What's draining my battery, also thoughts on solar chargers? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 05-09-2017, 02:17 AM   #1
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What's draining my battery, also thoughts on solar chargers?

Hello all, I just brought my new 2017 Aspen Trail 2750 home last week. Well not exactly home, but in storage. The trailer sat at the dealer for 2 weeks before I brought it home. When we left the dealer the battery was still charged when we left. The hour long drive home hooked up to the truck also would have charged it on the way home. That was Friday April 28th. The next day, Saturday we went to the storage lot to install the TV's. This was the first 90* day of the year so far so we took the generator and plugged the RV in so we could run the AC while installing the TV's. Once the TV's were installed we hung out a while to test the crank up antenna. I was surprised how well the antenna picked up OTA TV signals. We stayed awhile just hanging out watching TV in our new RV. We were there about an hour and a half to 2 hours with the generator running charging the battery. Went back again this past saturday, exactly one week later and the battery was completely dead. I had to plug it into the truck to get the slide out to open. Again we were there about an hour letting the truck run and charge the battery some. Went back again today and again the battery was dead. Looks like I will need to install a battery cut off switch, but in the meantime any idea what is drawing the battery down? I don't understand how it sat at the dealer for 2 weeks and didnt die but died within a week of bringing it home even though it's been on the charger off and on since then. Unfortunately my storage facility doesn't have outside electricity so I'm looking into some sort of solar powered battery charger. More like a maintainer. We plan to use it for the 1st time in 2 weeks and it will be left in storage at the campground where again, no storage electricity. Any recommendations for a solar charger? I don't want an expensive RV solar system, just some small portable charger/maintainer. I checked Battery Tender's website and they make a 5, 10 and 15 watt solar battery tender. Is 15 watts enough to maintain the battery?
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Old 05-09-2017, 02:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buddy306 View Post
Hello all, I just brought my new 2017 Aspen Trail 2750 home last week. Well not exactly home, but in storage. The trailer sat at the dealer for 2 weeks before I brought it home. When we left the dealer the battery was still charged when we left. The hour long drive home hooked up to the truck also would have charged it on the way home. That was Friday April 28th. The next day, Saturday we went to the storage lot to install the TV's. This was the first 90* day of the year so far so we took the generator and plugged the RV in so we could run the AC while installing the TV's. Once the TV's were installed we hung out a while to test the crank up antenna. I was surprised how well the antenna picked up OTA TV signals. We stayed awhile just hanging out watching TV in our new RV. We were there about an hour and a half to 2 hours with the generator running charging the battery. Went back again this past saturday, exactly one week later and the battery was completely dead. I had to plug it into the truck to get the slide out to open. Again we were there about an hour letting the truck run and charge the battery some. Went back again today and again the battery was dead. Looks like I will need to install a battery cut off switch, but in the meantime any idea what is drawing the battery down? I don't understand how it sat at the dealer for 2 weeks and didnt die but died within a week of bringing it home even though it's been on the charger off and on since then. Unfortunately my storage facility doesn't have outside electricity so I'm looking into some sort of solar powered battery charger. More like a maintainer. We plan to use it for the 1st time in 2 weeks and it will be left in storage at the campground where again, no storage electricity. Any recommendations for a solar charger? I don't want an expensive RV solar system, just some small portable charger/maintainer. I checked Battery Tender's website and they make a 5, 10 and 15 watt solar battery tender. Is 15 watts enough to maintain the battery?
I'd have the battery load tested first. You may not need a maintainer if you install a cut off switch on a good battery. But, if you want a maintainer you'll want to get the size for your battery, my guess is the 10 watt would suffice for the OEM battery or its replacement.
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:24 AM   #3
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Your battery could have been on it's last legs when you picked it up from the dealer. The amount of charge to the battery from the tow vehicle will be very little. Running the generator which will allow the converter to charge the battery but it takes several hours for a converter to bring a battery up to 75% and maybe over night to bring it up to 100%.

Walk around in your trailer when just on battery and see what voltage parasites you have, ie every little light is a voltage drain. Depending on how many you have will drain your fully charged battery in several days.

Make sure everything that can be turned off is. Check the storage compartment for a light that may have been left on or the light on the electric jack.

What I would do is add one more battery and a battery disconnect switch. A disconnect switch will kill everything. Your battery will stay charged for a long period of time when in storage.
A simple voltage monitor wired directly to the battery would be a good idea.
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Old 05-09-2017, 01:54 PM   #4
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You said tv's, meaning more then one? I am assuming you have outlets for tv coax connections, and these may have antenna power booster switches with a green light on to signify turned on. Did you turn off power boosters when you left? If left on, they will drain battery.
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:27 PM   #5
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Some ideas of parasitic loads or other battery draining culprits:
  • Propane detector
  • stereo clock
  • fridge (if running on propane)
  • TV antenna signal booster left on
As mentioned, your battery may have been on its last legs. Deep discharges cause battery damage and they lose capacity. Battery disconnect is highly recommended, especially when leaving the camper in the care of others who aren't going to fret over your stuff like you would.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:35 PM   #6
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I would assume that since it's a new camper they would have installed a new battery as well. I'll check that this weekend. I know the stereo has a clock and the LP gas detector stays on all the time. I would have never thought these 2 items would drain the battery so fast. Any thoughts on a solar charger and how to mount one?
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:51 PM   #7
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Even a new battery will be permanently damaged if too deeply discharged.
My advice for solar is go big or go home. A small maintainer may work for storage if the battery is already fully charged to start with and you disconnect any parasitic loads. But more than 100 watts per battery is needed​ to achieve any meaningful charging.
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