Friday, October 28, 2011

Our last night in Southern Campground

WELCOME to our newest Follower, Steve!   Steve just started blogging, when I checked in today he had written his first post, and he is thinking again about RVing.  He has three dogs, two bassets and a bloodhound, and wonders if he can travel in an RV with them.  If you want to offer advice, check out his blog and let him know what you think. I love brand new blogs where people are just starting on their RVing adventures, like I did last year.  Welcome aboard, Steve!

This is our last day in the Southern Campground in Zion, tomorrow we move to the Watchman Campground. I'm looking forward to that!!!  Electricity!!!

I was talking to my neighbor this morning about my battery issues.   Last night I kept the heat on, but set the temps very low, just so Katie wouldn't be frozen in the morning.  No Popsicle pups allowed in my rig!  When I got up at 8:00 and tried to start the generator, there was ZERO function, all I got was a CLICK.

I started the truck engine, thank goodness it started, yesterday I needed the generator to get the truck to start, hence our little trip into town to get things working again.  I turned the cab heat to high and took Katie outside to go potty.  That's when I saw my neighbor and told him what was going on.  He said I might have a short somewhere, this shouldn't be happening.  He has a portable generator and said he'd hook it up to my batteries this evening if I needed it.  That was really nice of him.

He also said that when I left the propane heater on, I was draining the battery, because the batteries operate the fans used to push out the heat.  I didn't know that - so now I won't do that again. But still... should that completely drain two batteries?

When we got back inside, it was nice and toasty, and my battery panel said they were charged full (because the truck engine was running), so I was able to start the generator.  And plug in my two space heaters - so now we're warm again, and it is going to be nice and warm again today, so we'll be good until this evening, when we can run the generator again for two hours.

I'll never be able to boon dock if I don't get this figured out, or fixed if something is wrong.  When I'm in Arizona, I'm going to have things checked out and see if there IS something wrong.  I'm also going to check again on solar - I think I'm going to go ahead with that. 

I don't want to need to be hooked up to electricity all the time to live the way I like, and my original plan of doing a lot of dry camping won't work the way I'm set up now.  I like to use my computer on and off all day, and I like the TV on a lot.  If I were on vacation, this would be fine, but this is my home now, and I want to live comfortably. 

Of course, Katie thinks this setup is just fine:

From Me and Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  :)


  1. I've heard on forums that yes, the furnace will drain the batteries. I don't use my furnace because of propane usage & one of the vents blow where my dogs are & it gets way too hot. I use an electric heater though. But there are other types of heaters that run off of propane & not power. On my generator, it won't start until I crank over my engine. For some reason, my engine seems to have to feed my generator. It only takes a min, then it cranks over. But then I have to remember to turn my engine back off & I've forgotten to do that numerous times! My ClassC is a 96 though, so it has an older set up. Still might want to give that a try though if your generator fails to run again. It sounds like the batteries were too low to get it going though. Google battery usage vs RV furnaces to see what you come up with.
    Do you know how to prime your generator to get it started if it doesn't start with the push botton? Course, that still won't work if batteries are low, but it's good to know how to do that otherwise.
    I like the TV on too ;-)

  2. Great pictures as always...thanks for including one of Katie!!

    Sure hope you get your battery problem resolved. You're exactly right, this is your home and you need to find that level of comfort. We love having solar panels to charge the batteries. Still need to be careful of battery usage but if you are in AZ. you would have plenty of sun on those panels.

  3. I'm thinking of buying a little Honda Generator for my next trip for just this reason. They are supposed to be extremely quiet, and I think the 2000i (1000 is the smallest and would probably do you because you already have a generator) would easily take care of TV and computer, chargers, etc. I'd like to do more boondocking, and I think the savings on commercial campgrounds will more than pay for the generator. We ladies learn a lot when we're out there on our own! Pats and smooches to Katie.

