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Old 08-02-2014, 06:05 PM   #1
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Winnebago Vista 30T 2014 Boondocking..

Hi to all

We have a Winnebago 2014 Vista 30T which we are having the best of times living in on short trips. We are going to do dry camping. We have 2 large house batteries and one battery for the engine. We have not used the generator for more than 30 minutes total. We want to know if possible how long are we able to use battery power? When to charge the batteries? What drains the batteries the mostly. We would like to use the gas oven and stove burners, gas refrigerator, gas furnace at night. Electrically, we want to use the TV, and radio during the day and some of the interior lights for reading. The water pump can be turned on and off with a switch if this drains the battery. I am not sure how long during the day we should continuously run the generator. We have a 4000 watt generator. Thank you, Tony and family
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by TonyLee View Post
Hi to all

We have a Winnebago 2014 Vista 30T which we are having the best of times living in on short trips. We are going to do dry camping. We have 2 large house batteries and one battery for the engine. We have not used the generator for more than 30 minutes total. We want to know if possible how long are we able to use battery power? When to charge the batteries? What drains the batteries the mostly. We would like to use the gas oven and stove burners, gas refrigerator, gas furnace at night. Electrically, we want to use the TV, and radio during the day and some of the interior lights for reading. The water pump can be turned on and off with a switch if this drains the battery. I am not sure how long during the day we should continuously run the generator. We have a 4000 watt generator. Thank you, Tony and family
I would not run the house batteries down below 12.0 volts...once you see that then I would run the generator for at least 60-90 minutes minimum to bring them up to the 80-85% capacity (depending on what charger you have). Do you have the "One Place" system in your motorhome that shows you the voltage of your house and chassis batteries? If so then good if not then you need to get a volt ohm meter and check the voltage of the batteries under the steps. The TV probably is the largest user of your batteries as it needs to run through an inverter (changes 12vdc to 120vac) for your TV. So monitor your voltage and you should be OK...now if you want to get really fancy and invest in some solar panels then install a battery monitor like a TriMetric...then you will know for sure how your batteries are being used in your MH.
Have fun!
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:37 PM   #3
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The gas furnace with electric fan will bleed batteries fast. You would be smart to take a smaller LED TV to use as it will not draw much. I think your 2014 has led but larger but check as it could be LCD which sucks more current. Use led lights in lamps.microwave will suck electric as will hair dryers. Anything with heat coil should be avoided unless generator is running. Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:52 PM   #4
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Replace any incandescent bulbs with LEDs to reduce energy use. Of the things listed, your TV is probably #1 energy user, especially if you need an inverter to change to 120 v AC. Next energy hog is your furnace fan.
Monitoring battery voltage is the best indicator of battery state of charge. Remember, a battery needs to sit at least an hour after charging to disperse 'surface charge' which gives a false reading of how charged it really is. A battery's life will be shortened if discharged below 50% too often. Use this chart to assess their health:

