wattage used by NorCold n3150 in our winnebago view when on propane

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SelVieux

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Just had opportunity to 'dry camp' in our 2017 View...  and learning how long resources last.  But after 5 days, our coach battery get's drained by 4 AM and starts beeping until 6 AM and then turns off.  Is it the Fridge that draws that much outta' the battery?  is this normal for usage?  No where in the manual does it say how much electricity is needed to run it on propane, but it does say it needs 300 watts on DC or AC (volts x amps) , so the battery can't run it that way.

I turned off the tankless water heater and also the anti moisture heater for the fridge controls(what in the world is that?). 
and still no joy.  Most dry campgrounds have strict rules on running generator past 10PM and Yosemite is even stricter so I am wondering what we are doing wrong to this rinky dinky fridge. There is a whirring noise outside the View near the fridge vents, that seems to be on all the time..  what is that and how do I turn it off when on propane? It does seem that it is an accumulation of conditions that reached this point, as the first 4 nights went ok.
Or has my 3 year old battery gone bad?  It does hold it's charge for 3 months in storage tho'. 

Thanks
PS: this is it's first true 'dry camping' test, so maybe I'm expecting too much, but really 4 AM beeping from the xanex is a bit annoying.
 

Gizmo100

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Besides the Fridge,,,what else is running...lights? fan? TV? Inverter?

How long are you charging the battery during the day?

Have you checked the water in the battery?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The fridge circuit board draws next to nothing, on the order of 10-15 watts of 12vdc.  What else is on? Surely you used water pump and some lighting.  Is there an inverter? Even idling an inverter will suck noticeable amps.


What size (amp-hours) battery(s) do you have? I think 2x Group 24's are standard, so that's about 70-80 AH of usable power.  Roughly 1000 watts-hours (1 KWH)
 

John Hilley

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When you say the Xanex is beeping, do you mean Xantrex inverter? 4 days of lighting, water pump and inverter is pushing it without any kind of daily charging.
 

John Canfield

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Four or five days without charging your batteries is actually pretty darn good. My standard battery recommendation is Lifeline AGMs - they will charge faster and have a lower self-discharge rate. When the campground has generator hours, take advantage of the entire hour or two (or whatever.) Buy portable solar panels or if you have the roof real estate, install one permanently.

Make sure your Xantrex is a true three-stage charger.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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An "anti-moisture heater" warms the area around the door seal to avoid condensation forming there. It does use 12vdc power to run the little heat strip, so for max battery life it should be turned off when boondocking. It is not generally needed anyway, except in humid climates.
Or has my 3 year old battery gone bad?
Very likely it is at or near end of life.  Your coach probably came with an inexpensive "marine/RV deep cycle" and those rarely last much more than 3 years.
 

ChasA

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Hi sel,
Welcome.  I'm surprised nobody touched on the whirring noise. That noise is probably from the fans behind the fridge. Is your fridge in a slide out? If it is, that is almost certain you have fans back there. The fans do increase the power your fridge will  use. But I think getting 4+ days on a charge is pretty good.
 

JakeR

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Our View/Navions have several sources for battery usage when dry camping.  The Inverter (just turn on when needed then off), the propane detector, the two propane switches, obviously the water pump when in use, the refrigerator fan to exhaust heat, lights use very little, the radio/dvd player (you can pull the fuse for it but kind of a pain).  I went thru the battery issue and campground rules about running the gen.  They never worked for us because we would get up early to hike and normally not return until perhaps 30 mins left on the evening gen hours.  After that I installed solar panels and for our 2017 Navion I had 3 panels installed immediately to replenish my batteries.  No problems with dry camping since then.  We can easily do weeks.  Other members know much more than I do but basically your batteries are a 1 for 1 - for every hr of use you need to charge them an hour so if you dry camp for 4-5 days without charging that is pretty much max.  Be careful to not consistently drain them.  Happy to send you photos of my install if you would like.  You can also find other View/Navion owners photos and info on solar at the Yahoo View-Navion User Group. 

 

SelVieux

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Thank you for much friendly advice.  In summary: 
Have not turned Inverter off as I haven't found where it is;  the Xantrex has an off switch, and it turned itself off after beeping awhile; that put us in the dark, but then the propane detector started beeping; hopefully, only because it wanted power!
The DVD/Radio was in standby, so didn't expect it would use much;  did unplug the TV's tho'.  All lighting except for glow LED nightlights were off, and pump was not in use overnight. So, I assumed only the fridge was using power.
We need to run generator longer; so, must schedule hiking during 'quiet' times; didn't expect such restricted times; is Yosemite the only one? Must look into solar for convenient 'boondocking'.

 

John Canfield

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SelVieux said:
...We need to run generator longer; so, must schedule hiking during 'quiet' times; didn't expect such restricted times; is Yosemite the only one? Must look into solar for convenient 'boondocking'.
Teklanika (aka "Tek") River Campground in Denali National Park (Alaska but you knew that) has generator hours, I think 90 or 120 minutes in the morning and the same in the early evening or late afternoon. We ran our generator for every minute allowed. If your Xantrex inverter/charger isn't a true three stage charger, it won't effectively pump a bunch of amps in at the very beginning of the charge cycle. Also I can't stress enough - if you like to boondock buy AGM house batteries, they will charge faster than traditional wet batteries.
 

