Boondocking Bust! Where did we newbies go wrong?

Our first time boondocking 2022 320 CSS BD. Besides feeling Smart Shunt illiterate, we are quite memory-challenged, but hopefully someone will see an obvious clue in our reconstructed diary. 

Day 1 – Had parked in driveway x 2 wks

            Turned on Alde midday to test system for boondocking

            Temps 40-60F cloudy/rainy

 
Day 2 – Trailer warm but no power in am

            ?? Smart Shunt reading 11.?

            Plugged into shore power @9a

            Fridge turned on and set to #3

           Temps 40-60F cloudy/rainy

 
Day 3 – Fridge to 30 degrees and loaded @9a

            Road travel @9a x 7 hrs

            Temps 50-70F sunny

            Shorepower @4p

 
Day 4 – Road travel 10a x 7 hrs

            Began boondock @6p

            Temps 45-70F sunny

            Trailer battery indictor – “Fair”

            ?? Smart Shunt reading “11.?”

            Alde set to 65F then 63F for overnight

 
Day 5 – Used 12V food warmer x 30 min @7a

            Fridge warming so turned up to #4

            Turned off Alde @9a

            Temps 45-70F sunny

            No trailer use x 5 hrs

            Trailer battery indictor – “Fair”

            ?? Smart Shunt reading “11.?

            Alde turned back on @8pm

            Power went down @10p

            Carbon Monoxide/Propane chirping

            Disconnected Battery and plugged into TV x 1.5 hrs

            Reconnected battery

            Alde set to 63F for overnight

            Chirping again and disconnected battery 2 or 3a?

           
Day 6 – Plugged into TV x 2 hrs @ 8a

            Alde turned on x 2 hrs

            Alde turned off a 10a

            Temps 45-65F mostly sunny

            No trailer use x 2 hrs (lake)

            Disconnected Smart Shunt/reconnected original wiring

            Alde turned back on @8p

            Disconnected Battery and plugged into TV x 1.5 hrs

            Reconnected battery

            Alde set to 63F for overnight

 
Day 7 – Power went down @5a

            Plugged into TV x 2 hrs

            Jensen, display, etc turned off, no chargers, 12V nor lights, etc used

            Temps 45-65F mostly sunny

            No trailer use x 2 hrs

            Alde turned back on @8p

            Alde set to 63F for overnight

 
Day 8 – Alde on all night and still had power in the am

            Road travel @ 7a x 10 hrs

            Plugged into shore power @5p

Dave & René
1/1/21 Retirement Life Begins!
Chocolate Subie Ascent, Silver [email protected] CS-S, 4 spoked wheels, 2 ol' legs - we're good!
Oregon <--everywhere--> Hawai'i otherwise
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Comments

