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Gus

Salem Ice cabin owners, battery question

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I'm curious if any of you have changed the battery configuration around at all? I'm contemplating going to a dual battery setup, but there isn't room for 2 in the battery tray.

I'm considering putting the batteries on the inside under the sofa, but worried about battery venting.

I can't make it a night running the furnace without running my generator all night, which is getting old.

Would going with sealed AGM batteries avoid battery gasses when charging?

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I have a Salem and there are a couple of things to consider. First of all why not run the generator all night? I have a Honda that runs all night at a basic idle and uses very little gas and with the Berg system I get over 72 hours of continuous run time with no worries. I have over 10 nights this year in it without any major issues. Second, you could simply put a second battery in a box outside and hook up a male 7 pin trailer connector to the Power and Ground terminals and it will be in parallel with your existing battery when you plug the standard trailer connector into it. Although not a permanent solution, it's no different than having a generator plugged in. The third is I noticed that the new 2015 Salem's appear to have a larger battery box, enough for 2 batteries. Maybe you can check this out and have the larger box installed relatively easy. I believe the converter will handle both batteries but it would be good to verify. Also I put LED's in the lights vs the standard incandescents. The standard bulbs take 3 amps of current per fixture while the 240 lumen LEDs that simply plug into the existing fixture take 0.38 Amps, a huge difference.

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I needed more tongue weight on my Salem so I added a second battery to the tongue. I ran all night last week on just battery juice and the furnace ran about 50% of the time. I also have an DC to AC inverter and was using it to run a bait aerator and a small fan. The next morning I turned a light on and got the low voltage beep from the inverter. I thought having 2 newer marine batteries it wouldn't even come close to draining both over one night. When I fired up the generator I noticed quite an increase in speed on the furnace fan. I think my batteries are group 27 and 120 amp hours each.

One thing to note is when it's really cold out like it was your batteries are going to struggle too since neither of mine are in a heated area. The stock battery is in the house but the outside cover isn't insulated so it's probably just as cold as the one on the tongue.

full-26462-52521-image.jpg

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Thanks for the input guys.

I've done the LED light upgrade. I'm really only concerned about the furnace. Last trip my Honda generator wouldn't start. While messing around, the furnace quit too because the battery got too low. I think it maybe ran for an hour constant during heat up of the ice cabin. Prior to that, it should have been fully charged and just sat one night with no use. (Trailed to destination lake late at night, checked Ice conditions next day and put the house out)

I needed to fire up the truck with it connected to the ice cabin to get the furnace going again, warm up the generator, and finally the generator started.

I've got a group 24 deep cycle battery from fleet farm in it now, which was my trolling motor battery this summer and new then. The stock dual purpose interstate that it came with seems to die quicker.

Maybe I'll check into the larger battery box or the external idea. I actually like that external idea quite a bit.

The other thought I had is that maybe I have a bad drain someplace?

If you guys leave your house unplugged from shore power, how long before the house battery dies with no use? I might get a week to two. I know after 3 weeks the battery is dead enough that I need to hit it with a manual charger first. I assumed this was normal with all of the co/propane detectors plugged in and radio, etc. Maybe this is actually a problem?

Thanks again.

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Is there one and only one battery to run the furnace, lights, accessories and JACKS???

Those electric jacks pull a serious load to operate. If I had electric jacks, they would be run off a set of dedicated group 31 batteries, with another separate battery for the furnace etc. Charged up with minimum 10 amp 3 bank charger.

If your battery will only run the heater and a few led lights for an hour straight, something is very, very wrong.

To the reply above asking "why not run the generator constantly?"....... Because there is no reason you should have to!! That is putting an incredible amount of wear and tear on the machine (not to mention gas money) for no good reason. I run mine for 3 hours in a twenty four hour period, not 24/24.

As for the radio, it does draw a small amount of current when off. To eliminate this you can disconnect the "ACC" wire from the power source (but it won't save radio stations, time and settings).

Hope this helps smile

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Everything in the house, jacks included, are run off the one battery. To save on juice, I normally will keep the truck running and connected to the trailer when I lower and raise the house. I also have a Big Volt auger which I connect to the house battery, but again I leave the truck running when I drill my holes.

I didn't seem to have as much trouble with this when I had my old truck. This new F150 very well might play a part in this. I did install the fuse under the hood so I get 12V to the trailer plug, but it's possible with all the fancy electrical systems that it's not putting out enough amperage through the trailer plug? Just a thought I had... I know the manual for the truck says that the system will monitor the battery of the truck and only apply as much voltage as needed from the alternator, but it doesn't say much about the trailer 12V output. Maybe I'm just draining the battery too much during setup... Interesting problems I guess.

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Sounds like you are pretty much sucking that battery down to nothing during setup.

Even with the truck hooked up, it's probably not helping out much with such a small gauge wire running to the shack (probably a 12-14 gauge). Look at how thick your auger cables and jack power cables are compared to the truck wiring.

You need more reserve power available for what you are doing. Is there room for another battery or two under a bunk or cabinet?

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If you guys are having battery issues, take a look into the 6 volt setup. You can get two 232 amp hour 6 volt batteries for around $175. You'll have another $10 in the cable to join them together.

