Hi all - 

Yes, I'm a King of the Hill fan!  I'm going to post here directly a picture of my propane tank, and regulator - I'm not even sure there's enough room to squeeze in a bypass kit, but in the interim I want to see if I'm even thinking about this correctly.

What I want out of the bypass is to tie in a Mr Heater (the smaller one you can't plumb in to the low pressure lines).

I found this, but it seems to be something for hooking up to an external propane tank (which would be nice to have ADDITIONALLY, but first priority is to use the onboard for the Mr. Heater). 

Thoughts?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N657EZL/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3NQR7TE...

Then this was going to be the kit for the Mr. Heater to string it to the bypass:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001CFWF5U/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2NCL5IK...

My only issue with external is I have nowhere to really carry a tank.  The bay isn't tall enough, The shower is already dedicated to the catbox and the laundry basket while in motion (and I don't really like the idea of keeping it inside) which leaves mounting somehow on the back tool box and wouldn't know where to begin for that - is it even legal?  Of course I could just get tanks when and where I needed them - put down deposit, take a quick trip to where I'm setting up and leave it out until ready to leave area and then return to get my deposit back.  I've heard there are smaller pancake ones but they don't seem to be common, easy to find.  

I promise a blog post soon - doing a lot of little details right now and goes back for final mechanic work Monday; then when back I'll be on the home stretch!

Tags: bypass, heater, mr., propane

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Hmmm.

John, don't shoot me, but now I'm thinking that if I have to put out $400ish for a 6000 BTU heater plus the $80+ on hose and all these adapters and flaring tool maybe I should instead spend that money on a small generator, speed charger and a second battery (okay that takes me up to $500), then just use my furnace with the existing mr heater to just take the chill off if it's really cold - kind of a backup to the furnace which I'll keep low when not hooked up to shore power.

I needed the generator and battery anyway (and solar on the roof)...

Remembering that I'm a very small rig with no space - I've been looking at the WEN 1250 portable generator.  It will fit in my genny bay, at 30 lbs I can lift it, is rated fairly quiet and in tandem with a speed charger and my 100 watt solar panel I could potentially take my 100 ah battery down to 50 and replenish the next day. 

Use the mr. heater with those stupid throw aways when it gets really cold and insulate well.

biggest issue is I can't put the new battery anywhere near the original - so basically it would just take over the electronics load.  lights (led), water pump and furnace would remain on the original.  assume if it's hot not using the fans too much :-)

no - have no idea how much that furnace will take - won't know til it gets cold and I try it :-)

Could also go back to the idea of filling 1 lbs from my onboard?  no one has said that is a BAD idea....

Again, apologies for the switch.  Fixing the rear main oil leak is now taking the last of my budget so I need to be really thoughtful how I spend my money!

 NO apologies in order, I often change my mind half way through a project. If there's a better more energy conserving method GO FOR IT.

 I will tell you this. A forced air RV furnace isn't very efficient as a huge amount of the heat goes out the vent stack PLUS that blower motor (when its real cold and it has to run often) is quite an energy/battery hog. Back in the old days when I had ONLY ONE RV 12 volt RV/Marine house battery, on a real cold night the furnace drew so much juice battery voltage dropped so low the furnace quit working WOKE UP FREAKING FREEZING plus a near dead house battery which took a long time to recharge. However when I tossed the old 12 volt RV/Marine battery and went to two true deep cycle 6 volt golf cart batteries in series (225 amp hours) there was plenty of power to run the furnace all night.

 Also, I NEVER run my Mr Heater when sleeping but ONLY in the AM to take the chill off. I have not one but two CO detectors, and an LP Detector, plus a regular smoke detector and a cracked window for ventilation. I just don't trust a non vented catalytic heater when sleeping Id hate to wake up dead. That sorta ruins your day.

 BOTTOM LINE if you want to dry camp much and spend money and run the furnace all night when its cold, buy at the very minimum two true deep cycle 6 volt golf cart batteries,,,,,,,,,,,,,maybe 200 versus only 100 wats of solar,,,,,,,,,A good quality 3/4 Stage "Smart" Charger,,,,,,,,,,and the small portable genset youre talking about and I recommend an Inverter Generator 

 Go for it

 John T

Sounds good - I think I'm now headed in the right direction.  