  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 1,061
    edited November 6
    Let’s start with the absolute basics: I’m not seeing your battery specs or any solar specs in your post. Without those, our resident experts won’t be able to help you triage. Assuming a stock 100w panel and a dealer supplied group 24 battery, your problem is one of capacity on both sides of the equation—neither is enough for boondocking with the new 12v fridge, at least from everything I’ve seen reported. But since many people upgrade the battery before ever leaving the dealer, please do let us know what you have do we can help you figure out what happened.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (unsafe 200lb tongue weight limit until 2020 models)
    2020 Subaru Outback XT
    Pacific NW
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,565
    edited November 6
    Sounds like you had the Smart Shunt wired incorrectly.  Once yiu removed it, batrery charged and systems are working correctly, and the solar panels brought your battery back up on the sunny day.
     Cheers 
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Moderator Posts: 2,289
    What size (amp hours or group size) is your battery?
    Have any pictures of your battery and shunt wiring?  It is easy to make an error.  Did you ever get a reading from it from the Victron app?
    If your battery was depleted enough to lower the charge until your gas alarm was going...it would take a lot longer than 1.5 hours to recharge your trailer battery from the vehicle battery. If it needs 40 amps, and your vehicle gives you say 5 amps ...it would take 8 hours to recharge it fully.  As soon as you get your Victron running, you will be able to see the reality of "does my vehicle charge my battery".  But, something is definitely wrong to be driving that much with solar, etc, and not getting anywhere on the battery.
    And: you didn't do anything wrong:  you stayed out for 6 days!  Hope you had a little fun, at least!
    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • MarcelineMarceline Member Posts: 1,163
    When you had your [email protected] parked in the driveway was your battery switch on or off? Was it plugged into power? It seems likely that you started with a battery that wasn’t fully charged (12.7v) and things only went downhill from there. 
    San Francisco Bay Area
    2013 CS-S [email protected]
    Battered but trusty 3.5l V6 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Grumpy_GGrumpy_G Member Posts: 57
    edited November 6
    Where you went wrong is that you saw "boondock" on the trailer and thought it is suitable for boondocking... (sorry couldn't resist ;)) This is one of my pet peeves with many manufacturers that use terms like boondock, backcountry, outback etc. although the trailers aren't really set up for it. In case of NuCamp that has been exacerbated by switching to electric only fridges to save cost (cheaper fridge + less work on the assembly line as it doesn't require gas lines or exhaust routing). I also suspect the food warmer sucked some energy out of the battery. 
    To avoid running into issues in the future upgrade to a higher capacity battery. Does not have to be Li-Ion there are good AGM batteries as well, though heavier. Maybe add some solar to it, personally I like external panels that can be moved around with the sun (few clouds but tall trees where I mostly camp). FWIW my older 320S with the much hated on Norcold 3163 and a 40W external solar panel can do 3-4 days off-grid without pushing it. 
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,565
    Grumpy, the 2021 and 2022 BoonDock TaBs come with solar panels factory installed.  They are part of the Boondock package.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • Grumpy_GGrumpy_G Member Posts: 57
    True but they are of limited use when not perfectly exposed to the sun. My old trailer had 120W of solar on the roof and I still used the external panel because when the roof panel was partially shaded output dropped significantly. The [email protected] having the panel on a curved surface doesn't help either, unless the back end is pointed South. 
  • mntrailsmntrails Member Posts: 133
    I went through a similar enlightenment period a bit over a year ago with my 2021 320 (Boondock).  The weak point of the delivered trailer for me was the Group 24 65 aH battery really intended for plug-in camping. Between the 2 way refrigerator and the water pump (light use), I was in trouble on the second day if the sun wasn't out shining strongly.  I upgraded to wet cell golf cart batteries (215 aH) and I've been off the grid for 4-7 days at a time using only the stock solar installed on the roof and never gone under 12.5V on the batteries. 
    It does sound like you may have something else going on in your wiring or setup but with the 2 way fridge and even carefully constrained electrical use, the 'typical' stock battery the dealer puts in isn't sufficient for serious boondocking based on my experience.
    2021 [email protected] 320S Boondock - 2018 Toyota 4Runner
  • MickerlyMickerly Member Posts: 55
    Don't try to find a single solution. My opinion only, I think there were a number of small things that added together rather than you "doing something wrong".

    The electric refrigerator is a mixed blessing. It is so much better that the gas unit at keeping food cold. But, it will draw 2.5 to 3 amps per hour. The Alde heat is amazing, but will draw about 2 amps per hour. If nothing else is on, you are using roughly 5 amps per hour. This is where the battery size comes in. The 320 battery is installed by the RV dealership. They choose a small one to save on their cost. If you have a 65 amp Marine battery, only 32 amps are usable. That's 5 hours of heat and refrigeration.

    Solar panels need sun and operate best perpendicular to the sun. You had cloudy and rainy and the top of the trailer is curved. The sun needs to be high enough to get a good angle on the panels. So, you can't count from sunrise to sunset. Subtract about 2 hours from each end of the day. Portable panels let you aim them to the sun and collect more power instead of aiming the trailer and hoping for the best. Once the battery is 'well used' it takes a full 8 to 10 hours of charging. Your 100 watt panel will provide about 5 amps per hour of charge "under optimum conditions". Being curved outwards, its very difficult to aim the trailer to get optimum conditions. 

    When we first got our trailer, each trip as an opportunity to learn something. There are tables on this forum showing how much power each item on the trailer uses. The tables are for older trailers than yours so they won't be perfect, but will work. Without looking, I can say the battery is the weak link in your system; just like ours. How you intend on using the trailer will determine what is correct for you. If you plan on a lot of boondocking, a bigger battery, possibly Lithium and a portable panel may be a good idea; however, expensive. We boondock very rarely, so we are staying with a lead/acid battery, but I'm looking at portable solar for those few outings without hook-ups.

    Take a deep breath. All is ok. You'll figure this out.
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Moderator Posts: 2,289
    @Mickerly The newer fridges are usually described as using 24-30 amps a day, since they do cycle on and off as they maintain the temp.  Still a lot with the smaller battery, of course.

