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boondocking!

Printed From: r-pod Nation
Category: Forest River r-pod
Forum Name: r-pod Adventures
Forum Description: Post your camping adventures here. Feel free to post pictures of you and your 'pod' from around the country...
URL: http://www.rpodNation.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=653
Printed Date: 23 Nov 2014 at 3:12am
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Topic: boondocking!
Posted By: duder
Subject: boondocking!
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2009 at 4:22pm
We are planning a trip to Cades Cove in the Smokey Mtns in TN, they have no elec or water hookups. I know we can run the frig, furnace and water heater on propane, but how long will our lights run on battery only,  they do not allow generators!  Input please!!!!!

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Chuck and Bev
2010 R-Pod 172

Happy Trails!!!!



Replies:
Posted By: duder
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2009 at 4:57pm
and the water pump!  We know the water heater, heat and  frig will run on propane!  Just a little scary the first time out with no hook  ups!  Of course, we didn't have this dilema with our pop up!LOL Just want to get the most bang for our buck!!!!!!

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Chuck and Bev
2010 R-Pod 172

Happy Trails!!!!


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2009 at 5:15pm
We have a 177 on order too and will be in Tennessee after we pick it up.  We had a sailboat before and used battery power for cabin lights, radio, navigation equipment and the battery would hold up a  for week long cruise IF we were conservation in using the equipment.  The key word is conservative.  Camping is different but you can always plug you tow vehicle in and recharge.



Posted By: Outbound
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2009 at 7:00pm
A group 24 battery is generally good for 2-3 nights with common-sense usage.  A group 27 will give you a day or two more and up to a week if you're really frugal.

The furnace fan will have the greatest impact on your battery.  To extend your stay on battery, turn your furnace off during the day and keep it low at night.

The lights are your next biggest user of power.  Use lights only when necessary and don't leave them on if you're outside.  If you're sitting around inside try to use only one fixture; consider unplugging one bulb in the two-bulb fixtures.  Bring along a battery-powered booklight for reading in bed.  Don't use your porchlight - bring along a naptha or propane lantern.

Algonquin Provincial Park, our favourite place to camp, has a strict no-generators-in-the-campground policy.  Most of the time, we reserve a site with electrical service.  But, occasionally we decide to stay at on of the periphery campgrounds with fantastic access to the interior that have no services at all.  In these cases, every other day I load up my truck with the generator, my  40 amp charger, the camper's battery, a lawn chair and a good book and drive outside the campground and find a pull-off somewhere along the road where I can sit and read and charge the battery with the generator.  Usually, an hour's charge will do.


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Craig :: 2008 Mazda Tribute :: 2009 r-pod 171, The Johnnie Ray


Posted By: gmandual
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2009 at 7:19pm
Speaking of lights and boondocking.   Do any of your have LED lights in any of your fixtures?   It seems that half of the lights in my R-POD are LED and the other half are incadecent.   The light fixtures are exactly the same, but just the bulb assemblies in them are different.  The dealer didn't seem to know why half where LED, as the other trailers on his lot where all incadecent bulbs.   So not sure if someone had put them in by request for a potential buyer or what.
 
Back on topic:
When I used my tent trailer out boondocking, I had picked up a set of 6 LED landscaping lights.    Just cheap little plastic ones, pulled them apart and put in a little switch in each to turn them off and on.  Took the spike off the bottom, and tied strings to the top and turned them into little hanging lanterns.   Would just put them outside during the day to charge, then each would give about 3-6 hours of light at night if we needed em around the tent trailer.   Also where nice outside after dark.
 
But now days you can buy solar rechargable lanterns that are just fancy versions of what I hacked together years ago.
 
 


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2009 at 8:11am
We boondocked last weekend, 2 nights.  Normal use of lights and water pump, sparing use of the furnace, and still had 3/4 charge at the end of the weekend.  That was going by the monitor, I didn't measure the actual voltage or pH level.
 
gmandual - No LEDs in mine at all.
 
Outbound - with the charging profile of lead acid batteries, you could get away with charging from your tow vehicle, via jumper cables, for a half-hour every other day.  The large current they accept at first balances out many hours of lights and water pump.  Someone on another forum took measurements of a 50%-drained battery (via a shunt), that was charged that way and confirmed the large inrush, starting over 40 amps.  I think you can save yourself a trip to the side of the road!


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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: Outbound
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2009 at 8:37am
gmandual - no LEDs in my r-pod either.  I'd be interested in knowing what type/brand FR supplied you with.

techntrek - shhhh.  On some trips, the charging run is the only alone time that I get.  The rest of my day I'm always forced to be busy doing something; I never get to just sit and read when the both of us go camping.  Funny that the best peace and quiet is by the drone of a generator.


