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Old 10-17-2019, 10:59 PM   #1
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2018 30' International
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Serenity 30 fter boondocking w/cold nights

On the 1 yr anniversary of our purchase of a new 2018 AS Signature Serenity, we finally stayed at a beautiful spot without hookups. The temps dropped into the low 30's at night so propane heaters drew down battery power so low as to not be able to have the electronic propane starter light, even though the fan would still start. Early in the morning we could start the new Honda 3000i, but couldn't run it all night.
Question is: who can recommend a good solution to keeping the battery up over night so the big furnace can work and toes don't freeze and cat can sleep outside the bed?
Thanks
JEC Olympic Peninsula
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:12 PM   #2
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Serenity 30 fter boondocking w/cold nights

The mitigation is greater battery amp-hour capacity, solar power, and great care using any 12 volt power...

None of which is really cheap, but all can be done. Look around the forums for lots of discussion on the subject. Solutions range from standard hardware to exotic Lithium battery based system with solar panels covering every square inc hog available Airstream roof area plus additional panels on the tow vehicle and portable panels on the ground

I have 150 watts of solar and a pair of 6 volt GC-2 golf cart batteries in series replacing a single 12 volt battery. I also replaced all my OEM incandescent lights with LEDs, and take care to have very well-charged batteries before it gets cold and dark. I’m expanding with a few more panels on the roof once I can find room on the roof and time to mount it all.
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:21 PM   #3
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Setting your furnace temp to 50-55 degrees at night will help but if you are running the stock interstate group 27 batteries then the only real solution is to change over to twin 6 volt golf cart batteries or go lithium. Bottom line is you need more Useable amp hours.
If stock. Right now you have around 86 useable amp hours at best. Furnace pulling 10 amps per hour plus lights and incidentals after dark you’ve got Best case about 8 hours of stored energy. Add the cold weather Cooling your batteries and those useable amp hours drop off fast.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:04 AM   #4
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Thank you for the specific help! We plan on getting the 30footer out this fall/winter and need to know we can stay warm. Possibly head,South in January but didn't want to end up in some high end rv park so may boondock.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:40 AM   #5
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Snuggle up in bed!..worked for us in Walmart campground....and we also killed the size 24 battery over-nite using the furnace. Per Can-Am, battery is expected to run the furnace over-nite....but don't count on it if your battery isn't up to the task due to age or incomplete charge.
Like every one has stated....more battery capacity ids the only solution, and you still need to recharge the battery(ies) the next day. This won't happen using your TV. You need the generator or a solar panel (and sun) if you plan to boon-dock more than one night and still use the furnace.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:05 AM   #6
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Both GMFL and RMKRUM hit the nail on the head (so to speak). What it boils down to is knowing the amount of power you have available compaired to the amount of power you intend to use. The furnace uses A LOT of power. We have found running it in the lower 45-50 range with blankets makes it OK for fall boondocking. We also run solar and 2-6v trojan T-105s, LED lights and monitor our power usage durning the longer fall nights.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:10 AM   #7
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Same recommendation as above from me. Get a pair of Duracell EGC2 6V Golf Cart Batteries from Sam's Club. https://www.samsclub.com/p/duracell-...lp_product_1_3 or a set of Trojan T105 6V Golf Cart Batteries. Rewire your battery connections to Series. I use the Duracell's and they easily power my furnace all night along with my other power needs.

You can charge these Golf Cart Batteries with your stock converter, but an upgraded converter from bestconverter.com will charge them much faster and more fully. Or, as others have said, adding solar is an even better way to keep your batteries fully charged.

I have found that 400W of solar on the roof and a pair of Duracell EGC2 Batteries in the battery box turns an otherwise stock Airstream into a viable boondocking machine.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:23 AM   #8
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Cold weather heat solution

We just came back from a trip with weather into the 20's. I ran the furnace when generator use was practical, but made use of our Little Buddy catalytic heater, which uses no electricity most of the time - plenty of heat and safe for use inside the trailer. We really like using this heater because it is quiet. It runs on propane 1# bottles and easily makes it through the night. There are quite a few catalytic heaters on the market to choose from.
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:06 PM   #9
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Hi

A lot depends on the batteries you have and what shape they are in.

The stock flooded cell batteries that come with a "non-solar" trailer should be around 170 AH capacity.

If you *do* have a solar package, then you should have AGM batteries that give you about 200 AH of capacity. (so about 15% more)

Going to Trojan T-105's will get you to about 220AH capacity ( so 10% more than AGM's).

None of those changes *by themselves* will take you from "stone cold dead overdoing" to "all is well and we can cook breakfast the next morning". There just isn't enough difference in capacity.

What will make a difference is being sure the batteries are fully charged right before quiet hours start. Also being very careful of what loads you do or don't run ( = don't run the inverter ....). Indeed with careful management (and maybe a bit of a cold trailer) you can get through the night on the stock batteries.

Indeed you are not the only one to note that the stock setup is challenged as far as running this and that plus the furnace overnight. Even with careful management and the T-105's, you aren't going to do two nights in a row. You will need a generator / solar / whatever to supplement the batteries.

If multiple cold nights on battery alone are a requirement then you either will need 4 lead acid batteries or something like lithiums. Both of those approaches involve a bit of cash and a bit of work.

