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RE: Inverter and battery sizing to power my camper microwave

I inrush current the same as surge capacity?They're very different. Time parameters for so-called "surge" current (or capacity) varies significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Sometimes it can be a fraction of a second---sometimes up to 30 minutes. Often times they don't even specify. Testing is not standardized. For many devices, it's basically a glorified continuous current rating---more a marketing ploy than anything else. Inrush current lasts *only* a fraction of a second and can be 2 to 6 times higher than the continuous current rating of the device. Inrush current is a very quick, significant burst of current necessary to start inductive devices like an a/c compressor or motor. It takes an inrush current capable AC clamp-on ammeter to measure inrush current. It cannot be measured with a standard AC clamp-on ammeter. A device can have an excellent, so-called, "surge" capability and a terrible inrush current capability. They're very different capabilities and ratings.
otrfun 01/28/23 12:32pm Truck Campers
RE: Inverter and battery sizing to power my camper microwave

We use a 200ah lifepo4 battery pack (equivalent to 2, 100ah lifepo4 batteries in parallel) and a 2000w inverter to power our 1050w (line input power) microwave and 11k btu a/c unit. Get about 85-90 min of continuous runtime when we're powering the a/c (similar runtime for microwave--although we rarely run it for more than 10-15 min.). When we're on the road we recharge the lifepo4 with a 40a dc to dc charger. It's all been working flawlessly now for almost 2 years. Choosing a capable 2000w inverter is important. Not all 2000w inverters are created equal. Although most inverters can supply their continuous current rating, many fall short providing suitable amounts of inrush current. Inrush current is necessary to successfully start a/c units and microwaves. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers provide inrush current specs for their inverters. Proper gauge wiring and quality connections are important, too. It can take 110-150a of 12vdc to power a typical microwave or RV a/c unit. That's a lot of current. It's one thing to simply power a microwave and/or a/c unit for a few minutes---it's another thing to do it continuously for an hour or so. Improper wiring and/or bad connections can cause significant voltage drop (and heat). Best case, you won't obtain full power from your inverter---worst case you could start a fire. Don't scrimp on the wiring. Good luck!
otrfun 01/28/23 10:35am Truck Campers
RE: 8 Gauge Wire

. . . What I am looking at installing is DCC30S 12V 30A Dual Input DC-DC On-Board Battery Charger with MPPT. I am looking at the specs but not finding the input current. I am still looking for that. But, and I’m sure I dont understand as well as you, I will be at a bit under 25 ft from truck batt to charger, which based on the specs I see online would be on the long end fog 6 awg, or safe with 4 awg. Right?According to the Renogy website, max rated input power for the DCC30S is 400w. Input voltage range is 13.2 - 16v (alternator voltage minus any voltage drop). Supposedly this unit is capable of up to 97% efficiency--impressive. Unfortunately, they don't state what conditions are necessary to obtain 97%, so efficiency could drop off significantly for other conditions. Based on these specs I'd guess-estimate input current would max out around 31a (current varies dependent on input/output voltage). 25 ft of 4 gauge would probably net you approx. 3% of voltage drop at 30-31a. This is based on the one-way distance (using the voltage calculator link I provided earlier). 3% should be fine. I wouldn't want it any higher.
otrfun 01/24/23 04:56am Truck Campers
RE: Help - jacks are draining my batteries

I am using all 4 jacks simultaneously. Maybe a little overly simplistic way of thinking about it (and also maybe a little out of my element here) but it seems like the same amount of power/energy is needed to raise/lower the camper, so whether you break it into pieces (1 or 2 at a time) or do it all at the same time (all 4 jacks) shouldn't matter all that much. If I'm wrong, and doing 1 or 2 at a time would help solve my problem, please let me know.When all 4 Happijacs on our 3000+ lb. 2019 TC are raising the TC up at the same time they draw approx. 25a in warm weather, 30-35a in cold weather (we have the direct drive units). Current draw drops approx. 15-25% when lowering the TC. Two fully charged, reasonably *healthy* group 24/27 batteries should easily power these jacks for at least 1.5 hours before discharging the batteries anywhere near 50%. Unless you're taking more than 1.5 - 2.0 hours to unload your TC, there is a problem. Either the batteries are not getting sufficiently charged (for any number of reasons) and/or there's excessive voltage drop and/or current draw somewhere in the system. Bad batteries, wiring, connections, converter, motors, etc. can all potentially play a part in this problem. One could write a small book on how to troubleshoot this. IMO, a good tech should be able to narrow down the source of this problem with a few voltage/current measurements fairly quickly. Lots of good troubleshooting tips being provided here. Good luck!
otrfun 01/21/23 09:45am Truck Campers
RE: 8 Gauge Wire

