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Old 01-23-2016, 04:17 PM   #1
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Dry camping questions

We have LED lights so not worried about lighting. But have never used electric water pump.

1. Will using electric water pump for water/toilet about 2 days be okay on battery?
2. How about using the microwave a few times for 4-5 minutes ?
3. What about stove fan for minutes a few times?

Advice? How many of these can I use and not drain my battery. 2-3 days dry camping. I am fine with just lights and water pump, will that work?
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Old 01-23-2016, 04:29 PM   #2
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Depends on size of battery (amp hours of capacity) and how much you are using your appliances...if it is a "regular" battery (lead acid or agm, not lithium), cut the amp hours in half for available usage (ie. 100 amp hours means you can use about 50 amp hours without harming the battery by drawing it down to far).

According to my Jayco book, the water pump pulls 7 amps, not sure about the stove. So running the water pump for one hour will use 7 amp hours of your 50 hours available. There is also some other stuff pulling power from your battery - ie. LP detector, lights, etc.

Microwave will not run off of your battery as it is a high-draw AC appliance (1000+ watts) - battery provides DC power.

For a couple of days running only your water pump. lights and stove, you should be fine. Turn on the furnace and all bets are off.
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Old 01-23-2016, 04:53 PM   #3
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For a couple of days running only your water pump. lights and stove, you should be fine.
And you can recharge by plugging back into the tow and run the engine for awhile.
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:02 PM   #4
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After boondocking many days last year, these are my thoughts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashmanbrian View Post
We have LED lights so not worried about lighting. But have never used electric water pump.

1. Will using electric water pump for water/toilet about 2 days be okay on battery?Yes. It's on briefly, only when you use water.
2. How about using the microwave a few times for 4-5 minutes ?NOPE! Draws WAY too much power.
3. What about stove fan for minutes a few times?I wouldn't. That fan and your furnace fan pull lots of power as compared to the LED lights and occasional water pump use.

Advice? ...snip... I am fine with just lights and water pump, will that work?Yes, but how many lights? Turn on the minimum number of lights. Our under awning lights are LED but draw lots more power than a couple of interior LED lights.
You will have to watch your 12 volt electric consumption. You didn't mention if you have a refrigerator... that uses 12 volt power as does the LP detector... or if you use 12 volt power for the radio, or a TV, or laptops, etc.

Remember, too, that your tow vehicle provides 12 volt power to your trailer battery. It's not really enough current to charge your trailer battery, but in a real bind, you could start your vehicle with the trailer plugged in, for example, to be able to run the furnace fan with the inside of the trailer stone-cold and your trailer battery virtually dead (please don't ask me how I know about THAT ).

I bought an inexpensive (under $10) volt meter that plugs into the trailer's 12 volt accessory socket to easily keep tabs on my battery voltage.
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:24 PM   #5
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Thanks all.
I was planning on using the fridge on propane. It only has an led display that will draw electricity, so I thought I would be fine ?..
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:38 PM   #6
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Thanks all.
I was planning on using the fridge on propane. It only has an led display that will draw electricity, so I thought I would be fine ?..
Yup. Using the fridge on propane is fine.

FYI, in addition to the LED display, the fridge temp control and the inside light are also 12 volt but all that is very low power draw.
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ashmanbrian View Post
Thanks all.
I was planning on using the fridge on propane. It only has an led display that will draw electricity, so I thought I would be fine ?..
Some RV refrigerators have 12-volt heaters on the door seal areas to keep them from frosting and sticking. I have a larger 4 door Norcold and it can draw several amps when the control board tells the heaters to be on. Check your particular refrigerator's specs and it may list your maximum 12-volt amp draw. May help you determine your overall AHr load.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:18 PM   #8
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It's been said without actually being said.
Microwave -- will not run off of your battery. You must have a generator or be connected to shore power. (this was touched on)
TV -- same thing, unless you purchased one of the aftermarket 12VDC versions.

Even running the refrigerator on propane, it still has a very low power 12VDC draw. Temp control monitors interior temperature and tells the propane burner to fire.
C02 sensor is a constant 12VDC draw.
Water heater burner, runs the same as the fridge.

Water pump is very low draw, you can discipline battery usage by turning off the pump when not in use (i.e., when sleeping, when outside, etc. just like using the lights)

You didn't mention whether you have one or two batteries (I assume one). Use of the furnace draws a lot of power when the blower fan is running.
Use of the overhead exhaust fan above the stove draws a lot of power (don't forget to open the outside vents once your parked and close them when you travel).

However, with all that said, use this knowledge to plan and act accordingly. My wife and I primarily boondock/dry camp, I grew up with RVs, and primarily dry camped. We have solar panels and generators. However, for a 2 day trip (assuming you go in on one evening, and then stay the entire next day and night and most of the day after and either come home that night or get up and go home early the following day); seriously, I will not bother unloading the panels and/or generator. If you are smart about it, you should be just fine on battery for the two days. Including running the stove fan. Do NOT panic if while you are inside cooking and you have one overhead light on, the water pump is on and you turn on the stove fan and then check your battery condition and it show 1/3 to 1/4 charge. That doesn't mean your battery is almost dead. Let the stove fan do its job and suck the cooking smoke out then turn it off. Once your done with the cooking and eating, and you turn off the lights, look at your battery condition again and it will bounce back up.
If you get concerned, plug in to your TV and let your TV idle while you are cooking and running the stove fan.
Being frugal, DW and I and a teenage boy pushed out rig out on a 6 day trip without generator or solar panels. By the afternoon of day three we would plug in the TV and let the engine run while we were cooking and eating dinner every evening. Once dinner was all cleaned up, I would shut the vehicle off and unplug. We never went below half on the battery.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:35 PM   #9
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Lots of good advice here. One thing I didn't see mentioned is that you should never let your battery go below 50% charge. Letting the batter go below this level permanently damages it. I think someone mentioned about getting a battery meter, which is a good idea. I have a GP27 12 volt battery and have never been able to go more than 2 days without running a generator to charge it back up.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by troutslayer View Post
Lots of good advice here. One thing I didn't see mentioned is that you should never let your battery go below 50% charge. Letting the batter go below this level permanently damages it. I think someone mentioned about getting a battery meter, which is a good idea. I have a GP27 12 volt battery and have never been able to go more than 2 days without running a generator to charge it back up.
There is truth in the statement about battery damage if your battery goes below 50%. However, there is wiggle room and something to be understood here.
As I had stated (I drew from actual use experience), I had two overhead lights on (LED's) and the water pump was on but not running, and we turned on the exhaust fan for the stove. I went and checked the battery meter and it showed only 1/4 charge. That reading was showing the level plus an allowance for the current draw on the battery. Once everything was off, it jumped back up to 3/4 charge and several hours later (by the time we went to climb in bed, it was back up to reading full.

I idea, is you do not want your battery to sit at less than 50% charge while there is zero draw on it.

Not knowing what TT you are using, some other helpful tricks to extend battery life: if you have a fuse in the fuse panel for the CO2 detector, you can pull that fuse and the fuse for the radio/stereo/entertainment head.
Turn off your water heater, and heat water in a pan on the stove for washing dishes etc. Even though we have LED's throughout, we have made it a habit to try and have only one light at a time on, with exceptions to when someone uses the bathroom. When its cold out, we utilize a Buddy heater to heat the trailer instead of the furnace, turning off all heat at night. In the mornings I will get up and start the buddy heater and the coffee. By the time the coffee is ready, the stove along with the buddy heater has brought the inside of the TT up to nice warm temp and then DW will get out of bed.
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