    Many owners have and do deal with the "fridge/small battery" conundrum.  Turning the fridge off at night is an option. 
    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • FreespiritFreespirit Member Posts: 63
    Sharing our recent experience:  We just returned from 15 days in the Smokey Mountains, camping at 3 different camp grounds within the park. All camp sites we had were what I would call heavy shade and approximately half of the days with heavy overcast and/or rain. No camp site had any hookups of any type. 
    We have a 3 way refrigerator we kept on propane the whole time and the Alde was on propane the whole time set at 62 degrees 24 hours a day. 
    On day 11 we refilled our 20 lb propane tank( 2.3 gallons).  We had plenty of battery power to run all things requiring DC power. 
    Our set up is: 240 watt solar on roof, 120 aH lithium battery. 
    I do not consider our set up overkill, and am pleased we can go at least 15 days with only one 2.3 gallon propane refill. For back up I have an 11 lb propane tank I installed  in the factory tub, but have never had to use it. 
    Everyone has their own needs while camping requiring different set-ups but I believe we have found what works for how we camp/rv. 
    2020 TAB 320 U
    TV 2020 4Runner
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,565
    Grumpy_G said:
    True but they are of limited use when not perfectly exposed to the sun. My old trailer had 120W of solar on the roof and I still used the external panel because when the roof panel was partially shaded output dropped significantly. The [email protected] having the panel on a curved surface doesn't help either, unless the back end is pointed South. 
    Adding additional portable solar panels can only help, and a good idea in late season camping, when the sun is not as bright…
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • Da_BirdsDa_Birds Member Posts: 101
    Grumpy_G said:
    Where you went wrong is that you saw "boondock" on the trailer and thought it is suitable for boondocking... (sorry couldn't resist ;)) This is one of my pet peeves with many manufacturers that use terms like boondock, backcountry, outback etc. although the trailers aren't really set up for it.
    I agree. I understood this before purchasing but one would think a Boondock model would at least be capable of easily handling a full weekend of worry free camping with no hookups under any conditions, assuming only 12V DC power usage. One would think a lithium battery would be standard at this point, especially with the 2 way fridge. At the very least lithium should be the recommend battery type that the [email protected] is optimized to use in boondock editions.

    2021 [email protected] 320CSS Boondock - "Chirping Bird"
    2018 Chevy Colorado - "Dad's Truck"
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Moderator Posts: 2,289
    The owners who camped for years with an 80 ah battery and the CS fridge 2 way  who could go a weekend without a problem handled this just fine.
    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 1,061
    The owners who camped for years with an 80 ah battery and the CS fridge 2 way  who could go a weekend without a problem handled this just fine.
    I wonder if the Isotherm is less efficient somehow than the Norcold used in the CS previously? It does seem like we’re seeing more of these issues on the 320 than we did prior to the 2021 redesign.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (unsafe 200lb tongue weight limit until 2020 models)
    2020 Subaru Outback XT
    Pacific NW
  • renesadaerenesadae Member Posts: 47
    Mahalo everyone!

    @VictoriaP Standard Stock 100w panel and Group 24 battery

    @Denny16 Yes, we were wondering if we connected the Smart Shunt correctly. We’re going to rewire it back up and upload a pic of it in a bit…

     @pthomas745 YES! Yosemite w/o the crowds was a lot of fun! We were saved by nearby ice stores, and all else felt like little bumps. Just mostly disappointing for our future spur-of-the-moment boondocking dreams thru the winter.

    We did get some Victron 11.__  readings in the beginning, but eventually didn’t trust it, or just don’t understand enough about them. Our brains loss power too in the driveway, so we can’t remember if we ever got a 12+ reading after that, but don’t think so.

    Yes, with that much sun, driving and shore power in the beginning was baffling.  And then to eventually be okay on the last boondocking nite after less sun, driving confused us even more, making us question our Smart Shunt set-up, settings, understanding, etc.

    @Marceline While in driveway the battery switch was on :(. Lesson learned. However, I guess I’m not sure why being plugged in for 24 hrs, then driving in the sun all day, then being plugged in again, and then another day of driving in the sun would not have got us back up to a fresh start.

    @Grumpy_G LOL “boondock.” Frustrating side note was we chose to not order the boondock package and added a solar panel. But they shipped the wrong unit . However another dealer had what we ordered but w/boondock. They split the extra cost (or we could have waited another 2 months). Unhappier in that I have not been able to grow another 4” to be able to reach the top of the clamshell hatch.

