Powerboost Propower and locking/double-honking/starting/parking/camping

daemonic3

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I have not been able to test out my propower with my trailer yet, but I know that some may have done some boondocking and others have powered their house with it. So I have some questions! I'd love to arm myself with some knowledge before I'm actually using it so I know what to expect.

I hope to do some dry camping soon and would like to leave it on overnight. But it will not be completely isolated, there may be neighbors (not sure yet). The other use I may try is at my daughter's multi day volleyball tourney in April. Parents aren't allowed inside to watch this year, but the game will be on a zoom meeting. I'd like to set up a TV on my tailgate and screen mirror the zoom on it so multiple parents can set up chairs and we can watch.

So here are my questions:
  • Since propower requires a full foot-on-brake start, not just an accessory start, what happens with the double honk? Will I automatically get the double honk or is it smart enough to know that hey maybe I left it "running" intentionally?
  • If I walk out of range with the fob (like say maybe inside the facility to use a restroom) will the truck freak and shut down?
  • Do I need to leave the fob inside the truck and lock using the 7/8 and 9/0 keys on the keypad instead?
  • Do parking/fog/daylights automatically run if you have propower running? Or do they temporarily turn on when the engine kicks on to charge the hybrid battery? I wouldn't want to light up the campground when it is pitch black in nature.
  • Does everyone's have that loud fan noise even when only battery is keeping it powered? It doesn't bother ME personally but if at a completely silent campground it might really stand out. No idea what the "normal" sound level is on these trucks, I have only heard mine.

Thanks in advance!





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lc7

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Great questions. I’ve wondered some of the same things, hadn’t thought about others, like whether the running lights come on or not
 
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daemonic3

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Great questions. I’ve wondered some of the same things, hadn’t thought about others, like whether the running lights come on or not
Right?? A dry campground near us restricts generator use to only certain hours. But I want to run a low-current cpap machine that only has 120V plug all night, and the truck might kick on at some point. We don't have a battery meter to know when it might happen as far as I know. The truck may be quiet and might not get called a "generator" but if lights come on it will draw attention for sure! I don't have a way to test my whole setup without actually going and trying it.
 

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I have not been able to test out my propower with my trailer yet, but I know that some may have done some boondocking and others have powered their house with it. So I have some questions! I'd love to arm myself with some knowledge before I'm actually using it so I know what to expect.

I hope to do some dry camping soon and would like to leave it on overnight. But it will not be completely isolated, there may be neighbors (not sure yet). The other use I may try is at my daughter's multi day volleyball tourney in April. Parents aren't allowed inside to watch this year, but the game will be on a zoom meeting. I'd like to set up a TV on my tailgate and screen mirror the zoom on it so multiple parents can set up chairs and we can watch.

So here are my questions:
  • Since propower requires a full foot-on-brake start, not just an accessory start, what happens with the double honk? Will I automatically get the double honk or is it smart enough to know that hey maybe I left it "running" intentionally?
  • If I walk out of range with the fob (like say maybe inside the facility to use a restroom) will the truck freak and shut down?
  • Do I need to leave the fob inside the truck and lock using the 7/8 and 9/0 keys on the keypad instead?
  • Do parking/fog/daylights automatically run if you have propower running? Or do they temporarily turn on when the engine kicks on to charge the hybrid battery? I wouldn't want to light up the campground when it is pitch black in nature.
  • Does everyone's have that loud fan noise even when only battery is keeping it powered? It doesn't bother ME personally but if at a completely silent campground it might really stand out. No idea what the "normal" sound level is on these trucks, I have only heard mine.

Thanks in advance!
I tested Propower briefly while camping. When you put the truck into generator mode, you're going to notice it quiet down while running. Like a normal generator, the truck won't be running full power when it needs to engage.

It will engage ICE for a few minutes to charge the hybrid battery, then shut off. I gotta say, it's very, very quiet, even when ICE is running. A low rumble. I don't think anyone within 20 yards of the truck is going to notice it's even running (as long as you don't swap your exhaust for something after-market). I mean, 5 feet away from the truck you know it's on, but seriously. You could sleep right next to it...it's not that head rattling noise you hear from stand-alone generators. Now, I'm not sure what it would sound like if you were using maximum power. That would be a fun test.