More power :-)  Argh Argh Argh

Will start a new discussion in that direction as I noodle it out!!!!!

And safety first, definitely, never on when sleeping - agreed, just to take the chill off before bed or in the morning, well vented, and detectors!  Just need to get a propane detector wired in and I have a new CO2 detector but need to move it to a better place (they put it in the bathroom).

 When placing detectors as I recall ??? CO is slightly lighter then air so place detectors upwards, while LP Gas is slightly heavier then air so place downward and in locations NOT roomed off like a bathroom. YOURE THINKIN GOOD .......

 John T

Yep, I've read similar, propane low which will make it easy to wire into some 12v wires, and co2 high :-)

I also checked into my furnace - I have a hydroflame and according to the manual it is 2.9 ah - course that would be running well and efficiently which I can't assume, so maybe 4ah, at 50% over an 8 hour night that put me back 12-16 ah - even if it's full on, if I start with a topped up battery I should be okay.  Assuming I'm doing my math right...and of course all other variables in my favor!

 Those figures aren't quite what I'm used to. Amp Hours is an ENERGY parameter. Its impossible to say a hydroflame uses 2.9 Amp Hours because to compute amp hours you have to know how many AMPS it pulls and for how many HOURS it ran. I could believe it draws 2.9 AMPS BUT most bigger forced air furnaces Ive owned (say 25,000 BTU)  drew over 6 amps when running. But if your furnace is small I can believe it draws 2.9 AMPS when running. If it ran for one hour, that's when you can correctly say it took 2.9 Amp Hours of energy from your battery. If it ran 50% of an 8 hour night that's 4 hours  x 2.9 amps = 11.6 AH  WHICH ISSSSSSSSSSSSSS IN LINE WITH YOUR POST ABOVE 

  For example, if the furnace drew say 3 amps when running and it ran for say 4 hours over night, it would consume 3 x 4 = 12 Amp Hours of your battery energy. If your battery bank energy storage capacity  is small maybe 100 Amp Hours (like a RV/Marine 12 volt Wallyworld unit) , then there would be no problem drawing 12 amp hours from it overnight ALLS WELL. Of course you don't want to deplete your batteries over 50% of their rated capacity IE if you have 100 AH of energy storage don't use over 50 AH before recharging (I don't like to draw down over 30%

 Youre getting there, good job,

 John T

Yep I was using AH incorrectly :-)  2.9 A draw is what the heater is rated for in the manual (it's either the 12,000 or 16,000 btu).  Which I recognize is best case scenario.  But I can work with that.  

What I'm trying to figure out is how to best add my second battery.  My house battery is in the engine.  Solar suitcase and presumably the 1250 portable generator (and of course driving or shore power hookups recharges that).  New smart charger handles all that.

Adding another one I can do with a sealed agm under the dinette).  I was just going to split them up in terms of duty.  The house would continue to run lights (all leds), fans, water pump and furnace.  Then I'd split off the electronics/charging station to work off the additional battery (and for that solar would go on the roof).

This second battery is going to sit right next to my converter (intelligent charger is piggybacked on top of it).  What I'm wondering - is there anyway to set it up so that I could stop drawing on the original house battery with a switch and have it draw from the second battery.  Maybe that won't ever be necessary but it was a question that came to mind - for now I'm planning 100agm/100-200 watts roof solar but I could conceivably go to 150 agm down there and 300 solar on the roof.  In which case that secondary battery would be a better one (and silly to have all that power to just run some antenna boosters and charge up laptop).

Thinking out loud.  I guess in my mind the fewer mistakes I make at this stage makes it easier going down the road.

Thanks John and Terry and all that commented :-)  I think you saved me a big expense and headache helping me walk through my heating issue!!!

