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Old 07-02-2014, 06:45 AM   #1
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extending battery power

I am looking to maximize battery power when boondocking for 2-3 weeks. In our old camper we used to unhook the battery cable during the day to save power. Just got a 2014 Jayco Sport 10 popup and am wondering if unhooking during daylight hours is going to measurably extend battery power. We use mainly LED lights (furnace off, fridge on propane, no fans, etc.). It looks to me like the CO/LP detector is the only thing that is running during the day. Does it use measurable amounts of power running 24/7? If disconnect is needed, does anyone know if there is a battery shut off in the camper or do I have to crawl under the bed outside 2X a day to unhook the battery?



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Old 07-02-2014, 07:04 AM   #2
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It certainly would be a long haul for us and the way run all of our stuff to last a couple of weeks camping off the power grid.

I went the route of making our camper using less and less DC Power but our game plan was to be able to use all of the things we wanted to have running using the battery bank and running an Inverter. The game plan was to drain down the batteries to around 12.0VDC by 8AM each day and during breakfast run our 2KW Generator and recharge our batteries back up to to their 90% charge state in a short three hour generator run time. This requires using smart mode battery charging...

We can make 12-14 days of 50% to 90 charge cycles on battery bank but after that we must do a full 100% charge state which would require the generator to run around 12 hours. Most camp grounds we go to would not allow us to run the generator that long so that's usually when we come back home.

Adding SOLAR PANEL to to the mix would really reduce our depending on the generator so much...

In your case adding a disconnect switch would be an easy chore to do. Sounds like you only have a single battery installed so one of these terminal switches would probably work great.

These type of battery case side mount switches are popular as well

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Old 07-02-2014, 07:09 AM   #3
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Does the refrigerator use DC power for its control circuitry? If so, if you disconnect your battery you would be turning off your refrigerator.

The propane leak detector does use some electricity; but if your propane tanks are on - to supply propane to your refrigerator - it sure seems like a good idea to me to leave the propane leak detector on.
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by RVhiker View Post
Does the refrigerator use DC power for its control circuitry? If so, if you disconnect your battery you would be turning off your refrigerator.

The propane leak detector does use some electricity; but if your propane tanks are on - to supply propane to your refrigerator - it sure seems like a good idea to me to leave the propane leak detector on.
I believe you are right about the refrigerator. I don't think it will work without the battery. The draw is minimal, but necessary.

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Old 07-02-2014, 11:11 AM   #5
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Everything takes a little bit of power. The propane frig uses a little DC power to control and monitor the temperature and regulate turning on/off the flow of propane.

Depending on what you have for a battery I think a week maybe a little more in a PU is doable if you are conservative. I can go about 5 days on a battery in our HTT, which has a lot more lights, which we have converted to all LED.

I carry a spare battery when I know we are going to be off grid for an extended period or if I know I will need to use the furnace at night. When think I might need the spare battery I haul it to camp in the back of my TV. I then hook it up mid trip when needed.

I think for a 2-3 week boondocking trip you need to formulate a plan to recharge your battery. For me my primary plan is the spare battery, as I have never been in one place that long. With that said I have made a power cord that I can connect to my 7 pin connector on the TV and connect to a weak battery, stowed in the back of my pickup so it can recharge while we are out and about sightseeing. I have not actually needed to do this yet, but it is made and ready to go.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:34 AM   #6
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One thing that surprised me chasing the phantom draws, some of the slide controllers use power while idle. Part of their brake system I believe, so I'm going to find a Hi Current switch to shut power down inside of pulling the fuse.

The propane detector is significant as well, even the stereo has a healthy draw.
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Old 10-17-2016, 11:25 AM   #7
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I would imagine if you want to go that long you will need to recharge at some point. With a low electrical draw a small solar supplement is probably your best bet. 100-200Watts...

One of the Renogy suitcase packages would probably get you by. Or for a little more you could get a generator. I would go for solar though.


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Old 10-17-2016, 07:27 PM   #8
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Pick up a Digital Voltage Meter something like the one below. If you want to keep your battery going for more than a year or 2, you need to go by the 50% rule. You do not let your battery voltage drop below 12.0VDC. 10.5VDC is a DEAD battery. If you keep going below the 12.0VDC cutoff you will notice that it will keep a charge, but it will not last as long on your outings. You may want to think about a 2nd battery, but remember you still need to charge them every day.

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