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Craig :: 2008 Mazda Tribute :: 2009 r-pod 171, The Johnnie Ray


Posted By: pepperpod
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2009 at 9:37am
Originally posted by Outbound Outbound wrote:

gmandual - no LEDs in my r-pod either.  I'd be interested in knowing what type/brand FR supplied you with.

techntrek - shhhh.  On some trips, the charging run is the only alone time that I get.  The rest of my day I'm always forced to be busy doing something; I never get to just sit and read when the both of us go camping.  Funny that the best peace and quiet is by the drone of a generator.
LOL


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Pepper,Coach,and Henry (a very brave little Maltese)
R Pod 172

The rewards of the journey far outweigh the risk of leaving the harbor...unknown


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2009 at 1:50pm
Originally posted by Outbound Outbound wrote:

techntrek - shhhh.  On some trips, the charging run is the only alone time that I get.  The rest of my day I'm always forced to be busy doing something; I never get to just sit and read when the both of us go camping.  Funny that the best peace and quiet is by the drone of a generator.
 
I had a suspicion that was the case!   Its our secret.  Clap


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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 05 Oct 2009 at 7:06am
My biggest complaint with the r-pod was the battery installed by ? when I bought it. It didn't hold a charge and even with running my generator to charge it, it seemed to take forever to get a charge. And if I forgot to turn off everything, I came home to a dead battery. People in the parks told me to get a 12 volt Marine deep somthing for RVs. Other comments on the forum suggested 2- 6 volt batteries. HELP please on the best decision. I was running my generator just so I had battery power.
Roxy


Posted By: Outbound
Date Posted: 05 Oct 2009 at 8:11am
Roxy, how long of a stretch do you dry camp/boondock?  1-2 days, 3-4 days, a week, two weeks?  Obviously, you need more substantial batteries for a longer time off the grid.

I'll keep my recommendation simple and not go into long descriptions of lead plate thicknesses, gel, glass mat and other details you're not interested in. I do know that you've got a generator, and are willing to use it.  As a guess and a cost-effective solution, I'll suggest a group 27 marine (deep cycle) battery.  A group 27 will get you 3-4 days off the grid with moderate use (2-3 days if its cold outside and your furnace is running regularly).  Group 27s are everywhere - I buy mine at Costco for around $110 CDN and have been quite happy; I've also seen them at WalMart.  Please note that you're looking for a 'marine' battery, not a 'marine starting' battery - its a subtle difference, but its important.

The single most important piece of advice I can give you is: never let your battery go flat.  A lead-acid battery has about 4 full discharges in it before it dramatically affects battery life.  When you're boondocking, make sure to charge your battery every other day.


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Craig :: 2008 Mazda Tribute :: 2009 r-pod 171, The Johnnie Ray


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 05 Oct 2009 at 3:04pm
Definitely not something right with that battery.  I've gone 3 days in cool weather with lights, water pump, heater all going and still have 3/4 charge (per the built-in monitor).
 
As suggested, hit Wal-Mart for one of their group 27 marine deep cycle batteries (model number will start with DC-xx).  Best bang for the buck for the average camper.   You would have to be camping every other weekend before more expensive models will pay off.  IMO.


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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: duder
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 6:57am
The battery that came with our 172 is a group 24 deep cyle battery, we plan on taking a fully charged car battery along with us just in case.  Is there any difference in using a regular car battery on the pod vs a deep cycle battery??Confused

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Chuck and Bev
2010 R-Pod 172

Happy Trails!!!!


Posted By: HuronSailor
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 10:36am
The car battery can put out lots of power at once, but only for a relatively short time. The deep cycle battery's internal structure is made to produce power at a lower level than the car battery, but it can do it for hours.
 
A car battery will work for a while, but IMO, if I was planning a multi-day trip with no shore power available I'd have a second deep cycle battery just in case.


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.: Mark & Beth :: Silverado 5.3L :: "arrrr"Pod 172 :: http://picasaweb.google.com/mark.a.mowery - My Albums :: http://ourrpod.blogspot.com/ - OurPod Blog ::


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 2:50pm
I wouldn't use a car battery more than a day to prevent damaging it. 

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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: duder
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 4:08pm
Thank you all for the great feedback... I will let you all know how we do!!Big smile

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Chuck and Bev
2010 R-Pod 172

Happy Trails!!!!


Posted By: PodPatrol
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 4:25pm
A car battery is needed to provide enough "starting" power to start
your car engine even in very cold weather. Thus needing the initial
burst of power. An RV battery doesn't need that. The RV needs a
continuous level source of power.
The marine 27 deep cycle is the best bet.
Remember you don't need a "starting" battery, just a good power
source.

