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DRY CAMPING GUIDELINES


Dave O

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Hi All

We do not dry camp, always have hookups for our 40' diesel motorhome.

We move into the Balloon fiesta in a couple of weeks and dry camping for 5 days.

We have a Magnum MSH 3000 inverter, BMK and AGS, 4 flooded cell batteries, no solar, plenty of Diesel, no Aqua hot, Onan 8 kw quiet diesel genset

Would like to know what you folks with dry camp experience recommend for the setting of "gen start" "run time" "level of charge" and anything else I am probably overlooking.

Dave O

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When dry camping at that type facility, they normally have set hours when you can/cannot run your generator. We normally run ours two- three hours in the morning & sam in the evening, and maybe briefly at lunch time if we need the microwave.

Hi Paul

 

Running hours is not a question, 24/7 is fine with the group i'm with. Courtesy is obviously a consideration.

 

My question is about what settings are recommended.

 

Dave O

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By "settings" I am guessing you want an auto - start feature to do the work? My low point would be 12.0. Fully charged around 12.6. How long it takes to get there I would experiment with, starting at 2-3 hrs.

 

Regardless of what your group is ok with, the management of the park/facility will likely have their own generator rules unless you are on private property. I have never been to a dry camp facility that did not set the rules themselves. The weather should be very good for dry camping in Albuquerque at that time, maybe even a bit cool at night.

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Would like to know what you folks with dry camp experience recommend for the setting of "gen start" "run time" "level of charge" and anything else I am probably overlooking.

Personally, I wouldn't rely on the Genny auto settings. Do you really want the Gen auto starting at 3:00AM? Your neighbors sure don't!

I assume you have a 3 stage smart charger in that rig, its much better to use the smart charger to control battery charging levels. Just run the gen for 1-2 hours in the morning and evening while you're in the rig and everything should be good. Of course you'll also need to run it when you want to use extra heavy loads like the microwave or AC. Don't run the furnace or any electr heater overnight or you're batts will likely be dead in the morning.

The levels are going to vary slightly for different type batteries, but in general for wet cell batts, you don't want to let them go below 50% which is around 12.2 VDC; and there are different voltages used to bulk charge (around 14.2) vs trickle charge or maintain level (around 13.2). Why complicate things by trying to program all this into a dumb generator, when you already have a smart charger that does this very well. More batteries die from overcharging rather than overuse.

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When in that type of setting, we would run for ~2 hrs in the morning, in order to get coffee, breakfast & batteries charged. Then turn off and left until the evening when we would run while fixing dinner, visiting, etc. getting ready for bed. Always off by 10 pm and never on before 6 am - and we ran the propane furnace at night if needed and never had a problem.

 

Barb

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This is one of those 'how long is a piece of string' questions. There are way too many variables to give a 'correct' answer.

It will depend first on your equipment and then on your usage. We have managed 15 days without starting up the generator. In that time we were out most of the time so only the bare minimum of usage on power.

Manage your power consumption and you may be surprised how long you can go. Just watch your battery levels and fire up the generator only when they need a top up.

 

regards

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The Balloon Fiesta is a little different than your average Dry Camp scenario as far as genny hours. By 4 am, people are up and moving because the balloons take off VERY early and the cars start streaming in by then. We were up and sitting outside by 5 am if I recall.

We were dry camping right on the grounds where the balloons took off so it was noisy and busy early in the AM.

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I am a little confused about some of these answers. I have been thinking that the batteries aren't all that happy about these short charges that are mentioned above. I would think that a longer full "3 stage" charge would be healthier for the batteries than the 1-2 hour burst as suggested. Is this something that would be OK to do on a occasional basis or is this something that gets done regularly and has no long term affect on the batteries?

Thanks all,

Todd

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I am only applying to what I was told by the Trojan deep cycle battery tecnician. Run the batteries down to 50% of their charge before recharging. All batteries maybe with the exception of lithiun ion have a memory; recharging from the 50% level allows them to fully recharge and extends their life cycle. Just what I was told and it seemed to work as I seen some get 8 yrs out of a well maintained and serviced set of batteries.

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The Balloon Fiesta is a little different than your average Dry Camp scenario as far as genny hours. By 4 am, people are up and moving because the balloons take off VERY early and the cars start streaming in by then. We were up and sitting outside by 5 am if I recall.

