Solar and battery question - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Problem Solving | Owners helping each other
Click Here to Login
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-23-2014, 04:32 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Morro Bay, California
Trailer: 2016 Escape 21
Posts: 325
Solar and battery question

As mentioned in another thread, we just took our first weekend trip in our new to us 2012 Escape Plan. We have the ETI solar and dual 6volt batteries. We also have the LED package. I'd like to understand if the following are normal: I noticed that the battery levels dropped from 95% or so to about 75% or so using one LED light in the evenings. The only other drain on the batteries was the water pump - and when the water pump ran, the LEDs flickered terribly. Also, the readout on the battery display dropped to 0 when running the furnace for roughly 5 minutes (it rebounded to about 72%). Since we were able to go for a week in our Casita with all LED's and a smaller solar panel which we only used sparingly, I am left to wonder if the previous owner was hard on the batteries and perhaps they need replacing. Does anyone have experience and/or advice? Thanks!

JaneM. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 04:48 PM   #2
Senior Member
LeonW's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21 -- The Skylark. Towed by a 2014 Highlander
Posts: 1,082
I haven't monitored the battery while in use, but my LEDs don't flicker when we run the water pump. Have you checked the water level in the batteries?

LeonW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 04:54 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Trailer: 2012 Escape 5.0
Posts: 57
We have dual 6V batteries, and two solar panels on our 5.0, We also have LED lights. We have never noticed any flickering, and have never had the battery level drop below 90%, even watching a movie on the laptop. It always recovers by about 10 AM to 100%

Have your checked the fluid levels in the batteries?

shrncnddck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 05:44 PM   #4
Senior Member
alanmalk's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Trailer: '21 - 'Velocity'. Tow: Toyota Tacoma V6, 4X4, manual.
Posts: 831
Another consideration: While you are checking the fluid level, take a few minutes to inspect the main cables that attach to the batteries. Disconnect each terminal and inspect for clean & shiny metal-to-metal contact. Also look closely where the copper wire sticks out from under the insulation. Excessive corrosion can lead to exactly the symptoms you are having - while under load.

But that said, the big hint was the rebound to only 72%. Even high corrosion would not prevent a fast rebound to 100% if there is no load. So, your suspicion that "previous owner was hard on the batteries" could be quite true. Hard on a battery could be: Many repeated discharges to below 50%, a long period without a recharge, continuous overcharge, or a combination of all three. Yes, its easy to abuse a battery.
alanmalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 06:50 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: n/a, Texas
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 431
Refrigerator running on 12v rather than propane? (Just a thought). In full sun when the battery is not 100% does the solar charger show 3-5 amps of charging current? If not check those connections, too. Good luck.
Viajante is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 08:41 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Morro Bay, California
Trailer: 2016 Escape 21
Posts: 325
Thanks everyone! I'll check on the water levels and connections tomorrow or Friday (it's not at our home) and report back. I hope it's that simple! Does anyone have the manual for these batteries?
JaneM. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2014, 11:07 AM   #7
Senior Member
DeadEyeDan's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Sacramento, California
Trailer: 2017 Bigfoot 25
Posts: 275
Our rig is older, and had two different batteries, one from Les Schwab Tires and one Interstate when we bought it.

I felt as you do that the voltage wasn't coming up under solar charge (90 w portable), and dropping too much under load.

The water levels were full.

At peak while charging the batteries should get above 13.5 volts, and even to maybe 14 v. At rest the battery should sit around 12.5 or so, not under charge, nothing on.

(please correct me if I got the numbers off).

The two 6v golf cart batteries should be able to easily run every LED light in the rig all night long if needed. And the pump or furnace will draw them down, but not to zero volts, and the draw is temporary. The voltage will come back up when the load is removed, maybe not all the way back up as you are using the stored power.

We also run a 22" TV and DISH receiver, mostly in the evening through the inverter.

I have only gone over one night between charges, but I suspect the batteries could last 2 even 3 nights depending on what you are running.

I have one of these plug in volt meters. I lke it better than the panel lights. INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor: Automotive

In the end, I went to Costco and paid $84.00 each for two brand new 6v golf cart batteries (exchange price) and now there is no question. Peace of mind.
DeadEye Dan
2017 Bigfoot 25 Rear Bed
2017 RAM 2500 Cummins Diesel
DeadEyeDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2014, 11:24 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County CA, California
Trailer: 2014 21
Posts: 3,487
Jane- I had the same problem with my batteries, and long story short I topped up with distilled water and charged for two days with extension cord. Seems the WFCO takes a while. Have been out on two extended trips since then with no issues. Our batteries are original from 2010.
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2014, 12:52 PM   #9
Senior Member
fudge_brownie's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Janesville, WI, Wisconsin
Trailer: Escape 19 (sold) Escape 21 2014
Posts: 1,479
There have been a number of discussions of batteries and solar charging. Also a discussion of what poor chargers the WFCO Converters are. Here is a link to one, there are others referenced in this link.

Interstate Battery Charging

I like that monitor that Dan references, used it on my 19 for a number of years. It sure beats the built in monitor.
Paul and Janet Braun
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 now 2012 Toyota Sequoia V8
Escape 19' 2010 now 2014 Escape 21'
fudge_brownie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2014, 10:43 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Morro Bay, California
Trailer: 2016 Escape 21
Posts: 325
Thanks, everyone!
I bought a hydrometer and checked each cell of the battery - all is well, but the water levels varied. I've cleaned the battery connections and tightened them. Our next trip is in a few weeks and we'll see if it was a connector issue or water level problem - if not new batteries it is.
JaneM. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2014, 07:48 AM   #11
Site Team
cpaharley2008's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trailer: Escape#4, 2019 Escape21 DejaView pulled by 2014 Ram Hemi/8sp
Posts: 20,536
Only use distilled water to replenish.
"Never in doubt,..... often wrong!"
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2014, 10:47 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Morro Bay, California
Trailer: 2016 Escape 21
Posts: 325
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Only use distilled water to replenish.

JaneM. is offline   Reply With Quote

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


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 07:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.