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Subject RV and Ham radio questions
Author Sascha Deri
> Hi. I'm leaving for a 3 month trip to remote areas of the north, dragging a
> fifth wheel along. I need to assure power for periods up to a week, removed
> from "shore power". I have two group 27 deep cycle and one group 24 deep
> cycle batteries. My understanding is that I cannot mix the 27s and 24 in
> the same circuit. Please advise if that is incorrect.
> I planned to use the group 24 to power my ham radio on a circuit seperate
> from the rest of the fifth wheel. The critical house circuit needs would be
> supplied by the group 27s. I planned to use a 75 watt solar panel to keep
> the 27s charged. Please advise if that is adequate, given close attention
> to electrical consumption. I wonder if the (very expensive) Solar Boost
> 2000 would be worth the money in this application. I also need to know what
> charge controller and panel would be appropriate to keep the group 24
> charged, given daily use of the 100 watt ham transceiver.
> Also, what invertor would you suggest for the occasional charging of a Palm
> Vx, laptop or, perhaps, portable power drill? Finally, what turn around
> time would be required to ship these items to the west coast?
> Thanks.
> -Paul


It is best to keep dissimilar batteries separated form each other but you can get away with wiring them in series if one set is not much older than the other.

I really can't advise you of how long your batteries will last without knowing how many amp hours they are rated at and how many watt hours of load you are trying to operate off of them. (Group 24 & 27 cover a wide range of amp hour ratings.) You mention that the ham radio transciever draws 100 watts daily but how many hours does it operate for?

In most RV situations folks design their solar systems around available roof space and then conserve electricity as need be based on their generating capabilities. Often this means only one or two solar panels per set of batteries.

The computer and Palm pilot will probably do fine to charge off of a tiny & cheap inverter purchased at Sears or Napa Auto Parts but cordless drills are pickier and will require a true sine wave inverter like the Exeltech. You will have to see how many watts the drill draws to see if the Exeltech 250 watter is large enough.
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