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Battery Box for Travel Trailer (26N) & Generator Mounting

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  • Battery Box for Travel Trailer (26N) & Generator Mounting

    Well, seems that the next project to tackle for the trailer is a better battery storage solution and generator security.

    We currently have a single 12v battery that I'd like to replace with dual 6v's to extend the time we can go without being hooked up to power/running generators. Currently we do NOT have solar, but that'll be in the works as well. We are not extensive duration boon-dockers, so I can't envision needing 4 batteries.




    Wondering if what I have planned is a bad idea, and maybe people can point me in the right direction if that's the case.

    Doing some initial measurements on my 26N, I have spec'd out that I have room for a 10" wide x 14" tall x 42" long box. While I would only have 2 batteries in there, this extra space would give me room to store some jack pads or miscellaneous tools while we travel. I would build compartments within the box to keep objects in storage from impacting the batteries. Batteries would be centered in the box with storage on both sides.

    I plan to build the box out of angle iron, flat strap and some scrap sheet metal that I have laying around. Looking at costs of metal, battery tie downs, hinges, etc; I've come up with a project cost under $150 so far. The lid would be hinged using some heavy duty hinges, and be built out of additional angle iron, strap and thick sheet metal.

    The reason I'm looking to "over build" this box is I have been trying to figure out where to mount my generators (2 Honda 2200's). While they would not be on the trailer in transit, I would put them on LowPro Lockdown mounting plates that would be welded to the top of the battery box. Using exhaust extenders (little nubs welded to the generator exhaust), I would pipe the exhaust away from the trailer with about 10-20' of hose to keep the fumes down and further reduce the noise. There could be some vibration issues with them mounted in such a manner. If that's the case I may go from welding the plates to the box to using some heavy duty bolts and some vibration isolation/dampener mats.


    The battery box itself should come in weighing around 60 pounds, maximum (empty). Add the weight of the two batteries and the two generator mounts (mounts weigh 12 pounds each), I don't think I've ended up with too much net tongue weight on the trailer. Maybe I'm wrong.

    The generators weigh 50 pounds each, however I don't envision moving the trailer with them mounted to the box. They will be stored in the truck bed while we move around.


    I had thought about mounting the generator brackets to the rear bumper, however I'm concerned about the weight of everything on the rear bumper. In my research, I've seen pictures of more than one rear bumper on the ground, on a travel trailer due to excessive weight. Really don't want that nightmare. With the generators mounted on the front of the trailer, the jack is supporting most of the weight. On the rear, the stabilizer jacks will have to take more weight (or maybe I'm overthinking it).

    '19 Nash 26N (http://milesfromdone.com/category/rv/ - mods & projects)

    '14 Ram 3500 Mega Cab 6.7 Cummins - Level, Airbags, few other things here-and-there.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Carbine View Post
    The generators weigh 50 pounds each, however I don't envision moving the trailer with them mounted to the box. They will be stored in the truck bed while we move around.

    I had thought about mounting the generator brackets to the rear bumper, however I'm concerned about the weight of everything on the rear bumper. In my research, I've seen pictures of more than one rear bumper on the ground, on a travel trailer due to excessive weight. Really don't want that nightmare. With the generators mounted on the front of the trailer, the jack is supporting most of the weight. On the rear, the stabilizer jacks will have to take more weight (or maybe I'm overthinking it).
    I wouldn't be concerned about a couple of Honda 2200s on the bumper, especially since you indicated that you don't plan to drive when they're mounted to the trailer. Adding 120 lbs of generators and mounts to a 26N bumper will reduce tongue weight by ~60 lb, which is essentially negligible.

    And... converting from a single 12V battery to a pair of 6V batteries will increase tongue weight by roughly 60 lb, so placing the gennies on the bumper (with the new batteries up front) will result in roughly the same tongue weight that you have now.

    And if the 26N design is as close to the 25Y design as I think it is, a bumper mount for the generators would also give you a very short run for the shore power cord.
    2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
    Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 40K miles
    Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

    2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 130K miles

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    • #3
      You are right about the similarities in the design between the two. The one downside to putting the generators up front was having to use an extension cord to connect to the generators; mounting them in the back would be better in that regard.

