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Old 03-25-2015, 02:14 PM   #1
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Estimate of battery life when boon docking

I just wanted to get some informal poll answers on how long you can comfortably boon dock without recharging batteries.

I have a new 2015 27FB Serenity. I have used it several times at RV parks with hook ups but still haven't tried boon docking. I am thinking about going camping without hook ups and I currently have no idea how long I can expect the standard batteries to work. We don't have solar yet or a generator, so we will have to make due with just what we can eek out of a newly charged set of batteries.

Our habits include watching tv on satellite system, using toilet, not a lot of cooking and hoping to not have to run the heat. All of our lights are led and our televisions are the new led samsung models.

Are we talking about being able to have power for two days, three nights or more like 5 - 8 hours?

Any info would be appreciated, thanks.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:33 PM   #2
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It all depends on how much power you consume. Satellite TV is going to eat up a lot. We have friends with 160 watts of solar, and they still have to run their generator every day when watching four to five hours of TV. They are using two big golf cart 6vdc batteries in series.

Personally, I suggest getting a generator that is capable of running your AC before going out and expecting to have a couple days of boondocking and watching TV.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:35 PM   #3
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We get a few days with no problem. Your big use is the TV and satellite system, which we don't use. The TVs use the inverter to supply 110v to the TV, which then drops it down to a lower voltage- not a very efficient use of batteries. Of course you could just use your generator to either charge up the batteries when needed or while you watch the TV.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:36 PM   #4
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oops- I thought you had a generator.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:50 PM   #5
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We can go 3.5 days with no TV. I'd guess 2 days with some TV.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:09 PM   #6
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If we were to camp without power and do all our normal activities - and anticipate furnace use - then we'd be pretty much limited to one night - I think two would be a stretch.

But when we're on battery only we do modify our activities - we remove our TV and DVD player from the equation by taking along one of those batter booster units that you can plug into - it easily handles a nightly movie - charging the unit is done the next day from the tow vehicle in our daily travels.

You can also take a lot of the water pump needs out of the loop by simply washing dishes outdoors and flushing the toilet from a bucket - we limit our water pump use to showers.

If you you anticipate some cool weather and furnace use then a duvet may allow you to not use the furnace at all - and daytime heating, if needed, may be able to be done with a portable indoor-safe infra red propane heater - they are inexpensive and will do the trick.

If you have to it is real easy to conserve power by eliminating activities requiring power or finding other ways to carry them out.

Enjoy your trip.

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Old 03-25-2015, 03:48 PM   #7
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You could run a "test". Next time you go camping unplug your AS and see how long you can make it. Just watch your batteries and make sure they don't get below 50%.


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Old 03-25-2015, 04:17 PM   #8
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You could run a "test". Next time you go camping unplug your AS and see how long you can make it. Just watch your batteries and make sure they don't get below 50%.
That's a good idea.

Our SeeLevel system measures the battery voltage. I think 12.7 is the fully charged voltage and I believe for non-agm batteries the lowest voltage you should take the batteries is 11.9 v.

Is that correct thinking or am I wrong with these guideline numbers?
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Old 03-25-2015, 04:23 PM   #9
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Depending which chart you look at, 12.06v is 50% state of charge.
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Old 03-25-2015, 04:34 PM   #10
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Depending which chart you look at, 12.06v is 50% state of charge.
OK, thanks.

So a good guideline would be to not let the batteries drop below 12 volts if you want to try to get a reasonable life from them.
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Old 03-25-2015, 04:37 PM   #11
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OK, thanks.

So a good guideline would be to not let the batteries drop below 12 volts if you want to try to get a reasonable life from them.
That's my "bogie"
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Old 03-25-2015, 04:56 PM   #12
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I get easy five days, with showers, few lights, fan to clear bathroom after shower, fridge fan. We dont watch tv, use ipad to read or netflix, use fluffy down in winter, rechargable fan for Summer. I ccould use a few more things, but don't need to. I have two batteries and a 19'.
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Old 03-25-2015, 05:27 PM   #13
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I'm w/Sbb I can easily get 4 or 5 days because when my wife and I camp w/o hookups which, is most of the time, we think like when we tent camped... conserve! We converted to all LEDs, use LED candles at dinner etc., minimal heat unless necessary, we listen to music when not around the fire or read under led. You really don't' need much when your camping.... You're camping. Now if you like bothering others everyday, you can run the generator daily - I prefer not to. When you're "cramping" in an RV park w/hookups you can live it up....or whatever you call that.


