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Old 04-19-2013, 01:04 PM   #1
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Only 30 amps, wish I'd known

Just bought a 2013 Newmar Bay Star Sport 33feet Motorhome, gas,with a 30 amp electrical service and two 12 volt house batteries, 4 kw Onan generator-as I read and learn I don't think I have what I need for electrical ( I envision having no shore power and being after 10pm or before 7am and therefore no generator and relying on very little DC power). My son can be up at 6am and wanting to watch TV or use his IPad with me desperately wanting coffee and toast, or it could be after 10pm and the family wants to watch a DVD and enjoy some microwave popcorn with a few lights on, and there is the issue of being cool at night and needing air conditioning etc.
From my reading I am learning that what I have in my rig will not allow any of this, not even close. My son is also prone to using different electrical devices in the sockets, he is special needs and doesn't have a whole lot of patience usually, he might hate the whole RV experience if he's 'down' at 6am or after 10pm.
My dealer extolls the virtue of a Magnum Inverter with pure sine , but it is expensive and I'm looking for feedback, my dealer would hardwire it in now as I haven't picked up my unit and tells me it will solve my problems for the most part and is 'intelligent' in that it will flip between DC, generator as needed, cutting out if gas gets low, knowing to extend recharging of DC batteries if plugged into 15 amp house outlet, etc. Electical needs would consist of microwave, roof top airconditioner(13.5M Brisk central), two TV's, coffee maker, toaster-anything else can run on propane.
Comments and suggestions are very welcome, this is a little overwhelming
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:22 PM   #2
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Well, you aren't going to run the a/c from the inverter unless you can pack along a couple dozen additional batteries. For practical purposes, it is shore power or generator for the a/c.

30A vs 50A is not this issue; as I understand it, you want to be able to run everything without shore power, even during "quiet hours". That's a tall order. You need the inverter, but you also need at least 400 AH of battery storage and your two 12v's probably provide only 170-210, so you will need to substantially increase that as well. And still no way to run the a/c overnight.

Plus, you seem to be saying the you will get what is called Auto Generator Start to fire up the genny when the batteries get low, but you still can't allow that during quiet time (10-7 or whatever). That's usually an optional feature, so probably part of why the Magnum install is expensive.

You need to have this conversation with the dealer, i.e. what it is you expect to be able to do, and write your expectations into any work order. If it just says "install inverter", you are going to be disappointed in the results, but if it says "make it possible to run a/c for up to 9 hours without generator or shore power", you will know you are getting what you want. However, I would be shocked if the dealer accepted any such work order.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
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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.)
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
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Sorry, Gary and I must have been typing at the same time. What he said.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:31 PM   #5
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Whether you have 30 or 50 amp if not plugged into power you won't be able to run anything without either the generator (can't be used during quiet hours anyway) or an inverter. If you do a great amount of drycamping then you may have to rethink the TV and electronics during the late night or early morning. If you truely need coffee and are drycamping then make a pot the old fashion way on the stove. As for Ipad make sure it's powered up before turning off and why not eliminate it all together. Do we truely need to be connected 24/7 or can we play a board game or cards?????

I quess I look at things different because thats how we camped growing up. No electric and learned to play games and talk with adults. Great family memories.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
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What Gary RVRoamer said

You need to understand that two 12 v batteries will never have the capacity to power what you are thinking of doing. If you add more batteries, then you'll have to increase your charging system to bring the batteries back for the next night.

An inverter is only about 85-90% efficient, some power is lost in the conversion process. Buying a big, expensive pure sine wave inverter is not going to solve your energy needs. Either learn (and teach your son) to expect less or camp where hook ups are available. As has been suggested, a stove top coffee percolator and perhaps 'Jiffy Pop' on the gas stove might be the way to go.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:01 PM   #7
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If you will be camping with no electric hookup, I suggest and old style stovetop coffee percolator, a Coleman camp toaster designed for gas stove. You can charge the IPad from the starter battery with a 12v plug. You may also want to see if your mh can handle more batteries.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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Your explanation of what you want doesn't make sense. You say no shore power yet you can't use the generator because of quiet time in a park? Unless your in a state park with no power most all parks have shore power and your problems should be solved. If your in a state park with no power, you'll have a 10pm curfew on your generator so make your coffee and put in a thermos, charge the Ipod up before the curfew, pop your popcorn before hand, open windows for a cool night sleep, and the inverter should easily run some lights and a TV depending on how long your going to keep it on and how big it is. If there's room in coach, add another battery. As for your son hating the experience....that's up to you. Make it fun....plan ahead....you can make this his greatest experience yet!
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:18 PM   #9
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HEY! Its "Camping". Some "hardships" have to be expected.
Just replace the losses with gains in other areas; hiking, making a campfire, fishing, swimming, throwing sticks at birds, looking for arrow-heads, etc.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:30 PM   #10
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30 amps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tisha View Post
Just bought a 2013 Newmar Bay Star Sport 33feet Motorhome, gas,with a 30 amp electrical service and two 12 volt house batteries, 4 kw Onan generator-as I read and learn I don't think I have what I need for electrical ( I envision having no shore power and being after 10pm or before 7am and therefore no generator and relying on very little DC power). My son can be up at 6am and wanting to watch TV or use his IPad with me desperately wanting coffee and toast, or it could be after 10pm and the family wants to watch a DVD and enjoy some microwave popcorn with a few lights on, and there is the issue of being cool at night and needing air conditioning etc.
From my reading I am learning that what I have in my rig will not allow any of this, not even close. My son is also prone to using different electrical devices in the sockets, he is special needs and doesn't have a whole lot of patience usually, he might hate the whole RV experience if he's 'down' at 6am or after 10pm.
My dealer extolls the virtue of a Magnum Inverter with pure sine , but it is expensive and I'm looking for feedback, my dealer would hardwire it in now as I haven't picked up my unit and tells me it will solve my problems for the most part and is 'intelligent' in that it will flip between DC, generator as needed, cutting out if gas gets low, knowing to extend recharging of DC batteries if plugged into 15 amp house outlet, etc. Electical needs would consist of microwave, roof top airconditioner(13.5M Brisk central), two TV's, coffee maker, toaster-anything else can run on propane.
Comments and suggestions are very welcome, this is a little overwhelming
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
Well, you aren't going to run the a/c from the inverter unless you can pack along a couple dozen additional batteries. For practical purposes, it is shore power or generator for the a/c.

