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#1 kamalamak

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 07:38 AM

We are now proud owners of a 2013-17' Casita Spirit Deluxe since November 2012. We have used it 65 times since purchase! In April we took our little house on a long trip. On night we stayed at a Flying J's parking lot. We switched the refrigerator over to gas, cooked our meal, and went to bed. We did use lights. We also used the Fantastic fan. In the morning, the fridge would not run on DC unless the car was running. We drove all day and still the fridge would only run with the car was running. It would not run when all was shut down. We pulled the battery out and checked water levels which were fine.

We camped at a campground that night and use AC. The next day everything ran like before and the refrigerator had no problems staying on DC when everything was shut down and we went into a store.

To test the battery once we are home, we have disconnected AC power to the Casita for a week. The lights turn on and so does the refrigerator.

Main Question: I thought that driving the next day would recharge the battery on the Casita. Am I wrong?

Question: Does the Fantastic Fan use that much juice?

Thanks in advance for any input.

--Kamala and Charley Land (El Paso, TX)

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy Sh**, what a ride!" our travel blog: Casita Kamala Sunshine Travels--Continues!


#2 Bobinyelm

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 02:36 PM

I am sure that what's happening is that your tow vehicle is not adequately supplying enough voltage to your Casita battery while driving, causing your Casita to supply the fridge on DC until it's completely dead (about 4-5 hours max).

Most tow vehicle wiring harnesses, both OEM, or after-market are completely inadequate for use with a travel trailer that has a 3-Way fridge. They are made with cheap, thin wires for the charge wire and ground that are OK for maybe charging an almost fully charged battery, but not for actually supplying meaningful amperage.

Those of us who use our fridges on DC have modified the towing harness to supply enough current so even at the Casita battery, there's enough voltage to run the fridge and charge the battery during a day's driving. Even if you DON'T plan to run your fridge on DC while driving, you will get your battery charged far faster in less time on the road.

Rather than repeat all of the great advice, I offer that if you do any search using "fridge" and possibly "charge," or "battery" you will find lots of threads that will duplicate your problem and the solutions. I believe the Search function will not take search terms of fewer than 4 letters, so that's why I didn't include "DC" in the search, but there ARE work-arounds someone will suggest.

Search on BOTH Casita Forums, and can assure you everything you need is there. If you have trouble, come back and we can help more.

Many Casita users don't want to correct the electrical deficiency of their tow harnesses, and simply run their fridges on propane while driving. Since you have a model that has auto-relight on the fridge, that should work OK for you as well. Again, fashion a search string and try it.

This one will give you a LOT of threads to read that will offer insight:
(I used "fridge propane while driving" and clicked "Search")
http://www.casitaclu...h&fromMainBar=1

Do NOT keep using your fridge on DC until you find and fix your problem, as only a few draining-til-dead cycles will materially destroy the life of your battery (in months, or charge cycles).

It's always possible you have OTHER problems, like improperly wired 7-Pin receptacle on your TV, a blown fuse, a bad ground, etc, but I'm sure you can work though trouble-shooting such problems on your own with an ohm meter or volt meter, but again, if you need help, there are lots of folks willing to help!

BTW, I am certain the reason your battery came alive after a night of being plugged in w/ your fridge on propane is that the onboard converter charged your battery while it was not being loaded down by the 15/18amps of current draw demanded by the fridge on DC. I NEVER run my fridge on DC unless I'm hooked to my TV and either driving, or about to drive off, or have stopped for the night, and I am walking back to my Casita to switch to propane.

Glad you'r enjoying your new Casita, and STRONGLY recommend you buy a copy of Elaine's Casita Manual on a CD Rom. It's worth it's weight in gold, and will tell you all you need to know about your electrical system AND all of the other Casita systems far better than the factory manual, or any other publication I know of. I personally think Casita should review it, and satisfied, should furnish a copy to every Casita buyer. It would likely pay them dividends in happier, educated owners who understand their trailers well enough top work out problems themselves rather than calling the factory for advice (they sometimes give out questionable information).

