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-   -   New A128S Owner -- Question about battery life (http://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f221/new-a128s-owner-question-about-battery-life-32669.html)

lewisworley 12-27-2012 03:27 PM

New A128S Owner -- Question about battery life
 
Hello everybody!
I'm picking up my new A128S tomorrow. WOOHOO!
I'm taking the wife and kids camping soon, and want opinions on how long the battery will last -- ie, should I have a backup plan. (solar? Another battery?)

We're camping for 3 nights, no electrical hookup.
It's probably going to be 50 during the day and around 30 at night.
I don't plan on using any electricity other than the lights at night, and the furnace during the day. I'm assuming fridge under propane should use minimal electricity. Am I right?

We generally like it cool, so I'm thinking around 68 during the day, and 60 at night.

Thanks in advance,
Lewis

Dave_Monica 12-27-2012 03:40 PM

Welcome to the forum!

The fan for the furnace is a big power hog. Running it to maintain a comfortable temperature in the camper will run the battery down in 1 day. For a 3 day trip in this weather I'd recommend 2 12V batterys and you'll still need a generator to recharge them every day.

Dave

ko777 12-27-2012 03:46 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Welcome to our A-Frame forum and congrats. I got my A128S in late Aug and tested everything it had to offer, worked like a charm. The furnace in a cold night uses a lot of battery. It may last for 3 nights but make sure to turn off during the day. Bring a battery meter with you and take readings. Don't get it below 10.5V, this may damage your battery.
Attachment 22550
Attachment 22551
Use this to get reading, works only when you are not hooked up.
Attachment 22552
Get something like this for lights and connecting gadgets to it. Avoid using the RV lights for long time. I could watch 5 hrs TV with this power pack.
Attachment 22553
Cost less than $200 but noisy.
If you can bring a cheap gas gen, it takes 4 hrs to fully charge the battery. With this on you could have TV, Furnace and lights on also charges the battery at the same time. Too weak for AC or heat pump

Did you get the tent? Nice to be in it when it is cold outside: The front could be closedAttachment 22554


Check this thread out to know everything you need for the first season camping with our rig:http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ger-27602.html

Good Luck and happy camping!

PS. Don't forget to post pics here

rawlus 12-27-2012 04:35 PM

I'd recommend not going out and spending a bunch of money on accessories until you've camped a bit and determined what you really need for your lifestyle and the type of camping you do. All the items recommended above are worthwhile for some people but much depends in your environment, what you do when camping, etc.

We have an A122 and when we are dry camping. We can typically make the original 12v battery last a long weekend without issue. 50* daytime temps are not low enough for us to consider running the furnace, and 30* at night is not a huge issue, we will use sleeping bags in the mattress and run the themostat around 55* perhaps.... And we may blast it for a few before going to bed to give the whole camper a head start. We covered the interior lights to LED right away so they sip the 12v power, and we use lanterns or other rechargeable otherwise. The fridge on propane uses no electricity so as long as you have propane you're good there.

If you already have a jumpstart battery kit, by all means bring it, it's a little insurance and could provide the little juice you might need to run the furnace fan the last night.

Solar and other advanced techniques are a larger investment and have special conditions to consider so I'd wait to see just how much dry camping you'll be doing and at what times of year. If the trips are not to ever be too far from civilization and not typically for more than 3-4 days, a dual battery setup with a portable charger you can plus into a random AC outlet is easy to do and low expense.

thehamguy1 12-28-2012 04:43 PM

Some good advice from Rawlus and others here; I thought I'd just add our experience camping above the arctic circle last summer in our A128, having converted to dual Type 31 batteries (in place of the single Type 24 battery it came with) before we left home. Our longest dry camping without recharge was 5 nights and we might have gone a day or two longer, I just didn't want to push it. That was using the furnace each evening from about mealtime until 7 or 8 the next morning, plus our LED lights--though with 24-hour sunlight it wasn't often we needed them. We took our solar panels with us but never used them the entire 69 days. We don't own a generator.
So for us the most cost-effective power option was just converting from single to dual batteries and upgrading the battery type to heavier duty. Our pair of Type 31s cost about $180 total plus about $15 for the metal and screws to build a dual battery rack, plus the cost of two plastic battery boxes and some heavy cable to connect all that, about $20. We still have the original Type 24 battery if anyone nearby wants it, by the way...
Forum member "d-mo" first suggested the dual battery switch-out and shared pics with me of his dual battery rack. I essentially just copied from him. He may chime in with his experiences along this vein too.

Yukon Don 12-28-2012 05:00 PM

I will most likely be doing the modification thehamguy just described this coming spring. In the interim, a Coleman lantern will make an A-Frame nice and toasty prior to turning in for the night.
In the mornings, if you're feeling wimpy like I occasionally do; have the coffee pot set up the night before, then a single arm (sticking out from under the blankets/sleeping bag) with a lit match at the end of it, will get your stove going, thus starting the coffee and taking the chill off at the same time :)
(you may have to fiddle with your roof vent/smoke detector to get this technique down pat)

ThunderRoad 12-29-2012 08:06 PM

As stated, with the furnace running, you'll get a day out of it.

I lot of people will use a portable Mr Heater instead of the onboard heater as it uses no power and is great in the small space of the aframe.

Long term, if you have power limits, you need either solar (to recharge the batteries during the day) or a generator.

lotsip 01-18-2013 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rawlus (Post 285530)
I'd recommend not going out and spending a bunch of money on accessories until you've camped a bit and determined what you really need for your lifestyle and the type of camping you do. All the items recommended above are worthwhile for some people but much depends in your environment, what you do when camping, etc.

We have an A122 and when we are dry camping. We can typically make the original 12v battery last a long weekend without issue. 50* daytime temps are not low enough for us to consider running the furnace, and 30* at night is not a huge issue, we will use sleeping bags in the mattress and run the themostat around 55* perhaps.... And we may blast it for a few before going to bed to give the whole camper a head start. We covered the interior lights to LED right away so they sip the 12v power, and we use lanterns or other rechargeable otherwise. The fridge on propane uses no electricity so as long as you have propane you're good there.

If you already have a jumpstart battery kit, by all means bring it, it's a little insurance and could provide the little juice you might need to run the furnace fan the last night.

Solar and other advanced techniques are a larger investment and have special conditions to consider so I'd wait to see just how much dry camping you'll be doing and at what times of year. If the trips are not to ever be too far from civilization and not typically for more than 3-4 days, a dual battery setup with a portable charger you can plus into a random AC outlet is easy to do and low expense.

Great tips, I live in Bourne, and I am picking up my a122 today from Rousseau's in Lakeville. Florida within a week or two. ;) I think most of the cg's i will be at will have water and electricity. I have an extra 12v deep cycle battery. I guess I will see what else I need when i get there.

lotsip 01-18-2013 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ThunderRoad (Post 286029)
As stated, with the furnace running, you'll get a day out of it.

I lot of people will use a portable Mr Heater instead of the onboard heater as it uses no power and is great in the small space of the aframe.

Long term, if you have power limits, you need either solar (to recharge the batteries during the day) or a generator.

Is a propane heater like the Mr. Heater safe in a camper? I mean what happens to the carbon monoxide fumes ?

handbuilder 01-18-2013 10:16 AM

I have a portable propane heater (Buddy Heater) that I use when I tent camp. My spouse takes it when he camps in our truck camper. He pops the vent as a precaution but the unit also has a CO2 detector. Our A Frames have same detectors, just open the vent or crack a window. I love that Buddy heater! Havent had a need to use with the A Frame, as the furnace works fine for our needs (so far)


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