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Old 06-19-2016, 09:59 PM   #29
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I agree with OLYLEL, have drove the pass during winter, no problem at all. The casinos are good hold up spots.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:57 AM   #30
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I also would love to follow your blog.
[...]
Thanks a lot for the reply, it's very helpful !

We'll create the blog early July, I'll add a reply with the link and tag the people interested in it
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Old 06-20-2016, 05:19 PM   #31
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Thanks a lot for the reply, it's very helpful !

We'll create the blog early July, I'll add a reply with the link and tag the people interested in it
I dont know if you have used blogspot.com but I use it free of charge. If you have a gmail account then you can use it in the email screen. Its easy to use to post pictures and text.
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Old 06-27-2016, 08:38 PM   #32
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Power is not your problem, the real problem is water when boondocking.
I need to fill my holding tank up about every 3 days. And that is just me and my wife trying to conserve water.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:05 AM   #33
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Power is not your problem, the real problem is water when boondocking.
I need to fill my holding tank up about every 3 days. And that is just me and my wife trying to conserve water.
This is in line with what I have seen as well.

As far as power, consider the idea of 1 000 watts of solar and a beefed up or secondary alternator + batteries. While generators are nice, I sometimes wonder if the space and complexity are worth it.
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:15 PM   #34
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Unless I missed the comment in the posts, you can run your stove and refrigerator and hot water heater off propane. You don't need electric. Skip the microwave. You can do everything with the stove/oven. You don't need the television. I think you're overthinking boondocking. It's really very easy to do. Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:47 AM   #35
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As I recall he wants to work as a web designer while on the road so he will need electric otherwise I would agree on the propane. Totally agree in tanks as they are looking at a short C. Also note there are few places to legally dry camp for free in the NE let alone where he wants to go. What is there will probably be full. He may be able to skip a night here and there but will be in paid camping at least half the time. Agree he is overthinking it. The propane and gasoline will cost less than the "improvements" he is thinking about.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:46 PM   #36
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To be honest, having tried both solar and generator, the most guaranteed low cost and easy way to charge when you need to charge is a small Honda generator, like the eu2000. We use almost no power , just the fridge on propane, led lights, the water pump and maybe 90mins on the 20" led tv. With 100W of solar we are down to about 12.3V after 4 sunny days in a treed campground. Sure it's sunny but even a little shade from branches or leaves cuts the panel output significantly. That's OK for us since we're not working, charging laptops and we're not inside a lot. We used to have an eu1000 which was great but it wouldn't run the AC to keep the dog cool when we're out so we switched to a Champion 3100 inverter generator . Noisier than Honda but tolerable. If I had the money I would buy 2x Honda 2000 with the parallel kit. There were hundreds if not thousands of people with that setup in Oshkosh at Airventure.

Once you're on Vancouver Island the provincial parks, private campgrounds and rec sites ar for the most part very well shaded, so solar won't be of much benefit other than while the motorhome is in storage. To get good sunny spots you'll need to take a ferry ride to the mainland and camp along the Fraser River or further in the interior.

For your needs you'd probably need 400W or more of solar and a large battery bank and large inverter (is there space?) to run the microwave which uses as much power as the AC. Add up the costs and you'll see that for only a few months a year the genny is not a bad deal. Now if you were boondocking in place for 6 months or more you'd get a payoff on the solar panels, large battery bank and large inverter.

Solar panels pretty much have to be installed on the roof. The higher you go , the less shade there is and the more efficient they'll be. But you also need large gauge wiring from the panels to the controller and then to the batteries. Ideally the panels have a tillable mount to maximize power absorption.

If you power the laptops and lcds from a small portable inverter you could wire in a few good quality 12v outlets with proper size wiring. The standby power draw on large inverters is substantial. Then run the genny for 3 hrs every other day to charge. Use the propane fridge, it draws very little dc power. You'll be limited more by water capacity than anything else. Those who camp in place for the summer either don't use any water inside the rv or are able to run a grey water drain line.

We use propane for the stove, oven, bbq and fridge and use about 1lb per day. (we have 60lbs on board).

