Battery Drain w/Furnace, Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-07-2002, 07:23 PM   #1
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Battery Drain w/Furnace, Casita

Last weekend was the first time we camped and ran furnace while on battery power only. Our Casita is a 2002 17' FD. We drove about 200 miles with refer on DC and then within a 24 hour period ran the factory furnace about 30-40 minutes, along with normal lights and water pump only. Pretty soon we noticed the lights dimming. I have an inexpensive volt meter I insert into the 12 volt plug for the TV and it showed the battery voltage around 10.5. Now the questions. 1) Is it possible to run the furnace without experiencing this problem? 2) After arriving at a campsite after driving 200 miles, what should I expect the battery voltage to be? When we got home, the voltage indicated around 11.6. Thanks.
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Old 11-08-2002, 11:12 AM   #2
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battery drain

Paul:

I don't know the details, but if you drive 'some distance' with the AC, heater, or headlights on, along with the fridge on DC, it's likely to arrive at the 'campsite' with a somewhat depleted battery. - Lots of variables here. - Then to camp overnite using the furnace, a few lights, tv, whatever.... it's very likely to wake up with a dead battery.

And if you left the tow vehicle connected it's time to get out the jumper cables :o (most of us don't have an isolator).

IMHO, it's time to decide whether to manage the electrical usage better, or add more capacity. :r

I've had this happen with the Casita and a previous RV (with a single 'house' battery. Now travel with 2 batteries in the Casita, a 50w solar panel, Honda generator, and a 'jump-it'. I guess that makes us energy hogs, :E :E but we stop where we want, are comfortable :zz , don't worry about something running down...been there, done that.
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Old 11-08-2002, 11:20 AM   #3
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Don,

Two questions:
*****1.**Did you mount your 50 watt solar panel perminately?
*****2.**Where did you put your second battery?

Can you post photos?
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Old 11-08-2002, 12:09 PM   #4
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Low batts

Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Bacchi
We drove about 200 miles with refer on DC and then within a 24 hour period ran the factory furnace about 30-40 minutes, along with normal lights and water pump only. Pretty soon we noticed the lights dimming.
Paul, We experienced a similar situation with our Casita, once. Travelling with the fridge on DC does deplete our house battery, and so now we always try to recharge (via the solar panel) for an afternoon, before needing the furnace.

Even the one time we really had a problem, I think it would've been avoided had I not been so cavalier about using the lights. (And now, when we're boondocking, we use a battery powered flourescent lantern for ambient light, and only switch on a Casita light when needed, such as in the kitchen while cooking.)

I should also say our experience with this set up is in Colorado, in summertime, when we only need to run the furnace in the early morning. I don't think I'd boondock in truly cool weather.

Our solar panel (3.1 amp) works great, as long as we're careful about what we use (we just have the one house battery).

:sunny
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Old 11-08-2002, 12:21 PM   #5
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solar panel

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3dcbfe8385e54Casita solar panel up.jpg/>

Michael:

Solar panel is 'permanent', no holes in the Casita.

The 10ga wires go thru a hole in the fantastic fan base frame. The solar panel brackets are still in the testing stage. RMNP was the first trip and so far all looks good. Will disclose the method next spring (or bolt em down).
=========
2nd battery:
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3dcbfece918e2Casita Battery on hitch.JPG/>

It started out under the bed, next to the converter, in a plastic case.
=========
Can turn the solar panel on/off and either battery on/off. Don't run the batteries simultaneously.
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Old 11-08-2002, 12:27 PM   #6
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solar panel

And the solar regulator, nothing fancy:

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3dcc01f2942e2Casita solar regulator.jpg/>
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Old 11-10-2002, 07:07 AM   #7
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Forget the furnace!

Paul Wrote:

<<Last weekend was the first time we camped and ran furnace while on battery power only. >>

Parallels my first trip 15 years ago in a 36' motorhome with 2 huge coach batteries. I figured I had enough juice for anything we wanted. At the beach on Coronado Island in Jan., set both thermostats to 65 and went to bed. Woke up the next day with very low batts. Then found that the converter didn't recharge them with the genny running! A real learning experience.

Now we only run 1 furnace in the morning for a few minutes and recharge the batts when needed by running the MH engine or with cables from the toad.