HAPPY PODing !!!


Posted By: gmandual
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 4:27pm
Just as an FYI, don't ever hook up a car (starter) battery in parallel with a deepcycle or marine battery.     Due to the different voltage drop curves as the batteries discharge and charge (because of difference in battery type) you can end up damaging your deep cycle and your auto battery.  


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 4:43pm
Actually all lead acid battery types have the same charge and discharge characteristics.  The difference comes only when charging sealed versions, which require a lower peak charging voltage to prevent outgassing.  You shouldn't hook up different battery types (or the same types with different ages) on a permanent basis, because difference in internal resistance will leave one of them undercharged.
 
That said, there will be no harm hooking up differnt types via jumper cables and charging your deep cycle battery via your tow vehicle for a half-hour out in the field.  Just don't take them home and charge them together all the time.


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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 5:49pm
Went to Cosco - they had the optima blue top marine battery. What is the difference between a marine battery and a marine rv battery?

The optima are gel, also.

They had the kirkland marine battery that was acid and cheaper.

Last night I talked to a friend and he suggested I get two yellow top optimas and we (he) will connect them negative to negative and positive to positive and that will give me the 12 volts but longer battery power.

Any comments on this suggestion?/solution?

Roxy


Posted By: Outbound
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 6:19pm
Originally posted by retired Roxy retired Roxy wrote:

Last night I talked to a friend and he suggested I get two yellow top optimas and we (he) will connect them negative to negative and positive to positive and that will give me the 12 volts but longer battery power.

Any comments on this suggestion?/solution?


Yellow-topped Optimas are deep-cycle cranking batteries; they are a compromise between high amps for starting a motor and power storage.  The blue ones are marine & rv and are purely for power storage.  If you decide to go with Optima batteries, you'll want the blue-topped one.

But, frankly, I think that the Optimas are overpriced for what you get.  Personally, I've used the Kirkland deep cycle batteries for many years and have been quite happy.

Roxy, the batteries you select, and the decision to use two batteries instead of one, depend on how long you want to be able to stay off the grid.  As you already own a generator and bring it along with you, I question why you would also want to be able to go 9+ days without recharging.  It seems like an awful waste of money to me.

But, maybe I've misunderstood something.  Roxy, what exactly would you like to be able to do with your battery?  How long would you like to go without recharging?


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Craig :: 2008 Mazda Tribute :: 2009 r-pod 171, The Johnnie Ray


Posted By: gmandual
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 6:44pm

Honestly a marine battery can be just about anything.   It just means that it has been rated for marine use.    You will find marine starter (SLI) and marine deep cycle batteries.   Marine batteries doesn't necessarily indicate its a deep cycle battery which is what you want.   

The yellow top optima batteries are a dual purpose deepcycle/starting battery hybrid.    The optima blue tops are marine/rv deep cycle batteries.   The optima batteries are high quality batteries, have used the blue top ones in more then a few solar storage arrays.  (If I get time down the road will finish writting up my "Sola-rpod" article on going solar with an rpod)   There are much cheaper deep cycle batteries out there other then the optima's that will give roughly the same performance. 
 
Below is the proper way to wire batteries in parallel to help maintain equal charge and discharges across both batteries.  If top battery is battery one and bottom is battery #2   Connect positive to battery #1 then from its terminal positive terminal battery #2.   Connect negative from trailer to negative on battery #2 then from there to negative on battery #1.
I appologize for my bad graphical skills.
 


Posted By: gmandual
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 6:46pm
Yes its really that sad.   Outbounds post wasn't there when I started my post, and from the looks of his time 8:19 and my time 8:44, it means it took me almost 24 minutes to make that stupid graphic and get it uploaded.   sigh............


Posted By: PodPatrol
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 7:10pm

Great information here for batteries. I feel well-educated now about the types and use.

Great graphic G-man ... that is what I plan on doing eventually, running two batteries together. I will make sure they are both identical, and new when I make the mod.
(27 marine type)
Sometimes hook-ups arent available, so its good to know between the LP and the batteries someone could camp for days if their use of power is conservative.


Posted By: boldham
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2009 at 7:53pm
Originally posted by gmandual gmandual wrote:

Speaking of lights and boondocking.   Do any of your have LED lights in any of your fixtures?   It seems that half of the lights in my R-POD are LED and the other half are incadecent.   The light fixtures are exactly the same, but just the bulb assemblies in them are different.  The dealer didn't seem to know why half where LED, as the other trailers on his lot where all incadecent bulbs.   So not sure if someone had put them in by request for a potential buyer or what.
 