. . . I think I need to run a 4awg . . . What is the max *input* current rating for your dc to dc charger? This input current rating and the length of the cable run would determine which gauge cable is most appropriate for the input. You may find this voltage drop calculator helpful. IMO, a voltage drop of <2% is ideal, but up to 3% is acceptable. We ran approx. 25 ft of 2 gauge cable from the engine compartment to the input of our dc to dc charger inside our truck camper. Our dc to dc charger is rated for 40a of *output* charge current. The *input* current (i.e., alternator load) will always be higher. The 25 ft of 2 gauge cable nets us a ~3% voltage drop at 44-45a (nominal alternator load when producing 40a of output charge current). Yes, we could have used 25 ft of 4 gauge, but that would have increased voltage drop, reduced system efficiency, resulting in a higher load on the alternator. If we had used 4 gauge, the alternator load would have increased to approx. 50-55a (or almost 60a using 6 gauge) while still producing the same 40a of output charge current. If you're interested, Ohm's Law describes all these relationships in more detail. If you're not concerned about the load (i.e., wear and tear) on the alternator, then using a smaller cable is fine. If you are concerned about reducing the load on the alternator, then using a larger cable is the way to go. Your choice.
otrfun 01/21/23 08:11am Truck Campers
RE: Generator Gas Storage

. . . I believe what I need is a better gas tank and mount it on the ladder . . . We've been securing our 2 gal container with velcro straps on our rear ladder for years. As you mentioned previously, with the OEM spout stored inside the container it will eventually leak gas everywhere. We travel with the spout on the outside and secure the end with a pin-hole, vented cap. It's never leaked, expanded or collapsed even in temps as high as 105 deg or temps as low as 0f. Also, we never fill above the "fill" line on the side of the container.
otrfun 01/12/23 08:12am Truck Campers
RE: Inverter install

. . . is there a way to set a buzzer to let me know the converter is still on when I turn the inverter on . . . It's easy to inadvertently leave on a number of devices that shouldn't be on--especially after a long day. Not fun operating blind, waking up to a dead battery. You may want to consider adding a coulomb-type battery monitor, an inexpensive inductive-type current meter, or a simple DC clamp-on ammeter to your arsenal. All these devices can tell you at a glance your current charge (+) or discharge (-) current status.
otrfun 01/11/23 11:54am Truck Campers
RE: Broken Frame on a RAM 3500

. . . after 25k miles it broke after driving 55 on roads that according to the owner were “kind of back and forth, and there's dips and stuff”. A cracked frame is likely due to oscillation of the whole load, working the frame until the crack formed . . . A bunch of weight sitting over the rear axle does not stress the frame where it broke unless there’s an unholy motion . . . Good point. Totally agree. Oscillation and the location of the load's Center-of-Gravity over the rear axle is a key point. An oscillating, downward force (i.e., COG) directly over or in front of the rear axle should not have pushed the frame upward as shown in the pic. IMO, a failure (with a proper COG) would have resulted in the frame being pushed downward. If this guy had taken the time to visit a scale, odds are he would have quickly discovered he was grossly overloaded. But, more to my point, he would have discovered his front axle was being off-loaded many, many hundreds of pounds indicating a COG that was way behind the rear axle.
otrfun 12/31/22 06:33am Truck Campers
RE: Feedback on $50 Onan carbs on Amazon?

