Hi, I'm Hilary - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-03-2020, 08:23 AM   #1
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Name: Hilary
Trailer: Scamp
Minnesota
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Hi, I'm Hilary

I picked up my 2019 Scamp 13'D late last October, pull with a 2018 Outback. I have a lot to learn since I picked it up so late in the season. Spent four nights in it with electric hookup. I'm planning some back yard camping as soon as the Minnesota weather permits. I want to see how long the furnace will run with the battery in order to determine how long I can scamp without electric hookup. I don't want to jump in and buy a generator or solar setup until I know how the basic system works. That's just one of the many things I need to learn. I'm looking forward to the adventures my pup and I will have. I also look forward to hopefully meeting some of you out there having your own adventures. Thank you.
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:27 AM   #2
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Welcome, Hillary, and congratulations on the new Scamp!

Just a warning... Running a lead-acid battery all the way down will cause irreversible damage that reduces its power storage capacity. If youíre going to try this experiment, use a multimeter to track battery voltage and stop when you get to around 12.5V, which indicates around 50% charge. Do not leave it in a partially discharged state, or there is a risk of freezing and killing the battery.

In MN cold, Iíll guess you wonít get more than 1-2 nights running the furnace on a low temperature setting (50*). Covering windows and ceiling vents with sheets of Reflectix might stretch it a bit. Remember with people inside you need to maintain some fresh air circulation to prevent buildup of CO2 and condensation.

Scamps are not really designed for winter use. Their claim of R-15 is bogus, based on a misapplication of foil bubble wrap. Not that it canít be done for a few days- the furnace is plenty strong; itís just not very efficient.

Hope youíll let us know how your test goes!
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:39 AM   #3
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Welcome, Hilary, from another Minnesota camper.
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:45 AM   #4
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Name: Hilary
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Thanks for the reply Jon. I understand what you're saying about running the battery down too far. I bought, the INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor, it's simple (for me) and will let me know when I'm getting to the battery life halfway point. That is why I want to do it in my driveway, so I can then recharge the battery. Once I am smarter about voltage, amps, etc, (I think that could be a whole college course-maybe it is) I can upgrade to a better monitor, if I need to.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:02 AM   #5
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:55 AM   #6
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Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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Originally Posted by HilaryB View Post
... I bought, the INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor,....
That's a pretty fancy name for a simple volt-meter (and a pretty high price for one too).

As you might be aware, you cannot get a reading when the battery is being charged or discharged that will tell you it's state of charge. In order to get an idea of the state of charge of your battery from it's voltage you must let the battery "rest" and stabilize. As it relates to the state of charge, after charging a battery there is a "surface charge" that will give you a false high reading. While the battery is being used there is a "voltage drop" that will give a low false reading, the degree of which is related to the current draw from the battery. When using a voltmeter only, a few hours of no battery use at all will result in a reasonable idea of how much charge the battery has left. Checking the specific gravity of the acid will give the most accurate results but it is not practical (and even a little dangerous) to use as a regular procedure.

If you want to have a good idea of your battery's state of charge all the time, including when its powering something or being recharged (as I do), then a battery monitor that tracks the current going through a shunt is the way to go. I'll save that discussion for when and if you decide that is what you want.

Reading suggestion:
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
The 12volt Side of Life Part 2
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Old 01-03-2020, 10:38 AM   #7
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Name: Hilary
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And you, Gordon, should teach the college course. What you write greatly intimidates me because my battery knowledge is quite limited. But you give me an understanding of how I can progress in my learning, slow but sure, bit by bit. And then it will all come together and make sense. Thanks.
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Old 01-03-2020, 10:48 AM   #8
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Look at it this way...

Suppose you have a barrel of water in your trailer and you are driving over a rough road, or going over speed bumps in a large parking lot while someone is (illegally) riding in the trailer and trying to see how much water there is. It would be hard to judge the level of the water since the barrel was bouncing around. But stop and let it sit for a while and the you can take an accurate reading.

