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Old 11-28-2011, 12:54 PM   #43
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Yes, but Gene, JD puts me to sleep...

Royce, that is COOL. I'm getting that instead of the collapsible filter - even though you have to use a paper filter, I think it'll be worth the hassle...
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:12 AM   #44
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All right, one MORE question for you smart people.

My sister is giving the Bambino, as she insists on calling it, a thermal cooker. Yippeee! I'm so excited! But here's the thing - when you use a thermal cooker, you have to make sure that everything in the inside pot is at boiling temp. So it may have to boil for 10-20 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of whatever's in it. Does it make sense to use the propane for that even when I'm plugged in, or is it worth the expense to get one of those portable induction thingies for when I've got electricity? I don't know how much propane it takes to simmer something for 20 minutes!

Anyway, if it makes sense to buy the induction thingy, let me know, I want to buy it while it's on sale. (It's five pounds, too, so it has to be worth it...)
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:30 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by zlee View Post
All right, one MORE question for you smart people.

My sister is giving the Bambino, as she insists on calling it, a thermal cooker. Yippeee! I'm so excited! But here's the thing - when you use a thermal cooker, you have to make sure that everything in the inside pot is at boiling temp. So it may have to boil for 10-20 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of whatever's in it. Does it make sense to use the propane for that even when I'm plugged in, or is it worth the expense to get one of those portable induction thingies for when I've got electricity? I don't know how much propane it takes to simmer something for 20 minutes!

Anyway, if it makes sense to buy the induction thingy, let me know, I want to buy it while it's on sale. (It's five pounds, too, so it has to be worth it...)
Let's see, I can do a quick estimate and someone smart can refine it...

It takes 1180 Btu to bring a gallon of water to boil (from 70F to 212F), let's say you bring it to boil in 15 minutes, and then keep it there for 15 minutes. After you've reached boil, you are essentially adding enough heat to maintain the boil and slowly evaporate off some liquid, so your stove burner efficiency becomes much more important. To be safe let's call it 1000 Btu/hr. So that means you would use 1180 + 1000/4 = 1430 Btu. But wait, overall stove efficiency is probably like 60% depending upon your burner, pot, etc. So really you would use 2380 Btu.

Propane apparently has a value of 21600 BTU/ lb according to the interwebs, so you would use 0.11 lbs of propane.

Somebody please check my back of the envelope calc.
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:44 AM   #46
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Sooooo, in a year or so, am I going to look back at these answers and go, "pfffft, I should have known that!"?!?
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Old 11-29-2011, 06:04 AM   #47
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Question Is it just me??

POI....I have never run out of LPG while camping. One goes empty, get it filled.

Now on the pad that's another story......

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Old 11-29-2011, 06:40 AM   #48
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:44 AM   #49
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POI....I have never run out of LPG while camping. One goes empty, get it filled.
We haven't either, after the first time. I have no idea what this has to do with the original question.

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Old 11-29-2011, 11:56 AM   #50
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I guess what I'm asking is, from what everyone said originally, it seems propane is more efficient to use than electricity. So if I'm using a thermal cooker, if it's that much more efficient to use propane, should I continue to use propane even while plugged in, or is it worth purchasing and carrying a five pound $80-$100 induction thingy to use while plugged in, given that I currently expect to be plugged in about 50% of the time and that I'm in a 19' Bambi and want to save on weight and space? Am I going to run out of propane in a week if I do so, if I'm using the thermal cooker every day? Two weeks? How long is my propane "supposed" to hold out, on an average?

Or is this really a stupid question?
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:46 PM   #51
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Shopping: Electric vs. Propane

Greetings zlee!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zlee View Post
I guess what I'm asking is, from what everyone said originally, it seems propane is more efficient to use than electricity. So if I'm using a thermal cooker, if it's that much more efficient to use propane, should I continue to use propane even while plugged in, or is it worth purchasing and carrying a five pound $80-$100 induction thingy to use while plugged in, given that I currently expect to be plugged in about 50% of the time and that I'm in a 19' Bambi and want to save on weight and space? Am I going to run out of propane in a week if I do so, if I'm using the thermal cooker every day? Two weeks? How long is my propane "supposed" to hold out, on an average?

Or is this really a stupid question?

