Well first off I finally bought me a camper but.... it didn't turn out to be a molded fg camper. I looked at many and there just wasn't one that would work for my purposes. I ended up buying a 16' Rockwood Mini-light that was set up perfectly for my traveling engraving studio/hotel room.
So I took the camper out for its first run for two weeks of primitive camping in Mark Twain National Forest for deer season. I was able to use it as both a living facility and an engraving studio in the forest. It works perfectly for what I bought and set it up for. The issue I ran into with the cold weather is battery
use and maintenance.
The first few days it was very mild temps and my battery
lasted about three days before having to recharge with the generator
. The last weekend it got down to 7 degrees F. When the weather turned off cold like that I had to recharge the battery
about every 12 hrs.
I attribute this to two things. First; is that the furnace
cycled on and off more in the MUCH colder temps. The first weekend the furnace
cycled once or twice a night to maintain the 65 degrees I set the thermostat at. The last weekend it was cycling about every hour and a half to two hours. Secondly; I believe the cold temps severely affected the chemical electrolytic action of the battery itself.
I know cold weather is hard on batteries in general. Have any of you found ways to fight this when camping in cold weather?
I have thought of heating the battery somehow but since batteries can offgas hydrogen the heat source needs to be carefully thought out. I don't know if they offgas enough H to be an explosion risk. That would take more research but I don't want to recreate the Hindenburg on a miniature scale. There is also the issue of having the battery housed right behind my propane
tanks. One thing that I did do was put the leftover "hot hands" hand warmers from each days hunt on top of the battery each night and that did seem to help a little. But that is a very expensive way to go if you are not using those hand warmers for hunting to begin with.
I have thought of switching to AGM or Gell Cell batteries. However, after looking into it I find that they are also affected by the cold when it gets down to the real dirty winter temps. Apparently, they can be damaged or destroyed by severe cold. For general use they would hold a charge longer but they have other issues when recharging and the expense and probably won't solve the issue I want to solve.
I am planning to get a solar panel
charger on a stand and a small wind generator
that I can fly on a mast attached to the tongue. I do believe this set up will help and cause me to have to use the gas generator
a lot less in those situations. But it still doesn't solve the issue of power loss due to severe cold.
In short, do any of you have ways of making your batteries last longer in off grid winter use?
Is there a safe way to keep your battery warm?
I welcome any thoughts on this that you all have.