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Old 04-19-2013, 09:26 PM   #15
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You're getting some good info here . . . forget about A/C without shore power or generator. If that's not a deal breaker, I'd try and get four 6 volt golf cart type batteries and a basic modified sine wave inverter (1200 to 1500 watts) mounted close to the battery bank and connected with heavy gauge wires. Forget about an inverter in the cigarette lighter socket, the wiring is too small. Charge the iPad before quiet hours. You should be able to watch a couple of hours of TV in the evening, make a pot or two of coffee and have heat and lighting. I haven't checked it out yet but I think my new Keurig may be more energy efficient than brewing a whole pot and keeping it warm.

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Old 04-19-2013, 09:51 PM   #16
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Replace your Walmart stops with rest areas or truck stops if you need the generator. Your generator will not bother anyone as most of the trucks around you will be running their engines.

I run my generator all night (when needed) in rest areas and truck stops.

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Old 04-20-2013, 01:54 AM   #17
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I have read through all of your concerns and what I find is that you are nervous about things and have every right to be.

Your major concern seems to be Dry camping on the road. This is really less of an issue than you perceive.

1. I have never seen a Wal-Mart with quiet hours.

2. Rest areas on the Interstate do not have quiet hours.

3. The only places that I have run into with quiet hours (without hook ups) are some state and fed. campgrounds that are off the beaten path.

One thing that will make your life easier is to get a Passport America membership and plan your trips with nightly stops at one of their discounted camp grounds.

It really does not sound like you need to invest in the inverter set up, run the Genset while on the road and plug in at night. You can pay for a lot of PA campground for the price of the inverter!(over 100 nights, on avg.)

You could also buy a cheap 200w inverter that plugs into a cig. lighter and use that to run small electronics on the road.
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:41 AM   #18
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We do the following:
2 6volt deep cycle battery's (Dealer should swap yours to 6volt)
19" LED TV/DVD in bedroom run with small 12V to 120V inverter for 2 hrs at night.
Small 12V fan hangs on wall and blows on bed all night.
24" LED TV/DVD up front with small 12V to 120V inverter.
Microwave popcorn before 10 pm or popcorn on stove with old crank top kettle or the self contained aluminum foil popcorn that you hold over the stove.
Heat water on gas stove for instant coffee or use an old coffee pot perculater.
Toast bread over stove burner.
[Motorhoming since 1952]
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:44 AM   #19
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Lots of good advice here. Our trailer was designed for boondocking for extended periods of time relying on solar. We have a 300W Morningstar inverter which means there is nothing that uses resistant heat. All lights are LED, we use a french press coffee maker, have XM radio and a 23" TV with DVD and satellite. We have 12V chargers for the iPad cell phones... Pat of this equation is monitoring the goes into and comes out of current of the single 150AH AGM battery. A Trimeric or Victron battery monitor will keep you from discharging your batteries too far (below 50%).
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:30 AM   #20
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Am I gathering that without any inverter at all I won't even be able to watch a DVD on TV if after 10pm and no shore power?
Correct, but a small inverter to power the entertainment systems and provide charging for cell phone and computers/tablets is a fairly simple upgrade and should not be terribly expensive (even at RV dealer prices).
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the time and effort, I really appreciate it and you make many good points
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:43 AM   #22
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Wow, you are truly wonderful for taking all that time and effort, so much good advice, thank you so much
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:48 AM   #23
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Thank you so much , that is very good practical advice
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #24
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Tisha, having camped with a special needs child in a group setting I would respectfully suggest you rent a motorhome and do a weekend run to see what needs are not met and which needs are exceeded by the experience.

We have no idea of what your child's special needs might be and a short rental trip might show that the external stimulation of the great outdoors might satisfy the urges for the Ipad first thing in the morning. I have seen some pretty surly normal teenagers take totally to the camping bit and others who just hated being where they couldn't have thumb conversations with the person standing 10 feet from them.

