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Letters and email from readers about Backwoods Home Magazine and the BHM website


Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category


Potential for RV fire

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Hey, Claire,

Your otherwise excellent article has a couple of important omissions. The schematic diagram shows two deep-cycle storage batteries connected in parallel, but neglects  isolation diodes and fusible links, and there is no mention of either one in the text.

An isolation diode prevents one battery from discharging the other, while still allowing both batteries to be charged from a single +12VDC connection.  In actuality, as long as all batteries in a storage bank are diode-isolated, any number of batteries may be connected safely.

In a worst-case situation, and if directly connected to another, one battery (for whatever reason) could present itself as a dead short to the remaining battery(ies), draining all the ‘juice’ quickly enough to start a nasty fire and/or explosion.

I would also install a fusible link at each battery’s positive terminal, just in case… it would act as a high-current fuse, preventing the sort of massive current drain that could really heat things up in  a heartbeat.

In what I would consider a safe setup, each battery is contained within its own plastic battery box (vented to prevent the buildup of hydrogen gas) to catch acid leakage, connected to its respective fusible link, to a high-current conductor ‘manifold’ (I have used flattened copper pipe with holes drilled for connector bolt/nut/washer assemblies), each battery with its own isolation diode connected in series with its fusible link.

If a catastrophic failure were to occur, the fusible link would blow, removing the defective battery from the circuit altogether.

Talk to an RV dealer for more details, but the practice of directly connecting two or more high-energy storage components, without fusible links and isolation diodes is a potentially dangerous one.  I’m surprised the schematic diagram didn’t catch fire on its own.

Keith Savoy


Len Torney Article

Thursday, November 19th, 2009


Me and two auto buddies used Len Torney’s info for a fleet upgrade. Gas saver idea.

Thanks, he’s a smart dude!!

If we save what he says, I guess we should send him a case of Foam.


Phi, James & Bill the (aka Fat Tire)


Just read your article on transportation

Monday, June 15th, 2009


Great article. I also ended up with a electric bike and I’m loving it.

I’m currently, like you, modifying it to make it better. I have to get to work 15 miles away and have band pratice 40 miles away. Walking it is not really an option. It was just cool seeing someone appreciate the way the electric bike skates around the system a bit :)

No response necessary…enjoy your articles. You think in a very similar way as myself!

Jeff in Upstate NY



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