electronics questions

Discussion in 'RV Tips & Tricks' started by rjann, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. rjann

    rjann New Member

    Is there an RV electronics book for dummies?

    I have a short battery life, it seems to me, and the coach has two new marine batteries.

    True, there are LEDs on the tv, stereo, vcr, refrig, antenna power, coach power switch, propane leak detector, etc. I never thought LEDs took much juice, though. I camp and run the vent fan for a few hours. Use the water pump a few times. Turn on a light or two. After about four hours of this, if I don't run the generator for 30 minutes I won't make it through the night. I'll have to cut off all coach power in the night to keep the alarm from sounding. Then in the morning when I cut it back on, it's as if nothing was wrong. I have plenty of battery!
     
  2. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: electronics questions

    When I'm dry camping I connect a 10 amp Marine/deep cycle battery charger to my batteries (parallel) and run it off of my 120 V a/c outside plug while my on-board generator is running. It helps keep my batteries charged; however, I have heard that some converters don't work so well while doing this so caution is advised. :eek:
     
  3. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: electronics questions

    There is more using power than just the LEDs. The entertainment electronics all have 'standby' circuits active, constantly looking for a signal from the remote or the push of a button on the front. Antenna amplifier is always amplifying when on. Detectors are always detecting, and fridge controls are always controlling. Plus, if you have any computers built into the coach, they are probably sucking power to keep their memories. If you really think you are drawing too much, then put a current meter in line to your main power line and see how much the draw is.

    Basically, your batteries provide you with a certain number of 'AMP-HOURS'. Lets say they are rated at 100 AH, that means they will provide 1 amp for 100 hours or 4 amps for 25 hours, etc. Of course, this estimate is based on some average rate, so low usage may last longer and high usage may last less, but it does provide a ballpark idea. First of all, for maximum battery life, it is best to not discharge the batteries more than 50%, so if you have 100 AH batteries, you should try to use only 50 AH. So if you draw an average of 10 amps, you should not do it for more than 5 hours, although the batteries will continue to provide power for nearly 10 hours.

    Look on the battery for the AH rating, divide by your average current draw, and that will give you an idea how long the batteries should 'last'. Divide by 2 for the length of time you should use them before recharge.

    Note that many 'marine' batteries are NOT true deep cycle batteries, which is what you want. If the battery has any 'cranking' rating on the battery, then it is not optimal for RV house use. The ones you want will have ONLY an AH rating.
     
  4. rjann

    rjann New Member

    Re: electronics questions

    Thanks hertig.
    I'll check the draw, the AH rating, etc.

    DL: I'm confused. Are you actually running a battery charger while you run your generator? Does't your generator charge the batteries? Thanks
     
  5. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: electronics questions

    Some generators have a charging circuit (My Honda does, but requires a special, overpriced cable so I've never tried it). Most built in RV generators power the RV converter, which charges the batteries. However, some converters are crappy chargers, and boil the water out of the batteries. One option, perhaps what DL does, is to use a better, external charger for the batteries.
     
