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Old 07-26-2015, 09:55 AM   #1
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Auxiliary Batteries vs. Main Batteries - which is which? Batteries dying.......😞

Hello all,
We are confused. Let me see if I can explain correctly. We have a 2015 Southwind. Our batteries do not make it through the night. We have checked and have made sure everything is turned off at night except the refrigerator, which is a Samsung residential, so we cannot turn it off. The Magnum shows we are drawing 5 to 7 A at night. We have two battery systems, an auxiliary system and a main system. We have determined that the refrigerator runs off the auxiliary system, which is the system that runs off the inverter. Before morning, we get a low battery alarm which shuts off the inverter, which in turn shuts off the refrigerator. The problem is that the auxiliary side shuts down first while the main is still at 12.5 V. So we get a low battery alarm which shuts off the inverter and everything that runs off of it. We understand that the low battery alarm is triggered by the battery with the lowest charge.

We have a four battery system under the stairs that are all linked together. Could we have a bad battery in the four battery group? Which batteries are which? How can we tell which batteries are the auxiliary batteries and which batteries are the main batteries?

We should be able to make it through the night. We run the generator for a couple hours before we go to bed and make sure both battery systems are charged to 12.5.

Please help. We do a lot of dry camping and this is just not working.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:05 AM   #2
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Hello Beth, are you running your icemaker? This is a tremendous drain on your battery's. We also have a Samsung fridge but when boondocking we must kill the icemaker.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:09 AM   #3
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Yes, we are running the ice maker. We will turn it off. We didn't think of that.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napabeth View Post
We have a four battery system under the stairs that are all linked together. Could we have a bad battery in the four battery group? Which batteries are which? How can we tell which batteries are the auxiliary batteries and which batteries are the main batteries?
We should be able to make it through the night. We run the generator for a couple hours before we go to bed and make sure both battery systems are charged to 12.5.
.

If all the batteries are linked , chances are they are your , coach ( house) batteries. Are they all 6V batteries ? Three caps per battery?
Could you post a picture?
Chances are you have found the coach batteries, and haven't found the chassis, ( engine start , main ) batteries yet.
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:05 PM   #5
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So here are our batteries under the step.
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:07 PM   #6
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Here is our control center
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:09 PM   #7
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Better picture. So, what batteries are these?
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:39 AM   #8
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The 4 linked together are the house (Auxiliary) batteries. Your chassis (engine starting) battery(s) is the "Main".

The icemaker uses a lot of power when ejecting cubes from the tray to the basket underneath. It has an electric heater used during the eject cycle, but requires no additional power otherwise.

Yes, you could have a bad battery. A steady 5-7 amp draw shold not deplete theose batteries over night.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:44 PM   #9
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Thank you Gary. I guess our next step will be checking each battery individually. And from now on we'll turn off the ice maker when boondocking.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:46 PM   #10
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Auxiliary Batteries vs. Main Batteries - which is which? Batteries dying........

yes, 6V batteries
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:18 AM   #11
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What I would do is to charge the batteries fully then disconnect them. Check the voltage of each battery individually. Each battery should have 6.2 volts or higher. If one tests around 4 volts you have a bad cell which can draw down the good batteries. I would suspect you have a defective battery which is probably covered under the warranty. Not common these days but it does happen.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:43 AM   #12
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Beside running the generator a couple of hours during the night, do you run it any other time or have solar charging?


You may have bad batteries due to dealer abuse but could also need to charge them more then you are.


The Magnum says 7 amps at night. Is that with the fridge running? My small fridge uses 9 or 10 amps DC while running about 1/2 the time. If you draw 7 amps constant plus 10 amps, 1/2 the time, that will add up to a lot of battery capacity ( 240 AH ) over a 20 hour period. That's about all you have to use.


Many boondockers run the generator 2 to 3 hours in the morning and then again the same in the evening.


If you use 240 AH of battery and charge at 50 amps, that is over 6 hours of generator time, covering the losses in charging.

You should do an energy audit. You have all of the info you need to do one.


You also mention charging to 12.5. You need to charge up to at least 14.2 to get to the bulk charge of about 80% capacity.
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Old 07-29-2015, 07:41 PM   #13
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We pulled the batteries and checked voltage. All read between 6.3 and 6.5. So we didn't have a bad one after all.

Yes, we run the generator in the morning for a couple hours, in addition to running it in the evening. And sometimes we run it an hour or so in the middle of the day.

7 amp draw is with the fridge on. I think we need to turn the ice maker off as suggested and see what happens. I know other items cycle using more power at times, so doing an energy audit is in order.

We're not very good so far at boondocking, but we're gonna get this figured out!
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:26 AM   #14
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7 amp draw is with the fridge on.
Is that 5 to 7 amp draw at 12 volts DC or 120 volts AC?

If that is an AC amp reading, that converts to 50 to 70 amps, DC and will run down the batteries fast.

If it's a DC amp reading, it seems low for a residential refrigerator. Not a bad thing, it's just that my apartment size, 7 cubic foot one draws more then that. ( Near 9 amps )

As far as the batteries, a voltage test may not accurately show their condition. They would need to be charged, rested and checked a few times, over a period, to see if they are holding the charge.

A load tester will give you a better picture, if used properly.

Enjoy your camping !
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