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Old 11-06-2015, 12:29 PM   #1
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Residential fridge, battery life....

Posting this for a friend who isn't a member. He has a 2011 Tiffin with a residential fridge. The coach has 6 house batteries, brand new about 5 months ago.

He is visiting friends for a few days, staying at their house. His coach is in storage, no one living in it, however the fridge is on, detectors etc..

Each day when he returns to check the coach, he finds the the batteries are depleted to the point that they will not start the generator. I know there is a formula for this, but I suspect the draw of the frig and inverter is simply more than the batteries can carry for 24 hours.

Is that what most of you experience?

In a like circumstance, I can go for days in my coach, however I have a RV fridge running on gas.

L.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:37 PM   #2
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I'd think his batteries aught to last 24 hours. Might want to pull fuses in the 12 v panel to see if what else is draining the batteries. How big is the inverter? It only needs to be big enough for the refrigerator while in storage. Check compartment lights and any other items that might also be consuming power.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:56 PM   #3
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What he is experiencing is normal. Without some solar help or even a 20A plug in, the batteries cannot be expected to last more than 2 days or so. To get the generator started he needs to use the AUX START switch on the drivers instrument panel. The switch should be held down for at least 5 minutes and then the generator started while the switch is still being held down. You don't say what Tiffin or what equipment he has in it, but he may have a generator auto-start feature on the inverter system that could save him the same grief in the future. I'd recommend he get in his books and find out, and if he does, get it set so the generator will automatically start when his batteries get low.. Finally, once he has his generator up, he'll need to run it at least 3 hours to get those 6 coach batteries back to a reasonable state of charge if they're as flat as you've related.
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:24 PM   #4
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My motorhome only has four batteries, but I did a test last year.
With the refrigerator and converter turned on, the batteries would last six to eight hours before the batteries got down to 12.0 volts which is about as low as you should dis charge your batteries.
Given my test I suspect that 6 batteries would run down overnight.
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:30 PM   #5
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Our 2012 Phaeton has a residential fridge with 6 house batteries also. Our fridge will run overnight or all day and still have enough juice to start the generator but not for 24 hours. I would guess about 12 hours would be the max without charging the house batteries.

I also need to check to see if our inverter has the auto-start feature. Was told it did but can you believe salesmen?

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Old 11-06-2015, 01:50 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone!

I suspected 24 hours on battery is too long. I know inverting up uses a lot of power.

I also got to look at the auto start. Have it on my coach never used it. I suggested it to him, and he had read more about it than me,,, but hadn't tried it.

I'm sure there are specific models etc,,, but will it auto shutdown when the batteries are fully charged? His concern was he didn't see anything about it shutting itself back off?

I had not even thought about shutting it backoff,,, which if its in storage for a few days would be very handy.

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Old 11-06-2015, 01:51 PM   #7
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If his unit had the Residential original from the factory, then his units new enough that he can program the generators Auto Start feature (IF the units parked outside) to start when the batteries reach a certain low voltage point, and then turns off when batteries are fully charged. This will save him having to replace the batteries early because of drawing them down too far too often.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:27 PM   #8
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When you set the auto-start up you tell it how long to run. Some times this is a hit or miss as far as getting the batteries fully charged, but by checking the hour meter you can tell how many times it started and a quick battery voltage check will tell you how much of a charge you have. You can play with the setup so you get the optimum charge without it having to run too long or too many times. Auto-start can also be set so it doesn't run during quiet times. Another way to extend the run time available on the RR is to install a dedicated inverter JUST for the RR. It can be sized to the RR load and eliminate a lot of the house inverter's inefficiencies due to it's internal losses and it will also eliminate all the parasite loads as you can then leave the house inverter off. That's our approach and as I said we can go two days or so on the RR, a 17 cu ft chest freezer and a 3.5 cu ft basement freezer.
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:07 PM   #9
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Thanks Pigman!

Interesting idea. There must be a ton of wasted power if your change extended the battery life that much?

Going to see my friend next week, I think I'm going to crack the books and figure out how to program my power management system. Would be nice to have it figured out before I need/want to use it.

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Old 11-07-2015, 07:09 AM   #10
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So Battery Info

In preparing for some serious boon docking this winter, I installed 2 more batteries to take it up to 4 house batteries. I also installed a Qwik-Fill battery watering system. One of the main reasons we don't get good battery life is less than optimal battery maintenance - specifically low fluid level.

Before adding the batteries, I did the math for my new configuration. So I have 4 deep cycle batteries that provide 25 amps for 447 minutes. So doing the math I have 4 batteries that should provide 25 amps for 1788 minutes. In fact though you don't want to take the batteries lower than 11.7 volts (roughly 50%). That means 1788 x .5 894 mins or 14.9 hours. (I attached a Trojan T105 spec sheet)

Results are great. I run my frig, CPAC, TV and cell phone chargers for at least 4 hours per night and then run my frig for another 7 hours and I am still right around 12 volts. If I just run my frig (when in storage) I can count on 24+ before autogen cuts on.

To understand your draw I've attached a generalized 120 Volt chart. Mine is somewhere around 15 amp per hour when watching TV via Satellite. So I expect to get about 15-18 hours when watching TV. Rarely watch TV all night but do run the refrig 24/7.

Hope this helps.

PS: with 6 batteries with full charge and in good shape 24 hours should be easy IMO.
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