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Travel trailer battery


CathyinMB

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My husband and I are new to camping and have a few questions to start. We had a brand new battery installed (long story) 2 weeks ago and the camper has been in our driveway since. Today we went out to get it ready to take a trip this coming weekend and the battery is dead!! Is this normal?

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Welcome to the escapees. You are so new, that you have given no information on which to answer your question. :ph34r::) That being said I am crazy enough to hazard a guess. You have some type of RV .like a motorhome, 5thwheel, travel trailer or the like. Depending on the age of the rv , most modern one have at least one item that consumes electric and that is the refrigerator controls and panel. There may be other things like a builtin radio or more. There is a more but this is a first guess. When you give a little more info there are some sharp people here that can help and be more specific. Just try not to make as many mistakes as I made when I started out. :P You have already bested me one but your going to have to work a lot harder to make more than me.

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I'm sorry, let me be more specific. We bought a 2013 30 ft Coleman travel trailer from a very nice gentleman in January 2015. We took her into a "supercenter" to have a few things fixed and $858.00 dollars later we brought our new "home" home and parked it in our driveway. We had nothing running but when we went out today the battery needed charged to turn on the lights. It does have a built in radio but we didn't have it on. Also, just to be clear, part of the $858.00 was the new battery.

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Hi could you tell us the name and model of battery? The most likely answer is that something is drawing (rather than a bad battery) but a bad connection remains a possibility. Do you have a fridge, heater. Check to make sure these are off for sure and that no light is on. It is not unusual to have a "phantom load" and it is just a matter of narrowing down the possibilities. In the meanwhile the battery should be charged as soon as possible.

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CathyMB,

 

Welcome to the Escapees Forum!! If the trailer sat for two weeks without being plugged into a source of shore power to keep the battery charged; the propane detector, clock on the radio and possibly other always on items will drain a single battery. If you are going to leave the trailer for periods of time without plugging it in, you need to disconnect the battery or install a battery disconnect switch like one of these.

Again, Welcome to the Escapees Forum!!

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My TT is a 30ft. 97 model. Turns out that my radio w/cassette had a lighted dial that I did not see until I had all the lights off at night. Also I forgot about the propane detector. If you will be leaving it sitting for extended times or if you will be camping without electric hook ups you may want to look into some type of solar even if minimal. The disconnect is a good first start. That is a plus and a minus of the newer rv's. Electrics make things run more efficiently and comfortable but make it a little more troublesome to camp without hook ups. My old 1978 trailer had the old style refrigerator that did not require electric to operate off propane.

 

Until you at a battery disconnect switch you can just remove the negative battery cable from the battery.

Remember just havein somethings turned off doesn't mean they are not still drawing at least minmal power from your battery.

Most modern tv's use at least a small amount of power even when turned off. My rv tv is a 12volt tv that is not instant on and it still draws a minimum. I use a surge protector that has a an on off switch that I can stop all power to items plugged into it.

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I think we will disconnect the battery when we park it just to be safe. We are heading to Pigeon Forge TN this Friday for a few days...here's to hoping to a smooth, happy go lucky trip!! We plan on doing a lot of traveling this summer. If all goes well we'd like to hit the road full time

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are pleased that you have chosen us and we will do all that we possibly can in order to assist and support you.

I think we will disconnect the battery when we park it just to be safe.

The problem that you have is what we usually call "phantom electrical loads" and is pretty common in RVs. For the time it is a good idea to just lift the cable from the negative battery post as allowing the battery to completely discharge is not good for batteries. I would assume that your RV was not plugged into electrical power while stored? Doing so should prevent the discharge or you can also lift a battery cable. Locating the problem electrical issues is time consuming and isn't always easily done. What one must do is to connect an amp meter in series between the battery post and the negative cable with everything turned off. Not the amount of current draw and then begin removing the 12V fuses one at a time, noting any change in the reading. Each fuse that shows a decrease in current flow indicates a part of the phantom electrical load. Once you know where the current goes you can begin to locate what is causing it. Many an RV owner doesn't bother chasing such issues but just uses a battery disconnect. If the loads are all minor it may be the best way for you to eliminate the problem to just install a battery disconnect for when the RV is stored.

 

I suggest that if you have a good automotive battery charger you should use that to recharge the battery again before you use your RV. It will do a much better job of charging the battery than do most of the 120V/12V converters that come as factory equipment with most RVs.

 

I believe that you would find attendance at an "RV Boot Camp" session to be very helpful, but do get registered early as the sessions tend to fill very quickly.

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Once you follow the advice above and isolate the battery when stored, you will find The 12 Volt Side of Life to be worthwhile reading.

 

Meanwhile don't worry about stubbing your toe from time to time - that is part of the adventure and trust me, we have all been there at one time or another.

 

The most important thing is to be safe when traveling - remember you are probably bigger, longer and heavier than most of what you have driven before.

 

Relax and have fun!

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Going back to one of my first mistakes, I want to make sure you know to have the battery connected when towing it as it is needed for the breakaway switch. I hope it is a great trip.

 

BigJim's reply reminded me of an incident that befell me. I had just purchased a brand new battery for my fiver. I left for a week, came back, and the battery was dead. I thought I had left something on by mistake. I recharged the battery and all looked good. I left for another week, came back, and the battery was dead again! Turns out some kid had pulled my break-away cable out. Not only did that run my battery down, but it also damaged the magnets in the brakes. Have you checked the break-away cable?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well it turns out that our converter was bad and not the battery. We made a trip to Pigeon Forge and woke up with no heat, no lights and no hot water and it was 23 degrees!! Thankfully we had a plug in heater or it would have a been a COLD night. I don't have a lot of good things to say about Camping World but have to say that C.W. In Knoxville got us in and out in about 3 hours so we were thankful. If only the C.W. In Myrtle Beach would have correctly diagnosed the problem we would have probably not needed a new battery. Us being newbies, we are learning a lot fast!! Our next trip? Michigan in June!!

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I tend to bash C.W. some but really a lot of the time different ones will do decent work. We tend to focus on the times they didn't do a good job. I don't stay at KOA's much and sometimes am negative about them but in truth I have had at least a couple of good experiences with them and at least once was thankful one was available and that I was able to get in.

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Sounds like you need 4 checklists. LOL

 

1 - Winterizing - All the things that you need to do for Winter storage

2 - Spring Prep - All the Spring things that you need to do for the 'Get ready to hit the Road'

3 - Packing and Prep - The initial load that you put in the trailer and stays there until fall,

4 - Leaving - this would work for leaving a campsite, Leaving the house, etc

5 - Arrival - Campsite or other place your staying

6 - Unpacking for the week. - Whenever your going to be out of the trailer for a week or so.

 

There are many examples on the net, take your choice, and then make them your own. ie. Put down the Dish antenna, (which we don't have) might become put down the OTA ant. (Over the Air Antenna).

 

You download several, combine them, then when your done, stand back and look at everything and add subtract items. It will all work out.

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When I first started I went from buying the used one nearly direct to a somewhat remote volunteer position. I didn't have even a cell phone much less a computer or know how to use one and not even other rv'rs around to talk to about issues. Talk about learning things the hard way. Sure is fun! That is what is so great about being access information here.

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