For the totally crazy, you could trade in the trailer for a newer Classic. The Alde pulls *way* less current than the good old furnace

Bob
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
We just came back from a trip with weather into the 20's. I ran the furnace when generator use was practical, but made use of our Little Buddy catalytic heater, which uses no electricity most of the time - plenty of heat and safe for use inside the trailer. We really like using this heater because it is quiet. It runs on propane 1# bottles and easily makes it through the night. There are quite a few catalytic heaters on the market to choose from.
Plus one on this, though I actually installed a hose and quick connect, so I can use the big main tanks instead of going through lots of little ones (on multi-week cold weather adventures).
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:35 PM   #11
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Serenity 30 fter boondocking w/cold nights

After 8 years with 2 lead acid AGM batts I gave up conserving usage and checking voltage every other hour and went to a big lithium bank.

It’s been a while since I worried about overnight furnace draws while boondocking

Have not looked back...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f539...um-182406.html
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:31 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
After 8 years with 2 lead acid AGM batts I gave up conserving usage and checking voltage every other hour and went to a big lithium bank.

It’s been a while since I worried about overnight furnace draws while boondocking

Have not looked back...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f539...um-182406.html
Hi

Last night with the heater pads turned on under the water tanks, the furnace running nice and warm, and about 4A of other stuff running, we ran through about 100AH of battery. We started the night about 100AH down from "full". Still have another 200AH just sitting there .....

Indeed big battery banks are a nice thing .....

Bob
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:44 AM   #13
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The full-time "AStreaminLife" folks on YouTube solved it with a propane catalytic heater.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:09 AM   #14
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You have some great suggestions so far. I feel for you not only because I was there, but I still haven’t really eliminated the concern. I have learned to manage it though.

1). Increase your battery amp hours. Easy to go to 220 Ah, but not so easy to add more. Adding additional batteries will help but takes up already limited space. This is your limiting item!

2). Add a Victron battery monitor so you know exactly where each amp is going. You can’t rely on the stock voltage meter. Managing your energy usage is mandatory unless you want to spend a lot on batteries.

3). As Bob mentioned, make sure your batteries are fully charged at the end of the day. You can do this boondocking with solar or a generator.

4). Invest in a good down blanket. We are good with temps inside the trailer to 40 degrees or so. We turn on the furnace when we get up and turn on the generator when we can if we need to.
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Old 10-21-2019, 07:57 PM   #15
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"Early in the morning we could start the new Honda 3000i, but couldn't run it all night."


Was this due to quiet hours or some other reason? I like the small heater, used them a lot in the pop up days along with good sleeping bags. They work great unless you are in the mountains, ie 10,000+/-. But these days we would run the generator to quiet hours, often 10 or 11 pm. That limits the battery only time. Also turn down the tstat to lower the run time.

Or as we do in the hurricane recovery time run the generator all night. Done it many times.

My favorite way to warm up the trailer is to bake cookies in the oven. Works every time. But I understand the reluctance to do this after midnight.
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Old 10-21-2019, 08:21 PM   #16
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Another thought....maybe your batteries are weak. I know your trailer is rather new, so your batteries should be good. But if the batteries were left run-down for weeks at a time (as sometimes happen on a dealer's lot), that can cause permanent damage.

Are you batteries Lifelines? Lifeline publishes a technical manual that gives a procedure for determining the actual capacity of the batteries. But it takes a few hours.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:43 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by SSquared View Post
Another thought....maybe your batteries are weak. I know your trailer is rather new, so your batteries should be good. But if the batteries were left run-down for weeks at a time (as sometimes happen on a dealer's lot), that can cause permanent damage.

Are you batteries Lifelines? Lifeline publishes a technical manual that gives a procedure for determining the actual capacity of the batteries. But it takes a few hours.


“New” batteries from an Airstream dealer are notoriously bad. When I bought my trailer, my batteries were junk and I had several conversations with JC regarding my experience. Batteries sit in the trailers on the lot for months with parasitic load on them. They are deeply discharged and then only recharged when someone purchases the AS.

I asked JC why they don’t have the dealers install the batteries and it is because dealers do not want it this way. My guess is that most batteries in new airstreams have been damaged before purchase.

Interstate, to their credit, replaced my batteries for free. Since then, I have upgraded to Fullriver 6V batteries.
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Old 10-23-2019, 08:47 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by billrector View Post
“New” batteries from an Airstream dealer are notoriously bad. When I bought my trailer, my batteries were junk and I had several conversations with JC regarding my experience. Batteries sit in the trailers on the lot for months with parasitic load on them. They are deeply discharged and then only recharged when someone purchases the AS.

I asked JC why they don’t have the dealers install the batteries and it is because dealers do not want it this way. My guess is that most batteries in new airstreams have been damaged before purchase.

Interstate, to their credit, replaced my batteries for free. Since then, I have upgraded to Fullriver 6V batteries.
Hi

Most trailers are delivered by towing them to the dealer. Doing that without batteries on the trailer would be illegal. ( = no breakaway function ).

Indeed dealers are very much a mixed bunch.

Having "visited" trailers in at least one dealer's storage lot, they did indeed have the batteries fully disconnected in storage. They also had a guy there who occasionally (who knows how often) went around with a charger. It was hanging off of one trailer when I was there.

Indeed there are other dealers who likely can't find the battery box, let alone figure out how to disconnect the batteries. I (unfortunately) have visited a few of them as well.

Might be something to ask about if you are looking to purchase a trailer at this or that dealer ....

Bob
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