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Old 11-06-2008, 03:40 PM   #1
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NEW OWNER QUESTIONS

We recently returned from our first trip in our 2004 Sunline T-2475. After tent camping for 30 years, it was quite a different and enjoyable experience. It was a combination of both full service hookups and dry camping. I have a number of questions that I hope some experienced people can help us with. When we were dry camping our battery started to lose some of its charge after minimal use. A fellow Sunliner told me to disconnect the radio and LP detector, which I did. He recharged the battery for us, but after that it did lose some charge even though we did not use any electrical devices. Is there anything else that can be draining power from the battery? Also, does the battery level indicator go down to 2/3 full when it goes down to say 90%, or does the indicator only show 2/3 when it actually gets to that level? Does that also apply to the water tank level indicators? We want to do more dry camping and would like recommendations about which recharger and generator we should buy. Is there anything else that you would suggest we buy? Thanks for your help.

Tom
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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The tank sensors should work by registering the liquid and then reading according. There are a series of sensors on the tank (usually four), so if the liquid touches it, it comes on.

This would mean that when your water tank is full, the full light will light up. But once it drops to 15/16 full or so, the light will go off and only the next highest sensor will sense something, which would be 2/3.

Jon
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:13 AM   #3
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Be sure to have your battery tested before going too far into TT diagnosis. If the battery is old or has run dry, it may not hold charge. My wife left the fridge on and run both batteries dead and they never was the same after that. I replaced both of them with a lesson learned degree to both of us. Hope this helps....................Marshall
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
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Our experiences with dry camping with 12-volt in our popup camper showed us that we could use the lights and the water pump for an entire weekend and not use up a fully charged battery. And it had one of the LP leak detectors in it also, so that was running off the battery as well.

Not much difference between the popup and this coach, at least as far as 12-volt power use. There are a couple more light fixtures and the radio, but we don't leave them on so that wouldn't be an issue.

I am still learning myself since we've only had this rig for a couple of months, but I am thinking the only ADDITIONS to the 12-volt load would be the indicators for the holding tanks and the battery. Are they pulling power all the time OR are they only doing so when you press those buttons to light the indicators?

Our converter has a charger built-in. We dicovered this on the last trip out when I forgot to recharge the battery and the power tonguejack was a bit "wimpy". Turning the battery switch to ON and leaving it that way for 3 days while connected to power rejuvenated the battery.

We have a 6-amp 3-stage automatic marine deep cycle charger at home to recharge our 12-volt batteries. I am thinking that it would do a "better" job of properly charging the coach battery than the converter charger would, but I could be wrong.

What you want to run on 110-volt power when dry camping will determine what generator you'd need. We do very well with the 2000-watt Honda 2000i generator. It will do everything except start the A/C. We can run the TV, the DVD, the microwave... I supose it would balk at the electric water heater, but that's why we have the LP gas!

I am sure others with more experience will chime in shortly.
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:48 AM   #5
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Electric Water HEater

Typically the electric water heater hot rodds are only 400 watt heaters so generators can handle them. Typically once heated the heaters don't turn on that often.

Norm Milliard
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:47 PM   #6
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Re: NEW OWNER QUESTIONS

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcmbk
When we were dry camping our battery started to lose some of its charge after minimal use.
Tom
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aside from our Sunline TT we have a Dodge Xplorer conversion van with the same problem. We never could find there the power leakage was, where the drain on the batteries was.... so my husband put a bypass switch on the dashboard that cuts the power to that fuse when we're not driving. No more low batteries.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:06 PM   #7
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Hi tcmbk

You stated you have a 2004 coach. In that model year range Sunline had 2 versions of converters. An American Enterprises CS6000 and a CS6000XL. It all depends on what month yours was made in as American did and upgrade in late 2003 early 2004. The XL version is the newer one and is a better as a battery charger then the prior CS6000. Neither are the best since slice bread, but the newer ones will do well for the average camper. I would however not leave either mold plugged ion holed to the battery all the time even when no camping. The charger float capabilities are not as sophisticated as I would like and can over time overcharge your battery.

