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Old 09-23-2014, 11:11 PM   #1
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All Electric Class A or Not???

During our evaluation of buying a new (to us) class A (upper scale units), we are seeing several "all electric" coaches. Most of them have that 12.5 Cummins diesel genny.

We are wondering about the truth (or not) of what the seller's are telling us:
1. While dry camping at night, the automatic "ON" genny (sensing low battery voltage) does not go on to recharge our batteries. Q: How can this be true in light of the electrical requirements of a large home still refrig?

2. If it does go one, do your neighbors get pissed at you - dirty looks in the morning?

3. What's the benefit of an all electric over a standard coach

4. If you have an all electric coach now, would you buy another one


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Old 09-24-2014, 07:59 AM   #2
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I think most RVers of the all-electric persuasion have a LOT of house batteries that keep their reefer working. You might want to think about how many batteries you would need, and whether you have extra space for them.
Also, many of these RVers use solar charging systems to keep the generator from cycling too much. Personally, I wouldn't want my generator coming on during the night because it WILL make noise that neighbors won't appreciate.

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Old 09-24-2014, 08:04 AM   #3
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Your large, home style, frig draws very little power. You can thank the entire Energy Star movement for that. You can easily go overnight and well into the next day without needing to start the generator. You will have at least 6 house batteries (I do) if you have a residential frig.

The biggest thing with the all-electric coaches might be the need to start the generator to cook if you have a 220V induction cook top. Of course, if you want to use your electrically heated floors or air condidtioning or washer and dryer, you will have to start it.

Unless you plan to boondock and set in one spot for a while, don't bother with solar. If you are like most of us and travel from one campground to another, about the only time you will be running your generator is on the road to run the A/C units.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:21 AM   #4
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I have owned both and prefer the all electric. in situations where you don't want to have genny come on at night you have the option of setting a quite time, so that if there is a need for the generator it will not come on during the time you have set. i do have a gas stove on mine, which wife likes that option. if the coach was all electric from the factory, they have most likely sized your battery compartment to accommodate all the battery storage you will need.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:31 AM   #5
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You'll have to look at your life style to see if they will work for you. If you are going to just go places that you can plug in it should be no problem. If you are going to to places to dry camp or boon dock starting your gen in the middle of the night could be an issue. Most campgrounds have quiet hours from 10 pm till 6 am. In the National Parks they often have some screwy hours that only let you run your generator for a few hours a day. I'm not sure if many coach manufactures are using Lithium ion batteries but you might want to consider this from the weight point of view and the fact that they have thousands of recharging cycles in them instead of hundreds. Also if you are going to boon dock or dry camp you might want to load up your roof with solar. (30% tax credit till 2016)
We prefer to dry camp or boondock so we like the propane feature for our refig and cooking. It also have the option of using propane to heat water but when we run the generator we just let the electric heat up the water. Right now we only have one panel on the roof but are going to have 4 more installed in the near future.
I have been looking at all electric coaches and have failed to see any real advantage over propane. By the way we have a diesel heater and heat pumps and are very happy with them.
You'll have people raise the specter of fire due to propane but if you use your head, follow common safety procedures, and have your propane appliance serviced annually you should be good to go. I have seen and extinguished at least 7 RV fires. One was from propane, one was from a brake fire, the other five have been some electrical cause (3 of them from heat tape improperly installed). The rest were from problems with the electrical system. If you look at the thousands of RV on the road the number of fires is pretty low.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:36 AM   #6
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FWIW all electric houses are like all electric homes. Single point failure and you are screwed. I like the mix of gas and electric.

The biggest mistake with the all electric refers is putting them in a smallish MH. They do not have the room to stick the battery bank necessary to run them properly. If you want to occasionally dry camp you will also have a problem keeping the batteries charged. That is why folks go to the big solar arrrays to charge the big battery banks all done to avoid an easy to refill propane tank.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:41 AM   #7
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richard (dr4film) from alaska has a lot of experience on this. wait to hear from him... i think the biggest advantage for all elec over lpg is its fire safety...
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:45 AM   #8
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I agree with tbird2000's post. We too have had both types of coaches. I much prefer all electric. I do like cooking on a gas stove top but not to the point that I would not purchase a coach with electric induction cooktop or electric cooktop. The maintenance on heating and cooking is cost saving, at least in our coach. I would not go back after 2 1/2 years of all electric. As mentioned the auto start will start your Genny if programmed to charge your low voltage issue and not start at quiet times. The auto start is a very nice feature especially if you have furry friends onboard and there is a power outage while away at a campground.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:45 AM   #9
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We have just modified our Newmar order to all electric as the only item using propane was the stove top. On this model you go from 4 to 8 house batteries, a larger inverter and the option to upgrade to all AGM batteries. You no longer have a large propane tank taking up space and you don't have to worry about gas leaks. We don't do much dry camping but with parks that only have 30A power we may have to run the generator more. As has been said you can program the auto gen start with a quiet time so it will not start up in the middle of the night. I think once you opt for the residential fridge and have diesel heating systems you are over the edge and might as well go completely electric.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:57 AM   #10
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2. You would be hard pressed to run your batteries down overnight. Deleting propane only does a couple of things - deletes gas use on the stove, deletes gas use on the fridge, and deletes gas use on the furnace.

