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Jmnhunter

Battery Longevity In Ice House

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as some of you know by the various topics I"ve posted on different ice house questions, you've guessed this is my first year with one, and thanks for the responses so far. 

another question, how long are you guys getting to run your ice castles on just a 12 volt group 27 power supply? the other night, i was getting some stuff ready, had the heater running, lights, and radio. about 15 min later, my 3year old co/propane alarm detector was throwing the low voltage alarm. I always have the battery plugged in with the built in battery maintainer ice castle provides. so i thought the charger may have been shot, tested the battery with a 12volt tester and everything was good. hooked up a different charger and that read full battery. 

so I turned the heat off and the radio with the 15 sec beep going and it stopped after i had just the LED lights going. I called the manufacturer of the co/lp alarm and she said the low voltage goes off at around 10volts.

the battery is 2 years old. 

next thing i did was swapped batteries with a 1 year old battery, ran everything the same for  a good 40 minutes with no low voltage alarm going, so now I"m thinking my 2 year old battery cant handle the load high enough for the alarm to go off even though the lights are bright and no sign of being weak. 

so long story short, how long should i be able to expect to have my lights, furnace, and radio on-granted my current battery is good to go?

I'd figured it would be nice not having to run the genny at night if i can get away with just the furnace and no dam low voltage alarm waking me up at night

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First off, you need to figure out you amp loading.... how many amps does your furnace take, lights, radio etc. and how long do they run. That should give you your amp hr rating. Then match your battery requirement up with the right amount of amp hours.  Not all batteries are created equal based on size. For example, a group 27 can range from 60-100 amp hrs. 

 

Here is a good site for calculating battery requirements

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/tools/calculator-sizing-a-battery-to-a-load.html

 

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Some radio's can be really power hungry. I'd just use a simple bluetooth speaker or some sort of standalone boom box of sorts (for example my makita radio can run for around 50 hours on a single battery). If your lights are not already switch them over to LED. Both of these are easily done to reduce current draw. If you search amazon you can also buy and install PWM led dimmers on all your lights, only turn them up as bright as needed. The great thing about PWM is it reduces your current draw unlike resistor based dimmers of past.

Lastly I would take an actual reading at the battery and right where its wired (your results should be very close) when your alarm goes off. You may have a bad Co/lp alarm or the following issues that increase resistance to your alarm in turn dropping the voltage it sees: poor connections, too small of gauge wiring, excessive wire length.

Edited by vtx1029

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awesome thanks guys; found out my battery has 88 amp hours; I'll look into my heater, and radio, not sure what the LED lights are, i'll try to look there too;

 

how long do your guys usually last before in need of a genny?

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tracked down some quick numbers; supposedly the heater draw at 7 amps, and that would be the main appliance to be ran at night +-1.5 hour total run time during a 8 hour sleep period; i should have plenty of power on the battery!
 

Edited by Jmnhunter

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Had same problem when my ice castle was a year old last year. Thought battery was shot at 1 year old. Talked to ice castle dealer and said they had some detectors not working properly. He gave me a new style to put in and didn't have any problems at all last year with it. 

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Old one was  a "safe T alert" model 35-741,35-742. New one from ice castle dealer is an Atwood model 31011. Had to do a little cutting as old one was rectangular vs. square now. At least now I have a spare battery but haven't needed it yet. Spent a lot of 2 nights/2days outings last year with generator only running about 4-6 hours per day and battery was fine. 

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