However your battery may have internal damage already not allowing it to reach full charge or hold charge very long. If the original owner did not maintain it, or knew how to, then the years could take it toll. The worst is the cells went low in electrolyte below the tops of the cells. Next is it most likely was not desulfated somewhere in it’s like time either often or maybe even ever. Sulfate crystal builds up from use and if not burned off will over time reduce life and the ability to hold a good charge. Unless you have researched into battery maintenance, it is not always common knowledge. TT dealers really do not go over it when you buy a new coach as long as the battery sort of works, well most don’t think about conditioning and maintenance to get the most ever possible from the battery.

If you want to recondition it, and maintain the battery they sell battery conditioners/minders and some with desulfate modes in them. This is the battery minder I use. http://www.batteryminders.com/batter...age=1&featured

They are on sale some times at camping World for less.

And if you get a new battery, they will help condition and maintain the battery so you can get the most from it when dry camping. You hook it on “once” the battery is fully charged by a charger and when you are “not” camping . It keeps the battery up at full charge, does not cook it out and desulfates it.

The other thing that is need is proper electrolyte level. It is the easiest and cheapest thing you can do to keep your battery in good shape. Buy a galloon of distilled water and check and add as needed. This could be monthly or every 2 months pending use and recharging. If you add water, you will have to recharge it as the water will change the solution and drops the charge.

Here is a web site that explains batteries in semi simple language. I have not found anything listed on there that will lead you in the wrong direction.

12 volt side of life

The radio does use some power and can be unhooked. It is not a necessity. The propane detector, me personally I would leave that one hooked up. There is also a 12 volt power amplifier for the TV antenna that uses a little. If not watching TV, push the button to turn it off. The fridge and HW heater even if on propane still uses some 12 volts. Turning the HW off when not needing it will help save. It stays warma long time. The fridge, well you need that. BUT make sure the heat strip in the door to keep humidity in check is turned off on the fridge. That one sucks current.

If you really want to drill into this, you can put and amp meter in line with the battery and find out what little things drain what. Most do not have that but we ahve listed the big thign allready. The actual light bulbs use a lot if you are going to be a real power miser. They do sell lower wattage bulbs that fit in the same socket and they also sell the LED ones but they are higher priced for sure still right now.

Also, do you pull the 7 wire plug out of the TV if you are parked over night? All brands of TV have that 7 wire hooked up different. Some the 7 wire is hot all the time. Many GMs have it that way. Fords, at least the PU trucks have a relay in them to cut out the 7 wire. Point is if your TV does not have unhook the power when the engine is off, the coach battery and the TV battery are connected to each other. If left on long enough, over night, a day etc the 2 batteries equalize as the stronger one tries to charge the other one. Which ever one that is.

Hope this helps and good luck

John
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: Electric Water HEater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honda03842
Typically the electric water heater hot rodds are only 400 watt heaters so generators can handle them. Typically once heated the heaters don't turn on that often.

Norm Milliard
Hi Norm

I do not know about the older HW heater elements they may be the smaller 400 watt ones, but my 2004 vintage are rated at 1,400 watts. More power, more heat faster, larger tank size, 6 gallons.

I do fully agree once hot. how ever they got there, the water will stay warm well over night in the summer. We have a shower at night, turn off the HW heater and come morning still have hot water to wash face etc with. The tanks have a faom insulatin over them and the pipes are plastic so they do not conduct off that much heat.

John
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Old 11-21-2008, 03:14 PM   #9
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If you're only doing the occasional camping and only have one battery, then you could look into a small solar panel sold at most autoparts stores that is said to keep a single battery up to charge from small drains.

My dad put one on his boat because the battery would always go dead from phantom loads draining it. I think he spent under $50 from some loacl auto parts store, and you can either plug it into a 12 volt receptacle, or just hardwire it right to your battery.

This way as long as the only reason you're using the battery for is lights and water pump, you dont have to worry about draining it completely. Inexpensive fix and done pretty simple. And you're not wasting any electricity in the process.

I'd first have your battery checked out like the others mentioned.
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