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Old 11-26-2022, 12:05 PM   #1
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Battery Fault every night

We just bought a 2021 Georgetown Forest River 36D7. We dry camped for two nights, RV park for 2 nights and now dry camping again. Every night when dry camping, about 10 PM, the power turns off. The inverter panel says battery fault, 11.1 volts, low battery, red light and does not turn back. In the morning I turn on the generator, either manually or starting the engine to get juice to it. Then the inverter panel says 13.3 volts and we are fine for the day. We run the frig during the day and that is about it. We have been watching TV in the bedroom at night, turn off the TV about 9 PM and the inverter panel turns off/low battery about 10 PM. Last night we only watched TV for about an hour. Can the TV draw that much juice that it drains the battery or are the batteries getting old? The rig was not used much during the last 2 years. Or maybe they drained the batteries too much that they do not hold a charge?

Appreciate all input. THX
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:34 PM   #2
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My vote would be weak batteries. I would think that a couple days on shore power should give them a good charge so if they didn't even make through the first night of dry camping, I'd say weak or just not a large enough bank for your usage. Did they work better in the past?
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:59 PM   #3
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What is the inverter supplying power to? TV is not a heavy load. Is the Refrig on AC, DC or Propane? If AC then the inverter supplies that. If DC then the battery supplies that. Water heater on AC or Propane?

How old are the batteries? Either they are not getting fully charged or their capacity has decreased due to age or excessively deep discharge.

Troubleshooting by progressive isolation is the key to finding out why one has the issue. Gotta know what power is required for each item.

I'd say that 11.1 volts are in the area where permanent battery damage can occur.

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Old 11-26-2022, 01:20 PM   #4
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So you run the generator daily until your batteries are at 13.3vdc, then shut it off.
Many hours later, the batteries are discharged enough to shut down power.
How many hours are you charging the batteries, how many batteries are in your rig, and how hours are they being used until they are discharged?

How long do you think your batteries should last?
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Old 11-26-2022, 01:21 PM   #5
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Moved thread from the Tech and Repair section to the Georgetown sub-forum.

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Old 11-26-2022, 01:54 PM   #6
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First step is check battery water level if you can.

If you have 4 batteries then you should be good for one night.

Residental fridge?

Do you have a cpap or run the furnace?

Lots of possibilities.

On a two day boondock it is unlikely you are running the generator enough to completely top off the batteries. Running out the first night is puzzling.

After a night on shore power the battery should be 100% charged.

Batteries are the weak link. Bad connection? Bad battery? Or some high use electrical device on when it should not be.

Is the inverter powering the whole trailer ac system?
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Old 11-26-2022, 02:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gullywhumper View Post
------ are the batteries getting old? The rig was not used much during the last 2 years. Or maybe they drained the batteries too much that they do not hold a charge?



Appreciate all input. THX

Age would certainly cause your problem.

Also, "short charging" batteries after a deep discharge is a surefire way to kill a lead acid battery. Charging from a generator is more than just running until battery voltage reaches 13.2 volts. Proper charging of a lead/acid battery involves at least two steps. First a bulk charge that will charge a depleted battery to around 90% in 4-6 hours (longer for larger battery banks). Then the battery needs an "Absorption charge" which occurs at lower current levels and continues until battery voltage rises to ~14+ Volts and charging current has dropped to a very low level. The absorption charge can often take as long as the bulk charge.

Running a generator to charge a well depleted battery will require a lot more time than "a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening".

Lead/Acid batteries require hours and hours if charging to effect the electrochemical process that actually stores the energy.

This is why LiFePo4 batteries are becomming popular. An average converter (~50 amp rated) can recharge a pair of fully discharged 100ah LiFePo4 batteries in <5 hours. On lead/acid batteries, with same size converter, a true full charge could easily take 20 or more hours.



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Old 11-26-2022, 03:03 PM   #8
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No, not 13.3 volts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_Frisbie View Post
So you run the generator daily until your batteries are at 13.3vdc, then shut it off.
Many hours later, the batteries are discharged enough to shut down power.
How many hours are you charging the batteries, how many batteries are in your rig, and how hours are they being used until they are discharged?

How long do you think your batteries should last?
The batteries are NEVER getting to 13.3 volts. The highest voltage a Flooded Lead Acid battery can reach is 12.6 volts, or maybe 12.7 if it's above 77 degrees F.

The OP is reading the charging voltage provided by the generator and converter, and/or the surface charge (a false charge that disappears after a few minutes of usage).

It takes many, many hours to fully charge Flooded Lead Acid batteries; the close you get to fully charged, the slower the charge rate. The OP should run the generator for 6-8 hours a day for a while and then see how many hours of use he gets.
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Old 11-26-2022, 05:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
The batteries are NEVER getting to 13.3 volts. The highest voltage a Flooded Lead Acid battery can reach is 12.6 volts, or maybe 12.7 if it's above 77 degrees F.

The OP is reading the charging voltage provided by the generator and converter, and/or the surface charge (a false charge that disappears after a few minutes of usage).