 Good Morning Dawn, by the time you're through refurbishing your RV you should be qualified to offer seminars at RV shows yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 

 Okay, FIRST I DO NOT recommend connecting a flooded lead acid and an AGM in parallel. That's because the AGM has slightly different charging parameters and most Smart Chargers and even some Solar Charge Controllers have separate individual setting for AGM or Lead Acid Battery use. I fear if the two were in parallel, they may not receive full. equal and correct charging. Sure an AGM is fine and doesnt require venting like the lead acid.

 Of course, its possible to use a double throw switch arrangement so you could switch loads from one battery or another, but you need to get BOTH charged and if one is AGM and the other lead acid and if your charger has AGM or lead acid choices, you would have to re set it each time for which battery you want to charge.

 

 I bet you can begin to see I'm NOT into to different battery types lol 

 I guess you could use a solar system and solar charge controller (set to AGM or lead acid) to charge one battery and have it feed certain loads and let your engine alternator and/or smart charger charge the other battery and use it to feed other loads and you can still install a simple double throw (one battery or the other) switch to switch which battery feeds what ???

 No sense in going further now until you decide if youre gonna have TWO different batteries. then we can hash it out more

 John T

Alrighty.  This makes sense.  I had not planned to have both batteries hooked up in any way except to consider switching loads IF I were to create a bigger battery bank under the dinette.

So currently the original house battery (in the engine) is again the RV/Marine 100ah.  Walmart special.  The new intelligent charger piggybacked on the converter is all wired to charge that battery.

I thought I would keep that battery til it died.  Then I would replace it with a true deep cycle AGM.  Assuming another 100ah as there's just space there for one battery.

Next to the converter/charger, under the dinette seat is space (with a little work) for 2 100ah AGMs or probably more feasible 150 ah AGM. It's right there where all the wiring comes into the converter/charger so I think that makes it pretty handy to create some sort of load switching if it is doable.

Here is what I'm thinking:

First, get a 100 ah AGM sealed for under the dinette and my solar kit. Put in a 100 watt panel with a controller that will allow for expansion  Maybe spend the money up front and get an MPPT.  Set up this new "isolated" solar kit and AGM battery to charge my electronics (station is already set up right there - cell booster, wifi booster, small inverter for laptop, charge laptops, phone, camera batteries, tablets, gadgets ad nauseum).  

So then I would have 100 ah battery up front in the engine that can be charged by driving, or a 100 watt solar suitcase I already have, or that 1250 portable generator.  It powers lights (again leds), water pump, fans, furnace, and a low draw battery monitor.  

And then I would have 100 ah batter under the dinette charged by rooftop solar - and I could also charge it with a charge wizard by the generator via a cable through the window.

Then, see how that meets my needs.  When my engine RV/Marine dies I could move the 100 ah AGM up to the front and then put something bigger under the dinette-like the 150ah, or two 100ah sealed agm, and also expand my solar panels at that point to 200 or 300.  

So (and here is why I had the question), then, load switching would then allow me to run furnace on a larger battery bank.  I know long explanation to get to that!

I suppose it "would" be nice I suppose to be able to also switch charging as well so that driving would charge both banks as well, but down the road.  

And you are saying both switching and charging might be doable once I am running same batteries in both locations?

As you can see I like to sneak up on things...

Good morning; Dawn Michelle; 

     I hope this reply follows your most recent message from 2017 September 24 at 12:40 PM EDST. 

     Dawn, there are a couple more considerations to keep in mind when choosing where to place a battery, and it is not limited to just what kind of a charger will be trying to refill the battery for you.  There is also the type of service and the current draw from the battery when it is being used.  The two (2) main distinctions are the engine starting battery which will provide current measured in hundreds (100s) of Amperes for a few seconds, and then it is immediately recharged by the vehicle alternator or some similar system, and the long term or deep cycle type battery that will provide a much more limited current from the house or coach batteries over a time period that most likely will be measured in hours.  This second type of battery is the type that most often will be used with the 12 V DC electrical system in the house or coach battery circuit for the lighting, appliance control systems, furnace fan, television, and other electronic devices, including the recharging systems for all of the modern electronics we seem to use in our motor homes and other RVs these days.  Then the house or coach batteries will be recharged by being plugged into shore power or from a separate 120 V AC generator, or possibly being recharged by the vehicle engine driven alternator while driving, or being recharged by a completely separate solar power or wind powered electricity generation system.  The 120 V AC powered and the solar powered recharging systems can be set or adjusted for the optimum recharging method for the coach or house long term deep cycle batteries. 

