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Old 03-12-2016, 06:56 AM   #15
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With even tell 6 volts you should be ok running the Gen 2 hr in the morning and 3 in the evening. If not increase the Gen time by an hour at each end. Even with 4 batteries you may need the extra time. Also plan the opening of the refer. If you don't have one a good battery monitor is in order. Also if the battery demand of inverting will show a low battery condition that really isn't there, the batteries need to be at rest for a good DOC reading.
At the cost of fuel today your only talking two dollars for a couple extra hours of gen time and your talking just a few days not long term, besides that gen most likely needs the workout.

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Old 03-12-2016, 07:29 AM   #16
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I'll second the call to install a battery monitor. I have the Bogart trimetric 2030RV. It monitors the charge into and out of the battery and gives you a percentage indicator for battery state. (You really can't do that from voltage alone). You should avoid running batteries below half charge. Your batteries would probably cost $800-$1000 to replace. A $150 battery monitor seems like a good investment to prolong their life.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:55 AM   #17
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I'll put in my 2 cents, I would get a battery monitor, add at least 2 batteries, and add solar. If your are handy, take your time, you can get a 400 watt solar kit from Amazon, along with some other parts (dicor, combiner box, ect.) to do the install your self for under $1000.
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:59 AM   #18
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Different fridges use different amounts of power. Our new version of the Samsung RF18, uses about 140AH's per day, with the ice maker off. (Note: If your fridge has an ice maker, turning it off when the generator is not running, will save you quite a bit of AH's.) Now for us, we don't count the AH's during the sunlight, as we have 1200W of 48V Solar covering all of our daytime power needs, while also topping of our AGM's. So, it is those night time hours, figure 70-80AH's, depending upon the time of the year, for overnight power feeding of our fridge.

OP - If you have four batteries, turn off your fridge, conserve lights usage at night (We have the ones we use regularly at night now over to LED.). You should be able to boon dock for a few days without much worry.

AGM's charge a bit faster then wet cells, so if you get up and turn on your generator while making your coffee and breakfast, let it run for 2-3 hours. Then go about your day. Then when you are making dinner run the generator for another hour or so to top off.

I agree with the comments on getting a shunt and monitor of some kind into the mix. Not real expensive, and they do give you a good reading on the condition of your battery bank. This way you can go out an do some testing, and learn how your system works for the two of you. The units mentioned are good ones.

Finally, if you have the coach at home. Do some trial runs, staycation camping. This will give you an indication of how your system works for you.

I also agree that if you guys find you like the freedom of boon docking, solar panels would be your next logical upgrade to your coach. But until then, many have boon docked for years by running a generator. Heck, I know one gent with a Bounder, that bough a small portable Honda generator. He plugs his rig into this, and uses it to power his recharge of his battery bank (X's 4 Trojan T125's). He went to the smaller generator, because it used less gas, and was quite a bit quieter. He built one those silencer boxes you can find pictures of on the internet, so while in his coach, he does not hear it at all. (30' to his rear, with a 12ga extension cord running up to his coach.) He can dry camp for a week on one 5 gallon can, with his usage.

Go have some fun, and learn how your coach consumes power while doing so!
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:03 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Wbonsell View Post
Pretty sure I have a bank totaling 4 6 volt batteries. And the inverter is a Equinox 2000W charger. I just want to be able to boon dock a little over on the PCH at Rincon and make sure I can keep my residential fridge nice and cool. Another Siena owner says you can't boon dock because of the fridge, but I'm not sure he is providing me accurate information.
A few quick numbers, but several assumptions. With (4) 6 volt batteries, you'll have about 400 amp-hr total capacity, but you should never use more than 50% of your battery capacity, so that leaves 200 amp-hr. At 12 volts, that's 200x12=2400 watt-hrs. At a minimum, with a residential refrigerator, you'll use about 200 watts/hr on average. May be more or less, and really you'd need to measure your actual power usage. That means you should be able to run about 2400/200=12 hrs before you need to charge. Your 2,000 watt inverter can put out a maximum of 100 amps DC for charging. You need to make up 200x24=4800 watt-hrs (per day). You can get *at most* 100x12=1200 watt-hrs out of your inverter for charging. Of course, DC systems aren't 100% efficient, so watt-hrs out don't equal watt-hrs in. Anyway, that means about 4 hrs generator run time, with no more than 12 hrs between generator runs.

