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Do I need a "main battery" switch to turn the batteries off - between the battery and the fuse unit???
I'll be able to take a better look at this later, but pretty much you first need to get a good number on your daily power needs.
Now for the battery selection, one thing to keep in mind is you don't want to bring the battery below 50% capacity too many times. Now with solar, you can offset the batteries from reaching the 50% mark and in some cases (depending on how much solar you will have), you can even sustain your batteries at 100% each day.
I read somewhere that you generally want to shoot for making all of the solar power you want in just a 4-hour window.
The house batteries are 12-volt lead-acid batteries, so the vehicle alternator can charge them just fine. If there is no propane odor in the RV, and the alarm will not reset, then it is possible that the only problem is that your batteries are low. In a previous column, you stated that deep-cycle batteries do not like being deeply discharged.
It's all about battery design: Vehicle starting batteries are designed to provide brief surges of very high current but will quickly fail if they are repeatedly discharged slowly over long periods of time. I have a 40' 2006 Alpine diesel pusher with a full-size residential refrigerator that runs off the inverter when not plugged in. Standard deep-cycle flooded lead-acid batteries, gel batteries, and AGM batteries all have similar energy density. Mark Nemeth has been involved with all things RV for more than ten years, including almost 5 years on the road as a fulltimer.
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We've just changed our previous MH to a 'new to us' Swift Kontiki and all in all v.pleased with it.
With reference to Steve's table of voltage against % charge, I wonder if your battery was fully charged at the start.
Using LED lighting, TV, and a PVR, (both on 240v transformers for 3-4 hours) pump for 2 showers and washing up, (in summer) the battery drops to around 70-75% observed before going to sleep, but is usually almost back up to 100% by 9am, we can stay put for as long as the water & waste tanks last.
Spring autumn and winter obviously less long due to greater use of heating, lights, and the cooling effect on the batteries. So you should at least use the higher of your two voltages, which would possibly have risen a bit higher.
Have come to the conclusion that the battery is ok so no need to get on to the dealer about it.
Looks like a solar panel was fitted previously, all wiring is in place so will post later on advice for possible purchase in the future.
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Leisure batteries with a voltage of below 11.81 should only be charged with a 4 stage charger otherwise damage to the plates may occur. For the most accurate results using this method of measuring the state of charge (SOC) the battery should have been rested for at least 6 hours - i.e not been charged or any load put on it. Anderson plugs - not sure how these wire up - but assume they go from the alternator on the tow vehicle - but do they go to a charger of some sort that is then hooked to the battery?
If you have a battery that's rated at 100Ah, then this could be said as you normally don't want to take it below 50Ah. This has helped me really start to understand the battery state just from looking at the voltage reading. It helps to put temperature-related context to the number you see on a 12v battery voltage meter. If you are using only the battery monitor that came with your RV, it is likely that it is somewhat inaccurate. I had always been told that was the main purpose of deep-cycle batteries as opposed to automobile types.
In other words, they all have similar capacity for a given battery size, so changing to a different type of battery probably won't be the answer.
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We are using a 12v 600w Nikkai inverter to run our 230v 60w television, but it won't go for long before the inverter trips out [low battery alert (11.5v I think)] I'm guessing the inverter is drawing about 100w on the 12v (in) side, so assuming the inverter is not faulty it would suggest I need to double up on leisure battery capacity when wild camping. When using the battery voltage as an indicator of state of charge, the battery should have been at rest (niether charging or discharging) for some time time - I would give it two or three hours. Share advice with our members and keep up with the latest caravanning developments on the forums.
These are not expensive and small simple multimeters can usually be found for around £10 in electronic shops or big DIY stores. With the caravan 12 volt electrical system turned off, place the red lead on the positive terminal (+ve) and the black lead on the negative terminal (-ve). For the best charging performance when the leisure battery is not in use (over winter) look for a charger that offers a 4 stage charging process ( Bulk - Absorption - Equalisation - Float).
If you actually end up using on average 80Ah per day and you want to fully sustain that by replenishing it each day, you'll want around 250 Watts worth of solar power to guarantee you get all of your power back the next day.
The only way to really be sure is to use a decent-quality digital voltmeter to measure the battery voltage.
Isolate the battery from the circuits and measure the voltage at the battery terminals 30 mins after the end of charging.

This should be your minimum, bottom dollar, don't get less than Ah rating for your battery(s). I wish all of you the happiest of holidays, and I look forward to answering your questions throughout the New Year! The system is really simple: just a wire from the engine battery charging system, through some sort of isolator, back to the house battery bank.
If regular batteries can be deeply discharged, it would seem to me they would be a better choice in an RV for running the 12-volt equipment. However, most deep-cycle batteries will last a lot longer of they are not discharged until they are almost completely exhausted. If your RV isn't equipped with a fairly large battery bank, say 6-8 batteries or more, there just isn't enough capacity to run everything for very long.
The isolator is there to prevent the "house" system from drawing down the starting battery when the vehicle is parked. The best way to test your batteries is to leave the RV plugged into AC power overnight, then disconnect it. Battery bank capacity is measured in amp-hours, and each individual battery only has so much capacity. ESCAPADES Five–day events, Escapades offer over 60 seminars and workshops to educate, entertain, and enhance the fun and use of RVs. Make sure that no lights, fans, or appliances are turned on inside the RV, and let it sit for a few hours.
The way amp-hours work is pretty simple: If you run a single 5-amp load on a 12-volt battery for 6 hours, you will use 30 amp-hours (5 amps X 6 hours = 30 amp-hours). Most trailers are wired to provide a charge path to the house batteries through the lighting umbilical cord that plugs into the tow vehicle.
A battery that is routinely discharged only 30-50 percent and then recharged will last about twice as long as a battery that is routinely discharged to 70-80 percent. However, the trailer lighting receptacle on the tow vehicle must be wired properly to take advantage of that option. Running any type of battery completely flat will do irreparable damage to the battery and reduce its working capacity or ability to store energy, so we never want to run them all the way down! If you are sure that the batteries are not being charged, some troubleshooting of the wiring is indicated. In order to provide 120VAC power, your inverter has to draw energy from your 12-volt battery bank. For an inverter to make 100 watts of 120VAC power, it takes about 10 amps of continuous current from the battery bank. Your refrigerator may draw 300 watts or more while running, and then you have to add in whatever else is being operated by the inverter and also any 12-volt lights or appliances that are in use. If you haven't been doing so, and your batteries are dry, then they are damaged beyond saving and must be replaced. If your RV already has a large battery bank, then you may have some tired batteries, or there is something else loading the system and causing a larger than normal drain on the batteries.

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