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Old 08-28-2011, 08:32 AM   #1
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2011 27 FB International
Leesburg , Virginia
Join Date: Aug 2011
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27fb battery life?

We are having some boondocking issues in the new camper 2011 27fb international with interstate Srm 24 550 cca 690 mca batteries.

#1 how accurate is the wall staus gauhe? Adding up the amp usage im having doubts its claming full charge but eveb light overnight usage is drains it to where the water pukp wont work in morning.

#2. Not ready to do perment modifications to camper yet but how much more capcity would adding 2 6volt batteries (or other type?) to the bed of the truck and connecting onto existing system for extebded boondocking?

3. We do have a 2000 yamaha generator how long would it take to recharge the standard battery to 100%? is a dedicated battery charger much faster than hooking
It to shore power outlet? Id rather charge up extra batteries at home than be stuck at site with generator all day!

Thanks
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:04 AM   #2
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Ivins , Utah
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Battery usage varies greatly from owner to owner due to energy conservation habits, but we find we can get a couple days with judicious usage of lighting and furnace. I've replaced the lights over dinette, galley and stove with LED's, and generally do not use the overheads much at all when boondocking. Furnace is the biggest draw. In winter, I needed to run generator every day. I am also starting to replace overheads with LEDs so they will be more usable.

I've found that the monitor is fairly accurate; after a single night boondocking with furnace usage the light goes yellow, and battery voltage is slightly below 12v (with a load on). But I've never had a problem running water pump in the morning.

I find that running the generator a couple hours gets the batteries near to topped off.
I also dislike the noise associated with running generator, so chose to install a solar charging system. It's working great so far, and completely tops off the battery every day, silently and cleanly. It's also permitted us to loosen up on electrical conservation strategies....
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:15 AM   #3
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2007 19' Bambi
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Hi Steve, We're also considering a solar charging system for our Bambi. We've discovered that they're pretty expensive though. What model/brand did you purchase? Are you happy with it? LED's is also another great idea! Thanks, K-
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:31 AM   #4
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2005 28' International CCD
San Jose via Winnepeg, Toronto, Orlando, Saratoga and Groton , California
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I have a 2005 28' CCD. Had issues early on with the monitor giving accurate voltage reading. A/S told me the monitor is set up to read 100% while fully charged on shore power. When disconnect, the battery capacity drops immediately to 7/8 or 3/4. Also had capacity issues with the OEM batteries.

I purchased a solar system that I sized to completely recharge the batteries during daylight hours (2x120w panels). Have room in charge controller and roof for about 80w more. Replaced OEM batteries with those from COSTCO.

Have never had issue with dead batteries ever since, except winter in Yosemite Valley Upper Pines camp with no sun and using furnace. I have considered getting LEDs but the cost is high, and have not seen the need to cut current draw.

Another positive is that the charge controller has direct readout of battery voltage.

I just replaced my batteries after 5 years of service.

Solar rules.

Chris
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Old 10-28-2011, 06:21 PM   #5
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Ivins , Utah
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Kathryn, I chose a system from Amsolar, 300watt, but I probably could have gotten by with less. I've documented the installation on the blog http://mackenzi.net/blog
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:26 PM   #6
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Burkburnett , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 27fb2freedom
We are having some boondocking issues in the new camper 2011 27fb international with interstate Srm 24 550 cca 690 mca batteries...
Are your battery clamps tight and the posts clean? Have you checked the water level in the cells? Use only distilled water and fill only to the point where the water touches the bottom of the plastic tube that extends down into the cell. Then allow the batteries to fully charge.

One member here recently posted that he discovered the (-) cable from one of the batteries wasn't ever connected to anything so he was only getting the use of 1 battery. This was on a new trailer! This isn't too easy to check in the 27FB unless you're small and flexible. With the bed propped up you'll see an opening on the front wall of the box below the bed's hinge. The battery disconnect relay should be visible and is attached to 2 copper bus bars. The red (+) battery cable from each battery is connected to one of those bars. The black (-) cables are connected to a common ground point that is also connected to the trailer frame. It may be difficult to see them.

There is an easier way to verify the battery connections... Unplug your shore power, remove the (+) cables from both batteries. (Be sure your wrench doesn't make contact between the post and the frame.) Open a faucet and turn on the water pump. Since there is no 12v available, nothing happens. Now touch one (+) cable momentarily to its post. If the battery is properly connected, the pump will run. Repeat for the other battery.

