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Old 06-13-2012, 03:21 PM   #1
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Turning a 70s Scotty into a custom camper. Clean slate, need help choosing power sys.

Hey guys, new to the forum. I recently bought a 1970's Serro Scotty Highlander (trunkback).

Title says 1971, but they didn't start making trunkbacks until 1973, so I still have to investigate it's true ID. Anyway, I bought it for $1000 from an older couple and I plan on doing a complete frame-up resto job on it, only it won't be a true resto. I am going to upgrade, modernize and customize the heck out of it.

I already have a completely new layout designed for the inside which not only gives it a bigger bathroom, but also makes the living room area a lot bigger. I am going to be living in this camper while I travel the country aimlessly for a few years, so I really want to make this thing a bit of a luxury/lounge type of space for me to relax in. The reason I am posting on here is, not only because I wanted to join an RV forum, but I need help figuring out what power systems I am going to need in this camper.

Here's a rundown of what I am going to have for powered devices:
- Interior and exterior lights
- Microwave
- Stove
- Fridge
- Water heater and pump (for sink, toilet and shower)
- 1 or two outlets for plugging in a phone charger or whatever

That's actually not that much. I originally planned on having a 3-souce power system for this camper; a generator, propane, and solar. I thought I could run the stove and hot water heater on propane, anything heavy duty like the water pump or micro on the generator, and everything else light duty on the solar power. However, I overestimated solar, it's not that great for the money.

So, I need help picking out what I need for this camper's power systems. Like I said, I won't be running much and will only need heavy duty generator power only a few times. I don't know anything about inverters or batteries. I honestly don't know what to do to get the ball rolling with regards to the power, whatsoever.

Second, my biggest issue is the fact that I am going to be away from the camper during the day for 8 or so hours, and will need not only the fridge running to keep my food cold, but will also need a small heat/cool air conditioner on for my dog. I don't want my generator running all day, but I also don't want a lit flame from propane on all day either. The camper AND my dog matter to me, I don't want to lose either. What are my options? I don't want to pay for a campsite and be tethered to a power source and pay out the *** for it. I want some freedom.

Any help would be appreciated, I know it's tough because it's basically a blank canvas lol. Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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Second, my biggest issue is the fact that I am going to be away from the camper during the day for 8 or so hours, and will need not only the fridge running to keep my food cold, but will also need a small heat/cool air conditioner on for my dog. I don't want my generator running all day, but I also don't want a lit flame from propane on all day either. The camper AND my dog matter to me, I don't want to lose either. What are my options? I don't want to pay for a campsite and be tethered to a power source and pay out the *** for it. I want some freedom.

Erie, I do not know the answer to all of your questions, am posting just so I can follow your post. the propane frig should be safe. I can think of no way to cool your camper without AC hookup or a gen set running. am curious as to where you plan to park for free for long periods of time.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:47 PM   #3
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Cool project....if you want ac all day though you will either have to run the genny or hook up to shore power. The microwave pulls some hefty current too.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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Hey guys, thanks for the responses.

Mikf, there are some state parks, walmarts, truck stops, public locations such as beaches (there are places you can literally park right on the beach and not get hassled), as well as an awesome tool I found called "Couch Surfing". It's a website you can go to, create a profile, and meet people that will let you crash on their couch or stay in a spare bedroom while you are travelling. Most are young people my age, and I have actually couch surfed while I drove cross-country earlier this year. Really nice people, and most are vouched for by other users with reviews, so you know they aren't psycho. Point is, there are people on the couch surfing website (literally hundreds in every city) who would also allow someone to park a camper on their property. I know one younger guy my age in Maine who is cool with me parking at his place when I stay there.

If I find some place I want to live for a long period of time, I will pay for a lot or something with power hookup. Otherwise, let's say I'm in a state park vacationing for a week and they have no power. That's the problem.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:17 PM   #5
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And I agree, I bit off more than I could chew with that first post haha. Here, I'll break this down by starting with the water system.

What do you guys think about this?
inkFrog

Is a tankless water heater a better idea? It obviously saves more space, but is it more efficient? And I don't like how if you want to take a shower, you have to have electricity to run the water pump (generator or hookup) and propane to heat the water. Two different sources of energy to do one simple job? Are there any electric hot water heaters, or propane powered water pumps? Probably a dumb question, but I had to ask.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:46 PM   #6
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The water pump runs on battery so no need for generator or shore power (except to recharge the battery when it needs it.) And yes, there are water heaters that operate on either gas or electric. When they run on electric, they pull quite a few amps and would definitely require either generator or shore power.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:51 AM   #7
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Are the electric water heaters more expensive then the propane ones?
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:51 AM   #8
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The water heaters are dual source heat. The same heater can be run on either propane or electric, or both at the same time. And yes, they are a little more expensive than the ones that run on propane only.

Here is one link to compare: RVWholesalers.com RV Parts and Accessories*,*Results for water heater
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:18 PM   #9
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I guess I should get one of the propane water heaters and get the electric mod for it, because I am not seeing any true electric-only heaters. That, and it's always good to have two options for power. Sucks I'm going to have to drop $400+ for the hot water system now though...

Anyway, my next question is about refridgerators. How long would a smaller sized propane fridge run on a single 20 pound tank? Does it shut off like a normal fridge when temperature is reached, or does it constantly run with a pilot light?
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erie1200
Hey guys, thanks for the responses.

Mikf, there are some state parks, walmarts, truck stops, public locations such as beaches (there are places you can literally park right on the beach and not get hassled).
walmarts and truck stops are not a long term campsite. They are at best an overnight spot just to sleep while traveling.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #11
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Renovations to the scotty.

Looks like a very cute project. Maybe this will help you. Mark Polk RV education 101. He did a complete series on a 1970 trailer gut and rebuild. Take your time and do a lot of research over the net. You will have to spend some serious time and $ to complete this project. Also look at Mod my RV website. One of our members on the HI Lo Trailer Forum did a tankless water heater install. Hope this helps. You will want to have a solar panel to trickle charge your battery.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJcachers View Post
walmarts and truck stops are not a long term campsite. They are at best an overnight spot just to sleep while traveling.
me to x2
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJcachers View Post
walmarts and truck stops are not a long term campsite. They are at best an overnight spot just to sleep while traveling.
Walmarts will let you stay for extended periods of time, and you can improve your chances by actually talking to the manager. Shopping in the store and making sure you're seen doing so also helps things. They even have power outlets on the light poles that you can plug into. Walmart has historically been tight knit with the rv'ing community. Last time I was in an rv with friends, we stayed at a Walmart for a week while one visited his family half way on our trip. Plugged in and everything, no problems. Manager said that's what they are there for.

Truck stops have so many trucks, busses and rv's going in and out all day and night that you really have to be obnoxious to get noticed.
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:28 AM   #14
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Thanks Sam, I will definitely check those out. And yeah, I expect to put about another $1000 into the Scotty, making it $2000 total invested. Luckily, I not only have my own woodshop for making all of the cabinets and panels (I have an existing stockpile of various hardwood), but I also have friends in the woodworking, flooring, and construction businesses. For example, a buddy of mine gets 10% off materials at Home Depot because of his military ID. I can also get good deals on supplies from eBay; sinks to rocker panels and switches, etc. As long as it's not made in China... like everything at Walmart.
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