Assumptions you need to check are your battery capacity (remember to divide by two when you add up 6 volt battery capacity), your average watt usage during the day (not real easy), and your average charging capacity.
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:35 AM   #20
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A few quick numbers, but several assumptions. With (4) 6 volt batteries, you'll have about 400 amp-hr total capacity, but you should never use more than 50% of your battery capacity, so that leaves 200 amp-hr. At 12 volts, that's 200x12=2400 watt-hrs. At a minimum, with a residential refrigerator, you'll use about 200 watts/hr on average. May be more or less, and really you'd need to measure your actual power usage. That means you should be able to run about 2400/200=12 hrs before you need to charge. Your 2,000 watt inverter can put out a maximum of 100 amps DC for charging. You need to make up 200x24=4800 watt-hrs (per day). You can get *at most* 100x12=1200 watt-hrs out of your inverter for charging. Of course, DC systems aren't 100% efficient, so watt-hrs out don't equal watt-hrs in. Anyway, that means about 4 hrs generator run time, with no more than 12 hrs between generator runs.

Assumptions you need to check are your battery capacity (remember to divide by two when you add up 6 volt battery capacity), your average watt usage during the day (not real easy), and your average charging capacity.
There is a lot of good information in you post.

I only question the watts per hour of the fridge.

Refrigerators run less then 50% of the time. Did you figure that in.

My US Energy guide for my apartment size 7.5 c.f. fridge rates it at 365 kw per year. Thats 1000 watts a day. I have matched that in real life use over 6 years.

Your calculations come up to 4800 watts a day. 1752 kw per year.
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:38 AM   #21
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My Equinox Inverter panel has a monitor which shows the battery charge level from low to high. When currently hooked up to shore power, it shows batteries fully charged. When disconnected from shore power and running the inverter, I presume the battery level indicator will drop. I'm guessing this is not the same as a stand alone battery monitor but will it suffice to monitor levels?

A great tip by the way to shut off the icemaker. Would have not thought of doing that when on the inverter. Would love to change the 12V lights to LED but hate the white white color I often see. Anyone know a good source for warm white 12v LED's....thanks.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:35 AM   #22
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There is a lot of good information in you post.

I only question the watts per hour of the fridge.

Refrigerators run less then 50% of the time. Did you figure that in.

My US Energy guide for my apartment size 7.5 c.f. fridge rates it at 365 kw per year. Thats 1000 watts a day. I have matched that in real life use over 6 years.

Your calculations come up to 4800 watts a day. 1752 kw per year.
Thanks. I didn't assume 200 watts average coach usage based on only refrigerator, but also running TV, lights, etc. Having a residential refrigerator just makes a higher number like 200 more reasonable. Of course, the 200 watt number is really the big assumption, so adjusting it up or down based on an individual coach's usage is appropriate. I do agree that 200 watts average usage, even with a residential refrigerator, is higher than you might see with modest energy conservation. I'm also a bit prejudiced with routers, microwave/convection oven, induction cooktop, and multiple TV's with DirecTV in my coach.
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:48 AM   #23
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My Equinox Inverter panel has a monitor which shows the battery charge level from low to high. When currently hooked up to shore power, it shows batteries fully charged. When disconnected from shore power and running the inverter, I presume the battery level indicator will drop. I'm guessing this is not the same as a stand alone battery monitor but will it suffice to monitor levels?

