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Old 10-04-2003, 10:29 PM   #15
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My philosophy on inverters is to use them as little as possible.

The worst thing you can do is run a coffeemaker, toaster, space heater, electric blanket, etc off an inverter! When battery power is limited, NEVER use it to make heat! Use gas or crank up the generator! One of the most popular boondocking drip coffee solutions is the Melitta carafe style. Heat the water in a pot on top of the stove, then pour it into a filter basket that sits on top of a carafe or thermos cup. Coleman also makes an automatic stove-top drip coffeemaker that works on top of a gas stove or camp stove.

Whenever possible, use electronics that can use 12VDC battery power. This eliminates loss to the inefficiency of the inverter, as well as loss to an external 110VAC to DC power supply. Many electronics have a 12VDC input with a 110VAC external power supply, but don't advertise they're 12VDC capable. This includes some flat-panel TVs and DVD players, weather radios, etc. TVs designed for use on 120VAC that use a cathode ray tube (CRT) may require an inverter 4-8 times their rated wattage because of something called a degaussing coil that requires a large surge current when the TV is first turned on. Best choice is a TV that is 12V capable.

Even with a computer, try to use a notebook with sufficient battery power (including a second or spare notebook battery, if necessary) to span the time between generator running. Their external 120VAC power supplies (which aren't 100% efficient) can draw as much as 1.6-2.0A at 120VAC, which translates to 18-22A at 12VDC on a less than 100% efficient inverter input. A notebook computer typically uses 17V and isn't 12VDC compatible. The 12VDC adapters for them use a DC to AC step up to DC converter that is also not very efficient.

Canon makes the neat little&nbsp&nbspi70 inkjet photo printer, which is 12V capable, as well as has an optional battery pack.

No RVer should be without a weather alert radio (and some need an alarm clock). The Midland 74-200 is an 12VDC capable (with 9V battery backup) alarm clock/weather alert radio with SAME technology, meaning you only get severe weather alerts for the area you've programmed to receive.

If you're going to watch satellite TV at times other than generator run time, you'll need a small inverter. There are no manufacturers who provide 12V models, since the satellite receivers supply higher voltage than that to the antenna. I'd certainly recommend a pure sine-wave one for less noise. A 125W Exceltech is more than enough. If you might need to plug in a notebook computer with a discharged battery, the 250W would be a better choice.

We still don't have an inverter, and may not ever, since we usually watch satellite TV in the evenings when the generator is running anyway.
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Old 10-05-2003, 02:49 AM   #16
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Maurice,

Thanks for all of the great info. If it's all right with you, I am going to recap everything that you have gone over.

In your opinion, the best way to go if I am at a camping spot which does not have a power, is:

Purchase 2-EU2000's and run them parallel to one another. I should mention that because I am in China right now, I have only been able to look on the net for the said units. I can tell you with much certainty, that anyone who sells them on the net is sold out.

OK, with that said, what you are then telling me is that when I wake up in the morning or lounge outside in the afternoon, that's the time to run the 2 EU2000's to charge up my batteries.

Then, when evening comes and I want to sit around and run the AC and watch a little TV, I would fire up the EU2000's again?

Let me ask you this, do you run the EU2000's all night to keep the AC going or at some point do you go outside and turn them off?


One other question I have, is if someone did buy the Exceltech inverter that you mentioned in your last post, is this hard wired into the electrical system of the Airstream? If I did have that inverter and merely just wanted to plug in a lap top or satellite and not run AC, would I just plug into the normal AC plug in my Airstream or do I need to plug directly into the Inverter. Does my question make sense?

Nonetheless, I have a friend at a Honda store back in the states, and when I return, I think I am just going to purchase two of the EU2000's.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-05-2003, 04:52 AM   #17
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Generator Question

It's pretty easy to tell that the Honda 2000 and 3000 are the choice of pretty much everyone.

I have been able to find some information on the Yamaha EF3000ISEB and it looks pretty interesting as well.

Any imput on this generator? Yamaha claims that with the "boost" option that it offers, it gives quite an advantage over other generators. Any input?
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Old 10-05-2003, 09:06 AM   #18
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When we run the generator(s)

The only reason I mentioned running in the morning is if two conditions were met: 1. you only had an EU3000 2. you significantly used the batteries overnight. The reason for that is that the converter can use a good bit of generator power charging the batteries if they are significantly discharged. With two EU2000s, you can wait until it gets hot enough to need air-conditioning before cranking them up in the morning.

Most places I camp have "quiet hours," when you can't run a generator regardless of how quiet it is (the "generator Nazis" walk around listening for one since they can't hear them at their campsite). This usually starts at 9PM or 10PM and goes until 7AM or 8AM. So most of us don't run generators overnight unless way out by ourselves.