  4. Why not check into the propane space heaters that don't require electricity? They are non-vented and safe to use indoors but it's a good idea to crack a window a little. Check out the blogs Life on the Open Road & RVing: Small House...Big Back Yard. They both have those heaters. A solar panel system would really help too, though a little expensive. Hope you get it all worked out soon.

  5. Hope you get things fixed up just the way you want them to be. It IS our comfortable with it.
    Katie is adorable!!
    Great pics!!

  6. As TexCyn said, using your furnace will absolutely drain your bank. I have a 20 foot toyhauler that will drain the two deep cycle marine battery bank overnight using the furnace. Good luck

  7. Ooops...that should say...It IS your comfortable with it.

    Sorry about that typo!!

  8. Any resistance heater including a toaster, really sucks battery power.
    Being a fulltimer and a full time boondocker, I've had to learn about conserving energy.
    My portable heater is a "Blue Flame" that has an oxygen and tip over sensor. No electric at all.
    As for solar, don't buy in Quartzsite. You WILL get ripped off.
    Drive the 100 or so miles to Glendale, Az. and see Ron at D&R's Family RV. They really know solar and will help you design a system that will actually work. Besides that, they are really nice people and their prices are very reasonable.
    Jack Meyer has probably one of the very best web sites with a section on solar. He can be found on the Escapee's web site. He's not selling anything and is an undisputed expert on RV solar installations.

  9. Yout pictures are beautiful as always.

    That battery problem is not good. I know that the heater will drain but as Collier mentioned above I really didn't think it could happen that fast. See its good to read these blogs. I have solor panels but have never used them. When I went up north last year I notice the readings had stopped. I didn't pay much attention since I didn't need it. Had it checked out and the converter panel had burned out due to bad installation. So be careful. That panel is $136. not installed. I bought it with the solor already in it.

  10. Yes.....a furnace will definitely drain your batteries and much faster than you would expect. Also, draining your house batteries below 50% is killing their life expectancy. If your plan is to do boondocking, you will need solar panels to charge your batteries during the daytime. A generator will have to run 5 to 6 hours each day to maintain a full charge. Do not use the furnace while's an amp eat'n sum a gun.

  11. The furnace blower motor requires quite a bit of battery juice, like others have noted. Still, if you set the thermostat very low so that the furnace did not turn on for very long, it should not drain the batteries in just one night!

    There are several possible causes for this. Your house batteries could be on their last leg. Or they had been drained earlier and were not fully charged.

    By the way, the factory-installed chintzy monitor panels are not good indicators of the battery state of charge. If and when you get a solar panel setup, you will be told about aftermarket battery monitors such as built by Xantrex or Trimetric.

    Also, if your class C is like mine, it comes with a cheapo converter (charger) that would take many many hours of generator running to top off the batteries. I ripped mine out and installed a three-stage charger that has built-in smarts to charge the batteries in much less time.

    If I were a full-timer, I would also install a fan-less catalytic propane heater like others have mentioned.


  12. Just wondering what type of batteries you have - 6V or 12V ? I constantly had problems until I bought two new 6V.

  13. Catalytic heater is your answer. They DO NOT USE ELEC. but do use your LP. You could also buy a MR.HEATER, that uses one pound LP bottles, some may use the two lb. ones, and can be adapted to use off your existing LP. Just be sure to open a window a little, and maybe a roof vent. Doesn't have to be open a lot, maybe an inch. The Mr Heater will last about four hours,one Lb bottle, but, they sure saved my bacon when I ran out of LP while in Deming, in Feb.Cheaper to buy the LP bottles than ,solar panels. At least for now.

  14. If you're having a problem with the battery why not just rely on space heaters for warmth at night? I saw you said you had two already, but are they powerful enough to keep you warm throughout the night? If not I have had really good experiences with this portable infrared heater I picked up for when I go ice fishing. We started using it to heat the garage during the winter because my son and his friends use it for band practice, and it gets the whole place heated up in a few minutes. I would definitely recommend taking a look at it if you decide you need more or new heaters. Good luck I hope there aren't any serious issues!


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