As previously noted, the furnace blower is the big energy hog. But from my experience if your batteries are down enough over 1 night to prevent the pump from running in the morning, something else is draining the batteries, they aren't charging properly, or you may have a bad battery. You can upgrade to size 27 batteries for a slight improvement in run time, but I really believe with conscious conservation efforts you should get a couple days out of a pair of 24's before charging. The 30,000 BTU furnace in my 27FB draws 7.6 Amps/hour. A pair of fully charged size 24 batteries should run the furnace constantly for 9 hours.
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeeDoodle
...The 30,000 BTU furnace in my 27FB draws 7.6 Amps/hour...
I meant to say it draws 7.6 Amps.... If the furnace ran 50% of the time for 10 hours overnight, that would have drawn about 38 Amps from the batteries or roughly 3.8 Amps/hour. Per Interstate's specs for a SRM-24, a single battery should be able to provide a constant 15 Amp load for about 5 hours, or 5 Amps for 17 hours.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:43 AM   #8
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Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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POI...our Interstate batteries were bad when we picked up our trailer.
Dealer left it plugged in for an extended period.

Charge your batts fully and test or have them tested.

What converter is installed?

Plugging the trailer into your 2000w Yamaha or shore power would be the quickest way to bring the Batt's back.
With our Interstates and Parallax 55a converter they were serviceable in about 2hrs. Caution though, the P-lax will overcharge if left unattended for longer periods.

The voltage monitor is about useless, 'cept the lights are pretty.

An inexpensive plug-in is much better...

Bob
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeeDoodle

Are your battery clamps tight and the posts clean? Have you checked the water level in the cells? Use only distilled water and fill only to the point where the water touches the bottom of the plastic tube that extends down into the cell. Then allow the batteries to fully charge.

One member here recently posted that he discovered the (-) cable from one of the batteries wasn't ever connected to anything so he was only getting the use of 1 battery. This was on a new trailer! This isn't too easy to check in the 27FB unless you're small and flexible. With the bed propped up you'll see an opening on the front wall of the box below the bed's hinge. The battery disconnect relay should be visible and is attached to 2 copper bus bars. The red (+) battery cable from each battery is connected to one of those bars. The black (-) cables are connected to a common ground point that is also connected to the trailer frame. It may be difficult to see them.

There is an easier way to verify the battery connections... Unplug your shore power, remove the (+) cables from both batteries. (Be sure your wrench doesn't make contact between the post and the frame.) Open a faucet and turn on the water pump. Since there is no 12v available, nothing happens. Now touch one (+) cable momentarily to its post. If the battery is properly connected, the pump will run. Repeat for the other battery.

As previously noted, the furnace blower is the big energy hog. But from my experience if your batteries are down enough over 1 night to prevent the pump from running in the morning, something else is draining the batteries, they aren't charging properly, or you may have a bad battery. You can upgrade to size 27 batteries for a slight improvement in run time, but I really believe with conscious conservation efforts you should get a couple days out of a pair of 24's before charging. The 30,000 BTU furnace in my 27FB draws 7.6 Amps/hour. A pair of fully charged size 24 batteries should run the furnace constantly for 9 hours.
YankeeDoodle - all good points. I particularly like the warning about the wrench and the frame. I vaporized half of a screw terminal in a split second that way. And it has been said that to do so on the battery on a submarine will vaporize the wrench!

Is it possible that AS has changed the design since I bought my TT in late 2005? My batteries were wired in parallel inside the battery compartment. There was a big automotive clamp on the +ve and -ve terminals of one battery, with a hefty pair of jumpers completing the circuit by way of the four screw terminals. I have no doubt that the method is likely more efficient with less connections between battery and bus bar. With the battery replacement mentioned above, I found the two jumpers were badly corroded from leaking acid and so I am replacing them with a really hefty battery cable from O'Reilly's (with automotive post terminal on one end and screw terminals on the other). Should it make a difference for me? Yes, but how much? Not sure.

I bought my rig from an unnamed central CA dealer, I would be interested to find if mods were made before I bought it. Do other 2005 rigs have the same wiring setup?

I also had lots of problems with my original Interstate batteries and had them replaced at AS expense. No issues once I replaced with the Kirkland set, and installed solar power.

Chris
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