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Author Topic: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?  (Read 7110 times)

gt2003

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30 foot, 2006 Crossroads Zinger.  It's got a 1000 watt inverter and the water heater, heater and a/c run off either propane or electric.  So, will any of it run off the single 12-volt car-like battery at the front of the trailer?  I turned the propane on to see if I could get the heater to operate but wasn't successful.  I tried the lights, no success.  There is not a generator and the trailer is not plugged in.  Tell me what you know because I am clueless! 
2006 Crossroads Zinger 30ft RV, 1997 Monterey Montura Boat and a pair of 2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE's

SargeW

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 06:50:25 PM »
There may  be a switch you have to throw to get your lights to come on. Most should operate with 12 volt power.  The inverter is used to power a 120 volt appliance like a TV. The heater should operate off of 12 volt. The fan is 12 volt and the heat is propane. Check and make sure that the propane is turned on. With a 1000 watt inverter it will most likely only power certain plugs. Those will will usually be entertainment devices. With only one battery though It won't last too long. Usually a minimum of 2 batteries is necessary to get any kind of service life out of them. Stay tuned, there will be other replies........
Marty--
2013 Phaeton 36GH
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geodrake

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 06:51:31 PM »
Sounds like you have a dead battery. 

Neither the heater,the lights, the fridg, nor the water heater are going to run without 12 V.D.C.  The A/C will only run on 120V.A.C.  When plugged into shore power a power converter will convert the 120V.A.C shore power to 12V.D.C. for lights, etc.  The inverter converts 12V.D.C. to 120V.A.C. to power the television, and maybe a couple low power devices when shore power is not available. 
George Drake

gt2003

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 09:03:39 PM »
LOL, we just got it home last night so I jumped in it once it was parked and started trying to get stuff to work.  I'll hook up the battery charger in the morning and see if I can come up with something by tomorrow night.  It was all so new to me and it was already dark when we got home so a dead battery didn't even cross my mind.  Thank goodness I've got a bit of time to learn before we head out into the wild blue yonder.  Thanks again.  Off to explore more topics and post more questions.
2006 Crossroads Zinger 30ft RV, 1997 Monterey Montura Boat and a pair of 2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE's

Honest John

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 02:44:14 PM »
Many units have a 12v disconnect switch that helps prevent the battery from running down when not in use.  Your unit may have one of these and the switch may be in the disconnect position.  So if your battery is charged and you still can't get the 12v lights to work, or the furnace blower to work you might look for a cutoff switch.

Since all brands are different no telling where yours might be.  Usually they are located close to the battery, and often in a storage compartment.  As I mentioned, not all units have a cut off switch, so this may not be the case for you.

Good luck!
Just traided Pick up and 5th weel for:
06 HR Neptune 36'

gt2003

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 03:12:29 PM »
I'll look for the switch tonight.  I'll open all the hatches etc.  I'm guessing it's a dead battery since I tried to put my El Cheapo black and decker charger on it this morning and it just laughed at me.  It's a lightweight charger and even mentions in the directions that it is not for a completely dead battery.  I connected it and immediately the "fault" light lit up.  I'll hook up the real battery charger tonight and see what I can come up with.  Thanks for the help.  I've obviously got a lot to learn!
2006 Crossroads Zinger 30ft RV, 1997 Monterey Montura Boat and a pair of 2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE's

ArdraF

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 03:15:51 PM »
Quote
I've obviously got a lot to learn!

LOL.  The good news is we've already been in your shoes!  ;)

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Honest John

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 04:22:05 PM »
Yep, sounds like a dead battery.  Before you buy a new battery read some of the stuff here on the site.  You want to ensure that you get a deep cycle battery , they are best suited for RVs and provide more power and longer life than ordinary batteries.  I'm sure that if you run a search on the site and look in the library you will get some good info.

 ;)
Just traided Pick up and 5th weel for:
06 HR Neptune 36'

gt2003

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 07:20:17 PM »
I've got the battery charging right now so we'll see if it holds a charge or not.  When I got home from work I hooked up the "battery booster" that I usually keep in the boat.  Immediately almost every light in the RV came on along with the vent hood.  I turned them all off then hooked up the battery to charge on a slow charger.  Now I guess it's wait and see.  In the meantime I'm going to copy down all the numbers on the battery so I can ask more questions if I need to replace it. 

"Neither the heater,the lights, the fridg, nor the water heater are going to run without 12 V.D.C."  So, can I interpret this to mean that as long as the battery is charged then they'll run for a little while?  The water heater and fridge can run off propane so as long as the switch is turned to propane and there is enough D.C. power to do the little stuff then they'll run OK too.  So basically just the a/c and TV won't work, right?  Remember, no generator!
2006 Crossroads Zinger 30ft RV, 1997 Monterey Montura Boat and a pair of 2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE's

Marsha/CA

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 01:00:57 AM »
The water heater and fridge can run off propane so as long as the switch is turned to propane and there is enough D.C. power to do the little stuff then they'll run OK too.  So basically just the a/c and TV won't work, right?  Remember, no generator!

Correct.   But know that the furnace especially, will run your battery (s) down very very quickly.

Do you have a way to  plug the RV into a 120 electrical outlet and can keep it connected for 24 hours?  If so, that is an excellent way to fully charge your battery (s).  Also, once a battery has had  a couple of complete discharges where they are down to nothing, the life of the battery will be shortened.

If you replace the battery, in order to keep them charged and in good condition, either disconnect one of the leads or put in a disconnect switch.  That way when it is just sitting, the battery won't drain down.   There are always phantom loads.   As someone mentioned prior, you may have a 12volt disconnect switch.

If you elect to keep the RV plugged in while not using it; be sure and check the water levels in the batteries.  All this information is in our library.

Marsha~
Allegro Bus Diesel Pusher with Hyundai Tucson SUV toad. 
In case of necessity, alternate transportation is available in the form of 1 old horse.

gt2003

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 05:40:13 PM »
I just got the battery tested and it's 100% DEAD!  So, I bought a replacement.

Marsha, thanks for the good info.  Are you saying that when the trailer is hooked up to 120 power that it automatically recharges the battery (provided its a battery with life still left in it)?  I was thinking about adding it to the long line of atv/sea-doo/4 wheeler/boat batteries that get a slow monthly overnight charge in the off season.

It's time for the first trip this weekend.  It'll be close by so if the learning experience gets too ugly we can run back home!
2006 Crossroads Zinger 30ft RV, 1997 Monterey Montura Boat and a pair of 2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE's

Marsha/CA

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 06:07:16 PM »
Yes, most batteries get charged when you plug the RV into 120.  But as I mentioned when you keep them plugged in 24/7 you will need to check the water level in the battery to make sure it doesn't go dry or the water gets too low.

Have fun on your trip!!

Marsha~
Allegro Bus Diesel Pusher with Hyundai Tucson SUV toad. 
In case of necessity, alternate transportation is available in the form of 1 old horse.

Johncmr

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Re: New to RV'ing. Can anything in my RV run off the 12v battery alone?
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 06:27:07 PM »
Quick point - a properly wired 7 blade trailer connector will also charge the trailer battery from the tow vehicle. 

Usually a self-reset 25 amp breaker in the tow rig, and usually only when the tow vehicle is running or at least when key is on, this keeps the trailer from killing the tow battery while parked overnight..

johncmr