RV Battery Box Install – Lithium Battery Upgrade – Geo Pro Camper
When it comes to upgrading an RV battery box location, it is crucial to first think of what batteries too use. Campers often understand that there are different types of batteries, but don’t truly understand the difference and issues each one can have. Relocating your RV batteries can be very easy and simple, but can lead to problems down the road if you do it incorrectly and install them in the wrong area of a trailer. Wether you are traveling to Alaska, Florida or Utah, it is important to have the right batteries and system so that boon-docking doesn’t become a stressful venture.
The first step in deciding how to re-route your RV battery cables into a new location, is to figure out what batteries you currently have or to know what batteries you will be buying. If you are planning on living in your trailer full-time or using it for more than 40 days per year than we always suggest upgrading to Lithium batteries because they last the longest.
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AGM is the second best option and are great for recreational campers who will be gone for only a week at a time. AGM batteries cost a-lot less than Lithium batteries and are also maintenance free. They actually operate better in colder temperatures than Lithium but are usually double the weight and only last 25% of a Lithium batteries life.
The third type of battery is Lead Acid, but we and many other campers will instruct you to steer clear of Lead Acid. They require too much maintenance and are often more of a hassle even though they cost less than the other batteries.
Types of RV Batteries – Full-time living or Weekend getaways
- AGM Batteries ($$$) – Most common RV battery from the factory – INSIDE or OUTSIDE
- Lithium Batteries ($$$$$) – Most expensive but maintenance free and last the longest – INSIDE or OUTSIDE
- Lead Acid Batteries ($$) – Old style of RV or Trailer batteries – OUTSIDE only
The Geo Pro 19fbs trailer came with two lead acid batteries from the dealership. Due to the fact that we are full time travelers, we upgraded to Lion Energy UT1300 lithium batteries. Lithium batteries have the most upfront cost, but weigh less, last longer, and have NO maintenance at all. The Lion Energy UT1300 also includes an internal BMS which essentially helps protect the battery from overcharging, cold weather and overheating. Lithium batteries also emit no harmful chemicals and can be mounted sideways which means they can be installed almost anywhere inside a geo pro trailer.
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RV Battery Box Install – Geo Pro Trailer
The hardest part in the entire process of relocating your RV battery box and cables is actually choosing which batteries you want. The second hardest part is figuring out where exactly you want to route the batteries too. The camper batteries need to be accessible for maintenance, out of the way of other things and secure from bouncing around. If you are going to use AGM batteries, keep the battery box outside of the living space in the camper. AGM batteries can also not be completely sealed inside a battery box, as they need some ventilation. In the image below, you can see how we decided to relocate our RV batteries to the pass through storage compartment under the bed of our Geo Pro 19fbs.
Different places to relocate RV Battery Box
- Pass through storage compartment
- Under Kitchen Dinette
- Outside storage compartment
- Under couch
- Inside of a Van – #vanlife
- Build outside box with a lock
Tools needed for the Geo Pro Battery Box Re-location
The routing of the new cables and batteries for your RV is really easy because you are just replacing the existing cables and not actually doing any electrical work. All that you need is wire cutters, a phillips head screwdriver, zip ties, 17mm/11mm/10mm sockets and a socket wrench. These are the only tools required to actually route the new cables inside the trailer, but you will need a drill gun in order to assemble the battery box itself.
How to remove RV Batteries – Camper Battery Upgrade
STOP! Before you remove anything take a picture of the cables to remember which cables go to what battery. If the trailer is already is equipped with batteries it is most likely that they wired in parallel. This is important to remember and to take a picture of, so that you can wire the batteries of your Geo Pro camper back together the proper way. The image below is from the batteries that originally came installed on our Geo Pro 19fbs. There are two batteries wired in parallel, which means the positives on each battery are connected together and the negative’s are connected together. Most RV battery nuts are anywhere from a 12-15mm and can be removed with any regular socket. (Turn off battery disconnect)
Order new RV battery cables – Windy Nation Cables
Depending on what style trailer, RV or van you have, the cable lengths are going to very drastically. On the Geo Pro trailer we were only able to use two of the six cables that were pre-wired. This means that we had to order four new cables from windy nation. We are not sponsored by windy nation, but they offer great products and you can buy the cables with or without lugs if you want to cut and crimp the wires together.
Follow each factory cable to see where it is connected to and measure from that point to the new installation point of your camper batteries. If you aren’t exactly sure of the length it won’t hurt to go a little longer. On our Geo Pro camper installation we decided to add 1 extra foot for every cable just incase, because we would rather be long than short. The pictures below showcase where the battery cables are routed too on the front of the Geo Pro.
The left picture is from behind the battery disconnect switch which is on the tongue of the trailer. The bottom nut with black tape wrapped around the wire (we added the tape) is the wire we replaced. It was originally a five foot 8awg wire, which we replaced with an 8 foot 8awg cable. This lug end is 3/8, so make sure you order the correct size from Windy Nation.
The right picture includes both the negative ground cable and the upper positive cable coming from the inverter itself (don’t remove the bottom red cable). We replaced the negative ground cable because it was too short with a 7 foot 8awg cable with 5/16 lugs because our Lion Energy batteries are 5/16. The larger positive cable we replaced with a 7 foot 2awg cable with 5/16 on both ends. This positive cable is the main positive cable which goes from the buss directly to the trailer battery.
The picture below is from underneath the trailer, directly behind the tongue. The device with the red light is the tire pressure management systems repeater and is not apart of the RV battery box relocation process. The last cable that you will replace is the positive 8awg coming from the fuse on the bottom of the frame. The cable is the one directly above my hand which is mounted to the fuse with two positive cables on it at the bottom.
