Battery question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-06-2020, 06:08 PM   #1
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Name: Linda
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Battery question

We are new owners of a Scamp. We drove home from Backus and parked the trailer and have not done something correctly because our battery appears to be dead. We drove 6.5 hours on our last leg to home. What might we have needed to do to keep the battery from draining? We are also interested in recommendations for a battery monitor or ?. Thank you. Linda
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:46 PM   #2
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Did you have the fridge running on 12 volts?
Does you veh charge the battery when towing (via a charge line)?

Battery monitor suggestion...https://www.victronenergy.com/battery-monitors
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Old 09-06-2020, 07:17 PM   #3
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Linda,

The simplest quickest and cheapest way to begin monitoring your battery is with a cigarette lighter plug in volt meter. And this one has USB ports to charge your phone.

These tell you all you really need to know and are fine until you want to upgrade. Simply plug it in to a lighter socket. They come in many styles, so you can pick one you like.

You will also need a volt ohm meter for trouble shooting, or reading voltage. Here is an example of each:

https://www.amazon.com/Jebsens-Charg...9440876&sr=8-6


https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Mult...9441496&sr=8-8
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Old 09-06-2020, 07:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
..
The simplest quickest and cheapest way to begin monitoring your battery is with a cigarette lighter plug in volt meter...
You left off "often inaccurate."

If your battery is under load (anything is turned on) then the reading will be off.
If your battery is charging, then the reading will be off.
If your battery has had any charging or load recently, then the reading will be off.
If the meter is not very accurate (and most cigarette plug volt meters are not), then the reading will be off.
If the reading is not taken at the battery (but instead at an outlet some distance from the battery), then the reading will be off.

But an inexpensive cigarette plug volt meter is in fact, simple, quick and cheap (assuming you have an outlet to plug it into).
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:09 PM   #5
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Gordon,

Of course the meter is not accurate while the batteries are under load. But it will give you all the info needed if you know how to read it. For someone that just bought a trailer, has no idea how the system works, or if the battery is charged or not, the plug in meter is a wonderful and simple answer. Later, an upgrade makes sense, but not while trying to figure out if the battery is dead or not.

And BTW, once you really get used to these simple meters, they will tell you everything you need to know, with the exception of doing it under load. And you can even get a rough idea of that.

I can tell if I'm charging or not, if I'm in float or bulk, what percentage of charge I'm at, if the solar is charging, and at a glance tell if the charger is connected and keeping the batteries up. All meters should be checked for accuracy and once you know if this one is right or not, you can easily compensate by adding a 10th if needed. OR, one can spend a couple hundred dollars and then go to the trouble of installing a shunt and the meter, just to find out the same thing, but with a couple week delay while the battery is dead.

Sophisticated meters are very good. They are very accurate and informative. But sometimes simple makes sense. The simple meter will get someone going until they want something better. It will tell them, at a glance if the battery is charged.

I plug mine into my various vehicles too, to see what their state of charge is and what their running voltage is. Can't so that with a Victron panel meter.
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:11 PM   #6
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Too much information can increase anxiety. I'm happy with my cheap voltmeter.
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Voltmeter.jpg   Voltmeter 2.jpg  

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Old 09-07-2020, 07:02 AM   #7
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battery question

Linda, to answer your first question, to keep the battery from draining in your new Scamp, there are two ways:

- Converter / Battery Charger: Plug the trailer into shore power which turns on the converter with built in battery charger.

- Charging Wire: Wire your tow vehicle to charge the battery while towing. This requires running a fused 10 gauge wire from the car battery to pin #4 on the 7 pin connector on your tow hitch.

Also, even with a Charging Wire run from your tow vehicle, this may not provide enough power to run the refrigerator in the trailer. This requires experimenting. Thus the refrigerator may still run down the battery.
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Old 09-07-2020, 08:16 AM   #8
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Linda when not in use I pull the main fuse on my trailer no chance of draining the battery.
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Old 09-07-2020, 08:33 AM   #9
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Battery Question

Linda
If you choose not to use a simple volt meter, this link may help you make a choice



For your Scamp, if you choose a monitor with a shunt, the neg battery wire goes to one side of the shunt the other side of the shunt connects directly to the neg post of the battery. To mount and connect the monitor inside your trailer use round telephone wire, spray it with wd-40 it will slide right thru the existing pigtail grommet.
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Old 09-07-2020, 08:57 AM   #10
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Our Scamp charges when we are towing it. We have the 7 pin connector. I saw my husband turn the refrigerator off when we parked it. Unfortunately we are having to park it in a place without shore power. We are working hard to change that��. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us.
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
- Charging Wire: Wire your tow vehicle to charge the battery while towing. This requires running a fused 10 gauge wire from the car battery to pin #4 on the 7 pin connector on your tow hitch.

Also, even with a Charging Wire run from your tow vehicle, this may not provide enough power to run the refrigerator in the trailer. This requires experimenting. Thus the refrigerator may still run down the battery.
When we purchased our used 2003 Odyssey in 2004 I had to install the hitch and wiring. I installed an 8 gauge wire to the hitch with an Anderson (?) connector on the Odyssey and a 10 gauge wire (or was it an 8?) to the controller, replacing that small wire from the 7 pin connector (if I remember correctly). The wire was fused on the Odyssey. We used that system for six years with our Scamp and another five years with our Casita, with no problems at all over those years. We could fully charge a depleted battery in about 120 miles, or less. We could run the Scamp's fridge and charge the battery if needed, however we usually ran the fridge on gas going down the road though.

