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Old 02-21-2016, 09:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottandanna View Post
We are in texas, about an hour east of houston.

Thanks for the charging info.

Do the batteries charge while on shore power? We keep the trailer on shore power in the hay barn when not in use.

If it does not i have one of those schumacher chargers.
Take care to not discharge your batteries below about half charge. It will shorten their life considerably.


Enjoy your coach and welcome.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:16 AM   #16
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Got too hot and sweaty to stay out, so loaded it back up and came home. And now that I have access to a laptop, here is a picture of where we were.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:22 AM   #17
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Some basics...

Inverters take DC battery power and turn it into AC power. Inverters will either provide pure sine wave (PSW) or modified sine wave (MSW) output. PSW is just like your house while MSW is a little more box in shape. MSW inverters work for most applications but some devices do not like MSW power.

Converters battery chargers take AC power from shore, generator or solar sources and changes to DC to charge batteries. Converters always charge the house batteries but in many/most cases they will also divert a portion of power to charge coach batteries. Some older converters are very basic and only provide one level of charging which over a period of time can shorten battery life. More recent chargers provide 3 levels of charge to avoid overcharging batteries thus giving them a longer life.

Depending on several factors, an inverter may only provide power to a few select outlets (TV, microwave and a couple other outlets). In more advanced applications with lots of battery storage the inverter may power almost all outlets.

If a toad's battery is providing power to the RV...something is very wrong.

In some cases of lower level RV units the inverter and converter are separate devices. If they are not separate then they are combined into a single device. Well designed inverters are designed to go into "stand by" mode when external power is available.

Since you are boon docking you will need to find an AC source to run your battery charging system. Generally, a generator plugged into your shore power receptacle will be the easiest way to go. This will then use your onboard charger and if it is more advance will also be better for your batteries.

Since you are just learning about the subject you will be challenged to understand much of the finer points. A few important things to monitor.

1. Battery charge level. You will really need to insure you do not drain your batteries below 50%. Doing so on a regular basis will kill them quickly. If you have a meter then when the battery level gets below 12V without any load on it you need to charge them. This can get confusing since a battery under load will show a lower level than if not under load so if you are using some kind of external meter to measure voltage, it should be with it disconnected which is a real pain for general monitoring. You should have an on board meter that makes this easier.

2. Battery water level. It is critical you maintain proper water levels. If you find water levels dropping on a regular basis that means your charger is over charging them and boiling the water off. This can also cause corrosion to metal in the battery compartment.

I hope I haven't stated things you know as obvious and it is helpful.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:39 AM   #18
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Sky Boss, no, nothing overly obvious. Thanks for taking the time to write all that out for me.

We have an electric golf cart, and I am very strict about how I drain and charge, and maintain, the batteries (6 of them, and EXPENSIVE!). Also a boat with 2 batteries and A/B/Both switch, which I maintain with extreme care, so we don't get stranded out on the lake.

The trailer will need to be the same way.

But here is what I found out on this trip.

When we first arrived, after being on shore power for the past month or so, and driving it out to our pasture 2 miles, maybe 15 minute drive (very bumpy, lots of cow-pan, lumps and bumps). When we parked it and kept the jeep running while opening the slides and setting it up, I checked the Black, Gray, Fresh, and Battery levels, and all were perfect but the battery level. It said 25%.

This morning, after living in it overnight, and playing radio until late into the night, and just a light or two, it showed 50%. So something isn't right.

This is from the instrument/control panel that has the slideout controls, awning controls, and tells you all your levels. Not a battery tester connected to the battery. Apparently, it isn't reading the battery correctly.

Or maybe I am reading it backwards, and it was 75+% when we got there, and 50% when we left???
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:09 PM   #19
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Hmmm, I think I see a Honda generator in your future...
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:22 PM   #20
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Hmmm, I think I see a Honda generator in your future...
Maybe.

I have two generators now, but both are obnoxiously loud, and I wouldn't want to subject my neighbors, or myself, to that noise.

But honestly, I kinda liked being removed from my TV, internet, etc and being forced to just hang out with the wife and pets, with nothing but music to entertain us.
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:10 PM   #21
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Just curious, you mentioned your "toad"; did you mean "tow Vehicle"? The usual nomenclature is that a tow vehicle will get your trailer to your campsite, but if your coach is self propelled, you may be pulling a "towed vehicle" or "toad".


Looks to me like you are towing your travel trailer with the Jeep.


NONE of that is important, it's just part of the lingo for RVers.


You will find your own comfort zone as you learn, and we are all different. DW and I like to go in comfort, and never really "camp"; we prefer to go to full sites and hook up everything. Lots of the parks we visit have neighbors that mostly just rough it. We all get along fine, and enjoy the company.


Welcome to this on-line community. Please visit often and ask anybody anything; it's part of what we do.


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Old 02-21-2016, 09:10 PM   #22
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Also keep in mind that running the furnace like overnight will draw down your battery. Hope you try boondocking or dry camping in campgrounds more often especially as you travel in the West as I believe you're planning to do. You'll find some wonderful spots in national forests.

Here's a great site for finding those forest campgrounds throughout the country:

http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/list/nflist.htm
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Old 02-22-2016, 12:49 PM   #23
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You forgot to start the generator.
LOL!
You might find lots of good info in the Boondock section. Also, your battery status is dependent on whether it is in use or not. It actually takes a couple hours of no significant draw to get an accurate reading. So it may read 25% at the end of a furnace run, then creep back up to 50% if there is no other draw. I have a volt meter similar to this: http://www.amazon.com/HappyPrimeDay-...volt+led+meter
The first time I used it, the furnace was running and I went into a panic because it showed pretty much dead so I turned the furnace off. The next morning it showed almost a full charge. And if you are charging, it will show 13.2v or more and your batteries could be almost dead because it is showing the incoming charge, not the battery status.
If you get a generator for camping, get an invertor generator like Honda or Yamaha or, if too rich, a Champion. You will need a 3000w generator to run one AC, but a 2000w can run the microwave. http://www.amazon.com/Smarter-Tools-.../dp/B00K2YDPU6
You can run a TV off the batteries by using an inverter like this http://www.amazon.com/BESTEK-Power-I...=inverter+300w
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:12 PM   #24
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If your trailer has the original battery, it is probably an inadequate Grp 24 with about 75 Amp Hours. Replace it with the largest that will fit, a Grp 27, 29 or 31 for more AH. I got a Kirkland Grp 27 that had 110AH and it lasted for 3 days of dry camping (LED lights, furnace set at 55 degrees).
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:34 PM   #25
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Yes, your converter will charge the battery while plugged into shore power.
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:51 PM   #26
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No generator. We have one but not using it this time.
Even seasoned boondockers with a lot of solar use their generator when needed.
See: Boondocking Tips - How to and Where to
And: GO RVING OFF THE GRID AND AWAY: BOONDOCKING TIPS AND TRICKS | Go RVing
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:01 PM   #27
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No power!

All electric outlets are dead, no microwave, no a/c.

Makes sense, to conserve power. But it would be nice if tv worked.

Radio works, fridge went to propane, lights work, but thats about it.

Kept it hooked to the jeep, and slideouts were slow. Is this normal?
What RV do you have? On my Dolphin there is one outlet by the passenger front seat that works and one in the bedroom that has power and run off the inverter. The rest will work when plugged in or when the generator is running.
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Old 02-22-2016, 09:11 PM   #28
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It is the trailer listed in my signature below...
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