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Old 03-25-2015, 06:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RVDreamer View Post
That's a good idea.

Our SeeLevel system measures the battery voltage. I think 12.7 is the fully charged voltage and I believe for non-agm batteries the lowest voltage you should take the batteries is 11.9 v.

Is that correct thinking or am I wrong with these guideline numbers?
I was told this is a marine-type lead acid wet cell not a car-starter type battery, you can go to near full discharge, which I think is like 10V.? . I plan to use the heck out of mine and perhaps get an AGM to replace when they junk. They'll be toast in 3 -4 years anyways, so why not USE them hard.

The propane alarm won't go bezerk till 5V apparently.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:45 PM   #15
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We can go 5 days boondocking with 2 AGM 6v golfcart batteries, running the furnace about 50% of the day, lights, radio. No loss of power with the batteries, still reading good after 5 days. We have done it several times. We could go 4 days under similar circumstances with regular golf carts. We sold those with the previous trailer and they were 12 years old. We have a generator but haven't used it yet.

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Old 03-26-2015, 09:17 PM   #16
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One Night with Everything On

We have a 2014 27FB Classic with two solar panels. We boondock frequently and watch TV and use our computers a lot. Without solar, we would only be able to go one day comfortably in our heavy usage scenario. With the daily solar replenishment, power is not a constraint and gray water capacity is our biggest concern. Of course, if we go through a long stretch with no sun, then we would have to take the usual conservation measures.
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by timhortons View Post
I was told this is a marine-type lead acid wet cell not a car-starter type battery, you can go to near full discharge, which I think is like 10V.? . I plan to use the heck out of mine and perhaps get an AGM to replace when they junk. They'll be toast in 3 -4 years anyways, so why not USE them hard.

The propane alarm won't go bezerk till 5V apparently.

Do that a few times and you can be sure that you have permanently damaged the battery. NO BATTERY that I am aware of, including the new lithiums, can be drawn down to that voltage level.

50% depth of discharge varies widely by battery manufacturer, from 11.9 VDC for some wet cells to 12.2 for Lifeline AGMs. It's true that you can do a deep discharge on some batteries, provided that they are IMMEDIATELY recharged completely.

Perhaps you were given this information to bring you back to the vendor sooner than later after your battery fails prematurely from excessive discharge????


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Old 03-27-2015, 07:00 AM   #18
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These deep cycle batteries can go to zero and brought back. In the golf cart industry it's common for technicians in the north to use a discharge machine and bring the batteries to zero in the fall - then put them on full charge and they sit all winter. Then prior to use put them on full charge and let them go out. Was in this business for years and we did it on our leased cars every year - batteries lasted four to five years by doing this.

I DO NOT let it happen in my AS however, I try not to let them go below 12v, dual solar panels have kept them at 12 or above all winter while in storage.

We can go up to three days boondocking just about the way we do when hooked up, aside from TV which we do not turn on even though we have a 1,000 W inverter. We do use the internet and charge phones while boondocking
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:00 AM   #19
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What Lew said. Even automotive LioNs don't use all the top or bottom capacity in the interest of longevity. (assuming proper engineering and not marketing to the longest distance on a charge).

For example, the Volt. When the dash gauge says 0%, the battery is really at a 20% state of charge. When it says 100%, it is really at an 80% state of charge. For long life the top and bottom 20% of capacity should not be used.

LA is the same, only it should be kept at 50% to 100% state of charge, as much as possible.
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:05 AM   #20
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Problem is, Paice, that most of the "marine deep cycle" batteries aren't deep cycle. They are a hybrid of cranking batts and deep cycle.....meaning the plates are more dense than cranking batts, but more spongelike than deep cycle....for performance reasons (CCA vs. reserve amps)

Cranking batts and "Marine deep cycle" batts' plates will shed lead when deeply discharged, whereas true deep cycle are more immune to shedding.

We need to distinguish between the two, and I haven't researched how far a discharge for true deep cycles is prudent, but I'd wager it isn't a flat state of charge.
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