Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: First Dry Camping Experience
Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Travel Trailers

Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > First Dry Camping Experience

Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 6  
Prev  |  Next
2 many 2

USA

Senior Member

Joined: 06/25/2015

View Profile



Posted: 07/15/18 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant139 wrote:

oyarsa, first of all, congratulations on being located in Yakima -- you live in camping heaven. It takes us three days to get to your area, and there is so much great stuff available to you.

Second, the negative tone of some of the comments above is a little unfortunate. You are just making the usual newbie mistakes that almost all of us have made. No big deal. And do not give up on dry camping -- the boondocking near you is world-class.

Third, here is how to avoid the problem of the un-retracted jacks: after we did a similar thing, my wife and I created a "check before towing" checklist of all the things that have to be buttoned down before we actually start rolling. We keep the list in the cab of the truck.

After DW does a final walk-around, we go through the checklist, just like airline pilots do. Yes, it is a bit of overkill. And yes, after 13 years of trailering, we almost never forget a step, so the checklist is usually useless.

But not always. Once in a while, a missed step pops up (like "are the steps retracted??"), and we are glad for our plodding way of getting ready to roll.

Now, on to the batteries. We carry two group 31s, and I never let them get below 12.1 volts. They are carefully maintained on a BatteryMinderPlus, when we are at home. We have a 120 watt portable panel that tops off the battery each day.

With that setup (and careful use), we can go a week at a time without using our generator or plugging in to shore power.

You will gradually learn how to monitor your usage so as to extend the life of the batteries. It is not rocket science -- you don't have to be an expert. (I certainly am not.)

Finally, you need to find out if your fridge is drawing current to stay defrosted. That feature is a battery killer. It may take a while to figure out how to disable that defroster, but it is a job worth doing.

Hang in there! The learning curve for newbie drycampers is steep, but it does level off. And the payoff is huge.

Keep asking questions!! And ignore the replies that are not helpful.


Well said!

2 many 2

USA

Senior Member

Joined: 06/25/2015

View Profile



Posted: 07/15/18 11:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PaulJ2 wrote:

My take on all this is--Batteries were not fully charged to begin with. Aggravated by the fridge moisture heater draining the batteries.
If the trailer was not allowed to charge for several days with the normal WFCO converter they probably were not fully charged.


My four year old Dometic fridge has no "humidity switch" on the door frame like my old rig. With some research I found out it is on ALL THE TIME draining the battery at about 1/2 amp per hour.

With some more research I found the wiring diagram on line and located the wire on the back of the fridge that feeds power to the humidity feature. I unhooked that wire and placed an in line fuse holder and re-connected it. If I ever want the humidity feature while on full hook-ups I simply put a 3amp fuse in the holder.

In the last four years I have never needed it. In case anyone is wondering, the humidity feature warms up the door frame of the fridge so moisture condensation droplets do not form on the door frame, usually between the freezer and fridge door.

X2 on the thought that your batteries were not fully charged regardless what the meter display may have indicated.

X2 that two batteries should last two days easily and more with some well thought out conservation.

If the batteries are the same ones that you posted back in May that were "dead" that could be part of the problem. My understanding is that running the batteries down that low, even just one time, can significantly reduce the serviceable life.

If your rig is in storage with no charger on the batteries your biggest challenge is going to be keeping the batteries up. Unless you want to bring the batteries home to keep them on a charger, you are going to need a solar panel.

Best of luck

* This post was last edited 07/15/18 12:13pm by 2 many 2 *   View edit history

SoundGuy

S Ontario

Senior Member

Joined: 02/11/2015

View Profile



Posted: 07/15/18 12:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2 many 2 wrote:

My four year old Dometic fridge has no "humidity switch" on the door frame like my old rig. With some research I found out it is on ALL THE TIME draining the battery at about 1/2 amp per hour.

With some more research I found the wiring diagram on line and located the wire on the back of the fridge that feeds power to the humidity feature. I unhooked that wire and placed an in line fuse holder and re-connected it. If I ever want the humidity feature while on full hook-ups I simply put a 3amp fuse in the holder.


Great solution, and is exactly the same electrically as cutting the thicker red wire at the fridge's interior light.

mike-s

Michigan

Senior Member

Joined: 10/23/2006

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 07/15/18 12:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some Dometics don't have the heater. Some have a button on the control panel ("CLC", Climate Control), others have a switch along the bottom of the control panel (open the freezer to see it). Some don't have a switch (Dometic engineers are apparently clueless about how their products are used).

