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Old 12-27-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
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How long will battery last dry camping?

Hi, I'm new to all this. Bought a little Jayco swift 2 months ago and am loving it.
We want to go to Joshua Tree next weekend - 3 nights. There are no hookups there.

It's cold at night- but we could run propane furnace-
I'm sure the kids will be buggin me to run the TV/charge they're iPads. The air-con won't be turned on
I doubt. Any info. I'm going to get a second battery, but there is some heavy mods to do moving first
battery/making space on the frame. I will look into a generator, even solar further down the road but any advice/ ballpark time-till-drain would be appreciated.

Thx in advance
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Jayco Forum.
Based on what you posted, you will need at least 2 batteries and have to recharge your batteries each day, so that you do not discharge them to much. Propane furnace is nice, but the furnace uses a battery operated fan. Motors produce a LARGE drain on your battery(s). So, if you use your furnace, you will definitely need to charge the battery(s) each day. Not sure as to what type of TV you have (DC or 120VAC) old tube type or new LCD/LED type. The newer TV's can run for about 4 hours, depending on your battery Ah. If the lights in your TT are the regular 12 (car type bulbs) and not LED's they average about 1 amp per bulb, so they will use up your battery power fast. You will have to change them out with LED lights. As for a generator, that would be a good choice for you, but remember that most campgrounds only allow them to be running between certain hours (like 9am - 8-9Pm) and they can not be the normal noisy generators. There are a few camper friendly generators out there, Honda makes one of them.
My thoughts regarding drain time with all the items you have listed, your battery(s) will not support you through the night, especially with the furnace going.
Get a voltage display meter and monitor your usage by that. When it hits 12Volts, you are closing in on the end of your battery use.
Do a search on the forum and you will find a lot of suggestions regarding dry-camping.
Don
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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On our trailer none of the A/C outlets and devices work on battery power. No TV or A/C. The furnace runs on propane but the fan is electic and ran our battery down quickly.

You can't charge ipads on the A/C outlets but you can use the usb port on the stereo if your trailer has one.

You can do 3 nights likely if you keep in mind what uses power. Even the water pump uses a fair bit of power if you run the water a lot.
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:43 PM   #4
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Don't forget there are a bunch of power suckers that you don't even realize that you are using, such as the control panel for the fridge, the propane detector, and the converter panel.

Any use of lights will slowly drain your batteries, and as mentioned, under normal conditions you TV and all other household plugs will not operate.

A lot of people use the 110 power inverters such as what you can use in the car, however, these will rather quickly draw down your single battery.

My suggestion is to follow your plans of a 2nd battery, and personally I would look into a generator as soon as you can, then take your time with the solar panels, remembering that the $250 sets at the big discount stores WILL NOT keep up, trust me, I learned by spending $250 first, even though several people on the forums had advised me against it.
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Old 12-27-2013, 03:32 PM   #5
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If you can afford it, do a LED light conversion, this will be a huge energy saving for your battery, furnace blower motor will kill the battery very quickly, so you will have to use it sparingly or have a back up plan to charge the battery
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:26 PM   #6
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we lasted about 5 days ...we barely used the lights, only used the lanterns but we did use the LCD TV with the 12 volt outlet an hour or so a day probably. the night before we left the alarms started going off while we were sleeping...it sucked. next time we will run the battery a few times a day off the truck or get a generator/extra battery. The night it did die we just hooked it up to the truck and ran it a few hours and it was fine
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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Your trip sounds like fun!

The furnace will be your #1 power consumer. It can drain a single battery overnight if you just turn it on and leave it on (set at 70ish). Early on we would manual cycle the furnace to warm up the TT and then turn it off for a number of hours, especially at night. In the morning we would turn it back on warm up the TT.

There are ways to make it through three nights before getting your mods completed.

