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Old 11-03-2014, 11:14 AM   #1
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Some help please

Never Boondocked before. Minimum i had was water and electricity. How long does a single battery last with using minimal lighting and some TV? Do i need a generator or can the TV charge the battery.
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:36 AM   #2
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Boondocking at our Favorite Lakes

We boondock about 10 weekends a year. I've had a 19 ft, 24 ft, and now a 31 ft. camper. We were always able to make the weekend with one battery. This is using the refrigerator, used as needed lighting, and runing a small tv for 2 to 4 hours a day. I added a second battery for insurance and to allow me to charge our lap-top and hot spot. I usually charge them in the truck though.
One thing you might check, usually there is an on/off switch inside the door of your freezer compartment for the defroster. We leave ours off to save electricity.
Good luck with your boondocking adventures. We love to camp near the lake to make fishing much more convenient.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:06 PM   #3
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OK second 12 volt. What's with the two 6 volt deep cell compared to a 12 volt deep cell.
Again
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:25 AM   #4
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Not that Familiar

I visited with one gentleman that was using 6v. He believed that you got longer staying power with them. I can't say from my experience. Never used them.
Also, I forgot to mention, we run 1 or 2 12v automotive fans when boondocking. Our camping buddies purchased a solar panel from Harbor Freight to assist with the charging of his batteries. It seems to help.
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Old 11-04-2014, 07:29 AM   #5
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In preparation for a long trip last June, I upgraded from a single grp 24 12v to a grp 27 12v, and replaced most of my incandescent bulbs with LED. I didn't have a volt meter at the time, but, with no TV and as needed light, plus some light furnace use, we dry camped 3 days in Grand Teton. Now I have one of these:
Amazon.com: INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor: Automotive

The rule of thumb is that you don't want to drop below 12.1 volts (measured at rest) or you could damage the battery. 12.6 is considered a full charge.

A single grp 24 has about 75 Amp hours, a grp 27 about 85 and a pair of grp 27 in parallel about 170. A pair of Trojan T-105s wired in series to produce 12 volts has about 225 amp hours and that is what I now have.

After you get a volt meter, try dry camping at home to get a feel for it. Measure your volts an hour after unplugging from house current without any more than the parasitic load. Measure again in the morning without lights, inverters, etc turned on. The furnace cutting on makes the reading plummet, but that is temporary and it will recover. You'll have an accurate reading 30-60 minutes after all loads are off.
Plug back in to house current and see the effect that has. Typically, you will see the reading go to 13.6-14.6, then drop to 13.6 and finally 13.2 (trickle charge).
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:23 AM   #6
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Hi Mike,

It is rarely a popular answer but the best approach is to do an energy audit/budget for your equipment and use. I wrote mine up here - and how to do it. In summary, you just add up the energy that your equipment consumes and how long you use each of them. This then tells you how much stored power you need. Generic answers are difficult because everyone has different equipment. For example, I have an LED TV that consumes very little power, that may be significantly different than what you have.
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:57 AM   #7
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Skis. Does that plug in to the power point by the TV connection?
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Old 11-05-2014, 01:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mike.t View Post
Skis. Does that plug in to the power point by the TV connection?
Yes, it plugs in to any 12v outlet. I plug it in whenever I dry camp. I would eventually like to get a Trimetric 2030 monitor.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:17 PM   #9
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Agree with JFNM. An energy budget is a great thing to do as you decide what you might do with additional battery and possible solar.

We started with one battery and read at night with head lamps. We thought we were in ecstasy when we put on a second 12 V battery. Going to LEDs was also a great plan. The 12 V batteries mentioned by OP make a great difference in warm days and a catalytic propane burner certainly saves on propane and electricity.

Solar makes a great difference in dry camping for us since we like quiet.

Increasing solar and battery bank size is like Cracker Jacks, "the more you have, the more you want!"

Reed and Elaine
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