You can walk out of range. Closing the door if I recall, you're still going to get that annoying double honk. I'm waiting to see if there's a forscan hack to turn that off.

If you turn the lights off, they will stay off. I didn't notice the truck engage the lights at all unless I turned them on myself.

You should test it yourself...get an appliance like a minifridge or something, put in the bed of the truck, put it on generator only mode, and then let it run. Lock the truck, walk around it. Walk well away from it.
 
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daemonic3

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I tested Propower briefly while camping. When you put the truck into generator mode, you're going to notice it quiet down while running. Like a normal generator, the truck won't be running full power when it needs to engage.

It will engage ICE for a few minutes to charge the hybrid battery, then shut off. I gotta say, it's very, very quiet, even when ICE is running. A low rumble. I don't think anyone within 20 yards of the truck is going to notice it's even running (as long as you don't swap your exhaust for something after-market). I mean, 5 feet away from the truck you know it's on, but seriously. You could sleep right next to it...it's not that head rattling noise you hear from stand-alone generators. Now, I'm not sure what it would sound like if you were using maximum power. That would be a fun test.

You can walk out of range. Closing the door if I recall, you're still going to get that annoying double honk. I'm waiting to see if there's a forscan hack to turn that off.

If you turn the lights off, they will stay off. I didn't notice the truck engage the lights at all unless I turned them on myself.

You should test it yourself...get an appliance like a minifridge or something, put in the bed of the truck, put it on generator only mode, and then let it run. Lock the truck, walk around it. Walk well away from it.
Great info!!

Do you know the approx watts you were running and how long the engine kicked on to charge up the battery? I am curious if I'm only running 100W or so overnight, how many minutes does the engine run. Also did you enable Eco Idle? I'm wondering your take on whether its better to idle >1k RPMs and turn off faster, or let it idle 800 RPMs and stay quieter.

I agree it is super quiet to me, when it idles at like 800 or 900 RPMs. BUT out in nature when it is whisper quiet ambient I bet it will stand out more, and I wouldn't want to get complaints!

The double honk is good to know, absolutely will prepare for that and make sure it is not quiet hours.

I have soooo many experiments I want to do! This weekend I will adjust my WDH and pick up my trailer to bring home, I'd like to test the steady draw when simply plugged in, fridge on propane, no lights, so that only the mini fridge and AC/DC converter are running, and see how often the truck kicks on over several hours. Fun stuff!

There's an amazing campground only 40 minutes from us but it is 100% dry camping. 2 nights is about our limit on tanks with family of 4. If we can have electricity (AC during the day, TV when relaxing), the lake and trails, shade trees, and close enough to good cell service, this could be our new ideal spot!!
 

don.mullins

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I tested Propower briefly while camping. When you put the truck into generator mode, you're going to notice it quiet down while running. Like a normal generator, the truck won't be running full power when it needs to engage.

It will engage ICE for a few minutes to charge the hybrid battery, then shut off. I gotta say, it's very, very quiet, even when ICE is running. A low rumble. I don't think anyone within 20 yards of the truck is going to notice it's even running (as long as you don't swap your exhaust for something after-market). I mean, 5 feet away from the truck you know it's on, but seriously. You could sleep right next to it...it's not that head rattling noise you hear from stand-alone generators. Now, I'm not sure what it would sound like if you were using maximum power. That would be a fun test.

You can walk out of range. Closing the door if I recall, you're still going to get that annoying double honk. I'm waiting to see if there's a forscan hack to turn that off.

If you turn the lights off, they will stay off. I didn't notice the truck engage the lights at all unless I turned them on myself.

You should test it yourself...get an appliance like a minifridge or something, put in the bed of the truck, put it on generator only mode, and then let it run. Lock the truck, walk around it. Walk well away from it.
Great write-up! I am curious just how stealthy we can make the truck.

So we can turn off the exterior lights and the SYNC display manually, but I am assuming the dash stays up. And, I would guess the proximity setting should be turned off to prevent outside lights & power running boards engaging when you walk near the truck.
 

