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Old 07-16-2011, 02:35 PM   #1
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Dry camping: will battery power be enough?

We're heading out on July 23rd for 4 days in a national forest campground in our new 1007. Dry camping, no hookups. In your experience, will battery power alone be sufficient to run the water pump and (mimimal) lights for 4 days? (no furnace use anticipated.) We do not have a charge line from the car to the battery, so no recharge during trip. If I get a small solar recharger do those provide enough recharge to keep that kind of use going for dry camping?
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Old 07-16-2011, 04:37 PM   #2
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snip......In your experience, will battery power alone be sufficient to run the water pump and (mimimal) lights for 4 days? (no furnace use anticipated.).....snip
Under very conservative usage as you described, I would say yes. Make sure the battery is under a "full" charge before the trip, and take a pair of jumper cables in case you have to give the PUP battery a 30 minute charge.

The smaller solar chargers (around 15W) wouldn't keep up with your battery usage, they are better for battery "tending".

Bob
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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First of all Rapildy - Welcome to the Jacyo Forum! Glad you found us. If you get a chance come on over to the new member forum and introduce yourself.

I agree with RE - I would say the solar recharger is a no-go unless you got a pretty big system. The small battery maintainers just dont cut it and to get something that really charges your battery is pretty expensive.

If you keep your light use to a minimum you will probably be able to make it. As RE said - use some jumper cables to top off your battery on day 2 or 3. Run your car for 20 or 30 minutes and give it a little charge. You want to avoid draining your battery down to empty as it will lessen the long term life.

Also - those little jumpstart packs are nice as emergency power if your battery runs out.

Report back how your trip goes! There are quite a few folks here that would be interested in hearing about your experience.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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If you are going to be doing a lot of dry camping, think about buying some reading lights and a battery powered lattern to use for interior lighting which lessens the load on your RV battery.
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:38 AM   #5
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With internal LED lights instead of the normal light bulbs, I'd expect you'd make it 4 days without issue. In my camper the default bulbs were each 18W and there was 8 of them so a total of about 144W. That will do a number on a battery. With the LED lights I might be using 4-6watts total, if that. Pretty amazing.

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Old 07-17-2011, 08:52 AM   #6
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I once dry camped over a four day Fourth of July weekend. My electrical requirements were the same as yours but I was also running the refrigerator on propane so electricity was also required to run the refrigerator's electronics. All my light fixtures are incandescent. As I recall (it's was 11 years ago when I did this), I lasted about three days before I needed to recharge.

I charged my battery simply by re-attaching the umbilical cord between the trailer and TV. Of course, I ran the engine periodically to prevent the TV's battery from discharging to the point where I couldn't start the TV.

If electricity is nearby (like at a bath house), take a battery charger along with you and charge the battery at the bath house if necessary. I've never done this but I've seen other campers do this. Even charging for just an hour can make a difference.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:30 AM   #7
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Great suggestions, thanks much! We will be using the refrig on gas, forgot about the electronics for that. I have a small jump battery and will bring it, also a battery charger; I like the idea of removing the batt for a charge while camping (if I can find an outlet). Unfortunately, the lights are incandescent, I was surprised that LEDs aren't std. equip by now. I'll report back how it goes.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:52 AM   #8
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Great suggestions, thanks much! We will be using the refrig on gas, forgot about the electronics for that. I have a small jump battery and will bring it, also a battery charger; I like the idea of removing the batt for a charge while camping (if I can find an outlet). Unfortunately, the lights are incandescent, I was surprised that LEDs aren't std. equip by now. I'll report back how it goes.
Does the umbilical plug not charge your battery? just plug it in and run the vehicle for 30 min to charge your battery
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:29 AM   #9
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...Unfortunately, the lights are incandescent, I was surprised that LEDs aren't std. equip by now. I'll report back how it goes.
And, unfortunately, LED lights won't become standard equipment until the price for them becomes competitive with the incandescent bulb that's currently used. You're starting to see them on the high-end RVs, but on entry level RVs, don't expect to see them anytime soon. As far as LEDs being cost-effective- here's a story:

My 1996 Ford F-250 had roof marker lights that were simple, incandescent bulbs. Some lasted about 3-5 years and there were some that I never changed in the 13 years I owned the truck. Replacement bulbs were available almost anywhere for a buck or two.

The 2009 GMC I now have is equipped with LED roof marker lights. The truck is only going to be two years old at the end of this month and I've already had two stop working. Fortunately, they were replaced under warranty, but if I had to buy them, they're around $90.00 each and the genuine GM ones are only available at a GM dealer.

"...progress is lovely, isn't it?" (from "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:29 AM   #10
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Thanks Seann45, the dealer installed only a 4-wire line with our hitch; my understanding is that to get recharge from tow vehicle to battery requires a 7-wire/pin connection, so I'm assuming recharge that way is not viable for my setup.
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