Dry camping battery question

Squrl

Earning My Ears
Joined
Oct 26, 2015
My husband can not find an answer anywhere, so I thought I would try asking here. We will be dry camping for the first time this week, all other times we have had full or partial hookups. We have a 2016 keystone hideout, and wanted to use the battery for power and supposedly there is a switch somewhere to do that, but we haven't found it anywhere, and there is no info in the owners manual. If no one knows an answer here, he was going to call the dealer this week, but just thought I'd take a chance and ask! Thanks!
 

tiggerdad

I don't always get distracted but whe...SQUIRREL!
Joined
Jul 8, 2009
My Jayco has no switch. If the camper is not attached to shore power the camper automatically runs from it. If it is disconnected then the camper automatically pulls from the battery. The refrigerator should have similar automatic switch to run on gas automatically unless connected to shore power.
 


North of Mouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
My husband can not find an answer anywhere, so I thought I would try asking here. We will be dry camping for the first time this week, all other times we have had full or partial hookups. We have a 2016 keystone hideout, and wanted to use the battery for power and supposedly there is a switch somewhere to do that, but we haven't found it anywhere, and there is no info in the owners manual. If no one knows an answer here, he was going to call the dealer this week, but just thought I'd take a chance and ask! Thanks!
Just so you are aware - batteries go down 'very' fast when used exclusively. We have camped in the Smoky Mtn.National Park many times with no hook ups, and DH has always bought and hooked together two go cart batteries to replace the trailer battery. They last much longer when you're conservative. Enjoy!
 
  • Maligator

    Tired of the snow!
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2014
    I dry camp a few time a year at the races and have had to educate myself on batteries after some disappointment. If you guys don't use the batteries too much, they may not hold very much of a charge anymore depending on how well the maintenance has been followed on them. Also, it may be a good idea to figure out the kind of battery you guys have, it's rated capacity in amp hours and how much amp draw the things you plan to use will eat up. Nothing would be worse than running out while out in the boondocks. Have access to a generator at all?
     

    Maligator

    Tired of the snow!
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2014
    Also, I doubt your TT has a switch. When not connected to shore or generator power it will just power all the DC powered devices (lights, fan etc) off of the battery. 110v plugs (microwave, likely the TV unless a 12v model)will not work. Be advised that the heater blower will operate on 12v battery power but it draws a LOT and fast.
     

    Squrl

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2015
    So if I'm understanding correctly, even in our driveway not hooked up I should be just able to go out and turn the lights on? We got the camper last fall in October, so since then could the battery have drained? I'll show these replies to my husband, I admit electrical stuff is a little over my head! Thanks so much!
     

    2goofycampers

    Sounds like something a camping trip could cure!
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2008
    You might also want to replace the light bulbs that will be used the most with LEDs to save on battery power.
     
  • Maligator

    Tired of the snow!
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2014
    Yes, not hooked up lights should work unless you do indeed have a battery disconnect switch somewhere. And yes, the battery could be damaged by now if not kept charged and watered (if needed) during that time. Also, manufacturers are notorious for putting low capacity/quality batteries from the factory and if it sat on the lot for any amount of time prior to purchase, that could also degrade their longevity. I just bought my MH and it had two "new" batteries in it. Not only were they cheap and inadequate for dry camping beyond a few hours without a charge but from being on the lot several months without a charge they had drained completely which damages the cells and I had to replace them.
     

    Squrl

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2015
    Thanks everyone! Turns out it was something with a fuse, my husband fixed it and we have light, and he charged the battery so hopefully we should be good.
     

    peg110

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 25, 2015
    Dam Fuses... They always like to put them in places that are hard to get too. :)

    Glad you got it worked out.
     

    Mad Stitch

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2015
    Just a tip from a newbie on these boards if it isn't too late. Since you mentioned that your trailer will sit in your driveway, you may want to install a battery cutoff switch if you do not already have one. My camper has a carbon monoxide detector that was constantly drawing power from the battery even while it just sat in my driveway. The constant discharge and charge was damaging the battery. My setup looks like this (not my video). If you have emergency breaks on your trailer, just be sure to tow it with the power on.
     
  • Squrl

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2015
    Mad Stitch, thanks for the video! I'll pass it along to my husband, we don't have that! We were conservative with the lights but we were great all weekend. Next few trips have full hookups, but we will possibly do another dry weekend in the fall, helps to be prepared.
     

