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Reducing My 12v Usage


rdover
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I have a 1993 Lunar Eclipse 4 berth caravan bought to use as occasional overnight accommodation and as a control/safety post at 4x4 events around Scotland. I've not been using 'vans for long but one recurring problem is my 12v power usage killing the battery. I have a 60W solar panel with a new fancy regulator and a Ctek charger. The 'van ges used for 2 or 3 days at a time.

 

I have various options:

  • Take several batteries and change 'em as needed
  • Take 2 [matched] batteries connected in parallel
  • also take a spare battery that I can charge in the Landrover as I drive around being a Marshal

I am also considering adding LED strips (30 per 300mm) as alternative lighting to reduce the main usage but carrying extra batteries is far cheaper (short term).

 

I do not want to use a generator for many reasons.

 

I don't use any other accessories except to charge my mobile and I normally remember to turn of the blown air. Any and all suggestions welcomed

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Replacing your lighting with LEDs will make a big difference. You don't say what battery you have. I'd recommend 100-110 ah at minimum. I'd also check the circuit with everything switched off disconnect one terminal and use an AVO in series to see if there is anything draining the battery without your knowing.

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

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Replacing your lighting with LEDs will make a big difference. You don't say what battery you have. I'd recommend 100-110 ah at minimum. I'd also check the circuit with everything switched off disconnect one terminal and use an AVO in series to see if there is anything draining the battery without your knowing.

 

I have a lightly toasted 110Ah battery that came with the 'van 6 months ago and has dubious parentage. Politeness forbids me from repeating what I called it on monday morning 3am as a tried to see in the dark . ...

 

Cost of 2 new top quality 110Ah batteries is £150 - £250. I have to replace 1 (I have spares but not new) so which is cheaper and easier £100 on LEDs or £100 on an extra battery. The charger can cope with both in parallel and I have the space.

 

I have tested the circuit and it's fine. The battery is 100% dead as I let is drop to 9. 5v 2 weeks ago by mistake but it was didgy even then. I bought a new digital battery monitor with alarm to avoid this in the future.

 

Do these "superbright" 30 LED arrays give similar light as the twin 8W fluorescent fittings? If not I'll have to fit 2 at a time (2 in seating area, 2 at kitchen, 2 in back toilet area and 1 at sink and 1 in shower room. total 8 @ £30 each £240!! :blink:

 

I like to have things working 'just so' because only then can I relax.

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I used my Lunar Astara van for work a few years ago ; it would cope quite well for four nights M,T,W,Th on an 85 amp hour battery.

 

Just by being careful, limiting TV usage etc, never ran out always went a bit mad on thursday night though cos I knew as long as it would run the pump for the shower on Fri morning all was OK.

 

Towed it home; put it on charge over weekend and ready again for Mon. Did that for four months. .

 

With respect you must be being a bit over zealous with the power use somewhere. TV aerial booster on all the time perhaps ? Always turned that off with the TV only watched specific programmes and turned it off when not really watching and always

turned the aerial booster off at the same time. I think the booster uses a lot if left on all the time.

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We can go away for few weeks with solar & have a full battery,

 

we also use tv & digi box etc

 

what make of panel & controller do you have? & have you checked the output

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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Don't use the blower at all as it's motor driven and will eat power,. We had a 110Ah battery as standard with an 85Ah as a switched back-up, both batteries being several years old and well past their prime. I have just fitted 2 x 110Ah new batteries, one in use and when that runs down I will switch the other one in. We haven't tried them out yet as we have had to cancel two planned trips :(

 

As already stated LED lights will reduce your current consumption and will also prolong your battery life. Just a thought, as you are on gas, are you switching the electric off to the water heater control when you're not in the van, also at night? You can switch the water heater back on in the morning and have enough hot water within 10 - 15 mins. Also turn the water pump off overnight or when out for the day. HTH

 

David

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Don't use the blower at all as it's motor driven and will eat power,. We had a 110Ah battery as standard with an 85Ah as a switched back-up, both batteries being several years old and well past their prime. I have just fitted 2 x 110Ah new batteries, one in use and when that runs down I will switch the other one in. We haven't tried them out yet as we have had to cancel two planned trips :(