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Great info!!

Do you know the approx watts you were running and how long the engine kicked on to charge up the battery? I am curious if I'm only running 100W or so overnight, how many minutes does the engine run. Also did you enable Eco Idle? I'm wondering your take on whether its better to idle >1k RPMs and turn off faster, or let it idle 800 RPMs and stay quieter.

I agree it is super quiet to me, when it idles at like 800 or 900 RPMs. BUT out in nature when it is whisper quiet ambient I bet it will stand out more, and I wouldn't want to get complaints!

The double honk is good to know, absolutely will prepare for that and make sure it is not quiet hours.

I have soooo many experiments I want to do! This weekend I will adjust my WDH and pick up my trailer to bring home, I'd like to test the steady draw when simply plugged in, fridge on propane, no lights, so that only the mini fridge and AC/DC converter are running, and see how often the truck kicks on over several hours. Fun stuff!

There's an amazing campground only 40 minutes from us but it is 100% dry camping. 2 nights is about our limit on tanks with family of 4. If we can have electricity (AC during the day, TV when relaxing), the lake and trails, shade trees, and close enough to good cell service, this could be our new ideal spot!!
Honestly I didn't push it super hard. Basically used generator mode to power a standalone Verizon hotspot and a Macbook Pro so we could watch the UFC fight while eating a feast of campfire food in a private ranch that we rented. Didn't see it go over 150 watts. Barely used any fuel, and the engine would only engage for perhaps 2 minutes max, then battery only for 10 - 15 minutes. Similar to how it idles, but quieter. Certainly quieter than the audio from the Macbook's speakers and me and my friend's alcohol fueled discussion about the fights lol.

I didn't engage anything other than Generator Mode. The truck was in normal mode, not Eco, for what it's worth.

Obviously, for our campgrounds, noise wasen't a huge concern. But I've been at tailgate parties where the drone of a generator is undeniable background noise. With the truck you had to really listen for it to activate otherwise you wouldn't have noticed it was turning on. I mean, these weren't like some separate audio system we were using here, just using the speakers built into the laptop.

Great write-up! I am curious just how stealthy we can make the truck.

So we can turn off the exterior lights and the SYNC display manually, but I am assuming the dash stays up. And, I would guess the proximity setting should be turned off to prevent outside lights & power running boards engaging when you walk near the truck.
I didn't notice the dash being on, but I wasn't looking for it either. An experiment for next time.

I have been thinking about modifications to make the truck damn near whisper quiet for those kinds of campgrounds. I actually think for a state park relatively near a city, it is quiet enough. But for those genuine, hundreds of miles away from civilization type areas where you can hear your own heartbeat, that's probably a different story. That being said, I think the fact that the truck is already pretty quiet on its own is a great starting point. If you were to park in an area enclosed by brush and trees, and you kept the power draw that you need as low as possible, I bet the natural noise absorption from surrounding nature would be enough. Otherwise you may need to erect some artificial sound absorption around the vehicle itself, once parked.
 

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There is a Forscan hack for the double honk already.
 

John_C

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So here are my questions:
  • Since propower requires a full foot-on-brake start, not just an accessory start, what happens with the double honk? Will I automatically get the double honk or is it smart enough to know that hey maybe I left it "running" intentionally?
You will get the double honk. I disabled mine with ForScan.

  • If I walk out of range with the fob (like say maybe inside the facility to use a restroom) will the truck freak and shut down?
No. Just today at work, I turned on generator mode to run a bunch of battery chargers for my tools. I locked the truck, and went into work (From the construction parking lot to where I was working). I went maybe 6-700' away, and I was 12 feet below ground level. No issues.

  • Do I need to leave the fob inside the truck and lock using the 7/8 and 9/0 keys on the keypad instead?
You can do this to avoid the double honk, but you don't need to. I enabled "police idle" in my truck using ForScan (without the fob present in the truck, you can't shift it from park), so I just lock it with the key on me using the button on the door handle. Works great.

