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Old 09-20-2011, 10:07 AM   #1
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Heat/Battery question

I will be using my new to me camper for deer hunting soon, which means I will be using the heater. This camper has ducted heat, so it has a blower that will be running off battery. My trips are 3 days and I will be boondocking. How long can I expect a fully charged batter to last running that blower? Other uses will be minimal, as I will be using as little of the battery for lights as possible. My old camper was small and required no fan for the heat so I am new at this. I plan on putting a solar charger from Harbor Freight on it to charge it back up as much as possible through the day. Opinions/hints?
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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A lot depends on the battery/ies. Are you running 1, 12 volt or 2 , 6 volt. and how warm your trying to keep the unit and how well insulated it is. In other words a whole handfull of variables.MHO, I wouldn't venture out in that situation without a small gen. set. In your post you say camper, If so make sure your battery isolater is working, you don't want to be out and unable to start the truck.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:51 AM   #3
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You've got about 12 watt hours per pound of battery.

The furnace runs at between 50 and 100 watts when it's going (4 to 8 amps at 12v) depending upon the furnace

A typical RV battery weighs about 60# - that means maybe 800 watt hours so each battery you have will run the furnace about 8 to 15 hours.

A solar charger from HF won't do you much good at this. The rule of thumb for solar is to have at least one watt of solar per pound of battery. When days get short and you don't have full sun, it is difficult to get a decent charge on the battery at this level. That is why many fulltimers bulk charge the battery in the morning with a genset and then use solar to (hopefully) top off the charge during the day.

Furnace use is a common source of 'lack of energy' problems in the RV experience. Many use catalytic heaters to help reduce electrical drains.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:53 AM   #4
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It's one 12v on the camper, its a 2005 Keystone Hornet. I just want to keep it 60 or so inside to knock the chill off when we come in from the stands. Wife and kids will be hanging out there but I expect day temps to be in the 50's-60's anyway. I will be going again in November but even them it's 32 or so, not in the teens. Even if I had a genny I wouldnt want to run it all night to keep the blower running when the heat kicks on.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:07 PM   #5
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It's one 12v on the camper, its a 2005 Keystone Hornet. I just want to keep it 60 or so inside to knock the chill off when we come in from the stands. Wife and kids will be hanging out there but I expect day temps to be in the 50's-60's anyway. I will be going again in November but even them it's 32 or so, not in the teens. Even if I had a genny I wouldnt want to run it all night to keep the blower running when the heat kicks on.
If you get the battery to full charge by sundown getting 12>14 hrs out of it shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:11 PM   #6
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The nitty gritty is that your single 12 volt battery is not going to last 3 days- more like one night, if you are running the furnace.

A Buddy Heater from Mr. Heater would be a fairly low cost solution to your heating needs; they use the 1# propane bottles.
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:17 AM   #7
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Looks like I will either be getting a genny or a buddy heater and let the furnace kick in if it needs too. Thanks for the info!
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:14 PM   #8
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When I'm out in the boonies I don't heat while I'm sleeping.( that's what blankets are for ) When I get the call of nature in the morning I turn the heat on at that time and go back to a warm bed until it's time to get up to a warm trailer ect. One burner on the stove will warm a place up real fast as well. And no you are not going to die from carbon monoide burning propane. Just leave a window open for a little for fresh air. Do not do this while you sleep.

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Old 09-22-2011, 04:03 AM   #9
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I think you said other people will be at the rv while you hunt so battery consumption will continue.

Buy a Honda or Yamaha gen set and that will charge your battery during the day.

IMHO, DO NOT use a burner on the stove for heat. That is literally flirting with death.

Go Honda or Yamaha as they are both very quiet. You will be appreciate it as will your neighbors. Buy the theft prevention handle, a good chain and a good lock and chain it to something that isn't under your rv. (Exhaust fumes) They tend to grow legs if left unsecured and unattended in remote areas.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:13 AM   #10
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People use unvented propane heaters all over the world. Same reason it is used in fork lifts in confined buildings. It burns complete and clean. Propane Catalytic heaters are used indoors. We have used a burner on the stove for years up here in the mountains. What do you use in your home to cook on? Ovens and stove tops are unvented.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:36 AM   #11
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The problem with gas is usually not the carbonmonoxide it is the lack of oxygen both you and the heater need it and the heater will need more than you and faster. That's where the big problem will come in.If there are going to be folks there during the day just have them open the door about once an hour or so for a couple of mintues to get fresh air in. Go with one of the heaters you mount onto a 20lb propane tank it will last longer and less likely to get knocked over. Solar is not going to help much unless you have a LOT of panels to get the amount of power to replace what you will use at night for the furnace. I have the kit from HB it only puts out 3amps it will take DAYS to build power back up. The kit is more for a trickle charge than a charge up.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:50 AM   #12
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The problem with gas is usually not the carbonmonoxide it is the lack of oxygen both you and the heater need it and the heater will need more than you and faster. That's where the big problem will come in.If there are going to be folks there during the day just have them open the door about once an hour or so for a couple of mintues to get fresh air in. Go with one of the heaters you mount onto a 20lb propane tank it will last longer and less likely to get knocked over. Solar is not going to help much unless you have a LOT of panels to get the amount of power to replace what you will use at night for the furnace. I have the kit from HB it only puts out 3amps it will take DAYS to build power back up. The kit is more for a trickle charge than a charge up.
What he said.

I won't go into my credentials with LOTS of safety background, but we need oxygen, and when we slowly run out, as when a burner uses it up in a confined space, we just get sleepy, disoriented, and fall asleep.
And may not ever wake up again. And if you did finally GET woken up, may never be the same person again.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:15 PM   #13
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I've been using a propane catalytic heater as the only heat source in my trailer for five years.
Adequate air replacement is easily supplied by judicious venting.
Gasoline powered generator use can actually be more of a hazard, especially if the generator fume can enter the trailer from the outside.
See this recent thread here on that subject:
Fumes from generator cited as cause of five deaths in RV.

My biggest problem has always been condensation, especially in cold weather.
Cat heaters' exposed burner faces put all the water produced by combustion into the "room".
And one gallon of propane produces one gallon of water!
The addition of an "Ecofan" to the heater has dramatically reduced that problem by helping to circulate the warm and fresh air throughout the trailer
.
Caframo - Ecofans, specialty fans and heaters, overhead stirrers

The fan is virtually silent, and best of all, it generates its own electricity from the heat put off by the heater!
No impact on the trailer battery at all.

Best improvement I ever made, bar none.

Francesca
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:57 PM   #14
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Generator exhaust is very different than burning propane.

Cool fans, thanks for the link.

Mark
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