You are lucky if  your R-Pod came with LEDs. They hardly draw any power and they're quite expensive!
On mine, interior lights are type 921 and the amber exterior light is 1141. If anyone is interested in converting to LEDs, I received the following information from http://www.superbrightleds.com - www.superbrightleds.com . A bit pricey to convert all of them, but I'm thinking of trying them for at least a few of mine.
 
For overhead interior lighting we recommend the following 921
replacements:

WLED-WHP6-D:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/WLED-WHP6-D.htm#OTHER - http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/WLED-WHP6-D.htm#OTHER

WLED-WHP10-D:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/WLED-xHP10-D.htm#OTHER - http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/WLED-xHP10-D.htm#OTHER

T10-PCB:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/pcblamp_T10.htm - http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/pcblamp_T10.htm
 
The 1156 cross references for the 1141. Depending on how the bulb
is mounted in your fixture I recommend the following:

1156-W18-T:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/1156-x18-T.htm#OTHER - http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/1156-x18-T.htm#OTHER

BA15s-WLX1:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/BA15S-WLX.htm - http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/BA15S-WLX.htm

1156-PCB:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/pcblamp.htm - http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/pcblamp.htm


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 5:33am
Thanks for the info on batteries - I was so frustrated in Yosemite. I kept running out of battery power and they had limits on when one could use their generators. (couldn't use past 7:00 pm and before 8 or 9 am) If I was in camp I kept starting mine cause I was out of power. Since I plan on doing a lot of state and natl. park camping It would be nice to be able to leave a light on (probably by accident but still on) and not come back to a whistle sound blowing and no power.

According to earlier posts If I am going to run two I need to buy them at the same time so-o-o- do I buy just one and realize I want two or just overkill and go for it. I'm at the point of overkill. It would be nice to spend the evening in my trailer and not be afraid to have the light(s) on! For a night light I was leaving a flashlight on 'cause i would run out of power!

Roxy


Posted By: HuronSailor
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 5:51am

The battery that came with your rpod is pretty new. If it were me, I'd just buy another one and not worry about it.

If the original battery was several years old it would likely cause you some problems as the older battery comes to the end of its useful life.


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.: Mark & Beth :: Silverado 5.3L :: "arrrr"Pod 172 :: http://picasaweb.google.com/mark.a.mowery - My Albums :: http://ourrpod.blogspot.com/ - OurPod Blog ::


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 6:03am
Roxy
You may want to get a little more scientific in your approach.  Two batteries are fine and as Huronsailor said just buy another one like the one you have.  Try to determine how much power you need by determining how many amps your equipment is using and then multiply that by how many hours the equipment is running, (light, fans, etc)  Here is some info about amp hour capacity for batteries for your consideration.  Each battery has an "amp hour " rating as explained here so find out the amp hour rating of your battery and multiply that by two if you get the second one and that will give you a good idea how long you can boondock without recharging.  Hope this helps.
"

Battery Storage Capacity Ratings

Two standard ratings are used to measure a battery's storage capacity.

Amp Hours

The Amp Hour rating tells you how much amperage is available when discharged evenly over a 20 hour period. The amp hour rating is cumulative, so in order to know how many constant amps the battery will output for 20 hours, you have to divide the amp hour rating by 20. Example: If a battery has an amp hour rating of 75, dividing by 20 = 3.75. Such a battery can carry a 3.75 amp load for 20 hours before dropping to 10.5 volts. (10.5 volts is the fully discharged level, at which point the battery needs to be recharged.) A battery with an amp hour rating of 55 will carry a 2.75 amp load for 20 hours before dropping to 10.5 volts.

Reserve Minutes

Reserve minutes is the number of minutes a battery will carry a 25 amp load before dropping to 10.5 volts. (10.5 volts is the fully discharged level, at which point the battery needs to be recharged.) "


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Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: HuronSailor
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 6:58am

This is good advice if you're planning on doing any serious off grid camping, and want to keep generator use to a minimum. We did this on our boat so we could stay anchored for a minimum of two days and use all the onboard conveniences. Far and away the largest drain on the system was the 12V refrigeration. By the time we were done we ended up with 4 honkin' big Deka flooded DC batteries arranged in two banks of two each. We could stay out two days before bank 1 got to 50% discharge. At that point we switched to bank 2 and either pulled anchor, or ran the diesel or our little Honda genset to charge.

I think you'll find that in the rpod it won't be nearly that complicated. Two DC batteries will last you a relatively long time, as long as you run the fridge on propane. Even though the rpod fridge uses a more efficient technology than the one on our boat, I'll bet it's still the biggest battery sucker (edit: when used on 12V.)


