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Old 08-05-2019, 09:04 AM   #1
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Is it a battery issue ?

Hi all,

I hope you all had a lovely camping weekend like I just had.

However, I need to pick your brain on something.

My setup is a Ford E150 4.6 - GTRV - 2001. I understand that I have the car battery (in the front) and two batteries (in the back). From my understanding, the two batteries should be there to power the light and the fridge when I am not driving.

I noted that after 12 hours in the campground, the fridge stopped working. So I started the van 10 min, and I am good for eight additional hours.

My question is, do you think that the two batteries need to be changed? I am surprised that they do not hold more than 8 hours. I do not have any meter to read the power of each.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Bastien
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:48 AM   #2
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Bastien,

Hard to provide an opinion with the information provided. It would be a good idea to get and learn to use a multimeter. They can be bought cheaply and are not difficult to use.

I suggest you need to check the voltage on the batteries at a minimum. The batteries should last longer than 12 hours with just the fridge, but I'm surprised you can go 8 more hours on just 10 minutes of idling. The batteries do sound weak, but we don't know how much they charged before this.

Do you have a shore power connection? Charger for batteries when plugged in?

Some places like Auto Zone, Advance Auto, O'Reilly's will test batteries for free.

The house batteries power the fridge, lights, and other camper things.

Chris
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:12 AM   #3
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Thanks, Chris. Always appreciated your comments.

I do have a multimeter but never used for large batterie (only for small phone batteries). I may have to check quickly on youtube.

When I was driving to our campsite, 4 hours, the fridge run 8hrs after we stopped, the following day, I started the van (around 10-15min), and it ran for the day at the maximum.

What I noted is that if you do not open the fridge at all, the refrigerator does not need a lot of energy to run. That can explain why the 10 min can support 6-8hrs.

I will go and check the battery.

What would I need to install a meter to control the batterie level? I noted that some of us have such a reader that shows useful batterie information.

Thanks

Bastien
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:32 AM   #4
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One other issue is state of charge (SOC) and amps. Some people like to count amps in and amps out.

The ambient temperature will impact how often the fridge runs as well. As you noted, when you open the door a lot of cold air spills out and then the fridge has to run to recover. I'd expect to get more than 12 hours out of my fully charged batteries.

There are simple 12v voltmeters available on amazon. Do you have a cigarette lighter style plug connected to the house batteries? There are also simple voltmeters that plug into those. Of course there are many options for doing all this.

Balmar has a couple options for monitoring batteries. Scalf77 has recommended a couple over the past year.

Sounds like your batteries are taking a charge, just not lasting as long as you would like. As you know, they get weaker over time.

I went with a Balmar SmartGauge last year:
Smartgauge Battery Monitor | Balmar

Balmar now has a newer product:
SG200 Battery Monitor | Balmar

Scalf77 should come along at some point and hopefully offer his opinion.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:34 AM   #5
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The links I posted will show what it takes to install. Really just wiring and access to the batteries plus install of the gauge itself somewhere.
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Old 08-05-2019, 12:24 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot.

I have 2 cigarette lighter in the dash and one close to the kitchen area. How can I test if the later is linked to the house battery? Will it run if my engine is off?

I will certainly go with a battery gauche but if there is an option that can be done via the cigarettte lighter it sounds easier.

Thanks
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Old 08-05-2019, 12:35 PM   #7
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Please find below pictures of the current battery. I noted I have 2 6volt battery. Maybe a silly question but, can I replace them by one (or two) 12-volt battery like this :

https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc...waAmg4EALw_wcB

Thanks all
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_7992.jpg   IMG_7993.jpg  
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:15 PM   #8
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While this document is getting a little aged, it still has a lot of good data.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

I suggest that you read this over and come up with a plan to test your batteries. It will also explain six volt in serial and 12 volt in parallel battery installations.

-greg
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:58 PM   #9
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This is an awesome doc. Just read it the first time and it helps a lot. I will test my batteries tonight.

I am just scared that it is not a battery issue because when I bought the van (last year) the owner told me that the batteries were nearly new. Based on your table, it looks like my 6v should live longer pretty long. off course, we never know what the seller can say to sell his vehicle:-)
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:09 PM   #10
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Have you checked the water level in those batteries? 6 volt (common golf cart batteries) need to be watered from time to time. Charging the batteries boils the water out.

Those 3 white plugs on your batteries are the water ports for each cell. Each needs to be completely full with distilled water you can buy in a gallon from any grocery store.

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