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Old 02-23-2016, 06:47 PM   #1
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Dry Camping and Batteries

I know this is not a Sunseeker or even Forest River-specific question, but I always get good feedback here so I thought I would pose it. I'm trying to evaluate exactly what I'm going to be able to do for how long without AC power. Now, I'm only trying to see if I could manage a 2-3 night stay somewhere without power, so I did a test of my fully charged batteries that came with my Sunseeker.

What I had running was a TV, a roku and a hotspot, all totaling 43 watts and .59 amps. I bought a 300 watt inverter which is plugged into one of my 12v outlets with an extension cord feeding those three very small power users.No lights or anything else on other than smoke detector, etc.

After one hour, my battery charge was down to 12.3 v from 12.9 v which, from what I read, is about as low as you should ever let your batteries get.

Are these just the worst batteries ever, or am I missing something here? Yes, I could run my genny and top it off, but that's not something I want to have to do hourly.

Any comments would be appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:59 PM   #2
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What size/type/brand of batteries are you running?
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:09 PM   #3
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Well that's a very good question. It's a 2015 Sunseeker 3010ds and it's got two 12v batteries connected in parallel. They have absolutely no brand name on them, I guess they're just the generic batteries Forest River puts in...I'm very willing to replace them with something much better I just don't have any experience knowing what I should be able to expect realistically. An hour for those couple of low power devices seems abnormal but maybe I'm missing something. For example maybe the inverter I'm using creates more drain than I know ? Just haven't ever worked with this kind of thing before. Thanks for trying to help
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:11 PM   #4
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Also I'm using a fairly cheap way of actually measuring what's left in the battery...it just plugs into a 12v outlet and has a digital readout. I guess that could be flawed...
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:14 PM   #5
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.59 amps at 120 volts is actually about 70 watts. Also converts to about 6.5 or 7 amps at 12 volts (adding some for the inverter).
Voltage under load is a poor indicator of battery state of charge. The voltage tables posted on the forum apply to batteries that have "rested with zero load" for 24 hours, I believe. There are monitors that measure and accumulate total charge and discharge amp-hours.
Suspect you have other draws on the battery. Frig control board, CO / propane detector, lights, etc. Could easily be a few amps "with everything else turned off". Non-LED lights are a big drain. Putting the slide-outs out and the jacks down will consume some of your available battery capacity, as, although for a short time, these are large current draws.
If your Sunseeker has the factory dual size 27 house batteries, you should have about 200 amp-hours of battery capacity - or 100 amp-hours to the "50% - try not to discharge below" level.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for that maybe I'll do the same test without running the inverter at all and see how fast it drops to that same point with just the "onboard" constant power drains...
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:21 PM   #7
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I know this is a newbie kind of question but...you came up with 7 amps...and you said I should have 100 amp hours. Am I being too simplistic to calculate that theoretically I should be able to run that stuff for 14+ hours?
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:29 PM   #8
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Yes - if the stuff you mentioned is all that is using power, the .59 amps at 120 volts is correct, your inverter is reasonably efficient, and your batteries start fully charged, 14 hours to 50% charge point sounds about right.
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:33 PM   #9
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I have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...rch_detailpage . I plugged it into AC power, and then plugged the powerstrip that has the items I listed above plugged into it. The .59 amps and 43 watts is what it measured consistently over an hour or so. Does that seem like the right way to measure the actual draw?
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:33 PM   #10
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And..thank you again for taking the time to try and help...much appreciated.
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