A. you won't be cooking at night.
B. The furnace would now run off an aquahot I'm sure.
C. The fridge draws low anyway - the addition of two batteries would handle this no problem!

We only have 4 house batteries, and we do have a resi fridge. When we dry camp, we turn the fridge to a less cold setting (say middle of the road) just to keep the compressor off as much as possible - and we have never - ever - not once - run our batteries down to where they genset needed to be kicked on.

This is really more of a "do I want to cook with gas or not" type of situation if you ask me. I would dry camp the crud out of an all electric Mind you, you will want to run the genset a bit during the day to top of those batteries, but you should have no trouble at all.
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:12 AM   #11
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All electrics have another advantage in that they don't have the restriction Propane user do. They can go through most tunnels. In MD the harbor tunnel will not allow a MH with propane to go through.
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:36 AM   #12
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The length of time your batteries will last depends on more than just the refrig load. We have six wet cell batteries 18 months old. We can not make it through the night before the batteries are down to the 12.2 volt gen start level. However, the tv and satellite receiver use power as do the fans for the aqua-hot system. I do not like to hear the big generator start up at 4:00 am and neither do my neighbors. Most of the time, we dry camp off by ourselves. I use a 2K Honda to charge the batteries. My 620 watt solar system keeps the batteries charged during the day. At 6:00 pm, I'll start the Honda sitting 50-75' away from the coach. It holds .96 gal of gas and will run for 7-8 hrs and can hardly hear it. It powers a 40 amp smart charger. I'll shut it down at bedtime or sometimes just let it run out. We use everything except the induction cook top and AC. The 10K gen is used for them.

And NO, I would not want to go back to propane, although, a gas stove is nicer than the induction top.
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:42 AM   #13
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Firstly, there's probably been a dozen or more threads on this very topic on IRV2 alone. Do a search for "all electric" and you should have an afternoon's worth of reading.

Few high end coach owners do a lot of dry camping, or boondocking, so I'm assuming you won't either. It's not just a matter of desire, but also one of practicality. Few are willing to take their new 40' plus long coaches down some rough gravel road to find solace. We clearly have some members more adventurous than others here, but they are in the minority.

We have attended rallies or visited relative where we might be as long as a week without hookups and have done just fine. If you are somewhere that limits generator run time you no doubt will have a programmable control that will not allow the gen set to start during those times. It can also monitor your thermostat settings and if A/C is called for it will start the generator, shutting it down again once the desired setting is reached (we once "camped" in a relatives front yard in 95 degree weather and the gen set only ran an accumulated 3 hours all night long). It will also monitor battery level and kick in when they need to be recharged - yes they will recharge off the generator.

As has already been suggested, most any manufacturer that sells an all electric will use at least 6 house batteries and more likely 8. The items that will not run off the batteries in our coach are the A/C, the cooktop and the washer/dryer. I inadvertently left the coach unplugged one time, before we were living in it full time, and three days later the fridge was still running.

What do I like about not having LP on board. An extra storage bin where the LP tank would normally reside. Not having to find a place to refill the LP that can accommodate a big motorhome. Last January was extra cold, even in central Florida. Those with LP furnaces were looking for a refill every 10 days to two weeks. Most of the time that requires pulling off the site. A bonus was when we were travelling up the east coast last year we didn't have to find routes around some of the tunnels that forbid vehicles with large LP tanks.

Aquahot was also mentioned above. Your all electric coach will come with the Aquahot boiler system, or it's equivalent, depending on the manufacturer you buy from. These are extremely efficient and will provide both interior heat and all of your hot water. I've calculated that even with last years extremely cold winter (again in central Florida, not back in Wisconsin) I could have sit on our site for six months with no concern about running low on fuel.

You do have to consider how you expect to use the coach and as others have touched upon, if you're going to spend a major portion of your time off the grid, LP would make sense. If maybe a couple of weeks a year (like us) the all electric, at least to me, seems like the best choice. Somewhere in between, it's dealer's choice.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:07 AM   #14
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We have the AquaHot, the res refer, and a propane cooktop, the only propane appliance. I hate cooking on electric cooktops so a "all electric" coach would not be for me. Even if you don't mind cooking with an electric cooktop you will probably still carry a propane bottle with you if you barbecue outside or use a propane firepit as we do. Tapping into the large propane tank is easier for me than carrying around an external tank. It depends on your RV style.

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