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Old 11-26-2022, 12:48 PM   #1
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Name: Jane
Trailer: Scamp
Arizona
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Electrical concern

Greetings!
I love my 2008, 16' little charmer, but it has become a 12-volt battery life thief!
Bought used. It is not on the road too much but serves as a wonderful guest accommodation at times. It gets hooked to shore power then.
We check often to try to find what is possible sucking the life out of our battery (when not plugged into shore power) to no avail.
Thought about going 100% solar but we were advised to have a back-up 12V battery.
I suppose we need to take it in to get the electrics checked.
We live near Tucson, AZ and could use a reliable recommendation.
Please and thanks all!!
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Old 11-26-2022, 02:32 PM   #2
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: '06 Scamp 16
Rochester, New York
Posts: 260
Simplest Solution: Keep the trailer plugged in. Batteries last longer
when they're kept charged.

Next Simplest: Disconnect the negative battery terminal when not in
use.

Find the Leak: Get a small 12volt automotive bulb, not LED.
Hold the contact end of the bulb against the negative
battery terminal and touch the side of the metal bulb
base with the disconnected wire. It won't hurt you. If
something is using power, the bulb will light. Pull the
12volt fuses one at a time. Make the bulb check after
each one. When the bulb doesn't light, you've found the
circuit with the leak. Find what's on that circuit and with
the fuse back in, do the bulb check with each item.
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Old 11-26-2022, 09:57 PM   #3
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there's no such thing as 100% solar... Solar is simply a method of charging your battery.
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Old 11-27-2022, 07:15 AM   #4
Raz
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CO, propane, and smoke detectors are often wired directly to the battery. These present a parasitic load that will drain a battery over several weeks. Disconnecting the battery either by removing the negative lead or adding a switch at the terminal will solve the problem. Any auto parts store should carry the switch.
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Old 11-27-2022, 08:20 AM   #5
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Name: John
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The battery may simply be old and worn out. It sounds like you recently bought this camper and may not know the maintenance history or age of the battery. An old or poorly maintained battery looses capacity dramatically. It can still appear to fully charge but will have little to no capacity. I would bring it into an auto parts store and have them test it. Most will do this free of charge. If you do get a new battery all the above suggestions will help it last longer.
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Old 11-27-2022, 04:19 PM   #6
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Trailer: Casita
Massachusetts
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Auto part chain stores more frequently are testing automobile batteries, batteries designed for ultra high amperage output over a few seconds of starter motor operation. Don't be surprised if a brand new freshly charged deep-cycle 'fails' to be useful as a starter motor battery. Their testers are low resistance - high amperage, exactly the opposite a deep-cycle camper battery needs to be tested for suitability as a low current - long duration electrical supply.
Take the camper battery to a marine boating service location and have it tested as if it were a trolling motor battery.
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Old 11-28-2022, 08:54 AM   #7
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Name: Stu
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Coos Bay, Oregon
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Check to make sure that the on-board battery charger is working. You may be plugged into shore power and not charging your battery.
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Old 11-28-2022, 10:20 AM   #8
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All good suggestions. Could be a lot of things causing poor battery performance. I’m in the White Mountains, so I don’t have a good recommendation in the Tucson area. I’d look for an independent shop, not a dealer. Check online reviews and ask other RV owners in your area.

Things they should check include battery condition, charger, parasitic draws (2008 didn’t come with any safety detectors, but may have been added by PO and may be battery-only or hard-wired), and general condition of wiring and connections. If you keep it plugged in for long periods it’s important to have a multi-stage smart charger. I don’t think the OEM charger on a 2008 is.

Possible upgrades to consider: lithium battery, modern multi-stage smart charger with lithium setting, solar panel and controller, LED lighting (inside and outside), clean up sloppy connections. You shouldn’t need a lot of battery and solar capacity since you’re plugged it most of the time. A 2008 in stock configuration doesn’t have a lot of 12V equipment. Lithium makes sense if you plan off-grid camping away from home.

On top of all that, read up on RV 12V systems. I believe there’s an old thread called “The 12V Side of Life” which gives a good overview. The google search box at the top is the easiest way to find it.
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Old 11-29-2022, 08:09 AM   #9
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Here you go...
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 11-29-2022, 11:12 AM   #10
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A simple solution.....install a battery cut off switch.....when trailer is being stored.....turn battery switch off......about once every 4 to 6 weeks......turn the switch on for 5 or 6 hrs. to keep battery charged......then turn it off again......the battery will last for years......I've been doing this for years......we leave our trailer plugged into shore power when stored here on our property......with the battery switch in the off position. My batteries last 5 to 6 years with this method. Good luck.
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Old 11-29-2022, 12:04 PM   #11
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Not all batterry testers are the same

I went to a chain auto supply and had my deep cycle AGM batteries tested a few days ago. The operator went through several menus to set the right parameters. Turned out my 8.7 year old 125 AH battery is fine, but my6.5 year old 55 AH is not. Glad it wasn't the other way around.
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Old 11-29-2022, 02:35 PM   #12
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Virginia
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One thing I'd recommend is to buy a solar trickle charger to keep your batteries charged when inactive. They're generally $50 or so. That'll also make them last longer.

We found a local guy here in Virginia that specializes in auto electrical issues.I'd look for someone like that and see if they'd be game for looking at your rv. If found out our guy could pretty much handle anything on wheels - even my e-bike.
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:10 PM   #13
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Name: Jane
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Thanks for the great and useful info Lynn!
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:15 PM   #14
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Name: Jane
Trailer: Scamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
All good suggestions. Could be a lot of things causing poor battery performance. Iím in the White Mountains, so I donít have a good recommendation in the Tucson area. Iíd look for an independent shop, not a dealer. Check online reviews and ask other RV owners in your area.

Things they should check include battery condition, charger, parasitic draws (2008 didnít come with any safety detectors, but may have been added by PO and may be battery-only or hard-wired), and general condition of wiring and connections. If you keep it plugged in for long periods itís important to have a multi-stage smart charger. I donít think the OEM charger on a 2008 is.

Possible upgrades to consider: lithium battery, modern multi-stage smart charger with lithium setting, solar panel and controller, LED lighting (inside and outside), clean up sloppy connections. You shouldnít need a lot of battery and solar capacity since youíre plugged it most of the time. A 2008 in stock configuration doesnít have a lot of 12V equipment. Lithium makes sense if you plan off-grid camping away from home.

On top of all that, read up on RV 12V systems. I believe thereís an old thread called ďThe 12V Side of LifeĒ which gives a good overview. The google search box at the top is the easiest way to find it.
Thanks for your excellent suggestions!
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:17 PM   #15
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Name: Jane
Trailer: Scamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Thanks so much!
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:19 PM   #16
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Name: Jane
Trailer: Scamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrybob View Post
A simple solution.....install a battery cut off switch.....when trailer is being stored.....turn battery switch off......about once every 4 to 6 weeks......turn the switch on for 5 or 6 hrs. to keep battery charged......then turn it off again......the battery will last for years......I've been doing this for years......we leave our trailer plugged into shore power when stored here on our property......with the battery switch in the off position. My batteries last 5 to 6 years with this method. Good luck.
Thanks for your advice!
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