Possible problem with our batteries - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Problem Solving | Owners helping each other
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-19-2018, 11:12 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Schaumburg, Illinois
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21 ("Hotel California" -Aug 2017) Tow is 2016 GMC Canyon Duromax Diesel
Posts: 189
Possible problem with our batteries

Iím wondering if we have a problem with our batteries (and/or our charging system) and would really appreciate all your combined wisdom and information.🙂

Our two 6 v batteries on our 14 month old 2017 21 Escape use to read (until May this year) at 100% whenever we had checked them.
We have the 160 w solar panel on our roof. Since July, I have never seen a reading higher than 90% when checking 🤔

We just returned home from a four day trip to a Wisconsin State Park where we did not have any hook ups. The weather was colder than expected with evening lows of 34 degrees Fahrenheit and daily highs in the mid to upper 40s. It was overcast and cloudy almost the entire time and we were in a shaded site under tree cover from Thursday morning to Sunday noon.

Besides the fridge running on propane, (since Wednesday, the day before we left) we used things requiring battery power very sparingly:
* Just one LED light turned on for one and a half hours to a max of three hours each day
* The Water pump for just a few minutes a day to flush toilet and wash dishes
* Hot water heater put on three mornings (turned on for just for 20 minutes and turned right off)
* Two iPhones plugged into a usb outlet for Thursday night only
* Our propane furnace for three days set to run at 62 degrees for 11-13 hours each day
* NOTHING ELSE...... The inverter was not on and because of our concerns, never turned on.

I recorded detailed battery readings at different times on each of these days (in case that information is important in order to analyze things) but the short story is that on our first evening there (after running the furnace for two hours) our battery reading at 7 PM was 81% 12.6. (Our usual max reading hasnít been 100% for awhile (just 90%) so we were down 9%

As the weekend went on, our readings went lower, and lower. They did not recover during the day and by Sunday morning, our reading, with such minimal usage, was down to 65% 12.3 Since it was only going to be a high of 42 degrees and rainy, we were worried about our ability to stay inside (and have some heat and lights &#128563 so we packed up & left the campground a day early.

I realize that we were in the shade and under trees, but does this seem normal? From what I have read and have been told, I think we should have had much better readings on the battery based upon what we used. And possibly should have been able to run the microwave for two -three minutes a day or been able to have the furnace running and lights on for longer periods of time...?

Our reading this morning (parked at home now since Sunday) is ď90%. 13v .3 amps floodedĒ
__________________

__________________
Lisa & Pete
"What if loving what you have is everything..." - Ellis
Nrgtic4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 11:29 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: n/a, Texas
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 419
It sounds like the batteries are ok if they ran the furnace blower 12 hours a day for 3-4 days. Did you try plugging into Shore power at home to see if the batteries get fully charged? If they do then it points to your solar charging having a problem.
__________________

Viajante is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 11:38 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Maury&Julie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Seattle, Washington
Trailer: 2016 21'
Posts: 162
We have experience a similar thing. We have two panels on the roof. In clouds/fog, the batteries drop quickly, even under relatively small loads. They are now 2 years old. When they were new, they stayed at 75% or better, no matter what. We were told by Reace that the 90% is "normal" for the controller reading, even if the batteries are fully charged. Ours sometimes shows 90% even when we are plugged in. The good news is that the batteries have always done the job.

At the two year mark, we are looking into alternatives. AGM would be okay but what we'd really love is to go all-out and replace our flooded batteries with lithium. Has anyone done this? I know it's expensive but we live full time in our rig and it would be worth it to us. Is it as simple as swapping batteries or does lithium require a new controller?
Maury&Julie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 12:11 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
alanmalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Trailer: '21 - 'Velocity'. Tow: Toyota Tacoma V6, 4X4, manual.
Posts: 787
I notice you say "under trees and some shade, in Wisconsin, plus it is now October with low sun angles.

This is almost a worst case scenario for solar. For example, in Denver, mid-January, my 150 watt portable will put out 21 watts at noon when placed on level ground in full sun. Add in shade and I would expect almost nothing.

