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Old 12-30-2015, 05:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cazual6 View Post
I was informed by the dealer to use the Furnace function, but if I am plugged in to either shoreline or generator, what does the heat pump do?
The furnace function lets the furnace only run, not the heat pump. If you put the thermostat in the heat pump mode, it will run the roof AC in heat pump mode to heat the rig, assuming you are plugged into 120 volt power. The older heat pumps did not work all that well below 40 F, but the newer ones like the on on my 2014 FC 20 seems to heat well down to the upper 20's. However, they are quite noisy, much more noise than the furnace.

I don't know why the dealer would tell you to only use the furnace for heat unless they didn't want you to complain about the noise of the HP, or try to explain about the lower temp limits (or plain stupidity)
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:38 PM   #16
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Your batteries are likely faulty or not charged up as noted above, but the cold weather can also reduce the capacity of the batteries. You were in below freezing temps and the batteries are exposed to the outdoor temp more than the inside temperature, so voltage drop is faster than at 70 F. Even then, the calculation of 16 hours run time by sgschwend reduced for cold batteries should still have gotten you through the night.
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:26 PM   #17
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I have a 25' Safari with 200 amp hours of Lifeline AGM Batteries. The furnace draws about 14 amps when running, or 15 amp hours for an hour of use. On cold nights,with the thermostat turned to 55 we use 60 amp hours or 30% of capacity. I have a trimetric battery monitor and I know my numbers are accurate. Obviously, he colder the night and the higher you set your thermostat, the more battery capacity you will use. The furnace is an energy hog and Airstreams are not good cold weather trailers.
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:51 PM   #18
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I have a 25' Safari with 200 amp hours of Lifeline AGM Batteries. The furnace draws about 14 amps when running, or 15 amp hours for an hour of use..
I have measured lots of RV furnaces for amp draw and have never seen one that used 14 amps when running. The largest 35,000 btuh Suburbans take under 8 amps in all my measurements. So, if yours is truly taking 14 amps, you need to check it out, as that is almost double what it should be drawing.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:04 PM   #19
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I have measured lots of RV furnaces for amp draw and have never seen one that used 14 amps when running. The largest 35,000 btuh Suburbans take under 8 amps in all my measurements. So, if yours is truly taking 14 amps, you need to check it out, as that is almost double what it should be drawing.
idroba is exactly correct. Second that!
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:03 PM   #20
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What could cause the high amp draw?
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:21 PM   #21
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What could cause the high amp draw?
Perhaps bad motor bearings in the furnace blower motor causing excessive motor load. I would not rely on the TriMetric for diagnosing this problem, rather, I would test the DC power wires that directly supply the furnace when it's operational for a true reading of the furnace motor only. This will give you the exact, isolated amp draw of that appliance.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:00 PM   #22
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Lew is spot on correct here. Unless you have extensive experience with the Tri metric, the only way to measure an individual load like the furnace is to put an ammeter in series with on of the leads to the furnace only.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:56 PM   #23
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Lew is spot on correct here. Unless you have extensive experience with the Tri metric, the only way to measure an individual load like the furnace is to put an ammeter in series with on of the leads to the furnace only.
Or use a meter with an amp clamp for a non-invasive test. Just place the clamp around the meter and get your reading.
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:57 PM   #24
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Lew: My limited experience with clamp on DC ammeters has not been very good, but then it was with $60 Craftsman ones. Hard to get the same reading twice in a row. I have great Fluke normal multi meters, but the cost of a Fluke DC clamp on is hard for me to justify considering my limited use. AC clamp on meters are common, reliable and relatively inexpensive, but the DC ones sure are not.

What has been your experience? I am sure you can justify a good one as you use it in a business sense. Which has worked for you, in case I ever need to buy myself a present?
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:42 AM   #25
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Everyone else has made great points - listen to their advice.

However, no one has asked what MIGHT be an important question. What ELSE that runs on DC were you using? Yours is a new Airstream, and the refrigerator uses a little bit of current for it's circuit board, you always have the phantom draw of the propane detector and the wretched sound system's display draws current too. Do you have an INVERTER? Even the factory one (wimpy) which allows you two outlets ... turn it on to charge your cell phone, and you've got another draw. If you plugged a TV or computer into the inverter that could be another culprit!.

I don't remember what year Airstream switched to LED. Do you have LED lights or the halogen ones. LED's use a fraction of the power that the older halogen ones did - but if you left a light or two on to read by that would have contributed to the drain. Anything that still works when you aren't plugged in to shore power WILL use your battery and drain it down.

Last - it's downright uncomfortable to sleep in the cold but the best solution there is a down or down substitute comforter, and fleece fabric is good too, and inexpensive. I can sleep comfortably with the furnace on 50 degrees - which saves propane too, IF I can keep my face warm. The window right by the head of the bed is the enemy of that - so insulating that window with Prodex or Styrofoam or even a towel or two will help a lot.

