Battery power for an Atwood Furnace - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-30-2009, 02:55 AM   #15
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I don't know whether it might have some kind of ignition that draws power too, but that still does seem quick (3 hours).

I did guess at the amp hours available in your battery, but it shouldn't be off by that much.

And there is some life lost to being cold (if the battery is cold). How cold was it?

But yeah, that still does seem a bit off. Had you charged the battery by an independent charger, or were you using the connection with the tow vehicle? I've never charged with a tow vehicle, but I think I've read that they don't always put that much juice in (especially if you're running a fridge or something too).

It would be interesting to try it again (experimentally, not when you're counting on it) with a known good, fully charged battery.

Raya
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:11 AM   #16
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Mac, you might consider installing a Cat heater. I have a WAVE 6 in mine, I use it in near freezing temps and it does the trick nicely.. no fan, no draw. Observe proper ventilation rules.. you will be more than stylin in the 14.

However, some folks don't like them because of the venting thing. If you are considering Alaska, against my usual advise of solar and low to no draw items... I think your generator idea is the best one. You will not be in a position to tuff it out in a a sleeping bag for a nite or two.. lack of heat could be a very serious matter for your health there.. not just an inconvenience and a quaint situation.

Certainly, a new battery is in your future. It will absolutely need to be in tip top shape for this trip. Don't risk it.. get the genny.
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:08 PM   #17
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Hi Mac B, you said you vehicle barely started, are you saying you ran down your tow vehicle's battery by using the furnace? The tow vehicle shouldn't be supplying power to the trailer if the ignition is off, even if trailer is plugged into the tow vehicle.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Hi Mac B, you said you vehicle barely started, are you saying you ran down your tow vehicle's battery by using the furnace? The tow vehicle shouldn't be supplying power to the trailer if the ignition is off, even if trailer is plugged into the tow vehicle.
Yes, it was connected, and in starting it, I felt like it was sluggish, and I assumed that the tow vehicle battery had been drained. Maybe I was mistaken. I will check with the RV place that did my wiring. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:27 PM   #19
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I'll check it out. thanks.

Yes, heat is an important thing, not just for nights, but for just hanging around during a cold day, I don't want to feel like I am sitting in an icebox!


Quote:
Mac, you might consider installing a Cat heater. I have a WAVE 6 in mine, I use it in near freezing temps and it does the trick nicely.. no fan, no draw. Observe proper ventilation rules.. you will be more than stylin in the 14.

However, some folks don't like them because of the venting thing. If you are considering Alaska, against my usual advise of solar and low to no draw items... I think your generator idea is the best one. You will not be in a position to tuff it out in a a sleeping bag for a nite or two.. lack of heat could be a very serious matter for your health there.. not just an inconvenience and a quaint situation.

Certainly, a new battery is in your future. It will absolutely need to be in tip top shape for this trip. Don't risk it.. get the genny.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:38 PM   #20
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I think I have read/heard that some tow vehicles' wiring will allow continuous discharge of the tow battery unless it is unplugged at the trailer/vehicle connector. Don't some people install a switch or cut off?

I'm not saying it should be that way, but I don't think it's super uncommon, either. So it's not out of the question that your vehicle battery was being drained. And car batteries are not typically maximized for deep cycling, like house batteries are.

Raya

Edited to add: It was brought to my attention that most vehicle manufacturers do put a relay in so that the trailer's battery will not be discharged when the ignition is in the "off" position, even if the trailer is hooked up. That said, I don't know whether Mac has "factory" trailer hook-up wiring in his tow vehicle. Also, perhaps I was not clear enough in saying that it should be wired to prevent this (in other words, I was not recommending leaving it so that the trailer could discharge the tow vehicle when connected but with the car ignition off). Sorry, I guess I'm not writing well today.
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:00 PM   #21
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I guess I should stop writing today! It was brought to my attention that in an attempt to make things simpler and less wordy, that I may have made things more confusing

When I was explaining how to calculate the number of amp-hours that Mac would be taking out of his battery, I used the single word "amps."

