A Strange Weather Day

I spent most of this afternoon at the McDonald’s in Port Lavaca until my Mac was fully charged. It was pretty pleasant until a teeming mass of high school kids came in and then the place just got too busy for me. The kids weren’t rowdy or anything and they took up the complete opposite corner of the restaurant, but their chatter filled the room completely. I was glad the laptop was just about charged so I could get out of there.

After the mega storm, the weather vacillated between sunny with white clouds and very overcast. It spit occasionally, but that was it.

I got home to discover I’d gotten 2% worth of charge and was sitting at a 88% battery capacity. Voltage readings were good, too, but that didn’t last of course. Voltage drops in the evening are crazy, I can’t even turn on two LED lights at the same time. I know my wiring and and connections are good so I’m wondering if the problem is the house wiring being too small.

I also now know that my fridge has to do with the low voltage readings I’m getting as it was OFF when I came in, probably because it was competing with the computer for voltage during the storm. I installed my thermometres and will make it a point to check the status of the fridge more regularly. All that to say, I got in and my voltage readings were 12.48 and as soon as the fridge kicked on, voltage dropped to 12.1. I just repeated the exercise, 11.7 with nothing on but the fridge, 12.3 with the fridge on. What a sneaky devil! It only consumes 0.5A, but it’s a voltage monster!

So maybe I don’t have as much of a problem as I thought this morning. That 12.3 reading is very close to what my battery monitor is saying right now. So my problem has to do with voltage drops. Anyone care to chime on that? And, again, all of my modifications were made with 1-gauge wiring in very short lengths. So my wire gauge and connections are NOT suspect!

At any rate, a good part of tonight was devoted to planning my trip!!! I’ve been so busy that I haven’t even had time to think about it! Unfortunately, the weather isn’t looking to be great, so I’m not too motivated to set off at the crack of dawn tomorrow. The plan is to wander down to Port Aransas to check it out and scout out the boondocking opportunities. Then off to Corpus Christi for the latter part of the afternoon to see what it’s all about. Then off to a hotel near the border for the night. The weather is too iffy to count on sleeping in the truck and a looooooooooong shower would be so appreciated!

I wasn’t able to get a good enough deal on Priceline, so I booked through Hotwire, where I found the cheapest rate of all, $44.15 (including taxes and fees) at the La Copa Inn in Harlingen. Reviews for it are fair, so I’m optimistic. It’ll be a 40 minute drive to the border on Friday morning.

My appointment with the dentist is at 1PM. I have good directions and plenty of time to find him. I will be able to explore in the morning, have lunch, and get in line to cross back at a reasonable hour. I plan to do a cannonball run to home in the evening, unless I get a repeat of Tijuana and get stuck at the border for three plus hours.

Wow, it’s late (10:00 p.m., ha ha ha ha I can’t get used to my new schedule). I’ll update from my hotel tomorrow night.

0 thoughts on “A Strange Weather Day

  1. I doubt you’re reading Escapee’s forums lately so I want to let you know a trusted source there did some testing of his RV and discovered he can save a lot of battery power by turning off his fridge at night. It loses very little cold during the night because no one is opening the door. I plan to try this during my next boondocking.

  2. I have been following your story of ongoing battery problems. It reminds me of a problem I had with the connection for the tail/stop lights on our towed vehicle. I spent more than a year rying to find and solve the problem. It turned out to be a poor connection. and bad grounds. This was on our previous MH ( a 1985 model).

    I realize that you have checcked and rechecked nthe battery connections. Bur what about the other connections? Most older wiring systems use the vehicle frame as the return path for the varous circuts. This means a loose, coroded or otherwise bad connection between the appliance and the frame will cause a high resitance point and drop the voltage and current available to the appliance.

    Finding, cleaning and resecuring all of the connections will be an exercise in patience and persistance. Our new MH uses a double wire sustem with each circut having its own ground wire which is led to a common ground bus bar to which the battery ground is then connected minimizing the problem. These ground bus bars are located in an enclosed area away from weather, road spray and other contamination.

    Hope this helps

    Ken

  3. I’m not sure why you are using electricity for the fridge while boondocking. When we wintered on Hurricane Ridge, everyone said to run the hot water and fridge on propane. It worked fine for us, and it saved on unnecessary power draws.

  4. Linda, I went out for just two or three hours yesterday and the food in the freezer was already going soft! No turning off the fridge for me. And it really doesn’t consume much, just 0.5A for a total of 12A per 24 hours.

    Ken, I am going to examine the rig wiring connections. Thanks!

    Donna, the newer RV fridges and water heater need electricity even on propane to light the burners.

  5. Be sure to take the ferry from Aransas Pass (it’s free) over to Port Aransas. It’s very short but it’s an experience and it brings you right to Roberts Point Park. There are some birding spots in the area. Don’t know if you’re into birding. Then you can drive down Mustang Island from there to Corpus Christi. Have fun!

  6. Some further thoughts on the fridge.

    Is your fridge a 2 or 3 way. Many fridges will automaticly swwitcth to 110/120 V if they sense that 110/120 VAC is available. This would be the case if your inverter is on. IF it draws 1 amp at 110 V then the battery actually sees a draw of 10 Am @ 12 Volts (AC amps times the ration of the voltages, (120/12)). This will rapidly deplete your batteries. If you have selected LPG only then a 12 V current draw of .5 to 1 amp is quite reasonable as this is what the control circutry requires.

  7. Your battery monitor should show you how many amp hours you have used, in amp hours. When your batteries are showing low voltage ( unless they’re under a heavy load ) that used capacity ought to roughly equal the capacity of your batteries.

    T-105 Trojan batteries are 225 Amp hours. Your default discharge floor on the LinkPRO is 50%, so if your batteries haven’t lost any storage capacity they should be capable of storing 112 Amp Hours before the monitor shows you as fully discharged.

    I believe that 112 number will come down ( or possibly go up ) as the monitor calibrates itself to your batteries and their actual capacity, but if your batteries are not damaged, it ought to be pretty similar.

    How many amp hours have you used when you’re showing this low voltage? it ought to be something close to 112.

    Do you have a separate digital voltage meter? If you do, next time you have an indicated low voltage, you should be able to measure the voltage at the batteries directly. If it matches what you’re getting from your internal meter, the internal one is probably correct and it seems unlikely to me that you’ve got a ground or connection issue.

    If your monitor shows amps going into your battery from the solar charger, it would show amps going out if there was a short. So, with everything off, at night , you’d see a pretty substantial drain on your LinkPRO. I’m also pretty sure that your solar charge controller would not charge at all if it had failed. If everything is off and you don’t see any significant drain, then you don’t have a short that’s draining your system.

    It sounds rather like your batteries are down on capacity. How old are they? Have you checked the water level in them? When you’ve filled them in the past, did you use distilled water?

  8. Ken, I always set my fridge manually to propane so that it doesn’t kick on to AC.

    Croft, I’ll edit your comment. 😉

    Airmon, I have the bigger capacity Trojans, 240AH. I’m showing only about 30A when I have the low voltage warnings!

    When I get those low voltage readings, the number is the same regardless of where I take it (at the batteries, at the solar charge controller, the battery monitor, etc.)

    The batteries are brand new and I check the water levels weekly. I only fill them with distilled water and I use a battery watering system to make sure they don’t get over watered.

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