 

As already stated LED lights will reduce your current consumption and will also prolong your battery life. Just a thought, as you are on gas, are you switching the electric off to the water heater control when you're not in the van, also at night? You can switch the water heater back on in the morning and have enough hot water within 10 - 15 mins. Also turn the water pump off overnight or when out for the day. HTH

 

David

 

Just measured up the 'van and as I can blag trade prices (feel free to jump in of you want click here I'll give 15% discount) I'll be going for 3 x 1000mm and 5 x 500mm fittings. On the assumption that 1 x 1000mm or 2 x 500mm fittings = 1 x twin 8W fluorescent fitting in light output I'll be having 1 x 1000 and 1 x 500mm in the sitting area and the same in the 'hall' and replace the bathroom and toilet lights with 500mm fittings as well.

Assuming (for consumption comparison reasons) 8 hours use per day the normal lights use 29. 3Ah whilst the LED's will use 8. 10Ah. With 12Ah from solar recharging in the same period (overcast) I am good to go and it's cheaper than 2 new batteries and I can use an old 75Ah I have lying around.

 

I am still very new to this caravanning lark and want to be able to relax about power usage and keep things simple without spending a fortune. I've not yet used the water heater as I cope with boiling the kettle for the little hot water I need. When I do I'll use gas. I don't have a telly nor an amplifier.

 

Just fitted a 'leccy start on the new fire (2nd hand Truma S3002) and it is a revelation.

 

Thanks for all the tips and advice it is hugely appreciated as don't know any other caravanners who are not as inexperienced as I am.

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I have fitted 10 LEDs in place of halogen bulbs in my Pastiche. The amperage drawn is down by 90%! In other words, you can run 10 LEDs for the same current draw as one halogen bulb. QED. ...

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

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I have fitted 10 LEDs in place of halogen bulbs in my Pastiche. The amperage drawn is down by 90%! In other words, you can run 10 LEDs for the same current draw as one halogen bulb. QED. ...

 

I have 55 GU10 halogen in my house and replaced 25 with 4W LEDs. I have saved the cost of them in 6 months. LED is definitely the way to go but there is huge variablility in the light level emitted.

 

An associated question. Each of the 500mm LED light strips emits 35 lux@1m equal to a 10W halogen. How does that compare to an 8W fluorescent tube? Maybe I don't need as many fittings as I think.

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Just done some digging and it seems that a twin 8W fluorescent fitting emits iro 80 lux so 2 x 500mm LED strips will give 70 lux.

 

I could therefore start with 1 x 1000 in each main area using only 6. 66Ah per 8 hours usage. :D Costs drops by 30% as well.

 

Decisions, decisions.

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I have fitted 10 LEDs in place of halogen bulbs in my Pastiche. The amperage drawn is down by 90%! In other words, you can run 10 LEDs for the same current draw as one halogen bulb. QED. ...

 

 

How do you change to LEDs if you hve halogen bulbs in please?

 

I don't bother putting the solar panel on if I am away for a weekend, I find my 110 battery lasts quite easily and I have the tv on all evening. I do have a manual flush in the toilet which saves a lot.

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If you're handy with a soldering iron, or know someone who is, you can make your own far cheaper.

 

I made my own LED lighting replacing the two halogen bulbs in the light casing in the washroom.

 

start14.jpg

Carry On Camping!

 

Legsmaniac's World -my own personal web space with campsite reviews - http://www. legsmaniac. org. uk

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The LEDs arrived and I did a quick test fit and the 60 LED (1000mm strip) is much brighter than the twin 8W fluorescent, I reckon 2 x 1000mm (sitting area and 'hall') plus 1 x 1000mm at the kitchen will make the van very brightly lit.

 

I'll put 1 x 500mm in each of the washroom and toilet area as they are smaller. The strips are waterproof which is a benefit as well.

 

Now for a very Noob question still on this subject . ...

