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Author Topic: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)  (Read 1312 times)

khr

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Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« on: September 16, 2016, 04:56:32 PM »
Okay - before I plunge off the cliff and hit the "Place Order" button, tell me if there's a better solution for us.

We have a 19' tongue pull trailer that we have taken boondocking for the first time.  We were disappointed with the battery life and are looking for solutions.  We tune our LED lights on very sparingly at night, use the water pump as little as possible (we're also trying to conserve our 38 gallons of fresh water) and the only other things that use electricity are the refrigerator control board (running on propane) and the CO/Propane Monitor.

Will this setup be a good solution for us not to have to use our generator 4 hours a day?  https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Volts-Monocrystalline-Bundle/dp/B00B8L6EFA/ref=sr_1_3?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1474044535&sr=1-3&refinements=p_89%3ARenogy%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_two_browse-bin%3A6907042011

I read most of the reviews and they seem to be very positive for what we are wanting to do.

Thanks for reading and any suggestions you might have,
Ken
2011 19' Shadow Cruizer
2013 F150 3.7 liter

SeilerBird

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  • Everything I state is my opinion.
Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 05:10:03 PM »
I think you need to get a hydrometer and check the health of your battery. It should last a lot longer that what you are getting.
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khr

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 05:13:38 PM »
Battery is brand new.  I had the same thought and wonder if we have a ground short somewhere.  Do you know how to check for that and run it down?
2011 19' Shadow Cruizer
2013 F150 3.7 liter

HappyWanderer

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2016, 09:07:45 PM »
I think the solar panel you posted would be a good investment. For very little money, you can experiment.

We only boondock a couple of times each year and use portable solar. It's easy to move the panel to follow the sun for maximum efficiency. I've gone up to 4 days without having to run the generator, using LED lights, refrigerator and water pump.

UTTransplant

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  • Salt Lake City area
Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 09:25:26 PM »
Is your trailer a newer one? Our 2014 had all kinds of odd loads on it. When boondocking we disconnect the television, and I wish we could disconnect the radio (it is hard wired). We also have LED lights and some 12 v fans. We needed to upgrade to two 6 volt batteries instead of the single 12 v we used to have. It gave us a lot more amp hours (220). We end up having to run a generator every 2 days if we are not running the heater, and every day for cold weather camping. BTW, we do not skimp on the water pump (showers for two every day, washing dishes, and using lots of water for flushing the toilet). In summary, get more amp hours and then add solar or a generator.
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dave54

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  • Old guy. Loves being outdoors
Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 10:11:10 PM »
Was the battery fully charged to start with?  How long did you drive until arriving at the campsite?  It takes a long time to recharge a RV deep cycle battery by just driving around plugged into the tow vehicle.

Or you have some parasitic draw somewhere.
I never get lost.  I just have unplanned adventures.

JiminDenver

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 10:52:29 PM »
With a freshly charged battery and the low usage you mentioned, I think the kit may do well for you. Should it be not enough you could add a panel later.

When I charge the battery that runs the trailer functions, I use a 12a auto charger. I take it off the trailer at home and leave the charger on it a good three days. Once a month in the off season I put it on the charger for a day and again for a few days before we go on a trip. It kept the trailer going three days the first trip boondocking and we use the furnace.

khr

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2016, 06:29:30 AM »
Thanks for the replies.

JiminDenver - Good advice on keeping the battery charged.

dave54 - we had a 9 hour drive from OK - CO.  I'm seriously wondering about the short issue. 

UTTransplant - our trailer is new to us this year, but a 2011 model.  To add another battery, I would have to figure out some way to stack our batteries and that would also involve paying someone to weld a stack box system for the 2 battery set-up.  Since I just bought a brand new $100 12 volt battery, that would mean buying 2 new 6 volt batteries, plus paying for the welding for a new box set-up.  My thought was to spend the money on solar rather than go to all the trouble of the battery set-up if this solar panel kit would do what we needed to do - especially since our boondocking is limited to 1 trip/yr for 1 or 2 weeks.

HappyWanderer - my thoughts exactly!

Anybody have any ideas on how to decipher the short issue??  I'm not much of an electrical guy.

Thanks,
Ken
2011 19' Shadow Cruizer
2013 F150 3.7 liter

Cant Wait

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2016, 07:01:23 AM »
We used a small 45 watt (I believe) solar panel that just used alligator clips to hook to the battery, and a 2nd deep cycle battery paralleled to the TT's one  for a 4 day stay at a boondock site and had no issues with battery going dead, and we didn't really cut to bare minimums our elect. use. 
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Alfa38User

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2016, 08:56:10 AM »
I wouldn't be worrying about shorts at this stage, just check all your connections and make sure they are clean and serviceable, and using wires of the correct size. One battery does not give you a lot of backup capacity. I would look into more battery power to start. Even if you add a second battery using jumper cables (if there is not enough room otherwise) you will double your capacity. (You will need to look into how to store it and carry it safely though!!) A bit bigger solar panel can help too, can't have too much charging power!!
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JiminDenver

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 09:17:05 AM »
I'd like to explain 7 pin charging.

First most peoples 7 pin is dead unless they have the proper relay in. I bought a truck with a tow package and still had to put the relay in.

the trailers batter will be in a system with the starting battery. The system will see that starting battery before the trailers. The starting battery will recover from starting the truck quickly and the system will stop trying to charge the trailers battery. The system is already doing quite a bit providing the power to run the truck.

Look at the cables on your batteries and you will see they are thick. The thicker the wire the more power goes through it. The longer the wire the thicker it needs to compensate. Now look at the wire on the 7 pin, it's tiny and goes a long ways. It carries little current, likely under ten amps without modifications.

last thing is some of the power coming out of that 7 pin is running the trailer while you are on the road.

Put it all together and you will see the 7 pin isn't a very good charging source. You can make modifications like a isolation solenoid and heavier wiring but you will still want a charged battery to start with.


JDOnTheGo

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Re: Help! Stop Me If You Can!!! ;-)
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2016, 04:50:55 PM »
Hi Ken!  Any amount of solar is going to help. The problem is that you are starting from an unknown point so you can't measure anything you do from this point.  Ideally, you would get a good battery monitor (like the Trimetric) - not a voltage monitor - and begin to record some data.  This is the beginning of an energy audit.  You will then be armed with the details of your system - exactly how much power it is consuming and exactly what is required to replenish that power.  It then becomes a pretty easy beast to conquer.
JD - Full timer out west
1998 MCI 102 EL3 Revolution | 2010 Wrangler (daJeep) | 650 Watts Solar
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