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Old 09-25-2014, 01:31 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
More electrical phantom loads information

Late last night, out on a camping trip in Glacier National Park, I was able to measure the draw of my 20í FC on the batteries when nothing was on doing anything, and there was no solar charge. It was 2 AM. Yea, I woke up.

The current flowing out of the batteries was 0.2 amps. Over 24 hours, that is 5 amp hours loss.

Where is it going? These are the things which are on taking current all the time in my trailer. No special order.

1. The refrigerator circuit board and indicator light. I know when the refrigerator flame is on the current draw is 0.35 amps, which is low compared to a lot of Dometic refrigerators. Mine is new, and only 4 cu ft in size. The circuit board takes something all the time, the amount increases when the gas valve and flame are on. The flame was not on.

2. The Tri Metric battery monitoring system itself that I use to measure battery state of charge takes power all the time.

3. The Blue Sky MPPT charge controller for the solar system may take some power 24 hours a day. I donít know for sure.

4. The PD 4645 converter/charger, although not operating as there was no 120 volt power, still has a green flashing Charge Wizard light which takes some tiny amount to operate.

5. The light on the Use/Store switch is always on, taking some power.

6. I have a MorningStar Tru Sine inverter which is on all the time. It goes into a sleep mode when not called on to invert, but it has to send out a pulse every second or so to see if anything has been turned on. That takes something.



On my rig I have put a separate on/off switch on my Radio, so I know it is taking no power. I assume that also turns off the sub woofer, but I am not positive. I have measured the sub woofer when the radio was off and it appears to take no power then.

I also put a separate on/off switch on my propane detector, which otherwise cannot be turned off at all other than disconnecting the main battery. I have measured it and it takes 0.06 amps (6 mA). It was off when the above late night current draw was recorded.

Sneaky little loads like these can eat into battery power when stored (although I assume the refrigerator would be off totally). This is one reason I recommend a complete disconnect of the negative battery cable when you are doing long term storage, as in the off seasons. It does not take much over a long period of time to kill batteries, and when they are left discharged, even by a small amount, they generally will never recover full capacity.

Even the correct use of the Use/Store switch on recent Airstreams will not prevent things like the propane detector from taking battery power. Solar systems are often hard wired into the battery directly, and also bypass the Use/Store switch. If the rig does not see sunshine (mine is in a covered carport) the charge controller itself may use small amounts of battery capacity.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:55 PM   #2
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2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
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I don't have a solar system nor a Trimetric and I'm amazed how the battery draws down after left in storage for a month. Since I've started disconnecting the negative terminal on one of the batteries the voltage stays at 12.8. Where did you install the on-off switch for the propane detector. Is there a way to wire it downstream from the store/use solenoid so when in the store position its not on? I have yet to find the solenoid in my Classic 25FB so that is the first issue I have to solve.

Thanks for the info.

Kelvin
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:13 PM   #3
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1974 Argosy 20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
I don't have a solar system nor a Trimetric and I'm amazed how the battery draws down after left in storage for a month. Since I've started disconnecting the negative terminal on one of the batteries the voltage stays at 12.8. Where did you install the on-off switch for the propane detector. Is there a way to wire it downstream from the store/use solenoid so when in the store position its not on? I have yet to find the solenoid in my Classic 25FB so that is the first issue I have to solve.

Thanks for the info.

Kelvin
I simply pulled the propane detector out of the wall (4 screws) and cut one of the two wires connected to it, then put a switch in series with the cut wires. Since in my unit it was a thick panel, I had to get a long barrel switch, which I found at ACE hardware. There is no need to locate the Use/store relay switch to do that job.

If there are more loads on your rig which are not run through the U/S system, disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery when not in operation is a good move on your part.

I think few people realize just how many parasitic loads there are in modern RV's and how sensitive batteries are to being left partly charged. So, a lot of batteries get replaced in two or three years, where they could last much longer.
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:56 PM   #4
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Iroba's idea of manual switches to solve hidden discharges, solar panels can draw from battery if it isn't isolated with a diode or similar on/off switch.
My pu truck over time discharges battery, simple solution was a battery disconnect at the battery, easy to open or close circuit, only problem is clock and station memory on radio. It is in the garage so easy to lift hood and disconnect battery, ignition has a flashing light showing it is protected but not needed.
RV will discharge much faster than the pu, more stuff with hidden draws. rv bank has CO detector, Propane detector, chassis has radio and can discharge battery in a couple of weeks.
Found rv system doesn't trickle charge the chassis battery, mostly isolated from each other, so leaving on the RV power selenoid doesn't solve the chassis system battery drain.
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:17 AM   #5
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2007 20' Safari SE
2005 19' Safari
Qualicum Beach , British Columbia
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Just checked and I am showing .2amp draw with nothing on.


Geotrac88
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:06 AM   #6
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Installing a Marine Battery Isolator Switch will stop phantom drains during storage and lengthen battery life, which will be shortened by 24/7 use of the OEM converter. For switch details, see link below:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ch-109379.html

The first two years after we bought our 2005, 19' Bambi, I left our Airstream connected to shore power 24/7; and one OEM battery boiled dry the first year, and the other in year two. After the second battery was ruined, I installed the battery switch above.

In storage, the switch is turned OFF. Then, once a month, I turn the switch to "1" overnight; then, to "2" for the next night. Then, the third day, the switch is returned to "OFF" for the remainder of the month. Each month, this procedure is repeated.

Our Bambi has two Optima Blue Tops; one is 8 years old, and the other is 3. (The 3-year-old battery replaced a Blue Top that failed after 4 years.) Optima batteries are supposed to hold a charge for over 12 months, and I am pretty sure they would, if using this battery switch. However, I have never tested this; because our Bambi rarely goes over 30-60 days between outings.

By the way, we still have the OEM converter in our Bambi; and the batteries no longer boil dry.
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