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Old 09-07-2016, 08:18 PM   #11
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Keep in mind also that your converter/charger may not be fully charging your batteries, especially with 1 or 2 hour generator runs. If you have a WFCO converter, you are probably being under charged, since they often run short or skip all together on the important "Bulk Charging" mode.

An easy way to confirm is to monitor the battery voltage when you start a charging cycle (either with shore power or generator power) After a night's discharge, you should see about 14.4 volts at the begining of the charge cycle, and for at least 20 minutes thereafter. If it starts out at 13.6 volts, or drops to that level within a few minutes, you are not getting a proper and full charge.

More info here:

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Old 09-07-2016, 09:43 PM   #12
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Thanks Bluepill, I will take a look.

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Old 09-07-2016, 11:41 PM   #13
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We boondock most of the time with only 2 batteries and no solar. We also have never had any battery monitoring system. We have 2 Honda EU2000i that we run in the morning for a few hours so the wife can have coffee. microwave, and watch the morning news, and then a few hours in the evening to watch TV, top off the batteries.

When we go to bed for the night the idiot lights are always 4 of 4.They are always at 3/4 in the morning, heater or not. If the heater comes on it always drops to 1/2 while it is on. A few minutes after it turns off, it is back at 3/4. And I agree, the idiot lights are just a general indicator but it suffices. I don't really care what the exact voltage is.

I keep looking at solar and inverters, but so far the expense and PITA is not worth it to me as the generators work so well.

Every RV we have had is different as far as power draw. The newer ones have many more parasitic energy devices. We used to be able to go a few days without having to run the generator if we were so inclined. Those days are gone with all the 'advances' in RV life Yep, we are now spoiled and loving it. And we really don't mind running the generators a little longer if necessary

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Old 09-08-2016, 07:12 AM   #14
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I think that NMWildcat is completely right. When we had our old RV with two house batteries and a propane reefer that is exactly the way we ran. Genny for a couple of hours in the morning or at night. Go a couple of days without running anything...even wit a small inverter to power a small TV.

Our new coach changed all that. Now we have 4 batteries and a residential refrigerator. We love the reefer and would never want to go back, but now need to be more serious about things electrical. No more stovetop coffee maker since we need to run the genny in the mornings anyway...and again at night.

The monitor is essential and frankly I don't understand how an RV company could put 4 batteries and a 2000 watt inverter in a coach and still have a 4 LED battery condition panel!

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Old 09-08-2016, 01:48 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gilm2113 View Post
My wife and I both enjoy getting out into the mountains of Idaho in our Forester 3051S. We have found that the batteries do not seem to last quite as long as we expected. Our 3051 does have the larger, 12 cu.ft. fridge and most of the time we have very little running (lights/radio, etc.). I can go to bed in the evening with what the idiot lights say is a full battery and wake up with what I believe is barely 2/3's. I say barely 2/3's because as soon as I run the furnace it drops to 1/3 very quickly. Is this normal? I typically have been running the generator for an hour or two during the day to top the batteries off and have a repeat the next morning.

In our earlier travel trailers we could go 4 days with two batteries without needing a generator and in our Forester 2651 we could go 2-3 days with no issues. Does the larger fridge which is usually quite empty have that big an impact?

Any advice or comments would be appreciated.
One way we have saved on battery power is to change all of the lights to leds.
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Old 09-08-2016, 01:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Gilm2113 View Post
Does the larger fridge which is usually quite empty have that big an impact? Any advice or comments would be appreciated.
OK - back to the original question. It isn't the size of the fridge, it's the model year of the trailer. Back in the day, reefers equipped with heating elements to prevent frost build up around the doors also had an off-on switch so you could turn off the element. (My 1995 Sunline did.) Not so anymore. They're always "on." Your reefer may have such an element.
Also, some slides, the Schwintek being one, require voltage to the slide motors all the time. This acts as a slide brake. When I boondock, I remove the 30A fuse to the slide control to kill this sizable draw.
Now to all that add the parasitic sound system, reefer brain, propane detector, water heater brain and it's no wonder our battery charges don't last as long as the ones did on our old trailers.
Remember the old canned hams that didn't have a 12V system at all? Propane lights, radiant heater and a water system you pressurized at the gas station tire filler (with foot/hand pump backup). They were boondockers, by gum!
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Old 09-08-2016, 04:00 PM   #17
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Thanks NMWildcat and Scott, I agree that is the tack I will take - just need to get used to running the generator more than I have had to before! I appreciate both your input.
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Old 09-08-2016, 04:01 PM   #18
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Papakilo -- Unit is already full LED inside and out.
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Old 09-08-2016, 04:06 PM   #19
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You can remove the cover on the fridge control panel and disconnect the "light/heater" wire which will eliminate the ~25A/day draw for the fridge door heater. A better long term solution is to install a switch for the heater at the interior light where the heater is connected to the wire from the control panel.

DO NOT REMOVE THE WIRE IF THE RIG IS PLUGGED INTO AC POWER. The connector is near the 120V heater fuse and the fuse's bare contacts can give you quite a jolt if you touch them

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Old 09-08-2016, 04:06 PM   #20
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Awellis3 -- Tank you, this is all great information. I wasn't aware of the slide requiring power! All of the other bells and whistles add up, they are nice to have but do consume a lot of power. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post, it was very helpful.

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