    @Mickerly I’m very interested in the looking at the “tables”. Can you pass on either a link or better search word than one that gives me lots of posts on lagun tables? I think changing out to a 3-way fridge might not be doable in light of other priorities. However, because we like to camp cook (a lot), we definitely need to do better w/ice chest cooling to not rely on having/using the frig.

    @mntrails and @Freespirit If it turns out we have the Smart Shunt set up right, the ‘boondocking over-expectations’ of our delivered trailer makes a lot of sense to me. Disappointing to not even get one sunny day w/o losing power. Between both of your boondocking 4-15 day less-sunny practices, I’m hoping a battery upgrade will be a start for us to be able to depend on boondocking days whenever we want/need/have them. Our one time ([email protected]) use of a portable solar in the woods, makes us put that lower on the upgrade list, but rather makes us want to dig into your style of boondocking that makes several days in the clouds and rain possible.

    Dave & René
    1/1/21 Retirement Life Begins!
    Chocolate Subie Ascent, Silver [email protected] CS-S, 4 spoked wheels, 2 ol' legs - we're good!
    Oregon <--everywhere--> Hawai'i otherwise
  • renesadaerenesadae Member Posts: 47
     
    Wiring before Smart Shunt


    Wiring with Smart Shunt



    Battery settings on Smart Shunt


    Smart Shunt readout


    Smart Solar readout
    Dave & René
    1/1/21 Retirement Life Begins!
    Chocolate Subie Ascent, Silver [email protected] CS-S, 4 spoked wheels, 2 ol' legs - we're good!
    Oregon <--everywhere--> Hawai'i otherwise
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 1,061
    edited November 6
    @renesadae Assuming the Oregon in your signature is where you were most recently camping, that would be another component of your power problem. At this time of year, even the most sunny day available that far north isn’t going to produce nearly as much power as it would during the summer. At best—midsummer & midday, with the panel facing the sun and at a perfect angle (which realistically will never happen, because it’s on a curved surface)—you might get 75-80 watts. In fall/winter and that far north? Not a chance your 100 watt panel can keep up with your usage. Realistically, at this time of year you’d run into issues pretty much anywhere north of Arizona.

    Also, even with the Jensen display off, it consumes a certain amount of parasitic power, as do any USB ports and a few other things. You may want to search the forum for ways people have dealt with that. I ended up adding a kill switch to my Jensen (with thanks to the lovely folks here who walked me through my very first attempt at dealing with wiring.)

    I’m not familiar enough with the SmartShunt to pass an opinion on whether it’s working correctly, but I can say that we have several long time members here who’ve found that to do any boondocking with the current 320 models, upgrades to both the battery capacity and solar panels were necessary. The group 24 battery would be the first thing I’d replace, either with 2 6v AGM golf cart batteries or with a lithium (or two). You really need more capacity than that group 24 could ever provide. Then I’d look at getting a portable solar suitcase with controller to augment what you already have. Given that you’re in the northwest, 200 watts would be the minimum I’d consider…I just added a 200 watt portable myself a couple of weeks ago because the 100 watt suitcase I used previously simply wasn’t enough for this region.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (unsafe 200lb tongue weight limit until 2020 models)
    2020 Subaru Outback XT
    Pacific NW
  • webers3webers3 Member Posts: 303
    The owners who camped for years with an 80 ah battery and the CS fridge 2 way  who could go a weekend without a problem handled this just fine.
    Agree, for what it's worth: https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/9722/battery-usage-for-what-its-worth#latest

    To be clear this experience was without television or entertainment center, no inverter, 3 way fridge and spending as little time inside as possible, it can be done
    2017 [email protected] 320S   2019 Jeep Cherokee - Southern Connecticut
  • Da_BirdsDa_Birds Member Posts: 101
    We have a 130Ah battery and were able to get through a weekend but that was being extremely conservative with power usage and bringing a small power bank for some electronics charging. We were also methodical with packing the fridge, only opened when we absolutely had to and made constant adjustments to conserve power. Yes it can be done but as I stated in another discussion...it wasn't much fun babysitting a battery all weekend. Being former tent campers we could do it with no battery. The nice thing about lithium is that it makes monitoring and managing usage as easy as it is for a cell phone or laptop.
    2021 [email protected] 320CSS Boondock - "Chirping Bird"
    2018 Chevy Colorado - "Dad's Truck"
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,565
    edited November 7
    @renesadae, the white wire you have between the Smart Shunt and the battery is too small.  It needs to be an AWG no 6 wire if the white wires from the shunt to the trailer are no10 wires.  If they are no 8 wires, than you need a AWG no 4 battery cable.  This cable has to carry the combined load of the other three wires going to the trailer.  Using the small wire you have is adding additional resistance to your battery circuit and could overheat and cause a fire!  Otherwise it looks correctly wired up.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • MickerlyMickerly Member Posts: 55
    "Amps draw detail" is the name of the thread. You can search for this.

