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Old 05-16-2018, 12:22 PM   #1
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Camping without Hookups Question

Hello Fellow RV folks,

I have a Winnebago towable (26RBSS) that is currently in for warranty work for a leaking roof caused by faulty sealant in the roof and wall seams. This posting is unrelated to that issue, it has to do with dry camping or camping without electrical or water hookups.

There are times we would like to camp in areas that are not serviced by electrical or water/sewer hookups. I do have a battery on the trailer. I was wondering if it would be possible to deploy the slide out and the water pump and the awning just from battery power alone. Also, if the battery dies while you're camping and you need to put the slide out back in and the awning is it possible to connect to the tow vehicle and use the power from the tow vehicle to power the slide out and awning retraction?

It would be nice if we could camp without hookups for a day or two in some remote areas without hookups but I'm reluctant to do so with the battery alone. If the battery dies, can the truck recharge the battery and if so, how long would the truck have to idle to charge the battery back up?

I know these are basic questions (it's embarrassing to have to post this).

Thanks for any help.

John in Redmond, Washington
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:41 PM   #2
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You shouldn't run into any issues dry camping for 2-4 days. Longer stays without hookups are when you would run into issues with regard to power, water, full waste tanks etc.
Happy camping!
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:20 PM   #3
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The battery is able to run the slide, awning and water pump. It will also run all of your detectors, lighting and the fridge electronics.

How long the battery will last will depend upon how many amp hours it has and how much current you are pulling. You never want to discharge a battery below 50% to protect battery life. Fully discharging will severely shorten the life and will likely cause charger overload tripping until it has built up a small charge. Google has a lot of articles about RV battery usage and how to determine the discharge percentage and recharge times.

Whether your tow vehicle can recharge the battery depends a lot on what you have. My 2015 F150 can't charge it as the wire gauge is too small. On my truck it was only designed to run low current things like the fridge controls and to maintain the battery charge. You also have to consider even if your tow vehicle is capable of charging your battery do you really want it idling for a couple hours or more. Most folks go with a small generator like the Honda inverter line or solar that can charge the battery directly.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:03 PM   #4
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Running the tow vehicle to recharge the battery is the least desirable option when dry camping. First is solar, second is a generator. Not completely refilling your battery/ies daily greatly shortens their life.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:29 PM   #5
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Two possible options you might want to consider: 1. Use two Lifeline 6V batteries wired in series which will give you more capacity than one 12 v battery. I have been able to camp 4 days with no problems using these batteries. 2. Get a portable solar pane system - about a 120-160 watt panel should do the job if you have lots of sunlight - check Zamp Solar for a good high end system.
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Old Yesterday, 06:13 AM   #6
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A pair of 6V golf cart batteries purchased at Costco's or Sam's Club for about $80-$90 work just as well as the expensive Lifeline or Trojan batteries.



The expensive batteries "may" give longer life, but only if you are very dedicated to monitoring and maintaining a full charge. Ignore the batteries and they will die as quickly as the big box batteries.



Here is link with detailed info about RV batteries and solar: The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1) Batteries and: The 12volt Side of Life Part Solar & Inverters
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Old Yesterday, 07:12 AM   #7
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I note that while Al says that Costco and Sam’s Club batteries “work just as well” as expensive Lifeline and Trojan batteries, he directs the reader to The 12 Volt Side of Life article on batteries. That author uses Trojan batteries.

“I have a set of Trojan Golf cart batteries that are going on 5 years old and they still have almost all of their original capacity.”
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Old Yesterday, 08:37 AM   #8
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It is all about the camping life style you choose. If you are very conservative on power and water, a week is fine. If you want showers, radio all day and lights, then a day. The small (quite) generators may be a good option to start and grow from there. Over time I have learned how to camp for two weeks and have everything needed for my camping life style.
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Old Yesterday, 10:53 AM   #9
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Tucson, not bringing RV wet batteries back to full charge daily is very expensive.
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 AM   #10
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The original question was not expence but could he go camping. Yes he could. Like many of us, over time he can make upgrades as needed and the pocket book allows.
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