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Old 09-21-2015, 06:40 PM   #11
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I have older appliances that require no power to run, and even with all lights on (upgraded to led) and my 2 vortex ceiling fans running, I pull less than 4 amps. so a battery would last me easily 2 days, even with furnace use. but then again recharging your batteries take a lot longer than switching propane tanks. another way to look at it, I can survive a lot longer on 20lbs of propane than I can on 20lbs of batteries ;-)
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:00 PM   #12
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We own our campsite and have no hookups either. We used to run the generator 4-5 hours a day when we were camping and barely kept the battery up. When we went home the battery was not at 100% and even lower when we came back. Our site is heavily wooded and the sun peeks thru the pine needles only a short time each day.

I keep 4 full 20# propane tanks. This past year we only used 2 of them. We run the fridge and hot water 100%. We camp in cold weather too, so the furnace was on maybe 15% of the time.

This year I installed a 100W Renogy solar system. The battery is 100% every time we arrive, and even with use of the furnace, 2 hours TV in the evening, etc. the battery is fully charged by Noon. That's on cloudy days. On a sunny day its up by about 10 AM.

Best investment I ever made. We use the genny for an hour in the evening to run the AC (in the summer), and a 1/2 hour for the microwave at breakfast and again at lunch. I haven't used more than 3 gallons of genny gas all Summer.
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:03 PM   #13
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We own our campsite and have no hookups either. We used to run the generator 4-5 hours a day when we were camping and barely kept thne battery up. When we went home the battery was not at 100% and even lower when we came back. Our site is heavily wooded and the sun peeks thru the pine needles only a short time each day.

I keep 4 full 20# propane tanks. This past year we only used 2 of them. We run the fridge and hot water 100%. We camp in cold weather too, so the furnace was on maybe 15% of the time.

This year I installed a 100W Renogy solar system. The battery is 100% every time we arrive, and even with use of the furnace, 2 hours TV in the evening, etc. the battery is fully charged bu Noon. That's on cloudy days. On a sunny day its up by about 10 AM.

Best investment I ever made. We use the genny for an hour in the evening to run the AC (in the summer), and a 1/2 hour for the microwave at breakfast and again at lunch. I haven't used more than 3 gallons of genny gas all Summer.
surprising how the newer solar panels work well even out of full sun!
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:45 PM   #14
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The two battery users that you may be overlooking are the propane leak detector and the digital amplifier for the antenna. When you are hooked up, does the converter do the charging? The are not very efficient and can "cook" the water out of the battery. Have you checked that?

We make a habit of turning off every light that is not actively needed. We turn on the water heater about 20 minutes before we need hot water and off when finished with it. The water will stay hot for several hours or even over night sometimes.
The newer converters (a model year 2015 in this case) are very efficient and are far better than the typical battery charger.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:07 PM   #15
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Two deep cycle 6 volt golf cart batteries will out last two of the largest 12 volt deep cycle batteries. If I were boonie camping primarily, I'd have a decent solar array on the RV roof. Although slowly, they will still charge in shaded sunlight.

If you have a large battery distribution warehouse nearby, ask them if they have any "blemished" batteries. These are batteries with creases on the outside case or some other blemish or no brand at all. Usually half the cost of new.

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Old 09-22-2015, 07:22 AM   #16
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I'm using the supposedly brand-new battery that came with the new trailer in May. As of mid August, the water level was fine. A proper deep-cycle pair of 6V batteries will be replace the OEM battery when it fails.


I know full well that the CO detector uses a trickle of current. And the TV amplifier has been switched off. The electroluminescent display on the radio/DVD player can not be turned off. The electronics for the fridge and water heater need to stay on too. Whether the furnace's electronics are active when the thermostat is in the 'Off' position, I can't say.


So, my estimate is around 1.5A-2.5A draw when the trailer is unoccupied. 24/7 while at the campsite.


The trailer came equipped with LED lighting. We use the absolute minimum (1 fixture at a time) because the light is so stinking harsh!


Our biggest battery killers are the water pump (5A-7A, as needed) and the furnace fan (7A, 10 minute cycles 3-4 times per night).


I can live with all that.


What I'm griping about is that we, as RV buyers, were not given a choice.


All the RV manufacturers are claiming to 'Go Green' or 'Energy Conserving' because the appliances don't have a standing pilot and therefore use less propane. But the appliances with the electronic controls are more expensive, more trouble-prone and only trade electricity for the 'saved' propane.


Is this a good fight, or am I tilting at windmills?
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:55 AM   #17
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I've had an RV since 1998 and the only appliance that is different is the water heater. My original had a gas only water heater with pilot, the furnace was elec. ignition as was the fridge. I do enjoy the electric option on the water heater as it saves me considerable money when hooked up. I do boondock for months at a a time and have solar so I seldom have to use a genertator. You would not need much of a solar system to handle your parasitic loads.
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:57 PM   #18
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Mike, If I may suggest that we may want to look at taking the propane/battery issue one step farther... instead of propane we could request that the propane stove and propane heating system be replaced with a pot belly stove for heating and cooking and replacing the fridge with one of the pre electric versions that just needed a block of ice every 2/3 days... (could schedule ice block delivery every 3days), but wait you would still need to check how much wood you had for the stove, and monitor how much of the ice block is remaining and if you will get the ice delivered.

I guess my point is no matter what system/technology you select, you will still have to take the time to interface with your selection, whether it is a battery, a block of ice or propane. There is no way around it.

I chose to go with SOLAR. I knew that I did not want to worry about the battery. I installed it and the TT's charge controller has not been turned on since installing SOLAR. It works 365 days a year, sunny, cloudy or rainy it's working... but what works for me, may not for you. it doesn't need direct sunlight to work.. Sunny days I can get 20 amps out of it (if the batteries need it), cloudy days about 10-15amps, rainy days from 3-10 amps. You would be very surprised as to how much you would get out of a solar panel on your 10 foot driveway with a 6' view of the sky. Android and iPhone have apps that will figure out how much solar is available using its light sensor.

It would probably be easier to change the world then change the RV industry. Is the home-built generator meeting your needs? If so, your all set. What is next on you make-it-yourself TT list. Love reading about those things.

Have a GREAT day,

Don
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Old 09-23-2015, 07:17 AM   #19
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I would welcome a wood-burning stove to my RV experience. (Note to TWP723: yes, the weight would be a bit much...)


There are much better designs than the pot-belly versions that Hollywood is so fond of...


Our first camping experience was at a cabin with no external utilities. I loved using the stove for heat, cooking and making hot water.


Wood, like liquid hydrocarbon fuels (gasoline, Diesel, kerosene, propane ad nausium) have a certain property that batteries don't:


** Every part of a solid or liquid fuel is equal to every other part or the fuel **


So, if you have 1/2 a tank of gasoline, your car will continue to travel at whatever pace you choose until you have no more. At 1/4 tank, or even when the Low Fuel light is on. Fill the tank up before it goes dry and everything is fine.


Not so with lead-acid batteries. A fully charged deep-cycle battery shows around 13 volts. Lights are noticeably dimmer when the battery approches 12. Discharge below 11.5 or so and the electronics crap out.


The chemical processes that go on inside the batteries deteriorates the plates with every charge/discharge cycle. Just using it properly damages it.


Why is everyone so complacent about putting more load on the thing that can least afford it?
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:00 AM   #20
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gotta admit my wood burning fireplace at the cottage is a lot nicer to look at than the propane furnace in the TT!
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