What's the consensus on the cheap knockoff carbs for Onan 5500 generators? They run in the $45 - $70 range, which is a lot less than $400 for the OEM. AMAZON LINK . . . Quite a few aftermarket Onan carbs ($45-$70) in this Amazon link have 4.5 and higher reviews (one has over 300 reviews). I saw two OEM Onan carbs in this same link (one ~$300, another ~$450) that only had 4.0 and 4.4 reviews, respectively. Only did a quick 30 sec look. There could be more. I find that interesting.
otrfun 12/24/22 06:19pm General RVing Issues
RE: DIY Li Battery Heater...A REAL TEST!

I'd have to measure it. But about 5" X 9".....That's 45 sq in. Assuming 25w of heat output, I'd guess it'll heat to around 115-125f in open air (at room temp). I'd measure it with an infrared temp gun to be sure.
otrfun 12/24/22 04:53pm Tech Issues
RE: DIY Li Battery Heater...A REAL TEST!

Delete - double post
otrfun 12/24/22 04:52pm Tech Issues
RE: DIY Li Battery Heater...A REAL TEST!

Agree on the pad size. I bought a smaller, 2amp pad to try in the truck with the one battery to see how it works. Stay tuned!How large is this 2a pad? I do know a single 25w (12v) 80x100mm silicone heating pad (which draws 2a) can get as hot as 160-170f. That's hot enough to burn your finger. Could be too hot for a plastic battery case. That's the primary reason why we used 4 of these same 25w heating pads wired in a parallel/series configuration. It distributes the same amount of heat as one 25w pad over a much larger area. With the 4, 25w pads wired parallel/series, each pad only heats to 110-120f (vs. 160-170f), and only draw 2a of total current (vs. 8a all wired in parallel).
otrfun 12/24/22 01:41pm Tech Issues
RE: DIY Li Battery Heater...A REAL TEST!

Great job! Very clean, well organized. For those planning on doing something similar, they'll find your pictures and videos very helpful. With all this cold weather we've had lately, it's a perfect time to test everything. One observation. Got to wonder if such a high wattage heating pad is necessary. 78w (6.5ah) is quite a high draw---especially if you're boondocking and trying to conserve. Realize you're trying to heat your 100ah lifepo4 cells indirectly, by heating the exterior plastic case. No doubt there's some inefficiencies at play here. We've found 4, 24w 80x100mm silicone heating pads (wired parallel/series) have the capability to heat our 200ah lifepo4 battery pack to 60f with an ambient of 0f. I'd guess they could probably maintain the cells at 35f with an ambient of -15f. Since the 4 pads are wired parallel/series they only consume 24w total (2a at 12vdc). This is a portable, completely self-contained battery with everything located inside an uninsulated Group 24 battery box. In cold weather we typically keep our lifepo4 cells at a constant 50f 24/7 so we can safely do .4c charges and .6c discharges at any time. We've found at 15f ambient, the heating pads (thermostat controlled) only draw approx. .75ah while keeping the cells at 50f. That's approx. the same overall draw as our inverter's parasitic, no-load draw.
otrfun 12/24/22 12:32pm Tech Issues
RE: Best used truck campers for ~4400lbs payload SRW 1T 8' F-350

The fiberglass clamshell types like Bigfoot are less susceptible to water intrusion.Not true since almost all of the water intrusion reported here comes in around marker lights with a bit from other openings in the top for vents, etc.Most would agree any truck camper can experience water intrusion. However, any TC that uses only fiberglass and/or aluminum (i.e., no wood) for structural support of the cabover and jack legs will be much less likely to experience a sagging cabover or loose/collapsing jack legs resulting from water intrusion. These are arguably the two most serious structural issues one can have with a TC.
otrfun 12/16/22 03:48pm Truck Campers
RE: Freeport TX

