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Old 01-09-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Dry Camping

First I have to state that I have had my new Holiday Rambler 36 PFT for two days. Thought I had read the book cover to cover and understood enough to NOT screw up too bad. First night we dry camped. had generator on until about nine, turned everything off. It has a residential refrigerator. I was told during my walk around that it should run easy all night on battery power. The next morning the coach batteries wouldn't start the generator. Got it started with the Bat Boost. What did I do wrong???? Thanks Dan
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:08 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your new motor home...sorry I don't know anything about inverters and such...
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:16 PM   #3
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It will depend on the total amp hours of the battery bank. Whether the batteries were fully charged and how good the batteries are.
How long did you run the genny?
If you were also running the furnace that is a very large draw on the batteries.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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I am surprised that the chassis battery's were dead. I would think dry camping that everything inside that is 12 vdc would run off the house battery's. Ign. key wasn't left on by mistake was it?
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWMOONEY View Post
First I have to state that I have had my new Holiday Rambler 36 PFT for two days. Thought I had read the book cover to cover and understood enough to NOT screw up too bad. First night we dry camped. had generator on until about nine, turned everything off. It has a residential refrigerator. I was told during my walk around that it should run easy all night on battery power. The next morning the coach batteries wouldn't start the generator. Got it started with the Bat Boost. What did I do wrong???? Thanks Dan
Since you asked, IMO buying a coach with a residential refer is what you did wrong.
You will get other opinions more to your liking, so don't take my opinion to seriously......(just remember what I said the next...and the next... and the next time your coach batteries won't start your generator)!
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by palehorse89 View Post
I am surprised that the chassis battery's were dead. I would think dry camping that everything inside that is 12 vdc would run off the house battery's. Ign. key wasn't left on by mistake was it?
I believe that the OP meant the house batteries would not start the generator, (since the generator is "usually" started by the HOUSE batteries).
BUT who knows?
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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How many amp hours do you have in your battery bank and how cold was it overnight? The reason I ask is that colder nights will cause your battery bank to suck down quicker (battery capacity decreases as temp decreases), plus if you were running your furnace that would be a big draw too.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:24 PM   #8
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I also learned the hard way while dry camping. I left my heater on and the batteries were dead y the second day. I didn't realize at the time what a draw on power the heater blower is...to live is to learn...I would make sure your batteries are in good shape and fully charged, and then limit the heater usage when dry camping when the generator is not on. Happy camping!
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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Hi DWMOONEY,
Is the coach like new, new or new to you? What year is it? All the previous post are good information. However, one needs to make sure the systems are working and the source power is good. If you are comfortable with a VOM meter then:
1. Make sure your converter and inverter are receiving 120 VAC power when the generator is running.
1a. On the converter connections to the coach batteries, is the reading 13.3 VDC or higher?
2. How many coach batteries do you have?
3. If they must be refilled with water, check the water level. Dealers are notorious for neglecting the coach batteries.
4. Make sure the batteries are fully charged.
4a. There should be no 120 VAC power to the coach.
4b. All appliances should be off.
4c. The inverter should be off.
4d. Let the fully charged batteries sit for a few hours.
4e. Isolate each of the house batteries from each other.
4f. Take a VDC reading for each battery. The reading should be 12.6 VDC or higher.
If the reading is correct, Consider getting a hydrometer and checking each battery cell. They should all read the same.

Lastly, there is a load test you can do. However, that requires purchasing a tool that you aren't going to use that often.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:59 PM   #10
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First thing--ignore the guy with the RV fridge. Most residential fridges only draw a few AC amps [except for those which have a defrost cycle]. But generally speaking, your residential fridge wont kill your bats over night. Lots of stuff to cover here, eg, house vs chassis bats, how many bats do you have, what else was on overnight, were bats fully charged before you turned in, what condition are your bats in, are bat cables clean/tight, etc, etc. Best thing to do is to lock on to an experienced RVer there locally who can assess your specific situation and determine what exactly it was that caused your bats to die.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:19 PM   #11
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If you plan on dry camping a good investment would be an automatic generator start system (AGS).
They start and stop the genny as needed to maintain the battery bank, hands off.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWMOONEY View Post
First I have to state that I have had my new Holiday Rambler 36 PFT for two days. Thought I had read the book cover to cover and understood enough to NOT screw up too bad. First night we dry camped. had generator on until about nine, turned everything off. It has a residential refrigerator. I was told during my walk around that it should run easy all night on battery power. The next morning the coach batteries wouldn't start the generator. Got it started with the Bat Boost. What did I do wrong???? Thanks Dan
The only thing you did wrong was believe the saleman!!!
Sounds like you need more battery capacity.
How many coach batteries and what type do you have? 12 volt or 6 volt?
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:44 PM   #13
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The only thing you did wrong was believe the saleman!!!
Sounds like you need more battery capacity.
How many coach batteries and what type do you have? 12 volt or 6 volt?
What makes you think the salesman lied?
The number of batteries and the manufacturer is not relevent, nor is whether they are 6 or 12 volt.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:39 AM   #14
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What makes you think the salesman lied?
As they say "his lips were moving"!.....(that's how you can can be sure).

Quote:
a good investment would be an automatic generator start system (AGS).
You said you had the "had generator on until about nine".
That says nothing about how long it was running, (15 min?) (4 hrs?)
If you have a working inverter/charger, and good batteries, the batteries should, (would?), have lasted the night on the charge from a few hours of generator run time.
IMO, before investing in an automatic generator start system (AGS) the batteries and the inverter/charger need to be checked and made right.

Quote:
ignore the guy with the RV fridge.
A residential refrigerator MAY "only draw a few AC amps" but that is a whole lot MORE than a LP RV fridge will draw.
If you really "turned everything off" except the refrigerator........ THE REFRIGERATOR SAPPED THE CHARGE OUT OF YOUR BATTERIES!....ignore that!
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