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Old 09-07-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
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How long will battery last?

We are taking our 23b out this weekend for its first trip. Unfortunately, it's to the Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen and it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow with 30-40 mph winds.

We've camped without power before in the popup, but haven't really been concerned about the lack of power as it's been in the heat of summer and the most we've used is some lights at night to get ready for bed.

In the hybrid, we now have the benefit of a hot water heater, larger fridge with freezer, and no doubt will be using the furnace at least to warm things up late at night or early in the AM with all the rain and storms. Not to meantion possibly spending a little more time indoors with lights on in the late afternoon. Oh, and of course the stereo! See, all these extra fun comforts!

So I'm wondering how conservative I need to be to keep our battery alive. I know the fridge and hot water and furnace all run with LP but also use some battery. We won't really be in it this evening as we'll be in the village for the festival and fireworks, so I'm basically looking at tomorrow and tomorrow night. What's the most wasteful thing I would be running that I should cut down on? I wish there were a list so I had an idea of how much things like the stereo run down the battery, as I would likely have that on constantly. Should I avoid showers in the camper and spring for the pay showers at the track?

And while we're on the subject, we don't often camp without electricity. Therefore, I'm not crazy about the expense of purchasing a generator for the occasional weekend out. What's the most economic way to stretch out battery life? I've read a lot on wiring in golf cart batteries etc. Couldn't I just buy a 2nd deep cycle battery and just switch it out when the first one runs out? Or is there a better way?

Sorry, I know I have questions in this one all over the spectrum. Just don't want to sit in the dark while the tempest blows tomorrow night! :dunce: I hope before we spend a week at Rollins Pond next summer without hookups that I will be better educated on the subject of boondocking!

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.

Karen, Scott, our daughers (6 and 9), and Finley (Finn) the wonder lab.

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:03 AM   #2
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The largest draw you have mentioned will be the furnace. It will use about 4 amps to run the fan. That load is intermittent. Maybe 5-10 minutes out of 30 minutes depending on how cold it is and how warm you want to be. The water pump will use about 6 amps but that is usually very short duration. Next would be the lights themselves. Many draw 2 amps. LED replacements draw much less. Then consider how many amp hours is your battery. There is no ideal answer to your question.

Here is a link that will teach you a lot about the 12V world:

12 Volt Side of Life

Chuck - Sparta, TN
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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I agree on the draws. Furnaces love batteries and in temps 50 or less it will kick on probaly every hour throughout the night. You could just go with running the furnace while getting ready for bed then pile on the blankets for the night during your first night. Then the second night since you will be leaving anyway you can run the furnace for more comfort. I've had my stock 12V batts in the past go below 12.1V after one nights stay with the furnace going.

Your idea for the second back up would work but it has to be fully charged up in order to be effective. Most off the shelf batteries need some lift to be at peak.

The other option is to plug into your TV for some lift but that is going to require a fair amount of time, 3+ hours to even make some dent.

Maybe a gesture to a neighbor with a genny might let you plug in to run your converter provided he has some excess watts. A 6 pack might make someones night for a few hours of run time. Bring 2 x 100ft extension cords and your adaptor. Worth a shot.

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:35 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. And for that link! I printed it out to keep in the camper for some reading material this weekend. The electric system seems to be our real achilles heel when camping - most other stuff we can deduce between the two of us and my husband is pretty handy.

I packed our little buddy propane heater too, to minimize furnace usage so that should help. I love that thing! We wouldn't run the furnace all night, especially without the kids and having heavy duty sleeping bags to wrap up in.

Good suggestion on looking for a neighbor with a generator - we always have a six pack on hand! In fact, I barely fit milk in the fridge for this weekend - it's not often we're kid free for 48 hours! I did squeeze in a couple of tubes of cinnamon rolls.

Thanks again for the help - you guys are such a great wealth of knowledge!
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.

Karen, Scott, our daughers (6 and 9), and Finley (Finn) the wonder lab.

