Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Power System


We use the fiver off grid for a few months of the year, usually during the winter here at the shop. When we first moved to this shop Feb 1, we had to park at the rear of the yard where there is no power or water. Cold, very cold. Our power system consists of a Honda Eu 3000 generator, 4 Crown 6 volt batteries, 1000 watt inverter.

I mounted the Honda on the pin box of the fiver. I originally wanted to mount it on the rear of the trailer like I had done on another trailer I had. But when travelling, I don't like the extra weight on the rear of the trailer even though I tied the mount system into the main frame of the trailer. With the Honda on the front of the trailer, I can keep my eye on it. Also, easier to service and to fuel up when standing on rear deck of the truck either while hooked up or not.

I built a aluminum cover, and cutout holes for access to the controls and for exhaust. I only have to remove the cover when refueling and or servicing. I get some vibration through the pin box mount, but if I put in a spreadbar from under the mount to the ground, it eliminates the vibration. This spreadbar could also be a tripod stabilizer, which I like under the pin box when parked to take some of the stress off the frame.

This past winter while off grid, we could run off the batteries for the whole day easily, very close to two days before the batteries were at 60 % discharge. Generally what I did, was fire the Honda up around 400 pm and let it run till about 900 pm. This would recharge the batteries and run the living room entertainment system for the evening hours. Sometimes do the laundry at the same time. So with the Honda shut off, I could still watch tv and or a movie in the bedroom, the bedroom receptacles are wired to the inverter. I usually fall asleep while watching tv and prior to this system, the Honda would end up running all night long.

I bought the Crown 6 volt deep cycle batteries two years ago for just under 600.00. I originally wanted the Trojan T 105 as that seems to be the norm that guys like me usually buy but, the place where I bought the batteries carried both lines of batteries, the owner was a avid off grid rver and he told me that he uses the Crown batteries. That sold me. I use the onboard Iota converters with the Iq Smart Controller Modules, to recharge and maintain the batteries, these units also supply the 12 volt dc power to the fiver.

We don't really use alot of ac power. The system worked very well this past winter. For the most part when the Honda was recharging batteries it was just above idle and getting 15 hours per 13 litres of fuel. At a average of 4 hours per day, we could get very close to 4 days of Honda use on a tank of fuel.

Off grid in the middle of a very cold Ontario winter, the furnace ran almost continuously. Also with daylight savings in effect, it was dark at 500 pm, half the lights on in the trailer. The batteries worked very good, we did deplete them to dangerous levels a few times. I mounted the 1000 watt inverter close to the batteries and wired the bedroom receptacles out of the fiver fuse box right into the inverter. Nice simple system, and the inverter is not a high quality unit either, 150.00 made off shore by Xantrex.

I have been thinking of installing another 1000 watt inverter to power the living room entertainment system. I could then only need to run the Honda for 2-3 hours per day. Just for recharging and microwave or washer dryer duties.

I have room for two more batteries in the battery storage compartment, right now those compartments are empty as I removed the original batteries that came with the trailer. They were the cheap 12 volt deep cycle batteries. I like where the batteries are now, all together and easy to service but I do need to vent this storage area, for the time being I leave the compartment door open a bit.


  1. That's some good information Coal. I was kinda curious about all that. When you say it was "very cold" this winter, did you get alot of -30 to -40 celcius at all? Just curious, so I can put it all into perspective.

  2. Fch, cold man, lots of -25 and then the wind chill, add another 5 to 10. I lived all through the west, -35 in Winnipeg is like -20 here, I prefer out west cold than the cold here in southern Ontario, damp cold here, but not a long winter. Jan Feb most of March, cold. We usually get a solid 6 weeks of brutal cold.

  3. Nice power system. Great minds think alike, eh? I mounted an EU3k on the nose of my (micro) 5er last year. (link)

  4. Robert, nice mount. I see it is removable too. Any vibration issues??

  5. Thanks. Vibration is noticeable but not bad. Loose stuff can rattle. It only runs a couple hours a day during meal times when dry camping for battery charging and maybe microwave too.