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Pseudo Camp-out – Success

TestCamp0Moved the Suite to the backyard to see how power management changes are working out.

Have Engel fridge running on AC via converter. Fridge is loaded with a 12-pack. Using the fridge on AC to get the environment closer to real. Fingers crossed that I’ll work as hoped.


















Day One:
Not the greatest for solar but panels were putting out 12.7 Volts and half an amp going into battery at 8AM.
By 11:30 and with a few breaks in the overcast we have 2.2 amps going into battery.

day1b day1a











Day Two:

Rained all night. Not looking good for sun today. Charging at 0.8 amps and Voltage is at 12.66 at noon. Fridge holding at +1C/33F.












Day Three:

9:00 AM and sun is finally out, but only intermittently. Battery voltage: 12.45 and 0.5 amps going into batteries. Hopefully more as the day goes but so far I’m quite happy with the pseudo-campout results. Fridge maintaining temperature as set, just above freezing.

11:30 and still only partial sun but power up to 1.5 amps going into battery.

Still running fridge on AC via Inverter, figuring the Inverter overhead will equate to normal fridge openings throughout the day.

2:30 PM. Up to 12.94 Volts and 2.3 amps, with a bit more sun, going into batteries.

7:00 PM. Battery Voltage is 12.39.
Tomorrow I’ll take a final reading in AM and then decide next step dependent on weather. Overall, I’m happy with the results. I doubt we’d be staying in a dry place for longer than 3-4 days, especially without at least some sunshine.


Day Four:

Day Four: Sun staring to hit the dew covered panels.

8:20 AM. Sun staring to hit the top panels. Panels are covered in heavy dew.







Day Four: Batteries starting to get fed.

Batteries at 12.26 Volts and we are just starting to store power at 0.2 amps.

Throughout all this, fridge temp is being maintained a tad above freezing.






6:00 PM. Had only partial sunshine today but we still stored a bit of power.

Tomorrow it’ll be time to tow the trailer home and call the exercise a success.





Day Five, going Home:

day5-1Hitched up the lawn tractor to head back home and some Hydro.







day5-2 day5-tow

Start of day five and volts still above my self imposed threshold of 12.0 Volts.

Overcast morning but solar is starting to charge battery.

I don’t think we’ll be chased out of a camping spot for lack of juice anymore, in normal weather that is.



Homeward bound.








Updated: April 27, 2014 — 9:58 AM


Add a Comment
  1. Trimming things down some. Carrying less than I used to.

  2. Heinz,

    Its been a awhile since you last post. What have you done to / with your Suite recently?

  3. Good test.
    Re charging for 15 minutes… keep in mind that it will probably not charge trailer battery at same rate as the car battery. I would charge cellphone /camera in the car to give the trailer battery max possible.

    I assume you’ve thought of and discarded a portable solar panel?

  4. So this test went reasonably well. Fridge was a constant 5C (41F) for 48 hrs off this battery. Daytime temps were ~75F and nights ~60F. Trailer is parked in shade for about half the day. When I checked it at 60 hrs the fridge had shut down (it has safety to prevent discharging the battery too much) and temp on display had climbed to 8C (46F) so it must have shut off closer to the 60 hrs than to 48. All I had inside was a single half full 500 ml water bottle, the water was still nicely cold. The fridge was closed throughout, I but think this is offset somewhat by not having a lot of contents to help keep things cool too. So I think I could do 2 days/3nights with the fridge running off the battery, provided I didn’t use it for anything else and wasn’t into it needlessly. Running the car for 15 minutes here and there to recharge a bit would make a difference too, I think? Maybe enough to recharge a cell phone and or camera battery too?

  5. That’s how it goes some times. Can’t see the forest for the trees.
    On my last trip the power-switch-over worked perfectly. I now leave the trailer–>fridge connection plugged in so that when I stop and car is off it’ll power from trailer.
    Be sure to not drain your battery completely. I believe you said your fridge has a low voltage cut-off? That should prevent draining battery to the point where it might shorten battery life.I have my cut-off set to about 11.7/11.8.

  6. Heinz, I just realized reading your pseudo campout report, that I can test out my question at home too!!! DOH!! So i am cooling down my fridge in the house just like it would be when running off the tow vehicle. Then I can put it in the trailer and see how long it will run off the battery and stay cold! DOH again lol!

  7. Magnum Gold RV24-140 battery; Indel B 31L fridge
    Heinz, my trailer has the above marine deep cycle battery, which is also labeled 140 Min Res.
    The battery was new last year, has not had a lot of use. I also have the small 31L IndelB fridge, these are similar to ARB, Engel etc.
    Question is, how long should this battery when fully charged keep the fridge working if I didn’t run anything else in the trailer? I have trip planned where I will lay over for 3 nights/2 days without driving, think it would last that long? Day time temps probably 70 ish, cool nights. Parked in partial or full shade.

  8. Hey Heinz,
    Looks great, I really like your install. The panels nest nicely on the top. Did you let the Engel run over night? I was also curious which inverter you used. Can you run your Engel Fridge on DC? Typical cheap inverters can be 50-75% efficient, which will cost you on the power side.

    Just curious.


    1. Hi Brad,

      Engel stayed running 24×7. I used it on AC via Xantrex PROwatt SW1000 Inverter to simulate extra usage such as opening and closing Engel and use of TV for a few hours, etc.

      On real camp-out it will run on 12V DC. From TowVehicle when it’s running or Trailer when engine is off.


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