Good luck tracing your problems - check the batteries FIRST. Even if they're OK you might get stuck some day in a Walmart parking lot because the weather is too bad to travel. Knowing how to conserve every last bit of battery can be crucial then. (Or having go out in a cold downpour and plug in your truck, run the engine for an hour to recharge .... UCK!)

Another poster said he doesn't unplug and relies on having the truck batteries be strong enough to still start the truck? IMHO that's risky. I ran the truck battery down ONE time when I was a noob. Luckily a friend was close by with a running vehicle and a battery charger. If that had happened while boondocking?

Now here's more "personal opinion". The sun does not always shine and that makes solar unreliable. Solar systems require maintenance and can fail. A generator of any size is useless if you don't have fuel for it... But a very small generator and a small gas can... well they've only saved me from DEEP crap one time, but the generator is less expensive and can be used more flexibly - Like running an induction burner, a hair dryer or even a battery charger.
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Old 01-02-2016, 06:00 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzr View Post
I have a 25' Safari with 200 amp hours of Lifeline AGM Batteries. The furnace draws about 14 amps when running, or 15 amp hours for an hour of use. On cold nights,with the thermostat turned to 55 we use 60 amp hours or 30% of capacity. I have a trimetric battery monitor and I know my numbers are accurate. Obviously, he colder the night and the higher you set your thermostat, the more battery capacity you will use. The furnace is an energy hog and Airstreams are not good cold weather trailers.
That is excessive draw for just a furnace. That has to include some other items, or the furnace needs to be checked out. If the Trimetric is wired correctly it should show total draw.

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Old 01-02-2016, 07:15 AM   #27
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Everyone else has made great points - listen to their advice.

However, no one has asked what MIGHT be an important question. What ELSE that runs on DC were you using? Yours is a new Airstream, and the refrigerator uses a little bit of current for it's circuit board, you always have the phantom draw of the propane detector and the wretched sound system's display draws current too. Do you have an INVERTER? Even the factory one (wimpy) which allows you two outlets ... turn it on to charge your cell phone, and you've got another draw. If you plugged a TV or computer into the inverter that could be another culprit!.

I don't remember what year Airstream switched to LED. Do you have LED lights or the halogen ones. LED's use a fraction of the power that the older halogen ones did - but if you left a light or two on to read by that would have contributed to the drain. Anything that still works when you aren't plugged in to shore power WILL use your battery and drain it down.

Last - it's downright uncomfortable to sleep in the cold but the best solution there is a down or down substitute comforter, and fleece fabric is good too, and inexpensive. I can sleep comfortably with the furnace on 50 degrees - which saves propane too, IF I can keep my face warm. The window right by the head of the bed is the enemy of that - so insulating that window with Prodex or Styrofoam or even a towel or two will help a lot.

Good luck tracing your problems - check the batteries FIRST. Even if they're OK you might get stuck some day in a Walmart parking lot because the weather is too bad to travel. Knowing how to conserve every last bit of battery can be crucial then. (Or having go out in a cold downpour and plug in your truck, run the engine for an hour to recharge .... UCK!)

Another poster said he doesn't unplug and relies on having the truck batteries be strong enough to still start the truck? IMHO that's risky. I ran the truck battery down ONE time when I was a noob. Luckily a friend was close by with a running vehicle and a battery charger. If that had happened while boondocking?

Now here's more "personal opinion". The sun does not always shine and that makes solar unreliable. Solar systems require maintenance and can fail. A generator of any size is useless if you don't have fuel for it... But a very small generator and a small gas can... well they've only saved me from DEEP crap one time, but the generator is less expensive and can be used more flexibly - Like running an induction burner, a hair dryer or even a battery charger.
Every well stated!, someone speaking from experience, always the best advice.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:36 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Lew: My limited experience with clamp on DC ammeters has not been very good, but then it was with $60 Craftsman ones. Hard to get the same reading twice in a row. I have great Fluke normal multi meters, but the cost of a Fluke DC clamp on is hard for me to justify considering my limited use. AC clamp on meters are common, reliable and relatively inexpensive, but the DC ones sure are not.

What has been your experience? I am sure you can justify a good one as you use it in a business sense. Which has worked for you, in case I ever need to buy myself a present?
Rob,

I use Fluke meters exclusively, as I need accuracy I can depend on. I have an 87-V that is my usual go-to meter, but as of late have been using a 375 clamp-on multi due to it's simpler all-in-one operation. I have the i410 clamp attachment for the 87-V that I was using on a regular basis before acquiring the 375.

As you said, precise, repeatable readings are what counts.
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