      In the long term it would be nice to be able to leave the generators on the bumper as we travel. I may need to re-visit my plans and figure out if either the bumper can support the weight while traveling (worried about bumps and vibration stressing the bumper mounts) as-is, or if I should re-enforce the bumper.

      '19 Nash 26N (http://milesfromdone.com/category/rv/ - mods & projects)

      '14 Ram 3500 Mega Cab 6.7 Cummins - Level, Airbags, few other things here-and-there.

      Comment


      • #4
        With your metal fab ability, you have some decent options for a permanent bumper mount. The bumper can handle the spare, steel wheel, and mount bouncing on it indefinitely, so you probably only need modest reinforcement.

        I moved my spare from the bumper to near the tongue. I used a BAL 28217 recessed mount, so there's no real change in my ground clearance. It adds a bit of tongue weight, and the spare has basically disappeared.

        If you can relocate the spare like that in your 26N, then it becomes a matter of fabbing up bumper reinforcement or maybe a separate frame for the generator mount, and a generator cover to keep road grime off them. With the new batteries and a relocated spare, you'd have no problems with tongue weight at all.
        2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
        Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 40K miles
        Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

        2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 130K miles

        Comment


        • #5
          A 2" receiver hitch welded to the frame would support a carrier for the Hondas better than a bumper mounted carrier. The bumper is not that durable to support the weight and road vibrations while traveling.
          2012 Dodge Laramie, 2500 CTD, crew cab, Reese 16K Slider hitch

          2019 Arctic Fox 27-5L, 320w solar system, Trimetric SC-2030 Solar Charge Controller, Trimetric 2030 Battery Monitor, Magnum 400 inverter, TST 507 tire monitor
          2015 Arctic Fox 25-Y sold

          Comment


          • #6
            I have thought about adding two more FLAs on the tongue so there would be four batteries, and yes you are correct Carbine, there is room for the bigger battery box. I am not sure about the tank locations in the 25Y, but the rest of the layout is the same on the two TT models. Our 26N has the black tank, and at least 3/4 of the gray tank, in front of the axles. With full black and gray tanks and varying pass-through weight, our tongue weight ranges between 975 and 1,025 lbs so that is why I have not done it. I am not sure that it would be OK to add a consistent 130 lbs or so to the tongue. My truck would be fine with it, but I don't want to overwork the tongue on all our bumpy gravel roads. Overall though, our 26N is usually about 800 to 1000 lbs under the 8,800 total rating no matter the status of the tanks. I think the newer models like yours might be a few pounds heavier, especially the ones with the new Nash front cap, but overall weight is not an issue with the 26N, just maybe the tongue weight. If I decide to increase our battery capacity, I am pretty sure I will follow Yabbut's install of two AGMs and an inverter under the bed. This would require work to redo wiring, but would be a better tongue weight, battery capacity, and inverter wiring solution. I could also make up some of the lost under bed storage with a waterproof storage box on the tongue in place of the FLA batteries.

            Another thing to think about depending on your time frame to install solar is whether you will really have any use for two generators on the back. We almost never use our single generator. There was one trip where it was cloudy all the time AND I was under trees. After a 3 or 4 days of boondocking furnace use, my two FLAs were dropping to about 70% in the morning and charging only to about 85% by end of day. Each day those numbers dropped about 5%. So on the 4th and 8th days of boondocking I used the generator to fully charge the batteries and start over. Other than that, we have not used our generator once since I installed the solar. If I had Yabbut's solar and inverter install, we would probably never use the generator except for maybe weeks long boondocking in cloudy weather under dense tree cover. We don't have a heavy use of electricity compared to some, no microwave, hair dryers, etc., but even if we did, I am sure we would never need a 2nd generator. Yabbut Your electrical use may be a more realistic comparison for Carbine than ours. Do you ever need your generator?
            2001 F-350 V-10 4X4 CC 76,000 miles. Larger Transmission Cooler, Rear View Camera, ScanGauge.
            2018 Nash 26N. 900W Solar, 2nd Bathroom Medicine Cabinet, Progressive Industries EMS, Two Recliners and Kitchen Counter Wall,
            2015 Nash 17K Previous

