HEATERS and RESERVE BATTERIES

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by catsklgd1, Nov 28, 2012.

Do you:

Poll closed Dec 12, 2012.
  1. Have a heater?

    6 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Not have a heater?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Have a propane heater?

    5 vote(s)
    35.7%
  4. Use a plug in electric heater?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Have a reserve, deep-cycle battery?

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  6. Not have a reserve, deep-cycle battery?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Yes: You should add a reserve, deep-cycle battery?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. No: You should NOT add a reserve, deep-cycle battery?

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  1. catsklgd1

    catsklgd1 New Member

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    [PU] We have mixed feelings about a heater for our PUP. On one hand, we only camp between late April and late October in temperate conditions. However, we know it can get awfully chilly on early mornings. If you know of a specific kind of plug-in heater that is head and shoulders above all others, please reply with its name.

    The same goes for a reserve battery system. As far as we know, the PUP that we bought does NOT have one. Should we add one?
     
  2. mnebinger

    mnebinger Livin' The Dream!

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    Are you going to be camping where there isn't electric hookups? Does your popup have electric brakes?

    If you answered yes to either of these, then yes you should add a battery.
     
  3. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    I don't see the "Have a furnace and a stand-alone electric heater" option on your survey. We heat primarily using a 120v AC electric heater from your favorite big box store. We have the onboard LP furnace (12v DC for the blower) set at a lower temperature to back up the electric heater if temps dip too low for it to keep up.

    Obviously, this requires us to have shore power hookups.

    We also camp without shore power. In that case, we currently rely solely on the furnace. It is 12v DC and runs from the deep cycle battery. If you plan to camp without shore power and want a heater, then look at something like the Wave catalytic converter (with low O2 sensor) or a Mr. Heater LP heater (also with low O2 sensor). Neither one of those pulls anything from the camper's battery, thus you wouldn't need a battery if you light with other sources or whatever else you might use from the 12v system. The furnace will chew through the capacity of most any battery within a few nights of good usage. You'll either need to sleep in good cold-weather gear or bring along a way to recharge the battery (solar or generator or ??). The larger Mr. Heater models have a fan but use something like D batteries for self-contained power.

    If you add a battery, there's a whole host of things to consider, but mostly along the lines of what will be your daily usage requirements. How many amp-hours of capacity will you need.

    Example (don't quote the numbers, this is hypothetical): running the lights takes 2 amps. If run them for 3 hours a day, you'll need 6 amp-hours of capacity per day (2 amp x 3 hours). Extend that over 5 days and you'll need 30 amp-hours. For good deep cycle batteries, you don't want to run below 50% of the capacity of the battery as this can damage it and reduce its ability to produce electricity (btw, "50% of capacity" does NOT equal 6 volts of a 12 volt battery). So if your battery has 100 amp-hours of capacity, your working capacity is really only 50 amp-hours. Based on the example above, over 5 days, you only have 20 amp-hours of capacity left after using up 30 amp-hours just for lights.
    (Again, don't quote my numbers).

    And others will vary on this point and it's purely a matter of my opinion, but I tend to shy away from any "deep cycle" battery that has Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) and Reserve Capacity numbers printed on it. Those are hybrid deep cycle/starter motors for things such as boats and not necessarily the best option for RV use if you are a strong consumer of battery power. For occasional use, they're fine. It all depends on your needs and wants. I shop for RV batteries at battery stores. YMMV.
     
  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We have a propane furnace, and primarily dry camp. We have solar panels to recharge the battery, so no reserve battery. Only occasionally camp with hook-ups. In cold weather (i.e. winter camping Nov.-April or so, depending on the year and where we're headed), we supplement with an electric space heater, but that limits us to campgrounds with hook-ups.
     
  5. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    [Comic Book Guy Voice]Worst poll ever.[/Comic Bok Guy Voice] How do I select options 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8? I have a heater, I have a propane heater, I use a plug in electric heater, I don't have a reserve deep cycle battery, and I don't think you should get a reserve deep cycle battery (the main deep cycle battery should be fine for a 2-day trip). BTW, I also have a furnace ... or are you considering a furnace = heater?

    Go to the power and electrical forum. This, along with bondebond's post, will help you figure out how much power you need. Then, size your battery (or batteries) as appropriate.
     
  6. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    ^^^What he said. If you don't intend to camp without hookups and don't have electric brakes on the trailer then you really don't need a battery at all. If you have electric brakes but don't intend to "dry camp" then you can get away with a smaller battery than a 12V deep cycle to power the emergency break away for the brakes.

    If you "dry camp" (camping without hookups) then you will absolutely need a 12V deep cycle battery...at least if you want to have lights and power to your other 12V applications.

    In RE to the heater, this too depends on how you intend to camp. If you don't have a heater in the p'up and you plan to camp with hookups then I'd just go for an electric, plug in ceramic. Conversely, if you intend to dry camp, you will need a propane type heater as your 120VAC outlets do not work with 12VDC. You could look at installing a p'up heater or look into Mr. Buddy heaters. There are differing oppinions on whether one can use a Mr. Buddy inside the p'up when you're sleeping. Personally, I know people that do and have never had an issue...I probably wouldn't chance it though.

    In RE to whether you really need a heater...well, that's all a matter of personal preference and tollerance. We rarely use ours; during the camping season, low temps in the mountains will usually be in the mid to upper 40s to low 50s...coming from a tent camping background, that is more than tollerable for me and my family, though others would probably be freezing their arses off. We really only run ours for early season camping (March, April, early May) when mountain lows are generally still below freezing, and late season camping (mid to late Sept and Oct) when again, temps can dip to near or below freezing in the mountains here. Obviously, the heater comes into play for winter camping which we usually do in the desert...but it can still drop well below freezing in the desert during the winter months.

    I won't quote bondebond...but incandescent lights are around .75 amps/hr...my LEDs are .15 amps/hr. Other than that, the general example stands valid.
     
  7. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    I was actually being kind on the amps for the incandescents. I had six interior 1156 bulbs that pull 2.1 amps each, yielding 12.6 amps. Not a happy thing to have while on battery, obviously.

    Now, I have LED boards that are more than 2x more light output at .35 amps per. That's a happier place to be.
     
  8. novagirl

    novagirl retired camper

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    I would definitely get one with a heater--especially if you plan to do any Spring or Fall camping. We use ours and love it.
     

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