I have a furnace that pulls about 7amps (about twice what yours are) and I can easily run 3 days without a generator.

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Gus,

One thing that might help is moving up in size on the current battery. You say that it's a series 24 which is the smallest of the practical deep cycle sizes. Moving to a series 27 will increase your reserve capacity by about 20%. There is a valid concern regarding draw down on setup as each jack takes about 25 amps and runs for about 3 minutes or so each. Leaving it plugged into the truck and leaving the truck running while set up and drilling will definitely help supplement the power needed but not all of it but realistically if you do run a generator or keep it hooked to the truck for a while after you are set, either will top off your battery. I too have a Big Volt 10" auger but as stated, I just leave the generator running so I really, other than the time my generator shut off sometime in the night but the battery kept going, I have enjoyed good power. I did a couple of things to the electrical system, which is under my sofa. First, there was a 1/2 volt drop in the wiring between the battery voltage and the voltage at the converter. This is a lot of power. I ran a 6 ga wire from my positive terminal at the converter to the load end of the 50 amp thermal fuse that is in series with the trailer circuit (to prevent any short from starting a fire). That put the battery and converter voltage under load the same. I noticed the fan speed increased as it should have. Secondly I put a marine battery shut off switch in series with the battery side of the thermal fuse, Battery to switch to fuse. I too would have issues with the battery draining while gone. Now instead of unhooking the battery before I leave it in storage I simply turn the switch. It's mounted through the wood panel under the sofa and looks like it should be there. I also used a Ranger type trolling motor plug and mounted it in the same area then used the male end on my Big Volt, now I just plug it in.

As far as wear and tear on my Honda, do a search and you'll find many claims of over 10,000 hours on a E2000i. At about 400 hours a year, I'll be colder than it will be by the time it dies! Now it's just gas and we all know where that is today, I saw $1.79/gallon.

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Thanks for the input everyone.

I don't have a problem running my generator, but being so dependent upon it is what really got me thinking, especially after having a hard time getting it going once. Only time I've ever had an issue with it.

So for now, I'm thinking about upping the battery capacity as well as installing a battery disconnect. I'm unsure about going for a single larger battery, or changing the whole configuration up to try and get two in. Obviously one is more work right now and probably a better summer project. The current battery compartment is sealed to the inside, vented to the outside, so dealing with silicone in temps like this seems like a bad idea. There is plenty of room under the couch for more batteries, but making sure they are safe is another thing.

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On my ice cabin the power bank says the charger is 55 amps minus any other loads. Can that be possible? Seems like it should charge a dead group 27 in about 2 hours.

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I think that's probably correct. It doesn't seem to take much load off the generator so I guess I could be a bit skeptical also, but that is what the specs say. I'm sure we probably have the same unit.

From the manufactures (WCFO Electronics) HSOforum:

The WF-8900 Series has revolutionized RV power centers with its lighter weight, decorative doors and superior features. The WF-8955 model provides 55 amps and a clean, constant 13.6 Vdc nominal output, for reliable operation of electronics and appliances. Automatic three-stage charging extends the life of your battery with output voltage modes of 13.2 Vdc range “float” mode, 13.6 Vdc range “absorption” mode, and a 14.4 Vdc range “bulk” charge mode. The 8900 Series also maintains peace and quiet, as the cooling fan runs only when needed.

FCC Class B compliance for every power center model means that the units are dsigned not to cause interference with televisions, radios or other signals. Electronic current limiting automatically shuts down the power during overload or short-circuit conditions, protecting the life of your power center and electrical system.

The 8900 Series models provide AC and DC distribution with innovative features. They can accommodate a 30-amp main AC circuit breaker and up to five branch circuits. Eleven-branch DC circuits are available with LED lights for each DC circuit to illuminate and identify open circuits.

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Gus,

It won't take a load off your generator unless your battery is fully discharged and you have everything on. 13.2V x 55A = 726 watts, so even if you were utilizing everything it's still less than 1/2 the power available from your generator. More than likely with a 80% charged battery, some lights, and your furnace running it's probably no more than 150 watts of power which is very light for your Honda.

I've had trouble starting my generator in cold, sub zero weather however I've learned to just bring it in the house and even with just the warm air inside and not letting it sit a while, she starts on the 2nd pull every time.

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Anyone try putting in direct vent wall mount propane heater with some fans instead of the force air furnaces?  I think there are some that have a thermostat and still don't require a battery.  Maybe use a few fans to move the air around?  We've got one in our homemade small 6 x 10 and it works pretty good.  Are these not enough to heat a 8 x 16 house?

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How about using a AGM battery. They are sealed so no need to vent. I use one in my Yetti for the last 3 years. I also use a big volt and run a forced air furnace. I made an extra storage area in front of my rear jack knife sofa for the battery. I remove the lid to access it to hook up the big volt. After drilling the hose I reconnect the house power back to the battery. I used old jumper cable ends from my power source to the house. That way I just pull off the cables when I leave the house. No drain on battery when I’m gone. Easy access. I had it under rear sofa that was a pain. Best change I made to the house. I got the old cables off a dead jumper unit at the landfill. 

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