    TT newbie

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 31, 2017
    Also, I doubt your TT has a switch. When not connected to shore or generator power it will just power all the DC powered devices (lights, fan etc) off of the battery. 110v plugs (microwave, likely the TV unless a 12v model)will not work. Be advised that the heater blower will operate on 12v battery power but it draws a LOT and fast.
    I'm a camping newbie so my question is probably a dumb one. What is the point of spending $400 on batteries if all they do with dry camping is basically turn on the lights? Couldn't I just use a lantern for much cheaper? Yep. I'm the fool who just spent that $400 on batteries but it seems all I can do with them is turn the lights on and off. No microwave, no plug outlets, no A/C. Lame.
     

    2goofycampers

    Sounds like something a camping trip could cure!
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 10, 2008
    Welcome TT newbie to the camping forum! No question is dumb even though you might get some dumb answers. ;) We have a TT and spend around $100.00 for a battery. We have only had one occasion to use it camping when the electricity was out for about 3 hours. It also powers the slide-out and electric jack when not plugged in.
     

    peg110

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 25, 2015
    I'm a camping newbie so my question is probably a dumb one. What is the point of spending $400 on batteries if all they do with dry camping is basically turn on the lights? Couldn't I just use a lantern for much cheaper? Yep. I'm the fool who just spent that $400 on batteries but it seems all I can do with them is turn the lights on and off. No microwave, no plug outlets, no A/C. Lame.
    So to help... when dry camping, the batteries will power the lights, the furnace, the water pump, exhaust fans (bathroom, stove, etc..) and depending on your refrigerator type (even running on gas), it will be needed for that as well. Even the hot water heater needs a bit of electricity (for the Thermostat and to ignite it.)

    Plus, you may have OTHER 12volt items you can use. Some 12v TVs, 12v Fans, let's not forget usb chargers for phones, iPads, etc... Plus the small inverters to keep your computer charged (unless you have a 12v charger for that too.)

    Better batteries means you can go longer times without having to recharge, which if you dry camp means a lot. Also, you can use Lanterns but the smell might get offensive and in the Summer time, you get more "Heat" inside your TT (and No AC because the batteries won't typically run it)

    So as you see there is much more to run on the batteries then one might think at first glance.

    Hope this helps.
     

    PaHunter

    Jundland Waste Traveler
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2014
    Those who do a lot of dry camping replace their 12v batteries with a bank of 6v golf cart batteries to give them a longer run time at 12v.
     

    North of Mouse

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2011
    Those who do a lot of dry camping replace their 12v batteries with a bank of 6v golf cart batteries to give them a longer run time at 12v.
    This, but even with these, you can dry camp (conservatively) just so long. We use our generator for awhile each day as we dry camp in the Smokies for a week at a time. Dh uses an inverter/charger type thing to charge the batteries. The one in the coach doesn't seem to do the job. Also, PEG110 you mentioned batteries would run the furnace - that runs ours down super quick, so we don't use it with batteries only, and definitely not the AC.

    Anyone that dry camps a lot really needs at least a small 'stand alone' generator to charge the batteries, if your unit does not have one.
     

    peg110

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 25, 2015
    NoM, My dry camping thus far has been limited and I have only had to occasionally run the furnace without being hooked up. You are right though.... It will kill the batteries pretty quickly. Worse yet is that most RV's don't come with a true Deep Cycle battery. One can tell if it's a true Deep Cycle or not. A true Deep cycle will NOT list Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) or even Cranking Amps. Deep cycle battery applications don't need "Cranking Amps"
     

    North of Mouse

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2011
    Peg110, all of our units so far (TT's & MH's) have come with the cheapest batteries/inverters possible (per dh). I don't have a clue, LOL!! He immediately switches them with deep cycle cc batteries, also has the large inverter/charger unit. We dry camp a lot in the Smokies, so this is very necessary.
     

    Reelman

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2020
    My husband can not find an answer anywhere, so I thought I would try asking here. We will be dry camping for the first time this week, all other times we have had full or partial hookups. We have a 2016 keystone hideout, and wanted to use the battery for power and supposedly there is a switch somewhere to do that, but we haven't found it anywhere, and there is no info in the owners manual. If no one knows an answer here, he was going to call the dealer this week, but just thought I'd take a chance and ask! Thanks!
    I have a 2019 hideout and it did not come standard with batteries, so if I used power it was from the battery in my truck through the light chord. I had to have duel batteries and a switch put in seperate in order to have power if the trailer was sitting there by itself with out hookups or a generator. The switch would be close to the batteries, mine are inside the frame by the propane tanks and switch is right by them. If your vehicle is running and trailer hooked up it will charge the batteries using trucks alternator. If you use all LED lights a person can go for days and days without recharge. Solar panel will help greatly for longer stays.
     



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