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Old 08-16-2005, 08:41 PM   #1
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'62 Globetrotter - Re-thinking the electrics...from scratch

Well, I got my '62 GT, and I'm quite happy, but it's going to need a lot of interior and systems work. It looks like the electrical system will need close to a complete overhaul, and I'm wondering if I should rethink the 12v/120v split.

Here is the deal, this is not intended to be a mobile airstream, rather a semi mobile cabin on some land far from any type of hookup (ac/sewer/water) The only AC this might see would be a small portable generator, the only DC it might see might be a solar cell. Looking at what's there, I could not find anything looking like a univolt. Unless it's buried under the floor, or in the wall, it's gone, or was never there. (It kind of looks more like there never was one, all the light fixtures are doubles...one 12v and one 120v)

The question is do i really want to maintain the split system? I don't know what's out there (or what I can afford) but here is my ideal system, tell me if it can be done, or if performance would be lousy:

- all internal systems 120v
- a couple of heavy duty batteries connected to an inverter supplying AC to all the plugs and lights in the trailer
- a solar cell to recharge the batteries when I'm gone during the week
- a gas generator that could simultaneously supply AC when hooked up and charge the batteries with any excess current.
- ok, this is a little pie in the sky, but wouldn't it be cool if the generator started itself up when the batteries got low? Probably real expensive.

Has anyone tried something like this? Here are some of the questions that immediately jump out at me:

-Are 12v lights significantly more energy efficient than 120v coming through and inverter? Should I keep the 12v in place for the lights?

-What type of batteries are ideal for this type of application? How many might I need to mostly last a weekend without help from the generator. It would probably run a small dorm fridge (unless I splurge for a LP model) lights, and recharge my laptop.

thanks for all the help.

Geof
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Old 08-16-2005, 11:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi
Well, I got my '62 GT, and I'm quite happy, but it's going to need a lot of interior and systems work. It looks like the electrical system will need close to a complete overhaul, and I'm wondering if I should rethink the 12v/120v split.

Here is the deal, this is not intended to be a mobile airstream, rather a semi mobile cabin on some land far from any type of hookup (ac/sewer/water) The only AC this might see would be a small portable generator, the only DC it might see might be a solar cell. Looking at what's there, I could not find anything looking like a univolt. Unless it's buried under the floor, or in the wall, it's gone, or was never there. (It kind of looks more like there never was one, all the light fixtures are doubles...one 12v and one 120v)
Your trailer never had a charger/converter from the factory. It was equipped with a abttery and dual voltage lights, and a split of 12V or 12V fan motors. The battery would charge while driving and then allow use of 12V lights when not hooked up for a day or so. The 120V sode would work of course, when plugged in, so would the wall outlets.



Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi
The question is do i really want to maintain the split system? I don't know what's out there (or what I can afford) but here is my ideal system, tell me if it can be done, or if performance would be lousy:
Inverters eat power as they are working, as they do not have a 100% efficience. There'smuch written aboutthis subject, which a forum search would reveal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi
- all internal systems 120v
- a couple of heavy duty batteries connected to an inverter supplying AC to all the plugs and lights in the trailer
- a solar cell to recharge the batteries when I'm gone during the week
- a gas generator that could simultaneously supply AC when hooked up and charge the batteries with any excess current.
- ok, this is a little pie in the sky, but wouldn't it be cool if the generator started itself up when the batteries got low? Probably real expensive.

Has anyone tried something like this? Here are some of the questions that immediately jump out at me:
Well, it's like permanent boondocking. A converter/charger with a good quality battery pair will give reliable service when charged a few hours a day by use of a small generator. Solar is great, but expensive and relies largely on sunshine. But once installed, it's free energy. Which is best for you depends on how much you will use the trailer, and on your personal preference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi
-Are 12v lights significantly more energy efficient than 120v coming through and inverter? Should I keep the 12v in place for the lights?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi
-What type of batteries are ideal for this type of application? How many might I need to mostly last a weekend without help from the generator. It would probably run a small dorm fridge (unless I splurge for a LP model) lights, and recharge my laptop.
Use LP for the refrigeration, then 2 12V batteries will last a week id used conservatively. We have boondocked in Baja for 5 days at a time with just one battery.
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:29 AM   #3
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So keeping my 12v lights in place seems to make sense. For the charging system, one of these seems to be a pretty decent option:

http://www.spacecentersystems.com/ca...ucts_id/254303

It would certainly simplify the complexities of connecting an inverter, converter and charger into the same system. Is this approach common?

Geof
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:36 AM   #4
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1000W won't take you very far, is the problem.
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:20 PM   #5
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Actually, I calculated that my AC needs would rarely peak 600w. I'm not looking at a full "home away from home". Possible uses are:

- Recharge Laptop 65w
- Small dorm fridge 300w (intermittent)
- Portable swamp cooler 60w
- Portable stereo 30w

I'm not sure what else I'd use. No TV (a good thing.) Maybe a 300w blender for very occasional use. The Tripplite will sustain 1500w for an hour.

Geof
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi
Actually, I calculated that my AC needs would rarely peak 600w. I'm not looking at a full "home away from home". Possible uses are:

- Recharge Laptop 65w
- Small dorm fridge 300w (intermittent)
- Portable swamp cooler 60w
- Portable stereo 30w

I'm not sure what else I'd use. No TV (a good thing.) Maybe a 300w blender for very occasional use. The Tripplite will sustain 1500w for an hour.

Geof
Geof,

I have a 12V charger for my lap top, just used a regular 12V outlet. Also Black & Decker makes a battery operated blender which uses their rechargeable interchangeable batteries.

Bill
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