Ha, I thought maybe you were traveling in an A or C. I don't think a 4X4 truck of any type would have much of an issue getting onto any of the beaches down here. I do it in my 2WD F150 with street tires. I just get a running start before I leave the pavement. Bring a small shovel and bucket. If by off-chance you do get stuck, dig out the sand in front of all 4 tires to make the sand level with the tire and then wet the sand in front of the tires good to pack it. There's plenty of water to fill the bucket. Freeport and Brian has tons of driftwood for a campfire. We collect some for landscaping around the house. You might consider Matagorda Beach as well. It's very popular with the campers and easy on easy off. They charge a small fee (I think $10) for an annual pass but I doubt there is anyone collecting that during off season. There is also a nice RV park there off the beach. The down-side to all these beaches other than Surfside is there isn't anything close by to stock supplies. Bring what you need with you. You'll pass a Bucee's on your way to Quintana, Freeport and Brian. That's the closest store. Interesting store at that.Thanks for all the tips and recommendations. We'll definitely give Matagorda Beach a look. We've done a number of soft-sand beach excursions with various cars and trucks. Even got stuck a few times. However, our truck, with a very top-heavy, almost 4,000 lb. truck camper onboard changes things up dramatically. Not saying it can't be done, but we'll pass :)
otrfun 12/15/22 05:06pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Freeport TX

That 1 doesn't look bad at all. Most are much worse. Are you traveling with a TT or Class A?Truck camper (4x4 SRW). We have 295's on the rear, but it still doesn't do well in soft sand. Have given thought to bringing along recovery/traction boards, but not sure it's worth the hassle since we rarely, if ever, go off-road.
otrfun 12/15/22 10:53am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Freeport TX

There are several YouTube videos on this. We prefer Quintana but you can't drive or camp on the beach there2112, thanks! Watching this video was the next best thing to being there. The beach entrance/exit doesn't appear quite as rutted and soft as I expected. Of course, this was a few years ago. Very helpful, thanks again.
otrfun 12/15/22 08:28am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Freeport TX

Yeah, for $52 I'd sure hope Bluewater was a step-up from boondocking on the beach--lol! We were only considering the Brazoria beach option for a potential 1-2 night stay. Camping at/on the beach can be a nice change-up. Sorry to hear it has soft-rutted sand at the entrance. When we were in Brownsville a couple of years ago they had 4 or 5 off-road vehicles waiting at the beach entrance pulling folks out for whatever cash they had in their wallet. Bluewater stood out when we were researching options a few days ago. It's out there, surrounded by dunes and not much else. For some, that's a big plus. Seems to have good reviews. Has big concrete pads, a canal with hungry fish, and a relatively easy walk to the beach. Most important to us, they expect some availability throughout Jan. It's a good potential plan A; however, we'll feel better with if we can line-up a good plan B and C, too. Thanks for all the replies. Please keep 'em coming!
otrfun 12/14/22 09:06am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
Freeport TX

We're looking to head south for 2-3 weeks in Jan. We don't want to commit to reservations until we arrive for a number of reasons. Called quite a few RV parks near/on the coast in the Brownsville & Galveston areas yesterday to get a feel for how full they'll be in Jan. They may have the occasional 2-3 day opening here and there, but, for the most part they're booked solid. Seems to be quite a bit more vacancies south of Galveston, in the Freeport area, even on the coast. Any recommendations, tips for this area? Anyone have any thoughts about the Bluewater RV Resort? I get the impression there's camping allowed on Brazoria County beach off hwy 257. Soft sand? Safe? Thx!
otrfun 12/13/22 03:25pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Renogy 20A dc to DC report

