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Old 03-21-2016, 05:43 PM   #1
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Lights

We dry camp about a third of the time, and with all the gauges/lights on all the time, worry about draining the battery. We have an 18 watt solar panel, which keeps us topped off, but we don't like to use much in the way of lights. We use the awning lights when we take the dog out for his bedtime pee, and we use the inside ligh
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Old 03-21-2016, 06:00 PM   #2
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Our favorite place to 'boondock' is at Harvest Host wineries... so we don't call it 'dry camping'.

Our unit has LED lighting and no television so our after dark electric usage is minimal. We also use the awning lights when letting the dogs out, but only going in and out of the trailer. Our LED awning lights draw a lot of power, but I haven't measured specifically how much yet.

We have a digital meter plugged into our 12 v outlet to monitor battery voltage. That is the simplest and cheapest way I know of to keep an eye on your batteries. I purchased, but haven't installed yet, an inexpensive meter to display battery voltage and current flow.
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Old 03-22-2016, 11:15 AM   #3
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Have you upgraded your lights to LED yet? That will give you the biggest savings in power.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:41 PM   #4
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It is a little unclear what size of trailer you are talking about. If a larger (20ft+) travel trailer then your 18W solar panel is really not enough. It will work for trickle charging, but that is about it.

I would start with getting some way to measure your current usage from the batteries. My preferred method would a dedicated monitor like the trimetric 2030-RV. These are not cheap and by the time you are done you will be into it for about $150 or so.
You can see one here.
TriMetric Model Descriptions, Present and Past | Bogart Engineering

Another option, especially if you do not have one yet, is to get a clamp-on multi-meter. Make sure it can measure AC AND DC amps with the clamp.
I have this one, which I got at Sears a few years ago, it seems to work fairly good. From my experience if the meter cost less than $50 or so, it probably cannot measure DC amps with clamp.
Sears.com

Lastly, if you don't want to bother with any of the other stuff, you might get by with a 100W panel, a small solar controller, and replacing all the lights with LEDs.
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:15 PM   #5
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We don't dry camp as much as I would like.

We converted our incandescent bulbs to led. All of our leds use the same amount of power as one incandescent bulb. We turn on only the lights we need, and we will sit inside reading or playing games with the lights on. The ceiling lights work off one master switch, we'll flip it on, then go to each fixture and turn them on/off as needed. We can go for an easy three days, including using our bunk fans.

I would like to add is a master power switch to kill the power to the stereo, I bet it uses a lot of power sitting idle.

I have a clamp amp meter works great.
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jagiven View Post
We don't dry camp as much as I would like.


I would like to add is a master power switch to kill the power to the stereo, I bet it uses a lot of power sitting idle.

I have a clamp amp meter works great.
Use the clamp to find out its idle draw..... I would really like to know that.....
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:35 PM   #7
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I just installed a cheap monitor on my rig. While I haven't done a lot, beyond making sure it worked, I did measure an idle draw on my 2016 Eagle HT 29.5BHDS of just under 0.5 amps. It was fluctuating from 0.43 to 0.47 amps. This is with everything off that could be turned off. So stereo idle, propane detector and what ever else draws power.

The furnace was pulling 7 amps while running. I plan to inventory more items when I get some time and assistance.

That would amount to 12 amp hours per day that you are stuck with. Not enough to worry me, But I understand others may run tighter on their energy budget.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jim-n-Ash View Post
We dry camp about a third of the time, and with all the gauges/lights on all the time, worry about draining the battery. We have an 18 watt solar panel, which keeps us topped off, but we don't like to use much in the way of lights. We use the awning lights when we take the dog out for his bedtime pee, and we use the inside ligh
Is there a question in here?

I see several responses with suggestions and comments, but I don't seem to understand your question.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:06 PM   #9
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Is there a question in here?

I see several responses with suggestions and comments, but I don't seem to understand your question.
Seems like his concern is , Does he have enough solar capacity? Maybe a clarification of what the question is, is in order?
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cdash View Post
I just installed a cheap monitor on my rig. While I haven't done a lot, beyond making sure it worked, I did measure an idle draw on my 2016 Eagle HT 29.5BHDS of just under 0.5 amps. It was fluctuating from 0.43 to 0.47 amps. This is with everything off that could be turned off. So stereo idle, propane detector and what ever else draws power.

The furnace was pulling 7 amps while running. I plan to inventory more items when I get some time and assistance.

That would amount to 12 amp hours per day that you are stuck with. Not enough to worry me, But I understand others may run tighter on their energy budget.
12Ah per day! No wonder so many people ask why their battery is dead after sitting unused for a few days.
7 days on a group 24 and you are dead, dead. 4 days and you are down to 50% charge.
I used to think you would get two weeks. Guess not.

Never really did the math before but it makes sense. If you had a 1 amp parasitic draw that is 24Ah per day. Two days boondocking without using any additional power and your low voltage alarms (CO & propane) will start beeping if you are on a regular group 24 battery.
Even 4.5 days on a pair of 6 volts and you will be down to 50% charge.

Cheers
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