Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-02-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
2004 16' International CCD
Bozeman , MT
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 50
Battery life while dry camping

I just bought a 16 foot 2004 Bambi International which came with a solar panel and an extra battery (for a total of two batteries). I had it fully charged and on my first night of dry camping within minutes of having a few lights turned on the battery gage started showing the charge as POOR. How many hours of battery should I expect dry camping using lights conservatively (one or two at a time)?
Thanks for the info!
Paolo
__________________

__________________
marchesi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
4 Rivet Member
 
kennethowens's Avatar
 
1975 Argosy 24
Malakoff , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 490
Batteries are rated in several ways. The one we hear of most
are ColdCrankingAmps in relation to autos. The other is AmpHours,
it is the capacity of a battery to carry an electrical load in amps
over a period of time in hours. The term is called "Deep Cycle". The
term refers to a greater amount of AmpHours. There is no way to answer
your question without knowing all the ratings and current conditions
of your batteries. If your batteries are not getting the job done, then
find and purchase the biggest "deep-cycle" battery your wallet can
handle. Commercail Marine batteries have some very high "Amp-Hour" ratings.
__________________

__________________
kennethowens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 01:52 PM   #3
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
I don't know how your system works, but on my '68 even with a fully charged battery bank if to many things are turned on at once it will show a low charge on the control panel. If my memory is right, AS is putting high intensity lights in the newer units. These lights put a significant draw on the batteries. I wonder if you turn the lights off if the batteries would not show charged? In other words, I think it is possible to get a false reading off of the gauge.

To answer one of your questions (more or less) with two batteries and running the stereo and one or two lights at night, I expect to go at least three days before needing to recharge. Add more electric draw and you shorten the time.
Something else you might think about, if you are going to be doing a lot of camping off the grid, would be to replace the high intensity lights with more energy efficient ones.
__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 02:21 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Have you had the batteries checked or have you done it yourself? It's very possible the batteries are old and one or more cells are bad. You can buy a cheap battery checker at any auto store to check the specific gravity in each cell. The water in the cells may be low and won't hold a charge because of that. Use distilled water only. Or it might be what Rodney said—the solar controller and the Arstream monitor each will show numbers that make me crazy because they measure the load (I think) and it makes it appear the batteries are run down. What do the 2 battery readouts say when everything electric is turned off?

I think it more likely you haven't enough water in the batteries or they are shot because it shouldn't go to "poor" in minutes, but you have a different solar controller than I do (mine reads volts also) so I can be sure. The Airstream monitors can be very inaccurate and mislead you also.

You can use a voltmeter at the battery terminals and see what the voltage is there with and without a load so compare with the readings you get inside.

Gene
__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 02:34 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
 
kennethowens's Avatar
 
1975 Argosy 24
Malakoff , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 490
A fellow can also get real battery acid at the auto store.
Adding "water" is ok...adding the real stuff is better...a
word of caution...it should be handled with care.
__________________
kennethowens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 05:25 PM   #6
3 Rivet Member
 
yakman's Avatar
 
2007 25' International CCD FB
Gahanna , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 157
If your batteries are as old as the trailer, I'd replace them. With road vibration and the temperature extremes beating them up, you're lucky to have a standard battery last much more than 4 years.
__________________
yakman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 06:10 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
The usual built-in meters for batteries will not tell you anything until the batteries have been at rest with no significant charging or discharging for at least a half hour. Rodney has the right idea here - loads on the battery cause it to have a lower voltage than its true state of charge would normally have as indicated on those meters. Purists insist on 12 hours of battery rest but a half hour is usually good enough for most needs. Note that this applies to both voltage and specific gravity measurements.

Also note that state of charge is different from capacity and there is no really good way to accurately determine capacity remaining in a battery. SmartGauge Electronics - battery metering has one of the better methods. That is like watching how the lights dim when a load (furnace, water pump) comes on. Lotsa' dim means not so much battery capacity left. The electron counters that measure energy in to compare to energy out are popular but they make a number of assumptions and the accuracy suffers because many things can influence battery capacity from cycle to cycle.