But if you had gauges that measured all the water going into or out of the barrel, and you calibrated it according to the capacity of the barrel when it was first filled, then you could repeatedly use some water and partially refill the barrel, and still calculate the amount of water remaining at all times, even on rough roads, and even without looking at the barrel! That is sort of what a battery monitor with a shunt does.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:00 PM   #9
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Name: Hilary
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Hi Steve. Thank you for the welcome. Being from Minnesota, when do you begin your camping season?
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:25 PM   #10
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Name: Hilary
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Thanks Gordon. I can understand the water analogy. I have confidence that when I start to mentally process my hands on experience, the terms and concepts will click into place. I'm antsy to get there, and it's only January.
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:08 PM   #11
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Name: Larry
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Welcome Hilary!
Your Innova is just a basic voltmeter. There are charts you can find that show approx battery capacity while under a load. Otherwise you need to measure the battery voltage with no load or charging after resting at least several minutes. There are more sophisticated battery monitors that show battery capacity as a percentage but they are much more expensive. Bogart Engineering has one have have used for the the last 10 years.
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:46 PM   #12
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British Columbia
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The Innova tells me all I need to know, which is do I need to conserve power and do I need to charge?
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Old 01-08-2020, 02:45 PM   #13
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Welcome Hilary! Enjoy your Scamp.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:17 PM   #14
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Hi Steve. Thank you for the welcome. Being from Minnesota, when do you begin your camping season?
We'll see, maybe April if the weather is trending nice (not always the case) or May. I might head to southern Utah in May this year... TBD. I also have to open the family cabin and put the dock in etc., so that eats up some camping weekends as well. That's life in Minnesota, not enough weekends in the summer.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:51 AM   #15
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Springtime in wisconsin

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We'll see, maybe April if the weather is trending nice (not always the case) or May. That's life in Minnesota, not enough weekends in the summer.
Wisconsin also.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:47 AM   #16
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Thank you, JBB.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:52 AM   #17
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Name: Hilary
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Steve, I also would like to see the April weather trend nicely. However the past couple years, it has been when we get another big snow storm. I hope that's not the case this year.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:56 AM   #18
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Name: Hilary
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Hi Glenn, yes, the Innova, will tell me what I can comprehend at this time. If I feel smart and more confident in my understanding of battery power/usage/charging and all that jazz, I may "amp" up my equipment. At this point though, I need to keep it simple, basically like you posted.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Look at it this way...

Suppose you have a barrel of water in your trailer and you are driving over a rough road, or going over speed bumps in a large parking lot while someone is (illegally) riding in the trailer and trying to see how much water there is. It would be hard to judge the level of the water since the barrel was bouncing around. But stop and let it sit for a while and the you can take an accurate reading.

But if you had gauges that measured all the water going into or out of the barrel, and you calibrated it according to the capacity of the barrel when it was first filled, then you could repeatedly use some water and partially refill the barrel, and still calculate the amount of water remaining at all times, even on rough roads, and even without looking at the barrel! That is sort of what a battery monitor with a shunt does.
Gordon, I really like your water barrel analogy for explaining battery state. I personally like to use the "beer fridge" analogy, but it does give pretty much the same message. For example, if I start out a trip with 24 beers in the fridge and drink 12 the first night, I will probably have to recharge my batteries before I can drink any more beer.
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Old 01-09-2020, 04:24 PM   #20
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Name: Barb
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Welcom Hillary, I'm a single woman full-timing with my dog and I love this lifestyle. For winter camping I suggest a heated water hose, and a heating pad on your black tank so it doesn't freeze. You can also get a little heating pad that wraps around the elbow outside your black tank. To keep warm in the winter, I have a small circulating oil heater (runs on electricity) and it keeps the place warm in between the furnace turning off and on, so I use less propane. And it's completely silent. I keep the back window cracked open about 1/4 inch and the overhead fan in the front going almost all the time. At night I pull the dinette cushion away from the wall to prevent condensation. I also have the mattress pulled away from the walls of the trailer. Plus lots of hot chocolate to keep me warm! : )
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