Install 2nd camper battery

The single battery our camper came with just wasn't enough-period. In trying to figure out where I could mount another battery I realized if the door in the rear outside cabinet were taller I could put it in there. Looking carefully there were no frame members, no wiring, I simply could not see any reason the original door was so much shorter than space inside. With the shelf close to the top you couldn't put anything as big as the shelf would hold, puzzling. The space inside is still a few inches taller than even the new door. In the bottom are the sewer lines so its got lots of air, its on the same side as existing battery and all inboard cabinets.

Went to the local RV store-they happened to have a door that matched my existing door, was taller and the right width. It had been special ordered -I got a deal. I also picked up a plastic battery box, Perko marine battery switch (you could't turn our battery off), set of 15' jumper cables and some crimp on ends and 1 short battery cable (oh- and a battery). Jumper cables WAY cheaper than buying bulk wire, they've lots of insulation plus I have some extra clamps now for the shop. I used a plastic marine battery box to contain the battery. Cut off clamps, crimped on new battery ends to jumper cables.

Factory battery box is just outside the sink and the converter is beside it so accessing the wires was easy. Disconnected hot to existing bat. & ran to new switch IN, Ran new bat cable from switch #1out to existing battery location and 1 lead from jumper cables from switch #2 out to new battery location, W/ one lead of new jumper cables connected to common ground lug. Installed switch Turn to OFF. Wire to new bat was easy to run, wires are in back of cabinets which ties to under bath sink cabinet which is connected to rear compartment (via a small new hole). After enlarging opening for new door,install hardware from old door, I installed new door. Mounted battery box to fixed shelf, connected new jumper "battery cables" to new battery and connected main battery cables. Turned switch thru positions, wala! We got MORE power.

It would be nice and I assume larger/better campers may have, dual batts that are easy to get to. My new box you have to disconnect the battery cables, undo strap that holds box & remove battery & box to check water, rather inconvenient (course the same is true for the stock battery- which is more difficult cause the box isn't much bigger that the battery) that being said its worth it. We can get 3 days now, with minimal power usage, where before end of day one turning on TV at night meant turning on heater in the morning may not be an option. We are gradually replacing all fixtures with single tube small florescent fixtures. There expensive but use half of what 1141 bulb uses. I've personally not had a lot of success with leds.

Other plus is I can turn on 1,2 or both batts or turn all batts off.. I've read others comment about wire gages and unequal distances of batteries, etc causing problem. I've not tested to see if charging rates are different-but in usage I've had no problems, batteries rarely take any water and its been running for 3+ years now. Though the jumper cable, that runs a longer distance to battery are a heavier gage than what goes to the exist battery. What i don't understand is why the available usage is more than doubled with new battery setup? Oh leaf stuck to camper is height of old door-ref.

perko switch

new access door

UPDATE 09/06. Installed a solar panel.. See 09/06 on main page or link Here install solar panel
The installation of the solar panel defeated the Perko switch as far as switching between batteries, both batteries are now tied into the panel, rewired to equally charge, so selecting either bat1 or bat2 at the switch gets you both batteries. The Perko switch now only serves as a battery disconnect from the camper.
I'll add in usage, with the old setup, at the time it seemed holding a battery in reserve was a good idea, but using both batteries simultaneously resulted in longer run times, so we had stopped using the switch as a selector.
If I were to add a 3rd battery I might wire it as a reserve, actually though the truck batteries are reserve. However I'd wire it as a reserve only because Iím not sure the Solar Panel would fully recharge 3 batteries in typical use, possibly, depending on solar output . All mute because I'm really not adding another battery.

We have in the past, prior to solar panel installation, run the batteries down to the point that could not use jacks to reinstall camper on truck, generator wouldnít start. I ended up getting the truck close enough to plug in camper, charge with truck long enough to start gen, which jacks will run on. Thatís why having different options, one day, can save your but. Its the reasoning behind when Iím planning any build or mod that if there is not a backup plan at least the mod doesn't prohibit some field fix or work around. Ya Iíve painted my self into a corner before.

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