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Old 10-09-2018, 10:58 AM   #15
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are all led bulbs the same ? say is a 1156 a 1156 wether led or regular bulb ? or certain brands . from experience, super white, cool white, warm white, white?

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Originally Posted by okmunky View Post
OntheHunt, boondocking is a different way of living life. Conservation is the key to success and happiness. To that end-

1) eBay has LED bulbs for about $1 each. Change every bulb in the house.

are all led bulbs the same ? say is a 1156 a 1156 wether led or regular bulb ? or certain brands . from experience, super white, cool white, warm white, white?

2) any appliance that heats uses WAY to much power. Find other ways such as coffee percolator, 12 volt TV and a gas heater. I installed one of these last winter and it cut my propane use in half, it's silent and has a built in thermostat. Shop around, mine was $306.

https://ordering.fwwebb.com/woitem/1...yABEgIgZvD_BwE

3) Be stingy with water. Never let it run while you brush teeth, wash hands, etc. This showerhead will make your shower feel like it's using more water.

Oxygenics Shower Head White - $25.40

Consider adding solar panels if you are in sunny areas. Prices are coming down, they last forever and are silent.

Read old threads on this forum. There's a lot of people who learned the hard way so you shouldn’t have to.

BTW, I don’t use any toilet chemicals and don’t have any smell. I have a cyclone black tank vent on the roof.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:05 AM   #16
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This is probably the best info for the proper care and feeding of RV electrical systems running off batteries.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:13 PM   #17
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are all led bulbs the same ? say is a 1156 a 1156 wether led or regular bulb ? or certain brands . from experience, super white, cool white, warm white, white?
1156 is the socket size, so yes, 1156 incan = 1156 LED.

I like a bright white light. I've found that 6500k provides that. Most of my 8 living space lights are 280 lumen 6500k lights. I've since tried 300, 325 and 420 lumen 6500k LEDs. The 300s are noticeably whiter than the 280s even though both are 6500k and are my new favorites. The 325s and 420s are nearing 'too bright' (also 6500k).

I also use 6500k fluorescents in all of my garage fixtures for the same reason, bright white light.

superbrightleds.com has a large number of choices at reasonable prices.
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:03 PM   #18
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As Okmunky noted, energy management is paramount.

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Old 10-12-2018, 02:31 AM   #19
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I have '95 Southwind R27. When I got it, it had 1 - 115W solar panel and an el cheapo charge controller mounted on the side of the fridge with 10 gauge wires running all the way to the front. The batteries are mounted behind the front bumper.
My batteries would be almost dead each evening after watching TV running a couple lights, etc.
I was going to add a couple more batteries, until I read Handy Bob's solar info.
Then I realized I maybe didn't need more batteries, but a better way to charge the ones I have.
I replaced all the interior lights to led for a start.
Then I added 2 more 165w solar panels on the roof, and joined them all in parallel in a small ABS joiner box I mounted on the roof.
I bought a Trimetric charge controller and mounted it up front close to the batteries and a Trimetric battery monitor mounted on the side of the fridge with a shunt on the negative side mounted up front by the batteries.
Then I ran #4 welding cable from the joiner box on the roof down through the fridge vent, and all the way to the charge controller and the batteries, replacing the 10 gauge wires that were being used. I also bought 2 new batteries, 6 V GC, to replace the old ones. I think the old ones were still good, but I wanted to start fresh.
We boondocked this summer for up to 2 weeks at a time we had 2 cooling fans running off the inverter pretty much 24x7 as well as a fantastic fan, had lights on at night, and watched TV for several hours, used the water pump, etc., charge cell phones, tablets and laptops daily.
The lowest the batteries got was about 85% and were usually back up to 100% by the time we got up in the morning.
We only started the generator a couple times to run the A/C for a couple hours when it got hot outside.

I would rather run off of 2 fully charged batteries than 4 batteries that only get to between 50 and 80% charged.
Solar is the way to go, if you get a good charge controller and don't scrimp on the cables, you can boondock for as long as you want.

If anyone is interested, here is a link to Handy Bob's solar info, it helped me understand it better.
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ad-this-first/
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Old 10-12-2018, 10:45 AM   #20
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Fantastic fans are great for boondocking. They use very little power. During the day we close windows and window coverings on the sunny side and open a couple windows on shady side. At night we leave the bedroom window open and one other on the opposite side of the RV. It makes a big difference.
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Old 10-13-2018, 09:13 AM   #21
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Solar is an excellent adjunct to charging batteries with generator. Charge to 80% SOC in morning and let solar bring it to 100% during day.

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Old 10-14-2018, 11:58 AM   #22
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To the OP, you don't need more batteries. We boondock regularly with 320 ah of battery, 160 usable, with a residential refrigerator. We do have 300 watts of solar and that helps.

A couple of thoughts:

You should figure out roughly how many amp hours you're using per day. You can just estimate by doing a power usage inventory or you can get a battery monitor. Once you know that, you'll know the rest.

Don't trust the battery meter. It's probably voltage based and the voltage of batteries under load is a bad indicator or charge. You've probably got more left than it shows.

