My inverter and battery monitor installation project has turned into a revamping the battery bank project.
I can’t believe that a high end RV like a Glendale Royal Classic does not have a proper battery compartment that makes accessing the batteries for maintenance easy. The batteries are in the corner of a narrow compartment on the front passenger side:
That picture might give the impression that there is a lot of room to work, but there isn’t. Getting in there is such a twisty business that I neglect my maintenance. For one thing, I’m very overdue to clean my battery posts. I have started to keep a cover over the batteries, but getting it off is a pain, and then you have to blindly squeeze in there to do the maintenance on the positive terminal. Getting the cell caps off to water? Augh!
What doesn’t help is that 6V batteries are taller than 12V batteries, another reason why I wanted to move back to the 12V style. But thanks to all the comments I have received, I now know that my battery information is several years out of date and that I can get two 6V with all the amp hours I need and that I will be better served by them than by two 12V. So I am eventually going to replace my two 6V with way fewer amp hours (90!!!!!) than I thought they had (150!!!!!) with the biggest Trojans (200 amp hours!!!!!) I can fit in my space. Thank you so much to everyone who beat me about the head with this information.
So all that about batteries to say that I am always going to have two tall 6V that don’t fit well in the compartment and that I am always going to have trouble doing maintenance on them.
Then, there is the design of the battery bank to keep in mind. I’m no longer going to be able to simply connect everything to my battery posts.
The addition of the 1,000W inverter means having to put in a 150A fuse on the positive side to protect my system. Such a device is not available locally, so I am shopping online and getting frustrated by the lack of sources in Canada.
I also need a shunt for the negative side, but, thankfully, that came with the battery monitor.
As for cables, ha! I need a short length (about one foot each) from the terminals to the fuse and shunt respectively, and then about six feet from the fuse and shunt to the inverter in the rig. All four cables need to be 2 gauge and will require lugs, which means crimping. I am not buying a crimper, so that means having to pay someone to make the cables for me. And that’s if I find cables. The best tip I got so far was to look for a place that specializes in car stereos, so that’s where I’ll start looking.
When I look at how others have designed their battery banks, I see that the shunt and fuse holder are often bolted to the side of the battery compartment. My compartment only has one wall and it’s not easily accessible, so forget that idea.
The more I think and research the project, the more the technical part of it becomes very clear and the more the challenge becomes a lack of sources for parts and a lack of space to work.
Relocating the battery bank is one option. But the only compartment that would be suitable is the giant passthrough at the rear of the rig. I’d be loathe to lose all that space and I’m nervous about having my batteries back there; it just feels like a more vulnerable spot than the front compartment in terms of potential accidents.
But that would put my battery bank directly under the office, so I’d be able to put the inverter in the office and avoid running the 120V wiring from the living room to here. It also seems to make more sense to have the batteries down here since the converter is in this room. I’d still have to run wiring the length and width of the rig to keep the batteries connected to the truck alternator and converter, but that should be fairly doable so long as I keep everything labeled in the dismantling process.
The biggest con for moving the batteries is the weight redistribution. My existing batteries weight 260lbs total. It seems like I will be able to reduce that weight with the Trojans, but for now, I have a battery bank that weighs 260lbs. The distribution of the weight on the axles is such that if i were to remove 260lbs from the front passenger side and move it to the rear, I would have to find 260lbs to move to the front. All the weight in the rear of the rig is inside, not in the storage compartments. I’m sure I can pull that much weight out of the storage compartment, but it won’t fit in the passthrough at the front.
So moving the batteries, while an attractive idea with a lot of benefits, is ultimately a much bigger project than what I want to get to get into.
Therefore, the idea that I am mulling over right now is being able to access my battery bank from above. Yup, I am considering building a trap door in my living room to the compartment below. I believe it could be positioned in such a way that the chair would cover the hatch, so the hole wouldn’t be immediately apparent. There would be a matter of ensuring the floor is still structurally sound, well insulated, and well sealed to keep off gassing fumes (and cold air) from sneaking in from the basement. I’m not crazy about this idea, but so far it’s a notch above using the rear passthrough.
I have to empty the rear passthrough next week so that work can be done on Miranda’s rear end. Once it’s empty, I’ll examine the space and determine which option I want to go with.
I am actually at the point where I think that AGMs, while twice (or more) the cost of traditional batteries, could be my solution since they are virtually maintenance free and once the knuckle grazing battery bank set up is done, I wouldn’t have to twist myself into the battery compartment very often. So that option is very much on the table.
If any readers have designed their own battery banks where there was no obvious place for one, I’d love some input!Share on Facebook