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Old 08-31-2013, 01:20 AM   #1
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First boondocking trip

Third trip in new trailer and first boondocking triip

Discovering some things...

Fan(not AC) won't turn on using battery power

Out of water already...thinking maybe I am doing something wrong when I fill up because we have barley used any or we are going through it faster than I realize.

Plugs won't charge cell phone. Will just use truck.

Bugs love the inside of my trailer!

Should have done this without the wife n kids one time so I could figure it out a little more stress free! Lol
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Old 08-31-2013, 03:30 AM   #2
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did you boondock or dry camp?

when you say "plugs", do you mean the regular 110vAC outlets? if so, they don't work on battery power, only shore power or hooked to a generator. you could install an inverter to use for charging cell phones or watching tv.

if you've never dry camped or boondocked, you probably are using more water than you think. we were popup campers for many years and never had any hookups, so we learned to conserve water and battery power.

when you say "fan", which fan are you talking about? there are a number of fans that operate off the battery. converter fan, bathroom fan, stove fan and so on.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:12 AM   #3
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did you boondock or dry camp?
If I understand the difference correctly I am boondocking...I am along a river not in a designated campground with no utilities.

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when you say "plugs", do you mean the regular 110vAC outlets? if so, they don't work on battery power, only shore power or hooked to a generator. you could install an inverter to use for charging cell phones or watching tv.
yes i was talking about the 110vAC outlets. For some reason I thought they would work on battery.

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if you've never dry camped or boondocked, you probably are using more water than you think. we were popup campers for many years and never had any hookups, so we learned to conserve water and battery power.
You are correct I have never done this before(with a trailer) I have always tent camped so this is all new to me. When I filled up the tank at home and opened the faucets to fill the hot water heater and to push the air out of the lines the pump sounded like it was sucking air. In a rush I dismissed it thinking I was not giving it enough time. It was making the same sound so I am not really sure if I am actually out of water or if I am just not getting a good prime? My water level sensors on the fresh water have never been accurrate so I filled the tank until water was coming back out. I read in another post that sometimes if you fill too fast it will put water in the vent tube and not allow the tank to fill all the way. So I am not sure if that is what I did or if I actually used all the water. I am working so I have only had limited time to investigate.

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when you say "fan", which fan are you talking about? there are a number of fans that operate off the battery. converter fan, bathroom fan, stove fan and so on.
On my thermostat I have 3 settings "fan" "Cool" "Heat" ....I was thinking on "Fan" I would be able to run off of the battery.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:27 AM   #4
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Nope,A/C (FAN) is 110. Youroo!! Furnace fan runs on (12V).
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:59 AM   #5
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Fresh Water Tank

Sounds like your fresh water tank might be air bound so..... your only getting maybe 1/2 full. When the water starts to spurt out of fill box,stop it for a minute or two Then slow the fill rate down.
Mind does the same thing..
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:43 PM   #6
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I guess one more question. Does a propane/110 fridge need battery power to run with propane? Reason is wife called today saying it wasn't cooling all the time but she was also having to charge the battery. Guess I need to invest in generator.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:15 PM   #7
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Running the Frig on propane requires the battery for the electronics circuits to operate the frig controls propane valve in the frig etc. Absolutely need a gen for camping without shore power. Be sure and get a quiet gen then you can use it in campgrounds and not upset the neighbors, also if you go large enough on the gen with 30 amp service you can power your 110v circuits when running the gen.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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I guess one more question. Does a propane/110 fridge need battery power to run with propane? Reason is wife called today saying it wasn't cooling all the time but she was also having to charge the battery. Guess I need to invest in generator.
as was said, yes the fridge needs the 12v battery power to run the fridge on propane.
how is she charging the battery, with the tow vehicle?

