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Old 04-26-2016, 08:14 AM   #15
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Since you just bought a new battery go and I buy another one before the other gets too old. You'll be happy you did.

To clarify the clarification, yes you can use your water heater when boondocking.

For the sake of your neighbor's sanity and to allow everyone, including yourself, to enjoy peace of boondocking, please do not use your contractor grade generator. There is nothing more annoying than some Yahoo thinking he's brilliant and running his lawn mower engine for several hours a day. I have a generator in our motorhome and while it's relatively quiet I hate running it, except when absolutely needed.

I have about 400 watts of solar and love it! We can everything but a/c and microwave. If I had 2 more batteries and a large enough inverter I could run the microwave, but haven't gotten there yet.

Sorry, I'll get off my high horse now. Go enjoy boondocking! You discovered one of the great joys of RVing, enjoying nature and not having to sleep in the dirt.

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Old 04-26-2016, 08:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Percival6 View Post
To clarify the clarification, yes you can use your water heater when boondocking.
And to further clarify the previous clarifications, use your water heater on propane. A propane water heater uses a miniscule amount of electricity. If you only have electric water heating, you will be out of luck without a gennie or a heck of alot of solar.

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Old 04-26-2016, 08:30 AM   #17
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Howdy and welcome to the group nococamper!

It sounds like you need to do an energy audit (or energy budget). There are a bunch of articles on how to do this (here's mine - Energy Audit - Watt For? - JdFinley.com). This is not a lot of work but a multimeter or battery monitor like the Trimetric is very helpful. A "Kill A Watt" meter can be used for the 110V items. In general, you need to know how much power each of your items draws (usually in watts) and how long you plan to use them each day. Then you need a storage tank (battery bank) to hold that much power, a charging system that will replace that power, and some instrumentation to see what the state is (Trimetric is an excellent product). For example, I get all my electrical power from 650 watts of solar panels and it is stored in a 440 amp-hour battery bank (Dutch Star Energy Audit - JdFinley.com).

The learning curve feels steep but you'll get over it pretty quickly. If your like many of us here, you'll find solar power to well worth the effort - it is pretty amazing!
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:48 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by nococamper View Post

I have purchased a 13W "Briefcase" Solar Panel, along with the Charger Controller. I did this to charge the battery during the day, so we can use some power at night. 13 watts will basically get you nothing

What I'm trying to figure out is what I can safely expect for power out of the battery. I want to avoid any issues by depleting the battery too much, or causing any issues to the power system of the camper itself.

A. My fridge is 3-Way. I assume there is little to no power draw once started and running on LP?
The fridge on Propane will still use about .6 amps
B. Is the hot water heater out of the question? This would just be in the evening when washing hands, brushing teeth, etc. Then we would shut it down. Using propane wouldn't be an issue, only other option is 120v heater and without an inverter that is out so propane is you only choice

C. Is the RV heater itself a no-go? We have a Mr. Buddy Heater, so it's not a major issue, but I'd like to get an idea. The furnace motor will draw about 8 amps and a full night of running it will cost you dearly if you have limited battery

D. (this feels like my dumbest question of all) I see inverters referenced a lot. Do we need an inverter? Is that just so the 120v plugs function? For example, running on battery, can we charge our cell phones on the 120v AC plugs? If so, is that something that goes in-line with the power components? Is it possible I already have one? Always best to charge off of DC if you have the cord, doubtful you already have one but possible.

E. Is running the water pump for a short period of time (maybe a combined total of 1 hour per day) going to be an issue? Water pump with cost you 6 amps for a full one hour of use. accordingly if you only use for 10 minutes then you have effectively used 1 amp

F. What would the introduction of a small LED TV do to the overall calculation? This would also only be for 2 or 3 hours a day, in the evening, to entertain the little ones while we're cooking. Not a necessity.Led tv's are low use, preferably run from 12v, my 32" uses 35 watts which translates to about 3 amps an hour

G. Is it a bad idea to run the built-in stereo and listen to some music during the day (either over the air or piped in via AUX)? radios use little and a few hours should not account for much

Really, we'd like to be able to have lights & run the fridge on LP. Those a priority #1. Everything else would just add some creature comfort, but are not necessary. Swap your lights from filament to LED. Costly at first but the amps you save are incredible. Filament bulbs use 1.2 amps each. I can run 4 double light fixtures on led for the same amount of power as a single filament bulb

Thanks in advance!
See above in red
On Edit, I see you did change the bulbs to LED so that is good. Also you say you flipped the axle, did you add spring pads to the top or physically flip the axle? Axles have a predesigned arch in them to straighten when weight is applied to make the tires last, if you indeed flipped them the arch is down and you will begin to see increased wear on the inside edge of both tires, the more weight the worst this will be.
I don't think you mentioned what battery or Amp capacity you bought, that is a major factor, post that so we can assist more.
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Old 04-26-2016, 01:14 PM   #19
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Hey NoCoCamper! I am in NoCo also! In Windsor! I'm currently transitioning to full time RVing. Right now planning out a solar system too...
Let's keep in touch...I'll bet we could help each other out. :-)

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