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Old 10-06-2004, 11:04 AM   #1
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Battery indicator in CCD, Acurate?

Greetings.

We will be camping next week and be using the Honda 2000 for the first time while boondocking.

I know that I will need to run the 2000 for an hour or two every day or two to keep the batteries topped off.

Is there anyway to use the battery indicator that is in our '04 CCD to get an idea of when to power up the Honda? If the indicator is as far off as it is with the black tank readings, then using this method will be useless.

Anyone have any luck using the indicator in their AS?

I do have a multimeter, and I also read that the battery should not run below 11 volts (please correct me on this one if I'm off.).

I've also read that in order to get a reliable reading from the multimeter, there should be no load drawn from the batteries for a few hours, which sort of makes this method difficult.

Your comments appreciated as always.

Jonathan
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev
...Is there anyway to use the battery indicator that is in our '04 CCD to get an idea of when to power up the Honda? If the indicator is as far off as it is with the black tank readings, then using this method will be useless.

Anyone have any luck using the indicator in their AS?...
Your battery indicator will be more useful than the black tank gauge because there are no sensors sitting in poop to get out of kilter.

I personally prefer using my digital voltmeter for the exact picture of my battery's health, but my Overlander's 37 year old analog battery gauge is a good general reference.

I also find my senses of sight & sound to be pretty reliable for gauging the battery's health - When it is too dark to see if the vent fans are spinning even though the lights & fan are both turned on, its time to charge the battery

Tom
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:28 AM   #3
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Tom.

I think Road King Moe would call that battery homicide...

but maybe just keeping an eye out is the best way.

Thank you again.

Jonathan
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Old 10-06-2004, 01:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev
Tom.

I think Road King Moe would call that battery homicide...

but maybe just keeping an eye out is the best way.

Thank you again.

Jonathan
Lev,

One of the great benefits of having a solar system (too) is that they (like mine) usually include a fairly sophisticated battery monitor...
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Old 10-06-2004, 04:14 PM   #5
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Jonathan,

I usually check my battery first thing in the AM when I get out of bed. It usually has rested all night like myself.

If your reading gets down to 12.2 VDC, then you're at 50% State of Charge, time to fire up the generator. I do this around breakfast time, so I can use an AC coffee pot as well. You can only efficiently charge your battery with the generator to 80% State of Charge due to the charging characteristics of batteries. You would need a Solar Panel as XRAY has or Shore Power AC to "Top Off" the battery to 100% State of Charge (12.7 VDC).

You can calculate an approximate time to recharge by using the following:
1. 30% of your batteries 20Hr Rating - (Example: .3 x 2 x 85 AH for Group 24 batteries on a 19' CCD) = 51 Amps
2. Include a 26% inefficiency for the flooded cell batteries: 1.26 x 51 Amps = 64.26 Amps needed
3. Divide the Amps needed by the trailer's charge rate: 64.26 Amps needed /55 Amps-Hr = 1.684 hours = 1 Hour and 41 minutes
NOTE: I'd round up to 2 hours to account for any inefficiencies in the charger, current losses, etc.

Charging voltages go up to about 13.6 VDC in the bulk phase, but this only tells you that you're getting juice to the battery.

If you can, let the battery rest for several hours after charging, maybe while taking a hike or shopping or something. When you get back and check the meter you should see a voltage around 12.5-12.6 VDC, indicating close to an 80% State of Charge. Ready to go!

It's inexact science, but it has worked for me for years of "Boondocking".

Have fun,

Bob Eagle
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Old 10-07-2004, 09:45 AM   #6
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Thank you for your posts. This is helpful.

But this still leaves unanswered if there is any use for the gauge inside the AS. i.e. when the LED lights get to say 7/8ths, 3/4, and so on any idea what that voltage would be? I do have a good idea that at "Empty", the batterie will need a proper burial. What I am trying to figure out is if there is any way to use this idicator to semi-reliably determine when to fire up the honda.

If I've beaten this over the head, then i think common sense (something in short supply in my family) will have to kick in.