    We normally camp with hook-ups. Texas has different issues while camping. No air conditioning means you can only camp a few months per year. We do take an ice chest when we need to be off the grid for a while of for drinks. 

    My CS is a 2018. We don't have the installed solar. A portable panel for 'winter' camping is in out buy list.  ; )
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Moderator Posts: 2,289
    edited November 7
    On your Victron readout, the battery is showing 13.81 "voltage" and in "Float" mode, which means fully charged.  The "Settings" menu seems to have a wrong value in the "Charged Voltage" parameter.  12.0 is far too low.  The Victron Shunt manual has the 12V parameters in paragraph 4.5.2 as 13.2.  I'm not sure how the low 12.0 value would actually work in real world operation....but if this value was duplicated in your solar controller, then your battery never approached even a 50 percent charge  OR was always displaying a completely inaccurate voltage for your battery.  Check all the parameters for the Shunt and the Solar Controller.

    @Da_Birds with 130AH of batteries you could have done anything you wanted in your trailer and never approached using 100 amp hours for a weekend.  It will take a while to get used to it...but the trailer is very efficient.  If you were challenged to use 80 amp hours in a day, even with the fridge on,  it would be quite difficult to do.  There are many power usage guides in various threads.  Jenn Grover has covered this for both of her trailers and put her information on her blog.  With some nice spreadsheets. 

    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • K_C_915K_C_915 Member Posts: 11
    Renesade, 
    Don't feel bad, I think you did great for your first boondocking trip. We just got back from our first one at a sunny National Forest Campground near Tucson.  No trees, no clouds.  I learned that I need to either point the trailer southwest or get more panels.  After three days with using the Alde only a few hours in the early morning, my battery voltage down to 11.99V or "Fair" after 3 nights. I was not getting enough sun to keep the battery charged. (Boondock Solar with 100 Amp Hour AGM).

    Your experiences and the responses are helping me figure out what to do better next time.  Better Refer management is definingly needed.  I should have shut the thing off the last night when it was half empty.

    Happy trails,
    K&C

    2021 [email protected] 320 S Boondock
    2020 F150 2.7l V6 Turbo
    Tucson, Arizona
  • DenverJaguarDenverJaguar Member Posts: 52
    To be fair to NuCamp, they're making the Tab 320 to meet the demands of their customers. Based on what I've read/observed in this forum and the Facebook page over the past few months, it would seem at least 80-90% of the Tab 320 owners primarily camp in campgrounds, either with full hookups or at least partial hookups. For them, the regular battery is fine and "boondocking" might mean 1-2 nights without hookups. So Nucamp doesn't spend the extra money on the Boondocks to make them more useful for the minority of owners who NEVER camp at camp sites (me), like shipping them with a lithium battery, higher output solar panels, a larger solar controller, etc. And that's understandable if 80-90% of my the owners get by with a crappy lead acid battery. 

    As for me, I want 5-6 days of problem-free boondocking, with no concern needed for conservation of power usage, which means I needed 200AH lithium batteries. I still want to get a 100 or 200 watt suitcase solar panel because I'll likely be camping in shade most of the time and want a way to keep the battery depletion to under 10% per day (my last camping trip I used about 13% per day and the solar panel on the roof was shaded so I didn't get much from it; having a solar suitcase would allow me to potentially top it off daily or at least get the depletion within that 10% per day mark). 