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Will View Post
              We don't have a heavy use of electricity compared to some, no microwave, hair dryers, etc., but even if we did, I am sure we would never need a 2nd generator. Yabbut Your electrical use may be a more realistic comparison for Carbine than ours. Do you ever need your generator?
              Will , we've used our single Honda 2000 on a few boondocking trips in the ~18 months since we did the solar install. We're pretty heavy electricity users, with an Instant Pot, electric coffeemaker, microwave, hair dryer, etc. All the trips except one were in such heavy tree cover that solar yield was nearly zero.

              The one trip where we used the genny without tree cover was in late November, in a valley under cloudy skies. Peak solar output was only 20% of the total panel rating. It was only a 3-day trip, and we could've avoided running the genny but I wanted to get a little run time on it.

              With that said, I usually boondock in cool climates and rarely use A/C. Any real A/C usage will require at least one generator. Our mighty Victron 3000 will start the factory A/C (without any help from an Easy Start), but I need a generator to keep the A/C running for hours at a time.

              My single Honda 2000 would not always start my A/C, and if I hadn't gone the solar/MultiPlus route, I probably would've bought a 2nd generator just to ensure that we would have A/C when we need it.
              2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
              Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 40K miles
              Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

              2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 130K miles

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Yabbut View Post
                My single Honda 2000 would not always start my A/C, and if I hadn't gone the solar/MultiPlus route, I probably would've bought a 2nd generator just to ensure that we would have A/C when we need it.
                Good point. I was not thinking about A/C. The only time we have used our A/C is for a couple hours at the rally 2 years ago but that is just because of where we usually camp. If we were boondocking in hot or humid climates, then we would definitely have more generator use.
                2001 F-350 V-10 4X4 CC 76,000 miles. Larger Transmission Cooler, Rear View Camera, ScanGauge.
                2018 Nash 26N. 900W Solar, 2nd Bathroom Medicine Cabinet, Progressive Industries EMS, Two Recliners and Kitchen Counter Wall,
                2015 Nash 17K Previous

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yabbut nailed it. For us, it's all about air conditioning. We travel a lot in state, and unless it's December - February, AC is almost always needed unless we get pretty far north in the mountains.

                  I'm going to get one of the external 6 gallon tanks for my Hondas so that I can run them for extended durations without having to worry about running dry. With the dog crate that I built late last year, I need to make sure the dogs are kept safe when we are gone for a few hours - It's amazing how fast the trailer can heat up in the middle of summer in less than an hour without AC (happened to us at a site in June, they lost power for a while). 110+ temps are no joke.

                  The more I think about it, I think I'm going to do a rear mount with a frame welded hitch. My plan is to mount the 2 generators "butt to butt" and then extend the exhaust away from the trailer with some plumbing. I'll have to extend the cables that connect the 2 generators, but I'll just use some heavier gauge wire to do that; it should be more than sufficient.

                  One of my concerns when I was planning the battery box build with the generators up there, was the ability to open the box without much struggle. This will be more work overall, but a much better solution.

                  In my never-ending quest to over-build things, I'll probably fab a little roof/cover that'll permit airflow across the generators while also protecting them from weather.

                  In that same trip where the site lost power, our AC was running extensively into the night to keep the trailer cool. The insulation in the Nash and the 15K AC definitely work better than the tin-sided Jayco Trailer with the 13.5k AC we rented several years ago; that trailer never got comfortable during the day.
                  '19 Nash 26N (http://milesfromdone.com/category/rv/ - mods & projects)

                  '14 Ram 3500 Mega Cab 6.7 Cummins - Level, Airbags, few other things here-and-there.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Carbine View Post
                    The more I think about it, I think I'm going to do a rear mount with a frame welded hitch. My plan is to mount the 2 generators "butt to butt" and then extend the exhaust away from the trailer with some plumbing. I'll have to extend the cables that connect the 2 generators, but I'll just use some heavier gauge wire to do that; it should be more than sufficient.
                    The frame welded hitch is the best way to go, for sure.

