Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-21-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
Site Team
 
KyDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,732
Tracking down battery sucking devices

I've run some tests in an attempt to find what's draining my
battery in only 2 days of dry camping.

I wish I could say I found a big smoking gun but I really did not.
Here's what I did find.

When we are dry camping- no shore power-
the Dometic refrigerator seems to be the biggest draw NOT counting lights!
If you have normal incandescent fixtures burning you are sucking
the charge out of your battery. I hope we are all aware of that.

I can't seem to get more than a very few days out of "just" the refer on!
No one using the trailer, no lights at all, nothing on inside except the
LP detector, the dim power light on the Concertone and the auto light
on the refer running on LP mode.

Lets talk about the biggie, the Dometic refer in LP mode.
After reading the owners manual I discovered it has an "environment"
switch or something. That is a little rocker switch that's located between
the freezer and fresh food doors. It turns on a little electric heater to
heat the metal between the doors so that metal doesn't sweat in
humid weather. That is a switch you definitely want to be sure is
OFF if you are running on battery power.
I scanned both the owners manual and the installation manual and could
not find ANY mention of the power useage that is normal for this unit.
What the heck??? That should be in there somewhere!!
I ran my own check with a digital multi meter simply by pulling out the
fuse for the refer and connecting my meter leads across the fuse holder.
I found the refer will draw
1.4 amps with the door open
.8 amps with the door shut but the environment switch ON
.3 amps with the door shut and the environment switch OFF-this is
on LP mode with the burner on. I did not check it once it gets
cold and the burner shuts off. I'd expect it to be less once
the burner shuts off.

The LP detector only draws .04 Amp. That is significant but not enough
to be a problem in a 2-4 day camping trip.

The Concertone was so small in standby (dim power button) that
I didn't write it down. It was less than .01 Amp

The power center does drain the battery slightly when you are
unplugged but it was about .01 or less so it also would not be
a significant drain on a 2-4 day camping trip.

To be honest, I am a bit baffled. I pulled every fuse in the panel
and read across any that lit the blown fuse LED. If a circuit did not
light the blown fuse LED it meant it wasn't drawing anything, such
as a ceiling light that was not on.

The search for why my battery goes down is still on.
First, I went dry camping without charging the battery before hand.
It was apparently pretty low when we arrived at the park.
We were nearly dead by dark on the first night.
Second, once we got back home,
I bought a 2nd battery from Sams Club and installed it.
The next day we had a huge wind storm and our power went out.
I immediately turned on the refer on LP mode so we could keep
milk and BEER cold for the duration.
After 4 days of that, I found the trailer batteries were pretty low.
Maybe the new one was in need of a charge when I brought it home?

I also bought a Thin Lite #652 fluorescent on Ebay and installed that
over the kitchen table. This is the spot we both sit and read in the
mornings. That little 16 watt fluorescent puts out nearly as much light
as one of my 2 bulb standard fixtures but uses a LOT less juice.
The 16 watt Thin Lite uses 1.2 amps
vs a whopping 2.8 amps for my standard 2 bulb incandescent fixtures.

If you are one who dry camps regularly I suggest replacing your most
used fixture with a Thin Lite fluorescent. They are rather pricey at
$40+ shipping. I got mine new on Ebay for $30 something delivered
so I got lucky.

I have not had a good test of dry camping where we start with
both batteries fully charged. I expect we will be going to Red River Gorge
in the Daniel Boone National Forest late this fall.
I will see how that works out for us and report back here.

Happy Camping!
__________________

__________________
Peace!
Dan & Rita D
2004 5.3L Silverado 1500 ext. cab 2WD
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Blue Ox WD hitch, AirLift load levelers

Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
2013-41, 2014-31, 2015-40, 2016-44, 2017-63
KyDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2008, 01:41 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
steveqvs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St Louis, Mo
Posts: 294
Please do report. I was at my camper this weekend. I was not as motivated as you were though. I did test my battery with my new digital voltmeter. It showed 11.9 volts and inside 2/3 full. 11.9 is about 40 percent according to the guide at http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm
This was probably due to the fact that my solar panel was blown over and facing down. I have got to mount that thing. I also have no idea what is sucking the juice out of my battery but we pretty much run the generator for an hour or so in the day time to make sure we don't get too low at night. I like the idea of replacing some of the standard fixtures with LED. Are there any good direct repacements yet?
__________________

__________________
Seasonal site camping
steveqvs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2008, 11:55 PM   #3
Avid outdoorsman
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Logan Lake Canada BC
Posts: 29
Well my last trailer was an o7 Desert Fox by northwoods and I had no problems with battery useage with it even after running furnace part of the night. I had 160 watts of solar panels on it and they could replace enough juice to the batteries during the day . Now on the new Sandstorm I have the same panels , batteries plus one extra battery and after a few hours in the night my volts are showing on the display around 12.2 but start at around 12.8 . Not running anything more on the system than what I ran on the Fox but the power just seems to be dissapearing somewhere. I am not sure where the biggest draw is but is there a chance that the diffrent distribution panel for Forest River products be the cause . Cannot remember what the old one was but it was diffrent and it had a charge wizard in the system .
Chris
__________________
2007 3500 Dodge quad cab 5.9
2007 Suzuki King Quad
2009 29FBSP Sandstorm Toyhauler
dahmmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 07:44 AM   #4
Site Team
 
KyDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,732
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveqvs View Post
according to the guide at http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm

I like the idea of replacing some of the standard fixtures with LED. Are there any good direct repacements yet?
It sure is difficult to know what to believe on the internet!!!
I downloaded a battery chart a week ago from a knowledgeable sounding
site that shows a battery at 25% charge when it reaches 12.06v
The chart you mention says it's still got 50% at 12.06v.
Now what do I believe?????

As far as LED replacements, they are pricey but if you dry camp a lot
I believe you should have a couple.
This place seems to have the best selection and about the lowest
price I can find.
http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...?product=OTHER
Look down the page for this number
T10-PCB-Wxx White LED Lamp
note the 36 led pack is $5 more so it would be $20 bucks plus shipping
for ONE bulb. They claim 100 degree beam spread. I wonder about that
unless the circuit board is actually curved or bowed but that would
be my choice. I just put in a thin lite fluorescent and will hold off on
any pricey LEDs for now. We don't dry camp that often.

My 2
__________________
Peace!
Dan & Rita D
2004 5.3L Silverado 1500 ext. cab 2WD
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Blue Ox WD hitch, AirLift load levelers

Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
2013-41, 2014-31, 2015-40, 2016-44, 2017-63
KyDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 09:02 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
steveqvs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St Louis, Mo
Posts: 294
You are right about the charts. I think temp has some effect also. That is why I was hoing for full to start.
__________________
Seasonal site camping
steveqvs is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




ForestRiverForums.com is not in any way associated with Forest River, Inc. or its associated RV manufacturing divisions.


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:51 PM.