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Old 05-28-2012, 02:12 AM   #1
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battery ?'s

We just picked up our first rv this year and have gone dry camping twice and this last time we had bad problems with the battery losing power super fast. we only have one that's all it came with. the first time we went camping i never turned off the batt disconnect and we ran the heater a couple times thru the night and when we went to start the genny in the morning to charge the bat back up it would not start hooked up truck and worked great.
Just this last weekend the gauge said the battery was full power and we didn't run the heater but maybe one time at night and when we woke the battery was so dead i had to take the bat out of my truck and jump it to get the genny to start. is it normal for just one battery to go dead so fast even though we were not consuming a lot of power with lights and heater. it has been ran dead a total of 3 times and now it seems as if it will not hold a charge while bat disconnect switch is on for at least 12 hrs. is there something i am missing that is drinking up the power or do i need to just get another bat so that i can run 2. oh and we are running the fridge all the time but i have the button pressed to use gas, does this mean that it only uses gas or both electric and gas? maybe the fridge is killing it.? i am at a loss. i thought tt were supposed to have dry cells in them so running them dead wouldnt be that big of a deal.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:34 AM   #2
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This certainly is not normal. When running on propane, the fridge should use only an insignificant amount of battery power.

Is it possible that you are not getting it fully charged to begin with? Also, have you checked the water level in the battery? If it is low, that could cause the behavior that you are seeing. The RV batteries should be (but might not be) deep discharge batteries. They might be gel cells, but more likely are flooded (wet) cells. They definitely are not dry cells.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:31 AM   #3
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If the battery was run complete dead. The battery may be bad now.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:09 AM   #4
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I know you want "The Answer" but you could have quite a few things going on that could cause what you are experienceing.

Lots of good information here about battery life and maintenance (even if they are "no maintenance" type.

Best battery faq ever

Running a battery dead (less than 10 volts) is the absolute worse thing you can do for many reasons. Ruining it permenantly is only one of several bad outcomes.

An OEM Dual Purpose deep cycle battery has about 75 amp hours of capacity and may take days using the onboard charger (powered by your generator) to completely refill. The reason is that the charging is done in stages to avoid boiling the electrolyte out of your battery. While the first stage may put in about half of what you used in an hour or two; the second and third stages (where the amps are reduced to allow complete saturation of the plates) can take a couple of days.

By running the battery dead the first night put you WAY behind the "power curve" and you never did catch up.

Th guage will show "full" ONLY if you are using the liquid tank buttons (fresh, black, or Gray). When you use those lights for the battery, it will read "CHARGING" not FULL. (See the attached manual)

Putting it away partially charged is also a bad idea. Even with the disconnect you will lose power through a process normal for batteries called "self discharge" through the internal resistance of the battery. It will take a few weeks with a disconnect even if it is put away fully charged. That is why folks put trickle chargers (battery minders) or solar panels on their batteries when in storage.

The OEM does not configure their campers "out of the box" for extended dry camping. The battery is "sized" to provide emergency brakes and a night (only) of camping with about 4 hours of furnace use. Most folks who dry camp do extensive modifications to their 12 volt system to make the camper more "dry camping" friendly.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:20 AM   #5
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As far as the fridge is concerned, as long at the "AUTO" button is on, you do not need to press the "GAS" button. It will try to use AC (shore) power and if it is not available will switch "automatically" to gas.

When you run the generator, the fridge will "see" the AC power and switch back to AC while your generator is running (saving gas). By pressing the gas button, the fridge will run solely on propane even if the AC is available.

normal appliance amp draws

While the Furnace is the "heavy hitter" as far as DC usage is concerned the fridge comes in second. The DC/Propane draw is about 1.5 to 2 amps ALL THE TIME when it is on battery. With a 75AH battery just using the fridge and the normal parasite load (about 1.1 amps) can kill a battery in a few days.

Throw in some 2 amp light fixtures and you can see why if you dry camp, more capacity and a good monitoring system becomes very important.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiggy
We just picked up our first rv this year and have gone dry camping twice and this last time we had bad problems with the battery losing power super fast. we only have one . it has been ran dead a total of 3 times and now it seems as if it will not hold a charge while bat disconnect switch is on for at least 12 hrs. is there something i am missing that is drinking up the power or do i need to just get another bat so that i can run 2. .
Jiggy,

Adding a second battery will extend your dry camping but there a a couple of things to do/be aware of:

First, I suggest that you check the specific gravity in each cell to help determine if the battery is still useable. Many battery shops will also test for you if you bring it in.

Assuming its good, the second battery needs to be the same size and type, same age and preferably the same brand.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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After checking your battery to see if it was okay I would add another like battery. One battery is not enough when running the lights and furnace. If it was bad I would consider upgrading both of them. I would highly reccomend the Trojan brand. I have two of the SCS225 Trojans and can make it for many, many days. Also consider going with LED's for your lighting.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:36 PM   #8
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Thanks guys for all the info. Like I said we are new to TT camping and just Figured it was good to go for all types of camping. Looks like I will invest in some good batts and some led lighting. Oh and you say when you store it to put it on a trickle charge, I don't store it close to my home so should I go ahead and bring home the batts in the winter to charge em. Or anytime I store it for long periods of time. I would do the solar idea but living on the rainy side of Wa we don't particularly get much sun in the winter months.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:39 PM   #9
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Oh and I looked up the trojan batteries and is there any difference between them and say a blue or yellow top optima?
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:53 AM   #10
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I keep my batteries on my trailer but disconnected. Mine will last several months like this. I check and will charge periodically.

However, I would probably bring them home to throw on a trickle charger if I stored remotely and didn't plan to use it for awhile. Battery minder is a good trickle charger.

As for what batteries to get, I suggest you buy the biggest ones that you can afford AND will fit. Big batteries can be very heavy too so make sure you consider that if you are going to take them out. You can also do a usage survey to see how many amps you need on a daily basis and estimate the correct battery size for you.

Decide if you want flooded or AGM -two very different types of batteries.

12-volts or 6-volts is a question, too. There are plusses and minuses for each and you can read a lot by searching that topic on this forum. I have two Trojan 6-volt T-145's. These allow us to camp dry for 4 or 5 days but it's very personal and everyone's usage is not the same.

The Optimas are AGM and I've only used them in motorcycles. I know some have used their deep cycle batteries with trailers so I'll let them chime in. I have no problem with using flooded so I never looked into it.
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