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Old 04-28-2015, 06:06 AM   #15
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Dry camping in serious cold or heat is just plain uncomfortable, and uses a lot of your energy resources.

But for a quick overnite, in weather extremes it is best to be hooked up to electricity, in my experience.

It is just easier, more comfortable and less stressful. You want to enjoy yourself.

I leave a set of silk long underweare and heavy socks in the cabinet, and/or microfleece, for really cold temps. It is just so much nicer to feel cozy warm.

There is a learning curve here, so just lean into it a bit and eventually you will have it all figured out.

We were all newbies once.



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Old 04-28-2015, 07:47 AM   #16
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The bathroom light is my night light.
Now that's just silly. Your Interstate HAS nightlights, in the form of the "courtesy" lamps. One by the sliding side door in the recessed step, one next to the LPG detector, both working off switch #4 on the front wall of the wet bath.

All of your interior lights in a 2013 Interstate are LEDs, and don't use enough power to make a difference for battery conservation. Stumbling about in the dark is just hardship for the sake of hardship. Go ahead and use the lights that are built in.

But every RV should have at least one flashlight in it, so invest in one. I have two in mine; a 4-cell Maglite and a single AA-cell light that fits in a pocket.

By the way, as long as you're not running any electrical appliances plugged into a wall outlet, you don't need the inverter. All of the built-ins are 12vDC except the microwave and the air conditioner, neither of which will run off the inverter anyway.

And another by the way, if you have the inverter turned on, the fridge defaults to 120vAC mode, If the inverter is off, the fridge defaults to 12vDC mode. You'll use less electricity with the inverter off and the fridge in 12vDC mode.
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:52 PM   #17
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I went dry camping this weekend and again ran out of electricity every night, even after running the generator to change the batteries up :-( I'm really only running the fridge at night. The only cure was turning on the engine to get thing going again.

What is that darn inverter for anyhow? Should it be on or off?

And when I'm not using her, should I be turning off the coach battery because that is what I'm doing between trips? When I do this, is the solar still charging the battery? Thanks All - I'm going to get the hang of this soon.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:07 PM   #18
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Sounds like your batteries don't have any live left. Depleted to many times under 50%.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:35 PM   #19
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The inverter is to run the devices that run off of 120 volts AC such as the TVs. So if you're not using those or something else that's plugged in the the 120 volt circuit, leave the inverter off. If you are not using propane, you should leave the propane switch turned off and also the antenna booster. If the batteries are in good shape, they should run the refrigerator through the night without charging.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:53 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by X New Yorker View Post
I went dry camping this weekend and again ran out of electricity every night, even after running the generator to change the batteries up :-( I'm really only running the fridge at night. The only cure was turning on the engine to get thing going again.

What is that darn inverter for anyhow? Should it be on or off?

And when I'm not using her, should I be turning off the coach battery because that is what I'm doing between trips? When I do this, is the solar still charging the battery? Thanks All - I'm going to get the hang of this soon.

Yes, as PSchw says, your batteries may need replacing. If you bought your AI recently from a dealer, and it's under warranty, you should talk to them about a warranty replacement.
However, to prevent destroying a new set of batteries, it's best if you can understand how you can prolong their life.
The inverter is there to provide limited 120v for just minor appliances such as TVs, charging laptops, etc. you cannot run the AC or microwave from the inverter. For that you will need shore power or generator. So since the inverter uses power, always keep it off unless you need it.
What type of inverter/charger do you have installed? TrippLite or Magnum? If you have the Magnum, then when not using the AI, it's preferable to disable the coach batteries and connect up to shore power. If you have the TrippLite, you cannot leave it connected to shore power, and you may want to consider changing to the Magnum at the same time you install new batteries.
It's also worth bearing in mind that even with the coach batteries disabled, there will be a parasitic drain on the batteries; very little you can do about it short of totally disconnecting the batteries.
The standard 50watt solar panel cannot do much other than keep good batteries charged when using the fridge. And of course only in good overhead sunshine. So some folks here on this forum have upgraded their solar panels along with larger batteries to ensure longer periods off the grid.
Hope this explanation helps.


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Old 05-26-2015, 11:55 PM   #21
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Sorry, 73shark, my post coincided with yours. Hope we agree with everything!


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Old 05-27-2015, 12:00 AM   #22
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No problem. You had a lot more info for the OP. I was doing mine on the phone and usually a little briefer.

I agree about his batteries probably being toast.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:04 PM   #23
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Thanks to all for the helpful posts in this discussion. Up until now, I thought I was starting to get power management down! But I realize there are still a lot of basics I don't understand.

Re the inverter: I thought the inverter just "happened," that I didn't have to make an on-off decision. IN fact, I have never even looked intently at the Magnum display because I didn't think I had to do anything.

We've had the AI for a month and a half, and have taken 3 weekend trips. Increasingly camping / planning to camp without electric hookup, so power mgt is a big deal, especially overnight.

We rarely (never?) use the TV. We do keep food in the fridge, but I think even off, it tends to hold temp sufficiently overnight. And Protag said if the inverter is off, fridge draws 12V? I don't see that in the manual, but I've probably missed it. We do charge our cellphones overnight, but don't have to do that. So I think I can start leaving the inverter off, or turning it off, or whatever. (I store the AI, so can't go look at it now. But will study the inverter control panel when I'm next there).

Let me know if what I'm paraphrasing here is still wrong.

And thanks again!
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:40 PM   #24
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We use 12v socket chargers for our phones and iPads. For the laptop, electric tooth brush and electric shaver I also have a small 75 watt plug-in inverter that goes into a12v socket. Only need to use inverter for TVs or to make a K-cup of coffee in the morning. I use a Hamilton Beach K-cup brewer that only draws 600 watts on the inverter.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:48 PM   #25
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Please explain to me how to use a 600 watt brewer with a 75 watt inverter. Thank you for your info.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:51 PM   #26
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Please explain to me how to use a 600 watt brewer with a 75 watt inverter. Thank you for your info.
I think he means he uses the Magnum inverter for coffee and television. He uses the small 75w inverter when the Magnum is overkill. That's the way I read it, anyway.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:55 PM   #27
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Protag is correct. I only use inverter for TV or to make coffee.
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:02 PM   #28
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Thanks for the clarification, when it comes to electricity I get confused and shocked very easily. You guys have both helped me a lot on this forum.
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