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Old 09-16-2011, 01:42 PM   #1
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Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

We're boondocking in the wet, cold and wind.

Original battery wasn't holding a charge. Bought a new battery yesterday. A Trojan 225 27 TMX 12v deep cycle. Lordco said it comes charged but could use a top up, so I plugged the trailer into my Honda 1,000 and ran it for an hour. Battery monitor said good. Used the furnace most of the afternoon so I plugged in to the genset for another hour at dinner. After three hours unplugged and with the furnace in use, the battery monitor had dropped from good to fair.

Is that what I should expect? I paid $220 for the new battery. One better goes for $298. Iím wondering if I should try to return it and get the better one? Or, should I just expect to use the genset to charge the battery from time to time when using the furnace? And, maybe I shouldn't worry too much about the battery dropping into 'fair' zone on the monitor?

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:08 PM   #2
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Was the furnace running at the last time you checked the meter and it said fair? My understanding is that you only get an accurate charge reading when the big stuff is is off.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:25 PM   #3
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Wray
Was the furnace running at the last time you checked the meter and it said fair? My understanding is that you only get an accurate charge reading when the big stuff is is off.
Yep.. I used to be amazed when I would check the monitor B4 I went to bed (it would show fair) and then again in the morning it would show fully charged..
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:28 PM   #4
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

We have not had our Escape trailer out in cold weather but from other RVs I have found that the furnace is the biggest draw of power when cold weather camping.

As my camping season sometimes extends into the first week or two of December, I use the RV furnace to take the chill off and prevent general freezing but use a Coleman BlackCat type propane heater for really getting the RV toasty.

I'm heading out the next few weekends for some moose hunting 'er, remote boondocking. With the frosts in the high country, I'll test the Escape furnace with the two 6V batteries.

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Old 09-16-2011, 07:06 PM   #5
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Something is not quite right.
First off I would suspect the battery monitor. Check the battery voltage with a digital multimeter and compare it to the chart that I attached below. Even better would be to check the specific gravity of the battery to determine the state of charge.

If the battery really is as low as the monitor indicates, I would suspect the trailer's converter/charger. I'm not suggesting that it is defective, it's just very conservative and takes a long time to charge a battery as I explaned in a previous post http://escapeforum.org/index.php?topic=1655.0.
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File Type: jpg Trojan State of Charge.JPG (49.8 KB, 57 views)
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:33 PM   #6
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

I did check the monitor when the furnace was off, but I'm still concerned about how quickly it goes down. But, who knows how big a gap there is between good and fair, especially if the battery hasn't had a full charge.
Knew I'd hear from you Harold. I'll get the battery checked tomorrow in Merritt. I have no tools / meters here at camp. What I haven't done is connect the genset directly to the battery.
In any event, we're moving to a site with electricity tomorrow so battery should get fully charged.
Freezing our butts off outside of Merritt, up in the hills with winds all day.

I'm toasty warm at night though, even with the furnace off. Three sleeping bags, the Old Bag and the beagle.

baglo
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:50 PM   #7
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

I bought a 12v meter off Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Vector-VEC008-...6224045&sr=1-1

Works well enough to check how well the battery and charger are working... if you have a 12v outlet in your trailer.

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Old 09-18-2011, 08:33 PM   #8
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Can't find that voltmeter at CanTire so might have to get it over the border ( with the shipping and handling that entails ).
Harold, I've got a multi-meter at home, so I'll see if I can figure out how to use it ( don't know why I bought it many years ago ). As to the chart, I see specific gravity is adjusted to 80F. So how do I compensate for cooler temps?

Battery has been on the mains for 30 hours now. Tomorrow we move to a boondocking site for a couple days and that will be the test. Topping up on propane and gas for the genset in the morning.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:27 PM   #9
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo
As to the chart, I see specific gravity is adjusted to 80F. So how do I compensate for cooler temps?
Add .004 to the reading for every 10 degrees F above 80 degrees.
Subtract .004 from the reading for every 10 degrees F below 80 degrees

Here is a link to the step-by step procedure on the Trojan web site http://www.trojanbattery.com/Battery...e/Testing.aspx
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:49 PM   #10
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Bruce,
Bruce,

Thanks for the lede. And, Harold, thanks for the table.