                    One potential problem with butt-to-butt mounting is that the controls and pull-starter for the left-hand/street-side generator may be up against the back of the trailer.

                    Click image for larger version

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                    2017 Arctic Fox 25Y
                    Chassis: Firestone Transforce HT LT225/75-16, Blue Ox SwayPro 1500, EezTire TPMS, BAL 28217 recessed tire carrier, 40K miles
                    Electrical: EMS-HW30C surge protector, 800W solar, Victron BMV-712, Victron MPPT 100/50, Victron MultiPlus 3000, Fullriver 415 Ah AGM

                    2013 Silverado 2500HD LML Duramax, manual 4x4, crew cab, std box, added 2nd alternator and 2-gauge charge path, 130K miles

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We also regularly travel / camp in warm weather climates. We always carry one of our Honda 2000's and routinely carry both, during air conditioner season.

                      Addressing the generator exhaust is very important, but so is fresh air supply for the health of the units.

                      With the generator(s) in an enclosed hard sided box (even with the top lid open during use), air flow may be an issue resulting in overheating / generator damage.

                      Over the years, a couple of members have attempted to use their 'portable' generators in the large 5th wheel generator compartments, even with the door open. They reported that fresh air flow / overheating was an issue. During normal use, the portable units (Honda, etc) can heat the surrounding area (especially metal) quickly.

                      Might want to keep generous top / side / bottom ventilation in mind when designing your box.
                      Travel Blog: www.rocklinroamers.wordpress.com

                      2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD: SRW, Duramax / Allison 6.6L Turbo-Diesel, Extended Cab, Long Bed, 4x4, Reese 16K Hitch, 50gal In-Bed Fuel Tank (85 gals total)

                      2016 Arctic Fox 29-5T: Six-Point Leveling System, Fireplace, Two A/C's, Two Honda EU2000i Generators, TST "507" Tire Monitoring System, King-Size Bed, Progressive 'Hard-Wired' 50amp Surge Protector, 16gal Water Heater, Slide-Toppers, Power-Reel, 'G Rated' Sailun Tires.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, I thought about that. For giggles I fired up a generator and lifted it onto a shelving unit with it running; seemed to go okay.

                        I am not 100% sold on this idea just yet. The vibration and subsequent harmonics are concerning with a mounted generator.

                        May need to do some more thinking about all this. Security is first and foremost for the project. I could always just build a freestanding cage to setup nearby that gets chained to the frame of the trailer.

                        I really do appreciate all the insight as I spit-ball these ideas!
                        '19 Nash 26N (http://milesfromdone.com/category/rv/ - mods & projects)

                        '14 Ram 3500 Mega Cab 6.7 Cummins - Level, Airbags, few other things here-and-there.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dave - the box design will be almost completely open. 1x2 frame with sheet metal bottom, 1x1 bars on all other sides with an angled roof to deflect rain.
                          '19 Nash 26N (http://milesfromdone.com/category/rv/ - mods & projects)

                          '14 Ram 3500 Mega Cab 6.7 Cummins - Level, Airbags, few other things here-and-there.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Carbine View Post
                            Dave - the box design will be almost completely open. 1x2 frame with sheet metal bottom, 1x1 bars on all other sides with an angled roof to deflect rain.
                            Great idea.... That should work just fine
                            Travel Blog: www.rocklinroamers.wordpress.com

                            2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD: SRW, Duramax / Allison 6.6L Turbo-Diesel, Extended Cab, Long Bed, 4x4, Reese 16K Hitch, 50gal In-Bed Fuel Tank (85 gals total)

                            2016 Arctic Fox 29-5T: Six-Point Leveling System, Fireplace, Two A/C's, Two Honda EU2000i Generators, TST "507" Tire Monitoring System, King-Size Bed, Progressive 'Hard-Wired' 50amp Surge Protector, 16gal Water Heater, Slide-Toppers, Power-Reel, 'G Rated' Sailun Tires.

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