• MarkRivard
    4
    We have a 2018 Montana 3160RL with four 6 volt lead acid batteries installed. I am not happy with amount of off grid time i can get from the set. My wife and I want to be able to go boondocking for 4-6 day. I currently have a Yamaha 3200 generator and am planing to get a 100-200 amp ground mount solar set up. If I can get this all working some day I would like 4-600 on the roof.

    My first question is what do you all use for batteries and chargers. That's my starting point to see what it will take to last 2-4 days with minimal power usage and not charging.

    I have been RVing for many years but new to boondoggling. thanks for any comments.

  • Logan X
    100
    Welcome to the forum!

    I’m a little surprised you can’t camp for 4 to 6 days with the 4 6v batteries you have now. I can camp for 3 or 4 days, with four kids, and heavy use, on 2 6v batteries. How long are those batteries lasting you?

    How are you determining the batteries state of charge (how much energy you have used)? Are you using a battery monitor or checking the voltage?

    Sorry if you know this already...if you discharge flooded cell batteries below 50%, and especially if you are running them down to zero all of the time, you will damage the batteries and they will no longer hold a charge. Also, the cells need to be topped off with distilled water about once a month.

    The on board charger on your trailer should be fine unless you change to lithium batteries.

    Here is a video on my off grid set up. I use the “keep it simple” philosophy...
  • Ray
    732
    We did pretty well with 4 golf cart batteries and 500 watts of solar for several years. The toughest time was the mid-winter with low sun angles and short days but come February the generator was hardly used. We are a moderate power user with just a 1000W inverter.
    I guess the best advice is to get a good battery monitor and do a personal energy audit. Lithium batteries are great but lots of people had success boondocking for decades before they showed up. :)

    Battery chargers work best if located close to the batteries, its long wire runs that usually cause issues due to voltage drops across the wire run fooling the chargers smart charging algorithm into thinking the battery is charged thus prematurely limiting the current flow. You end up running a generator for hours with little charging going on.
  • Greg F
    275
    The 200 watt ground mount will make a big difference!

    Also Rays video on FLA battery testing and maintenance is good info.

    Battery testing and maintenance.
  • MarkRivard
    4
    Logan I am as well. With two I was able to go two plus days. When I added the second set a month later it killed the life. I need to buy a monitor and see how much power I am using.
  • MarkRivard
    4
    I'll order a battery monitor and start there. Thanks
  • Herb
    33
    FYI ... I have a 30' Jayco. I use 2-6V golf cart batteries. I used 1-100W solar panel for 3 years and just added a 2nd one. The 2nd one made a big difference. I have them on the ground and 'chase the sun' a bit. I supplement with a 2000W inverter generator, but rarely use it. We live & do most of our camping in the Pacific N.W. & are usually in the trees. The gen gets used during inclement weather but rarely use more than 1 gal of gas on a 4-5 day outing. We just got back from 7+ weeks in S.W. Arizona and never used the generator. Our power requirements are pretty basic and only use a portable 400W inverter to charge 2 laptops, 2 phones & 2 iPads. I keep my batteries above 65% state of charge . Friends have very elaborate systems costing $12-$15k & can run 110V all day & night though. I'm too cheap to spend that much & don't need it. There's everything in between as well depending on just what you want.
  • MarkRivard
    4
    Herb

    Sounds like we use our campers about the same. We have a 2018 montane 3120 RL. I think the big power draw is the refer. Even running on propane there are two fans that are always running. I need to set up some metering systems to learn where the power is going. I’m not spending 10-15K or more for a full solar and lithium setup. If we liver full time it may be different and when we retire in 1-4 years our needs may change again. For now I just want a simple reasonable cost system that will support us for 4-6 days.
  • Lisa's RV ExperienceAccepted Answer
    59
    I started full-time with 2 Battle Born 100Ah batteries and did very wells since you'll have almost the full 200Ah to use. They are expensive but you won't regret it. If you're an Escapees member you can get 15% off I think but you have to go through https://battlebornbatteries.com/ to get the discount and probably have to call to verify the price. I bought my batteries as part of black Friday from Northern Arizona Wind & Sun for $854.10 each with free s/h and no tax.
  • Rush and Lola
    170
    I bought four 6 volt T-105 RE's, for $155 apiece. Now have 8-6 volt T-105 RE's. Works great and I saved a lot of money and have been in 13 degree weather recently and they charged up without a heater or any form of warmth other than the warmth that was available. u7v2dlnz4zkhp5eo.jpg
  • Herb
    33
    We have a 2"-3" cube looking fan for the refrigerator. Bought at Amazon for just a few dollars. Runs a very long time on a "D" cell battery. It made a big diffrence in cooling. We use propane, not 110. Excluding the use of the furnace, we have no problem going 10-14 days on just 1 of our 30# tanks. We have 2 but only tap into the 2nd during the cold Winter outings. We are not minimalist by any stretch.
  • Rankin
    12

    Did you check for a shorted cell one bad cell would cause reduced capacity and would continue to draw power from others in the bank. If there a large Specific Gravity (S.G) difference in one of the cells this also means the battery is having issues. Sometimes a gassing type of charge can bring the S.G levels back in line. I have also seen adding a concentrated acid in a low reading cell improve the cell. I worked on banks of 880Ah batteries in a diesel electric environment for years. How did you connect the outputs series / parallel. I have 4 6V in my unit I connect 2 cells in series as a bank and paralell the banks now I connect the negative from one bank and positive from the other bank to the charger.
  • MarkRivard
    4
    I am going to take batteries in to be tested. They are four years old so not sure how good they will still be.
  • MarkRivard
    4
    my configuration is like yours. 235 usable AH at 12 volts. I am recalling leaning road just getting a couple battle born 100ah 12 volt batteries. That are costly but seam much easer to manage.
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