For example, I said, for a light bulb that draws 4 amps (per hour), "If you use that light for 6 hours, then 4 amps times 6 hours is 24 amps. If you have a 48 amp battery, you will have used half the amps stored in it."

However, I should have said amp hours. As in "24 amp-hours."

I'm sorry if this confused anyone. I was trying to keep the concept simple, and in doing apparently made it more confusing. I will also go back and edit that post (but I figured most people actively reading will have gone past it already and might not go back but instead just stay confused).

Raya
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:16 PM   #22
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Mac if you have a test light or volt meter, you can check the plug end at the vehicle with the ignition off to see if there is voltage. When I wired my truck I put in a relay triggered by the accessory circuit so there is no power back to the trailer unless I have my key in the ignition in the ACC position thereby preventing the trailer from draining the truck battery. If you see voltage, it wouldn't be hard to add a relay so no power is supplied unless your car is on.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:50 PM   #23
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ha ha... I find all this funny, since I am probably the densest person you could ever try to explain all this to. To get it straight, I will just call my local RV repair place and get him to explain it to me, and tell me what I need to get to make sure I don't freeze my duff off with!

many thanks for your effort!


Quote:
I guess I should stop writing today! It was brought to my attention that in an attempt to make things simpler and less wordy, that I may have made things more confusing

When I was explaining how to calculate the number of amp-hours that Mac would be taking out of his battery, I used the single word "amps."

For example, I said, for a light bulb that draws 4 amps (per hour), "If you use that light for 6 hours, then 4 amps times 6 hours is 24 amps. If you have a 48 amp battery, you will have used half the amps stored in it."

However, I should have said amp hours. As in "24 amp-hours."

I'm sorry if this confused anyone. I was trying to keep the concept simple, and in doing apparently made it more confusing. I will also go back and edit that post (but I figured most people actively reading will have gone past it already and might not go back but instead just stay confused).

Raya
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:56 PM   #24
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I love the idea of a WAVE 6 for extreme cold. It looks like a must have on a trip to Alaska! thanks

let's see...
-extra battery
-generator
-WAVE 6
-extra propane
-bottle of brandy...

I'll be as snug as a bug in a rug....

Quote:
Mac, you might consider installing a Cat heater. I have a WAVE 6 in mine, I use it in near freezing temps and it does the trick nicely.. no fan, no draw. Observe proper ventilation rules.. you will be more than stylin in the 14.

However, some folks don't like them because of the venting thing. If you are considering Alaska, against my usual advise of solar and low to no draw items... I think your generator idea is the best one. You will not be in a position to tuff it out in a a sleeping bag for a nite or two.. lack of heat could be a very serious matter for your health there.. not just an inconvenience and a quaint situation.

Certainly, a new battery is in your future. It will absolutely need to be in tip top shape for this trip. Don't risk it.. get the genny.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:38 PM   #25
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I am not familiar with Alaska conditions in June (Or any month for that matter) but I suspect even tho its spring and summer down here.. it is still very cold there.

Keep in mind two things about a cat heater.

1. You MUST have proper ventilation or they will suck up every molecule of oxygen in your rig. A window cracked open a couple inches can do the trick for the low setting, more for higher ones.

The problem there can be, in sub freezing temps, the open window negates the heating ability of the heater. I know from personal experience on a 14 degree nite. It couldn't keep up on the "high" setting when I vented correctly. I ended up being warmer under sleeping bag, every blanket and towel I had with the windows closed and heater off. It wasn't much more warm, and I had a miserable nite. That was in my 13 footer, and I didn't have a furnace.

2. Condensation, condensation, condensation! If it is really damp where you are going, and the heater is at full tilt, you will have a virtual rain shower in the glass interior of the Burro.

