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Old 06-16-2015, 05:08 PM   #1
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Dry camping battery question

Forgive me if this has been answered in another string, but I didn't find exactly what I was looking for when I searched.

Anyway... We camped for 2 days in Grand Canyon NP and the battery did not last anytime before it was down to "1 led" on the indicator. I had to connect the camper to the truck several times over the course of the two days to put some life back into the battery. We were careful with lights and using the water pump. The only thing I know I did wrong was to open the slide after disconnecting from the truck, which had to be a big drain.

I thought the battery might be bad (it is about 2.5 years old), so I took it to an auto parts place and they tested it. Tested out to be fine. We have another 2 days of dry camping coming up at Mesa Verde in 3 days, and I don't want to go through what we went through at GC.

I have removed the fuse from the radio to eliminate that drain, and turned off the boost at the TV (don't know if it is on when only on battery or not) and the TV itself is unplugged. My options as I see them are (1) Buy another battery so I will have 2 (about $110 at the local auto parts place). (2) Use the existing battery and hope for the best.

Any recommendations? We are still on the road, currently in Moab, Utah, so not a lot of choices otherwise. I thought surely the battery would last 2 days with careful use of water pump and lights.
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:05 PM   #2
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I think I would add a battery or carry a second battery already charged.
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:48 PM   #3
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Did you happen to use the heater? That will drain the battery quickly.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:24 PM   #4
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No heater or anything that would really drain the battery other than the slide out as mentioned. Hate to buy a second battery but it would probably be worth it to not have the hassle we had at Grand Canyon. Really just want to keep the fridge going and use the water pump every once in a while.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:25 PM   #5
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I got 4 1/2 days out of a 3 year old battery . but only after the fridge started blinking and the propane sniffer beeped. (2 signs that you are getting low. ) If you have a battery charger with you or can find one , find a place,like a campground bathroom , that you can fully charge your battery. A battery will take quite a long time to charge from the truck alternator,if properly at all.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:34 PM   #6
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It's a tough call to tell you to purchase a second battery now. With the first one being 2 1/2 years old, if it was me I would want to replace them both at the same time. But--you will have to limp by some how if you go it on just the one for this trip.

With that being said, I can go for a long time if we camp in warm weather and don't need the furnace. I have all LED lights, and two 6V T105 Trojans.
If you do decide you are going to be doing enough dry camping to warrant the purchase, I would recommend them. They are expensive, but what isn't now days.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:45 PM   #7
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If you do decide you are going to be doing enough dry camping to warrant the purchase, I would recommend them.
Yeah, that's the kicker. We don't normally dry camp, but staying in the national parks we have to. I can't see doing that again in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, I would be willing to pay the $118 or so just to avoid the stress of having to try to keep the battery going for the fridge. We only have the one battery now.
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:47 PM   #8
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I have a solar charger ("SunForce") that I got from Cabella's and use it on my bass boat to keep my trolling motor battery charged up. It works similar to a trickle charger... and they are cheap enough that you could use two. Just a thought.
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Old 06-16-2015, 08:56 PM   #9
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Lots of options, but choices are limited when you're on the road, and have 3 days. Get an "ok" battery from WalMart. $118 is in the middle of the range. Consider some sort of charging arrangement. I'm thinking about a 7-pin RV plug, carrying 12VDC + and - to the battery, carried in the back of your truck while driving around. Other than that, the charger plugged into the bathroom might work, if it doesn't walk away. When needed, just swap them. Fastest, easiest, and possibly the cheapest fix while in the desert.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:47 PM   #10
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In addition to our trailer battery, I also added to Walmart deep cell marine batteries. I also added a battery switch that allows me to switch between the singe trailer battery, the marine batteries or run all three together. We can usually get 4-5 days of dry camping out charge provided you turn off the TV antenna booster other electronic componets. I have also switched over all my lights to LED's. Since we dry camp in the Sequoias and Kings Canyon parks and there are no electrical hooks up. I always carry my 4800 watt generator and fire it up and run it for a couple of hours in the morning to recharge the battery bank on the 4th and 5th day of camping.
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