Your child may especially like the experience and therefor not need the external stimulation or may be not as accepting and need more external stimulus. I am by no means expert on what I'm saying but I am a good observer of life.

BTW I agree with the idea of adding way more battery power to your unit because the electrical needs of your lifestyle. For your morning coffee Coleman puts out a great stove top unit that makes coffee the same way as my built in coffee maker does. Cold water in the compartment filter with coffee and instead of plugging in to make the coffee the whole unit sits over a stove burner and happily makes you coffee.

Cabela's: Colemanģ Stovetop Coffee Pot We like ours

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Old 04-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Crabby Mike View Post
I'll take the first shot, but undoubtedly someone more expert will weigh in at some point ...

Your unit was designed for 30 amp service because that's what the manufacturer felt it needed. Plugged in to shore power or running generator, that should be enough to run anything in your rig, including air conditioner -- but not necessarily all at once. (A major power sucker like the microwave might not coexist with the air conditioner, etc.).

However -- nothing that runs on 120-volt AC power will run at all without shore power, generator, or inverter. If you plan on dry camping (no shore power) and dealing with "quiet time" when you can't run your generator, you'll need an inverter. But -- no inverter that I'm aware of will run your air conditioner, certainly not off your two batteries. That's a reality we all live with, so in that situation we open windows, run vent fans, etc.

Note that it isn't really the inverter that is so smart about coordinating your power needs, but rather an EMS (energy management system), which the dealer may be installing along with the inverter. (Or maybe some are combined units, but mine are not.)


I echo what Crabby Mike is saying. I've only had 30a my whole rv'ing life and don't regret it at all. Remember too that if you think you have to run everything at once to be a happy camper- then you could always convert the rig to 50a. If everything else about it suits your needs maybe this is what you need to do to be happy. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:19 AM   #26
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Tisha- we have a special needs niece, the Ipad is a life saver for mom & dad as well as some other gizmos needed to address attention span problems. They have an Airstream trailer, an oldie, and they pack a 1.5kw gen. She's a handful all the time but loves the trailer. Sometimes she plays in it along side their house. Until the ipad even a three hour drive was a nightmare. Now they can really travel.

Definitely I would want a rig w/an inverter & sufficient batteries to run various things while parked and while driving. Hopefully you are in a place w/this deal where you can make the appropriate adjustments. We run w/the inverter on at all times. Power outages never phase us as the unit switches over w/out a hiccup. We microwave while driving (tho not on twisty roads as much as we used to ), etc. Have to be careful not to plug cube heater into the inverted outlets tho, they are a big battery suck in a hurry.

And there will be limits. You cannot jump into an RV and have all of life go like it has in a stick house fully plugged into the grid. At some point you'll leave something on and drain the batteries. You'll need a way to crank up the gen when you've killed one or the other battery banks. IIWMI'd want the alternator to charge both battery banks while driving; if you don't have that it is a feature that can be added w/an Echo Charger or similar device. You may want to pack one of those jump start battery devices as well.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:37 AM   #27
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Way overkill if you go for an Energy Management System with pure sine wave.

A small inverter will do the job if you manage the energy. Our last 30 ft gasser had two coach batteries and one engine battery and some solar. We managed fine. I did add a bigger inverter than the stock one of 400 watts. We wanted to run the microwave for popcorn too but that was the only reason for really needing one that big.

You can live without the toast until generator time and you can perk coffee the old fashion way on the stove Therby saving the battery power for the special needs child. We have one of those too and he adapted very well, it does take time and patience of course.

Run the generator for a hour or two in the morning and the same in the evening and two batteries is plenty.

No chance on the AC. You will need shoreline to run that at night.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:50 AM   #28
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Thank you so much, you are especially helpful and you speak from experience, yes it is the ability to access some 120 volt alternating current that is key to keeping our sanity at times-namely the I-pad and TV and DVD player

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