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Old 03-24-2015, 12:48 AM   #1
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3050S Dry Camping

Was out for the third time this year (no snow in the PNW) and was 5 minutes late for the last full hook-up site at a local state park (first come first served this time of year) so decided to stay and dry camp. Generator worked like a charm but could not run at night, nor did i want to, it's not that quiet. During the day i wanted to see just how long the batteries would show a charge above E (on the wall mounted systems indicator panel). To my surprise the indicator went from full to 2/3'ds fairly quickly and to 1/3rd in another hour with only a couple of lights on and one TV. Heat off, fridge on propane, no radio, water pump only intermittently and still the battery indicator showed E in just a few hours. The generator seemed to put a full charge on the batteries in about 90 minutes according to the indicator lights but the batteries still would run down with apparent little draw.
Is this normal?
coach has alway been plugged in to shore power at home and only disconnected to travel. looked at batteries and all "looked" good.
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:06 AM   #2
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I had the same problem a few weeks ago. Dry camped in the mountains, ran the furnace all night and had dead batteries 2 days in a row.
I switched over to 2 6 volts in series and am hoping these will be better for deep cycling.
Other than minimum use of lights and water pump, the furnace cycled on and off half the night but when I woke up nothing was running.


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Old 03-24-2015, 07:31 AM   #3
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A couple thoughts--
1- the on the wall battery indicator is woefully in-accurate. You really need
a digital volt meter. Keep in mind when lead acid batteries read 12v they are
pretty low on charge. We're talking a few 10ths of a volt between full and low.

2- I always recommend a little testing to try and find the culprit that may
be draining your batteries. If you take a digital multi-meter with amps scale
you can pull the 12v fuses one at a time. Place the meter leads across the
empty fuse holder and read amps. Take notes. You may be surprised to find
different fuses do have a load on them even tho you thought everything
was off.

3- There has been some discussion here about some dometic refrigerators
having a 12v heater strip between the freezer and fresh food door. It's supposed to keep that little strip of metal from gathering condensation. The problem is the heater is 12v and it can drain your batteries in a day.
Some have a switch to shut off the heater and some don't. Check your fridge literature and do the ammeter test as mentioned above.

Several of us here have added a little digital voltage display such as this one- New Brand DC 0 30V Blue LED 3 Digital Display Voltage Voltmeter Panel Erus | eBay It's sold by ebay and direct shipped from China. Mine arrived in less than 3 weeks. I added a push button switch so it's not on unless I want to see the voltage.

Good luck!
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:44 AM   #4
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Our 2011 year model Sunseeker 3100 will go two days dry camping on batteries if we don't use heat. We don't have a 12 volt TV. Check the amp rating of your TV. By comparison, the furnace uses 7 amps, and it will run our batteries down quite a bit during cold weather. That's our big draw.

I don't know the year of your coach, but if it has incandescent lights, they draw 1.2 amps per bulb. It adds up. There are tables giving typical amp loads for RV 120 and 12 volt devices so you can tally your usage rate. If you can't find one, reply back here and I will post it tonight. I can't do it with this so-called smart phone.

How old are your batteries? They could be weak.
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:50 AM   #5
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Here's a handy chart.

normal appliance amp draws
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:53 AM   #6
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That's the chart I have but I added notes on my coach's device's nameplate amp draws.

Thanks, Turbs, for posting it.
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:27 AM   #7
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Wow! Thanks guys for all the advice and tips. The coach was new in 2014 so expected that the batteries were too. I did unplug the TV's except for the one on the outside of the MH, (which i think is really dumb) but i didnt think about the seal heater on the fridge. The first night I turned the furnace on at 3am and it worked well until I could use the gennie, the next night i waited until 7am and the furnace only worked for a few minutes before running out of juice.
I will certainly look into the digital battery level indicator and do more testing to see just what i can run and for how long.

Next trip is just 3 weeks away!!!
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:35 PM   #8
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The generator cannot fully charge the batteries in 90 minutes. What you see on the indicator lights is not accurate. When batteries charge, the indicators read the "surface" charge, giving the appearance that the batteries are fully charged. When you turn the generator off the indicators will show a more realistic level, but still not 100% accurate.


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Old 03-28-2015, 07:08 PM   #9
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The other trick is you can start the chassis. That will charge the batteries and is sometimes quieter than the gen.
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:08 PM   #10
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I knew the indicator would read a full charge while the generator is running or hooked up to shore power but wouldn't have expected a false reading once disconnected.
I ordered the digital battery level indicator mentioned above and have began looking at what trace draws work on the battery when nothing apparently is running. I dont mind dry camping but do like to know how long to expect things to work.
thanks,
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