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Batteries in a Dandy

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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 2:43 pm

i have been looking at a way of install a battery and electrics in my 1980's dandy 6 after some looking over Google results i hit upon an idea

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i could install one of these under the kitchen unit from there a zig unit or something beside this would allow the dandy to have simple electric. nice thing about this box is it has a EH point in it as well the box being sealed means no nasty gases from the battery.

but i thought i would it put it out there to get some comments or other view's idea's.

cheers

Andrew
Helen
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Post by Helen on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 3:46 pm

We have a leisure battery in the front box and just use it with a 3 whole connection (like car cigarette lighter sockets) which clips onto the battery and pulls up at the back of the kitchen unit. It's a no frills system but we run the pump, a small tv (rationed time) and occasionally lights. My cupboards are full up already lol!
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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 3:50 pm

i did think about putting the batteries in a box at the front but is its an old style 6 it means it would be annoying to get in and out of the box under the front bed so i thought this might be a solution.
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navver

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Post by navver on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 3:52 pm

The box you show is made to go in the side wall of a caravan. Not sure if you would want to cut a hole that big in the side of a dandy.
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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 3:58 pm

navver wrote:The box you show is made to go in the side wall of a caravan. Not sure if you would want to cut a hole that big in the side of a dandy.

well providing it was done right and sealed as a dandy is only sheet aluminum and possibly some insulation but i dont think my dandy has that so i don't see an issue providing you don't hit any supporting post or anything.
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Post by bgarston on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 4:17 pm

muzzy wrote:
navver wrote:The box you show is made to go in the side wall of a caravan. Not sure if you would want to cut a hole that big in the side of a dandy.

well providing it was done right and sealed as a dandy is only sheet aluminum and possibly some insulation but i dont think my dandy has that so i don't see an issue providing you don't hit any supporting post or anything.

There might some supporting posts to take care of but that shouldnt be a major problem if they have to be moved slightly. I guess in ths respect it might be best to weld up a frame for the external battery box to sit in to anyway. This will take the weight of the battery box as the aluminium skin wont be strong enough to do this. The frame can be welded in to place in the subframe of the Dandy, behind the aluminium skin. Because the battery box is located in something substantial it will be easier to acheve a water tight seal around the unit too.

In terms of insulation if our '6' is anything to go on there isnt any there.

Hope this helps?

Ben
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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 4:20 pm

bgarston wrote:
muzzy wrote:
navver wrote:The box you show is made to go in the side wall of a caravan. Not sure if you would want to cut a hole that big in the side of a dandy.

well providing it was done right and sealed as a dandy is only sheet aluminum and possibly some insulation but i dont think my dandy has that so i don't see an issue providing you don't hit any supporting post or anything.

There might some supporting posts to take care of but that shouldnt be a major problem if they have to be moved slightly. I guess in ths respect it might be best to weld up a frame for the external battery box to sit in to anyway. This will take the weight of the battery box as the aluminium skin wont be strong enough to do this. The frame can be welded in to place in the subframe of the Dandy, behind the aluminium skin. Because the battery box is located in something substantial it will be easier to acheve a water tight seal around the unit too.

In terms of insulation if our '6' is anything to go on there isnt any there.

Hope this helps?

Ben

yes that helps alot i was thinking when i starting looking inside and taking measurements i was going to try get one metal support and build a wooden frame to support it at the back and help get a good seal but yes a metal support would work just as well it not better. didn.t think there would be any so i might do that as well when i am in there cutting holds.
Helen
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Post by Helen on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 5:08 pm

Now I get it ...... it's a 6 so the front box isn't really an option, how about fitting it so it goes inside one of the benches (plug sockets on the front face of bench) or bottom of the wardrobe or would that be an issue with the wheel arches.
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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 5:19 pm

Helen wrote:Now I get it ...... it's a 6 so the front box isn't really an option, how about fitting it so it goes inside one of the benches (plug sockets on the front face of bench) or bottom of the wardrobe or would that be an issue with the wheel arches.

well the wardrobe and part of the bench boxes have the wheel arch in them as well would like to avoid using under the table seats as that is are primary storage. which really only leaves the kitchen section.
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Post by mike on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 6:17 pm

muzzy wrote:i did think about putting the batteries in a box at the front but is its an old style 6 it means it would be annoying to get in and out of the box under the front bed so i thought this might be a solution.

I think it was phoenix talked about making a trap door in the bed base to allow you to get into the front box after erection,but after saying that your idea sounds good if it would fit.

mike
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Post by Phoenix on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 7:35 pm

mike wrote:
muzzy wrote:i did think about putting the batteries in a box at the front but is its an old style 6 it means it would be annoying to get in and out of the box under the front bed so i thought this might be a solution.

I think it was phoenix talked about making a trap door in the bed base to allow you to get into the front box after erection,but after saying that your idea sounds good if it would fit.

mike

You are right Mike we are thinking of going down the route of a trap door in the front bed base of Dylan. I have to make the front box first though, but not at the moment in the snow. lol!
It was Biker who gave us this idea in his front box thread see link here.