1) Be power conservative. Double lights, remove one bulb. Turn the lights off at the ceiling and not at the switch. Then only turn on the light you need. Done this for many years before LEDs were available. I have been able to go for a week this way, in the summer.
2) Get that second battery; place it in the back of your truck or in the shower for transport. I like to place my spare in a plastic milk crate for transport. When needed, take it out of the milk crate, flip the crate over and place the battery on top of it. Then disconnect the battery in the box and connect to the spare battery. I made extension cords for mine, just to make it easier.
3) You can charge your battery from your TV. It is not ideal charging but you can do it. Just plug the 7 pin to the TV and run the vehicle. For me with LED lights, about a 45 minute charge will give me about 24 hours of additional run time (no furnace, tv) of incandescent lights and radio, frig, etc. I also made an adaptor to charge my spare battery as we are out sightseeing. But that takes time to make.
4) Order LEDs, there are some really good cheap ones on Ebay. What most people are using are the 48 led boards, with a universal adaptor. If you spend some time searching you can get them for under $2 each with free shipping. Just note the adhesive is not correct for the application and does not hold up.
5) Barrow a friend’s generator. We barrowed one this summer for 19 day trip. Only had power for 7 days I would guess. Used the generator only 1 day, to thaw dinner, it was a nice back up.
Best of luck.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:10 PM   #8
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We had a group 24 interstate battery in our x213. It would last for 2 days running out the slide when we got there, running regular lights in the camper here and there, running the fridge on propane, running the water pump, using the radio a couple of hours a day, and running the furnace at night (both nights). I'm surprised most people say there battery is dead just using it one night for the furnace. That would be pretty disappointing. At the end of 2 days I have a fresh 2nd battery that I would drop in to bring in the slide and head home. This year I'll have 2 interstates and a cheaper "northern battery" brand for the last resort back up. Most of the time, on a set up Friday night, leave on Sunday afternoon kind of weekend, I never even had to use my 2nd battery. I bring my volt meter with to check the 1st battery and never drain it under 11.9 volts. If it hits 11.9 then I switch it out.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:56 PM   #9
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#6 when dry camping, I run the slide and awning out while connected to the TT, while running.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagiven View Post
Your trip sounds like fun!

The furnace will be your #1 power consumer. It can drain a single battery overnight if you just turn it on and leave it on (set at 70ish). Early on we would manual cycle the furnace to warm up the TT and then turn it off for a number of hours, especially at night. In the morning we would turn it back on warm up the TT.

There are ways to make it through three nights before getting your mods completed.

1) Be power conservative. Double lights, remove one bulb. Turn the lights off at the ceiling and not at the switch. Then only turn on the light you need. Done this for many years before LEDs were available. I have been able to go for a week this way, in the summer.
2) Get that second battery; place it in the back of your truck or in the shower for transport. I like to place my spare in a plastic milk crate for transport. When needed, take it out of the milk crate, flip the crate over and place the battery on top of it. Then disconnect the battery in the box and connect to the spare battery. I made extension cords for mine, just to make it easier.
3) You can charge your battery from your TV. It is not ideal charging but you can do it. Just plug the 7 pin to the TV and run the vehicle. For me with LED lights, about a 45 minute charge will give me about 24 hours of additional run time (no furnace, tv) of incandescent lights and radio, frig, etc. I also made an adaptor to charge my spare battery as we are out sightseeing. But that takes time to make.
4) Order LEDs, there are some really good cheap ones on Ebay. What most people are using are the 48 led boards, with a universal adaptor. If you spend some time searching you can get them for under $2 each with free shipping. Just note the adhesive is not correct for the application and does not hold up.
5) Barrow a friend’s generator. We barrowed one this summer for 19 day trip. Only had power for 7 days I would guess. Used the generator only 1 day, to thaw dinner, it was a nice back up.
Best of luck.
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:27 AM   #10
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We went to Ft. Ebey for 5 nights last summer with only a few hours of sunlight each day due to fog. Heavy tree cover. We went 5 nights without hookup and left our site with 85% battery power. We are super conservative with the power use. Lights (LED) only as needed. Showers and most bathroom usage at the campground facilities. Last year only had a 40 watt solar panel. With the limited sunlight, but leaving it hooked up all day it was still able to return some charge to the battery. I was pleased with the results. Of course that was our worst trip for lack of sunlight. We stayed 3 nights with full sun each day on another occasion and went to bed with fully charged batteries each night. We are family of three, don't have a television. iPad and phones get charged in our tow vehicle. If we used more power...furnace, television etc, the 40 watt panel would not have been enough.
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