30A vs 50A is not this issue; as I understand it, you want to be able to run everything without shore power, even during "quiet hours". That's a tall order. You need the inverter, but you also need at least 400 AH of battery storage and your two 12v's probably provide only 170-210, so you will need to substantially increase that as well. And still no way to run the a/c overnight.

Plus, you seem to be saying the you will get what is called Auto Generator Start to fire up the genny when the batteries get low, but you still can't allow that during quiet time (10-7 or whatever). That's usually an optional feature, so probably part of why the Magnum install is expensive.

You need to have this conversation with the dealer, i.e. what it is you expect to be able to do, and write your expectations into any work order. If it just says "install inverter", you are going to be disappointed in the results, but if it says "make it possible to run a/c for up to 9 hours without generator or shore power", you will know you are getting what you want. However, I would be shocked if the dealer accepted any such work order.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crabby Mike View Post
Sorry, Gary and I must have been typing at the same time. What he said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by awarnes View Post
Whether you have 30 or 50 amp if not plugged into power you won't be able to run anything without either the generator (can't be used during quiet hours anyway) or an inverter. If you do a great amount of drycamping then you may have to rethink the TV and electronics during the late night or early morning. If you truely need coffee and are drycamping then make a pot the old fashion way on the stove. As for Ipad make sure it's powered up before turning off and why not eliminate it all together. Do we truely need to be connected 24/7 or can we play a board game or cards?????

I quess I look at things different because thats how we camped growing up. No electric and learned to play games and talk with adults. Great family memories.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
What Gary RVRoamer said

You need to understand that two 12 v batteries will never have the capacity to power what you are thinking of doing. If you add more batteries, then you'll have to increase your charging system to bring the batteries back for the next night.

An inverter is only about 85-90% efficient, some power is lost in the conversion process. Buying a big, expensive pure sine wave inverter is not going to solve your energy needs. Either learn (and teach your son) to expect less or camp where hook ups are available. As has been suggested, a stove top coffee percolator and perhaps 'Jiffy Pop' on the gas stove might be the way to go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildtoad View Post
If you will be camping with no electric hookup, I suggest and old style stovetop coffee percolator, a Coleman camp toaster designed for gas stove. You can charge the IPad from the starter battery with a 12v plug. You may also want to see if your mh can handle more batteries.
Quote:
Originally Posted by csrrsr View Post
Your explanation of what you want doesn't make sense. You say no shore power yet you can't use the generator because of quiet time in a park? Unless your in a state park with no power most all parks have shore power and your problems should be solved. If your in a state park with no power, you'll have a 10pm curfew on your generator so make your coffee and put in a thermos, charge the Ipod up before the curfew, pop your popcorn before hand, open windows for a cool night sleep, and the inverter should easily run some lights and a TV depending on how long your going to keep it on and how big it is. If there's room in coach, add another battery. As for your son hating the experience....that's up to you. Make it fun....plan ahead....you can make this his greatest experience yet!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustangGT View Post
HEY! Its "Camping". Some "hardships" have to be expected.
Just replace the losses with gains in other areas; hiking, making a campfire, fishing, swimming, throwing sticks at birds, looking for arrow-heads, etc.
Thanks so much for all the feedback, it is so helpful and is making me re-evaluate my electrical needs and realizing that the propane stove will solve a few issues, as pointed out. I probably didn't totally explain myself, its not so much the RV park with no shore power that concerns me ( which is rare, as you point out) its more the 'ad lib' nature possibly of our travels that could see us in WalMart parking lots at times overnight ( which I assume have no shore power and where generator use may be frowned on possibly?). 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?
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #11
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Hi,

I for the life of me cannot see that you have a problem. I'm on my third RV that has 30 amp shore power or generator. The coach was designed to operate with 30 amps and if you have to do operate every appliance at one time then it isn't going to happen. Naturally some appliances require more power than others so calculations must be made to decide which appliance or item you use.

