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Old 02-22-2018, 09:00 PM   #1
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Realistic Boondocking Battery Expectancy

What is the average number of days we should be able to boondock on one 12 v group 24 2014 interstate lead acid battery that is 12.3 when fully charged? Please note that we will be in a national park during the summer in our 16ft Bambi (without hookups) but with access to bathrooms and rinse station, so we will only be using minimal LED lights, stovetop for basic cooking, and maybe occasionally flipping on the water pump to flush. We don’t want to buy a generator yet (just bought Airstream!) or a solar panel because the sites at our favorite campground are densely wooded. Would love to hear the max number of days you think we can do! Eventually we plan to purchase a pair of agm/deep cycle and welcome recommendations on battery types/brands as well.
Thanks all!
Oh and if there’s already a thread related to this topic, please share.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BKHall View Post
... We don’t want to buy a generator yet (just bought Airstream!) or a solar panel ...
You don’t need to buy a generator, you already have one - you can use your heavy duty booster cables to easily add amps to your house battery from your running tow vehicle.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:20 PM   #3
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12.3 volts is not a fully charged battery. At 12.0 you would be at 50% which is as low as you should normally let your battery go to.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:27 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, your propane detector is always drawing power as is the control board on the reefer. That being said, with careful use of all other draws, you can probably go three days before running your battery down to 50%.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:36 PM   #5
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One more question!

I realize we are not supposed to let the battery go below 50% and I’ve read 12.2 is a good stopping point, but if our battery registers 12.3 when resting fully charged, is our 50% (or ideal minimum battery level) lower than newer/better batteries? Also, we have a multi stage charger so it will typically drop to 11.9 when we are using power of some sort, then jump back to 12.3 when we turn off lights, stove, heat, ect. When people recommend not letting the battery get down to 11.9 do they mean for any period of time or just that as the highest the battery will jump back to? I feel like our float stage is altogether lower because the battery isn’t in good condition. Does this seem to be the case?
Thanks again!
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:03 PM   #6
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Azflycaster is correct, 12.3v isn't indicative of a fully charged battery. A 2014 lead acid battery is probably close to the end of it's life, especially if it hasn't been meticulously maintained. The batteries AS puts in its trailers certainly aren't the best to begin with.
In order to make an intelligent guess at how long you can drycamp on your battery you need to understand your amperage useage over a period of time. You should hook up a multimeter and test your draw. Do a search and you'll find lots of information.
Two big amperage draws that occur 24/7 are the radio and the refrigerator. Your refrigerator, assuming it's a Dometic, has a "climate control system" which may or may not be switched. When it's on, it draws around .8 amps. If you leave it on, it will drain your battery in a matter of a few hours.
I can go 3 days in my Argosy drycamping if we're cautious, but it has "old school" electronics (I switched the lights to LEDs). I seriously doubt you can go more than 1-1/2 days with your modern systems, especially with a weakened battery.
Others may disagree.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:41 AM   #7
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Is 12.3 hooked up or cables off? The base load may be giving you a lower reading. Charge and pull a cable, then let it rest and check voltage. Fully charged is 12.6, as each cell makes 2.1 volts x 6.

Is the interstate an auto battery? group 24 sounds automotive, not deep cycle.

I'm new to the camping stuff with a just bought '65 Tradewind but have been doing tons of reading about the electrics. The TW needs a full upgrade to this very important system. I will use 2- 6V golf car batteries to get 12V and 235 AH of power supply. From what I have recently learned, the group 24 battery has about 50 AH capacity.

I'm new at this so may be way off.

Jon
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:24 PM   #8
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Is 12.3 hooked up or cables off? The base load may be giving you a lower reading. Charge and pull a cable, then let it rest and check voltage. Fully charged is 12.6, as each cell makes 2.1 volts x 6.

Is the interstate an auto battery? group 24 sounds automotive, not deep cycle.

I'm new to the camping stuff with a just bought '65 Tradewind but have been doing tons of reading about the electrics. The TW needs a full upgrade to this very important system. I will use 2- 6V golf car batteries to get 12V and 235 AH of power supply. From what I have recently learned, the group 24 battery has about 50 AH capacity.

I'm new at this so may be way off.

Jon
Hi, group 24 refers to the physical size of the batteries. It should say “deep cycle” somewhere on the battery...and I’m confident it is deep cycle.
Full charge= 12.7 V approx.
If you’re looking at battery voltage on the AS control panel while you are drawing much current (lights, stereo,etc) the indication will always be lower than actual because of the voltage drop in the lines.
Get yourself a voltmeter and check voltage at the battery terminals.
All that said I’m guessing your battery might be near end of life.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:47 PM   #9
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I can't answer your particular question, but re AGMs, I can tell you that several years ago, I took out the two Group 24 lead/acid batteries that came with the AS and put in two of these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-100ah-S...kAAOSwa-dWjtyO

which continue to be going strong as best as I can tell.