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navver

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Post by navver on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 8:04 pm

How about putting the battery in the front box with an EHU on the outside of the box. You don't need access to the battery when camping so the bed being in the way shouldn't be a problem. You can put your consumer unit inside in the lower kitchen locker along with the charger/mains unit. This would put it all together but with just the battery outside.
Tow Itch
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Post by Tow Itch on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 11:16 pm

navver wrote:How about putting the battery in the front box with an EHU on the outside of the box. You don't need access to the battery when camping so the bed being in the way shouldn't be a problem. You can put your consumer unit inside in the lower kitchen locker along with the charger/mains unit. This would put it all together but with just the battery outside.

If it's a current box that is sort of OK (i.e. I'm sure the job was done 30 over years ago) but batteries or electrical switching has not been allowed in in gas boxes since the 16th edition wiring regs. If you formed a box like Biker's then if compartmentalised the gas and the battery could be two separate compartments. If thinking of placing within the bed boxes 80's and some early 90's caravans had a battery box complete with a charging unit that would go under a bed box. Not a top level charger but then again Zig units are no great shakes charging batteries. Sorry I can't find a picture of the sort of unit I'm thinking of but a classic beakers must have a few of these. Possibly a picture if I can remember the names of the units.

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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Sun 20 Jan 2013, 8:07 am

Tow Itch wrote:
navver wrote:How about putting the battery in the front box with an EHU on the outside of the box. You don't need access to the battery when camping so the bed being in the way shouldn't be a problem. You can put your consumer unit inside in the lower kitchen locker along with the charger/mains unit. This would put it all together but with just the battery outside.

If it's a current box that is sort of OK (i.e. I'm sure the job was done 30 over years ago) but batteries or electrical switching has not been allowed in in gas boxes since the 16th edition wiring regs. If you formed a box like Biker's then if compartmentalised the gas and the battery could be two separate compartments. If thinking of placing within the bed boxes 80's and some early 90's caravans had a battery box complete with a charging unit that would go under a bed box. Not a top level charger but then again Zig units are no great shakes charging batteries. Sorry I can't find a picture of the sort of unit I'm thinking of but a classic beakers must have a few of these. Possibly a picture if I can remember the names of the units.

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Well my friendly electrician said as much also that if it had been like that from the start fine, but he would not advice this but if i was to choose the box option i would still have to build the box which then adds more time and money onto the project. but the first thing i need to do is break the trailer out on a fine day and take some measurements to make sure they fit and this is a low side trailer so hopefully there will be enough space.
Suffolk20
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Post by Suffolk20 on Sun 20 Jan 2013, 10:52 am

I am not sure how much different a "6" is to a Dart, so I may be giving you a load of useless info.
However when we bought our Dart 10 years ago second hand (we think its a 1996) the fellow we bought if off had spent much time doing conversions and one was to fit a 75A leisure battery. To do this he had made a small door in the RH side (looking from the rear) and stood the battery on the floor inside just to right of door as you go in. Around this battery he constructed a small cupboard with a lift off top. So it is quite neat and serves as a useful little table just in front of the settee in the corner. I'm sorry I dont have pictures and no chance of getting any with this grotty weather. I may have one which shows door on the outside which I may be able to post. One thing I do like about putting the battery at the back is that it evens the nose weight a bit. Too much at the front makes a heavy tow bar and these batteries are very heavy. From the battery run leads to cigar sockets either side of the cooker base so it is all very neat and self contained. There is also a socket for the water pump supply. The battery can have a vent tube attached so any fumes are piped out under the floor. The good thing about the little door is that the battery can be removed and fitted with the Dandy closed.
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navver

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Post by navver on Sun 20 Jan 2013, 4:24 pm

I have one of those boxes as Muzzy posted in my caravan. It is the way to go if you can achieve it. I have a 110AHr battery in mine and it is a very tight fit. You may have a smaller one In a Dandy such as 85AHr depending on what you want to use while not on mains EHU.

The height of the battery is the main problem. The terminals are on top and you have to pull the battery out to get at them. This means long leads which then have to be fed back in when putting the battery back in, but there is very little room to stow the leads. Doing this with the weight of the battery to support is very fiddly.

Muzzy's link only shows a little battery by the look of it.
Tow Itch
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Post by Tow Itch on Sun 20 Jan 2013, 7:26 pm

The thing I was thinking of was a Labcraft TP2.
It's like a bread bin that fits the battery and has a battery charger included.
The clever bit I didn't know is that you haul the unit out of your camper and put it into your car and it will charge off 12V as well.
Don't know if it does split charging or what.
Size will be limited no way will it fit 110ah whether it's limited to 70ah or 85ah???
I'll let you Google it yourself as there are various opinions.
Any sort of dumb charger will work and is dirt cheap.
I have been meaning for ages to write some letters to people asking about the performance of higher power intelligent chargers (I didn't know till recently that there were high output intelligent chargers {contradiction in terms with ages for the letter})
If anyone knows how the output of intelligent chargers is affected by load items other than the battery please feel free to help.
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navver

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Post by navver on Sun 20 Jan 2013, 7:33 pm

Labcraft TP2 on preloved now

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Tow Itch
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Post by Tow Itch on Sun 20 Jan 2013, 9:02 pm

navver wrote:Labcraft TP2 on preloved now

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Well it was at 19.33.

