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Old 08-28-2011, 03:30 PM   #1
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Low voltage warning

New to camping! We have recently bought a 98 prowler 30 foot camper to use on our land up North while we build a house. There is an alarm that sounds often and reads "low voltage". This did not happen while we were plugged in at home or at the rv campsite. However it is happening frequently since we moved it to our land. We have 2 batteries and charge them off of a generator. (There is no power at our land) They never seem to charge fully and are draining quickly even when there are no lights or fridge running. Any idea what could be the problem?

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Old 08-28-2011, 03:48 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'm not a trailer expert so hopefully someone who is will chime in soon.

Do you have a way to measure the battery voltage or current you are drawing? How old are the batteries? Are the battery connections clean and free of corrosion? Do you know what kind of charger/inverter/converter you have?

It may well be that the batteries need replacing... especially if you're going to be boon docking there for quite a while.

Good luck to you.


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Old 08-28-2011, 04:05 PM   #3
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You may need to run the generator many hours to fully charge the batteries. I'm sure your batteries are charged through a small converter so I may take 24 hours to fully charge the batteries.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:43 AM   #4
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To fully charge the batteries, provided your charger is the correct size, takes six to eight hours from a 50 percent state of charge, You will hit 90% in about 2 to 2.5 hours, the rest is that last 10 percent.

You may have a battery that is near end of life (A load test will tell for sure) or one with a shorted cell) It will find that too)
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:16 AM   #5
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Brass- if you are using 12V charging from the generator, that circuit is usually very low amps (like 4-ish). If that's all I used off my 8kw diesel gen (which is maybe 10-12), it wouldn't replace a days lost charge from TV & microwave usage almost no matter how long the gen runs.
You need about 20A (bare min) to 40A charge rate to bring two 12V batteries up in a reasonable time, for which you can run a 120V charger off the gen. Something like this one.
If you have a charger built into your electrical panel on the trailer, you can read the specs on it and see if it has the capacity you need, or if you need to augment charging using somehting like the above. If you don't have the documentation on it, you can post the model# here and ask where to find the docs, as most are available someplace. I'm guessing that a 98 Prowler 30 feeter has a pretty cheap electrical center, won't have 3 stage charging (which is both better for the batteries and faster), and won't have the amps to do daily deep cycle recharging.

You're real best bet is to get temp power installed as fast as possible, then rig a 30A trailer outlet near your rig, and go to a regular campsite type setup on your own lot. This will be way more convenient for ongoing construction as well. I've seen clever solutions for this where the permanent power was set up on the lot somewhere (instead of a one-piece 225A meter/main/load-center on the side of the future house) on a strut frame w/ meter/main + a small load center to run a 200A breaker to new interior panel in or on the house or garage; then run a 30A breaker off the small load center at the meter to accommodate the trailer outlet. Then construction (and extended camping) proceed off the permanent power, and Bob's your uncle.
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