As I noted last week, I have been looking at options to strengthen our electrical system for those times where we are not hooked up. I decided to install two AGM batteries and a new controller under our couch which would double our capacity and also give us room for further expansion.
So I went down to my friends at Vintage Trailer Supply and talked to them about converters. Steve, the owner, thought that my existing converter would probably work ok but I opted to buy a new INTEL-POWER 9200 which “monitors the battery voltage then automatically adjusts the converter output voltage to provide the proper charging voltage for fast recharge and long-term maintenance.”
I had pretty much narrowed my battery choices down to 105 AH units from Fullriver or Lifeline which sell for over $300 per unit. I went with Lifeline because they are American-made and I got a good price from Powerstride Battery who got them here in four days with free shipping.
The installation of the converter was relatively smooth with just two leads to change – but of course it wasn’t that easy – the grounding wire was almost too short because it attaches on the far end of the unit. I got it going and soon was testing it on my existing battery, which it brought up to full charge over a day or so.
The major project while I awaited the new batteries was to move all the wires into the trailer. First, from inside the trailer, I labeled all the wires since some stay as is (the solar lines) and others (the wire for the tongue jack) have to be extended to come inside.
I reluctantly the terminal clamps off (the new units don’t use posts) and used my torch and solder to attach two new leads. Since I did it outside right near the tongue, I disconnected and moved the two propane tanks far away. I pulled all the lines inside, brought my old battery inside, and hooked it up to test the new setup. I got it done on a sunny day just before a front brought an all-day rainstorm.
The Lifeline batteries came UPS yesterday afternoon and soon I was moving them into place. They have a 6mm terminal and a positive 8mm one. I knew that but it turned into a hassle as all my positive fittings had holes that were too small. I reamed and drilled out a couple, with some colorful language but I wired them up in parallel and while several leads are too long, the system seems to be in good shape. The converter started polishing off their charge right away.
I need to build a containment system around the batteries to keep them from moving. I have the materials and then it’s just moving the couch back, fastening it down, and cleaning it up. I think that this is going to be a good project to give us more flexibility in camping sites – and it is nice to have it done.