  6. firestormpro

    firestormpro New Member

    RE: electronics questions

    FIRST DETERMINE WHAT YOUR DRAW IS WITH NOTHING ON. OFTEN EVEN WITH THE BATT DISCONNECT SW OFF THERE IS STILL A DRAW DEPENDING ON WHAT MODEL COACH YOU HAVE SO IN MOST MORDERN RV'S THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS OFF UNLESS YOU UNHOOK THE CABLES FROM THE BATTERY. SECOND AS OTHERS MENTIONED WHAT IS YOUR BATTERY BANK MADE OF MUTIPLE 12v BATTERIES OR BANKS OF 6v BATTERIES. ARE THEY TRUE DEEP CYCLE BATTERIES OR ARE THEY MAINTAINCE FREE. NEXT HOW ARE YOU CHARGEING THEM AND DOES THE CHARGE RATE MATCH THE BATTERIES IT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE YOU ARE USING THE WRONG CHARGE SETTINGS AS WHEN YOU LEFT THE BATTERIES OFF FOR THE NIGHT THE PROBLEM WENT AWAY MEANING THAT THE BATTERIES HAD THE TIME TO ABSORB THE CHARGE RATHER THAN JUST TO PASS IT THRU. ONE OF 2 THINGS WILL NEED TO HAPPEN EITHER YOU WILL LEARN TO LIVE WITH THE SETUP YOU HAVE WHICH MAY MEAN MAKING SOME CHANGES IN HOW YOU USE THINGS OR MAKING SOME CAHNGES IN YOUR BATTERIES OR CHARGER SO GET THEM TO PREFORM AS YOU WANT THEM TO. TO SOLVE THIS YOU NEED TO BE A GOOD REPORTER MAKE NOTES OF WHAT YOU ARE USING AND WHEN EVEN MAKE NOTES OF WHEN YOU HAD NO PROBLEM. I HAVE A ENEXPENSIVE AMP METER I BOUGHT AT SEARS YEARS AGO UNDER 40 BUCKS THEN THAT READS AC AND DC AMPS JUST BY CLAMPING IT OVER THE WIRE YOU MAY BE SUPRIZED AT HOW MUCH POWER YOU REALLY USE. i HAD TO SHOW OUR SALES DEPARTMENT THAT WHEN THEY DEMO A COACH THEY ARE OFTEN RUNNING THE BATTERIES DOWN WHILE THEY ARE PLUGED IN AS THEY ARE USING MORE POWER THAN THE CHARGER PUTS OUT SO EVEN WHEN PLUGGED IN THE BATTERIES ARE GOING DOWN. NOTHING I LIKE BETTER THAN A CUSTOMER WHO DOES HIS HOMEWORK AND HAS GOOD DISCRIPTIONS OF WHAT IS HAPPENING ALL TO OFTEN THE WORK ORDER SAYS CHK THE BATTERIES SO WE TEST THEM BASED ON THE LABEL ON THE BATTERY RATHER THAN BASED ON WHAT THE CUSTOMER NEEDS. THE RESULT IS YOU GET TOLD THE BATTERIES ARE GOOD AND GET BILLED FOR THE TEST AND STILL LEAVE WITH THE PROBLEM EVEN WORSE IS WHEN THE CUSTOMER DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE THE BATTERIES CAUSE HE KNOWS THEY ARE JUNK AND THEY GET REPLACED WITH IDENTICAL BATTERIES ( I HAVEN'T HAD TO BUY A BATTERY IN YEARS THERE IS ALLWAYS A PILE OF GOOD BATTERIES IN THE JUNK PILE BEHIND THE SHOP SO I SWAP MY CORE WITH THE SHOP CORE ) WELL THE NEW BATTERIES SEEM TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM FOR A WHILE THEN THEY COME BACK 6 MONTHS LATER TO COMPLAIN AGAIN AND MOST LIKELY TO PAY FOR IT. IF YOU CAN'T GET BETWEEN 3 AND 5 YEARS OUT OF A GOOD BATTERY SOMETHING IS WRONG AND IT WILL EITHER BE THE CHARGER OR THE APPLICATION DOES NOT MATCH THE BATTERY. REPLACEING A OLD WRONG BATTERY WITH A NEW WRONG BATTERY DOES NOT FIX IT. SO BRING GOOD NOTES TO DISCUSS WITH THE TECH AND MAKE SURE THE TECH KNOWS THERE IS MORE TO A BATTERY THAN A + AND -
    GOOD LUCK
    JIM
     
  7. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: electronics questions

    Whew! ... My eyes hurt after that post!
     
  8. rjann

    rjann New Member

    Re: electronics questions

    Wow Firestormpro. Good info. I have learned a few things not to do at the same time while dry camping, e.g.: fantastic fan + bath vent fan + water pump. The camper has an automatic shut down if the batteries go below 11.5 volts.

    I never had a modern camper until this one. All my other campers had a refrig you actually lit, hot water you actually lit, a vent fan you actually turned on and off after manually opening the lid, etc. Too much automatic stuff seems to eat batteries for very little reason. It's just something else to go wrong, it seems to me. Believe it or not, I prefer things to be operated manually. A fan that closes automatically when it rains is nice, but I think Iwould notice if it were raining in on me.

    Bob
     
  9. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: electronics questions

    Now Tex, don't start the war on caps again :laugh: and all the time from looking at your picture I thought you were blind :laugh: :laugh:
    rjan, I'm with you on all the automatic stuff, wish i still had a telephone with a rotor dial, could talk to a real person when calling for info, had a radio with a knob to turn on and off and dial a station. had to take the MH back to the dealer to find out how to turn the surround sound on :eek: but, even took the tec awhile to figure it out. Have to stop to find another station on the dog gone thing :disapprove:
     
  10. Poppa

    Poppa Member

    Re: electronics questions

    Guess I am getting too dang old , couldn't hardly read all dem dare captial letters
     

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