A great tip by the way to shut off the icemaker. Would have not thought of doing that when on the inverter. Would love to change the 12V lights to LED but hate the white white color I often see. Anyone know a good source for warm white 12v LED's....thanks.
A lot of what you should do depends on what your end goal is. If all you want is the occasional couple day stay off grid learn to keep an eye on the battery bank charge level so you can run the generator in the evening to maximize charge for night time quiet hours. A couple of gallons of fuel is a lot cheaper than all the other suggestions.

Worst case is that the battery will run low and the generator not start so when you get up the refrigerator will be off. It is probably (reported to be) well insulated enough that the food will be fine for 8-12 hours. If the charge level is high at bed time the system will last at least half the night. That gives you a lot of margin. When you get up check the charge level and start the generator before the morning routine starts sucking power. If the battery is too low to start the generator then start the main engine and let it run for 10 minutes or so to get some charge back into the system and feed some to the house. Then force the two battery banks together to start the generator. Once it stablizes you can shut off the main engine and let the system charge everything off the generator.

Once you have some experience then you can consider how you are using the system and make changes as needed. Proactively changing things without understanding the issues often is a case of pouring money down a rat hole. Once you understand your parameters you can consider solar to cut down run time or more/bigger batteries to extend run time overnight. What you have now should be more than enough to avoid a real problem.
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Old 03-16-2016, 06:33 PM   #24
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In reading this post, I've not read a post yet where the owner uses Solar to keep the batteries up? I realize it the initial install is costly, but having the proper number of panels depending on usage, wouldn't that be the way to go? We're at a point where we're looking at preowned coaches, and I'm finding it difficult to find coaches with sufficient panels (very few as a matter of fact) yet I thought Solar was popular with the Motorhome crowd, so I guess I was wrong. My father in law just had a single panel on his old motorhome, and it kept his 12V batteries up, allowing an evening of television watching at each night, plus the other uses of course, so it just seems like a given to me!
My wife is a proponent to using the Generator as little as possible (noise & smell) and we DO plan on boon docking, so all this has to be in our 'plan' for purchasing our first MH.
I currently have a 9' 6" model Arctic Fox (with slide) slide in camper, and it's wired for Solar, so I'm now wondering if specific motorhomes do the same?
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Old 03-17-2016, 03:23 AM   #25
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Fof the occasional boon docker it's really hard to justify a lot of money on solar. OTOH a basic panel or two would help as well as take care of battery maintenance charging when in storage. It's all a question of balancing dollars vs needs vs wants. No point putting in big solar for 3 days at the beach twice a year. Foolish not to put in solar if only plugged in occasionally and the rest of the time off grid. All things to consider as one learns how one's usage evolves.
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:26 AM   #26
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[QUOTE=Powerstroke2000;2980286]In reading this post, I've not read a post yet where the owner uses Solar to keep the batteries up? ...I thought Solar was popular with the Motorhome crowd,
/QUOTE]

It is popular with youtubers and internet bloggers. Many of them use a commercial installer rather than installing themselves, so the upfront cost is quite high for them. I will probably install the panels myself later this year and have looked into installing myself. Affixing the panels to the roof and running the cables is not trivial, so I will plan for a few months before I start ordering components.

As for generator use, I have heard folks say they don't want to use theirs, but ours is quiet and quite fuel efficient (7kW onan diesel). The exhaust is under the driver's seat so we don't hear it when we are outside under the awning. If you are boondocking where no one else is around, I don't see the issue.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:42 AM   #27
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FWIW It also seems to depend on where one lives and what one does. In some parts of the country it is hard to find places to boondock in open unshaded land so most folks end up in some kind of paid campground. Electric is the easiest utility to get on the site. In other parts of the country there is evidently a lot of open land where dispersed camping is readily available so a decent solar setup will pay for itself if one is out a lot. There are always folks selling their way of doing things whether or not it fits your way. Your system is capable of boondocking when it rolls out of the factory. It just may, or may not, do it the most desireable way for you.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:50 AM   #28
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1. Get a meter installed

2. Plan on running the genset.

3. Don't try to get enough solar to run the residential fridge unless you really need to be quiet and have lots of money.

4. Boondock often
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