Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > iRV2.com COMMUNITY FORUMS > iRV2.com General Discussion
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-12-2018, 11:58 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 15
Solar and generator

Hey everyone. New to the forums. I have a few questions about generators and solar panels. I plan to purchase a class c motor home in the very near future and I am just curious about a few things.

1. When the motor home is running/driving is it charging the batteries that power everything?

2. Does the fridge and everything else have power to it while driving?

3. I plan to go camping in some places without hook ups. If I buy a small quiet generator and run it whenever necessary will it be enough to keep up with the power consumption? Possibly run it constantly?

4 how about smaller solar panels? Will they give the same results as a small generator? Charging the batteries slowly when not being used much?

I donít want to buy a big noisy generator or invest in multiple batteries. Whatís the best way to keep the heat or ac going all night? Quiet generator Iím assuming. Would the average battery be able to power the heat or ac all night?
02stangguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-12-2018, 12:18 PM   #2
Senior Member


 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,651
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02stangguy View Post



4 how about smaller solar panels? Will they give the same results as a small generator? Charging the batteries slowly when not being used much?



I donít want to buy a big noisy generator or invest in multiple batteries. Whatís the best way to keep the heat or ac going all night? Quiet generator Iím assuming. Would the average battery be able to power the heat or ac all night?

Small solar panels will NOT give same results as a small generator....you would need the roof covered in solar to do that.

If you do solar you need lots of batteries.....the sun doesnít shine at night, so lots of batteries are required to store the power all day and release it all night.

Batteries in the realm you are talking about will not run air conditioning at all. If you are lucky they will power the furnace fan all night (with the furnace burning propane to make the heat). You will most likely find you need multiple batteries (plural !). To make the batteries last more than a few weeks, you need to only use half of their capacity before recharging them. If you run them dead every day they wonít survive long.....thatís why you buy twice as much as you think you need, and then you only use half the capacity before recharging daily.
pasdad1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 12:37 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 15
Ok so I’m going to cancel the solar idea for right now. As far as a generator goes and buying multiple batteries, how big of a generator are we talking and how
Many batteries roughly. I want to be able to comfortable camp with no hook up for at least 5 days. What kind of batteries and how big will they have to be? I’d like to be able to run the ac/heat spetstically during the day to keep the rv comfortable and probably run them all night. If that means running the generator full time then it it what it is. Is there just a simple 120v plug that plugs into the generator and powers the whole rv? Also does every rv come with a battery life indicator so I know when to turn on the generator? Let’s say my batteries are fully charged, I get to around 60% and kick on the generator. Will it be able to charge the batteries and maintain the power usage going on in the rv at the same time and then when the batteries are charged again I turn the generator back off?
02stangguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 12:52 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Enjoying the Western States!
Posts: 17,806
Keep in mind that if you need to run the A/C or furnace all day/night, you're parked in the wrong place. You need to move on where you don't need that!

Also, you can't do that in campgrounds. There are quiet time hours. You'd have to be out in the boonies.
__________________
Full-timed for 16 Years . . .
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
twogypsies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:00 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 15
Got ya. If we were in a camp ground is there a good chance that we would have a power hook up? What if I got a small quiet generator? Is that allowed during quiet hours? And if my batteries were fully charged before we went to bed would they power the ac / heat for the night or most of the night?
02stangguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:01 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
KSagal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Wilmington, MA
Posts: 679
There are no simple single answers to the many questions you asked.

1. Most RVs use Propane for heat. (They burn propane to make the heat, but they use 12 volts to power the fans and the temperature sensors and controls) Because of this, they use some electricity, but not too much. A normally powered RV will last all night on its own, but several nights will need recharging.

Some RVs use 120 volts for supplemental heat, or even as primary, if they have the capacity, but this is less common, especially for a camper that a first timer is likely to use. Most set up like this have built in generators.

2. My RV refer uses 3 sources of power, depending on what is available. It can run on 120 volts when my motor home is plugged in at the campground, or when my on board generator is running. It can also run on propane, when I have it on and ready to go, which, like the furnace, uses mostly propane, and a little bit of 12 volts for controls. Lastly, it will run on straight 12 volts as well, like when I am driving, and do not have the propane on. Not all RVs are set up this way however. You need to check.

3. Air Conditioning. I know of very few campers or motor homes that can run air conditioning without a significant amount of power. This will require a generator or at least the engine of the motor home running. Some others here may tell you how to run the air conditioning from batteries with an inverter, but I am not sure I can help with that. I cannot do it with my set up.

By the way, I have an older motor home (1988), and the engine air conditioner is not enough to cool the motor home, so when I am driving on hot days, I turn on my generator (from the dash) and use that to power the two roof air conditioners.