I operate my heat pump and some other items with no problem, however I can't operate the heat, the microwave and the toaster oven at the same time along with the tv. My particular motorhome a Winnebago has a power center that automatically switches power when I try to overload it. Since 1989 I have never had a problem with shore power of 30 amps.

As far as quiet times with Generators that usually comes to play in state campgrounds, national parks or campgrounds with no power pedastals. At Wal mart you can run the generator but it respect to your fellow rvers, you won't run it all night although some people do and if you must by all means stay away from all the other rvers as they may want to sleep.

Lastly I will say there are a lot of the things in your rv that operate off the 12v batteries including the lights and the inverter. If you need more charging capability then buy a converter that you can plug into a cigarette lighter. It will power a recharger and a laptop computer.

You don't need more than 30 amps unless you have a bigger coach with more current draw such as 2 roof top air conditioners running at the same time or it was designed for 50 amps. Remember this is not your home but it is a rv and you are camping to enjoy our great country!

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Old 04-19-2013, 06:10 PM   #12
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If you have a inverter and you want more amp hours then you need more batteries. You might want to try 4 six volt golf cart batteries as they have a long term amp service. JMHO good luck. Jim
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tisha View Post
Thanks so much for all the feedback, it is so helpful and is making me re-evaluate my electrical needs and realizing that the propane stove will solve a few issues, as pointed out. I probably didn't totally explain myself, its not so much the RV park with no shore power that concerns me ( which is rare, as you point out) its more the 'ad lib' nature possibly of our travels that could see us in WalMart parking lots at times overnight ( which I assume have no shore power and where generator use may be frowned on possibly?). 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?
YES, absent a hard wired inverter and supporting bank of deep cycle batteries, unless you run your generator or plug in to shore power you will not watch TV or play a DVD. That said, you "may" be able to get enough power for a TV from a portable inverter plugged into a "cigarette lighter" plug on the dash. Ed
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:48 PM   #14
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Some replies may not have taken into account --

Quote:
he is special needs and doesn't have a whole lot of patience usually,
and of course the OP is concerned that if at least some of his "needs" aren't met, the whole family might have to give up the notion of getting away in the motorhome. Certainly getting away to end up on full hookups is perfectly feasible but I gathered that wasn't the whole aim of the exercise.

Running an Ipad or other small drain games or a small TV isn't going to put a huge strain on your existing system and could easily be supplied from a 500W pure sinewave inverter. That said, it isn't going to leave a whole lot of power to spare for the rest of the family. Basic lighting, water pumps, bit of entertainment and maybe a couple of hours of furnace will be about the overnight limit. Once quiet time is over, you can fire up the generator to make the coffee and let it run for a couple of hours to charge the batteries. In the evening you do the same - just as half the boondockers do when their rig isn't really set up for dry camping.

Next step - replace the main lights with LEDs and save a bit of power and double up your house batteries and then you will be able to enjoy a reasonable lifestyle by following the usual procedure of two hours morning and evening to keep the batteries charged.

NO! you won't ever be able to run air conditioning with this system and even if you install say a 1500W inverter which is all I have, you still can't have aircon. BUT you can have the microwave for short periods and you can use the entertainment system for three or four hours and a bit more furnace run time.
At the risk of offending only a very small number of experienced and professional installers, as others have indicated, the last person you should trust with specifying and installing a large power system is the bloke who is selling it to you.

Solar? Yes, can be hugely beneficial to the full-timer who likes peace and quiet in the forest or desert, but may not be much point if you are only going camping on weekends or will be on hookups every third night. Also needs to be done properly to be much use.

Really, the best approach might be to suck it and see and if you head off for a day or two at first you will soon find out where the weak points are. Two extra batteries would come first followed by some way of charging them. Use the generator considerately and keep ahead of the game as far as keeping the batteries reasonably charged. Far better to annoy the hell out of me and others between 6pm and 8pm than wait until everything falls in a heap at 10pm

Lots of resources on the net to get yourself savvy enough to know when the salesman is trying one on or hasn;t a clue. Just google RV electrics. Motorhome power, RV Batteries, 12V etc and you will soon be just as smart as we all are [insert your own emoticons here]

We've just finished three months in Mexico and boondocked about half the time and for the other half spent in campgrounds, most times we only ever had 15 amps. Quite enough to run one aircon once the batteries had had an hour on charge, and also enough to use the microwave provided we switched off the aircon for a while. Never any problem running other small appliances at the same time.
Here in the fairgrounds RV park, only the rich people, or those who haven't found how to select reverse, can afford to park in the centre row where there is a fifty amp service. The hoi polloi have had to learn how to back up so they can save five bucks a day by 'surviving' on a 30 amp service. We're doing OK. Both aircon on and two computers smoking and all the rest of what we need is powered up too. Not sure what I would ever do with all the extra power if I plugged into a 50 amp socket. That is more than THREE times what I have available now!!!!! Install a dishwasher perhaps. Icemaker, Espresso machine, 65" TV
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