SelVieux

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John Canfield said:
If your Xantrex inverter/charger isn't a true three stage charger, it won't effectively pump a bunch of amps in at the very beginning of the charge cycle. 

I found out that our battery charger is this converter <
https://www.rvpartsnation.com/rv-electrical/rv-converter/progressive-dynamics-9245-rv-converter-45-amp/>  but haven't found detailed specs for it--only sales talk. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What sort of specs are you looking for?  It has a 45 amp max output, split between the demand for 12v house power and battery charging. Basically the output goes to the house demand first (as needed) and battery charging gets the leftover, as needed. Since the batteries never have zero draw (they are always at least float charging) and there is always at least a tiny draw in the hosue system, there is no value in knowing the no-load current/wattage and similar spec details. The system is variable according to the needs of the particular RV at the moment.

Detailed 9245 specs are available from PD at https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/power-converters/pd9200-series-rv-power-converters/#specifications
 

John Canfield

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If that model was a three stage charger, their marketing people would be advertising that feature. I think you can safely assume it isn't a three stage (there probably wouldn't be much of an advantage of a small charger/converter like that to be three stage.)
 

Lou Schneider

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John Canfield said:
If that model was a three stage charger, their marketing people would be advertising that feature. I think you can safely assume it isn't a three stage (there probably wouldn't be much of an advantage of a small charger/converter like that to be three stage.)

The Progressive Dynamic 9200 converters ARE 3 stage chargers, 4 stage if you include their desulfation mode.  They've been marketing it as their Charge Wizard for about 10 years now.

The 9100 series converters are single stage unless you add the Charge Wizard pendant that turns them into multi-stage chargers.

The 9200 series converters have the multi-stage logic built-in, what they lack is an external indication or control of which mode it's in.  This too can be solved by adding their external pendant but it just provides indication and control of the converter's internal logic.

Here's the 9100 Charge Wizard pendant that gives these converters multistage capability along with a description of how it works:

https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/charge-wizard/

And the 9200's pendant that brings control and indications of the converter's built-in multistage modes out into the open:

https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/charge-wizard/pd92201-converter-status-remote-pendant/

No, it's not a 100 amp bulk charger, but it's fine if you only have one or two house batteries.  You'll never get bulk charging rates higher than it can provide from any charger unless you have a large battery bank.

 

SelVieux

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Thanks to everyone.  I found the culprit by accident; we stopped during our recent trip to Alaska, and Lo the dog bowl was bone dry; after checking the voltage readout's on the Xantrex LCD (13.1 V) I turned on the water pump to fill his bowl.  As I walked back I glanced again, and now it says 12.5V  !  wow... what does the water pump draw when not running?  So I happened upon a Camping World just South of Ferndale WA, that was advertising Batteries... so had the extremely, polite and nice technician (Tyler) advise us on our batteries...  He brought out a fancy gizmo and said "Your batteries are beyond fine! they are giving 1300 CCA !  not sure what that means in Amp Usage; but he advised us not to change them, even tho' the AGM's "Roadhawk Predator" I think they were branded as-- were tempting at $236 club price each. 
 

ChasA

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I doubt your water pump is a culprit. The 13.1 volts you saw was what's known as surface charge.  It's normal to see that for a while after you stop charging.  When you ran the pump, you removed the surface charge and the 12.5 volts you saw indicate a full charge.
 

John Canfield

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CCA is cold cranking amps which is a good check for starting batteries (huge current load for a few seconds - batteries have thinner plates and more of them) but it's not relevant for house batteries. Amp-hour capability is the key metric for house batteries - the batteries can deliver say 10 amps for x hours.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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As John says, CCA is not really helpful for deep cycle battery capacity, but it is a valid measure of battery condition and is commonly used on battery load testers.  A battery with a weak cell or other internal damage will show a relatively low CCA, whereas a healthy CCA is a good sign. Whether 1300 CCA means your battery is "beyond fine" is debatable, but it's t least ok.

ChasA is probably right about the water pump effect on the battery voltage, but a fully charged 12v ought to read at least 12.6v. I would have expected the surface charge reading to be more like 13.3-13.7 after driving some distance, and would expect the drop in voltage to go to 12.6v.

The water pump draws zero amps when idle and somewhere in the 6-10 amp range while running.  Few people run their water pumps enough to have any significant impact.
 

childcarepro

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I'm not certain this is your problem, but you mentioned your Xantrex (inverter) was on, but didn't mention the mode your refrigerator was in. If it was on A for automatic, it preferentially uses A/C power, then DC power, then propane. With your inverter on, it was using A/C power. When the absorption refrigeration system is working, it should draw 300W on A/C power, about 210W on DC power.

If you're prewired for solar (my 2018 Via came with 100W panel and a 30A Zamp Solar controller), slap a couple of solar panels up there for boondocking. The cheapest solution is to put 2-3 200W panels (Rich Solar makes a compact 200W 24V panel) up there, and double your battery capacity with 6V 240 Ah batteries (720 Wh each; mine came with 12V 62 Ah Napas, 372 Wh each). This is your maximum bang for the buck: don't have to buy wire, solar controller, nothing but panels and batteries.

Of course if you're like me, you'll just scrap what they gave you and fill the whole roof with panels, buy a new inverter/charger, MPPT controller, switch to LiFePO4 batteries in 24V configuration, get a mini split air conditioner... sky's the limit.
 
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