     This is a case where it is good to keep in mind not only the service condition in how the battery is being used, but also the preferred charging system for the type of battery chosen for each service condition; engine starting service or long term deep cycle service for the coach or house batteries.  As John has been saying to you, the two different types of batteries also have two different service conditions and two preferred recharging methods. 

     Your one hundred (100) Watt solar panel in full sunlight will have about a 5.5 Ampere current output, assuming that it is the common 36 cell construction configuration for a 17.0 to 18.0 V DC maximum power output, and then it will go through the solar panel charge controller for recharging the coach or house batteries.  By moving the panel to keep it normal to the sun about every hour you can optimize the power output from the solar panel to get maximum output for up to about eight (8) hours during the day.  Before about 8:00 AM and after about 4:00 PM during the day, the power output will be less.  There is also seasonal variation in the maximum power time.  This will translate to about 40 Ampere-hours being put back into your coach or house batteries during the day from the 100 Watt solar panel with full sunlight during the day.  There will be some variation with clouds, smoke and haze, maybe a small tree nearby that shades the panel for part of the day, and other variations. 

     Regarding the MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) type of solar panel charge controller, with a "nominal 12 V DC" solar panel, there is not too much that you will gain in comparison with the significantly higher cost for the MPPT type solar panel charge controller over the more common, but noticeably less expensive PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) type of solar panel charge controller intended for a solar panel voltage that is close to the nominal voltage of the battery system in use, or a 12 V DC panel for use with a 12 V DC battery system.  The main area where an MPPT type solar panel charge controller begins to really shine is with a solar panel system voltage that is higher than the battery electrical system voltage, such as with a 60 cell configuration solar panel instead of the standard 36 cell configuration.  But this is also getting into a little more than what can be adequately explained in just a simple and reasonable sized forum message.   

     You have also talked about having a battery monitoring system for your coach batteries.  That is a very good idea.  If you are trying to recharge your coach batteries by switching the engine starting battery system and the coach battery system together to charge the coach batteries off the engine driven alternator, you can monitor the coach battery system voltage and disconnect the two systems when the battery voltage for the coach battery system rises to the optimum point for that battery type.  Again, as John has stated, the charging methods for the two battery types for the two different service conditions are not the same, and if you need to use the other charging method, then being able to observe and disconnect the coach battery system from the engine driven alternator when the coach batteries have risen to their optimum voltage will help prolong their life.  

     As with so many of the systems in our ground mounted houses that we all take for granted while we are living in them, when we go to a house mounted on wheels, there are many more things that we should know about to keep all of the electrical, water, sewer, heating, appliances, and other systems functional for that 'house on wheels" that we are driving or towing. 

     Finally, we really have drifted off the main original title for this topic. 

          Enjoy; 

          Ralph 

          Latté Land, Washington 

Perfect response Ralph.  I think you did an awesome of job of clearly stating the situation when it comes to batteries, charging and certainly solar.  You actually are offering a "better than I had anticipated"  ampere hours than I had estimated.  I had thought I might get 20-25 put back in with a 100 watt solar panel.  And maybe similar from generator running a few hours (and may need a smart charger dependent on how my new intelligent house charger works...)

I should make perfectly clear for whoever is following the post - I have TWO batteries in my engine. One for starting, and one for the "house/coach".  I am only talking about the house/coach battery.  I know it gets confusing when I keep talking about the battery in the engine.  I do that to clarify that it's a good ten feet from the camper housing and fifteen from the only space I have to put another battery which is the far dinette seat.  And through the cab firewall - yada yada.  It's more about wanting to stress location in proximity to where I could put another battery.  