Jonathan
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Old 10-07-2004, 09:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev
... I do have a good idea that at "Empty", the batterie will need a proper burial...
I wouldn't say that

I inadvertently left the bathroom light on long enough to run the battery down to the point that the entry light would not illuminate when I went into the Airstream the next evening. While I know the battery was not happy about it, it did charge back and hold a charge.

I did not realize you only have LEDs to indicate battery health (I looked, and could not find a "smily" with a "That sux!" look on his face ) Although I am known for going overboard, If I was in your position, I would round up an adjustable power supply, and figure out what voltage is needed to light up the LEDs.

I take it your owner's manual was no help?

Tom
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Old 10-07-2004, 10:32 AM   #8
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Jonathan--I don't know if there is a way to sort of Look Inside a battery and see exactly what's left so to speek. The monitor is just an indicator as far as I can tell. Suppose you could use a volt meter to measure the voltage of the battery at rest and compare it to the monitors readings and get some idea of what it means at 5/8-1/2-3/8s etc. For what it's worth here is what I have done. In the electrical section of you AS manual it gives the ampere draw of every thing in you trailer. With this info I estimated the number of hrs each of these we used, lights , furnace , water pump etc, through the evening and night. It doesn't have to be exact just close.
I use a 15amp automotive charger plugged into my generator. It will taper back and actually quit charging when the battery is back to near full charge. I had calculated it would take about 2 hrs to recharge from the evening use and it turns out that's pretty close. It's best to not let your battery discharge more than 40-50 per cent. Two hrs a day seems to be what works for me. ---- Pieman
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Old 10-07-2004, 04:03 PM   #9
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Jonathan,

I'm kind of puzzled as to what type of monitor panel Airstream put in your CCD. I have a 2004 22' CCD (built 8/2003) with a monitor panel that shows battery voltage in tenths of Volts DC (ie: 12.5 etc). For the fresh, grey and black water it uses percentage (0-100%) and propane tanks (3/4, 1/2, etc.), and the inside temp in degrees Fahrenheit. The panel also has the water pump switch and water heater switch/indicator LED. It sounds like you might have an older? type of panel. Have you checked with your dealer or checked newer models on the lot to verify the type of panel? Is it possible to get a better panel retrofitted? Can other CCD owners weigh in on what type of panel they have.

Bob
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Old 10-07-2004, 05:59 PM   #10
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Bob --My 2004 16ccd has a "MicroPulse" systems monitor. It's actually pretty simple in that I have a gray-black combo holding tank. Mine monitors fresh water-blackgry --and battery.there are 9 leds, top being full and bottom empty with 1/8th through 7/8ths in between. They are mounted an a panel with 3 switchs--status, panel on-off and waterpump. The water heater and ignition lamp are on a seperate panel. When I push status it simply lights up the 1/8th thru 7/8s leds depending on the tank I've selected or the battery, but doesn't show actual voltage. Would asume Jonathans is the same the way he talks---Pieman
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:43 PM   #11
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Actually, it is called the Micro Pulse System Monitor made by a company called Catcon 817-921-2188. This is used in our 16 and 19 units.

In the 22' and 28' AS models, they use something called a SeeLevel RV Gauge made by Garnet Industries (this according to my owner's manual.) 877-784-2843

My hot water heater on/off switch is mounted on the closet/vanity wall, and is not part of the monitor system in any way.

The Catcon has a main moniter control panel on/off switch. A systems "Check" switch, and the pump on/off switch.

As I am reading my CCD manual, it seems apparent that the SeeLevel is a more sophisticated monitoring system, using an actuall numeric read-out of the voltage from the battery(s) whatever that may be.

Maybe that would be a decent thing to upgrade when ordering the mini models of AS.

Given that AS uses two diferant monitoring systems, now makes me wonder if the problem of false readouts that some, including myself, are mostly from the Catcon unit, or the Garnet unit? Or is it simply a probe prob. (for both).

Toodles.

Jonathan
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Old 10-07-2004, 10:35 PM   #12
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Jonathan, Actually there is no probe. There is a sensor thats mounted in the tanks that measures presure that is formed by the weight of water. This eliminated the problems probles have getting dirty or contaminated. They are quit accurate in that regard but have yet to figure how they relate voltage to battery readings of the moniter. Will have to get my old multimeter out an see if I can figure how that works.Later ----- Pieman
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