I run the generator daily from 5PM to 9-10PM because that's the time I'm using electricity the most (except for days when needing the air-conditioning when I'm using it all day).

From the time I shut the generator off at 9PM, until I start it up at 5PM is 20 hours. During the night, I close up the windows for security, open the Fantastic Vent over the bed without turning the motor on, and run the Fantastic Vent in the living room on "Out" with a medium fan setting (2.5A) until 9AM for about 12 hours or 30AH. I'll then open the windows, set both FVs on OUT and a low fan setting (2A each, 4A total) for 8 hours or 32AH.

That's 62AH so far. The frig circuit board, LP detector, and radio (even when off) are drawing about 250 mA each or 750mA total over 20 hours is 15AH. The gas solenoid uses about 1A, and if it isn't too warm, it probably runs about 40% duty cycle, so 1 X 20 X .4 = 8 AH. That's 75AH so far.

The Group 27 batteries Airstream put in my 34' aren't very good. They're Interstate SRM-27 with only about 85AH each, or 170AH total, so 75AH is more than 40% of them, and that's about all I want to use out of them (I'll explain the 40% at another time), so I usually run the generator until 10PM and only go 19 hours quiet.

During generator run time, all the 12V electricity we're using for the parasitic loads, lights, fans, water pump, etc, comes directly from the converter, which is also charging the batteries. We're also using the 120VAC things, microwave oven, hand mixer, blender, vacuum cleaner, and in our case for now, the TV (120V only) and sat receiver during this time.

I make sure the refrigerator is set to GAS rather than AUTO, so it doesn't switch to 120VAC when the generators come one. The other thing you need to make sure of is that the switch for the anti-condensation heating elements around the refrigerator door is set to OFF. This system works off 12VDC and can use a LOT of battery power.

You also need to make sure the antenna amplifier is OFF when you aren't using it.

It's been our experience that if we have needed air-conditioning during the day, we still need it at least until 9-10PM, because it takes that long for the surrounding earth, as well as the trailer and all its mass, to cool down.

The fact is, with the two Fantastic Vents, we haven't yet boondocked when we needed the air-conditioning at all, so I can't really give you any "experience" with running the air-conditioning off the generators. Except for the day I ran it in the driveway with them, to see what all else I could run at the same time (and that was pretty much ONE of anything else big, i.e. the microwave, the toaster, the electric element in the water heater (you'd normally not do this off generator, I was just testing). So far, whenever we've needed air-conditioning when camping, it was with eletrical hook-ups.

BTW, we only turn the water heater on (on gas) about 20 minutes before we need it. That's after dinner for washing dishes, showering, etc. And we turn it off BEFORE the last shower, so we haven't wasted gas on heating up a tank that's just going to cool down (and put the heat in the trailer).

To answer your question about the inverter, yes, it really needs to be hard-wired. The cigarette lighter outlets on the Winegard antenna plates are only rated for 8A or about 100W, and they WILL melt at higher currents. Even the little inverter that provides 125W output can use 150W (12.5A) on input.
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Old 10-05-2003, 09:49 AM   #19
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Yamaha 3000iseb

Joshua 32064,

I have a friend who recently bought the Yahmaha and loves it.It is very very quite and works great. Its is alot heavier than the eu 2000 but has wheels on it so he just roles it into the truck and out. If you figure the cost of 2 eu2000 and making up the cable to join them, it is a better deal. If you are going to run the A/C that much that might be a better way to go.
There is a lot to be said for the light weight of the 2000 if you dont need the power of the bigger unit. In fact I am looking into one for all our winter camping so I dont have to deal with size and weight of our Mitsubishi 5800.

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Old 10-05-2003, 10:59 AM   #20
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BTW, the most time I've ever spent in Arizona was a few days, but I did spend 3 years in Saudi Arabia, 1.5 high in the mountains at Taif, and 1.5 in the middle of the desert at Riyadh.

That was about 16-18 years ago, but I don't really recall most late nights in the desert being unbearable, except perhaps when daytime temps rose to 110-120+F in Riyahd. That's why I recommended the EU2000s.

Without an external gas supply, they probably won't run hard all night on their 2 gallons, even if fueled at 10PM. The 3 gallon Honda and Yamaha 3000W generators have a better chance of doing that. Several folks have set the EU2000s up to draw gas from a 6 gallon outboard motor tank, and that's what I'll do, if I ever need it.

Keep in mind you want to start out with at least 3 gallons of water in the black tank to keep stool from forming the infamous mountain under the toilet, and want to quit using it when it's at least 2 gallons short of full so you don't risk it leaking around the toilet flange. So at best you only have 13 gallons of black tank capacity. That might be okay, since historically most folks generate about 3 times the grey water they do black water, and 13 X 3 = 39, the capacity of your grey tank. 13 + 39 = 52 gallons.