Your question is quite reasonable, but crafting an answer is quite difficult as there are a huge number of variables involved in one's use of propane in an RV. Some of the variables include:
  • How much camping is being done where the propane funace will be utilized. In cold weather with the furnace in constant operation, a 20 pound tank may only last three to five days.
  • How much hot water is required by the occupants of the coach, and whether the water heater is allowed to remain lighted continuously.
  • How much if any baking is done in the coach's oven (if so equipped). The oven tends to be a heavy user of propane and if used frequently can help to quickly deplete a 20-pound tank.
  • Usage by the refrigerator. Typically this only becomes a concern when boondocking or at minimum electric rallys where the refrigerator must be run on propane. The refrigerator isn't a huge consumer of propane, but needs to be factored in when boondocking.
When I was camping in my Overlander for six weeks each summer, two 40-pound propane tanks would take me through the entire season. My season may have not been typical as the following would impact my propane use:
  • When camped, my water heater pilot is one of the first things that I light and among the last items to be extinguished prior to departure. I am not fond of gas appliances so do not like to repeatedly re-light pilots during a stay.
  • Three of those six weeks would typically be spent in limited-electric rallys where my refrigerator would be operating on propane continuously. My coach has a 3-way Dometic so it operates on 12-volt DC when traveling.
  • One of those six weeks would typically be spent in a mountain location where the furnace would be operated for eight hours per day which generally accounted for the majority of my propane usage.
  • My typical average while camping is one meal per day cooked in the coach utilizing the propane range. In most cases, I use three burners when cooking a meal for about 20 to 30 minutes.
My last trip of this nature, resulted in a use of approximately 80% of the propane in my two 40-pound tanks.

I know that this doesn't provide a definitive and direct answer to your question; but with the variables involved the best answer may be a little experimentation and tracking of usage levels once you start camping in your coach.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:47 PM   #52
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I can tell you this... we bought our trailer in June, with 30 lb bottles. Both were empty at the time, and I had them filled. We camped on weekends in June, July (week plus trip here), August, September, and October, using the furnace some in September, and pretty much continuously during the weekend in October, plus testing the furnace and the water heater both for a couple hours at home. Our trips include cooking on the stove, two of us showering, and of course doing dishes once or twice a day. Some of those were three day weekends, too.

After all that, at this point, the first bottle is just about empty. We haven't touched the second one yet.
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:03 PM   #53
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Yeah, thanks, Kevin, I did sort of know this was at the very least a "how long is a piece of string" question.

K, given Skater's anecdotes, and Peter's calcs, I think I'm going to NOT get the induction thingy for now and save myself five pounds and some storage room. I can always get it later, if I decide I'm using too much propane, right? and given developments that are developing even as we speak, I may be spending more time boondocking than I'd planned on, sooooo...

You guys rock.
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:36 PM   #54
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Yeah, thanks, Kevin, I did sort of know this was at the very least a "how long is a piece of string" question.

and given developments that are developing even as we speak, I may be spending more time boondocking than I'd planned on, sooooo...

You guys rock.
Get a solar panel, fill your propane tanks when ever you can, and then don't worry about energy again. Electric and propane are not going to be your limiting factors when boondocking, it is going to be your gray and black water tanks. You can always get in your tv and drive to civilization for fresh water, food and even propane when necessary. But handling the gray and black water is the real challenge. I do not have a portable system, when necessary (no more than 8 days) I hook up the AS and take it to a dump station. I know there are portable systems that allow you to carry out the waste in your tv, but I know nothing about them.

If you are going to be boondocking you need to address this, either plan on taking the trailer to the dump station, or research the portable solutions. As for your original question, use propane as much as possible, especially for heating food and people, and your solar electric for everything else. Your propane tanks will last you a long time.
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Old 11-29-2011, 06:05 PM   #55
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Can I fit a big enough solar panel on a 19' Bambi to do that, though? I think I might be able to fit a 80w panel...would a portable one (or two) be better instead of something on the roof? Does the solar keep up with having to power a computer and a laptop? This is all stuff I thought I could deal with NEXT week...

Yeah, I'm planning on dumping whenever I need it. That's a whole 'nother subject...can you use the Flush King or is the Sewer Solution better? Rhetorical questions here, but not for another thread...

Well, maybe "boondocking" isn't the right word. What's the word for living in your TT completely self-sufficiently whether in the city, the suburbs, or a forest or beach somewhere?
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Old 11-29-2011, 06:22 PM   #56
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Like others, we use very little propane until fall comes (or spring). The furnace uses a lot of propane (and battery too) and may only last days when the temps go down into the 20's at night and 40's during the day. Since you have a smaller trailer, you will get more out of it. When we have electricity, we use a ceramic heater (they are cheap—check Amazon) and use the furnace less until the temps get into the lower 30's and we need to heat the water tanks. You can put Reflectix on some windows, skylight and fans and cut down on heat loss (or cooling loss in the summer)

The word amongst the RV world is "boondocking" when you don't have hookups. Your ability with a Bambi to boondock will be limited because of the smaller tanks, half the size of a 25' and even less if you have a 16' Bambi. They really aren't made to camp more than a few days without hookups, though by being very careful you could go longer especially if you have a blue boy.

We use the Flush King. It makes backflushing easier and works well. If you are squeamish about bodily fluids and solids, the sewer solution may be better for you.

Solar panels are getting smaller and cheaper. The ones mounted on the roof have more watts per square foot than the ones that fold up and you put out when camped. There are plenty of threads about solar, sewer stuff and even one on whether "boondocking" is the best word. Lewster is the Forum resident solar expert and you could contact him for info.

Gene
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