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Old 01-28-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
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Fridge and battery usage.....

I plan on boondocking for the entire summer in the White Mtns. of Arizona. I would like to keep the refer on the low setting in the propane mode. I don't plan on using a solar system to keep the battery charged. I will, more than likely, charge it in the AM on the days we are there via a generator (honda). I have two questions;

1) Does the fridge need a power supply when it's running on propane?

2) When charging the deep cycle battery, is it best to use an external charger rather than the TT charging system (due to the time it takes to charge)?

Thanks.
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:19 PM   #2
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Your refrigerator has to have battery power to it, even on propane, for the control circuitry --- but it does not draw much.

Either an external charger or your converter will charge the battery. Either may be faster to do the charging, depending on:

1) How big (how many amps) is the external charger, and can you adjust the charging voltage?

2) How big is converter, and can you adjust the charging voltage or is your converter maybe smart enough to adjust the charging voltage up when your battery is at least moderately discharged?
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:16 PM   #3
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When you say "on days we are there" do you plan on being away for days at a time? If so the batteries will most likely be dead and the refrigerator will be warm. If you are just on the batteries you will soon find that the sensors, radio, tv etc will all draw a small amount of power and deplete your batteries.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:41 AM   #4
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When we boondock the 12v system can be damanding on the battery and would say that if you went 3-4 days without charge on an orginal equipment 12V deep cycle that it would be dead or close to it. If you are planning on being off grid for an extended period of time and want to have the systems to support that a battery upgrade will be manadatory.

Most dealer supplied batteries upon purchase are not true deep cycle and will not last much past a few days wihtout charging. Propane sensors and the fridge will deplete it in no time. I would suggest (2) 6V Golf Cart batteries in series for 12V output or (2) 12V True deep cycle, non CCA rated batteries. Something north of 225+ AH.

There are numerous threads on here with more specifics in the tech and mod forum.

As mentioned above the fridge needs 12V for ignition and thermostat setting so yes it does require 12V. Another option is a portable solar charger that you can put on the batteries while not there which might keep your current battery up enough to support the systems while away. Maybe a trial at home first to see how many days you can go on the current systems.

Also your listed year is 2008 and it is most likely a 2 stage converter/charger. In your manual you should have the amp rating for your specific unit which is probaly a 30 or 45 amp IOTA unit. They do a good job in charging the batteries but they need 3-4 hours to get back up to 90% or better unless dead which could take longer.

The newer units have 3 stage charging or "smart" charging which have a boost 14.4V for the first stage then a second stage in the mid 13's to a third stage which is similar to a trickle charger. You can buy a smart board upgrade for your unit most likely to help it perform better and maintain the batteries. Check your manual or build sheet and see what you have to make these determinations.

Seperate battery chargers range from 2A-50A so it depdnds on what you have or purchase. If below 20A it's going to take a very long time to get those batteries up to speed.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the info, I figured I would need power to run the unit (ignition). Maybe I will have to pass on the idea of leaving it on while we are away, unless of course I go with a solar system.

Clutch, Once the trailer is set-up, we ill be there on ly on the weekends.

3'senough, I have a 2 stage. I do have a voltage jack with it which I have yet to use. Can I keep the voltage jack in at all times when I'm charging the battery while I'm there? Nevermind, I just read the manual on it and it say's Warning: To avoid battery damage, remove the dual voltage plug when quick charging is complete.

Thanks for the help guys!
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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One solution would be to disconnect the battery when you leave and empty the refrigerator. That way when you return to the trailer the batteries will be up. We did that for several summers with our old Prowler trailer. We used a small Honda generator to keep the batteries up. We ran it for a few hours every evening.
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