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Old 08-09-2011, 02:19 PM   #1
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Dry camping and flashing fridge light (newbie)

This weekend I was camping with out hook-ups and after 3 days my fridge interior light started flashing. I assumed it was because my battery was getting pretty low so I switched to a second battery and it went away.

A few questions:
1. Is it ok to use your fridge as an indicator of when your battery needs to be switched.

2. Has anyone else seen their fridge light flash like that?

3. Does 3 days seem like a reasonable amount of time for a battery to last? We were really watching our power usage. (Using battery powered lanterns in the evening inside the camper when we needed to get something, not running the furnace, keeping water use to a minimum).

We were camping in a Roo 17.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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First of all - Welcome!!

1. No - don't use the fridge as an indicator. A Voltmeter should be used to meaure your battery volts.

Keep in mind that your battery shouldn't be run down below 50% (12.06 volts) before recharging and, preferably, you don't want to run it down to 50% too often. This will shorten the life of the battery.

2. That's a new one for me. Never knew it would do that. I wonder at what point the light starts to blink?

3. Is this a group 24 battery or something else? 3 days on a group 24 battery is realistic depending on your usage. Remember that you have a bunch of little parasitic draws, too, such as the radio, fridge, CO and propane detectors, etc. These draws can bring a group 24 battery to 10.5 volts (dead) after a few weeks. That's why many of us use battery disconnect switches when not using the camper.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:39 PM   #3
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Battery read 11.98 on my voltmeter as we were unpacking. Not sure if it is a group 24 battery - it's a interstate 12v deep cycle battery that came with my trailer. I have been disconnecting my battery when I know it won't be used or leaving them on a trickle charge in the garage. Thanks for the tips. I'm trying to learn the correct way of maintaining my batteries so I don't have to shell out for a new one every year like I used to with my old trailer (83 Travelaire).
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:49 AM   #4
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They way you are using your battery will guarantee you will be buying a battery every year. Deep Cycle Batteries are rated for a specific number of recharge cycles (Below 60% capacity to full charge) until they can no longer be recharged. This number can be used up in a few months of treatment like you give your batteries.

Recharging below 60% charge will give you 100% of the recharge cycle number. However recharging before reaching that number will increase the number of expected cycles.

Recharging before capacity drops below 75% will triple the number of expected cycles vs what you are doing.

Please spend some time reading on the care and maintenance of deep cycle batteries in the attached document, the number of expected cycles as a function of discharge depth graph, and the reduction of capacity plotted against amp draw.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:10 AM   #5
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Hey Lou, I've been looking for this info to share on another group!

One thing---- The top voltage - % charge chart says
50% charge is about 12.06 volts.
Then down a ways in the specific gravity chart it says
50% charge is 12.24 volts.

So which is it??? That's a big difference.

Any idea why the discrepancy?
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:10 AM   #6
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Thanks for the reminder, I forgot to plug mine back in after returning from a trip last week. I am in the process of adding switches to things that are not being used. I have a switch to shut the power down to the tv when not in use. It also shuts power off to the radio but I ended up pulling the fuse on the radio, I could not see needing a 250 watt surround sound system while boondocking. As a matter of fact I really don't need it at all. If you can here people talking outside your rv just imagine what it would sound like with that going. I am also adding a switch for the circuit board on the furnace and water heater. Once the water is hot, it stays that way for quite some time.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:24 AM   #7
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Sounds like you just need a battery disconnect switch!
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
Hey Lou, I've been looking for this info to share on another group!

One thing---- The top voltage - % charge chart says
50% charge is about 12.06 volts.
Then down a ways in the specific gravity chart it says
50% charge is 12.24 volts.

So which is it??? That's a big difference.

Any idea why the discrepancy?
The 12 volt side of life is not my work or research.
I have seen both tables you mentioned in several different areas and posts. In the second GIF, the heading is "approximate" where it states 50%. Maybe that will hekp explain it. Just putting it out there. It has helped me understand what I read on solar and wind power web sites
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:44 AM   #9
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I've also seen several charts, including the one at says 50% is at 12.24.

I'd like to know what the difference is, too.

Here is a state of charge chart from Trojan...
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:47 AM   #10
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To the OP, here's a list of 9 items to help prolong your battery's life (again, unabashedly stolen from Trojan) ...

1. Shallow discharges will result in a longer battery life.

2. 50% (or less) discharges are recommended.

3. 80% discharge is the maximum safe discharge.

4. Do not fully discharge flooded batteries (80% or more). This will damage (or kill) the battery.

5. Many experts recommend operating batteries only between the 50% to 85% of full charge range. A periodic equalization charge is a must when using this practice.

6. Do not leave batteries deeply discharged for any length of time.

7. lead acid batteries do not develop a memory and need not be fully discharged before recharging.

8. Batteries should be charged after each period of use.

9. Batteries that charge up but cannot support a load are most likely bad and should be tested.
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