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Old 06-08-2004, 10:48 AM   #15
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Ummmm,all this talk about air pollution is fine and all,but an equal concern is the noise pollution which a generator produces.To me noise is the larger evil when it comes to camping,last thing I wanna hear ,veggie oil or not ,is a generator running off in the distance. Tom
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Old 06-08-2004, 11:10 AM   #16
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Uh, guys,.... I'm beyond all that now.. the ecological part is important to me- but living is more important- though Ecology used to be very important to me- think medical equipment,dialysis machine, think air breathing equipment, think MEDICAL needs. Frankly when one is sucking oxygen with help one doesnt care where the power comes from. The attempt to live is too primal. I HATE noise too. but if it means I can keep living I will put up with the noise, and I THINK, other campers will too after knowing the reasons. I will probably be as far away and upwind as possible anyway. Petrochemicals = anaphylactic shock, syncope, seizures, and other delightful and deadly things. I am trying to be as independant as possible. I am trying to get better so I can be a more useful person to society. And most of all, I AM FIGHTING TO LIVE, and that's no joke. This trailer give me a "safe room" so I can find a part of the country that I can survive in. We''l probably find property then and install electricity, plumbing etc. If for some reason, here at home, I have to be evacuated fast- railroad toxic chem spill, forest fire-you name it. I can be driven to a safer place til the problem goes away. This isn't a game, it's costing mucho money on a hope that I can live. It's as serious as that. And that's life! suz
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Old 06-08-2004, 11:11 AM   #17
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Suz, when the power outage is over, the converter that powers 12VDC items from 120VAC will recharge the batteries.
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Old 06-08-2004, 11:41 AM   #18
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Suz, I'll say for all of us, that we want you to get better! And a little pollution, or a little noise, is something we'd all gladly put up with in order to keep you around as long as we can!!

In the meantime, it's great that you're trying to strike a balance with your needs vs. environmental responsibility. All your study for your situation will only further our concepts of sustanability in our own trailering, so keep up the good work!
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Old 06-08-2004, 12:21 PM   #19
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Thanks brad, I needed that support. I really do appreciate it. Sometimes I feel like a salmon fighting up an ecologically polluted and water managed stream- with all those anglers and bears and eagles (Oh my ;0) silver suz
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Old 06-08-2004, 03:51 PM   #20
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energy crop rat of solar cells

Suz,

I believe other on this forum / thread have given you valuable info; but I feel I need to comment to Maurice on the "energy crop rate" of solar cells:

Just this weekend, I visited a large fair held in Bonn in conjunction with the world renewable energy conference (http://www.renewables2004.de/default.asp) that was held there (host: german federal goverment).
I asked about the problem of "solar crop factor" and have been answered (not for the first time !!) that this statement ("solar cells use up more energy to be produced than they produce them selves") is looong outdated.

Today's solar cell production in the worst case has a crop factor of > 10; very often much more than 30 (using "green" energy concepts for production).
And the crop factor is growing !

Maurice quotes an argument still (though no longer correct) used by - guess who ?! - the oil industrie etc. Several studies (e.g. for the federal german goverment) prove those positive crop factors.
APOLLO 13 still had negative crop factors - but the computer industry (--> silicon valley, get it ? ;-) ) caused big time progress.

So Suz,
solar cells _are_ "green" in this aspect - yet, Maurice is probably right about their contribution to your specific energy problem: You have to carefully check on this.
As usually: no simple Y/N-answers...

Maurice,
this is all said with all due respect for you and your valuable experience and (RV-)knowledge you have shared with us. Please don't take this personal.

