Dead Battery after 2.5 hours towing Casita with fridge on DC - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-09-2019, 03:45 PM   #21
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Name: Jann
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Originally Posted by elswenso89 View Post
Thanks all.
This was the first time it was hotter than 60, so it would make sense to me then.

I just worry about an accident with the propane on. Might be a necessary risk, but had planned to avoid running with the tanks open.
We accidently hit the wrong button on our fridge and after about 3-4 hours we stopped for lunch. Had a dead battery in trailer. We have a very heavy duty vehicle but the fridges just draw to much to run it on 12V. We've used our fridges on propane for over 35 years and no problems. Have seen wrecks with trailers that rolled and never a propane leak. Had friends that rolled their Casita then got their next one hit from the rear totaling it. No propane leak. Friends large motor home caught fire and the propane did not explode it just vented out until the pressure went down then it stopped venting. So don't worry about running on propane. They make propane vehicles with large tanks so why worry about the propane on your trailer. The tanks just don't explode like you are worried about.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:07 PM   #22
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Dead Battery

With the trailer connected to your tow vehicle and the engine running:

Using a digital voltmeter measure the vehicle battery voltage. The voltmeter should read between 13.2 to 14.0 volts.

Then go to the trailer and measure battery voltage. The voltmeter reading should be similar to that of the tow vehicle.

Now turn on the frig and measure battery voltage at the trailer battery again. If the voltmeter reading is less than 12.6 you have a bad fuse, a bad connection, or the tow vehicle wiring is too small a guage.
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Old 05-10-2019, 05:59 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
We accidently hit the wrong button on our fridge and after about 3-4 hours we stopped for lunch. Had a dead battery in trailer. We have a very heavy duty vehicle but the fridges just draw to much to run it on 12V. We've used our fridges on propane for over 35 years and no problems. Have seen wrecks with trailers that rolled and never a propane leak. Had friends that rolled their Casita then got their next one hit from the rear totaling it. No propane leak. Friends large motor home caught fire and the propane did not explode it just vented out until the pressure went down then it stopped venting. So don't worry about running on propane. They make propane vehicles with large tanks so why worry about the propane on your trailer. The tanks just don't explode like you are worried about.
I don't really worry much about the propane safety. Only real concern would be while refilling the tow vehicle. With that said I run my fridge the day before we go anywhere. Load it up with already cold food then switch to dc while driving. My only concern with propane while driving is the pilot blew out on my Bigfoot once so I just use DC. If I was boondocking and the house battery was low I wouldn't put the fridge on DC just so the trucks has a chance of recharging the house battery while driving. With the fridge on DC I don't think it would ever get the battery back up to full charge.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:19 AM   #24
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Something not mentioned about propane safety

Since about 1992 as I remember when propane tanks changed valves to ones with the triangular knobs there has been a "excess flow" valve in the hose, the ones with the green knob, that connects to the tank that shuts off the gas instantly in the event of a unexpected leak and they work

That's why your home gas grills tell you to turn on the propane slowly, turn it on fast and it can or will activate as designed.

Byron K can have his "C" rations, I prefer cold soda and fresh food.

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Old 05-10-2019, 11:55 AM   #25
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Stone in 7-way receptacle

I got a tiny stone in one of the receptacles of my seven-way that kept my RV brakes from working. I was driving on unpaved roads and bottomed out in a wash (my plug hangs below the bumper), which is probably how I scooped up the stone. Might check for foreign objects in the appropriate receptacle.
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Old 05-10-2019, 05:21 PM   #26
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I got a tiny stone in one of the receptacles of my seven-way that kept my RV brakes from working. I was driving on unpaved roads and bottomed out in a wash (my plug hangs below the bumper), which is probably how I scooped up the stone. Might check for foreign objects in the appropriate receptacle.

This is a good idea. My plug does have some damage. I have a replacement that I will swap in (terminating 7 different 10 gauge wires isn't my idea of a fun saturday morning).

My voltmeter should be here today.
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:51 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
The trick is making sure there's quite a bit of stuff in fridge and make sure the stuff is cold.
We tend to carry a lot of produce and fresh perishables, so we often rely on the refrigerator. We also generally start trips with some pre-frozen home-cooked dishes.

I have been adding a few packages of blue ice to our freezer. Although we now tend to tow with the fridge on propane, I figure the blue ice helps to stabilize temperatures.

I have also used the blue ice for shorter tows and towing under milder weather conditions. It's also useful in a cooler for day trips away from the trailer.