I was never saying that they were good or bad just that they existed.

Half the world thinks Zig units ( [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Good starting point) are the dogs but they don't get to a high enough voltage (if someone knows the reason why please explain) So I don't know what these do but if it's only the same and yet 1/4 the cost it's better than a Zig and can get hoyed( [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ) into your car.

Muzzy the one tip I must mention is that when fitting a battery you need a fuse as close to the battery as possible.
Don't think it's just 12V there is still an awful lot of energy in there.
12V is ideal to start a fire and more than one person has slipped with a spanner and had the cuircuit made with thier wedding ring cook their finger.
My own personal tip is to fuse both the +ve and -ve terminals. It's sometimes seen on motorcycle circuits and gives two chances of safety. Some will say it's excessive but you pays yer money and .........
John
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Post by John on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 6:32 pm

It's the bailey box for me plus the zig unit, most caravan manufactures can,t be wrong it is a proven system bounce
Tow Itch
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Post by Tow Itch on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 7:13 pm

John wrote:It's the bailey box for me plus the zig unit, most caravan manufactures can,t be wrong it is a proven system bounce

Hello John How's the new project?

There is no arguing with you that the Zig is an eminently popular unit.
Without looking it up I can't remember the precise figures but the Zig has a maximum charging voltage of less than 13.8V. It is argued that both for speed of charging and desulphurisation higher voltages should be used.
I had some notes on this and was going to try asking some neutral parties about using intelligent chargers in situ as some of the stuff for sale seem to make the sort of claims that would have been suitable for selling snake oil.
You really get to issues with 13.8V or less if there is any distance between the unit and the battery the additional losses through the cable make things quite poor.
Not remembering enough facts at this point to quote but try Googling "Ideal Charging Voltages For 12V Batteries" or "XXXXX Battery Charging Cycles" XXXX being the type of battery you are using e.g. calcium batteries. You will find that calcium batteries are supposed to get a higher charging voltage than conventional lead acid. (Yes I know calcium is still lead acid)

Of course if your like me and haven't connected one of M/C batteries to a charger for 6 months. Well that is most probably ragged so as always it's kit and care in use.

If you get a Zig unit for the right price then as I said about the Lab Craft stuff great. I'd certainly not pay top dollar for a device that is no better than a dumb charger and a voltmeter.
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navver

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Post by navver on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 7:36 pm

I think the problems arise because the voltage required to properly charge the battery is higher than the voltage the 12V kit in the caravan/camper can withstand so a compromise voltage is used. This is probably true of every caravan in the land, unless there's a Rolls Royce one somewhere. Yes, the battery's life may be shortened, but most people will simply buy a new battery when required.

I've got a proper charger, but it's so difficult getting the battery in and out of the box, I don't bother and just rely on the onboard charger unit.
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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Wed 17 Jul 2013, 11:56 am

navver wrote:I have one of those boxes as Muzzy posted in my caravan. It is the way to go if you can achieve it. I have a 110AHr battery in mine and it is a very tight fit. You may have a smaller one In a Dandy such as 85AHr depending on what you want to use while not on mains EHU.

The height of the battery is the main problem. The terminals are on top and you have to pull the battery out to get at them. This means long leads which then have to be fed back in when putting the battery back in, but there is very little room to stow the leads. Doing this with the weight of the battery to support is very fiddly.

Muzzy's link only shows a little battery by the look of it.

sorry it taken me so long to get back to this topic Navver any chance you might be able to take some photos of your box from inside and out? the bailey box i was looking at is quite big but i am sure there is others out there but the one i was on about has a small sliding tray so you can easy pull the battery in and out.

cheers

muzzy
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navver

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Post by navver on Wed 17 Jul 2013, 3:48 pm

Sorry, I sold the caravan and bought a Dandy, so cannot photograph it. It had a drop down door and inside there was a vertical partition. One side (approx 300mm wide) for the battery, the other side (approx 100mm wide) for the EHU inlet and the motor mover isolator. The internal height was about 200mm (ish) to just suit the height of a leisure battery.

The battery sat on a tray which simply  sat on the floor of the box, so did slide in and out and came out with the battery which was useful.

There was a strap which went round the battery to secure it in place.

The box is quite big but needed to be for a 110AH battery.

This is a link to one on ebay.

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This is the photo from ebay

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The charger etc all went inside the caravan.
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muzzy

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Post by muzzy on Wed 17 Jul 2013, 5:50 pm

oh sorry i thought you had fitted one to your dandy my mistake. well once i get home i intend to have a quick survey of the area i want to use and i will see if the sizes will jimmy together if not it might be back to the drawing board. but if it works i will be sure to pop a few photos up for people and a walk throught.

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