What I'm saying is why go half-way with only a larger wire to the 7 pin plug just to finish with a much too small wire on the camper.

We're retired now and go for months at a time. So now we have a 170 watt panel on the roof of our Escape and a 100 watt portable for those very rare times the roof panel doesn't harvest enough sun.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:55 AM   #12
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Was the battery dead the next day, or the next month? Obviously it makes a huge difference. Little things like the LED light on a smoke alarm or CO alarm will slowly drain the battery over a few weeks.

If it was the next day, my guess is the fridge. This is a whole other discussion but most of us never use the 12v setting on the fridge. As people have already gone into, just being wired for battery charging while towing doesn't mean it's enough to keep up with the very high draw of the fridge on 12v. Unless the wire used is large enough gauge, it's only "trickle charging" the battery while you drive; not nearly enough to make up for what the fridge draws.

I use the same monitor as Raspy and Glenn (Raspy's recommendation is why I bought it) and it works great for me. Yes, you have to understand that to get the actual battery state, the battery needs to be at rest; neither charging nor powering anything. Exactly the same as when I used my volt meter at the actual battery to test charge. The cigarette plug monitor is just a much faster, easier way to get that info.

Just like Raspy mentions, I use it to see how well my solar panels are charging, and if I'm concerned about battery use, in cases where I've been charging a laptop or something that uses a lot of power, I'll check the battery state first thing in the morning before turning anything on, and before the sun comes up.

Works great.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:10 AM   #13
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Name: Linda
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Battery question

Thank you all. We forgot to pull the main fuse. I am hoping that a local tire and battery store might be able to get it charged up for us, as they did for my sister. So much to learn!
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Old 09-19-2020, 11:09 AM   #14
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Ask a question about a battery and you will get dozens of answers.
Most 12 volt batteries are liquid acid batteries....then comes AGM batteries (Absorbed Glass Matt) And then Lithium......confused yet ?

Take the time to read the following website..... the 12 volt side of life. ....knowledge is power !

RVs consume power in many ways....the more you read the more you will know.

Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:15 PM   #15
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We just picked up our 2020 Scamp on 8/31, and it came with a volt meter built into the dinette bench, just around the corner from the converter on that diagonal wall angling towards the kitchen cabinet. Itís the one pictured on the Scamp parts store online. Only mention it in case folks who have a Scamp on order are reading through the forums like I did (incredible resource, thanks to everyone here), and are making lists of accessories to buy. We knew to expect some things might not look exactly like they did in the catalog or website photos, and this was one of those things that was a pleasant surprise.

During our walk around, it was mentioned we should pull the fuse for it (along with the fuse for the CO alarm) when not using the camper, as it will, ironically, drain the battery. We also discovered weíll have to pull the fuse before bed each night, as the display really lights up the trailer! Might be a nice nightlight for some, but we like it dark, so Brad is going to install a switch to make it easy to toggle it on and off.
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:21 AM   #16
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Master battery cutoff switch will solve the problem of draining the battery when the camper is stored, and add a margin of safety since the entire low voltage system will be disconnected when the switch is off. Pulling the main battery fuse accomplishes the same thing but will wear out the fuse holder contacts eventually, and the switch is easier to use. BTW.. I would not order the volt meter add on.. its mostly bling bling. Instead get a standard cigarette lighter style outlet (or 2 or 3), and use a plug in meter when you want to see the reading. Or step up to a real battery monitor.

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Old 09-22-2020, 06:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Master battery cutoff switch will solve the problem of draining the battery when the camper is stored, and add a margin of safety since the entire low voltage system will be disconnected when the switch is off. Pulling the main battery fuse accomplishes the same thing but will wear out the fuse holder contacts eventually, and the switch is easier to use. BTW.. I would not order the volt meter add on.. its mostly bling bling. Instead get a standard cigarette lighter style outlet (or 2 or 3), and use a plug in meter when you want to see the reading. Or step up to a real battery monitor.

Great advice!
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:22 AM   #18
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While a volt meter (such as the plug in described in the previous post) is useful for obtaining a rough idea of the battery condition, a true battery monitor that measures current in & out of the battery is going to be more accurate.

The TriMetric meter or the Victron 712 uses a shunt to measure the current and can determine the amp hours used or gained by the trailer. If you don't want to make a hole in the trailer to install the meter, Victron makes the Smart Shunt, a shunt without a meter. All communication is through a Bluetooth connection between the shunt & your phone.
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Old 09-22-2020, 12:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
While a volt meter (such as the plug in described in the previous post) is useful for obtaining a rough idea of the battery condition....
That is IF you also consider voltage drop, surface charge, and a few other terms. If those terms are foreign to anyone then you should do some homework to best understand the voltage - battery state of charge relationship. or get the battery monitor which takes some effort and minor expense to install, but is as easy to read as your tow vehicle's gas gauge.
..
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