if you prefer to camp at Calif. state parks, like we do, dry camping is the reality, since less than 1% of our state park campsites, have any hookups.
so we have two deep cycle batteries, a 400w inverter and a Honda 2000 inverter generator. we also have a 6 gallon water jug and a 15 gallon blue tote tank.
all these items are really needed if you plan on dry camping or boondocking for more than a couple of days without hookups.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:56 PM   #9
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When you get home, try "boondocking" without power or water in your driveway to see what works and what doesn't. Much easier then doing it on the fly. Hope your wife will not be stranded for long.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:52 AM   #10
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When you say wife and kids along there will never be enough water or large enough holding tank.....or bank of batteries that will supply needs ..... you will be lucky to make thru one night.....I found a water meter gauge to go on end of hose at CW on clearance.....seems to be very accurate.....digital readout....data for my trailer say 38 gal fresh water.....but most I can get in tank when pump no longer draws water is 32 gal....so thinking hot water tank included in that number....good luck....if you camp like you are in a tent, it will work out in trailer.....
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:01 AM   #11
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When you say wife and kids along there will never be enough water or large enough holding tank.....or bank of batteries that will supply needs ..... you will be lucky to make thru one night.....I found a water meter gauge to go on end of hose at CW on clearance.....seems to be very accurate.....digital readout....data for my trailer say 38 gal fresh water.....but most I can get in tank when pump no longer draws water is 32 gal....so thinking hot water tank included in that number....good luck....if you camp like you are in a tent, it will work out in trailer.....
Agree! Youroo!!
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:27 AM   #12
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When you say wife and kids along there will never be enough water or large enough holding tank.....or bank of batteries that will supply needs ..... you will be lucky to make thru one night.....I found a water meter gauge to go on end of hose at CW on clearance.....seems to be very accurate.....digital readout....data for my trailer say 38 gal fresh water.....but most I can get in tank when pump no longer draws water is 32 gal....so thinking hot water tank included in that number....good luck....if you camp like you are in a tent, it will work out in trailer.....
You sre right with your assumption, hot water tank capacity is included in the listed fresh water tank capacity. :-(
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:14 AM   #13
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Thanks for all of the responses. I believe the root of my issues was a weak battery. (Fridge not working, water pump not working correctly, etc along with my ignorance and learning curve). I purchased a new battery and will have the origional tested tomorrow. As far as being stranded, we are only about 2-3 miles from our house. So it has been more of a nuisance than a stranded situation.


Once I connected the new battery everything seemed to come to life. Fridge cooled, water pumped. My wife was hooking up the (?) tow plug and running the tow vehicle for a while. She stated it would give her enough juice to run for a bit.


I also purchased a couple of 7 gal water jugs to fill the water tank. But I think geojudi was correct in saying I was water bound as my grey tanks are not full and I was able to add a bunch of water.


I agree with not having enough water battery with the wife and 6 kids, but my issues were happening on the first night and with our planning I was hoping to make it at least a couple of nights before running out of water/power. Maybe I am too hopefull.


Again thank you, thank you!!! I appreciate all the help. I have been reading and reading and still have a lot to learn.

I have been at work the last couple of days and am again today, off tomorrow so hopefully I will be able to play around with things a bit. Trouble shooting from afar with all of your input has been a blessing! I owe all of you a cold one!
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:34 PM   #14
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with a family as big as yours and 6 of them being kids, i can bet that they are your water usage problem.
dry camping or boondocking with that large of a family that are not used to conserving water or battery power, you better invest in a generator, along with a big tote tank.

if you don't mind me asking, what river in Calif., are you camping next to?
might be a place i'd like to check out.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:53 PM   #15
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Just curious; With 6 kids and you and the wife, are all of you using the toilet or using the outhouses at the campsite? How full was your black tank after the 1st day? I read sometime ago a post where a camper reported having a similar problem as you with using too much water. He discovered that one of the kids was really interested watching the water swirl around in the toilet for long periods of time. That turned out to be his water consumption problem!! I camp with just myself and my wife and we very seldom use the toilet where we can usually use the campground restrooms.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:23 PM   #16
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with a family as big as yours and 6 of them being kids, i can bet that they are your water usage problem.
dry camping or boondocking with that large of a family that are not used to conserving water or battery power, you better invest in a generator, along with a big tote tank.
I got a couple of the 7 gal from the Walmart.

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if you don't mind me asking, what river in Calif., are you camping next to?
might be a place i'd like to check out.
We are on a friends ranch next to the Tuolumne River. East of Modesto. There are several families out there for the weekend. Just a small grove of maples and oaks next to the river with a bunch of free space for the kiddos to run around.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #17
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Just curious; With 6 kids and you and the wife, are all of you using the toilet or using the outhouses at the campsite? How full was your black tank after the 1st day? I read sometime ago a post where a camper reported having a similar problem as you with using too much water. He discovered that one of the kids was really interested watching the water swirl around in the toilet for long periods of time. That turned out to be his water consumption problem!! I camp with just myself and my wife and we very seldom use the toilet where we can usually use the campground restrooms.
Yes everyone is using the toilet. After the first day it only read 1/4 tank. I am not sure if I fully trust the sensors yet. I didnt check it last night but I am pretty sure between the low battery and the air bound fresh water tank that was my real issue.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:37 PM   #18
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never rely on the OEM sensors, they notoriously inaccurate, unless you install some aftermaket sensors, like Horst Probes.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:01 PM   #19
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I would suggest you also change some of the main use light bulbs to LED's. That will save you a ton of battery juice - they use about 90% less power. Might want to get two 6 volt batteries if you have the room in a separate battery bank and consider a solar panel as well. Take your time and see what works for you guys.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:29 PM   #20
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so thinking hot water tank included in that number.
Yep, it is. And unfortunately you cannot access that 6 gallons in the hot water tank once the main tank is dry. No water to push it through. So, it is really very misleading . . . . perhaps dishonest.
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