I would agree that a constant daily drop in battery % charge is "normal" - unfortunately.

One solution would be a portable panel that can be moved to a sunnier spot and aimed directly at the sun once or twice per day. Again, my example, going from 21 watts when flat, I could get 74 watts when aimed. A good % increase. But also note that I'm a long way from 150 watts, only obtainable at noon on the equator!

--
Alan
alanmalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 12:16 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
alanmalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Trailer: '21 - 'Velocity'. Tow: Toyota Tacoma V6, 4X4, manual.
Posts: 787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maury&Julie View Post
... AGM would be okay but what we'd really love is to go all-out and replace our flooded batteries with lithium. Has anyone done this? I know it's expensive but we live full time in our rig and it would be worth it to us. Is it as simple as swapping batteries or does lithium require a new controller?
I've been using AGMs since my trailer purchase in early 2015 and enjoy all the advantages. But... Unfortunately they can't make power.

And like you, would love to upgrade to Lithium for additional advantages - but again, to get power out you need power in. Nasty, pesky laws of physics!

--
Alan
alanmalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 12:58 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Milpitas, California
Trailer: 2017 19'
Posts: 343
I think the GoPower manual stated 90% is full charge.. We had that on our trailer sometimes... it would take a few days of solar (2-3 hours a day) to get to 100% from 90% .. or I think it's a little quicker if we plug in to shore power..
caddoster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 01:53 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Vermilye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Oswego, New York
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21, 2018 Ford F150
Posts: 3,473
I don't see anything unusual in your situation. As others have stated, clouds, shade, etc can cut down the solar panel output to almost nothing, and running the furnace it probably the heaviest draw (other than the inverter).

Since 12V (around 50%) is about a low as you want to go to get a decent life out of your batteries, you might have made the last day. In any case, after a string of cloudy days when I didn't have the option of going home early, I connected the tow vehicle & ran it for a couple of hours. Not the most efficient way of charging your batteries, but since I don't carry a generator, it was an option.
__________________
Jon Vermilye My Travel Blog
Travel and Photo Web Page ... My Collection of RV Blogs 2018 F150 3.5EB, 2017 21
Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 03:08 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Front Range, Colorado
Trailer: 2017 5.0 TA picked up in July 2017.
Posts: 526
The GoPower will read incremental percentages up to 90% and stay reading 90% until it reaches 100% power. If it reads 90% you MAY have 97% in the battery, or just 92%. The battery monitor over my refrigerator will show all the lights on.

I have noticed that if I drive late into the evening, a few hours after dark, then my GoPower will show as low as 78%, sometimes 86%. I assume it isn't getting much of anything from the truck alternator and may be using some power on the trailer lights as I drive. I haven't worried about it but if I drive late in the evening and then camp in a wooded area I wonder if it will ever recover to near 100% during the day. I tend to try and choose the more sunny spots if I have a choice in camping sites.
SFDavis50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 05:37 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North Van., British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19, sold; 2019 Escape 21, Sept. 2019
Posts: 4,890
Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post

One solution would be a portable panel that can be moved to a sunnier spot and aimed directly at the sun once or twice per day. Again, my example, going from 21 watts when flat, I could get 74 watts when aimed. A good % increase. But also note that I'm a long way from 150 watts, only obtainable at noon on the equator!

--
Alan
Even in Baja in winter there's quite a difference between flat and inclined. And more difference when pivoting and tracking the sun.

Lot's of reasons to have flat panels but you're never going to get the maximum out of them. My 100 watt panel does the job for me but if I need more output I'll be getting a lightweight panel and using it as a portable panel, placed for maximum output.

