View Full Version : Recharging a battery

07-29-2006, 08:01 PM
I know nothing about batteries and charging them. I have read that you can't count on the TV to keep them charged, and to watch out for buying bigger heavier batteries because of the weight. I am most concerned about the heater fan. In air condition weather we would be at an electrical hook up campsite. DW does not do well in hot weather with out air conditioning so I don't go there. Having camped at Yellowstone in the summer in a tent with frost on the picnic table in the morning, I would like not to be as cold as we were in that tent. With a several day trip to Yellowstone, what would you do to maintain battery charge, and how long could I stay with no electrical hookup if the main power drain was the heater fan? How long does it take to recharge the battery or batteries at an electrical hookup site?

08-04-2006, 03:00 PM
Since this is the guest area, guests will not have access to the more comprehensive details of the member area. So I will make some general comments. We often do not have hook-ups in general camping areas where we like to go.

So we try to conserve on electric useage. We try to get by with fewer electric lights in the Trailmanor (TM). If we use the bathroom, we turn off the lights as soon as possible. We often get by with only one TM dome light at a time. We use some totally independent electric lights that use 6v or D cells. I use a laptop or DVD player sometimes so those will need recharging or will have to be taken into account for electric useage. That is not much. We don't use a TV.

We minimize the use of the TM propane space heater. We use a portable Mr. Heater (Buddy Heater) that uses the small propane bottles commonly used for camping while we are awake in the evening. At night we turn off the Mr Heater and set the TM heater to run on minimum, which is about 50 to 52 deg F and use heavy bedding. At home that would not be acceptable, but camping in the TM seems to be fine for us. We know that it will soon warm up once it gets daylight. This practice will limit the battery useage.

How long it takes to recharge and how often depends on how much you are using the electricity. I use a battery voltage monitor that plugs into the 12 volt socket to check the battery voltage. But keep in mind that the voltage varies with the air temperature. So it is not really the most accurate way to measure battery capacity. But after awhile you get used to what the battery condition is. I will run my portable 650 watt Honda generator 1 or two hours per day or as needed. I use a standard automatic battery charger plugged into the AC outlet of the generator and then connect it to my TM batteries (two 6 volt Interstate batteries). If I need to use my electric shaver I try to use it when the generator is running and use a 12 volt inverter to plug the shaver into the 12 volt outlet.

This works for us.

08-08-2006, 05:45 PM
Agree with Bob, dry camping in cooler weather, we go the Buddy heater route, have a rechargeable lantern that lasts several nights together with a dual fuel lantern for the outdoors. Battery only gets used by Thetford or the water pump. At this rate you can go for several days. If you want more amenities like radio, television, microwave, hairdryer etc then you want to think about solar and/or a generator.

08-09-2006, 12:26 PM
One caveat with respect to using a portable propane heater - they produce CO (carbon monoxide) which, unlike the furnace, is not vented to the outside. In 1996 a CPSC memo noted that "There were 35 deaths and 8 injuries (nonfatal outcomes) from carbon monoxide poisoning from camping heaters reported in 23 CPSC in-depth investigations from 1990-1995." According to the journal I pulled this from, newer heaters may be equipped with ODS (oxygen depletion sensor) or "flameout" safety devices which attempt to deal with this. We may also have some protection from the CO monitor in our TMs assuming that it is operating. We err on the side of caution and use a portable electric heater when shore power is available and sleeping bags when it is not. - Camp2Canoe

08-16-2006, 09:16 AM
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. So as long as you have enough oxygen for the propane heater it will be ok to use indoors. While Carbon monoxide is odorless, the symptoms can't be ignored. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide

According to the Mr Heater website, their heater is equipped with the oxygen depletion shut-off valve. http://www.mrheater.com/whatsnew.asp?id=146

Unfortunately it is so sensitive that you can't use it in the high altitude locations above 7000 ft where it really gets cold.

The Trailmanor does come with a Carbon Monoxide sensor for added safety. Also the Trailmanor is not a sealed unit. If you want to be safe, keep a couple of windows open a little.

But what about the propane stove and oven? But since I don't believe it has a oxygen depletion sensor you need to be concerned about ventilation.

Safe Camping,
Bob Wilson

08-16-2006, 10:14 AM
Bob -

You're right about the stove and oven. If misadjusted (probably indicated by a yellow flame or flame tips, an indication of too rich a mixture), they might produce CO.

But the stove and oven are used only for relatively short periods of time (not 8-10 hours at night, for example), and used while someone is awake to watch them.

This is one of the reasons why all gas stoves and oven come with a sticker that says DO NOT USE THIS APPLIANCE FOR SPACE HEATING!