Without solar to top off your batteries, you need to run your generator 3 to 4 hours minimum to get back to 100%, probably more. The absorption stage, the last 15% or so, takes 3 hours or more and you can't speed that up. If your power usage is relatively low, you can just operate while boondocking in the 50% to 85% state of charge range. The batteries can accept a bulk charge up to about 85% and charge much faster. Depending on your set up, you could charge the batteries back to 85% or so in an hour or two. They can handle that for a week or two, just make sure the batteries are charged to 100% next time your on shore power.

That's all pretty simplistic and it's far more complicated but you don't need to know all the science to understand the basic rules of thumb. It's more just learning what your system can handle (charging amps, battery capacity, power usage, etc.) and getting used to it. You'll find a point where you're in power stasis (knowing what you use and replacing it daily) and it becomes really easy.
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Old 10-14-2018, 12:40 PM   #23
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HELP new to dry camping

I’ll second the info from Handy Bob
https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/
Read ALL the info. There is a lot of great stuff in there. I even emailed him a few time, to get a bit more direction.
Just reworked our solar, using a lot of info from there. (2) new 150 watt solar panels (390 Watts’s/ old panel), Tristar controller, Trimetric battery monitor, shunt, fuses, all new wiring and relocated the inverter to eliminate voltage drop. In the process of getting all lighting to LED. Hoping to go completely solar for charging and boone docking. (Will need generator for microwave and a/c only)
If you want to know where things stand, get the Trimetric battery monitor and a shunt to really see where your batteries stand and what your power consumption is. When configured correctly, it will give you true readings on usage and SOC, in real time. You can also hook it to the chassis battery to monitor its SOC, too.
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Old 10-14-2018, 12:53 PM   #24
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As a follow up to my post, check your inverter manual and see if you can equalize your batteries.
Since you got it used, the batteries may have been neglected by the PO. I know I abused mine for 4 years, not really thinking about them. Our batteries were weak and running down overnight, even with almost no loads.
I started researching when I started our solar upgrades. Our Xantrex 2012 inverter has an equalizing feature. While plugged in to shore power, I equalized the batteries. Luckily, the batteries came back to life. A few days of good sun and solar charging and we have good, usable batteries again.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:34 PM   #25
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If you want to know where things stand, get the Trimetric battery monitor and a shunt to really see where your batteries stand and what your power consumption is. When configured correctly, it will give you true readings on usage and SOC, in real time. You can also hook it to the chassis battery to monitor its SOC, too.
Totally agree. To see your true battery usage, state of charge you need a shunt.
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:05 PM   #26
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We spend four months in Alaska this summer. Much of that off the grid. Prior to this trip I installed 1050 watts solar system. I went that high to allow for losses due to low sun angles and cloudy/raining/snowy days. We had them all. Prior to departure I tuned off the converters and have not used them since. The solar keeping our four 6 volt GC batteries (460AHs) fully recharged at 100%. Typically we had full charge in morning by 9:00am after running the furnace and everything else over night. I do not have an inverter and don;t miss it. We ran the generator for just over 20 hours total in four months for the microwave.

I also recommend following OKMunky's advice (above post), its good and based on real day-in day-out experience. Yes, I know Barb. We also installed a catalytic propane heater this spring and it greatly reduced our propane and power requirements. I will only run it when we're present and awake. The furnace would cut-in sometime at night. In four months, there only three nights without running some heating.

IMO- what's most important is to learn enough about your total energy/resources requirements to develop your own energy plan and solution. Everyone's life style and resources are different, so one solution does not fill all sizes.
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:31 PM   #27
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We spend four months in Alaska this summer. Much of that off the grid. Prior to this trip I installed 1050 watts solar system. I went that high to allow for losses due to low sun angles and cloudy/raining/snowy days. We had them all. Prior to departure I tuned off the converters and have not used them since. The solar keeping our four 6 volt GC batteries (460AHs) fully recharged at 100%. Typically we had full charge in morning by 9:00am after running the furnace and everything else over night. I do not have an inverter and don;t miss it. We ran the generator for just over 20 hours total in four months for the microwave.

I also recommend following OKMunky's advice (above post), its good and based on real day-in day-out experience. Yes, I know Barb. We also installed a catalytic propane heater this spring and it greatly reduced our propane and power requirements. I will only run it when we're present and awake. The furnace would cut-in sometime at night. In four months, there only three nights without running some heating.

IMO- what's most important is to learn enough about your total energy/resources requirements to develop your own energy plan and solution. Everyone's life style and resources are different, so one solution does not fill all sizes.
We did the same as above with only 300 w solar. ) Boondocked the summer away.
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:42 PM   #28
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Second Rarebear concerning catalytic propane heater.
We have Olympic Wave 8 in fifth wheel and Olympic Wave 3 in Roadtrek.. we do have sufficient solar and LFP for all but heavy snow conditions when energy management becomes very important. Not using electricity to run forced air heater more than necessary to keep pipes from freezing is quite advisable.
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