House Battery? - Usage Calculation Help? - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:11:AM Thread Starter
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House Battery? - Usage Calculation Help?

I'm trying to decide on what battery setup I need for my wagon. I have the stock single battery with the "heavy duty" alternator. We plan on running the following:

-MaxxAir Deluxe Fan
-3-4 LED Lights or maybe wire the cabin lights into the house battery
-Portable refrigerator, likely ARB
-Use exiting 12V Cig lighter and wire it to be hot all the time to charge iPad or iPhone
-Marpac sound machine for sleeping toddlers...

Typically we will camp for 3-4 days maximum. Often we will be near family with trailers or at camp sites that may have power so we could run a cord for shore power. Thought we would buy a battery box from Hein and mount in underneath the van, add a house battery or two? Which batteries? Don't think I need to go with solar. Ideas?

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:39:AM
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Originally Posted by belloinsella View Post
I'm trying to decide on what battery setup I need for my wagon...
Typically we will camp for 3-4 days maximum.


Best value for house batteries is a pair of 6v golf cart batteries in series. 230 AH of true deep cycle for under $250, might be more juice than you need but you could boondock safely for 3-4 days. If you are under mounting the batteries, it might be wise to look at AGM batteries since it will be tricky to check the water level as is regularly required by flooded cells.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:44:AM Thread Starter
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Best value for house batteries is a pair of 6v golf cart batteries in series. 230 AH of true deep cycle for under $250, might be more juice than you need but you could boondock safely for 3-4 days. If you are under mounting the batteries, it might be wise to look at AGM batteries since it will be tricky to check the water level as is regularly required by flooded cells.
Thanks! AGM would be good for sure. Hein's battery boxes foit GC2 or Group 27. How about two Group 27 West Marine batteries, 92 AH? I might be able to get a good deal from West Marine:
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-...41?recordNum=1

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:35:PM
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I might be able to get a good deal from West Marine:

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-...41?recordNum=1


For that kind of money you could get a Lifeline 210 AH AGM with a 5 year warranty, and have no worries about equalizing the two group 27s. My buddy has had a Lifeline in his RV that he lives in 30% of the time; he has had the battery 7 years and is just starting to think about replacing it.

Not sure if they make one that would fit in heins boxes, but any sheetmetal shop could make a SS box that would work as well.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:53:PM
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Not sure if group 31 batteries would fit in Hein's battery box. Sam's Club in Southern California carries Duracell Platinum group 31 AGM (31DTMAGM) for $155. This battery is rated at 105ah for 20 Hr rate.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 11:59:AM Thread Starter
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I've narrowed our needs to:
-MaxxAir Fan (average on speed 5: 1.0A x 15 hours)= 15Ah
-Norcold Fridge NRF 45 (4.8A x 35% duty cycle x 24 hours)=40Ah
-Phones or iPad, guessing= 2Ah
Total Each Day Camping= 57Ah

So in theory a 105Ah battery should be ok if you run it down to 50%. But if we want to camp for 2-3 days we would need to charge the battery at some point.

Option 1: Get a big 100-200Ah AGM house battery and charge via the alternator. Keep it simple and plug the fridge into shore power when available. Use the fan sparingly. Do I need a battery charger? I got a quote from an upfitter for around $1800 installed. That seems steep. What are the parts needed? Battery, cables, fuse box, isolator?

Option 2: Get a 100Ah battery, 160W solar panel, mppt controller and have the solar keep the battery topped off all the time. Need an inverter too?

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 12:29:PM
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Originally Posted by belloinsella View Post
I've narrowed our needs to:
-MaxxAir Fan (average on speed 5: 1.0A x 15 hours)= 15Ah
-Norcold Fridge NRF 45 (4.8A x 35% duty cycle x 24 hours)=40Ah
-Phones or iPad, guessing= 2Ah
Total Each Day Camping= 57Ah

So in theory a 105Ah battery should be ok if you run it down to 50%. But if we want to camp for 2-3 days we would need to charge the battery at some point.

Option 1: Get a big 100-200Ah AGM house battery and charge via the alternator. Keep it simple and plug the fridge into shore power when available. Use the fan sparingly. Do I need a battery charger? I got a quote from an upfitter for around $1800 installed. That seems steep. What are the parts needed? Battery, cables, fuse box, isolator?

Option 2: Get a 100Ah battery, 160W solar panel, mppt controller and have the solar keep the battery topped off all the time. Need an inverter too?
I have a similar setup. Instead of a fan, this winter, I've been running a Propex HS2211 ducted propane furnace. It probably draws about the same as the Maxxfan. I have the Norcold NR751. I charge my iPhone at night. I decided to start simple. Since my van only had 1 battery, I added a second battery under the driver's seat. This form factor limited me to 85ah. I can make it all night and have enough left to turn on the inverter and charge my laptop, but then I have to crank up the van to charge up for the next night. I usually drive every day anyway, so that works for me for now.

A large inverter is only needed if you want to run large AC loads. I want to run my rooftop A/C while driving, so I installed a 2000w inverter. For small AC, loads like a laptop, use a small, inexpensive inverter. I'd look for one that has a quiet fan. You used to be able to buy small inverters with large heatsinks in place of fans, but I couldn't find one last time I looked.

IDK how many AH I'm using, but a 85ah AGM battery gets me to the low voltage cut-off on my inverter.

If I decide to upgrade batteries, I'll go with Hein's battery box and whatever batteries are designed to fit in it. Measuring and fabricating takes so much time and batteries are heavy - the design of a battery box is not something you want to get wrong.

I've heard you can get good deals on name brand house batteries by shopping around at local battery distributors. That may be worth a try. I got my one 85ah AGM battery for $130 including tax and shipping from Amazon, but IDK if that deal can be repeated.

Last edited by pjtezza; 01-24-2017 at 12:39:PM.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 12:38:PM
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You used to be able to buy small inverters with large heatsinks in place of fans, but I couldn't find one last time I looked.
Morningstar 300 watt.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 12:43:PM
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Haha, that is a good find for sure, but about 20x as expensive as the 300w unit with a fan, ugh!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 04:30:PM
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I'm gonna throw out some wisdom. Take it or leave it.

Whatever you think you need, double it if you can. Your dependable charging capabilities are nowhere near as dependable as additional battery storage.

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