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.: Mark & Beth :: Silverado 5.3L :: "arrrr"Pod 172 :: http://picasaweb.google.com/mark.a.mowery - My Albums :: http://ourrpod.blogspot.com/ - OurPod Blog ::


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 10:17am
Roxy, did you keep a light on all night as a nightlight?
 
Did you use the furnace?
 
Did you run your fridge on 12V or propane?


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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: gmandual
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 11:36am
FYI:   Even when on propane the dometic fridge will draw about 10 to 12 AH a day so that needs to be taken into account.   I believe you can get a solar powered retrofit kit for the some dometic fridges,  just not sure if its available for the particular model in the rpods.


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 11:56am
gmandual
That is good to know.  I saw somewhere on here a list of general amperage draws for various item on a travel trailer but can't seem to find it.  It had things like light bulbs, microwaves, refrigerators, tube type TV's, Falt screen TV's, DVDs  etc.  Do you have any idea where it is ?
I think some don't realize just how much power is required to run the things in a travel trailer so it would be nice to have the list.  If it can't be found maybe I can put one together.



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Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 12:31pm
Ran the fridge on propane and only ran the heater with the generator going. I forgot one night and left the porch lite on - woke to the whistle sound. Left the pump light on, cam home to no battery power. After seven, when it was dark I just used a battery powered light or I would not have had power if needed. I ran the generator 2-3(45 mins to 1 hour each time) times per day to charge the battery/use the heater and heat up the hot water tank.. I am thinking it is not a very good battery.

I am going to go with overkill and put 2 new ones on the 172. Tonight I am doing the 24 hour 'Relay for life' and I will be using battery for the next two nights so overkill here I come!

Roxy


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 1:15pm
Here is a calculation sheet for estimating power consumption in an RV found on a solar power equipment provider.  No endorsement just a handy calculation sheet.
http://www.pvpower.com/pdf/datasheets/go%20power/mobile_power_guide.pdf

Here is the link provided by rpodAdmin for power consumption. 
http://www.rpodnation.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=77

Maybe you can use these to guide you decision on what batteries to purchase.  I agree with you, there is either something wrong with your battery or there is a loose connection somewhere.  Do you have a volt meter to check to see if you get a full charge on the battery each time?  A single light left on over night shouldn't run a good -fully charged battery down.


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Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 2:24pm
I bought 2 kirkland batteries. I am going to have one installed in a few minutes. They are going to check for an energy leak.    On my way to Relay For Life!
Roxy


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 5:18pm
Yeah, the porch light on for 10 hours would only be about 15 amps.  Add the fridge on propane (but using .5 amp per hour still), and running the heater only when the genset was on (which would also be recharging the battery) and there is no way you should have been running out of juice.

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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 7:05pm
The person checking for an energy leak said there was not one. The battery they gave me was a maring heavy duty Now have one kirkland marine deep cell that will be put to the test this weekend. I hope to not use the generator to see how long the battery lasts. On Sunday the other one will be installed and the decision to put on/off switches on the batteries or just run in parallel and charge in parallel is the decision to be made. Any opinions out there?


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2009 at 7:23pm
Roxy
How did the Relay for Life go ?
Good to hear you have a new battery and they didn't find any problems.  Seems to indicate the old battery was at fault.  If it were me having two batteries installed I would put in a switch used by boaters that has positions for 1 battery,(either one), or two batteries together or no batteries. (OFF).  That way you could use one battery and if it ran down you would have a back up.  If you power usage was such that you needed two batteries you could switch on both and then when you didn't need them you could switch them off.
It is bugging me as to why you battery ran down so quickly.  Did the folks that installed your new battery test your old battery with a load tester ?
If you want to look at the marine switch let me know and I will post web sites that sell them.
If all you want to do is turn the batteries off when not being used then the instructions posted on this site and by Lee look good.


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Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: PodPatrol
Date Posted: 10 Oct 2009 at 5:35am
Originally posted by Sandpiper Sandpiper wrote:

Roxy
If it were me having two batteries installed I would put in a switch used by boaters that has positions for 1 battery,(either one), or two batteries together or no batteries. (OFF).  That way you could use one battery and if it ran down you would have a back up.  If you power usage was such that you needed two batteries you could switch on both and then when you didn't need them you could switch them off.
 
Now that's the ticket !!! "Options" are a campers best friend !!
 