Now, I can park and camp for several days with my set up. I just cannot do it with the air conditioning running all the time. (Unless I use the generator, and watch my fuel consumption.)

Good luck.
__________________
Karl I. Sagal KarlSagal@Gmail.com
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
1988 Fleetwood Southwind, 34'
KSagal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:08 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
KSagal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Wilmington, MA
Posts: 679
There are all manner of different camp grounds. Many have everything from a spigot for water, and 20 amp power, 30 amp power, or 50 amp power. What you need depends on the size of your camper.

As an example of my older camper, it has two roof air conditioners, but back in the 80s when it was made, no camp grounds had 50 amp service, so it has a 30 amp land line (Plug) that will only run one air conditioner, with the rest of the camper. In order to run both air conditioner units (Needed when the outside temp is in the 80s or higher) I had to use the generator.

I added a 50 amp landline that I use at campgrounds now that can support it, so I can run both air conditioners while plugged in.

Most newer campers will have built in what they need to run their built in components.

Again, you are asking generic questions that have no one answer.
__________________
Karl I. Sagal KarlSagal@Gmail.com
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
1988 Fleetwood Southwind, 34'
KSagal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:13 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Enjoying the Western States!
Posts: 17,806
RV parks will have electric so you can run both all day/night long.

State parks and Corp of Engineer parks, county and city parks will 'typically' have electric, but not all.

National parks, national forest campgrounds may/may not have electric; most will not.

You'll need to read the description thoroughly before you go so you're prepared.
__________________
Full-timed for 16 Years . . .
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
twogypsies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:34 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 15
That’s every one for the info. I have a much better understanding now. So if I have some place to hook up I’m good to go for as long as I need. If I don’t have a hook up then I can either use the generator as
Much as needed or batteries while they have a charge. I guess I will just have to do some experimenting after I finally get one. I was reading that it good to take a trip very close to home at first just to get a feel for it so I’ll see how long my batteries can last and buy more if needed. But to me it seems like the only time I won’t be able
To use my generator
Is at night in a camp ground but a camp ground will most likely have a hook up so I should be good. Thanks again everyone
02stangguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:34 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
deandec's Avatar
 
Country Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 5,671
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02stangguy View Post
Hey everyone. New to the forums. I have a few questions about generators and solar panels. I plan to purchase a class c motor home in the very near future and I am just curious about a few things.

1. When the motor home is running/driving is it charging the batteries that power everything?

Usually

2. Does the fridge and everything else have power to it while driving?

12vdc power only. No 120v power for the outlets unless you have an onboard generator.

3. I plan to go camping in some places without hook ups. If I buy a small quiet generator and run it whenever necessary will it be enough to keep up with the power consumption? Possibly run it constantly?

Some places without hookups have quiet hours when no generators are allowed to run.

The generator may power everything. You will need to define the peak power required to do so, then acquire the correct size generator.

4 how about smaller solar panels? Will they give the same results as a small generator? Charging the batteries slowly when not being used much?

No

I don’t want to buy a big noisy generator or invest in multiple batteries. What’s the best way to keep the heat or ac going all night? Quiet generator I’m assuming. Would the average battery be able to power the heat or ac all night?
Shore Power or a big noisy generator would be best. Batteries typically in a class C could not run an AC unit.

There is a huge amount of information on the web re determining how much and what kind of power your components will draw at start up and while running.

Also, lots of discussions about specific stand alone generators used by campers.

Determine how much juice you will need, then spec the generator properly.

__________________
Dean
1995 38' CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
Gillig Bus Chassis 05 Jeep Wk
deandec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:39 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,992
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02stangguy View Post
Hey everyone. New to the forums. I have a few questions about generators and solar panels. I plan to purchase a class c motor home in the very near future and I am just curious about a few things.

1. When the motor home is running/driving is it charging the batteries that power everything?

2. Does the fridge and everything else have power to it while driving?

3. I plan to go camping in some places without hook ups. If I buy a small quiet generator and run it whenever necessary will it be enough to keep up with the power consumption? Possibly run it constantly?

4 how about smaller solar panels? Will they give the same results as a small generator? Charging the batteries slowly when not being used much?

I donít want to buy a big noisy generator or invest in multiple batteries. Whatís the best way to keep the heat or ac going all night? Quiet generator Iím assuming. Would the average battery be able to power the heat or ac all night?
Buy a small generator and go from there. Your going to have to learn as you go from your personnel experiences. Maybe look in to a solar suit case.
__________________
2004 Montana 2955RL, 400 watt solar, 2000 watt inverter/charger, 4-Interstate 225AH 6volt golf cart batteries, All LED lights,Champion Remote start 3- fuel option 3100/3400 inverter/gen.- 2000 F-350 7.3 4x4 long bed crew cab SRW.
weredoingit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 01:50 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Enjoying the Western States!
Posts: 17,806
You can also do 'your test' just by parking in your driveway overnight, if your neighborhood allows it.

