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Old 01-06-2006, 12:42 PM   #1
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1963 24' Tradewind
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Newbie: No hookup question

Just a quick question from somone who does not (yet) have an airstream:

What still works if there is not a hookup for water and power (many of the preferred camp sites in Upstate NY don't have hookups)?

Can these trailers be battery powered or should I plan on buying a generator?

Is there a tank for freshwater so that the shower can still be used? How is the water presurized and / or pumped?
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Old 01-06-2006, 12:49 PM   #2
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everything works!

well, almost everything.

all the light fixtures and appliances are designed to work from an onboard 12v battery. anything that needs to be plugged in to the 110v outlets won't work, unless you have shore power, or a generator.

the a/c won't run without shore power, or a BIG generator.

travel trailers typically have a fresh water tank, as well as waste tanks for sewerage. when you're not on a full hookup, a 12v pump is used to run the water. you just need to be mindful of your limited supply.

hot water typically runs on propane, as does the refridgerator. (most rv 'fridges run on both 110v shore power, as well as gas; some can run on 12v, but that'll run the batteries down real quick).

tt's also typically have an on-board converter/charger that converts 110v shore power to 12v, so that shore power can be used to power your lights/appliances. this device also charges up the battery. The battery also connects to your tow vehicles 12v system, so that your car's alternator can charge up the battery when you're towing.
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Old 01-06-2006, 02:23 PM   #3
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What Chuck said.

As long as the gear inside works, most RVs, and more specifically Airstreams since this is the Airstream Forum, are fully self contained. Anything that does not requrie 110 volts will work just fine. Running water, hot water, fans, lights, furnace, fridge, stereo, shower, head, etc. The hard part is not to drain the battery power too fast. That's were lots of conversations take place on the subject of keeping the rig going after say a week or so. Some get generators while others go the solar route....at any rate, you should be more than comfy in your Airstream when not connected to outside utilites.
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:29 PM   #4
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Easier to describe what won't work..

Chuck and Twink are correct, but it may be easier to describe what won't work without hookups:

1. Microwave Oven (stovetop or gas oven a slower substitute..)
2. Electric Coffee Maker (Boil water, use drip filter)
3. Air Conditioner (Open windows, turn on fans, possibly be warm..)
4. TV (though a small inverter will allow LCD TV's to work on 12 volts)
5. Laptop Computer (inverter might work in emergency)

Everything else, from showers to toilets to reading lights will be fine until you run out of stored electrons in your battery system, or water in the tank. There are work-arounds for those... Many members here enjoy being as far from hookusp as they can get, and consider the Airstream a great way to be in the wild without giving up flush toilets and hot water and a good place to read a book!

John McG
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:38 PM   #5
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my tv is ac/dc, so it runs on 12v.

they make 12v coffee makers, but it is a waste. I use a Melitta coffee maker...much more efficient to heat water w/ propane.
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:38 PM   #6
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Multiple Batteries

We haven't had the pleasure of our first night in the Globetrotter yet, but have a fair amount of experience with 12V batteries on the boat. We had two deep cycle batteries, a smart charging device on the alternator charge line and a battery switch to control usage.

It was always a comfort to know that we could deplete the first battery and still have a fully charged one, if necessary -- necessary to restart the diesel.

Do many A/S owners use multiple batteries?

63GT
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 63GT
We haven't had the pleasure of our first night in the Globetrotter yet, but have a fair amount of experience with 12V batteries on the boat. We had two deep cycle batteries, a smart charging device on the alternator charge line and a battery switch to control usage.

It was always a comfort to know that we could deplete the first battery and still have a fully charged one, if necessary -- necessary to restart the diesel.

Do many A/S owners use multiple batteries?

63GT
63GT,

We have two in our 1979 23' Safari and will put at least two in the 1954 Double Door Liner. Since we don't have a diesel engine to start in the trailers, we are not concerned about running both batteries down.

Bill
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Old 01-07-2006, 09:45 AM   #8
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One consideration when going without hookups or "dry camping" is your holding tanks. Newer Airstreams have both gray and black water tanks which means you can dump both your toilet waste and your shower/ sink water into a holding tank. Older Airstreams, prior to 1974 will only have the black water tank and you will have to find another way to hold your gray water.
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Old 01-07-2006, 12:47 PM   #9
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Sigv, welcome to the 12 Volt DC world!

- Most laptop computers can be operated with a 12V cigarette lighter plug/adapter. You can also use it as a television (with a receiver card) and DVD player.
- Some mid-sized flat-screen LCD tv's are powered by a "brick" transformer that convers 110V AC to 12V DC. Although not supported by the manufacturer, it would seem easy to adapt a cable to feed them 12 V DC from a cigarette lighter. Some even have built-in DVD players.
- Many other 12 volt items are available for car, RV, or boat use. Often the car sources are less expensive, perhaps because they are mass produced and mass marketed.

We also have a small generator. But even though it is a quiet model, it is better used to recharge the trailer batteries in the afternoon than to annoy people while you are watching movies in the evening.
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