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Old 08-02-2014, 07:56 PM   #5
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1 thing u should do is run gen every mo for 1 hr w/ at least 1/2 load (ac on)
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:27 PM   #6
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If you don't have an inverter you will need one to run the TV unless it is a 12 volt TV. TV won't use much battery. Lights and furnace fan are the biggest users of the battery. The microwave will only run on the generator, so you don't have to worry about that. The water pump doesn't use much and only when it is pumping. it is a good idea to turn it off when you aren't around to prevent a flood it you develop a plumbing leak. We use the generator to make coffee in the morning and then let it run for about an hour to recharge the batteries while we watch
TV.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:07 PM   #7
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I would not run the house batteries down below 12.0 volts...once you see that then I would run the generator for at least 60-90 minutes minimum to bring them up to the 80-85% capacity (depending on what charger you have). Do you have the "One Place" system in your motorhome that shows you the voltage of your house and chassis batteries? If so then good if not then you need to get a volt ohm meter and check the voltage of the batteries under the steps. The TV probably is the largest user of your batteries as it needs to run through an inverter (changes 12vdc to 120vac) for your TV. So monitor your voltage and you should be OK...now if you want to get really fancy and invest in some solar panels then install a battery monitor like a TriMetric...then you will know for sure how your batteries are being used in your MH.
Have fun!
Hi MutinyGuy
We do have a "One Place" system n the main hallway which shows the battery voltage of the house batteries along with slide-out switches, gen switch, etc. Is it possible to set the generator to automatically come on when batteries are at 50 percent? Thank you for this valuable information. Tony
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:15 PM   #8
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The gas furnace with electric fan will bleed batteries fast. You would be smart to take a smaller LED TV to use as it will not draw much. I think your 2014 has led but larger but check as it could be LCD which sucks more current. Use led lights in lamps.microwave will suck electric as will hair dryers. Anything with heat coil should be avoided unless generator is running. Good luck.
I would not of thought a small fan would drain batteries quickly. We have energy saving light bulbs (LED?). We rarely use the microwave but use the gas oven and stove often. Thank you for sharing. Tony
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:20 PM   #9
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Hi MutinyGuy
We do have a "One Place" system n the main hallway which shows the battery voltage of the house batteries along with slide-out switches, gen switch, etc. Is it possible to set the generator to automatically come on when batteries are at 50 percent? Thank you for this valuable information. Tony
Cummins makes an AutoStart controller for their generators, don't know if it could be retrofitted to yours or not. Your current generator doesn't have AutoStart, I don't even see it as an option for 2014 Winnie Vista 30T's.

http://www.cumminsonan.com/autostart/
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:54 PM   #10
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Replace any incandescent bulbs with LEDs to reduce energy use. Of the things listed, your TV is probably #1 energy user, especially if you need an inverter to change to 120 v AC. Next energy hog is your furnace fan.
Monitoring battery voltage is the best indicator of battery state of charge. Remember, a battery needs to sit at least an hour after charging to disperse 'surface charge' which gives a false reading of how charged it really is. A battery's life will be shortened if discharged below 50% too often. Use this chart to assess their health:

We do have LED lights, I should use the inverter if the TV does not work? Right? I did not know about the batteries life is shortened if drained below 50 percent. I would have drained the batteries then turned on the generator. Thank you for sharing. Tony
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:00 PM   #11
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Check your owner's manual about the inverter. Some modern flat screen TV's use a 'power brick' to convert 120 v AC to 12 v DC. Those TV's work just fine directly from the 12 v DC available from your batteries. If it is an 120 v TV, you will have to use an inverter. Inverters are usually only 80-90% efficient, so you lose power in the conversion. If it's a large inverter, used to power other outlets, you might invest in one just large enough to power the TV when boon docking.
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:02 PM   #12
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1 thing u should do is run gen every mo for 1 hr w/ at least 1/2 load (ac on)
Santara
I was not sure if running the gen to much would quicken its' life exectency and on the other hand, not running it routinely would not be good for it either. I will run it each month for 1 hour. Thank you, Tony.
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:05 PM   #13
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The Onan WEB site says it is compatible with all current models. i have the EC-30W on mine.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:40 PM   #14
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Winnebago Vista 30T 2014 Boondocking..

Instead of an autostart so we can run the heater at night (the blower uses a lot of Battery power), we got a catalytic heater that runs on LP only. It works great, barely sips LP, and allows us to dry camp in comfort. Just a thought for you as it may be a cheaper option than installing an autostart for the generator.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:47 AM   #15
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We do have LED lights, I should use the inverter if the TV does not work? Right? I did not know about the batteries life is shortened if drained below 50 percent. I would have drained the batteries then turned on the generator. Thank you for sharing. Tony
Tony, you need to research the comment about less than 50% shortens battery life for yourself, in my experience it is less than 10 or 15%. Batteries lives are based on cycles.
Cycle 1 is discharge (use)
Cycle 2 is recharge
Cycle 3 is cool down
Always refill battery cells if needed AFTER recharge to prevent boiling over. The recharge process generates heat. (does not apply to sealed batteries obviously)
Every battery has so many cycles in its life and if you check with any battery manufacturer, they suggest using a battery down to 15 to 20% to optimize battery cycles (life). Drain it down to 15%, recharge it and rest it to cool down if possible and that is one life cycle. Draining it to 50 percent and then re-charging it gives you a much shorter cycle (difference between 15% and 50%)
This info is based on my experience with commercial grade forklift batteries. I managed a fleet of them (over 100 ) and this was the way the battery manufacturer trained my staff for optimum use .