2013 Jayco Jayfeather X23B
2001 Viking 2485ST pop up
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:54 PM   #5
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I would try not to let your battery go below the 12.1VDC reading. This is the 50% charge state reading and is really hard on the battery to go below 50% charge state even for short periods of time.

If you could bring along a second battery all charged up and ready to would be great. If you have to use the furnace the rule of thumb for us was one battery one night...

If you are going to be doing this alot a second battery should be in your dreams as well as beefing up your converter/charger to a smart mode charger and then of course a 2KW honda generator to run 2-3 hours aday to re-charge your two batteries back up to 90% charge state each day.
Roy and Carolyn
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We live in King George VA

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Old 09-07-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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On our second trip out with our 23B; we purposely boondocked, for three nights. We were not very conservative with our power consumption at all (on purpose). We used the furnace a little bit maybe an hour the first night. My wife is a big reader, she turned on all of the overhead lights and sat on the dinette and read for hours. At the end of the second day the battery was very low on juice. I plugged the TV in and ran the truck for an hour and it gave us enough charge until we left (now being ultra conservative).

My recommendation is to remove one light bulb from each of the dual overhead lights. Also we manual turn off most of the lamps, when we do not need them. Why light the whole trailer when we are only in the front section. That worked very well. Since then I have replace the incandescent bulbs to LEDs, however, we have not boondocked since then.

One additional item regarding battery life; it really depends on what you have for a battery. Our TT came with a very light weight battery. In the garage I have a heavy duty deep cycle battery. I do not recall the amp hour ratings. But the OEM battery I think was like an 85 amp hour, and my spare is a 135?? Amp hour battery. That makes a big difference in run time.

Best of luck, and remember have fun.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:38 PM   #7
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We just purchased a 2013 145RB Jay Flight SWFT SLX. We camp where there is no power, and we don't want to get into a generator. There isn't much sun for solar. This was a move up from another small travel trailer, tented before that. Since we really wanted a camper for a dry place to sleep, a toilet at night, and the fridge and stove, we are pretty good at being conservative. We don't use lights, very little use of water pump, use campground toilets most of the time, and campground showers always. In the past, the biggest battery use was the propane detector. Now with the new camper, its a combo propane and CO2, and we have a radio which could be a small drain with the little light? They did give us a better than usual battery (because that's all they had). In the past, we would bring two batteries, switch mid-week, camping for 8 nights. Don't use furnace or water heater. I realize the fridge may use a little battery and probably won't run without a battery. We have a cooler along just in case. So, any ideas how to last 8 days with one or two batteries?
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:51 PM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2013
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If you need some heat AND light break out the propane lanterns and use those before bed. You'll be surprised at how much heat one old single mantle lantern can put out in a trailer. Of course, use caution and have some ventilation.

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Old 05-06-2013, 11:40 PM   #9
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I too boondock a lot, I fought using a generator every year, restricting light use and furnace etc. Last year I bought a 45 amp solar panel thinking it would keep things charged up for several days using my conservative techniques. Well, that didn't work very well at all, I spent more time worrying about which way the solar panel was facing throughout the day.

This year, I traded my trailer for a new model, in the process I had them include a generator in the deal. What a difference, we have camped twice so far this year, both in the cold temps and used the furnace a lot, lights as much as we wanted, and charged up with the generator in the morning and at night for an hour at a time, our batteries were strong the whole time.

My suggestion, quit fighting yourself, get a generator... just make sure it's a quiet invertor type. (yamaha, honda, etc.)

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Old 06-23-2013, 08:18 PM   #10
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Back from first camping trip. Went from Saturday noon until the following Saturday afternoon. The battery lasted all week and indicated still fully charged, according to the display light. Only used the water pump very little, and ran the fridge. Although there were a few cool mornings, heating water for coffee warmed the camper enough until the sun came around. Buying a generator might be needed later in retirement years, but for now wouldn't want to carry one and gas in either SUV or camper. The camper is great! No problems. Brighter inside than our old fun finder, and certainly plenty of room, comfortable to sleep.

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