How long will battery last... - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-25-2015, 11:21 PM   #15
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Although we have camped in cool weather and used the furnace in the escape 19 liberally, we are also usually on the move during the day so we got a daily recharge off the tow. We decided the best way for us to operate was to install solar (150 watt). This gives us the ability to stay in no services areas as long as the water holds out. For an emergency, I'd lot rather haul a second battery than rely on a Little Buddy, I have one that I use outside when tailgating in the fall and know they are designed to shut down when an oxygen deficiency occurs but I just can't bring myself to trust that little sucker. Lots of mornings we use a cube heater to take the chill off, course you have to have AC for that.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:32 PM   #16
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Good thoughts Gordon. We have considered a Little Buddy heater that just runs off propane & is safe in confined spaces. We are traveling with a toddler so lack of heat becomes more of an issue than I previously would have given thought to! All your safety precautions are duly noted!!
We have used our Little Buddy heater with good success, A one pound cylinder won't last all night on high but it will if it is turned down some.
Under most conditions it is fine, but we were retrieving a camper which had all the insulation removed. It got cold at night and we were barely warm enough on high, then we woke up freezing when it ran out of fuel in under four hours.
In an insulated trailer in milder weather it does much better.

If you want to be warm and not waste too much fuel, then make window covers (reflextix is a good choice) otherwise the cold just cascades off the windows.
Also , as counterintuitive as it sounds.... Never sleep in a heated fiberglass trailer without cracking the roof vent just a little(even a quarter inch) to carry some of the condensation out.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:39 PM   #17
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We used one before & considered opening a window out of instilled fear, which became counter-productive
You may want to read the manual that cames with them - apparently the manufactures also have fears. Or at least the fine print on all of the ones made by a couple of different popular manufactures I considered purchasing recently certainly did
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:53 PM   #18
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Condensation makes it damp and damp makes it seem colder that is for sure. I would look into a modest solar panel attach a controller to the back and a set of plugs to attach it to at the battery.


Might be talking a little over a hundred dollars. Or maybe just under. Nice to have a 100 watt or better solar set up but even a 40 or 50 watt panel can extend your camping duration. You may not get the battery back to 100% charge but if you replace even 50% of your usage and battery without solar lasts 2 days now it will last 3. Or instead of running out of power on the second day now you can go for two full nights and days.

Just because I have no idea of the knowledge level of the OP or who might read this in the future I'll mention that when plugged into power at a campground most campers will run the furnace off of a converter and keep the battery charged. So the battery won't run down at all.

Wear a stocking cap and socks to bed, good insulating covers and the certain knowledge that eskimo toddlers did not freeze. Then kick the heat on in the morning.

This may seem counter intuitive but don't over dress in bed clothes. Your body heat is what heats the space under the covers. Bundled in clothes even a down sleeping bag won't get warm. Long johns, stocking cap, dry socks and a good winter bag are what I used in a tent at -10 and while getting up to take a leak was a tribulation I slept warmly.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:58 AM   #19
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exploding batteries....in the real world....

I have had batteries explode right in front of me TWICE (ten years apart)....both times the batteries had been completely discharged quickly (not supposed to do that to our deep cycle batteries but that is beside the point...this is what to expect when a battery explodes)

in one instance I was removing 6 six volts batteries out of a golf cart type vehicle to put them on charge and load charged batteries into the vehicle for the second half of its daily run time....I was in a hurry....I set the dead batteries on the ground, hooked up all the connecting cables to them...but in my haste i did not fully tighten all the wingnuts...then I hooked up the charger and turned it on....one of the "sort of loose" wingnuts created a spark and I heard the loudest bang I have ever heard in my life...the rest is a bit of a blurr....while I was standing there, reeling sort of....four coworkers tackled me and carried me over to a garden pond that happened to be close by....and almost drowned me in it trying to "save" me!!!...what they saw when the big bang happened was me standing there getting drenched by an upward spray of battery acid....I survived, my clothes didn't and I had a ringing in my ears for 24 hours...