The cable on the right of the fuse (there are 2 cables attached) is the one you are going to remove and replace with the longer 5 foot 8awg cable. I already replaced the cable in the picture with the new windy nation cable to show you which one you need to replace (the end that looks different than the others). The end of this cable is 3/8 and is the last cable that has to be replaced and lengthened to route the batteries inside of the Geo Pro 19fbs trailer.
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RV Battery Box – Routing New Cables Inside Geo Pro 19fbs
When it comes to actually routing the wire up inside the trailer, it is important to not rip or tear the water or propane line. I didn’t want to drill any new holes in the floor of the camper, so I decided to route them through the preexisting hole that is underneath the bed of the Geo Pro 19fbs.
The right picture showcases how I routed the negative ground, positive battery disconnect and the positive 2awg inverter cable through the hole on the right to keep everything together. I also zip tied them together multiple times to keep the cables from dangling too low.
The left picture showcases how I took the two negative cables (from the factory) and pulled them out of the sleeve to route them back up into the trailer. I routed the factory negative 2awg black cable back inside the existing hole and the 8awg negative. There are a total of 6 cables which connect to the positive and negative terminals on the trailer (3 positive / 3 negative). These two negative cables are the only ones that a are long enough to keep and not have to replace. All you need to do is pull them out of their sleeves and re-route them back up into the trailer.
There are two 8awg positive cables which I ran directly next to the propane line which runs into the camper. Poke a small hole with your finger first so you don’t cut the propane line and then gently force the two cables up into the camper. The propane line is the black “cable” on the top of the picture below. The black sleeve below originally housed that negative 2awg cable I talked about earlier. Since you already routed that negative 2awg cable back into the trailer it creates room to now route the 7 foot 2awg positive cable you replaced earlier.
The last cable I routed into the Geo Pro was the 8awg negative ground cable which you replaced earlier. Route that negative cable into the same black sleeve in this picture that you routed the 2awg positive cable inside. It will be a tight fit, so you may have to cut the end off of one of the old wires you aren’t using, and push it from underneath to the inside. Then zip tie the other end of the old wire to the end of the new negative wire and then from the inside, pull that cable through. I found this to be the easier than pushing the cable through as the cable wanted to bend.
In the picture below you can see the 3 red wires coming out from the existing hole in the trailer. These are the three positive cables that I just highlighted how to route inside. There are also negative cables coming up from this hole but it is hard to see in the picture.
I completely understand that this can be an overwhelming process due to it only being pictures. If you have any questions feel free to email or comment below and I will answer any questions. I also plan on creating a YouTube video highlighting this entire process to make things easier to understand.
Camper Batteries – Routing Geo Pro Trailer Cables Inside
Now that the cables are wired inside the Geo Pro, the next step is to mock up where the batteries will go. The panel inside the pass through compartment will need to be removed in order to connect the RV cables to the Lithium batteries. The picture below is from inside the camper and shows how the RV cables are routed to the batteries. The negative cables are on the far end which is why it can be hard to see. Mock the batteries up and connect the cables to make sure the battery relocation process was done correctly and that the RV has power to everything.
Turn the battery disconnect on and off to ensure you replaced the proper cable. Next, turn the inverter on and trying charging your phone to make sure the negative and positive inverter cables are supplying power. If you mock up the batteries and ensure everything is functioning properly zip tie all the cables underneath the trailer and make sure nothing will become loose and fall as you are driving. Once everything is zip tied, remove the cables from the batteries in order to build the RV battery box.
Building a Battery Box for a Camper
The end is near, and the battery box is the final step before the batteries are secured and safe inside. The Lion Energy UT1300 are smaller than most lithium batteries on the market as they are group 24 size. The reason Lion Energy is so popular is because of the small size and weight of them. Depending on which battery you are routing inside the camper, the box can vary in size. Be sure to measure a couple of times to get the exact fit needed. The battery box for the Lion Energy batteries measured; 20 inches long by 6.5 inches wide by 7 inches tall. This box is a perfect fit for only two lithium batteries and gave me enough room to stuff some of the packaging material in between the batteries. The material the Lion Energy batteries came with will stop the batteries from bouncing around and hitting each other even on rough roads. Get 1/2 inch plywood from Home Depot and have them cut the pieces there, so that way you won’t have to make any cuts at home (I dont own a saw).
Installing Battery Box in Geo Pro Camper
Before the battery box can be installed in the trailer, the back panel needs to be re-installed and have holes cut out. The Batteries are around 9 inches tall and the floor of the box is about 1/2 inch. I cut the square holes out with a razor blade at 10 inches high, about a 2 inch square hole. Sand down the inside of the holes so that the cables won’t tear and add tape on the ends for even more protecting from being torn.
The picture on the left shows how I added around 6 screws to the bottom and drilled them into the floor of the camper. Be sure to use at least 1 inch long screws to have a good bite into the camper floor.
The picture on the right is of the finished product with carpeting placed inside to protect the bottom of the batteries from the wood and screw heads. The carpet isn’t glued in or anything that way I can pull it right out incase the RV battery box needs to be remove for some reason.
Lion Energy UT1300 Batteries in Travel Trailer – Geo Pro 19fbs
The final product is a battery box for two Lithium, Lion Energy batteries. The batteries are wired in parallel and are around 210 amp hours in total. The Geo Pro camper is great for boon-docking and can now hold expensive Lithium batteries inside without worrying about rain, snow or theft. The batteries do not move around at all, and are heavy enough that they won’t fly out of the box. The ONLY future modification that could be necessary is to add an all thread rod on both ends of the box. This would allow a cross bracket to go across the top of the batteries which could be tightend to keep the batteries even more secure.
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