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Old 01-30-2015, 10:58 PM   #43
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I too am a boondocker. In 2011 we did a 10 month trip from Quartzsite AZ following the US coast to Maine, Canada, Newfoundland, Labrador. Average cost for nightly stays: $3.43/ night. Which included New Orleans, Key West, Washington DC.

There are two ways to do this; generator or solar. I prefer the peace and quiet of the solar. I have a lp fridge and a KozyWorld 2 brick heater. (I never run the KosyWorld heater while sleeping.) In 2011 at the time of the trip I had 600 watts of solar and 2 (taller then normal) 6volt AGM batteries connected in Series/Parallel for a total of 300amp hours. I have since increase both the solar and the battery bank.

As I am writing this post I am boondocking on the desert South of Quartzsite AZ.

For me to tell you what I paid is not valid as prices on solar panels are less now then they were when I started boondocking. And the equipment has gotten better. If you know what your daily amp hour usage is you can determine how large of system you need.
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Old 01-31-2015, 06:37 AM   #44
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DW and I are a handful of years away from fulltiming. My research has lead us to a floorplan that would be an Itasca 42 QD model. This coach is all electric (residential frig, aqua hot system, satellite, laptop, led lights, etc.). We would like to enjoy the freedom and the solitude of boondocking in every way we can, and still enjoy the quiet environment with solar power. After much research on solar power system and hoping cost will continue to reduce, and technology increase (best of both worlds) as we get nearer to those wonderful days of retirement. I can only continue to go with a 400-600 watt or more solar panels system, with added support of the generator. I do have more to learn on my trek, but after reading the goal is there to be had. Since I don`t have the coach at hand, I will not know the room available for the added batteries if needed. Nor the consumption (just an idea) needed of the coach? It seems there is an enough roof space for the panels! I have come across a great link (Multimedia | Trojan Battery Company) to teach myself the makeup and life of a RV battery. With that being said. I am still open for good information and if needed criticism of my plans and ideas!
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:06 AM   #45
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Panels are below $1/watt. A 42' has room for 2 kW of solar even with all of the protruberences on the roof.

A 42' Class A should be able to carry a lot of weight in batteries. You have plenty of time to decide what battery type (standard, AGM, LFP), power/storage requirements you want to go with. Batteries will probably undergo quite a bit of change in capability and costs in a handful of years.

Reed and Elaine
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:41 AM   #46
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Assume the lot is free, A lot depends on are you "overnighting" or "Overweeking"

Overnighting on the way to a campground you are looking at around 2-3 gallons of fuel on a Class A with an Onan or equal

With a Trailer and a Honda/yahama/Champion inverter generator or equal perhaps 2-3 QUARTS tops.

Over weeking you add the cost of the trip to the dump station

With my Onan I can burn 5-10 gallons per day camping at QZ. plus dump fees (I normally dump every week by myself, with my wife 2x that)
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:00 AM   #47
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I only use a generator but also have a real battery charger and have updated the converter to a PD4655. Using a large generator with an inefficient converter will not be practical. If I had to throw a figure out there I would say $1.00 to $1.20 a day for fuel. 3000 Honda and Quick Charge 1250.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:09 PM   #48
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Extensive solar makes sense if primarily boondocking but probably not if only out for a few days. As I noted in #45, you will need a lot of solar and a large battery bank if you are going all electric. A residential fridge uses a lot less power than a Dometic and we run the Dometic 24 hours a day in mid-summer (no heavy clouds, no shade, etc). The Dometic is propane/AC and works great without sun with propane. Hot water is doable with extensive solar but it really uses a lot of power.

You have plenty of time to determine your real power requirements/how to design/fabricate solar/battery bank before you retire.

Reed and Elaine
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:39 PM   #49
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I am in about the same place as Freebird, except we already have already purchased an all electric coach with residential fridge and Hydro Hot heating. We have 6 - 6V batteries and a ME 3112 inverter. I am trying to find a good place to determine power requirements for RV systems. I would like to know what kind of consumption the hydronic heat has with it's pumps and fans, even when using diesel.
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:42 PM   #50
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This works for me. I have 672amp hours (battery) which I try hard not to consume more than 30%. (6-6volt Full River AGMs) 900 watts of solar connected series/parallel. A 1400 watt MidNight controller and a Magum 2000 Sine inverter/converter, and a Magum ME-RC monitoring system. Using as much as 200 amps (30%) I can completely recharge the batteries on a cloudy day in Jan. And I do not tilt the panels. (I don't believe anyone in there late 60's belongs on the roof of an RV. So I buy extra panels and leave them flat. I have an LP Fridge & a KozyWorld heater. I use a Hydro-Hot for hot water. Of course the purpose of the Solar is to recharge the batteries. During the Bulk Charge everything from the solar panels are going into the batteries. As soon as the charge controller goes in the the Absorb Charge only part of the power from the panels goes into the batteries. The rest is just wasted. So this is when I turn on my inverter so that the rest of the energy is used to charge the battery appliances on board (computer, razor, tooth brush, phone etc.) on a sunny day I run my fridge for several hours on solar, even in Jan.

