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Old 09-06-2022, 11:53 AM   #15
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A lot of great information in this thread about batteries, charging, etc. But I think when boondocking, given that the residential fridge is most likely your biggest electrical load during the night, the "duty-cycle" of the fridge is an important consideration. This relates to how often the fridge has to turn on per hour during the night. The fewer times it has to run all night, the less the draw from the batteries. I'm not a refrigeration expert, but from my experience on a boat for many years and now a few years in our RV, it seems that the more a fridge is fully loaded, the fewer times the door is opened, and the inside temperature of the living area all contribute to the duty-cycle.
We always try to have the fridge loaded as full as possible - my wife's bottles of water and my cans of beer making up for any left over storage space. When everything in the fridge is at "full cold" and the door is left closed, it doesn't seem to run very often. (my theory being that dead space "air" in the fridge will warm up faster than "stuff" in the fridge.) We also put a bag of ice in the freezer when we go on a trip since we don't use the ice maker. I think this also helps and I have thought that if boondocking for several nights, I would consider making some bulk ice (think quart milk jugs) in the freezer and sticking them in the refrigerator section for the night.
Anyway, those are my thoughts, right or wrong, for trying to minimize the load on the batteries. If this theory is right by the way, it will also account at least somewhat to different results various people have with the same equipment.
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Old 09-06-2022, 12:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK55 View Post
A lot of great information in this thread about batteries, charging, etc. But I think when boondocking, given that the residential fridge is most likely your biggest electrical load during the night, the "duty-cycle" of the fridge is an important consideration. This relates to how often the fridge has to turn on per hour during the night. The fewer times it has to run all night, the less the draw from the batteries. I'm not a refrigeration expert, but from my experience on a boat for many years and now a few years in our RV, it seems that the more a fridge is fully loaded, the fewer times the door is opened, and the inside temperature of the living area all contribute to the duty-cycle.
We always try to have the fridge loaded as full as possible - my wife's bottles of water and my cans of beer making up for any left over storage space. When everything in the fridge is at "full cold" and the door is left closed, it doesn't seem to run very often. (my theory being that dead space "air" in the fridge will warm up faster than "stuff" in the fridge.) We also put a bag of ice in the freezer when we go on a trip since we don't use the ice maker. I think this also helps and I have thought that if boondocking for several nights, I would consider making some bulk ice (think quart milk jugs) in the freezer and sticking them in the refrigerator section for the night.
Anyway, those are my thoughts, right or wrong, for trying to minimize the load on the batteries. If this theory is right by the way, it will also account at least somewhat to different results various people have with the same equipment.
The new "energy efficient" fridges seem to run all the time. Manual sasy it might run 90% of the time, and thats normal. Ours only shuts down during defrost cycles.
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Old 09-13-2022, 04:38 PM   #17
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If you are using an ice maker in the fridge turn it off and see what happens.
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Old 09-13-2022, 04:57 PM   #18
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We own a 2019 Phaeton 40IH. I had exactly the same problem. The 6 lead acid batteries were completely drained towards the end of the night when we are boondocking. I decided to upgrade to 6 * 100AH Lithium batteries and installed a battery monitor. Now the batteries last for 2 full days even when we use lights, TV's, etc for a few hours. In my experience, the 6 * 6V lead acid batteries are undersized for this type of coach, especially as you only can use 50% of the capacity or you damage the batteries...
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Old 09-13-2022, 09:20 PM   #19
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If you have 4 TV's in your 34PA when you are boondocking, I'd turn off the Entertainment System breaker anytime your not using them. They consume power 24/7 even when not in use.
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Old 09-13-2022, 10:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by DaveK55 View Post
A lot of great information in this thread about batteries, charging, etc. But I think when boondocking, given that the residential fridge is most likely your biggest electrical load during the night, the "duty-cycle" of the fridge is an important consideration. This relates to how often the fridge has to turn on per hour during the night. The fewer times it has to run all night, the less the draw from the batteries. I'm not a refrigeration expert, but from my experience on a boat for many years and now a few years in our RV, it seems that the more a fridge is fully loaded, the fewer times the door is opened, and the inside temperature of the living area all contribute to the duty-cycle.
(posting trimmed)

Another thing that NOBODY thinks about it the door seal. I didn't until a friend showed me a sagging bottom seal on his house fridge. He had a slight cold air leak at the bottom, and that was enough to raise his runtime a LOT.
Try closing the fridge and freezer doors on a dollar bill and see how much drag it takes to pull the bill out. Do it on the top and bottom, and on the sides. Compare the amount of drag to a new house fridge at Home Depot or some other big box store.

You may be able to cut your runtime / duty cycle just by replacing a old and leaky door seal.

Mike
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Old 09-16-2022, 12:08 PM   #21
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If conversion to Lithium is planned, make sure to research the required changed to the charging algorithms of the solar charger, the inverter/charger, and the alternator. From what I have read a DC-DC converter should be used in the alternator charge circuit to prevent damage to the alternator.
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Old 09-18-2022, 01:34 PM   #22
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I had the same problem w my 2014 36GH and replaced the batteries w std golf cart type batteries from Costco. I try to keep the fridge full and and turn both freezer and fridge temp up high during the evening b4 bed and generally the early morning voltage is 11.8 or so and don't really care if it shuts off during the night and consider it to be an icebox w no real downside as I'm not opening and closing it then. I also try to run the gen for 1.5-2 hrs in the AM and PM to charge the batteries.
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Old 10-15-2022, 11:06 PM   #23
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Purchased our 34pa in March. We do about 6-8 weeks a year of dry camping a year. We noticed right off that the batteries were in constant need of being charged.

So we added four more solar panels to the one that came with it. Had my RV tech install the GoPower 760 watt system. Itís great during the day charging the batteries but overnight the batteries were still down to 11.5-11.6. So I installed four Lifeline AGMís at $1,600 and in the morning, same result, 11.5-11.6. Please donít tell me how happy you are with your lithium batteries as that ship has already sailed after spending $1,600 on AGMís.

Overnight, the only things using electricity besides the Whirlpool refrigerator are the bedroom fan, a weather system, an electric toothbrush and two Ember coffee cups. Ember coffee cups are cups you charge that keep your coffee warm.

Do I need to unplug the misc. unnecessary stuff before going to bed? They donít seem like they would drain that much. Or is just the nature of the beast? The beast being the residential refrigerator.
I have a 2020 34PA and had a similar experience. I have 2 175w solar panels that Tiffin put on when built. I am now going to add 4 200W panels as we like to camp off grid. I replace the original batteries with Lithium Lion energy I bought from Costco and now we can go 3 days without starting the generator. Use the microwave and Keurig coffee maker. Before the Lithium I looked around for power draws and found the HDMI splitters were on all the time. I started turing them off at night I think it helped some. They have power switches on them. Located bellow the bedroom TV
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