Martin
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Old 06-08-2004, 04:06 PM   #21
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No problem, Martin. Neither of us has any hard data to prove either position. You may be right about the source of my info, but I'd bet the proponents who provided you with yours probably only count the energy used in making the cells themselves, not the frame, backing, and glass, etc. to make them useful. I'd also guess they calculate energy produced with automatic tracking mounts, and don't count the energy consumed to manufacture those.
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:29 PM   #22
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Heat Exchanger

Suz, an exhaust heat exchanger, like that used for the heaters in Volkswagen Beetles, may be an answer for preheating the used cooking oil to be burned in your Diesel generator.
Depending on how much you want to spend, I have seen wind-driven generators on sailboats. They probably don't put out a lot of juice, but could be useful as a backup on cloudy days when the Sun isn't out. Most clouds are brought in and out of your area by wind. Perhaps one of these, mounted on a flagpole on your trailer, and a couple of solar panels, would cut down on your need for the Diesel.
Something I rigged up while living next to a small fast moving stream, was a 60 amp GM alternator hooked to a paddle wheel in the creek. The paddles would turn a belt, which turned the alternator, which charged my batteries.
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Old 06-09-2004, 11:33 AM   #23
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It is possible to run a dual air-conditioning RV on 30A, depending on the AC models. A friend of mine has a Winnebago that does that, but it has two high-efficiency Coleman AC units that only draw 10.5A vs 15A when running, as well as a computerized power management system that turns things off to prevent exceeding the 30A input. It controls (and the priority from lowest to highest is probably something like):

07.5A Converter (to power 12VDC items and charge batteries)

10.5A Bedroom AC (Coleman Mach III PS)

10.5A Front AC (Coleman Mach III PS)

12.5A Water Heater (electric element in RV water heater)

15.0A Washer/Dryer Combo Unit

12.5A Microwave Oven (1000W cooking power w/turntable)

03.0A Refrigerator (electric element in RV refrigerator)

Keep in mind that in hot weather, he has the option of running the water heater, as well as the refrigerator, off propane, and so can usually keep at least one air-conditioner running. You won't have that option.

If you are going to have a solar system to charge the batteries, and let them power 12VDC items, you can unplug the converter.

You will need to raise the rating for water heater from 12.5A to 15A to cover a small 10 gallon residential/office water heater. You can turn the water heater on to heat up water, then turn it off before starting the wash, if you want to keep one high-efficiency AC cooling. Otherwise, you'll be at the limit of 30A with NOTHING else running besides the washer/dryer and water heater (meaning no refrigerator either).

You also don't want a 120VAC on-demand water heater. These draw all 30A by themselves, so it would be impossible to run the washer-dryer and get hot water at the same time.

If you don't run a SunFrost refrigerator off the panels, you'll need to raise the rating for the refrigerator from 3.0A to 4-5A to run a residential refrigerator, and only have 25-26A to play with.

You probably also be adding:

13.0A Two-burner electric cooktop

Without the computerized power management, you're going to have to go around turning things off, mainly the air-conditioners, when you want to use other things. The nice thing about the computer is that it lets one of the air-conditioners run during the periods the water heater element is cycled off.

It's doable, with the right air-conditioners, but will take a lot of juggling.
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Old 06-09-2004, 12:12 PM   #24
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Thanks, Maurice, That's my job today to figure out all the energy needs, then hopefully Real Goods will put together a package that includes computer management. It is my job then to learn how to use that!! But when I'm out doing test runs (whenever that will be), the guys can teach me, HOPEFULLY. heh heh Otherwise there is always the 800 number to Real Goods Techies!
I will check into the airconditioner we have now. We are making a passive solar hot water system. And we are looking at a small 12 v. tundra ref-freezer mainly because of costs. It will be well insulated The problem with sun frost is they dont seem to travel well in trailers. Do you know of sucessful users? Thanks, suz
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Old 06-09-2004, 12:14 PM   #25
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There are also appliance timers, so I can have things like the washer run at 3 AM. suz
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Old 06-09-2004, 12:52 PM   #26
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I've heard nothing about the SunFrosts having problems in RVs. Where did you see that?

If you want to wash with hot water in the middle of the night, and want to keep the bedroom AC on, you'll need a timer that turns the water heater on about an hour before wash time, heats up a tank of water, then turns it off before the timer for the washer turns on. I know you can control a mechanical timer washer with a timer, but don't know how these digital circuit washers would take to that.
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Old 06-09-2004, 01:07 PM   #27
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at this point I have forgotten about the sunfrost source. I am leaving the timers up to the Real Goods techies. I hope placing my faith in them wont be discouraged. silver suz
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Old 06-09-2004, 01:07 PM   #28
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Real Goods does have sunfrosts- I'll ask them suz
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