We were dry camping right on the grounds where the balloons took off so it was noisy and busy early in the AM.

 

*Grin* Yep, nothing like a sustained sustained burner BLAST at 0530 to get the envelope upright. That event tends to get everyone's early morning attention! Now add to that 50 other teams doing the same thing :rolleyes:

 

Anyone within 300 yards of that event wouldn't hear a 20KW Generator running 10 yards away :lol:

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I am only applying to what I was told by the Trojan deep cycle battery tecnician. Run the batteries down to 50% of their charge before recharging. All batteries maybe with the exception of lithiun ion have a memory; recharging from the 50% level allows them to fully recharge and extends their life cycle. Just what I was told and it seemed to work as I seen some get 8 yrs out of a well maintained and serviced set of batteries.

 

Go to the Trojan website and read the battery charging information they have there, it is very different than what you were told. Lead acid batteries do not have a memory of previous discharge levels. Discharging to 50% cuts the lifetime a great deal over lesser levels, it is a trade-off between lifetime and number of batteries or lifetime and power use.

 

 

Look under Charging here: http://www.trojanbattery.com/tech-support/faq/

 

 

2. Does my deep cycle battery develop a memory?

Lead acid batteries do not develop any type of memory. This means that you do not have to deep discharge or completely discharge a battery before recharging it. For optimum life and performance, we generally recommend a discharge of 20 to 50% of the batteries rated capacity even though the battery is capable of being cycled to 80%.

 

 

Look under Discharging here: http://www.trojanbattery.com/tech-support/battery-maintenance/

 

 

Discharging batteries is entirely a function of your particular application.
However, below is list of helpful items:
Shallow discharges will result in a longer battery life.
50% (or less) discharges are recommended.
80% discharge is the maximum safe discharge.
Do not fully discharge flooded batteries (80% or more). This will damage (or kill) the battery.

 

Many experts recommend operating batteries only between the 50% to 85% of full charge range. A periodic equalization charge is a must when using this practice.

 

There is a charge/discharge versus lifetime cycles chart here: http://www.trojanbattery.com/products/deep-cycle-flooded/signature-line-flooded-2/

 

At 20% discharge you can expect 3000 cycles, at 50% discharge you'll likely see closer to 1200 while going to 80% is down to around 750 cycles.

 

If it is a choice to sit in the dark or use more than the top 20% then you'd probably use what you need and just replace the batteries more often or add more batteries if there is space and weight capacity available to do so. Still you'd not want to go past the 80% discharge level as that can lead to a very early failure, sitting in the dark becomes a good option at that point if you have no other option.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank You All

 

We will be leaving in the morning, 11 Oct.

 

Went to bed around 2100 with SOC at 100% and DCV 12.5-8.

 

Woke up each AM at 0500 with SOC 60-70% and DCV 11.5-8.

 

No Auto Gen Start needed or used.

 

Ran Gen Set during the day as needed and before bed to reach SOC of 100%

 

Load was consistent at 18 -24Amps.

 

Bottom line, all is well, equipment worked very well and we are back on the road w/FHU..

 

Dave O

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.

Good hearing that you had a good experience there. We know a bunch of Escapees who were there also, even including Kathy & Budd Carr as well as Travis & Melonie Carr. Hope you got a chance to make contact with a few of them too.

Hi KIRK

 

Great thought, couple of problems though.

 

First--We had no idea they were there.

 

Second--The group we were with and all their activities plus the Fiesta happenings did not leave much personal time.

 

Dave O

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Just left the Baloon Feista with Escapees. Had a great time. Breakfast and dinner served every night, no cooking. Thier location was terrific. One Baloon landed in the roadway between the RVs and next to the tent and many landed in the field next to the tent. Can't get much better than that.

Our first real experience with boondocking went exceedingly well. The weather was perfect so no A/C needed during the day and the AquaHot kept the coach warm in the late evenings and early mornings.

No cooking probably saved some water but we certainly had enough. We are currently at a county park with no sewer and have not bothered to connect water,still a little over 1/3. Batteries were no problem either, never got below 12.2.

I see a lot more boondocking in our future.

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