Another guy I am boondocking with has a similar system with 440amp hours of
battery, and 800 watts of Solar. Plus he has a 12v Deep Freeze in his storage bay, the system works great in the summer but in winter he has to run his gen some. Another guy here has 1600 watts of Solar and 1200Amps of Battery, but he has an AC fridge. So he must run his inverter most of the time. Day and night.

Solar is an expense and if you are just going out on weekend, it is doubtful you will ever recoup the money you put into solar. I RV about 6 months / year and love the freedom of parking where ever I wish with the same amenities of a RV park On a recent 10 month trip I averaged $3.43/ nite which included the south, east coast and the maritimes. I paid nothing for 2 months parking in Canada. Some of those stays included parking right on the dock where the Lobster boats were coming in. Always w/ permission. But that could be another thread.
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:04 PM   #51
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ByeTheWay - our son said the same thing about my getting on the roof at 74. Just put on more panels. Tried getting on once to get 6 to 8" of snow off the panels. It was so slick I could sit down on the roof without slide. Got out the telescoping ladder and did it from the side. Elaine made sure that she could stabilize the ladder.

Reed and Elaine
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:21 PM   #52
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We have a 40-foot rig with 600 watts on the roof (we do tilt in winter) and 440 amp hours of batteries. Our fridge, stove, oven is propane so our set-up provides more than enough power for everything else we need to do. We rarely, rarely run our generator.

We boondock on average 5 months a year and we just love it. We're full timers and the rest of the year we volunteer or stay at state parks/national forest (we're too young for the senior pass so we stay at full price), with an occasional month here and there in private parks. We don't really try to reduce costs, but just stay where we want to be. We average $10/night overall for the year.

For us boondocking, especially in the SW during winter is just something we love to do...and the solar makes it a quiet and pleasant experience.
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Old 02-02-2015, 01:36 PM   #53
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Cracky Wash in Lake Havasu is a great place to spend the winter if you commute by way of high profile vehicle. It was a little hard on the car because you have to watch for all the rock in the road. I would want a jeep for my toad before I go back. Also being its just off of Arizona 95, you have to get in and out quick to stay out of the way of busy traffic. The wash is nice, quite and set back away from the highway. They have a camp manager where you have to register before camping. The limit is usually 14 days. But site managers are generally not fussy, so you could probably get away with spending the whole winter without moving. Just a mile north of Lake Drive on AZ 95.
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:19 PM   #54
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Planning a Alaskan trip next year. Most RVer's talk about 500-6....1200 watts of solar to power their rigs. I'm just trying to figure out what I need as far as a portable solar kit, say 80 or 120 watts to keep the battery top charged in our 26' hybrid trailer.
We do some state parks and national parks where we are without corded power (Vt., Smoky's NP., Shenandoah NP.) for 3-5 days. Most trips are to state parks (OH., PA., NY.) with electric.

I'm going to assume the battery I have now is a group 24 cheapo in our 2013 tt. The last trip to the Smoky's (Elkmont) about half way thru our 5 night stay the battery voltage dropped down enough, that it would no longer light the frig. Our 2005 tt. we could get 4-5 days of battery power to keep the frig lite.

We use minimal lights, take very short showers (3 people each night). The 2013 tt there are more things that are powered by the battery when off the cord. We're reserved for 8 days this summer at two VT. State Parks where I want to either upgrade the battery to group 27 or 31 or go with two 6 volt batteries. Would a 80 or 120 watt portable solar panel used 2-3 hours a day keep the batteries charged up?

When off the cord, I will reserve a site that is full shade to keep the RV cooler, thus a portable solar panel with a 30' extension cord is an option. Go Power has a nice set-up for about $350 ( 80 watts) to $550 (120 watts).

All this is a test hopefully for a planned trip to Alaska in 2016. Biggest thing is to keep the frig up and running. I believe when on propane, the electronic ignition for the frig will not work once the voltage drops below a certain level to protect the circuit board.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:22 AM   #55
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I got a 100 Watt Renogy portable for about $270. The controller is mounted to the back of a panel and has 15 feet of wire. My plan is to get 50 feet, move the controller to the RV near the batteries on that will give me more flexibility as to panel placement. You can also get the suitcase set without controller, combine with the first and have 200 watts for about the same price of the larger Go Power you mention.
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:28 AM   #56
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I see that same 100 Watt Renogy portable set-up for $149 now on Amazon. The Go Power one does only take up half the space because it folds in half and has a padded carrying bag / case. But, still it ( Go Power) is nearly 3 times as much...?
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