1st time boondocking/dry camping questions

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by Oski88, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Oski88

    Oski88 New Member

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    Jul 9, 2009
    Tigard, Oregon
    I have a marine battery. 500 amps reg temp; 400 amps cold temp. I have been charging it but notice that if I reconnect the charger even after a day off the charger it shows as only 75% charged (even though I charged it to 100%). Is this a sign the battery life is down or could it be the accuracy of the charger?

    In any case, I guess we'd be running lights occassionally, a night light for the DD at night and maybe the furnace at night. Should a battery last 3 days with that usage?

    And potentially in the stupid question category...if I run the fridge off propane it will only use the battery for the initial spark, right?

    If the battery dies and I reconnect the pup to the TV and run the engine, how long would I need to run the tv to recharge the battery?
  2. papachaz

    papachaz New Member

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    Jun 26, 2011
    sounds like the battery is going dead. if you have an advance auto, napa or auto zone around close by, you can take it in and ask them to check it. they'll hook it up and give you a print out for free. they will of course try to sell you a new one though, [LOL]
  3. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    Mar 8, 2011
    I can't address your partial charge issue, but a fully charged battery should be able to run that sort of load for three days with no problem. You can extend the time by switching your light bulbs to LEDs; they draw a fraction of the power compared to a normal RV bulb, are just as bright, and cooler to the touch.

    Your furnace fan is almost certainly powered by electricity, but as a rule, they don't draw a lot of amps.

    First off, find out if your battery is still viable; a service station or auto parts store can test it.
  4. Duff

    Duff New Member

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    Nov 20, 2006
    Loveland, CO
    Ill take a shot at your questions as I usually boondock 20+ nights in Colorado.

    Battery Capacity (actual measured on a new battery)
    Grp 24 Deep Cycle 60AH
    Grp 27 Deep Cycle 80AH
    BTW, cranking amps, which you quoted, mean next to nothing when it comes to battery reserve capacity which is what you need for a camper.

    Light Draw
    Normal pop-up lights draw 1.5A, so for each hour on that's 1.5A out of your battery. Not bad unless the DD turns on all 4 lights and leaves them on. That would drain a Grp 24 battery in about 10 hours of usage.

    This is the 'bad boy' in a pop-up. Furnace fan draws 4A. It WILL drain your battery in one night if it is on much. The issue with the furnace is that while a light bulb will still put out light when the battery voltage drops below say 11v the fan will not produce enough airflow to trip the safety 'sail switch' which is needed before the furnace can get propane and make heat.

    Night Light
    For my nephews I use one of those little chemical lightsticks, like Coleman sells. It lights up the camper enough for them to be happy and to see getting around for the nightly pee break, but the color and light is subdued enough for you to get some sleep.

    Run it off propane and it will not use the battery at all. Try and run it off battery and your battery will be dead in hours. The fridge heating element is 120watts which is a 10A draw.

    Recharging from the TV
    Forever to fully recharge. Probably an hour or so to get lights again. You would be quicker to remove the battery from the pop-up and hook it to your TV battery with jumpers to recharge. IF you decide to leave the battery in the pop-up and hook up jumpers, be sure to disconnect the pop-up from the battery before starting your vehicle to prevent voltage surges.

    Hope this helps

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