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Old 12-26-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
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Propane vs Electric

In the market for a new motorhome; and I was trying to figure out if a coach that was total electric or one that used propane was better. Any comments would be appreciated.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:30 PM   #2
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Welcome.

Depends on how you will use it and what size you want.
Going off grid, or always on shore power/generator power?
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:01 PM   #3
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I agree with jesilvas. We went with the propane heat, cook top and oven. We like to stay in state, provincial, and national parks. Most of them have electricity, but very few have 50 amp hookups. Very few we've stayed in allow the use of generators, and none have unlimited hours of use. The propane appliances and heat allow us to cook and heat/cool the motorhome without the use of the generator.


We also like to do some boon docking. With the propane option it minimizes the need to use the generator. To me it sort of ruins the feel of the great outdoors when all you hear is generators running and there is the smell of diesel and gas exhaust fumes wafting through the pine woods.


If you plan to stay in well equipped private campgrounds, upscale resorts, or in areas that allow the unlimited use of generators an all electric coach would be fine.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:02 PM   #4
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As with most questions there is not a "better" for everyone.
Each has advantages.
Personally I like having propane as an option for appliances.
But I tend to be a bit old school and have always had that option in our RVs.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:50 PM   #5
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Depends on planned usage. All electric typically not conducive to boon docking and dry camping. If always with electric hookup at campgrounds, then all electric ok.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:05 PM   #6
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Here is a view from another angle:

Until someone proves me wrong, I think that you can very well go boon-docking etc.. "all electric" with a decent setup of solar panels, a quality inverter and the right amount of house batteries. Through in a nice generator for peak consumption and you should be good to go.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:15 PM   #7
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You may also want to keep in mind the marketability when you choose to sell.
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Old 12-26-2014, 04:07 PM   #8
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We recently bought an all-electric coach. While we've not had opportunity to dry camp, my sense is that it can make it through the "quiet hours" without having to run the generator. The coach has two 8D AGM batteries and separate inverter dedicated to the refer. Another pair of 8D AGM batteries and different inverter to supply everything else. The chassis has two 8D lead-acid batteries. It also has a 12.5 KW generator with "Echo Charger" to charge the batteries reasonably quickly while running other electric things simultaneously. It does not have any solar panels. Hydronic heating (Hurricane) does not take much electrical power.

The real potential show stopper for me was the electric cook top. Things may be changing but the way this coach is wired limits any and all appliances to 120 AC volts.

We like to cook many of our meals in the coach. It came with a high quality, nice two-element electric cook top which the actuarial tables told us we did not have time to use. We replaced that with a Seaward two-burner propane cook top and a 5 pound (1.2 gallon) cylinder under the kitchen counter with an extra cylinder for backup. That problem is solved as far as I'm concerned.

We're now happy to go forth and RV as we have in the past with our almost-all-electric coach.

FWIW
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Old 12-26-2014, 04:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danes-on-tour View Post


Here is a view from another angle:

Until someone proves me wrong, I think that you can very well go boon-docking etc.. "all electric" with a decent setup of solar panels, a quality inverter and the right amount of house batteries. Through in a nice generator for peak consumption and you should be good to go.

Are you stating that you run an electric cook top and convection oven for extended periods off your inverter?

As many have said, your biggest factor is your planned use of the rig. I wish our oven and cook top were propane vice electric, but we just run the genny when we're baking. Propane is also cheaper than running a big generator.
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Old 12-26-2014, 04:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoCoDave View Post
We recently bought an all-electric coach. While we've not had opportunity to dry camp, my sense is that it can make it through the "quiet hours" without having to run the generator. The coach has two 8D AGM batteries and separate inverter dedicated to the refer. Another pair of 8D AGM batteries and different inverter to supply everything else. The chassis has two 8D lead-acid batteries. It also has a 12.5 KW generator with "Echo Charger" to charge the batteries reasonably quickly while running other electric things simultaneously. It does not have any solar panels. Hydronic heating (Hurricane) does not take much electrical power.

The real potential show stopper for me was the electric cook top. Things may be changing but the way this coach is wired limits any and all appliances to 120 AC volts.

We like to cook many of our meals in the coach. It came with a high quality, nice two-element electric cook top which the actuarial tables told us we did not have time to use. We replaced that with a Seaward two-burner propane cook top and a 5 pound (1.2 gallon) cylinder under the kitchen counter with an extra cylinder for backup. That problem is solved as far as I'm concerned.

We're now happy to go forth and RV as we have in the past with our almost-all-electric coach.



FWIW

Can you post pictures of your conversion?
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Old 12-26-2014, 04:53 PM   #11
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Conversion PIX

Quote:
Originally Posted by RV Norm View Post
Can you post pictures of your conversion?
Norm,

Be happy to but it will be a few days. The coach is in storage at the moment. Here's the cook top we bought.

Seaward Model 2277 Two Burner Cook Top

I had the folks at Premier RV in Junction City, OR, install it. The original electric cook top opening had to be enlarged for this particular model. However, I think the 2276 model would have simply dropped into the existing opening. There was 12VDC nearby to run the sparker/igniter that I believe was originally used to energize the 120 VAC contactor. The contactor was wired through an interlock to de-energize the electric cook top if the cover was lowered into place.

The cylinder was placed behind the slide-out trash can.

HTH
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Old 12-26-2014, 04:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBen View Post
In the market for a new motorhome; and I was trying to figure out if a coach that was total electric or one that used propane was better. Any comments would be appreciated.
If you "camp" where you get enough power to support all of your electrical needs, then you can go all electric. Just keep in mind that many places still only supply 30 amps max and unless you have a smart electric management system, an all electric may be problematic.
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:13 PM   #13
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I've seen this 'all electric' question pop up a couple times. It seems reasonable to conclude that the best option is one that fits your particular needs, blah blah blah.

But I've always wondered what advantages there are to going all electric? I mean, why limit your options? Is it just because there's one less system to monitor and maintain? Or less weight to carry and account for?

For me, even if you never plan on using propane it would be nice to have it and not use it rather than need it and not have it. So I'm just wondering what part of the equation I'm missing?
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:28 PM   #14
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There are various calculators that can provide a little guidance on the costs based on electric rates vs fuel costs.

Here is one.
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