the second time, I was managing a gas station when a guy in an old beater car gassed up and had a dead battery at the pumps when he went to leave...and we had a line-up at the timeno less.....I grabbed our battery on wheels with permanently attached jumper cables that we kept for such "occasions".....poppped the hood hooked up postive to positive and the neg to neg....(ok so you're never supposed to do that....always go for a ground away from the battery as you last hook-up...but I was in a hurry to get the guy out of there and this time I didn't).....and the battery blew up !!! turns out the guy had jury rigged this beater so many times that he actually had a red heavy gauge wire as a negative conductor to his battery and a black one to his positive!!!!! that spark was a good one! you get suspicious when you get two black wires to a battery..but this set-up looked "legit" at first glance...

so BIG, BIG BANG.....battery caps, if present, will shatter and fly about.....the battery itself doesn't move....it's jacket splits in a nano second and releases all the energy
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:43 AM   #20
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so BIG, BIG BANG.....battery caps, if present, will shatter and fly about.....the battery itself doesn't move....it's jacket splits in a nano second and releases all the energy[/QUOTE]

Wow.....you have an explosive history. You were lucky that your friends and pond were there.
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:40 AM   #21
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Also , as counterintuitive as it sounds.... Never sleep in a heated fiberglass trailer without cracking the roof vent just a little(even a quarter inch) to carry some of the condensation out.
Floyd,
That's indeed what we've done in the past, but mainly because of the inherent worry that comes with the use of the portable heater! We considered buying one of those insulated pads to insert into the roof vent, but would you recommend against this and instead cover the windows?
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:49 AM   #22
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Condensation makes it damp and damp makes it seem colder that is for sure. I would look into a modest solar panel attach a controller to the back and a set of plugs to attach it to at the battery.


Might be talking a little over a hundred dollars. Or maybe just under. Nice to have a 100 watt or better solar set up but even a 40 or 50 watt panel can extend your camping duration. You may not get the battery back to 100% charge but if you replace even 50% of your usage and battery without solar lasts 2 days now it will last 3. Or instead of running out of power on the second day now you can go for two full nights and days.

Just because I have no idea of the knowledge level of the OP or who might read this in the future I'll mention that when plugged into power at a campground most campers will run the furnace off of a converter and keep the battery charged. So the battery won't run down at all.

Wear a stocking cap and socks to bed, good insulating covers and the certain knowledge that eskimo toddlers did not freeze. Then kick the heat on in the morning.

This may seem counter intuitive but don't over dress in bed clothes. Your body heat is what heats the space under the covers. Bundled in clothes even a down sleeping bag won't get warm. Long johns, stocking cap, dry socks and a good winter bag are what I used in a tent at -10 and while getting up to take a leak was a tribulation I slept warmly.
That's a great point, eskimo toddlers didn't freeze! We won't be camping in the middle of winter, just late fall with cold nights. I am the OP with very LITTLE knowledge about campers so your insight is appreciated. Considering little heaters run almost $100 anyway, I'm very interested in solar power. Are there products out there specifically made for a situation such as this? Or would I need to jerry-rig something? Or should I say find someone that could do it for me
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:50 AM   #23
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I have had batteries explode right in front of me TWICE (ten years apart)....both times the batteries had been completely discharged quickly (not supposed to do that to our deep cycle batteries but that is beside the point...this is what to expect when a battery explodes)
I will definitely give great consideration before charging the batteries off the TV! Thanks! Glad you're still alive.
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:00 AM   #24
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Read the INstructions....

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Originally Posted by NedMac View Post
I would say it's an issue at any age! If you are referring to the portable heaters, they are made nowadays to prevent such an issue. Thank you for your concern! We used one before & considered opening a window out of instilled fear, which became counter-productive

Many portable heaters include the instruction to provide a fresh air source when using and to not use in an enclosed space. when in doubt:
1. Read the instruction
2. If you don't have the instructions, look them up on-line.
3. If you still can't find the instructions, open a window or a roof vent slightly when using
4. If you still can't find the instructions and you don't want to open a vent, be sure your insurance payments and Will are current.
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:14 AM   #25
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Many portable heaters include the instruction to provide a fresh air source when using and to not use in an enclosed space. when in doubt:
1. Read the instruction
2. If you don't have the instructions, look them up on-line.
3. If you still can't find the instructions, open a window or a roof vent slightly when using
4. If you still can't find the instructions and you don't want to open a vent, be sure insurance payments and you Will is current.
Bob you & Carol are correct. Although they are advertised for use in small spaces, the fine print says "This heater is safe for indoor use in small recreational enclosures, having means for providing combustion air and ventilation, such as enclosed porches, cabins, fishing huts, trailers, tent trailers, tents, truck caps and vans."