One of our objectives is to go discover and rediscover some alternative meals that won't require so much refrigeration, so we can enjoy more flexibility. That will come in time.
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:53 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by elswenso89 View Post
My voltmeter should be here today.
Throw on all the load you can and see if you can bring that voltage down to its knees!
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:08 PM   #29
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If you worry about running the fridge on propane maybe a device like the GasStop shut off valve would help alleviate some of your fears. It's meant to shut off the gas in case of a major leak. Just a thought.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:16 PM   #30
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Dead battery

Plug connectors wear out. The pinch contacts weaken from use and temperature swings to the point they develop high resistance to current, and also can trip breakers and blow fuses. You might check the "grippiness" of the terminal connectors. In houses, the wall recepticle is worn out whe plugs are easily disconnected, and if they fall out of the receptacle it becomes a serious fire issue
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:31 PM   #31
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If you worry about running the fridge on propane maybe a device like the GasStop shut off valve would help alleviate some of your fears. It's meant to shut off the gas in case of a major leak. Just a thought.

I believe all recent propane cylinders have a built in valve to shut off flow in the event of a major leak. That's why you need to open your propane tank slowly in order to prevent triggering that valve.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:53 PM   #32
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I believe all recent propane cylinders have a built in valve to shut off flow in the event of a major leak. That's why you need to open your propane tank slowly in order to prevent triggering that valve.

If you have EFV (Excess Flow Valve) connecter to the rv it should cut off 90 to 95% but does not completely shut off gas flow.


I'm not endorsing this product btw, because I don't own one, but if I was apprehensive about driving with propane on I'd want to know I had a valve that would shut off completely in case of a hose leak.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:38 PM   #33
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If you worry about running the fridge on propane maybe a device like the GasStop shut off valve would help alleviate some of your fears. It's meant to shut off the gas in case of a major leak. Just a thought.
They are called excess flow device" and they are already in all of the "pig tails" that have a green knob with Acme threads. Go to this site and scroll down to "Pig tail Problems" and verify what I'm saying.

LP Snafus You Can Fix - RV Life
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:04 PM   #34
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We have rigged our TV and teardrop with a seven-blade connector, and included underway charging. With the length of the run from TV to trailer battery, we used the voltage drop inherent in the 10 ga. wiring as a current limiting device - at full current there's a 3V drop, which in turn limits the current to well below the peak. The practical upshot is that we can run a midsize Waeco-Dometic compressor cooler all the time, lighting as needed, and exhaust fans at night, all off a 55Ah battery, all over the US. Solar or shore power when we are camped.

We will be redesigning this for our upcoming FG fiver - mostly relying on a huge solar install, but also a 200A alternator as emergency power.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:00 PM   #35
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I've always wondered how much current the TV alternator will actually send to the trailer battery once the TV battery is fully charged? It would seem that to prevent overcharging the TV battery, the alternator circuitry would cut back on charging voltage to protect the TV battery. If that happens, then the trailer battery would not be getting much charging at all, and with the high demand of the fridge, would simply discharge itself.
I have two different type batteries in my TV (12 volt AGM) and trailer (12 volt golf cart battery) and everything I have read seems to indicate that when you charge two batteries in parallel (which is basically what you're doing while towing) they should be very similar in type, age, and amperage, otherwise the weaker battery never gets fully charged.
Fortunately I don't have the fridge problem as our particular Scamp only has the AC or propane option.
Thoughts?
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:18 AM   #36
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The only thought I have (before coffee) is that AGM and wet cells have different charge voltage requirements. Don't remember which needs more, at the moment.
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:31 AM   #37
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You are talking about "current" measured as amperage. That is similar to flow in a water pipe.
The level of charge in the batteries is measured as voltage, like the pressure in a water pipe. Water pressure is highest when there is zero flow.
Likewise, when batteries reach full charge (13 to 14 volts) the voltage regulator at the alternator reduces the current output to a mere trickle, just enough to operate any devices that are "on"
With two batteries connected in parallel they will charge up until both reach a full charge. It is when batteries are in series that they can get unbalanced.
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:56 PM   #38
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How much current does your 'fridge pull on 12 volts? I don't have a 12 volt option on my 'fridge, but it uses 1.3 amps at 120 volts, or 150 watts. 150 watts at 13.8 volts is about 11 amps. Unless the charge line is adequately sized and both the charge line and ground connection in the trailer electrical connection to the tow vehicle are in perfect condition, you will not be able to move 11 amps from your tow into the trailer.

Also, how old is your battery? If it is more than 2-3 years old chances are it has less than half of its rated capacity. The group 24 supplied with most of our trailers at the factory is 80 amp-hours when new. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that your battery is simply aged and has an effective capacity of only 30 or 40 amp hours. When you are using 11 amps to run the 'fridge, 40 amp hours won't last very long. 4 hours would be pushing the limits.

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Old 05-21-2019, 08:36 PM   #39
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I have a 2-way frig, propane & 120v, but recently arranged to run it on 120v via inverter power while towing. The frig draws about 170 watts and the most power available through the 7 pin plug is about 120 watts (10 amps). So then I ran another 10 gauge wire from the TV battery to trailer and that solved the shortage, now all power for frig comes from TV while engine is running.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:21 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Brian1724 View Post
If you worry about running the fridge on propane maybe a device like the GasStop shut off valve would help alleviate some of your fears. It's meant to shut off the gas in case of a major leak. Just a thought.
This is built into every propane tank already.
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