duty Payload Package
KimNTerry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 10:08 AM   #16
notanlines
Senior Member
 
notanlines's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Germantown, TN
Posts: 4,393
Thomas, you need to bear in mind that all the add-ons and 'improvements' being done here will never return a dollar when the RV is sold or traded. RV dealers would not care to have $2500 worth of high tech electronics on a used RV. Make sure when they're installed that you can readily remove them and return the unit back to stock configuration.
__________________
Jim in Memphis
Wife of 49 years is Brenda
2019 F450 6.7 Powerstroke
2017 Mobile Suites 40RSSA
2015 26TBUD Salem Forest River (For Alaska Trip)
2001 Road king w/matching Harley sidecar
notanlines is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 10:19 AM   #17
flybouy
Site Team
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Joppa, MD
Posts: 5,423
Jim makes a good point on not recouping the cost. On that line of thought I'd also suggest a call to you're insurance agent before going in on thousands of dollars for an upgrade. Your policy may not cover "extras" not listed as OEM installed. If it does cover it I'd think you would need to be judicious in keeping you're records and receipts.
__________________
Marshall
2012 Laredo 303 TG
2010 F250 LT Super Cab, long bed, 4X4, 6.4 Turbo Diesel
flybouy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 10:35 AM   #18
KimNTerry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Windsor
Posts: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by notanlines View Post
you need to bear in mind that all the add-ons and 'improvements' being done here will never return a dollar when the RV is sold or traded. RV dealers would not care to have $2500 worth of high tech electronics on a used RV. Make sure when they're installed that you can readily remove them and return the unit back to stock configuration.
Good point and I agree. All modifications to my electrical system can and will be undone when it comes to move to a different RV. These items will come with me.
__________________

2016 Cougar 1/2 Ton Series 283 RETWE
2018 F150 EcoBoost FX4 Lariat Max-Tow and Heavy Duty Payload Package
KimNTerry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 11:00 AM   #19
JRTJH
Site Team
 
JRTJH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Gaylord
Posts: 19,622
Another consideration, when starting from scratch, is that 12VDC power delivery cables need to be SUBSTANTIALLY larger than 120VAC delivery cables...

What I mean by that is the 12VDC cables from the battery to the inverter are significantly larger than the 120VAC cables from the inverter to the plug where power is used.

So, if you plan to install your inverter "near the battery bank" you can reduce the need for a long run "2 ga or 4 ga cables" from the battery to the inverter. You can usually run a 2' cable from the battery to the inverter and then run 14 ga ROMEX from the inverter to the wall outlet. That saves a significant amount of money (copper is expensive) and also saves enough weight in wiring to at least address in the "overall electrical distribution plan".

Depending on where your batteries are located, where you want to install the inverter and where you plan to install the 120VAC outlets, a bit of "planning the alternatives" can save anywhere from $40-50 in a small trailer to well over $100 in the price of long runs of 2ga copper cable.
__________________
John



2015 F250 6.7l 4x4
2014 Cougar X Lite 27RKS
JRTJH is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2020, 11:04 AM   #20
MarkEHansen
Senior Member
 
MarkEHansen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 773
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit59 View Post
Can you trust the icommand system on all new Keystones, they give you this battery voltage, even remotely on my smart phone app? Not really sure if battery cutoff has to be on for this to work. Ill have to test this out. Thanks. Also, what do you mean "flooded lead acid batteries"? Acid levels way over plates? Don't go Lithium? Not sure what you mean? And stick with stock converter that came with cougar 22rbs? Thanks...
Flooded, lead-acid is the name used for the types of batteries commonly used in cars, trucks, RV, etc. It just means it contains plates submerged in an acid solution.

One way to determine state of charge for a battery is using voltage, but it's not straight forward. The charts folks post shows SOC for a given voltage reading, but it assumes at-rest voltage (no load on the battery) and the battery has been sitting in that state for an hour or so. This is pretty difficult to do with a battery that is currently running your trailer. A shunt-based battery monitor, like the one mentioned previously, takes the guess work out of it.

As others have said, battery and other components needed really depend on what you plan to do. If you will always camp in locations which have 120v power available, then you can get by with the inexpensive marine/deep-cycle/combo batteries usually provided by the RV dealerships.

Having enough battery to run without 120v power can still be an advantage, however. On one of our trips, we stayed in an RV park which provided 120v power - which we needed to run our CPAP machines. After the first night, power was cut to the area (due to forest fire risk at that time) and we had no power. We had to cut our trip short and go home.

We have since converted our trailer to run solely on battery (when 120v is not available) such that we can watch TV, run our CPAPs and still get 2-3 days of use before we need to recharge. We plan to get a small generator to help with the charging should that happen again.
__________________

__________________
2019 Cougar Half Ton 26RBSWE - "Bertha"
2019 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD 6.6L Duramax TD, CC, 4WD, DRW - "Mr. Beefy"
MarkEHansen is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery, upgrade

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Keystone RV Company or any of its affiliates in any way. Keystone RVģ is a registered trademark of the Keystone RV Company.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×