So let's take the portable heater off the table. I'm pretty interested in this solar power!
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:25 AM   #26
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RE: Charging Batteries with Jumper Cables


Basically, every battery charger found in service stations, garages and auto supply stores used to charge customers batteries are attached with a removable cables and, as Franswa pointed out, if you use them incorrectly, or if something has been wired incorrectly, there is some risk involved.


However, when done with a modicum of care, the "Real World" risk is so low that the advantages outweigh those risks. The following rules always apply:


1. Always know which battery post is + and which is - on both batteries.
2. Use only color coded jumper cables with secure tight clamping ends
3. Always connect to the battery being charged first.
4. On the TV, always connect to the + post on the battery first, then connect to a known good ground at least 12" away from the TV's battery.


I have had one battery explode, when I was 16 years old and was clueless about battery safety. I have gotten slightly older and substantially wiser since then and have never had or even seen a repeat of that problem.


And, BTW, charging from the TV poses no intrinsic risk to the battery itself as seemed to be suggested.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:40 AM   #27
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I will definitely give great consideration before charging the batteries off the TV! Thanks! Glad you're still alive.
Like any activity, the risk goes down as the understanding and skill goes up. Like pumping gas or changing a tire.

"When in doubt... don't" is a great slogan but it can prevent accomplishing anything in life.

Read Bob Miller's post #26 again.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:28 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by NedMac View Post
Bob you & Carol are correct. Although they are advertised for use in small spaces, the fine print says "This heater is safe for indoor use in small recreational enclosures, having means for providing combustion air and ventilation, such as enclosed porches, cabins, fishing huts, trailers, tent trailers, tents, truck caps and vans."

So let's take the portable heater off the table. I'm pretty interested in this solar power!
Good plan! ;-) The propane furnace built into your trailer is very usable & safe to use when off the grid.

I have a 92 16' with the original equipment and I camp off the gird fairly often including in cold/wet early spring & early fall here on the wet coast and November/December trips to the south in winter. I have a group 27 battery. I use the propane built in heater when off the grid. Although a power hog I like using it as a its plumbed in to run safer than a gas portable heater & I do not need to worry about anyone accidentally knocking it over while moving around in the dark of the trailer in the middle of the night, searching for a glass of water or what ever. It also one less loose item to have to put away and try and find a place to store when traveling.

I do not run the furnace all night though. Normally just turn it on as needed - i.e. just before bedtime and again in the mornings. I set it at the lowest setting when sleeping and often it does not come on more than a couple of times during the night. In really cold conditions if it is coming on frequently I simple turn it off.

I have replaced the curtains in my trailer and lined them with a thermal liner that have a bit of a plastic film on the outside facing the window and that works pretty well. It keeps the curtains from soaking up moisture. I have also cut out some reflective insulation to put into the roof vents as well as the large back window but to be honest have only brought them along a few times and used.

I have updated all the lights to LED and the only other items I use for power are the water pump for dishes and showers and the charging up of phones and cameras and Laptops. Fridge and hot water tank run on propane. If I am going to stay up reading for a long time at night I simple use a small head lamp to save power.

I like to keep an eye on my battery state and don't let it drop below 50%. If I am only using the furnace first thing in the morning for and last thing at night easliy get by for at least a few days before I feel a need to put the solar panel out for the day for a recharge. If pushed I could probable go longer if it was necessary. I just like to stay well ahead of the game and try to avoid running the battery down close to 50%. To save power I actually do not leave the battery monitoring system plugged in all the time either - only plug in once a day or twice a day to check on the state of it.

I don't have a large solar panel either - used a simple 15w for a number of years - jumped up to a whooping 45w recently though ;-)
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