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Old 02-21-2021, 07:20 AM   #1
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26DBH-L lessons learned boondocking at 11°F

My wife and I boondocked last night at 11° F and learned a few things that this group might benefit from knowing, too. Most importantly, that the house battery isn’t enough to run the furnace and fridge through the night at that temperature, even when fully charged with the generator at 10PM before turning in to bed. Around 5:30 this morning, I noticed the furnace wasn’t kicking on anymore, so I checked the battery voltage with my handy OneControl app and it was at 11.6v. I put on a coat and went out to fire up the generator and let it run for a couple of hours. But the furnace wouldn’t kick back on, so I pulled the fuse for it in the panel for a minute and that fixed it. Slept for another hour and a half and all is well. Water is working fine also. Note that we have the Juice Pack option with the larger group 27 battery. Anyway, I found this handy battery chart somewhere, printed it up and will tape it on the switch panel by the voltmeter. Enjoy!


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Old 02-21-2021, 09:50 AM   #2
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Yep, the advice on this forum (and others) has always been that the furnace is a 12v power hog (and propane hog too) and that a single 12v battery 'might' get you through the night depending on battery size and condition and how high you set the thermostat. Especially if using other 12v items. (lights, control boards, c-pap machines, etc.) Lots and lots of discussions on battery banks, generator use and solar when boondocking.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:07 AM   #3
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Thanks! I’ve read a lot of threads on power management but hadn’t seen any in weather this cold, so I just wanted to provide the datapoint. Most of them said that they could get through 1 night on 1 battery, and few have discussed it with the new 12v refrigerators added in.
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Old 02-21-2021, 11:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Geotrash View Post
Thanks! I’ve read a lot of threads on power management but hadn’t seen any in weather this cold, so I just wanted to provide the datapoint. Most of them said that they could get through 1 night on 1 battery, and few have discussed it with the new 12v refrigerators added in.
It would depend a lot on how much your furnace is running too. Is your fridge running on 12 volt? That's is, is it a 3 way fridge on DC? If it is that'll kill your battery too. FWIW, I've also installed rigid insulation in battery boxes to help against the cold. Just be sure to not plug off any vent holes. Batteries tend to not like colder temps as much as most of us don't
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Geotrash View Post
My wife and I boondocked last night at 11° F and learned a few things that this group might benefit from knowing, too. Most importantly, that the house battery isn’t enough to run the furnace and fridge through the night at that temperature, even when fully charged with the generator at 10PM before turning in to bed. Around 5:30 this morning, I noticed the furnace wasn’t kicking on anymore, so I checked the battery voltage with my handy OneControl app and it was at 11.6v. I put on a coat and went out to fire up the generator and let it run for a couple of hours. But the furnace wouldn’t kick back on, so I pulled the fuse for it in the panel for a minute and that fixed it. Slept for another hour and a half and all is well. Water is working fine also. Note that we have the Juice Pack option with the larger group 27 battery. Anyway, I found this handy battery chart somewhere, printed it up and will tape it on the switch panel by the voltmeter. Enjoy!

Attachment 248148
If you can run your fridge on propane do that. Be careful about running Lead/Acid Batteries below 50%, not good for them and at your voltage the chart shows it was at 20%.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:34 PM   #6
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Don't need to pull the fuse

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Originally Posted by Geotrash View Post
My wife and I boondocked last night at 11° F and learned a few things that this group might benefit from knowing, too. Most importantly, that the house battery isn’t enough to run the furnace and fridge through the night at that temperature, even when fully charged with the generator at 10PM before turning in to bed. Around 5:30 this morning, I noticed the furnace wasn’t kicking on anymore, so I checked the battery voltage with my handy OneControl app and it was at 11.6v. I put on a coat and went out to fire up the generator and let it run for a couple of hours. But the furnace wouldn’t kick back on, so I pulled the fuse for it in the panel for a minute and that fixed it. Slept for another hour and a half and all is well. Water is working fine also. Note that we have the Juice Pack option with the larger group 27 battery. Anyway, I found this handy battery chart somewhere, printed it up and will tape it on the switch panel by the voltmeter. Enjoy!
You don't need to pull the fuse. Your thermostat should have a switch with Heat-Off-Cool options. Simply turning the switch from Heat to Off and back to Heat will reset the furnace lockout.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:31 PM   #7
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Good lesson for you. And what is your take-away from it?

1. Don’t do it again
2. Add a 12 volt battery to the bank
3. Go with two 6 volt golf cart batteries
4. Go for LiFePO4 batteries
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:57 PM   #8
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You don't need to pull the fuse. Your thermostat should have a switch with Heat-Off-Cool options. Simply turning the switch from Heat to Off and back to Heat will reset the furnace lockout.
The low voltage might have scrambled the control board's logic... just a thought...
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by glen1971 View Post
It would depend a lot on how much your furnace is running too. Is your fridge running on 12 volt? That's is, is it a 3 way fridge on DC? If it is that'll kill your battery too. FWIW, I've also installed rigid insulation in battery boxes to help against the cold. Just be sure to not plug off any vent holes. Batteries tend to not like colder temps as much as most of us don't
Yeah, that was really my main point - that the 12v-only fridges (which is what many new ones are shipping with now and ours also has), add enough extra load on the 12V system to make running both the fridge and the furnace on a cold night boondocking implausible. It was no problem in our old camper, which had a propane absorption fridge.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
You don't need to pull the fuse. Your thermostat should have a switch with Heat-Off-Cool options. Simply turning the switch from Heat to Off and back to Heat will reset the furnace lockout.
Very helpful - thank you. I will try that if it happens again.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by WanderMore View Post
Good lesson for you. And what is your take-away from it?

1. Don’t do it again
2. Add a 12 volt battery to the bank
3. Go with two 6 volt golf cart batteries
4. Go for LiFePO4 batteries
My take-away is to increase our battery system capacity, and investigate 2,3 & 4 for doing so. I'm inclined to start with investigating LiFePO4 batteries, but managing them in cold weather for charging complicates the picture. While I can install them inside where they'll stay warm once the camper is warm, it's not clear to me how they'll do if I'm picking up the camper from storage on a cold day and the inside is below the batteries' safe charging temperature.
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