How long will battery last... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-25-2015, 03:11 PM   #1
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How long will battery last...

I realize the answers will be very subjective, but in general: can anyone give their best estimate of how long a fully charged battery will last when its main use is to power the furnace at night? We may use a light here & there, & the pump to the sink. We have the original Suburban furnace in our 1992 Scamp. I'm basically wondering if it will die after a few days or can last a couple weeks. Thank you!
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:48 PM   #2
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My fully charged battery powers the furnace all night.
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:49 PM   #3
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Short answer: a few days, at best.

The typical size 24 battery in our campers is rated at 80 amp hours. As the battery ages, this goes down. The typical furnace takes about 4 amps while running. Add a few amp-hours here and there for lights, water pump and other uses, and your daily electricity usage in the camper can be 20 amp hours or more.

Have a plan on what to do should your battery not be able to run the furnace, and go enjoy your camper!

--Dan Meyer
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
My fully charged battery powers the furnace all night.
Hardy har har
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Old 07-25-2015, 05:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
Short answer: a few days, at best.

The typical size 24 battery in our campers is rated at 80 amp hours. As the battery ages, this goes down. The typical furnace takes about 4 amps while running. Add a few amp-hours here and there for lights, water pump and other uses, and your daily electricity usage in the camper can be 20 amp hours or more.

Have a plan on what to do should your battery not be able to run the furnace, and go enjoy your camper!

--Dan Meyer
Thanks for your insight! Our battery is only a couple years old & rated at 101 amps. Not that that gives us much more use!
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:20 PM   #6
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What we do on really cold nights is to just add another down comforter and turn the furnace OFF. In the morning, I have the thermostat right next to the bed and sneak out a hand to turn the furnace back ON. Or you could use a programmable thermostat to do that as well.


The furnace is a power hog and, unless you have a good battery and a smart charger, one overnight may be about all you get.


As an alternative, bring lots of dogs to pile on the bed with you for that "Three Dog Night" as the Aussies say.... LOL
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:02 PM   #7
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The furnace is the biggest battery hog and the biggest propane hog on most trailers. If you are traveling, then you could set your TV up to charge while going down the road. If you travel a reasonable distance each day then you should have a fully charged battery every night.
We have a group 27 battery and we use power with impunity, including an inverter for watching DVDs.
If you are boondocking and your battery is starting to run low then you could use jumper cables for about half an hour at an idle from your TV to recharge.
We have boondocked for up to 5 days with moderate conservation of water and energy.
I would be sure and have plenty of propane and fully charged battery if you plan more than a couple nights which require heat.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:36 PM   #8
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Thanks guys! Sounds like the general consensus is 1 mayyyybe 2 nights? I'm shocked it's so few so I'm glad I asked you vets. We will not be traveling much & basically boondocking it. Is there any concern with recharging via jumper cables from the TV? I've heard of people doing it, just not sure if it's not great for the batteries?
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:44 PM   #9
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There are propane heaters that can extend your off grid time quite a bit, such as the Olympia Wave heaters that use no electric. And solar is a great option to get a daily charge on the battery when no shore power is available.

Using jumper cables does carry some risk so its not something I would want to do regularly, and I would be sure to do so safely.. paying attention to the explosion risk from off gassing for example.

Stand by, because someone will challenge that statement.. but its a fact there is some risk under the right conditions. In fact the response will probably be that off gassing occurs when charging, so if you are not charging your battery then there is no? risk.. I'm not going to get in a discussion of the safety of using jumper cables all the time. The risk is minimal but not totally absent.. that's my last word.

EDIT: I should add that its not recommended to run the Wave heaters while sleeping.. but using the quilt / 3 dog ideas, and running in the morning when you get up works!
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:12 PM   #10
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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!!
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:22 PM   #11
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Carbon Monoxide poisoning is also more of an issue with a toddler. More than lack of heat.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:26 PM   #12
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The way I have my trailer set up in the summer when the furnace doesn't run it will last without a recharge for about 2 months. With the furnace running in the mornings for about 5 minutes I can go almost a month. If the if the furnace needs to run more I'll have to recharge in about 2 weeks.

Now to describe my set up, All lights are LED except two CCFL lights under the overhead kitchen cabinets (CCLF bulbs are what is used in your lap top computer). The most used LED lights are modified to be 2 light levels, on the low level, which you can read by, the amount of current used is about 30 miliamps each.

The only other thing the battery runs is the furnace fan and full time propane detector.

I recently replaced the battery with a Trojan 100 amp/hour true deep cycle battery group 24.

I carry a small 50 amp/hour battery in the back of my truck, which is for recharging Kendles, computer, etc. along with running my ham radio when I use it. That one I keep charged with a 65 Watt solar panel when it gets a bit low.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:28 PM   #13
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Carbon Monoxide poisoning is also more of an issue with a toddler. More than lack of heat.
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
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:36 PM   #14
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Go for it.
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