Just my 2 cents...
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:51 AM   #16
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Also, if you do not have an INVERTER,(makes 120 volts from 12v. batteries) not to be confused with a converter that makes 12v from 120v to charge your batteries, nothing in your coach that requires 120 volts will work anyway unless the generator is on or you are plugged in (ex.Microwave, fridge)
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:13 PM   #17
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Tony, you need to research the comment about less than 50% shortens battery life for yourself, in my experience it is less than 10 or 15%. Batteries lives are based on cycles.
Cycle 1 is discharge (use)
Cycle 2 is recharge
Cycle 3 is cool down
Always refill battery cells if needed AFTER recharge to prevent boiling over. The recharge process generates heat. (does not apply to sealed batteries obviously)
Every battery has so many cycles in its life and if you check with any battery manufacturer, they suggest using a battery down to 15 to 20% to optimize battery cycles (life). Drain it down to 15%, recharge it and rest it to cool down if possible and that is one life cycle. Draining it to 50 percent and then re-charging it gives you a much shorter cycle (difference between 15% and 50%)
This info is based on my experience with commercial grade forklift batteries. I managed a fleet of them (over 100 ) and this was the way the battery manufacturer trained my staff for optimum use .

Just my 2 cents...
I've often wondered about the 50% rule myself. Golf carts run down every day and the batteries seem to last a long time.

This seems to make sense The Right Tool for the Job
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:11 PM   #18
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I have always heard about the 50% rule with RV batteries. Definitely would be interested in hearing more about this topic of 10%-15%...
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:54 PM   #19
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50% discharge is only a rule for folks that want to keep the batteries as long as possible. Google it, and you'll find multiple entries to this fact.

"Deep cycle batteries are designed to be discharged down as much as 80% time after time, and have much thicker plates. The major difference between a true deep cycle battery and others is that the plates are SOLID Lead plates - not sponge. This gives less surface area, thus less "instant" power like starting batteries need. Although these can be cycled down to 20% charge, the best lifespan vs cost method is to keep the average cycle at about 50% discharge. "

Deep Cycle Battery FAQ of Batteries

The above was from a solar electric site. You'll find similar entries on battery manufacturer sites, boating, golf carts, etc.

A battery is only good for a certain number of deep discharges. A deep discharge would be more than 50%. Why shorten the life by pushing it beyond 50%? By the way, these facts are true of deep cycle batteries, starting batteries shouldn't be discharged below 80% of their charge or they will be significantly weakened.
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:07 PM   #20
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Tony,
Congrats on your new rig! I too have a 30T, we just returned from a 3 month tour of the West Coast and finally ending in Forest City for The Grand National Rally.My rig came equipped with a 1kw inverter,which has worked quite well for us. We spend nights on the road at nearby Walmarts,the inverter is used daily for viewing the tv and charging cell phones,laptops,fans, etc. I monitor the voltage on the wall display and when voltage drops to near 12 volts i run the generator. The 4kw Onan consumes about .7 gal per hour at 75% duty which I find to be quite miserly!
I have run the genset as much as 5hrs. a night! We currently have about 43,400 miles on our 2013 30T,as well as about 139 hours on the genset!
I carry distilled water,and top off the battery bank as needed. I would not worry at all about wearing out the genset,it wil perform much better if run regularly.
..sorry for being so long winded,enjoy your rig and have fun!
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