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Old 06-15-2014, 07:03 PM   #1
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Battery Life/Generator

Ok, I'm clueless here. And everyone has been quite helpful with my questions.

We will be camping for 6 weeks this summer. We will be in South Dakota and Montana in August. We do not have any hookups. My husband has pain issues and needs to keep warm. I may need to run our furnace during the night. I can run a generator at meal times. Will a full charge on the factory install new battery be enough to last the night. It would be for Lights as needed and furnace.

Any Generator suggestions for the above need. I really don't think we would need AC during the night and IMO it doesn't pay during the day in South Dakota and Montana.

I've seen many posts, but I need answers in Camping for Dummies Language.

Thanks again for being such a great and helpful forum. I find most of my answers here.
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:18 PM   #2
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South Dakota and Montana can be HOT in late July and August unless you are up in the mountains. Black Hills are OK but the plains are hot. Same with Montana.

as to your original question my TT has dual batteries and fully charged will run the heater all night long in 50 degree weather.
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:21 PM   #3
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It should, mine did but really needed charged by the am. I added a second battery ( pretty simple) and now can get two days if needed. Shouldnt need to run a generator more than an hour or two to top them off
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:28 PM   #4
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You should be fine. I don't know what Roo's use for converters to charge your battery but you need to know. The one that came in my V-Lite won't charge a battery in less than 2 hours. The newer ones might be better. Unless someone chimes in with good info on the converter, I would get a 3 stage 15 amp charger at Walmart. They do a proper job of getting the battery fully charged. I do this all the time. I disconnect one of the battery leads then hook up the charger. I have the generator plugged in just like shore power. Then plug the charger into one of the AC outlets. On my TT if I don't disconnect the battery the charger goes nuts. It can't supply enough power to do take care the TT needs and charge the battery.

I hope this helps.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:04 PM   #5
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So if I understand your situation:
1. You presently have a single battery?
2. You have no way to charge in the boondocks and are considering a generator.
3. You want to run the heater all night and are concerned about charge lasting.
4. You didn't mention a 12V charger converter but we assume you have one for charging when you are plugged in but don't know the size (amps).

Suggest a second battery is needed to keep from killing your single battery early by too deep a discharge.
The "class" of the portable generators are the Honda and Yamaha...and they are fairly quiet. Since you don't really need much power and are mainly just using it for charging...I'd suggest something in the 1-2000Watt range.
You can get far cheaper generators than the Honda and Yamahas at Home Depot and Amazon...but also less reliabity so you have to make that investment decision...but I'd just tell you to buy one from someplace you trust to take care of you after the sale.
Now generators by themselves CAN charge batteries ...but very slowly....You'll get better results by plugging into your trailer and using its' charger. Expect to take around 3-4 hours daily to fully recharge the battery bank.
Getting a battery monitor would be a good investment so you don't ruin your batteries with too deep a discharge or too little a "refill". You need to know when your battery "tank" is empty...which is at 50% full!
Hope this helps and good luck with your plans.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
So if I understand your situation:
1. You presently have a single battery?
2. You have no way to charge in the boondocks and are considering a generator.
3. You want to run the heater all night and are concerned about charge lasting.
4. You didn't mention a 12V charger converter but we assume you have one for charging when you are plugged in but don't know the size (amps).
Yes to all. Now I plug in the electric to charge the battery. My husband has sever pain issues and is worst in cool temps. (It was his idea to go to Glacier National Park) I love to cold, and sleep better in cold temperatures. It's a good thing I have the outside of the Roo's Pop-out.

Thanks for all the information. Everyone is so helpful.
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:27 AM   #7
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I agree a second battery can be a great addition. I have two deep cycle 27 series and can run the furnace easily for three nights in 20-30 degree (night time) temps. Of course it is dependent upon the temperature set and how many times the fan kicks on during the night. (Note: Only other drain on the battery are LEDs that are not on that much during the night (and the gas monitor), since I return late, and usually jump into the sack within minutes.)
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:24 AM   #8
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A few variables here -

1. Battery - I don't know what battery you have but I would guess the factory installed battery is not the best. I would consider a marine/RV deep cycle battery (group 27) as a replacement or second backup. (I have had good service from Interstate Deep Cycle Group 27 and they are readily available)

2. Furnace - How much current does it draw and how long will it run. Current draw is probably 3-5 amps. How long it runs is dependent on the temperature and how warm you want to be.

3. Generators - There are lots of 1000-2000 watt generators available. Honda is probably the "Cadillac" but you pay for it. If this is to be an occasional use generator I would consider a lower priced model. If noise level is a concern check the sound level rating. You can probably find something in the $500-$600 range. The only problem I have is fuel consumption. I have a diesel truck so I have to carry fuel for a gas generator.

4. Alternatives - Catalytic Heater - You could consider a catalytic Heater - uses no battery power - but will use up your propane. Here's a sample from Amazon Amazon.com: Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 3000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater: Automotive
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