Battery drain - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-05-2006, 01:14 PM   #1
Trailer: 2004 17 ft Bigfoot
Posts: 53
I have a 17' Bigfoot. Everytime we go out with a fully charged battery and within 2 days it is completely drained. We only use lights and fridge. Anyone else solve this problem? Do you use 2 batteries? Do you use a particular brand? Have you found a problem with batteries draining while using the fridge in bigfoots? Thanks! Francine

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Old 05-05-2006, 01:19 PM   #2
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Name: Dan
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 546
Are you using the fridge on 12 volts or propane?

How many lights do you use and for how long each day?

If you disconnect the battery will it go dead on its own?

-- Dan Meyer

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Old 05-05-2006, 01:31 PM   #3
Trailer: 2004 17 ft Bigfoot
Posts: 53
We are using the fridge on propane, but I understand it uses a bit of power anyway. I disconnect the battery when not going out so I don't know if it would drain, it hasn't in the past. I now have a green disconnect screw. We don't use many lights, I do read at night, that's all.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:37 PM   #4
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Trailer: 73 Boler
Posts: 159
What are you running for a battery? Test it by fully charging it and get it load tested.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:04 PM   #5
Trailer: 2000 Bigfoot 17 ft (15B17CB)
Posts: 75
If your Bigfoot has a Dometic Americana series or similar model refrigerator, check the climate control switch located below the control panel in the top of the frame for the freezer compartment. It should be OFF if you are running on battery power only. The climate control is a heater strip in the frame of the unit and consumes quite a bit of power. It is best only to activate the climate control when you are plugged in to shore power, as it will deplete the battery rapidly.
The electronic board in these refrigerators demand about .3-.4 of an amp, or around 8-12 amp-hours per day and will run the battery down eventually, but you should be able to get 4 days or more out of your battery (assuming it is good and of reasonable capacity) with frugal use of lights and water pump.
If you have a propane detector, it also draws a small amount of power continuously and will kill the battery over a longer period of time.

I agree with Colin, get your battery checked. Discharging a battery below 50% capacity repeatedly will dramatically reduce it's life and should be avoided. If it is weak, replace it with a quality true deep cycle battery of the largest size that will fit. There is very little space in the existing location for a much larger size, but if the battery tray is relocated slightly to the rear a group 31 size battery will squeeze in. I use a Trojan scs225 (130AH capacity) and it has served me well. The newly released Trojan J150 has the same footprint but is taller and offers 150AH - it may also fit but careful measuring would be in order to be sure there was adequate clearance in the fiberglass nacelle.

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Old 05-05-2006, 09:33 PM   #6
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Name: Ches
Trailer: 1992 Kustom Koach 17 FT
British Columbia
Posts: 4,896
I use two 6volt deep cycle batteries.I never have run out of power.I preety well run what i want for a respectable time.My furnace is always on propane.

As said above if battery is run down too much you will destroy it.
Retired Underground Coal Miner.
Served in Canadian Army (1PPCLI)
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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Name: Vic
Trailer: Fiber Stream 1982 16 ft
Posts: 336
I respectfully disagree about the battery discharge comment. Good quality deep cycle batteries are designed to provide virtually full power (amps) almost right up to the the point of full discharge. Once the battery power has dropped, it is then important to stop using the power and re-charge, but not at 50%. The risk with completely draining the battery is a pole reversal with a completely dead battery.

A quality deep-cycle battery should last 5-7 years once it has been initially charged. If you use your trailer a lot, it might be closer to 5 years. Infrequent use might get you 7 years. After 7 years, you are living on borrowed time. It will eventually appear to charge fully, but drain very quickly , as you describe. If your battery is that old, I would just replace it.

If it is a new battery, only two possible casues exsist for premature discharge. Improper charging, or improper cell acid level. THese can in fact be related, since overchargina a battery will boil waster out of the cells, reducing their efficiency.

Low level in at least one cell can often be addresssed by the RV owner.. What I am about to describe is not for the novice, but can be done safely, with most 12 volt batteries, except those that are truely completely sealed.

1. Disconnect the battery terminals.
2. Move the battery to a solid, well-lit working location
3. Very carefully pry off the battery cell caps. If you break this cell cap, you are looking at a new battery. There may be one cap for each cell (6 cells to a 12 volt), 1 cap for 3 cells, or one cap for all 6.
4. Each cell should be full of acid to the bottom level of the tube made by the cap.
5. Top off any low cell with DISTILLED WATER ONLY. Regular tap water contained many chemicals, and will shorten battery life.
6. Replace all battery cell caps.
7. Bench charge the battery overnight
8. Place the battery back in your unit.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:25 PM   #8
Trailer: 2004 17 ft Bigfoot
Posts: 53
I will check my refrigerator for a climate control. It is a dometic. I think that is just the temperature level like a home refrigerator. I just set the number to a level by reading the temperature refrigerator thermometor I put in. The battery has run down completely 3X now. It runs down now in 2 days. It was bought new last summer (2005) when the RV mechanic said the last battery was bad and this happened to it also. We go out in the Bigfoot 6-8 times in a year, mostly for 2-5 days.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:50 AM   #9
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Name: Lyndon
Trailer: 1996 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel ('TOGETHERNEST' SLEEPS 8
Posts: 256
Another thing that caused me grief a few years ago was the light in the refrig not going off

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