I am currently in dry Arizona, out in the desert where it can get downright bone chilling cold at nite. But its dry. The heater is on right now as a matter of fact. The Wave does great here as it only gets down to the mid 30s or so. An open window is not an issue, and there certainly is not a condensation problem. My dogs have sweaters they wear at nite, I have great bedding and I don't sleep with the heater on.

If I have the juice, I prefer the furnace, its a more even heat, not much condensation and is safer.. BUT, since I boondock most of the time, the Wave heater is an essential bit of equipment in here. Again, for your trip, I would suggest you rely on the furnace and find the best way to do so.
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Old 12-01-2009, 02:24 AM   #26
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arrugh! just when I thought it was logical solution. Thanks for the warning. Amazing what I am learning about all these contraptions.


Quote:
I am not familiar with Alaska conditions in June (Or any month for that matter) but I suspect even tho its spring and summer down here.. it is still very cold there.

Keep in mind two things about a cat heater.

1. You MUST have proper ventilation or they will suck up every molecule of oxygen in your rig. A window cracked open a couple inches can do the trick for the low setting, more for higher ones.

The problem there can be, in sub freezing temps, the open window negates the heating ability of the heater. I know from personal experience on a 14 degree nite. It couldn't keep up on the "high" setting when I vented correctly. I ended up being warmer under sleeping bag, every blanket and towel I had with the windows closed and heater off. It wasn't much more warm, and I had a miserable nite. That was in my 13 footer, and I didn't have a furnace.

2. Condensation, condensation, condensation! If it is really damp where you are going, and the heater is at full tilt, you will have a virtual rain shower in the glass interior of the Burro.

I am currently in dry Arizona, out in the desert where it can get downright bone chilling cold at nite. But its dry. The heater is on right now as a matter of fact. The Wave does great here as it only gets down to the mid 30s or so. An open window is not an issue, and there certainly is not a condensation problem. My dogs have sweaters they wear at nite, I have great bedding and I don't sleep with the heater on.

If I have the juice, I prefer the furnace, its a more even heat, not much condensation and is safer.. BUT, since I boondock most of the time, the Wave heater is an essential bit of equipment in here. Again, for your trip, I would suggest you rely on the furnace and find the best way to do so.
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:37 AM   #27
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Well okay, here are two more ideas, from opposite ends of the spectrum.

1) Seek out an older, gravity style RV furnace. These came in many of the 1970s campers (eggs, truck campers, pop-ups, etc.), and they use NO electrical power at all. No power draw, no fan noise. They are vented, so no condensation. And they don't suck up your oxygen. I have no idea why these are no longer made, as they work well. (I had a slightly larger one in a cabin.) Probable cost: Less than $200


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2) A brand-new, shiny, I-can-see-the-cozy-flame, Sig P9000 propane marine cabin heater. Yes, it's $800, but heck, you were about to buy a special battery bank, fancy charger, and a generator! This has an *optional* fan. So you can run it with no fan (i.e. no power). Also, it's vented, so no condensation/oxygen worries.

Now, couple of factors:
1) It has a chimney. However it's flexible and there are ways to get around leakage (they are used on boats, normally). I believe it is possible to run it out a side wall as long as it still goes up (or, the roof, which is typical on a boat).

2) This would protrude from the wall a bit (I think about 9").

3) These are relatively new, so I have not used one. However, I have used a Sigmar diesel heater (on a boat), and the workmanship was quite good. It also had the cozy flame factor (not to be underestimated, in my opinion), and an optional (and virtually never used) fan.


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Old 12-01-2009, 08:08 AM   #28
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Another one to add to the pile...

This one claims low power draw, safe venting, high efficiency, and it has a thermostat.

"THE PLATINUM CAT utilizes a power vent system which exhausts all combustion by-products to the outside of the living area, which automatically replace oxygen used for combustion. The vent system prevents buildup of unhealthy indoor air pollution and eliminates any chance of accidental asphyxiation"

http://www.ventedcatheater.com
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