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I was planning to purchase a tent for my Element. I was considering an SUV tent with Skeeters for the front windows due to ease of set up, but I noticed that the full size Element tent instructions specify that the battery will go dead if the tailgate is left open for an extended period of time -- I assume this means even with the dome light turned off? Has anyone had this issue using a tent with the tailgate down?

I am considering the SUV tent for festival camping and don't need lots of gear, but I will need the tailgate room to get a matress in for sleeping. I was hoping to avoid a full tent set up ( I already have a nice regular tent) but don't want to buy an SUV tent if having the tailgate down will drain the battery.
 

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i cant answer your question about the battery dying with the tailgate open, although i know that the front light "times out" if the doors are left open to prevent killing the battery. it would also be pretty simple to put a toggle switch at the fusebox under the dash on the rear hatch pin to make it so that it didnt even see the tailgate open when the switch was flipped.
 

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I was planning to purchase a tent for my Element. I was considering an SUV tent with Skeeters for the front windows due to ease of set up, but I noticed that the full size Element tent instructions specify that the battery will go dead if the tailgate is left open for an extended period of time -- I assume this means even with the dome light turned off? Has anyone had this issue using a tent with the tailgate down?

I am considering the SUV tent for festival camping and don't need lots of gear, but I will need the tailgate room to get a matress in for sleeping. I was hoping to avoid a full tent set up ( I already have a nice regular tent) but don't want to buy an SUV tent if having the tailgate down will drain the battery.
I camp with the Element Cabana attached which requires the tailgate and the rear hatch to be open. Some times they stay open for about two days. I know others such as Gaily and Ramblerdan camp out the same way, and I know for a fact they do it for longer periods than I do. I have not had any issues with my batteries draining and I am pretty sure none of the others have had any issues as well.

I cannot think of anything new added to the 09 that would cause any power drain while the tailgate and rear hatch are open even with the interior lights switched off. I can only assume that the writer who wrote the instructions is not familiar with the Element and was unaware that there is a switch to turn off the dome lights and thought that the lights would remain on.

If there is something, I hope someone will correct me and let me know what it is.
 

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Or the Honda writer (or lawyers) figured it was safer to assume that owners might not turn off the rear dome light.

SUV tent or not, I end up leaving the tailgate open quite a bit while camping. I normally leave that light off - even at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The instruction about the tailgate was in the Honda tent instructions, but I agree that it might be a legal precaution so that those who leave it open with the light on don't get fussy if the battery dies. Sounds like people leave the tailgate open for pretty long periods of time, so I may go ahead and get an SUV tent and try it with jumper cables and another car nearby just in case!
 

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I have also camped with my tailgate open for three straight days and had no issues with the battery, just remember to shut the dome light off :)
 

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Good to know because knowing me, if its daylight out, i would have forgotten about the dome light.

BUT

I have to get my tent first! WHICH Fed EX lost in transit from AZ to NM..... or someone is testing my tent.......
or the drive from AZ to NM takes 1.5 weeks.
:lol:
 

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Ditto all the above. I turned the dome lights off several years ago due to not closing the doors all the way when I started parking in the garage. This way there was no issue with a dead battery.
 

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I turned off my rear dome light too after I left it on all night and drained my battery. I rarely need that light on anyway. You will be fine with just shutting off the light when you set up camp.

Get a jump pack for back up. It is much easier than finding another car to jump from.
 

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i replaced the dome light bulbs w/ LEDs, so that even if i leave the switch on w/ the hatch open, the battery isn't run down when i come back a day later.
 

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I also replaced my dome lamps and reading lamps with LEDs to avoid running down the battery, but wasn't looking for much brighter lighting. The smallest LED replacements I could buy are about twice as bright as the incandescent lamps were.

They have 4 and 6 LEDs. With all of them on, they draw under 1W. As a reference, my DRLs which have a total of 56 LEDs draw 4W, which is half the power draw of one original dome light bulb.

I do a fair amount of tent camping, and have found several LED portable battery lamps that are much more versatile than dome lights. My current favorite was $7 at Walm*rt. It's a flat ring-shaped unit that runs for at least 20 hours on one set of 4 AA batteries and has 24 super-bright LEDs. It hangs nicely from the grab handles in the Element or from the center loop of a tent.

If you go the route of LED ceiling lamp conversion, with a cabana, check out the thread on making the center and rear dome lights work in concert. The mod is a 15 minute, reversible job, using one jumper behind the glove box.
 

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Hey Cat,

Just a thought, my '09s lights eventually go off when I have anything open (doors and tailgate) and notice after a while they'll just dim and then turn off... I do have a Karr Security System installed on my E but don't know if that is a function of the system or not...

Anyone else notice this with their '09s or NOT have a Karr System and notice this...?

LBD
 

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I do a fair amount of tent camping, and have found several LED portable battery lamps that are much more versatile than dome lights.
Recently I bought a pair of DOT Sylvania led lights (about $6 at Walmart). They have 3 leds, and 3 AAA, and sold with under cabinet lighting. They come with a magnetic base and velcro ring. Since there is little metal on the inside of the Element, I stuck the velcro to the side panels. One above the side door pillar on the passenger side and one above the cargo area.

Together these did a nice job of lighting the inside of the E during the past 2 weeks of camping. For reading we used head lamps or hand held lights.
 

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Or the Honda writer (or lawyers) figured it was safer to assume that owners might not turn off the rear dome light.

SUV tent or not, I end up leaving the tailgate open quite a bit while camping. I normally leave that light off - even at home.
closing off the toggle switch above is a no brainer for us--BUT that didn't do any good--still drained me a few times --VERY UNCOOL, HONDA! Wht's a camper to do? Ok, Im no McGiver, but I'll figure out a toggle switch below the dash somehow (got photos/advice? (PS I'VE GOT A 4WD--lame compared to my amigos' 4wd campers-- 2010 EX)
 

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Recently I bought a pair of DOT Sylvania led lights (about $6 at Walmart). They have 3 leds, and 3 AAA, and sold with under cabinet lighting. They come with a magnetic base and velcro ring. Since there is little metal on the inside of the Element, I stuck the velcro to the side panels. One above the side door pillar on the passenger side and one above the cargo area.

Together these did a nice job of lighting the inside of the E during the past 2 weeks of camping. For reading we used head lamps or hand held lights.
good ideas all! any fotos of your lighting in rig?!
 

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Diddo on the LED bulbs inside. They're much brighter and better light to see by - besides using so much less wattage. I changed mine after the second time I left a door open overnight and came back to a dead battery - also got a better battery. :mad:

The other problem with leaving the tailgate open for extended periods is that the CPU doesn't go to sleep until all the doors are shut. I think somebody said it draws about a third of a amp until it's off. Probably not a problem normally but the Element comes equipped with such a dinky little battery...
 
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