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Old 06-13-2010, 02:38 PM   #1
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Should I bring extra batteries dry camping

Hello,

I have two very new house batteries on my Itasca Suncruiser 33'.

We are going dry camping in very shortly for about 7 day and I have to two old house batteries sitting here that have been sitting outside for a few months.

I am wondering if it is worth my time to consider puting them under the coach with the trickle charger for a week or so and charging them up so I can take them with me.

If I take them I will simply put them in the storage bay next to the door so I can hook them up with jumper cables when dry docking.

I wonder if strong jumper cables are enough for that purpose.

I also wonder is the older batteries will do any harm or drain the other good batteries when hooked up at the same time with them.

Is there a good or bad way to approach this?


Thank you,

Keith Caravelli
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:01 PM   #2
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Trade 'em for 2 more new ones. Then there is no question. Otherwise the older batteries may draw down the newer ones in an attempt to equalize the voltage. Good luck!!
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:16 PM   #3
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If the house batteries in your coach are in good condition, I would just use them and start your generator to recharge when they get low. Be sure to check the water level in the batteries a couple of days or so into your 7 day campout.

Taking extra batteries wouldn't hurt, however before I went to that trouble, I would first have a battery shop test them to see if they're OK and will hold a charge.

If you plan to do much dry camping in the future I would look into adding 2 more batteries to your system and consider installing a 100w+ solar panel with a controller. The solar panel will keep the coach batteries charged without having to run your generator.

Good luck & happy camping
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:50 PM   #4
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Thank for the suggestion. I will look into getting another two batteries for dry camping trips.

I do have a solar panel up top. It is single panel that is hard wired into the rig by the factory. I'm not sure what to expect from it though. I will have to see if it much use.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:51 PM   #5
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There must be some posts online about how long one needs to run the generator to recharge the batteries...just a rough estimate of course.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:17 PM   #6
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I'd bring 'em along.

If the new ones start getting too low after a few days then I'd pull off the neg cable that grounds them to the chassis to isolate them and then I'd run jumper cables to the ones with the fresh charge. I'd jumper a cable to the positive posts of the charged batteries to the low batteries' positive posts and then connect the negative jumper cable from the charged batteries to the chassis for a ground. Isolating the run down batteries will prevent them from drawing the charged ones down.

But, as already was said, you could just run the gennie and forget about all battery stuff.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:34 PM   #7
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'I do have a solar panel up top. It is single panel that is hard wired into the rig by the factory. I'm not sure what to expect from it though. I will have to see if it much use."

Mine came with one of those also, they're low wattage and used as a battery maintainer for your chassis battery rather like a trickle charger. For our house batteries we added a 110w panel with a Blue Sky 2000E 25amp controller.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVJ58 View Post
'I do have a solar panel up top. It is single panel that is hard wired into the rig by the factory. I'm not sure what to expect from it though. I will have to see if it much use."

Mine came with one of those also, they're low wattage and used as a battery maintainer for your chassis battery rather like a trickle charger. For our house batteries we added a 110w panel with a Blue Sky 2000E 25amp controller.
I have seen a lot of posts here about solar. I live in Washington State so full sun is a rarity

Will the solar panel work at all in partial shade like a campground? I think not.

Your thoughts?

I liked the solar setup I saw on one coach that tilts up and moves with the sun...must have cost a fortune though.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:54 AM   #9
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There must be some posts online about how long one needs to run the generator to recharge the batteries...just a rough estimate of course.
After doing some further reading I am hearing that it maybe faster to run my engine so the alternator can charge my batteries and at a much faster rate or is there a limit as to how fast they will charge....I suspect so.

I would run the genset for the microwave or whatever.

Not sure about this, I have always used the genset to charge the house batteries.

Is there a chart for ballpark estimate as to how long I would typicaly have to run the geset to charge each day with two 12v deep cycles and no TV use, just lights and some propane heat at night.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:17 AM   #10
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OK, I had one of my older deep cells tested and it is still good. It looks like I should be able fit all three 12 volt deep cells plus my engine battery on the tray. I can strap them down until I can refit the metal poles and so forth that hold them in place more permanantly. Any suggestions?

Does anyone see a problem with 4 batteries on the stock battery tray for a Suncruiser. Mine is a 33' 2003.
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