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 on: February 22, 2017, 04:27:46 pm 
Started by sailors35 - Last post by gandalf42
The Samlex PWM solar charger is a multistage charger so it is safe for the batteries.

The Parallax charger, which is active when plugged in or the generator is going, to the best of my knowledge is a dumb charger and can potentially overcharge or "boil" your batteries. It also does not have an equalization mode that is needed to periodically de-sulfate your batteries to extend their life.

You would need to check with PC if they would be willing to wire in the PD9260 converter/charger into the Parallex distribution panel  in place of the Parallax converter/charger.

 on: February 22, 2017, 03:47:29 pm 
Started by sailors35 - Last post by sailors35
I am considering replacing the standard Parallax charger with a multi-stage charger.  Per PC they are happy with this charger, but I wonder about this old technology.  Have been researching the Progressive Dynamics PD9260C.  I do plan on keeping the factory installed 6V batteries until they go downhill.  I had a multi-stage on my cruising sailboat and it worked quite well.  I should note that I am having 2 solar panels installed, so wonder if this charger upgrade is necessary.

This whole thing may be moot if it does not fit in the build schedule as our unit just came in the building today.  May be a later upgrade project for me to do, but still would appreciate feedback, thoughts, experience.

Many thanks, Mike

 on: February 22, 2017, 03:33:47 pm 
Started by Barry-Sue - Last post by 2 Frazzled
This is an old post but I thought I'd add to it. We are having gorgeous weather here in the DC area. We did a run away for the long weekend (a whole hour's drive) and camped at Cherry Hill. We were here in September for the Intervec-Phoenix Rally this past September so we knew it was a nice campground. They are open all winter with limited sites. They have heat strips on their water lines so you can have full hookups and enjoy DC from your rig. The public bus still stops here in the winter and the College Park Metro station is a few minutes away if you prefer to drive and take the train in to town. We do not recommend you DRIVE into DC. Even the locals try not to do that.

Cherry Hill in winter has: full hook up sites, bus transportation, manned office/camp store, mini-golf course ($1.00 person, goes to Children's Hospital), Cafe open from 8-1 (limited menu but several decent options for breakfast or lunch), adult outdoor exercise area, children's playground, laundry, indoor hot tub, indoor exercise room, TV room/lounge, game room, heated bath houses (so clean, so nice). You do get traffic noise but you can't camp any closer to DC. We were camped in front of their Conference Center building but most of the rigs were in a loop next to the bus depot. They also have full houses you can rent as well as several different level of cabins so if you don't want to bring your rig, you can get a group of people together and enjoy the area. The campground is a half hour from Baltimore (inner harbor, MD Science Center, National Aquarium, Fort McHenry, Little Italy and more), a half hour to the National Zoo if you want to drive, and probably a half hour to downtown DC using public transportation. There was nothing about electric heaters in their paperwork. We ran our propane heater and a little electric heater for the overnights.

If you are thinking of playing here in the winter/early spring, another worthwhile stop with winter hookups is the KOA in Harper's Ferry. They are very close to the upper visitor center where you catch the bus down into Harper's Ferry or you can drive in.

We had balmy weather with a few dips below freezing overnight. I don't know how it would have gone if we camped long term in below freezing temps. You might need one of those hoses that plug in so they don't freeze.

A few upcoming events:

Cherry Blossom Festival 2017 Opening Ceremony – Saturday, March 25
Blossom Kite Festival – Saturday, April 1
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade® – Saturday, April 8
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival – Saturday, April 15


 on: February 22, 2017, 03:13:50 pm 
Started by 2 Frazzled - Last post by 2 Frazzled
I found a few other camp recipe sites I want to share.
My granddaughter can be a somewhat picky eater and she liked the Pineapple, Ham and Sweet Potato Foil Packet dinner (without the red bell pepper and red pepper flakes - picky doesn't do those). Again, little miss picky really liked the Chicken Casserole (without the ranch dressing).

If you aren't camping this time of year, you can always try these and other foil dinners out by wrapping in foil and baking in your regular oven on a baking sheet. It's a good way to test and fine tune your foil dinner recipe (and practice the foil packet wrap). If you are customizing them for each individual, use a permanent market to put your "brand" or initials on the outside of the packet before cooking, just be careful not to puncture the foil. Air tight is key as the steam is what really cooks these and keeps things moist.

I'm sure there are tons more if your browse online using "packet cooking" or "foil dinners" as your search. Just be prepared to hit some really weird ones.

here is an updated link to Reynolds recipes

And I think I put this one on here before but figure I'll throw it in again - King Arthur Flour
They have quite a few gluten free recipes on there and we love some of their no cook energy bites.

 on: February 22, 2017, 02:33:11 pm 
Started by tnedator - Last post by ron.dittmer
I am unable to prove this with either previous pair of 12V batteries, but I had always suspected one battery would take all the abuse while the other battery was protected by the abused one.  I always made sure the battery cables were hooked up properly so the load was shared equally.

What we have now with two 6V batteries hooked up in series, the load (and abuse) is forced to be equally shared.  It is not possible for one battery to take on the worst of the load while the other battery is not utilized properly.