Keep in mind that if you're in a campground with no electric (national parks, national forest, etc.) then they will have quiet hours where you can't run the generator - something like 8 or 9pm until 7 am (each park is different). Just bring an extra blanket! Brew your coffee in a stovetop coffee pot and in the morning the RV will soon warm up. It's worth it to be able to stay in a national park.
__________________
Full-timed for 16 Years . . .
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
twogypsies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 02:03 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 37
Solar and generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by 02stangguy View Post
Hey everyone. New to the forums. I have a few questions about generators and solar panels. I plan to purchase a class c motor home in the very near future and I am just curious about a few things.

1. When the motor home is running/driving is it charging the batteries that power everything?

2. Does the fridge and everything else have power to it while driving?

3. I plan to go camping in some places without hook ups. If I buy a small quiet generator and run it whenever necessary will it be enough to keep up with the power consumption? Possibly run it constantly?

4 how about smaller solar panels? Will they give the same results as a small generator? Charging the batteries slowly when not being used much?

I donít want to buy a big noisy generator or invest in multiple batteries. Whatís the best way to keep the heat or ac going all night? Quiet generator Iím assuming. Would the average battery be able to power the heat or ac all night?

You don't specify what Cl C MH you have. Perhaps if someone has a similar one they can be more exact.

Some MH have a charging solenoid which allows the chassis alternator to charge the house batteries while underway. You would have to read your documentation to determine if you have this capability.

The typical rv refrig runs on 12V for the controls and 110V when plugged into shore power or propane if not. I am assuming you don't have the residential style refrig. Also, you can run the propane heater; uses 12V for controls and fans. You should be able to have propane heat for a night just on 12V but you need to check that you don't draw your battery(ies) down to far.

You may be able to run some items that need 110V if you have inverter capability. For example, possibly the TV and theater system (if separate from the dash radio) and one or a few wall plugs. There may be a plug around the passenger seat which could allow someone to charge a laptop or some other device. The other thing to remember about inverters is not to exceed the rated wattage. You need to check if you have just a converter (110V to 12V) or a converter/inverter (the inverter part changes 12V to 110V).

You will not be able to run a roof AC, or a heat pump, without 110V shore power or a suitable generator.

Adding solar really requires some planning beforehand. You need to figure out what your wattage needs are first. Other issues are batteries and roof space. Unless you have a large battery amphour capability and solar recharging power you cannot run AC.

Concerning your statement about about generators, you should consider that it is normal rver convention and politeness not to run generators all day and night. Typically people who need to charge their batteries do so for a few hours in the AM (after 0700) and in the evening for a few hours, ending at 2100, or occasionally in the day. If you need AC during the day and/or night you would need to run a gen of course, but I'd not want to be one of the guys next to you putting up with the noise and exhaust.
__________________
2USARetired
New Hampshire
2014 Allegro 31SA
2usaretired is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2018, 02:19 PM   #14
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,007
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02stangguy View Post
Ok so I’m going to cancel the solar idea for right now. As far as a generator goes and buying multiple batteries, how big of a generator are we talking and how
Many batteries roughly. I want to be able to comfortable camp with no hook up for at least 5 days. What kind of batteries and how big will they have to be? I’d like to be able to run the ac/heat spetstically during the day to keep the rv comfortable and probably run them all night. If that means running the generator full time then it it what it is. Is there just a simple 120v plug that plugs into the generator and powers the whole rv? Also does every rv come with a battery life indicator so I know when to turn on the generator? Let’s say my batteries are fully charged, I get to around 60% and kick on the generator. Will it be able to charge the batteries and maintain the power usage going on in the rv at the same time and then when the batteries are charged again I turn the generator back off?
There is a lot to learn about both. I've gone through it and no one can answer all your questions on a forum. I've asked people before, what I thought was a simple question only to get a response that required a degree to understand.


I would not go without solar at this point.
Start here:
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Monocr.../dp/B00BSZUHRC

Add 2 golf cart batteries

Then get a converter for DC to AC

Learn how install all the above.

Research on the net how to estimate your power needs, usage and solar charging.

Then get a generator.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Westingh...2500/304312232


Use the above as a starting point to learn what you need to know.
dexters is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
generator, solar



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
And from the solar panels to the solar charge controller...... Rvlegaleagle Going Green 10 10-20-2017 02:57 PM
Our new solar system installed by AM Solar in Eugene Oregon. The second battery is on order and due in May SteveCrowell Going Green 64 08-18-2017 10:32 AM
RV Solar and A/C when Solar exceed A/C draw SteveUpp Going Green 8 03-25-2016 09:14 AM

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:14 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.