If you decide to sell the motorhome in the Fall, you'll find that you can get about 70% back from your investment in the Honda genny.
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Old 08-02-2016, 08:40 AM   #37
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Hi !

Thanks for all the replies, we really appreciate the feedback.

We're conscious that the solar is not really needed but we still want it, we'll probably run the generator ~30 minutes every morning to charge up our laptops and cell phones and we'll use the solar during the day to get some power available for the evening if we want to watch a movie or if I have to work late.

The idea is that we don't really want to have to run the generator twice a day (we really enjoy the quietness you can get in nature so we want to limit at the maximum the generator usage, for our sake but also our neighbours' if we're not alone).

On the other hand, we plan on trying to get as much off the grid as possible once in BC, so we'll probably reuse our solar setup (which will be a portable one, small battery, small inverter and 200W solar panels) as a starting point for our home.

I'm aware it's pretty much a luxury and we could do without it but I like the idea of being able to use less gasoline and rely on solar to power at least a good portion of our small electronics.

In the RV (we brought it home yesterday ) we have a spot for an additional battery so we'll just have to find a good area to attach the inverter to and we'll put our solar panels out in the sun every morning (we bought this kit: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00B8L8MD2/...407680_TE_dp_1).

By the way, I created the blog, you'll find it here: On s'emmène - Our Far West adventures
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:52 AM   #38
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Get rid of the idea that you can run the gennie for 30 minutes. It's based on nothing. Instead, get a stand-alone fully automatic 3 or 4 stage battery charger that will run off your generator, disconnect the batteries from your coach, and using a formula of charging current = battery capacity / 10.

For example, if your battery capacity is 400 amp/hours, then the battery charger can be a 40 amp charger.

Now, tell yourself that you will charge the batteries when they reach 12.3 volts, and you will use the automatic 3 or 4 stage charger until you fully charged, then shut of the gennie. A daily short charge of 30 minutes will probably not top off your batteries, and the daily shallow charge might do more harm than good over the life of the batteries. Without a 3 or 4 stage charger, and letting the batteries get to a full charge, the electrolyte might not get mixed well, and the charger might not reach a good voltage of near 15v to really get the chemistry in them mixed around well.

Don't think about this as a matter of "this much time, daily". Think of it as "12.3v (or somewhere near there, never below 12.0v), we charge the batteries until full.

This is why I prefer solar and a good charge regulator for *most* of my battery charging needs. It just does it, all day, every day, with needing my attention, and silently. Of course your budget and needs will vary, but I don't think that running the gennie for a short and shallow recharge is a good plan.
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:58 AM   #39
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You're going to run a generator to charge cell phones and a computer when you will likely have excess power available from your solar panels? I'd install a cheap 12V plugin and use that instead. You probably already have the 12V-5V converter for your car. Something similar should be available for your laptop.
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Old 08-03-2016, 01:29 AM   #40
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As 1bigmess is telling you, batteries take time to charge. The chemistry can only change so fast. Every time you start the generator you need to run at least long enough to replace the power you took out to start the generator. Your 30 minute run time will not do that. It will probably replace most of it. That is why we talk in terms of hours of run time.
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:50 AM   #41
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for the past 3 posts: thanks, got it, I thought the generator would be able to give us at least something in 30 - 45 minutes, looks like I was wrong ! I guess we'll try and see how it works.

Anyways, we did buy solar panels (the 200W kit from Renogy), I'll buy a pure sine inverter and a small battery next.
Since I have one empty battery spot in the RV I guess I can just use it for the solar-powered battery while the other battery will be basically powering the 12v equipment of the RV (lighters for the propane fridge & stove, lights and various monitoring things like battery, propane and water levels).

Our goal is to have to run the generator as little as possible, when the battery powering the RV equipment is half empty basically but it should take a few days since we won't use the lights a lot.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:57 AM   #42
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Best to run the generator only when the batteries are down to 50% discharge, then charging up will take about 4-6 hrs to 90% capacity, the solar will certainly help. Flooded batteries will not accept a fast charhe. There are batteries that can be fast charged but it would represent a significant investment in chargers and storage (agm, lithium). Start with what you've git, use the genny when you get to 12V (with no electrical load). Hopefully you have at least 200Ah of battery capacity.
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