Furnace fan on battery power

TG2020

Member
Aug 19, 2020
53
Efland, NC
We camped last weekend without electric hookups. In the past we've done 2 nights out in colder temps and the furnace has worked fine for us. This time, it worked the first night and a half, then quit in the middle of the 2nd night. We were fine, had plenty of blankets, but would like to figure this out since I don't think we used that much electricity, just a few LED lights and the furnace fan. The pop up battery is only 1 year old and we drove for 4 1/2 hours to get there so it should have been pretty well charged. Sorry I do not know the size of the battery off hand. Any ideas? Need a bigger battery? Need a 2nd battery? Or could something else be draining my battery without me knowing it? Thanks much!
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
11,892
Ontario
Does your vehicle charge the battery while you drive? If you have a 7 way plug, are you sure the charge wire is connected and working?

We'll start there, try and keep the trouble shooting simple and easy without getting to indepth and jumping around, hopefully others will follow...
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
20,649
Southeastern PA

McFlyfi

Super Active Member
Aug 1, 2014
803
Thousand Oaks CA
Agree with both above. You will need some way to actively charge the battery. Either a smart battery charger plugged into your house or a solar set up.
 

theseus

Living the Darkside...
Silver Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2007
3,494
Centerville, OH
Most furnaces pull 3 to 4 amps while running, so I’m guessing at a night and a half you didn’t have it set too high.

As others have said you have to come up with a better way to charge the battery. Solar or a small Inverter generator with a good battery charger would work fine.

One trick I’ve done is run the furnace a bare minimum but in the morning supplement with something like a Mr. Buddy heater to make it comfortable.
 

Grandpa Don

Super Active Member
Sep 5, 2018
1,577
Southern California
It wouldn't be difficult to add a 100 Watt Solar panel to your equipment list. Some of them are very portable. That's all I have to recharge the battery when boondocking. I do have a 3500 Watt generator, but I only take it if I will need to run the A/C unit. I sleep in a zero degree sleeping bag and rarely run my heater at night. Even in snowy conditions. I'll turn it on for a while before bed and in the early morning while getting dressed or fixing breakfast. Go Solar!
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,376
Northern Virginia
Starting simple: it could also be that your battery is not very healthy so therefore doesn’t hold a charge like it should.

Discovered my group 24 battery when I bought my camper was completely dead and assumed sat dead for extended time. Although I was able to charge it when I got home , it couldn’t hold a charge for long and if under power killed my battery way faster then it should. I brought my battery to autozone to get tested when they confirmed it’s not healthy battery. Biggest key for me with my new battery is to disconnect the battery from my camper when home and charge the battery on my own charger. I do not allow my battery to get down too much past half charge and consider charging it someway.
 

TG2020

Member
Aug 19, 2020
53
Efland, NC
Does your vehicle charge the battery while you drive? If you have a 7 way plug, are you sure the charge wire is connected and working?

We'll start there, try and keep the trouble shooting simple and easy without getting to indepth and jumping around, hopefully others will follow...

Yes, I do have the 7 pin plug and it did charge on the drive home. The interior LED lights did not work when we left campsite but do work now so it is charging when driving. I do not have a battery monitor as another suggested, and that sounds like a good investment as well as a trickle charger. Thanks!
 

PopUpSteve

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
20,649
Southeastern PA
Even though my solar charge controller has Bluetooth, I'm not too enamored with the way its app reports the battery status. So I also put the Battery Monitor with Bluetooth (that I mentioned above) on the batteries.

Camping this weekend with temps going down to 30, so I'll be using the furnace for sure. The camper has been sitting at the storage yard for two weeks with the new solar panels soaking up the Sunshine. The batteries should be fully charged and ready to keep me warm. It's only 7 miles to the campground so the TV won't be helping much with charging the batteries.

One note, I have an electric lift system and to keep it from sucking too much juice from the camper's batteries, I keep the TV running and connected (power wise) to the camper until the roof is raised. I do the same when taking-down. I have a 8 foot 7-Way Trailer Extension Cord so I can still get around the camper when using the TV as a generator.
 

WrkrBee

Super Active Member
May 23, 2018
6,545
South Carolina
Yes, I do have the 7 pin plug and it did charge on the drive home. The interior LED lights did not work when we left campsite but do work now so it is charging when driving. I do not have a battery monitor as another suggested, and that sounds like a good investment as well as a trickle charger. Thanks!
If you are draining the battery low enough that LED lights do not work, you are killing the battery life. It will die an early death. Below 50%, the battery starts destroying itself.
 

TG2020

Member
Aug 19, 2020
53
Efland, NC
The big question is, did you charge the battery before the trip?
No I did not, I thought the TV would with the 7 pin plug, turns out I was wrong about that. Now I know I need to charge and monitor it before leaving and monitor and possible charge with solar while camping. Thanks everyone for the info!
 

jeepster04

Active Member
Nov 23, 2010
271
There are endless opinions on this subject. I've never had an issue charging a battery then unhooking it. The day before the trip, I will charge the battery and pop the fuses back in. This wont work if you use the camper once every 2 years. It will work fine if you use it 2-3 times a year. You dont need to monitor anything.
 

keithw

Member
May 20, 2018
11
We camped last weekend without electric hookups. In the past we've done 2 nights out in colder temps and the furnace has worked fine for us. This time, it worked the first night and a half, then quit in the middle of the 2nd night. We were fine, had plenty of blankets, but would like to figure this out since I don't think we used that much electricity, just a few LED lights and the furnace fan. The pop up battery is only 1 year old and we drove for 4 1/2 hours to get there so it should have been pretty well charged. Sorry I do not know the size of the battery off hand. Any ideas? Need a bigger battery? Need a 2nd battery? Or could something else be draining my battery without me knowing it? Thanks much!
Consider an Ecoflow power station. For electrical needs while boondocking. They charge quickly by generator, solar or plugin. Mine (River Pro) has a capacity of about 1200 usable watts, and takes less than 2 hours to go from 0-100%.
 




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