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Old 10-01-2020, 03:32 PM   #1
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Name: Peg
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Battery Problematic

Iím just coming back from a multi week camping trip. My last two nights out it was a little chilly. I used the heater quite a bit the first night. I had driven six hours to get there so shouldíve had a fully charged battery, I also hooked up a 30 amp solar charger that was getting some sun so hoped for some charging but battery was almost dead the second night. Should the heater have pulled that much power? I didnít use anything else that pulled from the battery.
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:54 PM   #2
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Things to consider

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Originally Posted by pegski View Post
Iím just coming back from a multi week camping trip. My last two nights out it was a little chilly. I used the heater quite a bit the first night. I had driven six hours to get there so shouldíve had a fully charged battery, I also hooked up a 30 amp solar charger that was getting some sun so hoped for some charging but battery was almost dead the second night. Should the heater have pulled that much power? I didnít use anything else that pulled from the battery.
How old and what size is the battery?
Some tow vehicles do not fully charge the battery, on mine it is an aux 12-volt line not a charging line.
The furnace will use a lot of power to run the fan. Is your refrigerator on gas?
What voltage are you charging to? I charge to 13.5 or above and shed loads when I get down to 12.0.
Some chargers may also hold it at 14 volts for a time to equalize the battery.
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegski View Post
I’m just coming back from a multi week camping trip. My last two nights out it was a little chilly. I used the heater quite a bit the first night. I had driven six hours to get there so should’ve had a fully charged battery, I also hooked up a 30 amp solar charger that was getting some sun so hoped for some charging but battery was almost dead the second night. Should the heater have pulled that much power? I didn’t use anything else that pulled from the battery.
Peg, you should probably put a meter on the battery and check the voltage. A fully charged battery should be over 12 volts. If it is below 12 volts, put it on a battery charger. After charging, let the battery rest for a while and take another meter reading. If the battery is not over 12 volts, it is likely headed south. You didn’t mention the age of the battery but if it is over 4 or 5 years, it wouldn’t be unexpected that it needs to be replaced.
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:34 PM   #4
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50%

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Originally Posted by CPW View Post
Peg, you should probably put a meter on the battery and check the voltage. A fully charged battery should be over 12 volts. If it is below 12 volts, put it on a battery charger. After charging, let the battery rest for a while and take another meter reading. If the battery is not over 12 volts, it is likely headed south. You didn’t mention the age of the battery but if it is over 4 or 5 years, it wouldn’t be unexpected that it needs to be replaced.
What ever the capacity of a battery is, you can only get about 50% of that out with out shortening the life of the battery. This chart can be had as a wall sticker and is a handy reminder. (for deep cycle lead acid)
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voltchart1.gif  
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:22 PM   #5
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two tests to try...
1. Load test at a local auto parts store.
2. Fully charge, let it sit for a few hours, and check the specific gravity of each cell (assuming its not a sealed battery).
Note that both tests might be possible at the store if you dont want to mess with acid.
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
two tests to try...
1. Load test at a local auto parts store.
2. Fully charge, let it sit for a few hours, and check the specific gravity of each cell (assuming its not a sealed battery).
Note that both tests might be possible at the store if you dont want to mess with acid.
You can purchase a hydrometer for the gravity test at a Tractor Supply for less than $10. Me, even for my tow vehicle I purchase batteries that I can test the fluid.
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
You can purchase a hydrometer for the gravity test at a Tractor Supply for less than $10. Me, even for my tow vehicle I purchase batteries that I can test the fluid.
I got tired of of the corrosion from non-sealed lead acid batteries. Now both my tow vehicle and camper batteries are sealed (AGM for the camper). My hydrometer is.. heck, I dont even know where it is. Don't need it.. the fluid stays in the battery (except under VERY extreme overcharging).
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
..
2. Fully charge, let it sit for a few hours, and check the specific gravity of each cell .....
BTW, the above is a link to explain in case you don't know what that means and you don't want to "google" it.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:06 AM   #9
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Gordon, You are correct about the corossion. I buy the open top kind because my truck boiles out the water. Bought the truck new in 2007 and did it from the start and even the dealer could not find out why. Have over 90K on it today and it still does. About once a year I add distilled water. 2 new alternators did not solve the promlem. Im thinking it is the computer so will just keep adding water. I have the red and green felt antu corosion pads on it.
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Old 10-02-2020, 03:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
.. I buy the open top kind because my truck boiles out the water. ...
Good point. But in a camper I would replace any charger or converter that over charges the battery. At least the trailer does not have a dumb computer
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