My best to you with your boondocking.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BKHall View Post
What is the average number of days we should be able to boondock on one 12 v group 24 2014 interstate lead acid battery that is 12.3 when fully charged? Please note that we will be in a national park during the summer in our 16ft Bambi (without hookups) but with access to bathrooms and rinse station, so we will only be using minimal LED lights, stovetop for basic cooking, and maybe occasionally flipping on the water pump to flush. We don’t want to buy a generator yet (just bought Airstream!) or a solar panel because the sites at our favorite campground are densely wooded. Would love to hear the max number of days you think we can do! Eventually we plan to purchase a pair of agm/deep cycle and welcome recommendations on battery types/brands as well.
Thanks all!
Oh and if there’s already a thread related to this topic, please share.
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I have a Marine Deep Cycle 12v battery that is all done at 2.5 yrs. It can't charge above 12.4, which for my chart is barely above the 50% mark. We boondocked at Glacier Park and had to run our 30 amp generator at least once or twice a day for two hours to keep from going into the lower 50% and we did drop into the red a few times overnight. We were very careful, and only used the LED lights, but the water pump draws power, the reefer draws power to manage the propane use, etc etc. and we even had to use the furnace several times on propane. I've looked at adding more batteries and going AGL so some of them could go inside the coach, but we are talking lots of additional weight which loads axles and hitch, and still has the 50% load limit. The good side however is that the AGL is compatible with my nearly new PD9245 converter/charger that I installed a year ago.

We've opted to bite the bullet and get a LiFePO4 100Ah battery and Intel-Power PD9100L Charger. This is serious money, but I will lighten the weight load, I have the full 100% of the 100 Ah battery usable without damage, and its compatible with either my 30 amp generator or a Zamp 200 amp solar portable. The downside is I have to pull out my nearly new PD9245 converter/charger and replace it with a PD9100L converter built for Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries and their need to have a constant supple of 14.6v charging cycle to correctly charge them fully. The PD9245 charger would only charge them at 14.4v to about 80% full and then quit and go into float of 13.6v which wouldn't help the LiFePO4 100Ah battery charge go above 80% to 100%. If you want to really go crazy just buy two LiFePO4 100Ah batteries!

I strongly suggest your current battery is toast and you should shop for something new, either a similar Lead Acid battery with high Ah that would fit your enclosure, or an AGL battery, and in both cases watch your draw down rate and with the Lead-Acid, keep the fluid topped off unless you have a multi-stage converter/charger (I know someone who has an extra one!! ,or go crazy like I have and get the LiFePO4 100Ah battery and PD9100L converter/ charger. Good Luck!
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:00 PM   #11
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You might want to consider purchasing a spare, deeper cycle, marine battery. That will give you some wiggle room.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:18 PM   #12
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What is the average number of days we should be able to boondock on one 12 v group 24 2014 interstate lead acid battery that is 12.3 when fully charged? Please note that we will be in a national park during the summer in our 16ft Bambi (without hookups) but with access to bathrooms and rinse station, so we will only be using minimal LED lights, stovetop for basic cooking, and maybe occasionally flipping on the water pump to flush. We don’t want to buy a generator yet (just bought Airstream!) or a solar panel because the sites at our favorite campground are densely wooded. Would love to hear the max number of days you think we can do! Eventually we plan to purchase a pair of agm/deep cycle and welcome recommendations on battery types/brands as well.
Thanks all!
Oh and if there’s already a thread related to this topic, please share.
We are new AS with a 16' Bambi, Aug 2017. 3 different boondocks campings for 2 1/2 days with careful use of battery and we had no problems. Refrigerator is gas/electric and it used gas. We also used portable lanterns most of the time and only used the pump and interior lamps as needed.

My question is when do I need solar and when do I need a generator?
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:26 PM   #13
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We are new AS with a 16' Bambi, Aug 2017. 3 different boondocks campings for 2 1/2 days with careful use of battery and we had no problems. Refrigerator is gas/electric and it used gas. We also used portable lanterns most of the time and only used the pump and interior lamps as needed.

My question is when do I need solar and when do I need a generator?
Sorry to sound snarky, but you need solar when you don't want to run a generator for noise or fumes, you need generator when there isn't any solar (which can be up to 98% of the time in some places, I've seen it. Don't put up solar powered street lights in Buffalo either.) or you can't carry all the extra solar gear.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:41 PM   #14
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With conservative use, three days. A portable solar panel would extend that.

Assuming a “good” battery that’s capable of accepting a full charge. As the battery ages the performance will slowly degrade.
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