2005 Keystone Raptor, 3612DS
4 - 12 Volt Battery Installation
(I have since upgraded to 4 - 6 volt batteries and had to make a custom battery box for the batteries. This can be seen from the main "Self Help Page" or you can go directly to the installation page (Click Here)
First off, this is not a step by step instruction manual on how to install a battery bank. It is simply my solution to adding four 12 volt, deep cycle, batteries to my Raptor based on the configuration of the battery compartment. I have seen newer model Raptors where Keystone re-did the battery compartment and allowed more room for the batteries. This kind of pissed me off because there is barely enough room for two group 24 batteries. I already had it out with the Keystone rep at the Sand and RV show in Orange County about how there should be a "Desert Prep Package" for the Raptors. There would be things like a four battery storage compartment, solar panel wiring prep, etc. However, I won't hold my breath for that. The good news is that there are many creative Raptor owners (and make/model owners) who love a challenge. There is another RV.Net member (Y-Guy) who did a great job with his battery compartment modification to allow the installation of two - 6 volt deep cycle batteries.
Always disconnect you main coach positive terminal before working on any batteries and DO NOT run live wires through holes. Run the wires first, and then attach to the batteries.
Why four batteries? If you have ever had you batteries go dead in the middle of the night or you have kids, you will want four batteries.
12 Volt or 6 Volt? This debate rages on and you can search RV.Net for the answers.
You would think that Keystone would have given us just one more inch to squeeze 2 - BCI size 24 batteries (about 10 1/4 in length, by 6 3/4 in length, by 9 inches in height) into the battery compartment, but they didn't. Since I don't mind home modifications, I notched out part of the wood with my Dremel. I left about a 1/4 inch of space on each side of the wood. Since the original installation, I stained the exposed wood a dark grey and put a battery cap on the exposed negative terminal. The rig originally came with two batteries, one in the below compartment and one in the generator compartment. You will not get any bigger batteries in this compartment.
Since the batteries I used were 12 volt, make sure you only connect the positive terminals to the positive terminals (wiring diagram). I am not a fan of the black and white coloring that Keystone used because I am used to the red. So any additional cables that I bought were, of course, preferential red. Remember different battery manufactures make different sizes. I was able to pick these two 12 Volt, Deep Cycle, up at Sam's club for about $45.00 each. Notice the addition of the 12 volt outlet on the left side which is used for a small air compressor.
I have a friend who went out and spent over $400.00 on "Optima" batteries because he said his batteries were draining too fast. If you plan to use your coach (like I do) and do not want to run your generator that much, you will have to find an alternate source for charging your batteries. The pre-built Raptor charger that comes with your rig that runs when the generator is on WILL NOT sufficiently charge your batteries and you will have to have an alternate charging method to keep them topped off. Keystone RV Technical Support told me the actual charge rating while the generator is running is only 2.5 to 5 AMPS (ie. a trickle charge)!
For me, it is not a problem because I am installing an inverter/charger that has a 75 AMP charger already built it. You can use a Sears charger (10 AMP) or you can replace your original converter/charger with a higher AMP converter/charger. If you are like me and start your generator everyday while camping to run the Microwave (or my wife uses her hair dryer), the higher AMP chargers get your batteries topped off very quickly. They are available at any RV store and even on eBay. I picked mine up on eBay for less $350.00 which include a battery monitor / control panel, cable, and a 21 AMP Solar Panel Controller. I have save an eBay search for only "Inverter Charger" combinations and you can click on it to see what eBay has to offer. See them on eBay Now!
Here are the last two batteries which were installed in the battery bank. You will notice a 600 watt inverter which has been hard-wired to the batteries. I picked this one up from "Harbor-Freight" for about $40.00, on sale. There are two plug outlets. One is used for accessories, like this retractable light and the other was originally used to power the garage area where my kids would watch TV and play video games. To achieve this, ran a power cord (12 gauge wire) from the inverter to the "Garage" circuit breaker and spliced into it. Now the garage plugs and the TV plugs are "live" when the inverter is on.
The only drawback is that the refrigerator on the Raptor (don't know about other units) is on the same circuit, so it has to be run off of propane. If you plan to be hooked up to shore power for a weekend, simply un-splice the wires and and connect them back into the circuit breaker. But if you are like me and spend more time "dry camping", we just run the fridge off of the propane. This was one of the main reasons I bought an aftermarket Legend inverter/charger combination. However, if you are a little creative, you can go under you coach and find the plug wires that you want and splice into them directly, thus bypassing the refrigerator OR you can see the diagram at the bottom of the page for what I was going to do.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or you can call my cellular phone (562-843-4043). I spend a lot of time with my family at Lucerne, Ocotillo Wells, Glamis, and along the coast. These were just some improvements that I needed to do.
Since most toy hauler owners love their coaches and to dry-camp, Here is what I was going to do prior to buying an inverter/charger combination to satisfy my power needs:
WHAT IS WAS GOING TO DO:
WHAT I AM GOING TO DO:
Anybody who reads these message boards can figure out how to install it. There are a lot of "gurus" here who are more than willing to help.
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