Dry Camping with Fried Batteries

Sat, Feb 11, 2017

After our second night on Stanispac Beach, it became clear that our batteries weren’t up to the task.  And there’s no excuse for it.

Modern travel trailers have power control units that distribute the 120 V power  to the AC and microwave and also converts the power to 12 V to run everything else. They also have an inverter to convert 12 V power to 120 V when you are not connected to shore power and must rely on your batteries.  This means that when you are dry camping, everything works except the AC and microwave which cannot run on 12 V.  No problem, right?

Well, not exactly.  For reasons that only a bean counter can justify, Airstream specced our rig with an inexpensive Parallax power control unit that uses a trickle charger to keep the batteries topped off.  This is fine for short periods but the constant 13.6V pushed into 12V batteries will fry them.  And it fried ours 😦

We have been traveling now for six months with full hook-ups every night so we haven’t relied on our batteries.  Although we didn’t know it, our batteries were shot even though they weren’t even a year old.  Now who puts a POS power controller unit in a very expensive travel trailer?

We were really exposed on Santispac Beach as there were no hook-ups.  We do have a 160 watt solar suitcase that we used but it couldn’t keep up with the demand.  Fortunately, we also recently purchased a Honda 2000 and had it converted to run on propane.  And it saved us on the last morning when we we woke up to see 8.8 V on our batteries, i.e., nothing worked.

Looks like we’ll be hitting Costco or Walmart for some batteries 🙂

One thought on “Dry Camping with Fried Batteries

  1. Pingback: Battery Management | DC Airstream

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