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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Battery power left?

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no-logic

Colgate, Wisconsin

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Posted: 08/16/12 02:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We've been at this a while but are taking our first "long" trip (Yellowstone) where we will be without power. We'll be camped for 7 days. My biggest concern is our battery going dead overnight or while we are away during the day and the fridge shutting down. Our fridge has a digital control panel and when the voltage drops below a specified voltage the fridge will not operate. (Ask me how I know about this.) We have camped without power before so we know how to conserve, have converted to all LED lighting, and we have a generator. But what is the best way to monitor the voltage so we know if we are on the brink. Is a voltmeter the best? Hydrometer? Please share. Thanks.


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skipnchar

Topeka or somewhere else

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Posted: 08/16/12 03:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When dry camping you will get the BEST battery performance by recharging it every day. It's NOT the most economical way since it will not charge as QUICKLY when not discharged to a great extent but your batteries will last longest that way. Generator hours in Yellowstone are not very restrictive. As I recall it's 7:00 am to 8:00 PM so you can set up a schedule that best suits yourself.

You can also simply check the state of your batteries and NEVER let them get below 50% if possible. Usually takes below 10.5 volts to make a fridge inoperable and 50% is something like 12.1 volts. Also consider that even if your fridge DID quit, with nobody around to open it the temp would not rise to any dangerous level during the course of a day away. Volt meter wouldn't be the most ACCURATE means but is PLENTY accurate enough. Your main concern would probably be if you needed to run the furnace over night because that's a battery killer and not very practical for a single battery set up. If you have that situation then an early morning re-charge would become essential.

Good luck and enjoy your trip / Skip


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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 08/16/12 05:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hydrometer is the acid best test!

Plan to recharge every 2nd day. Or add solar.

no-logic wrote:

But what is the best way to monitor the voltage so we know if we are on the brink. Is a voltmeter the best? Hydrometer? Please share. Thanks.



Regards, Don
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Bend

Oregon

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Posted: 08/16/12 07:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is a very easy to use voltmeter. Easy to install also.

http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3721-Battery........9&sr=8-1&keywords=volt+meter+cig+lighter

or

http://www.amazon.com/BestDealUSA-Displa........oltmeter/dp/B0085GVX8E/ref=pd_sbs_auto_1


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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 08/16/12 08:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

The led display one is not going to work too well.

no-logic

Colgate, Wisconsin

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Posted: 08/17/12 04:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the tips so far. I actually have the first meter listed above. I doubt the accuracy though. I plugged it into the TV and it read 12.46 volts. I still have to verify that with another meter.

Bend

Oregon

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Posted: 08/17/12 09:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Printable state-of-charge chart for at rest 12v lead batteries at ~70*F.

* This post was edited 08/17/12 09:38am by Bend *

wa8yxm

Wherever I happen to park

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Posted: 08/17/12 11:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will join the recharge every day chorus.

On the fridge. Any temp that is reasonable (Under 100) the fridge should keep cold for a minimum of 8 hours if you hang a KEEP OUT sign on it and obey the sign. So if it dies at say 3am.. Recharge at 8am when quiet hours end and THEN fix breakfast. (Once it starts working again).


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no-logic

Colgate, Wisconsin

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Posted: 08/17/12 03:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When the fridge died on us it was overnight at some point and by morning we knew we had a problem when we opened it and the stuff in it did not feel as cold as it should. It was by no means warm but was cool instead of cold. Nothing spoiled of course but it freaked me out to battery use from that point on. I will charge at least every other day but it would be nice to monitor it at regular intervals. I thought about mounting a decent volt meter in the trailer somewhere. But with the little dry camping we do I'm not sure it would be worth it.

RockyMt

Castle Rock Colorado

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Posted: 08/17/12 04:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It works best if you charge the battery with an independent battery charger.Charging thru the converter is not very efficent.Walmart/ETC sells a good one for 30/40 dollars and shows when fully charged.

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