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Old 02-05-2013, 11:58 PM   #1
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camping without power?

Hey all. I have an 81 ford MH. Nuwa model. so campgrounds don't open till April 15. Some will let u campfor free but no power or water. My questions are, I plan on goin led inside caue of power consumption. How long will my 12v house battery run lights and heater?


Orrrr harbor freight has a 1000w generator for $70. On sale. What all could I run off that? I wong be able to wait til April 15... lol help a camper camp sooner!
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:05 AM   #2
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1. run time depends on the size & number of batteries.

2. That Generator is likely to be very noisy - most cheap ones are. If so, you may not be allowed to run it at the campground.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:09 AM   #3
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1. run time depends on the size & number of batteries.

2. That Generator is likely to be very noisy - most cheap ones are. If so, you may not be allowed to run it at the campground.
My mh has a generator compartment so that will quiet it down a lot. The mh has 2 batts. Drive and house batt
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:50 AM   #4
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For lights and a gas heater fan, you should be good on battery power for at least three days. Most RV's are set up that way, or were in the era that yours was built. Please do note that I'm assuming you're not talking about an electric space heater, which you wouldn't be able to run for long- or at all if you don't have an inverter.

Don't count on any juice from your engine battery for use inside the RV- most such batteries are purposely isolated so as to prevent their draining down and stranding you!
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:55 AM   #5
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For lights and a gas heater fan, you should be good on battery power for at least three days. Most RV's are set up that way, or were in the era that yours was built.

Don't count on any juice from your engine battery for use inside the RV- most such batteries are purposely isolated so as to prevent their draining down and stranding you!
Wow. Thats awesome! Im still very new to this. Haha will the house batt ONLY run 12 v or does the inverter/converter let me run say my 19" lcd for a short while? I also dont mind starting the mh for a half hr a couple times to charge up the batt. All help is appreciated!
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:31 AM   #6
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Wow. Thats awesome! Im still very new to this. Haha will the house batt ONLY run 12 v or does the inverter/converter let me run say my 19" lcd for a short while? I also dont mind starting the mh for a half hr a couple times to charge up the batt. All help is appreciated!
You will probalby find that starting the engine to charge the batteries is hugely inefficient! It'll take 3 to 4 hours of engine running to charge the battery using the engine alternator.
Our generator puts out 8,000 watts and the charger is 100 amps. To fully charge our 4 U-2200 batteries takes some 4 hours of generator run time. To even bring the batteries to 70% charged takes 2 hours. Yes that's a lot more charging capacity and far more battery capacity but I was trying to give you an idea of charging times.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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You will probalby find that starting the engine to charge the batteries is hugely inefficient! It'll take 3 to 4 hours of engine running to charge the battery using the engine alternator.
Our generator puts out 8,000 watts and the charger is 100 amps. To fully charge our 4 U-2200 batteries takes some 4 hours of generator run time. To even bring the batteries to 70% charged takes 2 hours. Yes that's a lot more charging capacity and far more battery capacity but I was trying to give you an idea of charging times.
So the way u make it sound, theres no way ro charge my house battery.... cause if I use the battery all weekend at max my drive home is 30-45min...
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:08 PM   #8
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Wow. Thats awesome! Im still very new to this. Haha will the house batt ONLY run 12 v or does the inverter/converter let me run say my 19" lcd for a short while? I also dont mind starting the mh for a half hr a couple times to charge up the batt. All help is appreciated!
A half hour at high idle might do the trick IF you bring along some really stout battery cables and make a direct connection from the vehicle charging system to the house battery.

As for your television: if you have an inverter, you can plug any old thing you want into it!

Thing is, with one house battery, you won't be in business for long if you start up with televisions etc....getting by for even three days will require the rationing of whatever power is in the battery. Other draws you should be aware of in addition to furnace fan and lights are water pump and likely the fridge, which even if run on propane usually draws some power for circuitry.

And there are some losses across the inverter, should you decide to convert some battery power to 110v so you can use your 110v TV etc.

Since you're so new to this, you might consider "camping" in your own driveway for a few days and test out your systems' capacities. That way you'd likely spare yourself from getting some unpleasant surprises when you're way out in the boonies.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:42 PM   #9
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CAUTION!!

You spoke of purchasing a inexpensive generator. Someone posted it might be too noisy to run in a campground. You came back with "Your motorhome had a generator compartment so that should help reduce the noise". STOP RIGHT THERE. That compartment is designed to hold RV generators that are specifically designed to be run in that enclosure. A portable generator run in that compartment can/will kill you. The exhaust gasses have to be dealt with and cooling air for the motor has to be provided. Honda and Yamaha make portable generators that are quiet enough to be run on the ground during specified generator hours in a campground. Cheap ones like the ones from Harbor Freight are way too loud.

If its cold outside a typical propane RV furnace will deplete a Group 27 battery in one night.

Jim
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:55 PM   #10
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Ditto what jauguston said, especially the get the gen exhaust away from the motor home comment. DO NOT KILL YOURSELF.

One battery will be pretty much shot after one night in cold weather. If you turn the furnace off and just turn it on in the morning to warm the place up you might get a couple of more days.

If you have a battery charger and buy the cheap loud generator you might get away with running it a couple of hours a day to recharge your battery using the charger, (if you don't park too close to anyone). Otherwise look for a quiet generator unit that you can run for longer periods.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:59 PM   #11
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CAUTION!!

You spoke of purchasing a inexpensive generator. Someone posted it might be too noisy to run in a campground. You came back with "Your motorhome had a generator compartment so that should help reduce the noise". STOP RIGHT THERE. That compartment is designed to hold RV generators that are specifically designed to be run in that enclosure. A portable generator run in that compartment can/will kill you. The exhaust gasses have to be dealt with and cooling air for the motor has to be provided. Honda and Yamaha make portable generators that are quiet enough to be run on the ground during specified generator hours in a campground. Cheap ones like the ones from Harbor Freight are way too loud.

If its cold outside a typical propane RV furnace will deplete a Group 27 battery in one night.

Jim
I can understand all of your points but on a side note I am smart enough to know to build an exhaust system to escape the gases out of the motorhome
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:01 PM   #12
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There is a lot more to it than running a extension on the exhaust pipe. The biggest technical issue unlike the safety issue is figuring out how to get cooling air to the motor from outside the compartment and then getting the heated air out of the compartment so it doesn't just loop around inside the enclosure back to the engine cooling system inlet side. If you don't manage that problem it will just overheat. You will be a long way from the first person to try to make a cheap portable work in a enclosure and you will not be the last. It just is not a practical project. Keep looking on places like Craigs List for a Honda EU1000i or 2000i. They work.

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Old 02-07-2013, 09:47 PM   #13
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Looks like a no go then on the generator. Im not gonna spend the same on a generator that I spent on the mh
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:52 PM   #14
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Take a tip from a longtime drycamper, Travis: The best approach is cutting down to a bare minimum in the power-use department.

One of the attractions of camping for me is the whole roughing-it thing...else why would I leave home at all?
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