Ron
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P2080164_resize.jpg (208.3 KB, 15 views)
Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 05:42 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Vermilye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Oswego, New York
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21, 2018 Ford F150
Posts: 3,473
Your trailer outside lights (other than the porch) are powered by the tow vehicle, not the trailer's 12V system. If you are running the refrigerator on 12V, that would do it, otherwise, there isn't much that would use that much amperage...
__________________
Jon Vermilye My Travel Blog
Travel and Photo Web Page ... My Collection of RV Blogs 2018 F150 3.5EB, 2017 21
Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 10:56 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Front Range, Colorado
Trailer: 2017 5.0 TA picked up in July 2017.
Posts: 526
The refrigerator is running on propane and I removed the inside light on it because I don't need it and it was incandescent, Before leaving I make sure it is running on propane and I turn off the Auto feature so it will run on propane or not work. Seems like 3 or 4 hours of night driving drops the battery level to as low as 78%, My truck is a 2010 so I have wondered if since the truck lights are all incandescent and not LED if it is pulling power from the trailer. It doesn't happen with daytime driving even when I am driving with the headlights on.
SFDavis50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 11:14 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,554
check the voltages at your tow vehicle battery and your trailer battery with it all hooked up, and the engine running. do this with the vehicle lights off and on.

my tacoma, the truck battery would be 13.6-14.4V (it stays at 14.4V for about 10-15 minutes after starting to fully charge the batt, then drops to 13.6V if you leave it on to maintain the batt charge), and the trailer battery with no major trailer loads on would be 13.6V or so. the tacoma's voltage hardly dipped 0.05V with the (conventional) highbeams on.

I've not tested this with my f250, but I don't feel any need to, as I can tell the truck voltage is fine with the lights on from the color temp of the lights (if the voltage drops, your lights are yellower... like with them on at night, turn the engine off so it drops to 12.6V, you'll see this obviously).
__________________
2014 Escape 21 (home away from home)
2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4 (tug)
1993 Mercedes 300CE Cabriolet (daily driver)
2006 Yellow Lab (Maggie... RIP Feb 2019 )
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2018, 11:39 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Front Range, Colorado
Trailer: 2017 5.0 TA picked up in July 2017.
Posts: 526
I'll check it. My truck battery was manufactured in March of 2015 so it is less than 4 years old but the truck has 139,000 miles on it so the alternator could be getting worn. It always starts so I haven't bothered checking it out. The lights are strong but most of my night driving while pulling the trailer is on highways. Thanks for the info. I always change the oil myself so it doesn't get the the system analysis done. Next time I may take it to the Quick Lane at the local Ford dealer for an oil change. They always do an electrical system check as part of the service.
Thread wander below.
While looking into buying a new F 150 and still trying to decide between the 2.7 or 3.5 Ecoboost I discovered that the oil change process is somewhat different since the oil pan "bolt" is so large in diameter that the oil gushes out in a long stream and empties the oil pan in a few seconds. Kind of awkward if using a small drain pan and the initial stream misses the target, especially if I am laying under there. I'll probably have to commit to using the service instead of doing it myself.
SFDavis50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2018, 01:18 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,554
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFDavis50 View Post
While looking into buying a new F 150 and still trying to decide between the 2.7 or 3.5 Ecoboost I discovered that the oil change process is somewhat different since the oil pan "bolt" is so large in diameter that the oil gushes out in a long stream and empties the oil pan in a few seconds. Kind of awkward if using a small drain pan and the initial stream misses the target, especially if I am laying under there. I'll probably have to commit to using the service instead of doing it myself.
heh. I discovered my 2002 F250 7.3L diesel, an oil change takes 4 gallons of oil, 15W40 Delo or equivalent. Good thing Costco sells that stuff in a box with 3 gallon jugs... I use the same oil in my older Mercedes (3.2L inline 6), so its all good.
__________________
2014 Escape 21 (home away from home)
2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4 (tug)
1993 Mercedes 300CE Cabriolet (daily driver)
2006 Yellow Lab (Maggie... RIP Feb 2019 )
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2018, 08:49 AM   #15
Junior Member
 
Joel-n-i's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon
Trailer: 2018 Escape 21
Posts: 7
Wink Check battery water level.

I didn't read all the posts, but would suggest that if your batteries require maintenance you should check that as well. Maybe it assumed you have done that. Sorry if this is rhetorical.
__________________

Joel-n-i is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.
×