Thumbs Up 


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 7:03am
It's Sunday morning and I am home. I deliberatly left a light on in the trailer throughout the evening yesterday to test the new battery. It started out saying I had a full charge. Then later with just the frig on and some emergency lite near the floor it dropped to 2/3 full and I thought oh -----. Later it said full charge when I checked it. ???? I left lights on for hours at a time - napped with lights on for a few hours, left a light on for Cody, then left the door light on and it stayed at 2/3 battery charge I pulled out this morning still on 2/3 battery charge My old battery would have been dead, dead, dead. This was more use in one night than I did in a week at Yosemite.

This morning I get the other one installed.

RE: Relay for Life. I am a 'survivor' as we are called for 28 years. Each year our weekend event keeps growing with more participants and more enthusiasm to raise $$$ for the American Cancer Society. I stayed for the whole event because I now have my r-pod- which drew a lot of attention with the biggest comment -' it's so cute!' Because of its retro look it stands out from all of the others. I was parked next to 35 to 40 footers.

Roxy


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 7:47am
Roxy
The news that your new battery held up is great.  I think you can safely say your old battery was junk.  With two new batteries you will be able to boondock comfortably for several days without running the generator.  You most likely now know more about batteries than you ever wanted to know.  Adding the switch to shut off all power to the trailer when it is not being used will help too.


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Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: Bigbit
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 8:08am
Originally posted by retired Roxy retired Roxy wrote:

The person checking for an energy leak said there was not one. The battery they gave me was a maring heavy duty Now have one kirkland marine deep cell that will be put to the test this weekend. I hope to not use the generator to see how long the battery lasts. On Sunday the other one will be installed and the decision to put on/off switches on the batteries or just run in parallel and charge in parallel is the decision to be made. Any opinions out there?
Roxy,
 
Since you and I bought our RV's from the same place, you now have me officially concerned about mine (the RV dealer supplies the battery as Forest River does not).   Can you please tell me what the battery make was that you replaced?  I want to check against mine as I have not been overly impressed with my battery so far.  I put the battery switch on my battery case because I got tired of finding the battery close to dead after a week or two in storage...


-------------
Regards,

Bigbit

2010 Trailmanor Elkmont
Tow Vehicle: 2009 Buick Enclave CXL (Cliffy)


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 11:34am
Hi Bigbit,

The battery I took off the r-pod is a Centennial Heavy Duty Marine 24S-5mf. I think I found it on their web site under marine-low maintenance. Its RC was 90 minutes. (whatever that means) but is is the lowest rated battery they make. I think it is the cheapest they can install to make sure the electric brakes work as someone suggested in an earlier post.

The kirklands I bought are not maintance free but I think I can handle adding liquid and checking every few months. They were the cheapest out there. At this time I am running them in parallel so I can charge in parallel as I drive down the road. If I change my mind I can make changes later.

Roxy



Posted By: Bigbit
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 12:32pm
Originally posted by retired Roxy retired Roxy wrote:

Hi Bigbit,

The battery I took off the r-pod is a Centennial Heavy Duty Marine 24S-5mf. I think I found it on their web site under marine-low maintenance. Its RC was 90 minutes. (whatever that means) but is is the lowest rated battery they make. I think it is the cheapest they can install to make sure the electric brakes work as someone suggested in an earlier post.
Thanks for the feedback, Roxy.  I will check next weekend when I next go camping.  I would be surprised if mine is different or any better. 


-------------
Regards,

Bigbit

2010 Trailmanor Elkmont
Tow Vehicle: 2009 Buick Enclave CXL (Cliffy)


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 2:23pm
We have a winner, bad battery as expected.

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'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 2:40pm
It seemed to me that your battery failed prematurely Roxy.  I checked on Centennial's website and this is what is says on the home page"Superior "Free Replacement" Warranties".
I would approach Centennial and see if I couldn't get some sort of adjustment on the battery.  It isn't over 1 year old is it ?
For your info the RC means "Reserve Capacity"  In the case of your battery it was 90 minutes @ 25 amps. 
That means you should have been able to draw 25 amps from that battery for 1 1/2 hours before the voltage dropped to 10.5 volts.  Or you should have been able to draw 1 amp for  37.5 hours.  Outbound said in another forum that the fridge fan draws about 1.25 amps.  So that and a 1 amp light bulb could have gone for about 17 hours before your alarm would go off. Obviously you were not able to do that so the battery was defective.  Even Wal Mart will replace a battery at no charge if it fails in the first year and prorate the charges for three years on most of their batteries. ( Not recommending Wal Mart just using as an example of warranties.)


-------------
Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: gmandual
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 4:21pm
The fact of the matter is the dealership put in a battery that was just plain to small to be used for boondocking.  I bet money the battery is fine.   Its just way too small. 
 
