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Old 09-03-2014, 10:03 AM   #1
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Battery low duration normal?

Hi,

I just got a used 2012 Freedom 1950 tent pop up camper.

I went camping, and let the trailer conneted to the 30 amp outlet of the site for a full 4 days.
During that time, i used lights, fan and a few times, the heater.
Fridge was on 120v.

When I got home, only 45 minutes from the camping site, and disconnected the trailer from camper, I heard the gas detector beep a few times. I assumed it was to indicate that there was no external power anymore.

3 hours later, the same detector started to beep something like 30 seconds per minute.
When I got inside, there was a red light on the detector, and I had to push the "test button" ou stop the beeping.

The dealer where I got the trailer told me that it was cause the bettery hadn't been charged enough and that I have to connect an external charger (like a car charger) to fill the battery, otherwise, 3 hours is normal to discharge the battery.
Otherwise, I may disconnect the battery.
That model of trailer has a 35 amp converter w/battery charger.

For history,
I got the camper on the 15 of august. got camping for 9 days in a row the same day, got back home 4 days before getting back camping the 4 days described previously, so I don't think I did something dramatig to drain the battery
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:15 PM   #2
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There are several possibilities. It really depends on whether the battery is actually low, or you are getting the alarm for a different reason.

Step 1: Measure the battery voltage 12 hours after it has been off a charger (or measure when the alarm is going off). 12.5 volts is a good battery, 12 volts not so good.

Possible reasons:

- previous owner/dealer hadn't taken care of the battery (disconnected when not using camper and/or running it too low while camping). Result is that battery will no longer hold much of a charge.
- converter is not recharging battery. With AC applied to camper, battery voltage should be above 13 volts (charging). No need for an external charger if the converter is working.
- tow vehicle is not providing charge voltage/current to battery (not wired or inadequately wired for charging) and fridge is on DC. This will discharge even a good battery in a matter of hours. Again, with tow vehicle engine running, camper battery should see charge voltage (above 13 volts with fridge running in DC mode).

The converter should have kept the battery fully charged while plugged in. The tow vehicle should keep battery fully charged when engine is running. Battery needs to be properly maintained for a decent life span.

When camper is on AC, converter supplies all the DC power needed by camper plus charges battery.

just my thoughts and experiences
Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122
2000 Coleman Westlake PUP (sold 2007)
1986 Coachmen PUP (sold 1993)
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:05 AM   #3
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Thank you for all the information.
I'll get a multimeter and do the tests.
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:33 AM   #4
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I bet the battery was not taken care of. Many owners let the battery run empty, and then the battery is toast.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:02 AM   #5
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A few things to check:

1) The fast beeping and red light are usually an alarm situation. As far as I know a low battery alone doesn't usually trigger one. These alarms do go bad. There's a shelf life on the unit and they eventually will need to be replaced. Try pulling the alarm out and checking the manufacture date. It may be older than you think. I.E. a 2012 model trailer = possibly built in 2011 trailer = possibly built in 2010 alarm = 4 year old unit.

2) The couple of beeps you heard when you disconnected shore power would however indicate a low battery. If you've been camping for days and it shows low immediately after disconnecting, you might be not charging your battery. The posts above provide details how to determine if your converter is charging your battery. Be sure to check it as a battery that's going low will eventually kill the battery.

3) When you're parking the camper to store it, disconnect the battery. A trailer that's not plugged in will eventually kill your battery through parasitic drains. If it's full you might get anywhere from 1.5-8 days, depending on how much draw you have, but eventually it will be drained. But you should be getting at least that 1-2 days with a decent battery. If a battery is capable of dying in 3 hours due to parasites than people would never be able to boondock/dry camp.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaadk View Post
If it's full you might get anywhere from 1.5-8 days, depending on how much draw you have, but eventually it will be drained. But you should be getting at least that 1-2 days with a decent battery.

My understanding, reading this is to forget dry camping.
If I only 1-2 days without using a single light.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiheme View Post

My understanding, reading this is to forget dry camping.
If I only 1-2 days without using a single light.
All depends on your usage. Lots of guys on here dry-camp for weeks on end, but they've done modifications to eliminate any wasteful usage, like disabling a condensation feature in their fridge, installing switches to turn off the whole power to the radio so it doesn't use power to keep your radio stations memorized, switching every single light to low power LEDs, etc...

With a standard Group 24, and conservative usage in a stock trailer, you might be able to get through a weekend. Otherwise you need to start doing parasite killing.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:46 AM   #8
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I have no radio, anti condensation fridge or anything like that.
I have gas detector, lights, water heater control (heated by gas) and the ceiling fan that uses 12v.
I'm looking for LED light right now to replace original lights.
So I hope I might be able to get a few days available, with a good batery...
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiheme View Post
I have no radio, anti condensation fridge or anything like that.
I have gas detector, lights, water heater control (heated by gas) and the ceiling fan that uses 12v.
I'm looking for LED light right now to replace original lights.
So I hope I might be able to get a few days available, with a good batery...
Agree with others 3 year battery uncared for is probably toast. Reducing load with LEDs with minimum use of 12 volt fan you can dry camp till you run out of food! (just sayin). I've noted CO detectors alarm without any pattern when battery is low, could also be signaling low batt and bad head at the same time. If you replace battery, shop for true Deep Cycle, no combo start batteries label such as Marine.
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