The (solenoid?) is working and my house battery does charge when I'm driving.  

Combining two batteries is near about impossible (well I 'might' be able to fit two agm sealed 100 ah under the dinette but it's going to be tight.  Wheel well.  No place to expand without major carpentry out of the dinette booth. That's why a 150 ah is starting to look darn appealing.  As long as I join a gym and get some more strength in my arms so I can get it in there - LOL.

Now - okay - let me throw a concern I have into the mix...and I'm going to check with the mechanic who is working on the rear main this week, but prefer input from you guys (and especially when it comes to rv systems and electric systems).

I bought an FM receiver - one of those things you plug into a 12v socket and throws your tunes via bluetooth over to the radio so it will play over the dash speakers - and it won't work when I have the engine on.  Too much voltage - 14.8. This occurred originally with the dash lighter and with the two 12v sockets I pigtailed into the auto fuse box.

I talked to my regular mechanic about it, but he just shrugged saying my alternator was charging two batteries so probably needed the extra voltage.  To date I haven't tried any other devices because I'm worried about blowing a $300 garmin/wireless backup camera :-)  The fm receiver is just a cheap chinese device, but at least it is warning me something is uncomfortable for it's little electronic brain...

Would you be concerned and should I look into replacing the voltage regulator?  It seems a cheap enough replacement part (but I have to identify it under the hood).  

I've read 14.8 is just on the cusp of being problematic...but Uncle Google is full of differing opinions on that as well.  That said  - tinfoil and diet pepsi DOES take rust off of chrome :-)

 Got here late, I see Ralph has offered some good advice, good to have some help on this lol Its getting complicated and long winded so I will ONLY add my two cents to your first post then we can go from there.

Here is what I'm thinking:

First, get a 100 ah AGM sealed for under the dinette and my solar kit. Put in a 100 watt panel with a controller that will allow for expansion  Maybe spend the money up front and get an MPPT.  Set up this new "isolated" solar kit and AGM battery to charge my electronics (station is already set up right there - cell booster, wifi booster, small inverter for laptop, charge laptops, phone, camera batteries, tablets, gadgets ad nauseum).

 SMALL ELECTRONICS DONT TAKE THAT MUCH SO A 100 AH AGM UNDER THE DINETTE AND A 100 WATT PANEL SHOULD GET YOU BY  

So then I would have 100 ah battery up front in the engine that can be charged by driving, or a 100 watt solar suitcase I already have, or that 1250 portable generator.  It powers lights (again leds), water pump, fans, furnace, and a low draw battery monitor.  

THAT 100 AH CHARGED WHILE DRIVING PLUS THE PORTABLE GENSET MAY GET YOU BY, HOWEVER AS I NOTED BEFORE IF ITS REAL COLD AND THE FURNACE HAS TO RUN A LOT THRU THE NIGHT 100 AH MIGHT BE A TAD LEAN ???? ID PREFER 200 AH FOR A LOT OF OVERNIGH FURNACE USE BUT IF YOUR FURNACE ONLY DRAWS THAT 2.9 AMPS YOU WILL PROB BE OKAY

And then I would have 100 ah batter under the dinette charged by rooftop solar - and I could also charge it with a charge wizard by the generator via a cable through the window.

Then, see how that meets my needs.  When my engine RV/Marine dies I could move the 100 ah AGM up to the front and then put something bigger under the dinette-like the 150ah, or two 100ah sealed agm, and also expand my solar panels at that point to 200 or 300.  

GOOD PLAN

So (and here is why I had the question), then, load switching would then allow me to run furnace on a larger battery bank.  I know long explanation to get to that!

I suppose it "would" be nice I suppose to be able to also switch charging as well so that driving would charge both banks as well, but down the road.  

TROUBLE WITH THAT IS UNLESS YOU USE LARGE CABLES YOUR ALTERNATOR MAY NOT SUPPLY MUCH CHARGING CURRENT TO A FAR AWAY BATTERY

And you are saying both switching and charging might be doable once I am running same batteries in both locations?

YES WITH PROPER SWITCHING

 John T

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