 

I've fitted a battery monitor like this one but for 1 battery only Battery%20Monitor%20-%20CW454_May08.jpg and noticed that even though the newly charged battery shows 13. 2v as soon as I switch on a 16W light it drops into the red.

 

Before I go nuts watching this thing is such activity normal? BTW if I switch on a 60LED strip it barely moves :D

 

Cheers

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I have a lightly toasted 110Ah battery that came with the 'van 6 months ago and has dubious parentage. Politeness forbids me from repeating what I called it on monday morning 3am as a tried to see in the dark . ...

 

Cost of 2 new top quality 110Ah batteries is £150 - £250. I have to replace 1 (I have spares but not new) so which is cheaper and easier £100 on LEDs or £100 on an extra battery. The charger can cope with both in parallel and I have the space.

 

I have tested the circuit and it's fine. The battery is 100% dead as I let is drop to 9. 5v 2 weeks ago by mistake but it was didgy even then. I bought a new digital battery monitor with alarm to avoid this in the future.

 

Do these "superbright" 30 LED arrays give similar light as the twin 8W fluorescent fittings? If not I'll have to fit 2 at a time (2 in seating area, 2 at kitchen, 2 in back toilet area and 1 at sink and 1 in shower room. total 8 @ £30 each £240!! :blink:

 

I like to have things working 'just so' because only then can I relax.

Have you tried charging it with a decent multistage charger such as a cetec with a battery revive setting this type (pulse charge) these can often bring a battery back to life.

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I would think that getting a new 110 battery is your first priority, why have a 60 watt solar panel & nowhere to store all that power.

 

its like having a car with a one gallon petrol tank & getting fuel for free ;)

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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How do you change to LEDs if you hve halogen bulbs in please?

 

You can buy leds like this that are direct replacements

 

you can still get the old type leds off eBay, they're cheaper but but as bright as new generation leds

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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I would think that getting a new 110 battery is your first priority, why have a 60 watt solar panel & nowhere to store all that power.

 

its like having a car with a one gallon petrol tank & getting fuel for free ;)

 

I bought one yesterday! and found that the LEd lights are very impressive so I don't need all of them. Basically 1 x 500mm 30LED strip equals 1 x 8W fluorescent tube.

 

Have you tried charging it with a decent multistage charger such as a cetec with a battery revive setting this type (pulse charge) these can often bring a battery back to life.

Ummmm, first post, 3rd line? I've done a recon charge on the old battery and 12 hrs after charging it was down to 12. 95V. My 'spare' 75Ah battery has not fared much better but I think they're good enough to use for car starting/welding so they're not due for recycling just yet

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Thanks, will get some. :D

 

We bought our new generation leds from a motorhome show, he told us to try them & if we weren't happy he would give us our money back.

 

I think they'll be at the national rally too,

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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Just a wee update

I did a 5 hour test this morning with 3 x 60led strips and 1 x 30led strip in the van on a fully charged (using my Ctek charger) new budget 110Ah battery. Everything worked perfectly but I noticed that my battery monitor dropped to an indicated ~60% charge and stayed there. At 2pm I switched everything off and connected my solar panel in overcast conditions and it supplied 12. 8V and increased to 13. 7 once the sun came out. It was fully charged after 2 or 3 hours and the light on the regulator floickered to denoted the floating charge. This evening I switched on the Ctek again which then quickly polished off the charging.

 

I reckon that with careful use of lighting (not a problem in Scotland in the summer!) I have unlimited power capability and probably 4 or 5 days in winter.

 

The LEDs are amazingly bright when the van is on hookup (charger connected) and better than the fluorescents but much harsher in colour (more blue) and drop noticeably on battery only but making it feel more homey.

 

Thanks for all your help and suggestions.

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You can also get warm white leds for background lighting, the blue type is best for reading lamps :)

 

we also use rechargeable lights handy when background light is needed & with the remote on/off control great when in bed, they're also charged by the solar panel or in the car,

 

similar to this tesco one 100-2159f.jpg

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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