  • Do parking/fog/daylights automatically run if you have propower running? Or do they temporarily turn on when the engine kicks on to charge the hybrid battery? I wouldn't want to light up the campground when it is pitch black in nature.
They will turn on if it gets dark and they are set to "auto", regardless if the engine is actually running or if it is in electric only mode. For me, I just turn on zone lighting but turn all zones off. Pitch black regardless of what mode the headlights are in.

  • Does everyone's have that loud fan noise even when only battery is keeping it powered? It doesn't bother ME personally but if at a completely silent campground it might really stand out. No idea what the "normal" sound level is on these trucks, I have only heard mine.
I have found that it depends. Sometimes the noise is present with no load, and other times it is off while I am using 1,800 watts. I think it is entirely dependent on the temp of the inverter. I noticed it will kick on a lot less if you turn everything in the truck off. No A/C, turn the screen off, IC dimmer all the way down, etc.

Keep in mind, any load over 2,400 watts will cause the truck to run the gas engine continuously. The battery will only work under 2,400 watts.

Also, even when pulling the full 7,200 watts, my truck only idled at about 900/1000 rpms. It was not loud by any means. I myself have the Eco Idle turned on, which runs the engine at 1,500 rpms to charge the battery more quickly. I would disable this feature pretty quick if noise was a concern, as it is significantly louder than the trucks normal idle. Not loud loud, but a good bump up from the normal idle.
 
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daemonic3

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You will get the double honk. I disabled mine with ForScan.



No. Just today at work, I turned on generator mode to run a bunch of battery chargers for my tools. I locked the truck, and went into work (From the construction parking lot to where I was working). I went maybe 6-700' away, and I was 12 feet below ground level. No issues.



You can do this to avoid the double honk, but you don't need to. I enabled "police idle" in my truck using ForScan (without the fob present in the truck, you can't shift it from park), so I just lock it with the key on me using the button on the door handle. Works great.



They will turn on if it gets dark and they are set to "auto", regardless if the engine is actually running or if it is in electric only mode. For me, I just turn on zone lighting but turn all zones off. Pitch black regardless of what mode the headlights are in.



I have found that it depends. Sometimes the noise is present with no load, and other times it is off while I am using 1,800 watts. I think it is entirely dependent on the temp of the inverter. I noticed it will kick on a lot less if you turn everything in the truck off. No A/C, turn the screen off, IC dimmer all the way down, etc.

Keep in mind, any load over 2,400 watts will cause the truck to run the gas engine continuously. The battery will only work under 2,400 watts.

Also, even when pulling the full 7,200 watts, my truck only idled at about 900/1000 rpms. It was not loud by any means. I myself have the Eco Idle turned on, which runs the engine at 1,500 rpms to charge the battery more quickly. I would disable this feature pretty quick if noise was a concern, as it is significantly louder than the trucks normal idle. Not loud loud, but a good bump up from the normal idle.
Fantastic answers! I have been hoping that the whirring during electric idle might go away once temps were in optimal range but have not done enough propower testing. I do plan to turn off climate control, set screen to off, and dim the cluster. I'll probably Forscan in the future but not before I do my weekend dry camping trial this weekend.

Thanks for all the responses!
 

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Fantastic answers! I have been hoping that the whirring during electric idle might go away once temps were in optimal range but have not done enough propower testing. I do plan to turn off climate control, set screen to off, and dim the cluster. I'll probably Forscan in the future but not before I do my weekend dry camping trial this weekend.

Thanks for all the responses!
Your mileage may vary, but my truck only makes the fan noise for 10-15 seconds every few minutes when I'm using low amounts of power (say below 7-800 watts). I don't think you'll have an issue!
 
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Updates after a weekend of dry camping:

Double Honk: I thought I had defeated the double honk when using Propower by only closing the drive door partially but not fully latched. BUT not all the lights would turn off! It was either the trailer lights or the side zone lights but I remember it would not go fully dark unless I fully latched the driver door and got the double honk. Looks like Forscan is the only way around this.

Whirring noise: I know that when in my garage and the truck is on, but in park and not moving, I have a whirring noise, and I was worried how loud this would be in a silent campground. Well, this appears to be related to engine or battery temperature? Maybe it only occurs on a cold engine to keep the battery in warm range. When I first hooked up to Propower (truck on) there was no noise at all, unless the engine kicked on.