Bob
(I have no financial interest IN or connection TO Elaine's private initiative to produce and distribute her excellent electronic manuals)

Edited by Bobinyelm, 26 May 2013 - 02:58 PM.


#3 Dex

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:52 PM

Two suggestions:
Run the fridge on propane when stopped for over 1 hour.

Freeze a 2 liter bottle filled with water and put in the fridge. This will help keep the fridge cold.
2006 17' Spirit owner since July 18, 2006
Tow Vehicle - 2000 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4X4-Sport V-6 3.9L, Automatic Sports Plus Package, 31X10.5 tires, Limited Slip Differential, 4.10 gear ratio, Trailer Tow Group pkg(transmission & oil cooler, class IV hitch, wiring), Heavy Duty package (automatic Overdrive, battery upgrade, front & rear anti sway bars) Package

#4 Mark Watson

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:45 PM

Don't run the fridge in DC mode if the car is not connected and running.

I switch to gas or turn the fridge off if stopped for a meal, then back to DC mode when getting underway.

For shorter duration stops, I turn the fridge off , then back to DC mode just before continuing down the road.

I always have plenty of battery power and a cold fridge when I arrive at my destination doing those two things.

A sure-fire way to drain the battery is to run the fridge in DC mode with only the Casita battery as a voltage source.

Example, spent 3 nights boondocking at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, using limited, non-LED light usage, fantastic fan, water pump, factory installed furnace, fridge on gas of course, and always had reliable battery power.

Now I have LEDs, a solar panel, and I'm ready to go back to CCNHP and boondock there so long people will think I'm a resident there.

Mark Watson

Edited by Mark Watson, 26 May 2013 - 05:47 PM.

Mark Watson

Houston,Tx
2008 17' FD


#5 kamalamak

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:15 PM

Thanks again for the response. We've never had any problems with the fridge running on DC. That one night, we did switch over to propane right away. But somehow the battery was really low the next morning. Like I said, we did use some lights that night while I cooked dinner then used the Fantastic fan for several hours during the night.

We were just shocked that the battery went down so much during the night (the fridge was on propane).

The next day, the fridge would stay on as long as the TV was running. Apparently, after during the search suggested, the fridge draws so much power that the battery will not charge.

We're going to check out the wires as suggested. Great advice!

--Kamala and Charley Land (El Paso, TX)

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy Sh**, what a ride!" our travel blog: Casita Kamala Sunshine Travels--Continues!


#6 Miafun1

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:53 AM

Kamala,

Your experience isn't at all unusual. The Casita battery won't run the fridge on DC very long at all. If you are traveling while running the fridge on DC you can actually run the battey down instead of getting it charged. Your story suggests this. If this is the way you have operated your trailer for 65 trips, it is very possible your battery has experienced enough deep discharges to have impaired its full normal life. It may be time for a new battery as well. I'd have it tested if it were mine.

I suspect you may soon be a fan of running the fridge on propane while traveling and enjoy a fully charged battery for your stops.
'09 SD
'08 F1-50

#7 wmgeorge

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:21 AM

Propane on the road, AC at the campground. I'm just surprised there is not an Auto changeover.
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Retired in Iowa and too many Hobbies

#8 Bobinyelm

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 01:03 PM

Auto changeover IS available from Dometic on most all sizes of 3-Ways, but not selected by Casita for installation.

#9 Badger99

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:47 PM

This is common and as Bob mentioned, it's been discussed in detail before. There is a post on this site that outlines exactly what to do to have your fridge run and charge your battery at the same time. Bob has done it and so have I. If you want to run the fridge on DC, then you'll have to beef up the wires in the tow vehicle on back. It's not true that the Fridge draws too much current, it's that the wires in the tow vehicle don't supply enough voltage/current. It is possible to get this to work, but it will take some work on your part. If you are up for it, great, if not then propane is your next best option.
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