You never want to discharge a deep cycle battery more then to 50% SOC or you are going to significantly shorten the life of your battery.   So should always plan on taking AH rating of battery in half and plan to that.   A battery that is discharged to 50% will have a useful lifetime up to 4 times that of a battery discharge to 20%.
 
When I bought mine it came with a centennial DP24MFS which is rated at 120RC which is about 50AH.   Which is fine for most stuff, but still it too small for boondocking.   The one that came with Roxy's was just way too small.
 
On the interior most bulbs on the r-pod are GE 921 bulbs wich are 18W 1.4AMP bulb.
On my 172:
- Two lights in back of cabin- 1 bulb each
- Light over sink - 1 bulb
- Light in bathroom - 1 bulb
- Two overhead cabin lights - 2 bulbs each
 
So any of the lights with two bulbs will use about 2.8amps (36 watts) while on, while the others will use 1.4amps (18watts).   Add the use of the lights to the fridge pulling 10AH-15AH a day even when on propane and add to that the furnace fan or porch light, and can see how battery was dieing. 
 
I was hoping to have the AH meter all wired into my trailer this weekend, but been sick most the weekend.   Once I get the meter wired in, will be able to give folks hard numbers for all 12v devices in my 172.  


Posted By: gmandual
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 4:30pm

Roxy,

Can you double check the part number of the centennial battery that original came on the trailer.   I can't find a specific model number in my cross reference book, but the one that was close didn't cross reference to a deep cycle battery but cross references to a starter battery.
 
DC****  Batteries from Centenntial are Deep Cycle
DP****  Batteries from Centennial are Dual Purpase
**SM*** Batteries from Centennial are Starter Batteries (not deep cycle)
 
A 24SM5F  Would be a starter battery, and would further explain why you where having so many problems with it.


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 4:34pm
gmandual
You may be quite correct the battery was too small and I think it was the wrong type.  The only way to know for sure if it was bad would be to properly load test the battery and that most likely can't happen now that Roxy has new batteries.  I will definitely be interested in your hard data once you are instrumented.   I was at a disadvantage in trying to diagnose the problem since I don't have my R-Pod yet and so could only speak in generalities.  I do know from my sail boating experience that one can't expect miracles from a single battery but if used conservatively they can provide a lot of service.  Your approach of getting the hard facts is the correct one.


-------------
Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: PodPatrol
Date Posted: 11 Oct 2009 at 5:17pm
Originally posted by gmandual gmandual wrote:

I was hoping to have the AH meter all wired into my trailer this weekend, but been sick most the weekend.   Once I get the meter wired in, will be able to give folks hard numbers for all 12v devices in my 172.  
 
 
Kewl !!! Keep us informed g-man. Sounds like infoe Id be interested in !!
 
HAPPY PODing !!!


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 9:15am
Here is the infor on the battery - I copied everything down so some may be worthless information:

Centennial Maintenance Free
Heavy Duty Power
Wtart with the best
Marine

group size
24SM - 5MF

Requires recept for warranty
age dot either 6H or H9

I found it on Centennials web site under Marine low maintance, I think

I've learned alot about batteries. I want to thank all of you for your input, directions, advice. I may have done an 'overkill" by adding two batteries but it can only make boondocking less stressful and more enjoyable by not running out of power. I plan on doing lots of Natl. Park camping/volunteering (most of the older parks have no site hookups) and taking care of problems and issues now is worth the effort.

Roxy


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 9:17am
Originally posted by retired Roxy retired Roxy wrote:

Here is the infor on the battery - I copied everything down so some may be worthless information:

Centennial Maintenance Free
Heavy Duty Power
Start with the best
Marine

group size
24SM - 5MF

Requires recept for warranty
age dot either 6H or H9

I found it on Centennials web site under Marine low maintance, I think

I've learned alot about batteries. I want to thank all of you for your input, directions, advice. I may have done an 'overkill" by adding two batteries but it can only make boondocking less stressful and more enjoyable by not running out of power. I plan on doing lots of Natl. Park camping/volunteering (most of the older parks have no site hookups) and taking care of problems and issues now is worth the effort.

Roxy


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 9:18am
Sorry about the duplicate, I was trying to correct a spelling error - I goofed again.


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 9:26am
Roxy
My guess is the date code is 6H9 which could be 6  Aug ( eighth month  )  2009 .  When did you purchase your r pod.  Can you go back to the dealer and see if he will make an adjustment or is it just too much trouble ?
 For what it's worth, I think you made the right decision in getting two batteries with your planned use of the pod.
Wish you well in your "Podding".Big smile

-------------
Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: retired Roxy
Date Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 11:16am
too much work. I need to take it back for a little warranty work but I agree with the earlier post, it is the cheapest one to make the electronic brakes work until I get it home. The battery may be ok for other uses just not for my r-pod.

