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Old 09-18-2010, 01:01 AM   #1
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Dry camping power

We will be dry "camping" in our 29ft. bhph 5er., for the 1st time this Thansgiving in Yosemite Nat. Park. Just my wife, myself and our daughter. I will be using a generator but very sparingly as the park frowns on gen. usage. What I need to know is, how many batteries would be a good number for a weeks worth of camping? I have found the thread on how to properly wire 4 batteries. So, is 4 enough, and what CAH should I be thinking on ? I would like to be able to have enough juice to run the furnace and a few lites at nite. And only use the gen. for recharging & occasional TV, or computer.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:37 AM   #2
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Without knowing the type of battery(s) you have it is impossible to tell.
Here is an article on 12 battery usage.

Just remember that AMP HOUR CAPACITY divided by current draw will give you hours of use at that draw.

So, the original Deka DC-24 12V Battery installed in my 5th wheel has 75 Amp Hour Capacity. If you are drawing 25 amps it will last 3 hours to dead. If you are drawing 3 amps it will last 25 hours till dead.

Current Draws:

LPG detector draws .2 amps
Single dual bulb light (198 bulbs) 2.3 amps
Single dual bulb light (LED panels) .1 amps
Light fixture over dining table (4 198 bulbs) 4.5 amps
Single reading light over bed (1 198 bulb) .8 amps
Recessed Halogen lighting, living room (6 lights) 8.4 amps Full on
2.1 amps Fully dimmed
Recessed Halogen lighting, over sink (1 light) 1.4 amps Full on
.4 amps Fully dimmed
Recessed Halogen lighting, over couch (3 lights) 4 amps Full on
1.2 amps Fully Dimmed
Refrigerator 1.2 amps
Furnace
(Suburban SF35) 7 amps
Water Pump (Shurflo Smart Sensor 5.7) 11.9 amps running, 12.6 max
Exterior porch lights (3 incandescent bulbs) 2.8 amps
Exterior Porch Lights (3 LED bulbs) .8 amps
Attached Files
File Type: pdf The 12 volt Side of Life.pdf (438.4 KB, 64 views)
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:08 AM   #3
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You might be a good candidate for a solar panel.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:31 PM   #4
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Thanks herk7769, for the reply. I have 1 battery now. We have never dry camped in our trailer before. So, what I was hoping for is just an idea from someone who has dry camped and could give me a round-a-bout idea as to a good number of batteries and amount of amperage to aim at. No one can know exactly what we need because,no one knows, not even us, how much power we will actually use. I thought that someone out there has dry camped for a week & maybe could tell me that they made do with, say, 4 batteries, with, say, 100amps each, (just an estimate).
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:34 PM   #5
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You might be a good candidate for a solar panel.
Thanks Mr. Black. But a solar panel investment would be overkill as we are only dry camping maybe once a year, if that. a good solar panel would cost in the neighborhood of at least a few hundred dollars. A generator could be used for other things besides the trailer, and the batteries could be low cost batteries because of the minimum useage.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:48 PM   #6
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If you invest in a generator make SURE its a low noise one. No more than 65db. Most campgrounds have noise standards now. If you camp on military campgrounds you can be booted if your generator is too noisy. The Honda 2000's are very nice at about a grand a pop. Get one to start. It won't hold your Air Conditioner, hair dryer/curler, or Microwave but it will handle everything else and charge your batteries. If you need AC get the companion unit and 30Amp parallel kit.

The TV and computer draw will depend on your Inverter. Your camper did not come with one so you should invest in a good 1500-2000 watt inverter. I hard wired mine in but ran an extension cord to the entertainment center. When I am running off the batteries/inverter I just unplug the power strip from the GFCI socket and plug it into the extension cord.

rebuilt compartment pictures from travel photos on webshots
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:55 PM   #7
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To answer your original question, I have spent as long as 10 days dry camping on two good health batteries using a generator for 1 hour a day to maintain a charge.

This would run lights when needed and about an hour of satellite tv at night.

Your time may vary.

I can't comment of low noise as I have never been in that situation and likely never will be.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:20 PM   #8
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Thanks herk 7769.
My trailer does have a factory installed inverter. And no, I don't intend on camping in a military base anytime soon.
You are correct, I have used a generator on other RV's before and noise is always an issue, even with the quietest generator. I would invest in a Honda 3000, or even an Onan, if I planned on dry camping a lot.
However, the minimum amount of times I will ever use it for dry camping, just doesn't justify the expense of these generators. I plan on adding an exhaust extension up over the roof and adding an inline muffler as well. So, the noise issue won't be a problem I can't take care of. That's why I was wondering about using batteries. This is all very new to me, (dry camping that is), and I don't intend on doing very much. My wife & daughter like having hookups when we "camp".
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:24 PM   #9
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To answer your original question, I have spent as long as 10 days dry camping on two good health batteries using a generator for 1 hour a day to maintain a charge.

This would run lights when needed and about an hour of satellite tv at night.

Your time may vary.

I can't comment of low noise as I have never been in that situation and likely never will be.
Yes, thanks. That's what I was wondering. I'm thinking of getting maybe 2 more batteries to match the one I have and seeing how that works out. I bet after the first day or 2, we will become very frugal on how we use the power, Ha Ha. I'm really more concerned about keeping the trailer warm at night. It can get very cold in Yosemite Nat. Park in November, and it rains a lot, (usually no snow, but that could also happen).
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:41 PM   #10
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One night of furnace, water pump for showers, a few lights, the computer and the television. I would guess a a battery a a day, without a recharge. The furnace and the water pump are current hogs.

One other question you may not have considered, 3 people, that's 15 showers, at one per day. toilet, dish washing, etc., have you got enough fresh water, and a place to dump the tanks? Just a thought. You may be going where there are heated bath houses and hope the showers are warm.
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