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Old 06-23-2014, 08:17 PM   #1
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Draining Battery! ARGH!

So, quick question for the group again, sorry just learning lots here. Anyway, something is draining the battery in my Palomino 1251 and I don't know what I should do or best practices here but the rig was rocking and rolling for about a 5 hour drive and have been hooked up to my house AC power for the week before with the fridge on and running, switched to DC power on the fridge for the drive and then got to our spot, and turned the fridge off for the night just to try and conserve battery but wake up in the morning and the low battery beep is blaring in the Carbon Monoxide detector.

I am wondering is my fridge running that much power down if it is on DC? Should I be running it mainly on propane? Just wondering how much I need to prepare when heading out on the road.

I then started the truck and it charged just a bit ran for about 20 min at idle and stopped the beeping. Needless to say I didn't run the fridge on DC anymore. But then I took off and began to drive home, turned the fridge back to DC power while driving, when about an hour and a half and then stopped for lunch and sure enough the low batter is beeping again right after turning the truck off.

Here is the long and short:
-What is the best way to use the fridge?
-What is the length of use for the truck camper to run without needing to be charged, so how many days in the backcountry? 1/2?
-Does the heater pull a lot of energy? I used it only once but maybe that is it?

Just a bit bummed as I was hoping that this would last me a weekend two night before needing to plug in. I have nothing else really going on, no water heater or anything just wanting some cold beers and enough propane to cook a couple meals! haha!

Any advice would be AWESOME!

Thanks for all the help!

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Old 06-23-2014, 08:30 PM   #2
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I usually go without power for a weekend easily on my battery.
Why don't you operate your fridge on propane ? That's what I do, even while driving, the truck should keep your battery charged.
Maybe you need a new battery ?

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Old 06-23-2014, 08:34 PM   #3
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The frig will "chew-up" your battery when camping without 110V coming into the RV. I am surprised, however, that your battery didn't charge up enough during the 1 1/2 hour drive to allow you to stop for lunch without a low battery reading.
Tho answer your question, here's how we run our frig:

Running down the road---12V
Parked with land line-- 110
Parked without a land line--propane

This has worked for us for the past 25 years on 10 different RV's. Good Luck!

PS- are you sure that you have a 12v charge line running thru the 7 pin connector from the tow vehicle to the trailer?
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:33 PM   #4
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joe, in case you don't know, out all the FR brands, only one makes a truck camper. Palomino.

so, there aren't a lot of truck camper owners here to help you.
but we can help with general RV things that are common to all types.

i'd say you need to have how much charge your alternator is sending to the fridge. the fridge on DC may be using up battery power quicker than your truck can recharge it.

you should be switching it to propane when you stop driving. propane goes a long way.
yes, the furnace is the biggest eater of battery power in your rig.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:51 AM   #5
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As stated above a fridge is hard on a battery when running on 12v. Just a word of caution, if the 12v feed from your truck is hot all the time as apposed to being switched with the ignition be careful not to drain both the camper and truck battery.

My truck is hot all the time, but I am not sure all trucks are.

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Old 06-24-2014, 06:10 AM   #6
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All above are true statements, but if I'm not on 110v I'm on propane. I do not have the 12v option as yours being a 5th wheel, but even driving my refer is on propane. Propane is the economical and best way 12V will drain your battery quick. It's resistance heating. In other words it's like turning on a heat strip.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:32 AM   #7
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Awesome crew! Thanks for the quick replies. I will keep you posted and do some tests in the driveway this week and see what comes of it! Great to know on the propane that it should be the go to.

Appreciate it!
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:39 AM   #8
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The furnace fan quickly kills the batter in my Lance slide in. When this happens I can't start the propane fired Onan generator. I therefore installed a Bodiak front hitch on my Dodge dually and mounted a 2000 watt Honda generator. Now I can lay in bed in the morning reading the news on my Droud with the furnace on. On getting out if bed I fure up the Honda to recharge the battery. As the day heats up and I want airconditioning, I fire up the 4000 watt Onan and keeo the camper cool

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Old 08-19-2014, 07:24 PM   #9
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I have an older Starcraft slide in, and I always use propane for the fridge when not hooked up to and using 110v. The refrigerator heater element draws a lot of current and can kill a battery pretty quick.

The fan in the propane heater probably draws about a quarter as much (or less) than the fridge element, but if I run my heater all night (like in 30 degree weather) I still try to run the engine for 15 or so minutes in the morning to recharge the camper battery.

The rough math is that it takes 10 times as many amps to run something on 12v as it would on 120v. I think my small Dometic 2310 draws 10 or 12 amps on 12v.
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:31 PM   #10
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The RV frigs are ammonia absorption units that use a heating element and heating elements use a lot of amps. I remember my last 3 way as pulling 8 plus amps on 12 volt. AND that is ALL the time 24/7 not cycling. SO a typical 12 volt group 24 battery of 80 amp hours would only last 6 or so hours before the low voltage would kick on.

RUN on propane unless plugged into shore power. That is why many newer units are only 2 way, without the 12 volt heater.

Ironically, a conventional compressor frig with 12 volt power uses probably only 25% as much power as a RV model.

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battery, drain

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