Now with a 16 Casita, we don't even use any furnace. Use an Olympian 3000 which works great without any electricity and very little propane. Get one, you'll like it; leave the furnace OFF.
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Old 11-10-2002, 09:04 AM   #8
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Thanks, Don!

I appreciate you posting your pictures.

You may remember, we just run our solar panel through the pigtail and as such, use no regulator. :nono (I think you're the one who pointed out that the converter isn't in the pigtail loop, so doesn't act as a regulator for us. Oh well!)

I especially appreciate seeing where you put your regulator.

And, that battery on the trailer tongue - that's just a carry along spot, right? For use, you switch it out with the other house battery, right? (It's not hooked up, on the trailer tongue, so many, many feet away from the regulator?)

Thanks for your :helpme
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Old 11-10-2002, 09:34 AM   #9
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solar

I am very interested in a solar panel, but don't know where to start. I know nothing about them except you need sun for it to work. :cool Do they come with clear instructions? Tell me what size you got , and I just get that. (all this battery terminology is more then I can comprehend at once. :crazy-ii I'll go back and read most of it again later and see about learning it.)
What's a "jump-it"?
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Old 11-10-2002, 01:31 PM   #10
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Jump it

Quote:
Originally posted by Thomas and Janifer

I am very interested in a solar panel, but don't know where to start. I know nothing about them except you need sun for it to work. :cool Do they come with clear instructions? Tell me what size you got , and I just get that. (all this battery terminology is more then I can comprehend at once. :crazy-ii I'll go back and read most of it again later and see about learning it.)
What's a "jump-it"?
Jana, Check out this older thread on 12 Volt, for more about the Jump-it.

My solar panel is 3.1 amps. No instructions (nor box, nor nothing) came with it, but we bought from a local company that designs residential solar (photo voltaic) systems. There's a great deal of good info available on the www, to help you figure out what you need for your setup. I'll try to get back to you with some links...

(For now, just read about the Jump-its!)
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Old 11-10-2002, 02:38 PM   #11
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2nd battery

Mary:

Yes, the battery on the tongue is wired up, and fused, permanent location.

What's really nice about having a 'main' and an 'auxillary' battery is to be able to just flip a switch when and if the lights get to looking dim, and have a fresh battery to work from.:)

Not ideal to have the battery on the hitch so far from the solar regulator, but it will have to do. I've kept watch on the solar volts/amps at the battery and the electrolyte level, sofar sogood. :o

Acutally the good (new) '29' battery is in the Casita. Instead of throwing away the old one (which has a weak cell) it's being used, and recharged, till it's 'used up'......then it'll get replaced.:o



Janifer:

try:

http://www.rvsolar.com/

http://www.mrsolar.com/

If you can wire a light switch or hang your own ceiling fan, you should be able to install an rv solar sysetm. But the tons of information may be overwhelming at first.

The panel in the photo is 50watt with a 4amp controller/regulator.
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Old 11-10-2002, 02:48 PM   #12
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information

Thanks Don.
I think I could get into this stuff. very interesting. I've wired a house, so I guess I can figer this out. if not I'll yell.:lol
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Old 11-10-2002, 04:25 PM   #13
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Those 12 volt refridges.

Everyone who runs with the refridge on 12 volts ends up with problems its seems. Me included. The heavy 12 volt load from your refridge on your tow vehicles charging system does some weird things including cooking your trailer battery. I no longer use the 12 vold side of the refridge. If I absolutely have to have my refridge going I just leave it on propane or get a ice chest!
I use my furnice all the time with out being plugged in to any AC outlet. Never had a problem. And for longer periods I leave the tow vehicle plugged in. It helps assist the house battery. I stay 3 & 4 days with no hookup & use the furnice every night. No problem.
I have an older Layton trailer in Florida that I use during the winter. I don't even have a battery in it. I just use the tow vehicle battery & that more than supplies the power I need for lights & fan etc. Most of the time I plug in to 110 but when I am not just use the tow trucks battery & it works just fine.
I once seen a couple with an old Scotty Sportsman trailer & the guys was using a small motorcycle battery to power the trailer. Maybe he knows something we don't! MANZI
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