What would you use a low end, starter marine battery for? Is it worth trying to sell on craigs list?


Posted By: Sandpiper
Date Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 1:25pm
Roxy
Some sailboats  use marine starting batteries for their outboard engines and so do small motor boaters.  Craigs list might be an option.  I've never used it but lots of folks do.  I would think you could get a few bucks for it.



-------------
Sandpiper
Mrs.'Piper
Ford 150-[Mini Lite 2104S]


Posted By: duder
Date Posted: 23 Oct 2009 at 9:10am
Big smile Just wanted to update everyone on our trip to Cades Cove!  Had a great time and never ran out of battery power, water or propane!  We did conserve, but we did manage quick showers, only had to use the furnace 1 night, but used used the hot water heater for washing dishes and showers! 
Battery kept saying either full charge or 3/4...we were very supprised !  We used lanterns outside at night, we love using them anyway,  Which one guy pulling in next to us was very lucky we had them. It was after dark, and believe me I mean DARK..when a new neighbor arrived, he was driving one of those monster buses!  Hubby and I got our lanterns and had to guide  him into  the site..I felt like I was working on a landing strip!   His wife said they were new to RVing, and appreciated our help.  I felt very lucky to have our little POD! 
Now we are not so anxious about boondocking and can't wait to go again, we actually enjoy it more than staying in a campground with all the amenities...much more like camping! Give me a lantern and a campfire and the Pod..and all is good with the world!Thumbs Up  Happy Trails!


-------------
Chuck and Bev
2010 R-Pod 172

Happy Trails!!!!


Posted By: Leaflin
Date Posted: 23 Oct 2009 at 12:02pm
I was anxious to know how you got along at Cades Cove. My husband and I tent camped at Smokemont over 30 years ago and I have so wanted to return.
John Olivers Cabin has been a theme for many of my paintings.
 
I'm glad you guys had a great time!


Posted By: techntrek
Date Posted: 23 Oct 2009 at 2:38pm
Yay!

-------------
'10 Forest River R-pod 171


Posted By: PodPatrol
Date Posted: 28 Oct 2009 at 3:40am
I was checking out batteries for possible replacement of the standard one
that came with the Pod.

I ran into a few articles that mentioned "GOLF CART" batteries as being of
the highest quality and reliability.

I was wondering if anyone had looked into this yet, or perhaps I've
missed the post.

HAPPY PODing !!!


Posted By: pepperpod
Date Posted: 28 Oct 2009 at 3:58am
I asked that question and got an answer.   Search the word "golfcart".  Hope you find it.
Pepperpod


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Pepper,Coach,and Henry (a very brave little Maltese)
R Pod 172

The rewards of the journey far outweigh the risk of leaving the harbor...unknown


Posted By: duder
Date Posted: 28 Oct 2009 at 5:24am
Make sure the battery on your R-Pod is a group 24 or 27 Deep Cycle battery and you should be fine!  You can purchase them at Wal-mart for around 85.00. From all the info I have gathered and our experience at Cades Cove it is really all you need.  Even if you will be boondocking for more than 3-4 days you can charge it with your tow vehicle about 30 min every other day.  I was VERY anxious about it, but now I am confident we could be fine for quite awhile!Big smile  Thanks to all the info I found in this forum!

-------------
Chuck and Bev
2010 R-Pod 172

Happy Trails!!!!


Posted By: fivepassgeorge
Date Posted: 28 Mar 2010 at 11:58pm
I installed the Walmart battery box today along with the battery and box which came with the RPOD.  So both boxes fit now however the Walmart box is much larger and obviously takes a larger RV battery.  The other battery box contains the Interstate battery regular size and is new.  So what kind of battery would one put in the Walmart box.  Do I have to use identical batteries or does that really matter?  Please advise and thanks.


Posted By: Larry
Date Posted: 29 Mar 2010 at 4:35am

If you’re going to link the two batteries together than it is advisable to use identical batteries because batteries charge and drain at different rates depending on how new they are, etc. So if you’re going to link two batteries together than make sure they are the same type, make, and age. But if you’re going to use the batteries separate; that is hookup one and when it runs out disconnect it and hookup the other one, then the batteries do not need to be identical.

I have two batteries on my pod; they are linked together to make one big battery so I don’t have to keep unhooking one and changing the cables over to the other one. I made sure that my batteries are identical in every respect. But as earlier said; if you’re not going to link them together than don’t worry about it. I don’t know about the Wal-Mart battery box; both of my battery boxes are the same size, but whatever battery you put in it make sure it is a deep cycle RV battery and not just a regular car battery.




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