That is just my theory.

 on: February 22, 2017, 12:35:21 pm 
Started by garmp - Last post by GoPhoenix
We had a water hose give out while at a campground in Grapevine, TX.  Visited the camp store and found a 35’ for the same price as a 25’.  Turned out to be a useful length.  Had never seen one before, but Home Depot carries them:

And Amazon:

 on: February 22, 2017, 11:59:19 am 
Started by tnedator - Last post by jatrax
As I understand the battery thing, there is no difference in performance between a pair of 6 volt and a pair of 12 volt assuming they are constructed the same and contain the same amount of lead and thickness of plates.  But that is the issue, most 6 volts are designed for deep cycle applications like golf carts and most, but not all, 12 volts deep cycle are more a compromise.  There are (I have been told) 12 volt deep cycle ones that are just as good as the 6 volt, but they are harder to find and cost more.  So bottom line, in general a pair of 6 volt batteries is going to be better for this application, and likely cost less than the equivalent 12 volt ones.

I suspect the problem for most RV'ers having early battery failure is the old style, single stage converter still being used.  If plugged in for any length of time these will boil your batteries, and then it is all down hill from there.  Used in a normal 'camping' scenario where you are using power as fast as you put it back this is not a problem (usually) but if plugged in for a long time the batteries get boiled and then with each consecutive charge cycle it gets easier to boil them and the cycle spirals down into premature failure.

Having a battery monitor and modern 3 stage charger will go a long way to prevent this and extend the life of your batteries.  I wish I had thought this through when I ordered as I would have swapped out the converter for a newer one.  I will likely do that as soon as I get the rig back home.  Cost is maybe $200 and that is far less than a new pair of 6 volt AGMs.

 on: February 22, 2017, 11:50:06 am 
Started by tnedator - Last post by gandalf42
Our 6V Lifeline AGMs are at 10 1/2 years now but there was a noticeable decline in the 10th year.

I have always kept them above the 50% charge level except for once when I was watching the charge % on the battery monitor and suddenly realized that by battery voltage the charge was much lower.

Lesson learned: Don't totally rely on the charge % of a battery monitor.  Check occasionally against a battery voltage vs. charge level chart.

 on: February 22, 2017, 10:29:07 am 
Started by tnedator - Last post by ron.dittmer
I definitely need to read up on batteries and chargers.  I will admit to liking the idea of AGM so I don't have to check the water and such (call me lazy, but I haven't checked water levels in a batter in a very long time, so it's never on my mind).
Regarding 6V batteries or 12V batteries.  Phoenix installs 2-6V batteries these days and that is a very good thing because they are taller.  The extra height requires Phoenix to use a taller battery compartment.  If you later decide you want to try 2-12V batteries, I believe the battery compartment will easily accommodate them.

Our 10 year old PC battery compartment was designed for 2-12V batteries.  Changing over to 6V batteries creates a very tight fit after sacrificing the battery tray, forcing me into AGM batteries to avoid the need to check fluid levels.

On batteries, I was thinking two 12v AGM batteries, so if one bit the dust, I would lose capacity but not my whole 12v system. Am I wrong in thinking this way?
You are not wrong but in the real world the likelihood of that event happening someplace you could not in a day or so get new batteries is pretty slim.  One of those things that gets argued on the internet because it is technically correct, but just doesn't matter.

There are varying opinions on batteries:
1) Only buy Costco golf cart batteries, they are cheap, rugged and work well.
2) Only buy pairs of 6volt batteries, they are 'better' than 12volt
3) Only buy pairs of 12volt batteries, if one fails you still have one
4) Only buy AGM batteries because they are 'better', somehow
5) Only buy regular lead acid, all this new AGM stuff is just fluff to make you spend more money
6) Only buy Lithium, lead acid is so last century

I've read them all and more from folks positive they are right.  My theory is buy the best battery for the purpose at the best price and don't sweat it.

Being one of the few long time (10 year) PC owners here with a whole house inverter, who almost exclusively camps without hook-ups, and who has gone through two pairs of 12V batteries and has been on his first pair of 6V AGM batteries the past 2 camping seasons, I think I can offer some practical PC-specific experience.

I can't comment on wet acid 6V batteries because I have never owned them.  But I can say that it was noticable right from the start that we have more capacity with the pair of 6V AGM batteries than with 12V wet acid.  I also can say that the drain and recharge of the deep cycle 6V AGM batteries is more linear and predictable than experienced with both pairs of deep cycle wet acid 12V batteries.

The benefit of a pair of 12V batteries instead of 6Vs is of coarse you can place the premature dead one out of service.  But isn't it better to have an arrangement where you eliminate the premature death of a battery?  My experience with both sets of 12V batteries, one starts to go bad as soon as the acid boil-overs starts.  In my case with both new 12V pairs, that started happening during the first season of use.  During or after the second season, one battery is showing serious signs of becoming ill, so I might have done better with just using the remaining healthy battery at that time.  I instead continued to stretch the pair two additional seasons for a total of 4 seasons for each 12V pair.  Needless to say that season #4 was pretty frustrating.

I am hopeful to get more than 4 "good" seasons from our pair of 6V AGM batteries.  So far it is looking very promising.  I am really hoping to get 8 good seasons from them.  We'll see if it happens.....ask me how they are doing 6 years from now.  Smile

 on: February 22, 2017, 09:35:26 am 
Started by tnedator - Last post by ragoodsp
The armless Carefree awnings are very cool and you do not constantly wack your head on the sliding arms used on PC's awnings.   The wind/rain sensor is all so nice since there is really nothing that holds the armless awaning donw if a heavy wind came up.  i have the armless carefree on my Renegade and it works very well. good luck

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