The Climate Control heater draws about 0.5 A. Significant, but not enough to drain a battery (in good shape) in a couple of days.

ppine

Northern Nevada

Senior Member

Joined: 07/04/2016

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 07/15/18 01:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need to either reduce your dependence on electronic devices or add a solar system or a generator.

Huntindog

Phoenix AZ

Senior Member

Joined: 04/08/2002

View Profile



Posted: 07/15/18 06:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are going to boondock... Sooner or later you WILL come up short on battery power.
So you NEED a way to recharge them on site, without quitting and going home. Lots of ways to do it. They all have their pluses and minuses. I have and recommend a generator.
My reasons are it can give me plenty of power on demand. Rain or shine, night or day. It is like being plugged in to shore power.
In addition, all of the AC stuff such as microwave and Air conditioner TVs outlets etc, can all be powered without getting an inverter.

Solar and jumping off of the TV battery can recharge your battery, but will not provide the on demand hi power that a generator will. Each of those proponents have vocal fans of those methods, and I believe they have their place... But if you can only do one, and want it to be the most useful... Get a generator. Your wife with her young child will thank you.

On a side note: About a week ago we had a pretty good storm in Phoenix. 3 transformers in my neighborhood blew. Massive power outages everywhere. I hooked up my generators to my TT, and ran a electrical cord to my house's fridge. We spent a comfortable air.conditioned night in the TT, and did not lose any food. Many of my neighbors were panicking and scrambling, some trying to get a motel.... Well a lot of them were without power as well.

Having a generator can really save the day... And is nice to have when camping as well.
[emoticon]

* This post was edited 07/15/18 06:30pm by Huntindog *


Huntindog
100% boondocking
2010 Palomino Sabre 30 BHDS
84 gal. Grey. 84 gal. Black
2 bathrooms, no waiting
2011 Silverado CC DA big dually.



oyarsa

Central Washington

Full Member

Joined: 10/06/2017

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 07/15/18 08:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all the replies and advice!

Huntindog: Good point. We don't get enough storms (or really any), but during the winter there's always the possibility that the power might go off. I doubt it will, but if it did, that would be a very nice option to have!

2 many 2: Is it difficult to get to the back of the fridge? Sounds like I have such a Dometic, so I need to decide between your method, or adding a switch. I'm not very experienced with electrical stuff, but I did add a relay and switches to an old tube style Hammond organ. I didn't kill myself or break anything, so I figure I could tackle this...

Profdant139: Thanks for the support. I don't take offense in forums such as this. I should think most people here realize that just the fact that I am posting questions here means that I hope to learn something. They just forget that sometimes...

My parents made the same suggestion in the past about making a list. I initially intended to follow the advice, but hadn't gotten round to it. I guess it's time!

PaulJ2: It's possible they weren't completely charged. I did have it plugged in to shore power for a day prior to the trip. Maybe that, along with the 2.5 hour drive wasn't enough to fully charge them? Prior to that, they were at a storage area, but disconnected from the trailer.

KerrlakeRoo: Yes, it was stored remotely, but charged (or so I thought) for a day prior to leaving.

Soundguy: Thanks for the post and pictures! I will probably do the same thing in some fashion.

Enblethen: I did have the batteries tested at Autozone after I was afraid I may have drained them too much over the winter. According to the guy there, the batteries are fine. Not sure how much I trusted him, though...

Sillybugs2

Washington

Senior Member

Joined: 08/03/2010

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 07/15/18 09:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Piggybacking. How do i know if my dometic has that? It wasmade in 2015. No switch i see. Last year dry camped with two group 24s ran genny to charfe every other day. Led lights.


2016 Hideout 28BHSWE
2008 Dodge Ram 3500 SLT 6.7L diesel 6 speed auto SRW longbed

bartlettj

Forest Grove, OR

Senior Member

Joined: 04/24/2012

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 07/16/18 01:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have the same fridge, I can run it for 2 weeks without killing my battery if I run nothing else, however I have 220 aH golf cart batteries. The wall monitors aren't very accurate, you either need to measure the battery voltage with a good meter after removing all loads for 20 minutes or measure the battery cell specific gravity to know your state if charge.

profdant139

Southern California

Senior Member

Joined: 11/14/2005

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 07/16/18 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just to add to that thought, it is easy (and useful) to measure specific gravity of each cell. Buy a gadget called a hydrometer at the auto parts store. They make really expensive units for professionals, but the cheap version is good enough for our purposes.

The instructions are right on the instrument. If you see big differences between cells, your battery may be getting ready to die.


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."


Reply to Topic  |  Subscribe  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 6  
Prev  |  Next

Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > First Dry Camping Experience
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Travel Trailers


New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:




© 2020 CWI, Inc. © 2020 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.