Given that the water pump usually can't pick up about the last coupla gallons from the fresh tank, your grey and black tank capacity should theoretically be enough for your 37 gallons of fresh water, plus another 5 gallons from a jerry can (42 gallons total) plus the 10 gallons or so you'll add from digested solids and liquids from other than the fresh water tank.

However, if you're going to bring along more spare fresh water, you may also want a wheeled tote tank for the extra waste, and a ramp to get it up into the truck bed. Considering that, the boost model Yamaha with wheels may be the thing to do, if you think the nights are going to be hot all night.

BTW, have you given any thought as to where you're going to set up a notebook computer station? That's one reason I like the credenza and flip-up table in the 25 SS Safari over the L shaped couch in the CCDs.
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Old 10-05-2003, 11:49 AM   #21
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Whoa! Am I reading this correctly? 596 lbs of cargo capacity for the 25 CCD?

With 39 gallons in the fresh tank, 6 in the water heater, and 3 in the black tank, at 8 lbs/gallon, that's 384 lbs. Add 60 for LP and you're up to 444 lbs.

Does that mean you only have 150 lbs left for food, cookware, dinnerware, utensils, cleaning and bathing supplies, toiletries, linens and clothes, TV, DVD, VCR, satellite receiver, inverter, and notebook computer and printer (amongst other things I may have missed)?

You'd DEFINITELY want a tote tank if you added another 5 gallons and 40 lbs of water!

What's the GVWR on a 25 CCD?
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Old 10-05-2003, 01:32 PM   #22
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Maurice,

Thanks for all of your knowledge. You have definitely given me a lot to think about.

To answer your question, the GVWR for the 25' International CCD is 6,300 lbs.

At this point, I feel like there is so much for me to consider regarding running times, loads, generators to purchase, that I just feel that the best thing for me to do is to run a few trial runs in front of the house and just start figuring out what it takes to make everything work.

One question I do have about inverters, is if I were to wait on buying the generator but needed something in the mean time.

I took a look at the Exceltech inverters that you mentioned. I noticed that they are offered in either a 12-volt or 24-volt version. Which one should I be looking to purchase? What is the difference? I assume the 12-volt is for the TT and the 24-volt is for the car's cigarette lighter?

Since it is starting to get cool in AZ, I do not think that I will have to worry about the generator for a few months. The device that I do think that I will need quicker is something to run the satellite box or charge my computer. From what you said, the 125 model should be fine.

With that said? How would I hard wire this product into the Airstream? It looks like the 24-volt model has a cigarette lighter tip. Can this be plugged into the AS or will it melt something?

If the unit is hard wired into the system, do I have to make sure that where it is hard wired in, is where I am going to use my computer or have my sat box sitting? I assume that although you hard wire the unit into the system, it doesn't mean that all the outlets in your TT are energized?

Since I really don't know much about all of this, I can only assume that the tote tank you were referring to was for waste product. Wouldn't this only be necessary if I was away for more than a week or so?

Thanks again.
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Old 10-05-2003, 01:50 PM   #23
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Maurice,

You had asked if I had given any thought to where I was planning on setting up my laptop while I am on the road.

At this point, I had thought that when I needed to use my laptop, I would use it at the dinette.

In terms of the satellite, I would like to mount it in a permeant position. My CCD was ordered with a built in TV & DVD so I am not sure where the best place to mount the satellite will be. Any suggestions?
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Old 10-05-2003, 02:17 PM   #24
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Back to weight...

Maurice -- Where are you getting the 596 lbs of cargo capacity? Let's plot the info of the Airstream specifications pages (Info for 25' trailers, weights in pounds):

__________Safari SS__CCD SS__Classic

Axle System.....6000.......6000.......7000
GVWR...............6300.......6300.......7300
Base Wt...........5270.......5220.......6050
Net Capacity....1030.......1080.......1270
LP, Water*.........458.........458.........583**
___________________________________________
Useful Load........572.........622.........687

* As per Maurice: 60# LP; gallons of water @ 8.3#/gal = 398#
** 54 gal tank

Eric (Silvertwinkie) has been up the same road ( Thread: Help in understanding trailer weights ). Eric has just ordered a 25' Safari SS. Let me PM him and see if he got closer numbers when he ordered his trailer. I will ask him to chime in on this thread.

Now remember -- optional equipment subtracts from the useful load. (Josh, the larger GVWR is not all on the axles since hitch weight is not carried on them. Do not subtract hitch weight from either GVWR or Base Wt. The Safari, CCD & Classic don't have same included options). I was going to ask if 7000# axles would be interesting for the Six Sleepers but these numbers are pretty good, don't you think?

Joshua, on the TV question look at: http://www.airforums.com/forum...1806#post51806

To the road!
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Old 10-05-2003, 02:26 PM   #25
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Newbie Questions

A few questions here. Do you need to fill your water tanks in advance if staying at an RV park with all the hook ups? I am assuming you do not.