All of this is why the best bet is experience. Find out how long your batteries will last in the way you use them and use that as your best guide.

Don't make your life more complicated than you want it to be and don't fuss with batteries unless you enjoy that hobby. A friend found out he could replace his Airstream batteries at $55 ea at Costco and decided it really wasn't worth hassling marginal or questionable batteries. See Basic battery guidelines for some ideas.
__________________
bryanl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 06:16 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
richinny's Avatar
 
2011 34' Classic
Westchester Cty.NY , / Miami FL
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,122
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
A fellow can also get real battery acid at the auto store.
Adding "water" is ok...adding the real stuff is better...a
word of caution...it should be handled with care.
NO NO NO
the acid never evaporates, only the water evaporates. acid is only added to dry shipped batteries or if some spills out.
__________________
Ricky
2012 F150 Super Crew 5-1/2' bed Ecoboost 4x4 3.73 elec. lock diff. Propride hitch
give life. kidney & pancreas transplant 9/9/06
Ingrid-my unofficial '"World's Oldest Streamer" 1909-2008 R.I.P.
richinny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:04 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
Lumatic's Avatar

 
1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,642
Images: 16
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
A fellow can also get real battery acid at the auto store.
Adding "water" is ok...adding the real stuff is better...a
word of caution...it should be handled with care.
Despite fond 60s memories don't add more acid. It will increase sulfation and kill the battery quicker.

If the batteries are original 2004 they are living on borrowed time anyway.
__________________
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
Lumatic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:11 PM   #10
Naysayer
 
Boondocker's Avatar

 
1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,635
Images: 7
Send a message via Yahoo to Boondocker
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakman View Post
If your batteries are as old as the trailer, I'd replace them. With road vibration and the temperature extremes beating them up, you're lucky to have a standard battery last much more than 4 years.
That long? I had kind of figured 2-3, but mine get daily use I wonder if that matters?
__________________
Rodney

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

Boondocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:25 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
Wayne&Sam's Avatar
 
2014 25' Flying Cloud
Cuddebackville , New York
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,099
Images: 21
I frequently camp three nights and three days with no problem. I'll use lights reasonably, the water pump, sometimes some heat in the morning, the radio and vent fans.
__________________
Wayne&Sam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 08:46 PM   #12
4 Rivet Member
 
2004 16' International CCD
1997 25' Safari
hamilton , Montana
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 387
yep,, five day Montana wbcci trip,, boon docking,,, new battery,, used the water pump, water heater and furnace a few mornings,,, no lights or stereo,, same trailer as yours ,, did fine,, happy trails,,, donna
__________________
dieterdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 08:48 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
 
2004 16' International CCD
1997 25' Safari
hamilton , Montana
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 387
Paolo,, welcome,, glad to see you here and you are also in Montana,, pm me if you have any questions,, donna
__________________
dieterdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 01:23 PM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
2004 16' International CCD
Bozeman , MT
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 50
Thanks you all for the great answers! Yes, I think a big part of the problem was a false reading when using the lights. The reading went down only after I turned on the lights and didn't know it was normal. I do however think that a big issue with the new airstreams is the fancy lighting (which I really like). Donna seems to have made it for five days without using the lights but then that's a bummer. I like my lights :-) Any idea what kind of lower draw lights I could buy that would replace the existing ones?
__________________

__________________
marchesi is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Laptops and occasional dry camping? sound-silver Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 14 06-23-2009 07:42 PM
How do I get power to the trailer when dry camping? IrishRover2 Generators & Solar Power 30 01-25-2007 06:09 PM
Dry Camping with an Airstream redeagle313 2005 Safari 62 01-03-2007 11:46 AM
Noise dry camping ChrisAich 2002 - 2005 International 24 07-28-2003 07:58 AM
Dry camping Tripp On The Road... 2 01-09-2003 04:15 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:00 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.