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Old 09-23-2015, 10:28 AM   #21
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gotta admit my wood burning fireplace at the cottage is a lot nicer to look at than the propane furnace in the TT!
Try cooking Thanksgiving supper for your girlfriend of 10 weeks on a woodburning stove in cabin without running water or electricity.

It was Heaven!

We celebrated 10 years together last week.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:50 AM   #22
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I've just joined this group. But I was an automotive electrical engineer and 12 volt power was a daily concern for my career. I'm in the process of trading a Bighorn in on a Greyhawk 29MV. My Bighorn frig was a dometic and we ran on 12 volts quite a bit. We didn't find a high amount of drain with the frig, the furnace could discharge a battery overnight. The lights were another power hog.

Have you considered an additional 12volt marine/deep discharge battery in parallel with your current house battery? The cost is usually reasonable.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:51 AM   #23
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I have read a thread on a rv forum, this one I think years ago where a guy installed a wood burning stove in a rv.

Have not heard from him in a while, I hope he didn't burn up!
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:17 AM   #24
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I'd consider each system separately. First, convert to two 6 volt batteries. Far better for boon docking. Next thing to look at is all the devices that are a constant draw. If you don't need the current time on the entertainment system, install an off switch for it to completely shut it off. Not much you can do about the other appliances unless you want to swap your water heater for an old style one with a pilot light. Other appliances you may also be able to control with cut off switches so they only operate when you need them.

When we used to boon dock, propane was the only way to do it. I never relied solely on the battery.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:43 PM   #25
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...snip...Have you considered an additional 12volt marine/deep discharge battery in parallel with your current house battery? The cost is usually reasonable.
As stated earlier in this thread a pair of proper 6V deep-cycle batteries will replace the OEM group 27 dual-purpose when the OEM battery is no longer serviceable.

And as an electrical engineer you should be aware of the downside of connecting mismatched batteries to a single charger. It ain't good.

My problem isn't having enough electricity, I have a variety of gensets at my disposal.

I'm railing against the change in resource loading. In the early RV's, propane powered almost everything (gas mantle lighting, anyone?). Check out the really early Airstreams. The water supply was pressurized by a hand operated air pump (the tank was pressurized too).

Then a car battery was added. 12VDC lighting is MUCH safer than the gas lamps! Oh, and a 12VDC demand pump works the same way as a well pump in any rural home! Worked great for many years...

Then the electronics crept in... The fridge actively hunts for the 'best' power supply. When needed, ignites the propane supplied by a solenoid operated valve. The water heater is just as bad; electronic ignition & solenoid.

Adding a 1.5A load to burn the fuel when you are already running a 7-10A motor for heat? I mention it only in passing.

What good is switching to LED lighting to save energy when the water heater uses more DC power in an hour that it took to run the incandescent lighting all evening?

It burns my noodle that all this has been foisted on the unsuspecting RV buyer under the guise of "saving energy". Just like nuclear fission doesn't pollute, like other fossil fuels.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:49 PM   #26
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I have read a thread on a rv forum, this one I think years ago where a guy installed a wood burning stove in a rv.

Have not heard from him in a while, I hope he didn't burn up!
The fools on the BBC version of "Top Gear" installed one in a Mercedes...

As nice as it would be, the realities (clearances to flammable surfaces, the weight, chimney, fresh air supply...) make it impractical for any RV I'd want to own.
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:04 PM   #27
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I'd consider each system separately. First, convert to two 6 volt batteries. Far better for boon docking. Next thing to look at is all the devices that are a constant draw. If you don't need the current time on the entertainment system, install an off switch for it to completely shut it off. Not much you can do about the other appliances unless you want to swap your water heater for an old style one with a pilot light. Other appliances you may also be able to control with cut off switches so they only operate when you need them.

When we used to boon dock, propane was the only way to do it. I never relied solely on the battery.
Interesting Ideas!

A cutoff switch for the radio. The USB charger gets one too

I have a 1-year-old standing pilot water heater for an RV installed in my self-contained portable wash station in my barn/shop. Swap those for each other after the warrantee on the trailer is up.

The proper batteries will be done when the OEM one is shot. (On second thought, I may move the trailer's battery to the wash station in the spring and install the deep cycle batteries in the trailer as part of bringing it up for the 2016 season. )

The last troublemaker is the fridge. I don't see myself shelling out $1,200.00 just to switch over to an all manual model (like I had in my old trailer). I think I can live with the .7 to 1.5A draw from that. Plus, I've gotten to like the little light that comes on when you open the fridge door.
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:25 PM   #28
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Ok Mike,
You got my curiosity going. If you would not mind, disconnect your shore power. Turn off your fridge and your propane. Take your Volt/Ohm meter and if it has a 10 amp setting on it, pull your main 30 amp fuse by the battery and plug in the VOM leads in the fuse holder.
That reading should include your radio, CO alarm, water heater circuit board and your fridge circuit board (and maybe your USB charger). You can pull the (+) power lead off the water heater board and the fridge board if you want . You can then add the circuit boards one at a time to get an actual reading. You should now have all your parasitic loads, not sure if you said you have the DC or AC USB option, if DC add that to the total.
You should have an actual number to look at, with little or no testing time.
You can have your significant other turn on the water pump to give you an actual number, but turn off the fridge first. Probably would not turn on the furnace, as that may have a startup draw of more than 10 amps.
Have a GOOD night and Thanks
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:32 PM   #29
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mike837go, my GM duramax diesel has two 12 volt batteries in parallel and this has been done since the start of production in 2000.

As far as reverting back for a few dry campers I'm sure you know what the answer is. Most of us want full hook ups.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:27 PM   #30
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Here's how I addressed the very same problem:

I installed a Trimetric meter and ran a complete inventory of everything electric in the RV.

I was very surprised that some things like the water pump that was labeled at 7amp only used slightly over 3 and that some things like the C0 monitor with no label would deplete a deep cycle marine battery in just a few days. The auto-ignite devices use almost no electricity at all....and I should have known that since they run on a watch battery on my home gas grill.

I also learned that the 12 volt control board on the refrigerator used almost no electricity at all and that I could run the fridg almost exactly a month under normal usage on one 30 pound lp gas container.

We boondock frequently and here's how we addressed the problem:

I replaced every light in the rv with led bulbs.

I installed 2 6 volt GC2 batteries.

I installed 560 watts of solar panels permanently on the roof and have an additional 140 watt panel that is portable to move into the sun when we're parked in the shade.

I installed a 2000 watt PWS Inverter with a transfer switch so that everything in the rv will run off the batteries. The AC won't run on 2000 watts, but the microwave, coffee makers and everything else will.

This past summer we spent almost three weeks in WY, ID, MT, and CO and spent three nights in rv campgrounds. The rest of the time we were on BLM or National Forest with no hookups. We watched movies every night, popped popcorn in the microwave, ran the heater as needed, (one night it was 31 degrees at 9,000 feet) and never once got the batteries below 12.4 volts and never cranked the generator.

Now, I understand that what I've done might not be the ideal solution to what you are trying to address, and I'm not trying to suggest that you should do what I did. I simply wanted to give this background to provide some credence to my suggestion that what you are implying is causing a problem with electrical usage (auto ignite devices and backlight on the radio) are generally not the culprits that eat your battery.

Get a real monitor and test everything. The solution will be much simpler after you know exactly what is using electricity and how much.

Good luck.

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