all the dc to dc i have seen have a trigger wire so you can put it to a switch and onlly turn it on when you need it or hook it to the altanator trigger so it only starts when the altanator is putting out a voltage. mine is going on a KOER upfitter switch so I have to physicly turn on the switch and the engine has to be running before it will energize as for me this will just be a emergency source of power and I want to controle when it is on and off. with this you don't need a BI as it is built in, but if all you want to do is have it so you cant drain down your starting battery and not worry about charge profile then yes a BI is the way to go, but they serve two different purposes so one isnt a replacment for the other, well except in the case of the dc to dc as it has a built in BI so you get both if you go that way...If I understand your explanation, your system is going to: Require the operator to physically turn on the KEOR upfitter switch, while the engine is running, before it (the dc to dc charger) will energize.. Based on this functional description, I don't see how your KOER upfitter switch offers any additional or different capability vs. a standard dc to dc charger installation, other than the ability to turn the dc to dc charger off an on at will. Any switch will do that. Now if you're also saying the KOER upfitter switch output is only active when the engine is running, then a BI wired through a simple off/on switch would function the same way. It would only allow the the dc to dc charger to be turned on when the switch is on and the engine is running. You seem to infer the Renogy ignition trigger wire and/or Battery Isolator has some effect on the Renogy dc to dc charger's "charge profile". They do not! This is true regardless how they're used, or not used, as the case may be. They *only* turn the dc to dc charger off and on---nothing more, nothing less. StirCrazy, you mention a BI (Battery Isolator) is "built-in" to a Renogy dc to dc charger. It is not! The ignition trigger wire by itself is *not* equivalent to a BI. The Renogy ignition trigger wire will activate the dc to dc charger when it senses *any* nominal amount of 12vdc (10-15v). It cannot tell the difference between the output of a battery or alternator. A Battery Isolator can. The BI is voltage selective to ensure it will *only* close the relay (activating the dc to dc charger) when the alternator is active, when voltage is >=13.3v. Battery voltage (12.7v) alone will *not* activate the BI relay. This protects the battery from being discharged by the dc to dc charger if the alternator is not operating for any reason. *None* of this capability is "built-in" to a Renogy dc to dc charger. Lastly, yes, you can connect the Renogy ignition trigger wire directly to the alternator output. This will turn-off the dc to dc charger when the alternator is off-line. However, it's important to find a circuit that is not backfed by the battery when the engine is not running. On some vehicles, this is much easier said than done. Using a battery isolator can save time and grieve and accomplish exactly the same thing. Additionally, for those who have a dc to dc charger located inside a TT, 5R, or TC, mounting a BI inside the RV, next to the dc to dc charger, can save the hassle of running a 20-30 ft. ignition trigger wire all the way to the alternator in the TV engine need to read what I said, I am putting it on the upfitter switch so I have controle when it is on. I never mentioned that it has anything to do with the charge profile, it is like you said to turn on or off. if it is on you are charging your house battery if it is off you are basicly isolated and the actual place to hook it to is a alranator output that is only hot when the engin is running. For me, the only time I am using it is when it is an emergency as that means my solar has failed due to weather or what ever so yes I want to be able to have it off while I am driving and don't need it, or when I am camping I can turn the switch on while the truck is off and if I run into a situation where I need some extra power I can just use the remote start from inside the camper. so I am basicly using it as a very afordable and much quieter generator. I do not want it running when ever the truck is. that would just be a waist of fuel to me, and yes extra curent will decrease fuel milage. the problem as you sugested by just using a simple on off switch is what if you leave it on? if I leave an upfitter switch on and shut off the truck the circuit goes dead allowing me to leave it in that state and use it like a generator. and one more thing if you look at any documentation for a dc to dc it is to be installed as close to the batteries it is charging as possible so running a new wire or two is the best option anyways. as for the isolate part I believe I said it acts like a built in battery isolater, if I didn't I apologise (I worded that wrong and changed it to read proper) it is a battery charger not a wire so it will only flow one way if the truck is off and your trigger wire is hooked up properly. it won't suck down your starting battery unless you intentionaly hooked it up that way which is contratry to the instructions. a battery isolater is useless unless you using starting batteries for your rv, well not useless but doesnt do anything except prevent back draw, it does nothing to optimize charging profiles and that is the main reason to use a dc to dc charger. and yes you have to hook it up right, the trigger is to be hooked up to a line thats only hot when the engine is running and on top of that you have to size it properly for your altanator.StirCrazy, I read your previous post a number of times before I posted my reply. My apologies, but I was having a very difficult time comprehending it. I high-lighted in bold what I saw as your major points, took them at face value, and replied accordingly. As for this last post, suffice to say, it appears you're applying due diligence to ensure you get the results and performance you want. The primary purpose of my previous post was to clarify what a Renogy ignition trigger wire and battery isolator can and cannot do, in the simplest, most succinct way I know how. Although a battery isolator is a very simple device, it is also a very much misunderstood device in terms of its function, capability and application. At this point, I don't think I have anything further to add to this thread, so I think it's time for me to bow out. Sounds like you've got some very cool projects going on. Best of luck with them all!
otrfun 12/12/22 09:09pm Tech Issues
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