It takes many, many hours to fully charge Flooded Lead Acid batteries; the close you get to fully charged, the slower the charge rate. The OP should run the generator for 6-8 hours a day for a while and then see how many hours of use he gets.
Tell Gullywhomper that. I just condensed his post and asked a couple of questions…
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Old 11-26-2022, 07:06 PM   #10
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Thanks for the comments and input. I checked the battery water level in two batteries. All full. We picked up the rig last Saturday. Was originally sold in Nov 2020. First owner used it 2 or 3 times, put on 100 miles and sold it to Thompson dealer in Fountain Valley. I would have thought they would have charged the batteries and checked out everything. They had to change the generator carburator when we picked it up since it would not start. We just put the bed tilt down and the power tripped again. Precision panel said 10.1 volts. Had to start engine to get power back on. Precision panel is lit but not working. Had to manually start generator. Still cannot access Precision panel. Guessing low or bad batteries. Previous owner may have badly depleted the batteries. Will run gen and hopefully charge the batteries, and call the dealer. Hmmm
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Old 11-26-2022, 09:53 PM   #11
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Automotive batteries last 1 to 5 years depending on abuse. Yours does not sound bad.

What is the inverter connected to? How big is it.

Should be a minimum of stuff. If it is wired to the whole ac panel, that is the issue.
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Old 11-27-2022, 08:43 PM   #12
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11/27 Update: We ran the generator for 4 hours yesterday afternoon. We had power all night. Only ran TV and frig. Woke up to 11.7 volts. Had 12.3 volts all day. Turned on Generator at 4PM just in case. Hoping it is just batteries that have been sitting and not used. Question: doesn't shore power charge the batteries or is the generator better to charge the batteries? THX
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Old 11-28-2022, 08:41 AM   #13
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In a typical RV the generator and shore power simply supply 120v Alternating current (AC) to the RV.

depending on your setup ... the AC is converted to Direct Current (DC) by a converter or a INVERTER/CHARGER.

The DC charges your batteries.

So the generator and shore power are the same for charging
they just supply the AC power
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Old 11-28-2022, 08:59 AM   #14
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The batteries are charged by the converter, which is plugged into the ac system. Powered by either the shore power or the generator. So matters little which are running.

Your batteries are being discharged too far. 12 volts is roughly 50%. 12.3 volts is roughly 50% of power remaining.

The wet cell batteries charge at roughly the converter capacity, often 50 amps up to about 80%. Then the batteries take a charge the rest of the way at a much lower rate. I would guess 12 hours or more. Early in the season it takes 24 hours for my batteries to get fully charged after storage. 4 GC2’s.

Reading a voltmeter is tricky. To get a good reading all charging sources must be off for several hours. Otherwise you are reading residual from charging. Thus meaningless.

My $30 bluetooth battery monitor is a handy tool. Teaches you a lot. Amazon BM2. Monitors voltage. Folks with fancy solar etc. prefer the more expensive amp monitors.

At 12.2 volts the monitor contacts my phone! We never run out of juice.

Modern rv’s use a ton of power. It amazes me they do not come with a battery monitor.

After being on shore power for 48 hours if your batteries do not read 12.6. I would be concerned.
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Old 11-28-2022, 11:18 AM   #15
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The (weekly posted ) 12v lead-acid (flooded) battery charge chart with the battery at rest. Not under load or charge.



And the Lithium:



Battery voltage drops under load and 11.1vDND (darn near dead) will trigger my Inverter to shut down. Under-charged battery won't last long under load. 24 hours is a good charge time for Lead-Acids as the final 20% can take as long as the first 80%. No need to run at 100% if you have enough capacity.

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Old 11-28-2022, 01:28 PM   #16
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Well, we woke up to 11.1 volts. I turned on the generator to charge the batteries. They went up to 11.5, so I turned on the engine and they jumped up to 13.2 volts. We are heading to a RV park for 3 nights and will hopefully get a good / full charge and see. Thanks for the comments.
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Old 11-28-2022, 02:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
so I turned on the engine and they jumped up to 13.2 volts.
No they didn't.

Like several have noted this is the charging voltage from your genset. This voltage will also remain on the surface of the battery for a little while after the charging current is removed.

This battery may be toast since it's been routinely severely discharged and left in a low charge condition. Charge it for 24 hours. Remove all charging current and discharging loads for another 24 hours and measure the voltage -- yep, this is a 48 hour exercise to determine if your batteries have been destroyed. You can maybe short time the rest period to 12 hours but after the required rest period if the battery is not at least 12.6v the battery is damaged.

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Old 11-28-2022, 03:16 PM   #18
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Maybe...

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No they didn't.

Like several have noted this is the charging voltage from your genset. This voltage will also remain on the surface of the battery for a little while after the charging current is removed.

This battery may be toast since it's been routinely severely discharged and left in a low charge condition. Charge it for 24 hours. Remove all charging current and discharging loads for another 24 hours and measure the voltage -- yep, this is a 48 hour exercise to determine if your batteries have been destroyed. You can maybe short time the rest period to 12 hours but after the required rest period if the battery is not at least 12.6v the battery is damaged.

-- Chuck
Maybe Gullywhumper missed reading Post #8.
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Old 11-28-2022, 03:23 PM   #19
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Maybe Gullywhumper missed reading Post #8.
Actually, the OP has a GT motorhome, and the ignition interlock will allow the coach batteries to be charged from the engine alternator. Could go in excess of 14Vdc. This is what the OP saw when the engine was started nothing to do with "surface charging".
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Old 11-28-2022, 03:54 PM   #20
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Post #8

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Actually, the OP has a GT motorhome, and the ignition interlock will allow the coach batteries to be charged from the engine alternator. Could go in excess of 14Vdc. This is what the OP saw when the engine was started nothing to do with "surface charging".
Post #8 covers both possibilities.
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