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Old 06-13-2018, 11:26 PM   #1
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Dry camping

We are fairly new at RV camping, and are going on our first dry camping trip. We have a 2017 TT Forest River Apex 191RBS with two 12V batteries, DC24MF. How long can we expect the power to last - ie, how many nights could we be out camping?
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:20 AM   #2
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If you do not run the fridge on 12 volts or use the propane space heater you should be good for 2 to 3 days per battery. In cold weather when the heater is in use, count on one day per battery before recharging.

This assumes fully charged batteries from the start.
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:43 AM   #3
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If you don't use the furnace at all and conserve your lights, 3 nights at least.

Your fridge should be 2-way, NOT 3-way, so it won't run on 12v.
It'll have to run on propane, using a little 12v power to ignite the propane.

Just realize that your batteries are just marine batteries, NOT true deep cycle batteries.

Most newbies to dry camping focus just on battery power.
Have you considered dealing with fresh water and gray/black tanks issues?
Depending on tank capacities, you may run out of FW or have full gray/black tanks.
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:47 AM   #4
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I bought a Costco 2000 watt inverter generator for $499.99. That solves all my dry camping electrical issues. If you want to run the A/C, buy a second one and run them in parallel. Parallel cord is included with each generator, as well as a 30 amp adaptor, tool kit and oil funnel.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:56 AM   #5
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We actually went dry camping, setting up camp at 3 pm. At 10 am the CO2 detector started beeping due to low battery. We did not use much power, and used propane for hot water and the refrigerator, and turned on the furnace once when we woke up to warm up the trailer. We are arguing with the dealer - they claim that we need to upgrade to 6 volt batteries in order to go dry camping, and we disagree. Thanks for your confirmation that we are thinking correctly.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:59 AM   #6
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Also, we had brand new batteries that were fully charged for this trip.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kboreen View Post
We are arguing with the dealer - they claim that we need to upgrade to 6 volt batteries in order to go dry camping, and we disagree. Thanks for your confirmation that we are thinking correctly.
Actually, I agree with your dealer.

You misunderstood my post. Your two 12v marine batteries are NOT as good as two 6v golf cart batteries.
In fact, I'm bettering they are the typical cheap dual purpose marine batteries that are nowhere near as good as the two 6v golf cart batteries.

If you had mentioned, in your first post, what the dealer was recommending, I would advised you to go for the 6v.

Suggest that you Google "the 12 Volt Side of Life"
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:07 AM   #8
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We are arguing with the dealer - they claim that we need to upgrade to 6 volt batteries in order to go dry camping, and we disagree.
What is your argument?

What is the amp-hour rating on your batteries? You can only really use 1/2 or less of that before you start to damage the batteries.

Personally, the first thing I would do if you plan on dry camping is buy a proper battery monitor like the Victron BMV-712. This will give you a true state of charge for your batteries and is pretty easy to install. It's a little expensive around $200 but knowledge is worth it.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:37 AM   #9
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also there was a post about the fridge having a heater to prevent condensation that uses 12 volt power. it talked about disabling it when dry camping. the quick was was to just unplug the wire to the light.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:45 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kboreen View Post
We actually went dry camping, setting up camp at 3 pm. At 10 am the CO2 detector started beeping due to low battery. We did not use much power, and used propane for hot water and the refrigerator, and turned on the furnace once when we woke up to warm up the trailer. We are arguing with the dealer - they claim that we need to upgrade to 6 volt batteries in order to go dry camping, and we disagree. Thanks for your confirmation that we are thinking correctly.
Okay, we also have similar batteries. Two group 24 marine batteries. We run the refer on propane, use the furnace depending on outside temps (So sometimes it's on a LOT, phone chargers, but we are conservative with lights and other things.. We can get a full 3 days if we are conservative.

I cannot fathom only getting 19 hours out of TWO batteries. So, here's a few questions.
  1. How did you ensure the batteries were fully chared?
  2. Which charger did you use?
  3. Are you sure both batteries are hooked up?
  4. Have you EVER depleted these batteries? No matter how new they are?
  5. How many electrical devices did you use? List everything, lights, furnace, phone chargers, stereo... etc.

If you've ever depleted these batteries, they will never fully charge ever again. So even if they're new, and they were below 11 volts for a few days, there's now damage to them.

Also, using an actual voltmeter to measure how full they are is 10X more accurate than using the built-in batter meter. And if you want 100% accuracy, you'll need to check specific gravity in each cell.
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