Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Campground limits generator usage to 8 hours a day. Will that keep batteries charged?

Dear Dave,
I have a 2023 Sunseeker Class C. I plan to camp at a county park which allows generator use four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening. Will my fridge be able to be used or will that drain the batteries? —Robert, 2023 Sunseeker BH

Dear Robert,
The answer to your question depends on several factors. First, what type of battery or batteries do you have? From what I can tell on the website, the smaller units came with a single flooded lead acid (FLA) battery while others had an optional second FLA battery. The only floorplan I could find with a Bunk House (BH) was the large 32’ Classic model, which has two FLA batteries standard.

FLA batteries should only be drained down 50%, which is the next factor. What “Group” are they, which means, what amp hour capacity do they have? Most come standard with the smaller Group 24 batteries that only have about 85 amp hour capacity, which means 42.5 at 50%.

What will be drawing from the batteries?

The next factor is what components will draw from those batteries such as lights, roof vents, water pump, and the biggest draw will be the refrigerator. According to the website, all the models come with a 12-volt compressor-driven refrigerator. That will draw a substantial amount of power from the batteries versus an absorption refrigerator that would use propane when dry camping. However, it is a better option than a residential refrigerator that would go through an inverter, as that model drains the batteries almost three times faster.

You will need to calculate how many amp hours you will be using and what you have available from the battery or batteries you have. According to several articles posted here on RVtravel.com over the years, the average RVer uses 75-100 amp hours per day. But that is with an absorption refrigerator, and I have found there is no “average” RVer. Go Power! manufactures solar panels and solar systems and has a great calculator on their website here.

You can enter the type of unit, type of battery, number of batteries, and the amp hour rating. Then it will provide the common 12-volt components and help calculate what you will use and need. It’s not a perfect science since it’s hard to calculate how many hours you will be using your lights, or how often the refrigerator will cycle as it depends on the ambient temperature. But it does give you a fair ballpark of power needed.

My guess is that even with two FLA batteries you may not be able to keep up with the 12-volt demand—especially if you need to run the furnace at night—only being able to run the generator for 8 hours total, as FLA batteries take more than 8 hours to recharge.

I would suggest supplementing with solar panels and/or adding more batteries. You may want to look at lithium batteries, as they can be drained to 100% and can be recharged sometimes in less than 2 hours.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

How long can my RV’s residential fridge run before generator takes over to recharge?

Dear Dave,
I installed a residential fridge in my RV. I have a four 6-volt golf battery setup and 300-watt solar panels with a 3000-watt AIMS inverter. When fully charged, how long should it run before generator power should take over?  —Jimmie, 1984 Vogue II

Read Dave’s answer.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here


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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberghttp://www.rv-seminars.com/
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.



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Erickson (@guest_240433)
5 months ago

One of the worst aspects of camping is when we hope for a quiet evening at a state, federal, or county park and then a generator comes on.

If you need that much power camp where there are electric hookups.

Oldcamper (@guest_240371)
5 months ago

Switch to solar and keep the love lights off at night if you are camping in the basic sites. Those of us in tents want true darkness and quiet, why we are in primitive campsite.

Left Coast Geek (@guest_240312)
5 months ago

My 360W solar panel can fully charge my 5200 watt*hours (412AH) Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries before noon, and my 12VDC 6.5 cu ft compressor fridge only draws around 200 watt hours/day. Half the time I don’t even bother to plug my trailer into shore power when its available.

Backcountry164 (@guest_240272)
5 months ago

At a certain point you’re not really camping anymore. And I’m pretty sure refrigerator is on the other side of that line…

Mike (@guest_243597)
4 months ago
Reply to  Backcountry164

You’re on an RV travel blog, not a camping blog.

Tom (@guest_240224)
5 months ago

Add frozen bottles of water to the freezer section. It will help, but is not the solution.

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