12 volt question - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-10-2014, 07:41 PM   #1
JALEE's Avatar
Name: Josh
Trailer: Scamp
New York
Posts: 31
12 volt question

I installed a 12 volt co and propane detector, a 12 volt double plug and a 12 volt double (1 plug, 2 US today. I put the detector on a toggle switch so it wouldn't draw while not in use.
My question is this: will the outlets draw when not in use? (Note in the picture, one of the outlets has a blue on light) should I have put a toggle on those too?
It would be an easy fix but I tried to avoid another $10.00 in switches at HD.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:12 PM   #2
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 643
Most RV lead-acid batteries self-discharge about ˝% a day, maybe more or less, depends on temperature, faster in hot conditions, slower in cold. So after 6 months or so they are pretty much dead. The draw from detectors and LED indicator lights would discharge a battery in about a year or ten, except it would already be dead from self-discharge. Think of your household smoke alarm going for a year or two or three on a tiny 9 volt battery about 1/1000th the size of your rv battery.

I don't worry too much about such small loads. On the other hand I keep my stored Scamp on a time switch controlled battery minder ( one hour per day ) so it's always topped off. What do you folks think?

Btw, batteries have longer service lives at cooler temperatures, so bringing them indoors for the Winter may not be a good idea. Just keep them charged and leave them outside.


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Old 05-10-2014, 11:14 PM   #3
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Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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John is absolutely correct. I don't worry about small loads. Keep the battery charged on way or another.
When put a switch on propane detector or a CO detector you're asking for trouble. Propane detector with a switch, after sitting for couple months or more a small propane leak causes propane to gather near the floor. Flip the detector switch on a small spark inside the switch causes big bang. I want the propane detector working all the time so if open the door and there's a small leak I'm warned. That's what a propane detector is supposed to do. CO detector could also be a problem, trailer loaded with CO and you don't bother or forget to turn on the CO detector creates angels.

Smoke detectors, propane detectors, and CO detectors should be on full time, all the time, forever and ever.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:37 AM   #4
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
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Having a switch controlled detector isn't up to code either, for many obvious reasons: Failure to turn it on during occupancy, inadvertently turning it off without realizing it, and as Byron stated, the potential for ignition due to arcing in an explosive atmosphere. They are required to be "hard-wired" for a reason, which means no on/off switch is permitted in the circuit. Besides endangering yourself and others in your trailer, you are living under a potentially hazardous false sense of complacency in believing that all is well, which may or may not be so depending on the position of that illegal switch.
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:52 AM   #5
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Name: Conrad
Trailer: Bigfoot 3000 & Barth "slide-in" truck camper
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I have a master DC switch that controls everything but my fridge electronics and a electric jacks. It is a sealed switch--no chance for sparks. I sometime turn this off for faster charging when my batteries are more deeply discharged. It might save a few tenth's of an amp.

I agree with keeping the detectors powered up all all times, but that hardly seems necessary if the gas is turned off at the tank and the camper is unattended for long periods. Propane has a distinct odor. And leaving a door open for a while would empty any low lying fumes out quickly. CO is a more serious concern. I added a second detector just to be safe and have one vent by my bed that is always cracked slightly.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:17 AM   #6
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD
NW Wisconsin
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If you installed a detector that is hard wired and has a battery backup as required by most residential codes , you will still have protection with the switch off but you must remember to change out the detector's 9 VDC battery on a regular basis. Like others said , Leave it powered at all times ,it's too easy to forget to turn on the detector .
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:01 AM   #7
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Name: Frank
Trailer: Casita
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You should consider using long life (10year) lithium batteries in smoke and CO detectors .
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:42 PM   #8
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Name: Josh
Trailer: Scamp
New York
Posts: 31
Good advice all. I'm going to leave the switch but never touch it except when closed for the long cold Buffalo winters. It's under the sink, in a corner, in the cabinet anyway.

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