Duty Cycling of engine: We don't have any sort of battery meter so we have no way of knowing how long we have until the next time the engine kicks on. I thought I would be able to estimate it based on 1.5kWh battery, watch my loads, and determine based on time, how low the panic/watermark is where it decides to recharge the battery using the engine. It turns out to be VERY unpredictable! I turned on the water heater that added 1000 watts at one point and it ran 10 minutes without kicking on the engine before I turned off that load. But other times I was barely drawing 100W, the engine kicked on for roughly 30 seconds, then back off. I was STILL only drawing 100W, and about 10 minutes later it kicked on again! I timed it to be about 1 minute of ON time this time. Why? It should not have drained that much.... Suggesting there are several things Propower is monitoring to make decisions on the engine duty cycle. Battery charge is merely 1 of them. My conclusion is that you cannot "bank" charge and then expect to run the TV for a few hours during campground "quiet hours" before bed. IT IS TOO UNPREDICTABLE. I was very close to neighbors and did not want to risk getting a lecture from park rangers the next day.
 

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This thread had me curious, so I did some more messing around. I used forscan to data log a few parameters regarding the hybrid battery, and it is extremely interesting...

I was mainly curious as to what the idle load on the battery was with nothing on/running, and when it called for the engine to run to recharge. This picture shows my trucks idle current. Again, this is everything off. HVAC, center stack screen, lights, everything off. This is the lowest I saw. It mostly hovered around 1.5 amps.
20210412_183426.jpg

My guess is that this is due to the sheer amount of modules running in the truck while it's on. Looking at the truck info, there was probably 40 modules listed.

Here's what really confused me. While I was data logging, the truck started and went to 1500 rpms to recharge the battery. When the engine kicked on, the battery percentage was at about 42%, with a draw on the battery of roughly 2 amps. The truck sent about 115 amps to the battery to charge it, and it started charging really fast. But oddly enough, the battery stopped charging at 49.6%, and the engine shut off a few seconds later.

I am really intrigued as to why the battery didn't charge up to 80-100%, but stopped after only gaining a charge of about 8%. Very interesting... I will test this more thoroughly tomorrow, and I'll be using varying loads on the pro power to see how it reacts.
 
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This thread had me curious, so I did some more messing around. I used forscan to data log a few parameters regarding the hybrid battery, and it is extremely interesting...

I was mainly curious as to what the idle load on the battery was with nothing on/running, and when it called for the engine to run to recharge. This picture shows my trucks idle current. Again, this is everything off. HVAC, center stack screen, lights, everything off. This is the lowest I saw. It mostly hovered around 1.5 amps.
20210412_183426.jpg

My guess is that this is due to the sheer amount of modules running in the truck while it's on. Looking at the truck info, there was probably 40 modules listed.

Here's what really confused me. While I was data logging, the truck started and went to 1500 rpms to recharge the battery. When the engine kicked on, the battery percentage was at about 42%, with a draw on the battery of roughly 2 amps. The truck sent about 115 amps to the battery to charge it, and it started charging really fast. But oddly enough, the battery stopped charging at 49.6%, and the engine shut off a few seconds later.

I am really intrigued as to why the battery didn't charge up to 80-100%, but stopped after only gaining a charge of about 8%. Very interesting... I will test this more thoroughly tomorrow, and I'll be using varying loads on the pro power to see how it reacts.
Ah! Thanks for digging into the gritty details, I have not messed with Forscan at all, I'm afraid I'd go down the rabbit hole and want to reverse engineer everything.

So that must explain why even at light light loads, it can still do a few engine starts within short times of each other. i.e. it doesn't automatically charge until full, which is surprising!

I turn on Eco Idle so that the battery charges faster. But I guess it still decides "eh, I've had enough for now" and stops charging.

What I wouldn't give to be able to see HEVBAT_PWR_REMAIN in the dash and on Fordpass, it would help let us know how long we have before the engine kicks on, and can manage quiet hours better. Like I may want to sit in the driver seat and put it in tow/haul or sport and have it charge to 100% just before generator hours end and quiet hours begin.
 

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