I tried all the usual suspects locally, Canadian Tire, Lordco etc. with no luck so I went to Amazon. I read all the reviews and ended up splurging on the Equus Battery and Charging System Monitor, which is the other one they sell.

I ordered two ( one for my buddy ). They were $14.31 each. And then, with shipping and handling to Canada and some customs charge, it cost me $43. Such are the penalties of living in Canada.

I used my multi-meter today, but the instructions are written for somebody who knows what they are doing. I think the battery is pretty much fully charged. Now, I just have to sleep in the trailer, in the carport, with the furnace running, to see how long the charge lasts.

Actually, the Old Bag suggested I might do that tonight.

baglo
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:37 PM   #11
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Perhaps it is time to add that solar panel, and never worry again! We accidentally left our furnace turned on last week with the trailer parked. With temperatures below freezing each night, I happened to walk by and heard the fan running. I went inside to turn the furnace off, and also checked the battery monitor. 100 percent charged! Love our panel!
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:09 AM   #12
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddevin
Perhaps it is time to add that solar panel, and never worry again! We accidentally left our furnace turned on last week with the trailer parked. With temperatures below freezing each night, I happened to walk by and heard the fan running. I went inside to turn the furnace off, and also checked the battery monitor. 100 percent charged! Love our panel!
Hi: ddevin...You're not alone here...but I can't say as much for our propane bottle. OOOPS!!! Alf
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:05 AM   #13
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Re: Battery and furnace - do I expect too much?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo
I read all the reviews and ended up splurging on the Equus Battery and Charging System Monitor, which is the other one they sell.

baglo
Baglo,

I have one of the Equus monitors and it is simple and effective for me. I have found that it shows me much more about the charge level than the Escape's built in meter does, and I don't have to open up the battery and deal with acid as required for more accurate SG testing.

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Old 11-18-2013, 02:43 PM   #14
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I'm still struggling with expectations as far as the battery goes.

I had it plugged into the mains at home for several days. Then I unplugged it and have been monitoring the voltage for the past week or so.

With only the propane / CO detector as a draw, the voltage is dropping by .03 per day. Started at 12.69 and reads 12.40 today.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:19 PM   #15
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CO/Propane Detector Draw

A propane detector will draw 0.1 amps or a better measurement would be 2.4 amp hours in 24 hours. Your Trojan battery is rated at 105 amp hours. Multiply the number of days you are running the CO/Propane detector by 2.4 and you can see over five days you would be using 12.5 % of your total charge. However, since we do not run our batteries below 50% you are using 25% of available battery.

That seems like a lot, I assume most propane detectors draw the same amps. This is the reason I always use the master switch and shut off all power to the trailer when it will not be used for a time.

Could you have other "phantom" loads? A stereo, clock, TV? Even if turned off they may be drawing current. In your case it appears to be the detector. I have read where some detectors will draw 4.8 amp hours. I am not sure what the draw is on the Escape model.

I think the outcomes you are experiencing are within generally accepted experience.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:31 PM   #16
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On my trailer the phantom loads are the LP and the radio, draw is .18Ah or 4.3 amps in 24 hrs.

I also use a cutoff switch when the trailer is not in use. Fortunately I mostly use the radio for it's ipod input and don't care if it looses it's station settings.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:38 PM   #17
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I have no other appliances in use.
The detector is more than five years old, so I'll look into the draw of any replacement.
Meantime, it's usually plugged in 24/7.
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Old 11-18-2013, 05:14 PM   #18
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Just install a small toggle switch on the propane power line or throw your battery switch to turn everything off.
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Old 11-18-2013, 05:25 PM   #19
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I'm not concerned that power is being consumed. I'm only concerned how much is being used when the CO / propane detector is the only thing on ( that I can find ).
I keep it plugged in anyway, when not camping.
So, disconnecting the detector isn't going to address my feeling that the battery is being depleted faster than I experienced when I first got the trailer. This battery is two years old.
( it's good to keep receipts and make notes - time flies - I didn't think I'd had it that long already ).
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Old 11-18-2013, 05:58 PM   #20
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You may have a bad cell, can you check the specific gravity of each cell and compare, if so, you maybe entitled to a trade in credit.
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