Monthly Archives: October 2012

Battery Monitoring in Our RV

Just before sunrise Ketchum ID

Debbie and I have lived in our 25’ travel trailer year-round the past five years. It’s not too big, not too fancy, doesn’t have too much storage. And until recently didn’t have too much spare battery capacity.

We mentioned visiting QuartzFest 2012 in our post last January and how we’d dry-camped in the desert with good friends Herb and Lois. Lucky for us, their motor home generator has excess capacity and they were willing to share.

Trimetric 2025-RV

Truth is, we really didn’t know how much battery capacity we had at any given time. Sure, we’re starting with 460 amp/hours at full, but what about ten or twenty hours after full charge? We’ve just added a Trimetric 2025 battery monitor from Bogart Engineering into our trailer, and we are rapidly gaining a good understanding of our batteries’ charging and discharging patterns.

A couple of key measurements include days since full-charge, number of amp-hours from full, and most interesting to me, incremental watts or amps of each connected load.

My very compact ham station

My ham station, consisting of a VHF radio, HF radio, Hear-It speaker, Kantronics TNC, and LDG illuminated meter adds 1.5 amps load. Lowering the antenna requires 0.4 amps, raising it takes 0.8 amps, and tuning it takes 0.3 amps. I haven’t measured transmitting yet, but will.

I look forward to learning the observed ampacity of our loads and better understanding the capacity of our 460 amp-hours of batteries (four 6v Interstate batteries).

Debbie looks forward to my being less cranky about saving battery energy when we probably have lots to spare. She’s using 8.2 amps right now — I should go check into it, right?

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