Am I right in saying that the only time you may have to carry a lot of excess weight is when you are boondocking and you know you aren't going to be to a close source for water and power?

Bob, regarding the TV, I ordered my CCD with the factory installed unit. The only thing that I need to figure out is where to mount the inverter if I don't get a generator right away. What I am curious about is how the inverter is hard wired and where it is placed?

I have to admit that Maurice scared me a bit when he started talking about loads. As I stated previously, the CCD had a GVWR of 6,300 Lbs. I am not one to be a packrat and travel with a million things, but I do like to carry a few conveniences.

If I dont have to travel with water all the time, I assume I'll be all right. Am I assuming correctly?

What are your thoughts?
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Old 10-05-2003, 02:31 PM   #26
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With small inverters like this, you just plug the devices that will be used into them directly. None of the travel trailer outlets are "hot."

The 24V versions are NOT for vehicles or RVs, which are 12V systems and need a 12V inverter. Solar/battery houses often use 24 or 48 volt systems because you can use thinner gauge wiring with higher voltage to transmit the same power with lower current.

The 125 isn't sufficient for charging computer batteries. Take a look at the amp rating on the computer's AC adapter and multiply that times 120V to get the wattage. You'd need at least the 250 for that. Xantrex is also making a nice 400 now.

Where are your batteries in the 25 CCD? Are the battery boxes large enough for a pair of Group 31 batteries? Or are they limited to Group 24? Are they tall enough to use two T-105 golf cart batteries?

At any rate, you would run appropriate gauge stranded wires, preferably in flexible conduit, from a fuse block mounted near the batteries, or the internal block the batteries connect to, to the inverter mounting location (the wire to the inverter must be fused). Keep in mind that the inverter needs to be where cooling air can get to it. It should be close to where the 120VAC appliances will be used, or at least close enough that a power strip with a 6' cord can reach it.

How long do you intend to boondock in one stretch? We allow 3 minutes per shower (1 to wet down, 2 to rinse) at 1.5 gallons/minute times two people. Plus about 4 gallons for flushing and kitchen sink use. With that, we can do a 5 day rally (4 nights) on a 54 gallon fresh tank. You could probably get the same with 2 minutes per shower times two people.
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Old 10-05-2003, 02:56 PM   #27
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Maurice,

I am completely sold on the fact that generators are the way to go. I think it would be pointless for me to purchase a quality inverter now, and then make close to a $2,000 purchase for a generator a few months down the road.

With that said, I think I need to now decide whether its going to be 2 EU2000's, 1 EU3000 or 1 Yamaha EF3000ISEB.

One thing I never mentioned is that when I am back in the states, I work on a fair amount of charity events. There are going to be times when I bring the trailer along and am going to have to run the AC for the entire day. The generators weight is not really an issue to me, because I can always wheel the unit up to the truck bed or have a few buddies help me lift it up or bring it down if necessary. With that said, would you still go with 2 EU2000's or look at the EU3000 or the Yamaha EF3000ISEB?

Am I correct in saying that once I have one of these units, power will really not be an issue or concern for me?

From what I am getting from reading your responses, my only concern would then be water. Is this correct? To answer your question, the longest I could see myself boondocking would be a week, but on the average, 3 to 5 days.

By the way, I meant to ask if you teach a week long class in all of this. If you do, I will gladly sign up!

Thanks again!
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Old 10-05-2003, 03:52 PM   #28
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Obviously, I'm sold on the generator solution as well.

In your case, I'd probably recommend the Yamaha EF3000ISEB for the longer run time, air-conditioning in high temperatures, over the portability of the EU2000s. Just be aware it's about 175 lbs fueled.

As far as worrying about output, realize you MAY need to turn the AC off while using the microwave, depending on what else electrical is going on.

Also note that you can use 6 or more gallons of gas per day, depending on how hard it's working.

I do think water, but mainly waste capacity, is going to be your limiting factor. It isn't wise to flush sparingly and avoid urinating in the trailer toilet. The solids can build up and become a real problem to dump.

You also need to consider truck payload capacity. Out of that comes people and cargo in the cab, a full tank of fuel, tongue weight of the trailer, five-gallon cans of gas at 40 lbs each, five gallon water cans at 50 lbs each, the 175 lb generator, the weight of firewood, tote-tank (200 lbs for a full 22 gallon if you have to haul it out), patio rug, BBQ grill, lawn furniture, etc.

If you're fortunate enough to be able to keep the trailer at home, you may be able to do dry runs. We (RV and boat owners) are currently having to fight at city hall to stop amendments that would restrict RV and boat parking in residential areas. Otherwise, you might try spending a week at a campground with hook-ups, and see how long you can go without using them.

Doing this a coupla times will give you a lot better idea of your capabilities than I can.
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