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Old 06-05-2019, 10:06 AM   #1
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Powering a tiny house from an RV

I recently bought an acre of Arizona desert in Yuma county and placed a 40í shipping container on it. This will be our winter address, but it gets too hot for us so we left in early April and are almost to the Seattle area where we spend summers. Leaving was sad, but necessary.

Zoning doesnít permit us to live in the RV on the property, so I plan to turn 3/4 of the container (240 sq ft) into a tiny house. The rest will be storage. I am comfortable living on solar and have a large enough setup to power the house using the RV systems.

I can park the RV 3 feet from the house so I'm exploring the idea of using the RV as the power source for the house. At first I was just going to put a duplicate system on the house, but it's in a remote area and I fear the panels might get stolen. Also, with summertime heat at 120* or hotter, any batteries I left there would soon die.

Could it be as simple as running cord from the RV batteries to a fuse panel/distribution box in the house? I know I'll also have to use heavier wire and keep the wire runs as short as possible, but I donít see any huge issues that will need to be overcome, do any of you?

After 8 years of mainly boondocking we are minimal power users. I have a 12V TV and I'll buy another Nova Kool 12V DC compressor refrigerator. Lighting can be battery operated LEDs to avoid long wire runs or even solar that I take outside to charge daily. Heat will be a propane radiant heater.

Something else I've considered is having one 110 AC outlet in the kitchen and a remote start for the RV generator. That way I could power the microwave and possibly another short use appliance that isnít DC friendly.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:11 AM   #2
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Can't live in an RV, but a Conex is OK?
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:13 AM   #3
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Yes, once the Conex is turned into a house.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:18 AM   #4
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Great!
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okmunky View Post
I recently bought an acre of Arizona desert in Yuma county and placed a 40’ shipping container on it. This will be our winter address, but it gets too hot for us so we left in early April and are almost to the Seattle area where we spend summers. Leaving was sad, but necessary.

Zoning doesn’t permit us to live in the RV on the property, so I plan to turn 3/4 of the container (240 sq ft) into a tiny house. The rest will be storage. I am comfortable living on solar and have a large enough setup to power the house using the RV systems.

I can park the RV 3 feet from the house so I'm exploring the idea of using the RV as the power source for the house. At first I was just going to put a duplicate system on the house, but it's in a remote area and I fear the panels might get stolen. Also, with summertime heat at 120* or hotter, any batteries I left there would soon die.

Could it be as simple as running cord from the RV batteries to a fuse panel/distribution box in the house? I know I'll also have to use heavier wire and keep the wire runs as short as possible, but I don’t see any huge issues that will need to be overcome, do any of you?

After 8 years of mainly boondocking we are minimal power users. I have a 12V TV and I'll buy another Nova Kool 12V DC compressor refrigerator. Lighting can be battery operated LEDs to avoid long wire runs or even solar that I take outside to charge daily. Heat will be a propane radiant heater.

Something else I've considered is having one 110 AC outlet in the kitchen and a remote start for the RV generator. That way I could power the microwave and possibly another short use appliance that isn’t DC friendly.

Thoughts?
I would have that you would be able to run a super heavy duty extension cord from the RV power system and just arrange it as a simple plug in to Connie. The plugs you use for connecting the solar panels to the RV would suffice and installing another to feed Connie would be simple. That way the set up would be simply uncoiling the cord from Connie to the RV and plugging in; the going back north would then be simply unplugging the cord coiling it up and putting it away.

An inexpensive battery start generator would be better an easy to install option. The starter battery could be part of the 12 volt charging system and the battery pulled for the return trip north. The batteries sold at Harbor Freight would work and they are around $30 the last time I looked.

https://www.harborfreight.com/engine...ion-63079.html
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:40 AM   #6
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What if you put the RV on blocks. Then its like a tiny house.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:51 AM   #7
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Ground to soft......and good thing there's a service station not to far away....Barb, I'm going back to Q this next winter, so if you need any saws or etc, let me know and I'll bring whatever...
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
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What if you put the RV on blocks. Then its like a tiny house.
That's not allowed by zoning plus the container can be better insulated. A company called Insofast makes rigid foam inslation that matches the corrugations of the container. It has plastic studs and wire chases molded in.

I'm surprised by how tough shipping containers are! I'm going to make the window and door cutouts into shutters that can be closed and locked from the inside for security.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:15 AM   #9
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Bob, if you had solar I’d invite you to stay out there. I'll gladly accept any loaned tools, advice or help.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:26 PM   #10
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Just don't give our spot to anyone.

We may park out in front of your place on the road.

Need an address for the remuneration.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:34 PM   #11
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Could it be as simple as running cord from the RV batteries to a fuse panel/distribution box in the house? I know I'll also have to use heavier wire and keep the wire runs as short as possible, but I don’t see any huge issues that will need to be overcome, do any of you?
The answer is YES if we are talking about 120VAC !

Wire your tiny house for 120VAC. Skip the 12VDC. It is not worth the hassle.

I do recommend a big step up in solar, batteries and inverter. Probably 1,000-1,500W of solar, at least four 6VDC golf cart batteries, and at least a 1,000W inverter. (More solar and more batteries is always good ! )
With a 2,000W inverter you can run a small A/C (add a soft start kit).

Shop for a combination inverter/charge/transfer switch like a Samlex EVO-2212. While it does have capabilities for a separate generator input, you might not want to wire it that way. Run the output of your generator to the "shore power" inlet of the inverter/charge/transfer switch. Everything connects to the outputs of the inverter (batteries, DC fuse panel, and all 120VAC).

With the generator off, you will be running on solar and batteries. Press the remote start on the generator and you will have plenty of power and your batteries will get recharged !
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:51 PM   #12
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Run two cables. One from the RV battery bank for 12vdc, one from the RV inverter for 120vac. To pluggable connections on the container, then have whatever distribution wiring, outlets, power ports, etc. wanted inside the container.

Ideally have AGS on the RV generator to minimize having to manage the system. Else manage it manually.

If the RV doesnt have an inverter one can be installed in the RV or container. If the RV doesn't have a generator a quiet portable one with remote electric start would be a good way to go.

A window heat pump/ air conditioner would be a good add to the container. Can be removed and stored in the container.

A larger external propane tank cou lj d be a good thing.
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:16 PM   #13
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And don't forget, everything goes through a panel on the conex with circuit breakers that distributes the power.
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Old 06-05-2019, 02:43 PM   #14
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There is no electrical power available within about 3/8s to a 1/2 mile. The solar is the only real option for the time being. Being a minimalist is a hard task and Barb should be given kodos for attempting to do this project.
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