  • Da_BirdsDa_Birds Member Posts: 101
    edited November 7
    @pthomas745 Next season I'm probably just going to take it on a boondocking weekend next season and just not worry about usage or the battery state of charge and see what happens. If I'm below 50% charge at the end of the weekend so be it. A lithium upgrade is likely in the future regardless. I admit this is all new to me and maybe I'm just not understanding or taking proper readings. I did take many readings with the victron app (which doesn't seem to be configurable for my battery type) a multimeter and a car battery tester that plugs into a 12v (cig lighter) outlet. About 1/2 way through the trip I was getting readings near or below 12v.
    Another thing not mentioned here but in similar discussions is that we boondocked in complete shade. I generally never get full sun and solar output is typically well below 40 watts even when I think I'm getting good sun. One time, mid-day in a parking lot I got around 70 watts. I had to check it because I figured I was never going to get better sun then that.
    I'm very pleased with my [email protected] and very impressed with it. There have been no disappointments as I did lots of research before purchasing. My only real frustration was that I was told when we placed our order that we couldn't upgrade to lithium as it would void warranties and that clearly is not the case. That's not nuCamp's fault. I was told our 130Ah battery would be plenty big enough for a weekend of boondocking, and that may be the case. I'm certainly not ruling out my own ignorance. It may just take a couple of seasons and more understanding to get things figured out as far as boondocking is concerned.
    2021 [email protected] 320CSS Boondock - "Chirping Bird"
    2018 Chevy Colorado - "Dad's Truck"
  • SusanDSusanD Member Posts: 78
    The thing that I've learned is that the fridge is a huge power drain and that it's not hard to boondock for 5-6 days in the shade if you use a cooler rather than the fridge and if you have an extra generator like my jackery for charging cell phones, laptops etc.  The lights, Alde and the water pump aren't big draws.  Sure it's disappointing that you can't use the fridge but I've come to realize that it's not a small house, it's a camper. 
    2021 Tab320S Boondock, 2019 Subaru Outback 2.5
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,565
    Whilst the AC/DC compressor fridge is he biggest power drain, used within reason (not opening and closing it frequently, pre-cooling it and starting out with cold food inside), I gives good service, maintaining its set temp, and keeping food cold at 40-43F.  It does not run continuously, but opening it can cause to compressor to cycle.  At night it only cycles a short bit once every couple of hours or so.

    We went three nights and days, on battery with afternoon (lightly shaded) sun hitting the solar panels, and the battery only used around 30 amps or so, and was recharged 100% by the end of the day.  We have the first generation compressor fridge, and he new Danforth Compressor fridge is even better at using power, getting more bang per amp.

    A 100 amp lead acid battery is what I would call a minimal size battery, OK for occasional use, but you only have 50 useable amps.  A 150 amp AGM or 100 amp lithium would be the minimum size battery for the TaB320 for boondocking over a three day weekend.  Longer off grid trips without good sun, will require a bigger battery.  So the size and type of battery you need depends on how and where you are going to camp.
     Cheers 
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • Grumpy_GGrumpy_G Member Posts: 57
    The 50% discharge rule is a bit of a RV Internet myth. Lead-acid batteries do indeed last longer when not drained below that number. If a battery gets regularly discharged close to its capacity it lasts less than half the number of cycles but that's merely a trade-off. One could also choose to discharge to 70% which in turn more than doubles the battery life span. Rough numbers are 200/500/1200 cycles. 200 cycles is still two good years of camping. 

    Obviously that doesn't fix the OP's problem of running out of power but the solution doesn't have to be overkill. 
  • renesadaerenesadae Member Posts: 47

    @VictoriaP We did travel down to Yosemite and lucked out on the sunny window from our first day of travel and on. We did end up with a few scattered clouds on the last day, but that’s when we actually had our first night of not losing power. However, yes, I am seeing from the responses here that our 100W panel alone won’t help us boondock.

    I remember seeing a post about a Jensen kill switch and will look that up! Thank you for that reminder. And yes, upgrading our battery seems to our first step, and the portable solar is now on our Christmas list.

    Thank you @Denny16 and @pthomas745. We are headed to HD today and working on the settings!

    Mahalo @Mikerly for the search term. Our mouths are agape from how much parasitic amps are used.

    Mahalo @K_C_915 for sharing. This FS site we stayed at would not have allowed for us to turn our trailer to optimize the solar panels. We have only stayed at one site where we could have, so I’m being sold on the idea of the suitcase rather than upgrading the stock panels.

    @DenverJaguar Yep, I am learning that we are in the minority both in the clamshell model preference as well as amount of boondocking we want to do. Admittedly, we enjoy the hookups if the sites are tucked into nature. But we are also discovering we cannot find those places without booking way ahead of time. We want to feel a little freer to explore without worrying about where to find ice, clouds, too many trees, etc. Please update us on your experience after you get the suitcase.

    Dave & René
    1/1/21 Retirement Life Begins!
    Chocolate Subie Ascent, Silver [email protected] CS-S, 4 spoked wheels, 2 ol' legs - we're good!
    Oregon <--everywhere--> Hawai'i otherwise
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