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Old 05-31-2015, 06:02 PM   #1
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Shakedown Trip

Just returned from a 5 day dry camping trip to the beach. Who'd a thunk I'd have a couple questions along with a coupla, DUHS!!!! All in all the week went well, no complaints with the MH and we like it even more than we did before we left.

First off, it dawned on me on the second day, that I checked my propane to make sure I had plenty for the 5 days. But, I then remembered I no longer had a propane generator. Sure enough my fuel gauge read about 1/3 of a tank. It's old dog, new tricks time! As luck would have it we made it on the fuel we had and the low fuel light came on while driving home. It's only a 40 mile round trip so fuel has never been a consideration before.

That was the DUH!!, now for the questions.

Fresh tank and gray water gauges seem to work ok, but the black gauge keeps reading 1/4 tank, I'll try flushing it good. Fridge worked great, Hydro Hot seems to be working good and the electrical system seems to be in order.

This is my first residential fridge and first big inverter, last MH had a 600w inverter that only ran the tvs. I am wondering how you guys run things when you dry camp. Do you let the inverter run all day and night for the fridge and then charge the batts in the mornings and evenings with the generator? Do you shut the inverter off at times during the day or night? I am wondering about the best way to use the system.

I was letting the inverter run all night and then firing up the generator in the morning for a couple of hours and again in the late afternoon.

My other question is about the new to me, Hydro Hot. Do you turn it on and let it go about it's business all day and night or just fire it up when you're in need of hot water or some heat. We just used hot water for showers and didn't need heat at all. Again, trying to make efficient use of the systems.

Thanks, Terry
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:14 PM   #2
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Black gauge might be sticking and needs a good cleanout or flush. Hydro-hot, well if your frugal like me, only on when needed. Fridge, can't comment. I don't shut my inverter off, and I fire up the genie like you.
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:15 PM   #3
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When we are in a campground we run the Aqua Hot primarily on electric, supplementing with diesel as required/desired. The Aqua Hot also provided hot water for the coach so unless we want to shower and wash dishes in cold water it is on.
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Old 05-31-2015, 07:41 PM   #4
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Hello Terry, regarding your black tank, it will hold 78 gallons, it will take a lot to move it 1/4 to 1/2. Sometimes when traveling I will only dump once a week or the morning of the last day.

As for the inverter I leave it on 24/7 when dry camping. We recharge the batteries in the morning and again at night. We only run the generator during day only if we use the microwave to slow the drain on the batteries. I use the inverter at night for my CPAP and refrigerator.

I hope the information is of some use.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:14 PM   #5
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Shakedown Trip

Terry, the generator runs on diesel. The fuel pickup for the gen is at 1/4 tank level, so be sure you have plenty of fuel when you get to your site. I run the inverter 24/7, except when I am parked at home, that keeps the refrig cold. If you watch your power consumption and have the solar panels you should be fine. You only use propane for the 3 burner cook top. We cook a good amount using the 3 burner top and the microwave/convection for many things and we have over a half tank of propane left from the original fill in 2006 when we bought the coach as the first owners. We have 56 k miles, have been across the country 3 times, including from 15 k on our Cape Cod to Alaska trip last summer. Last year we purchased a portable induction hot plate, (it boils water in 90 seconds) so I don't know if we will ever use it all. If you want to know more about the Alaska trip go to www.capecodtoalaska2014.com. When we are dry camping I run the gen in the morning and afternoon/evening, or any time we run the microwave.

On the black tank, run a couple of hours with the tank 1/2 full, then use the black tank flusher to clean it, there is probably gunk dried near the gauges, running it 1/2 foul will loosen anything and you should be fine. If you have not already done so look at the SeaLeve gauges, they are MUCH more accurate and not hard to install.

On the HydroHot, when at a campground I run it on electric to do dishes, and turn on the diesel for showers. When dry camping I only run on diesel. One other tip, in cold weather I run the HydroHot while on the road, it keeps you toasty warm. There is a connection to the engine cooling that gives you plenty of heat. You should also get into the habit of taking a shower as soon as you get set up, the engine is still hot enough to get a real hot one.

I hope this helps.

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Old 05-31-2015, 10:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. I think I'm on the right track with the Hydro Hot and the inverter.

I used to maintain my water on electric when I had full hook ups and use the propane for the initial heat up and a quick reheat if needed for showers.

I will fill and dump the black tank and flush it and see if that helps clean the contacts. I will also look into the SeaLevel gauges.

We have an oven which the wife dislikes, she prefers the convection/micro. We also bought one of those induction hot plate things and she likes using it as well. I doubt we'll get 9+ years out of our full propane tank, you set the bar pretty high, much less still have half a tank left. I plan on adding a tee for the BBQ and our portable fire pit.

Thanks again for all of the help, it is very much appreciated, Terry
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:04 PM   #7
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I keep checking the propane, we make coffee every morning on it and cook quite a bit, I think the gauge is wrong, but the dial indicator agrees with the SeaLevel😍. Alpines don't use much propane!


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Old 06-01-2015, 09:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry W View Post
Thanks for the responses. I think I'm on the right track with the Hydro Hot and the inverter.

I used to maintain my water on electric when I had full hook ups and use the propane for the initial heat up and a quick reheat if needed for showers.

I will fill and dump the black tank and flush it and see if that helps clean the contacts. I will also look into the SeaLevel gauges.

We have an oven which the wife dislikes, she prefers the convection/micro. We also bought one of those induction hot plate things and she likes using it as well. I doubt we'll get 9+ years out of our full propane tank, you set the bar pretty high, much less still have half a tank left. I plan on adding a tee for the BBQ and our portable fire pit.

Thanks again for all of the help, it is very much appreciated, Terry
Look in the compartment where your outside TV connections are - on mine there is a propane connection already.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:36 AM   #9
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Look in the compartment where your outside TV connections are - on mine there is a propane connection already.
No propane connection there.

I see a tee in the gas line that goes to the oven and stove and I plan on tapping into that. I am kinda wondering about it already being regulated at the tank. Not sure what affect that will have on pressure at the bbq regulator and valve.

Would I be adding more obstruction to the flow. I'll have to do some testing with the hook up.
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:41 PM   #10
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YUP--there is a stub in the basement, under the refridge for RV fridges. Problem is all of the stubs in the basement are down stream from the regulator on the main tank. Cant have two regulators in a row so for typical propane appliances like grills, you have to figure out how to by pass the regulator on the appliance. Propane campfires [in a can] are different yet--they require an adjustable regulator similar to a fish fryer or the like. Accordingly, you have to come off the high pressure side of the main regulator to make the campfire work properly. I just did this and it is a PITA to get the plumbing right....good luck.....do a search on this forum, see notes.....
PS--there are calibrations screw heads under the black plugs below each of the buttons on you tank gauge console. However, the sensors are glued to the side of the tanks and dont work all that good. So even under the best of times, the gauges are more of a guide than a measurement.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:57 PM   #11
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Most small propane BBQ'S are made two different ways. One with the regulator is connected at the BBQ and the regulator also controls the flame. The second way the regulator is located on the propane bottle and the flame controls are on the BBQ. This is the type BBQ to get because you can use the regulated propane from the motorhome.
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