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  1. Default My first post: The Hiking Crew Road Trip 2009 intro + Backup Battery Question

    Hello everyone!

    M name is Kads and I am very happy to have found this road tripping forum. I am a 23 year-old aspiring film maker and writer who, in less than 2 months time, will be jumping into "the Van" and spending the next several months on the road filming a full length documentary and writing about our adventures.

    My question[/B]: I have a Optima Blue-Top D34M battery (55 AH, 1000 MCA, 850 CCA, 100 RC) and I am looking to use it as our backup battery source. I would like to find a charger that runs from the Cigarette adapter directly to the battery (with battery clamps or clips) and then check the charge with a multimeter. To use the stored power I have a Xantrex 400w inverter that we will hard-wire onto the battery itself for power. Anyone done this before? I have been Googling around for one and haven't found any help. Any suggestions?

    Thanks and happy travels!
    Last edited by TheHikingCrew; 03-15-2009 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Question revision.

  2. #2

    Default Dual battery/isolator switch system?

    Hello kads,

    There are probably ready-made devises such as you seek within the RV/camper equipment market. Here are a couple of alternate ideas:

    Jumpstart battery: I have a jumpstart battery with a built-in inverter. I don't know the CCA rating nor the wattage capacity of the unit, but I suspect it's well below 850 CCA and 400 watts AC for the inverter. It's rechargable through either a 12v outlet within the vehicle (cig lighter) or AC household power. Perhaps a pair of such devices would meet your needs.

    A more involved solution is mounting the Optima (which I assume is a deep-cycle battery designed for routine discharge/recharge cycles) within the van and cabling it to the vehicle's 12v system via a marine-style battery isolator system. Many boats have 2 batteries, with one often being a "house battery", a large (Series 27) deep-cycle battery. The isolator switch allows operation of the vehicle's routine electronics while the engine is running and the alternator recharging it, with the deep-cycle battery disconnected. Flipping the switch to "battery 2" taps the house battery, which you will have wired the inverter to. The vehicle's alternator recharges the deep-cycle, too. The result is the ability to run the van's built-in electronics without interference from the power supply battery, and recharging of the house battery from the vehicle's charging system.

    If you haven't done so already, it seems wise to look into the power consumption characteristics of running a high-wattage inverter off of a 12v house battery. I seem to recall the inverter is a very inefficient method of converting 12v DC to 110/120v AC, providing only about 50% of the battery's usable power/current and losing the balance to heat created in the process. That said, I don't know of any other manner of effecting the conversion, so making oneself aware of the power loss and other conversion physics is just to be better prepared for how your system can be expected to operate.

    I'll be interested to learn about how this shakes out. Keep in touch, won't you?


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