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Old 01-01-2015, 10:22 PM   #15
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I would run the generator all night since you've done it before with no issues in the heat, that would be harder on the generator than running it in the cold. I would doub't that anyone boondocking at a Walmart in 19* is really going to care about it nor will anyone from Walmart care. If you want to shut down the generator late at night, I would get the MH nice and warm inside and then set the thermostat to about 45* and it should come on minimally during the night and still be warn enough to sleep. We have done that in the Sierras several times when it has gotten down to the mid twenties, and just fire it up again early in the morning to heat everything back up, and the batteries were fine.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:28 PM   #16
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I think you will be ok I have a fw and 2 6v gc batterys have dry camped several cold nights and we run 2 breathing machines plus the heator
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:01 PM   #17
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To get the inside of the RV toasty warm before going to be, I suggest buying and using a Mr Heater Portable Buddy Heater Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater-432333 - Gander Mountain
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:46 PM   #18
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Stay warm and safe. Please update us on what you decide to do for future reference.

Thanks
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:47 PM   #19
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I've done what you're talking about alot. I just fire up the genny and let it run.

I even flip on the block heater just to add some extra load, the genny needs to exercise anyway.

Before we had hydronic heat I would even set out a cube heater to easy propane use.
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:04 AM   #20
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Plug your charger into one of these!

900 Peak/700 Running Watts, 2 HP (63cc) 2 Cycle Gas Generator EPA/CARB
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:22 AM   #21
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FWIW Walmart is often the only choice in snow country. Most campgrounds close before the water lines start to freeze. There are exceptions but they are not always handy.

I don't know if I would run the generator while sleeping but I would run it until bed time and hit it first thing in the AM. I found out playing around at home that there is a lot one can do simply to make a big dent in heat loss. Vent pillows and window insulation in the form of either cardboard or Reflectix slipped under the blinds makes a big difference. So does a heavy curtain behind the cab area because it shuts off all that glass.
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Old 01-02-2015, 05:17 AM   #22
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Thanks, I'll Google for open campgrounds but I don't think there are any open here in snow country.

It's really more about not liking motel rooms then saving a dollar and I can't let the contents of the motorhome freeze anyway. If it mean running the generator all night then so be it. My 2 6v actually have a little more capacity than 2 12v but it cold and there is only two so that's defiantly a week point.

Robby
If you need cold weather camping, as a fellow midwesterner, I can assure you they are out there. We've stayed in a few, including the most recent - right now as I'm typing this. Our coldest night so far was one of those "Currently 10 degrees F. Feels like -1"... As an Iowan, I'm sure you can relate. I've lived in IA, went to HS there. We aren't at a really cool camp ground at the very moment, since we're only here for a couple nights while we wait on repairs. Most state parks that I've called are year round though (Mahoney in Lincoln, NE and Manawa in Co. Bluffs, IA, for example). Also, most Good Sam or Passport America locales have been open too when I was still calling around. Reservations are pretty much a snap everywhere too that we've been, but so far none have had water hook ups now that temps are so low. We're actually camping at the Horseshoe Casino in Co. Bluffs. This is/has been, our last night, and I have to admit - my only complaints are the brutal, stinging burns I got this morning from using Nair. Turns out I'm violently allergic to it. Long story short - for $15/night, we've kept warm enough, dry enough and mostly just too well fed. Too many fantastic places to go buy food or have dinner out when you're only about 6 minutes from Omaha. The only other downfall for me is that I've had to tether my laptop to my android for wifi, because they don't have wifi for casino camping because they'd rather you came inside. (Apparently they don't know about tethering yet. I've gone inside twice. To see the big remodel that began just before our move west in '05 and to eat.
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:15 AM   #23
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A fully charged battery is 12.7 volts. 50% discharged is 12.2 volts. Many experts advise to never allow your batteries to go below 50% charge as that significantly shortens the life of the batteries. Battery Basics: A Layman's Guide to Batte | BatteryStuff Articles
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:40 PM   #24
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Thanks, I'll Google for open campgrounds but I don't think there are any open here in snow country.

It's really more about not liking motel rooms then saving a dollar and I can't let the contents of the motorhome freeze anyway. If it mean running the generator all night then so be it. My 2 6v actually have a little more capacity than 2 12v but it cold and there is only two so that's defiantly a week point.

Robby
If you are going to florida you should be getting to warmer areas pretty soon. You might post a general list of your route and people could give you some tips on where to stop. If you have to stay in a parking lot then by all means you need to run your generator almost as soon as you park. I am sure others will say you can start it later but if you run down your coach batteries on most coaches you cannot start your generator at that point. Unless you start your engine and let it charge your coach batteries and then start your generator. Bottom line is easier to run the generator. There is a post of someone on east coast that tried to run off his coach batteries all night and they almost froze if I can find it I will post the link

Interesting that your two 6 volt batteries have more capacity than 2 12 volt batteries what sized are they. You cannot add the amp hours on 2 6 volt batteries because they are being used in series. (2) 220 amp hour 6 volt batteries just equals 220amp hours. (2) 220 amp hour 12 volt batteries costs a lot but equal 440 amp hours because they are in parallel.
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:48 PM   #25
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Here is the post I was thinking of
Brrrrr we're freezing!! Help!

I just reread the first post of the thread. They were in a lot colder weather than you were talking about but it is a good thread about what can happen and how big a problem batteries running down can turn into. In the thread they started their engine and got heat back. I know my bus will not start in 15 degree weather unless I have the block heater on for at least 30 minutes or so. If you run your coach batteries down and you can not power up your inverter to power up the block heater I would be stuck in that kind of weather until I got a tow truck to start my engine.
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:38 PM   #26
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Our coach does have an onboard diesel generator, I have let it run all night in the summer when it's been to hot to sleep so I guess letting it run most or all the night is an option too.

Robby
I think you should be ok. Try setting the stat up to 76 degrees, running the genny till about 11PM, then turn down to 65 letting the batteries run the heater and then start the generator up again around 5 am. I had to do that once. we now have 4 six volt batteries and we can run all night with no problems.

Alternatively, you could drive to Nashville the first night and it won't be so cold. that is less than 700 miles and if both drive it is less than 10 hours of driving.
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:44 PM   #27
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Just run the generator, that's what it's for.

Cheers!
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Old 01-02-2015, 05:06 PM   #28
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Also remember that if you are pulling a toad, you have an extra battery-charging generator with the use of jumper cables if needed. Just run the jumpers from the toad to whichever batteries on the MH need the charge. Leave the toad running with no electrical (heater, defogger, etc) on for an hour or so. In a pinch, just 20 minutes will add some charge to the MH batteries, and the process of charging warms them up internally so they can "release" more power.


When you park, leave room to easily maneuver the toad next to your MH battery tray if needed.
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