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Old 12-12-2015, 07:17 PM   #1
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Replacing propane with electrical?

Currently renovating a '71 Land Yacht and thinking of getting rid of the propane system and switching to solar and full electrical. Any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks a bunch from Canada!
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:52 PM   #2
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What's your plan for cooking and heating? Do you ever boondock or find yourself in a campsite without hookups? You'll never get close to having as much stored energy in a couple of bottles of propane compared to even a large, expensive lithium battery bank. You could consider electric cooking and heating, but then if you're without hookups you'll need an external generator, gas storage and the hassle of having to run the generator for as long as you'll need heat. Seems ambitious and problematic.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:08 PM   #3
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If the goal is to have a park model that is going to pemently parked, go for it. If not, I would not do it. Resale value will be greatly reduced.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:10 PM   #4
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Unless you know that you will ALWAYS be camping with an electrical hook up, this is a bad idea. There are good reasons why almost no one does this.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:23 PM   #5
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505 Watts of solar and 400 amp hours of lithium batteries and the only thing I'd take off the propane is the refrigerator with one of the really nice 12v marine systems.

Stove/Burners & Furnace, that's just not practical at all, unless you want to build a 1000amp hour battery bank.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:34 PM   #6
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As stated, unless your trailer becomes a park model with full hook ups, losing propane would be expensive in generators and gasoline to run them, as solar and the battery storage would be limiting, especially in our neck of the woods where camping without a heat source is limited.

The biggest set back to going all electrical without hookups is the expense of battery storage, inverters/converters, panels and wiring. Also the reliability, efficiency and long term durability of these devices can be suspect.

HOWEVER you can have your cake and eat it too. Buying devices that use both energy sources wisely will be your saviour.

Take Platinum Cats for example. A vented (vents water vapour to the outside) propane catalytic heater that uses max 1/4 lb of propane an hour, 17 hrs per gallon and almost no electricity to run the fan. Can be used boondocking.

http://ventedcatheater.com/6.html

Dyson cool hot fans that use oscillating movement of air to heat or cool your space efficiently and have independent thermostats, so they're set and forget if you're hooked up. The Dyson would work well with a Platnum Cat as they could move air across the surface that was heated by the Platinum Cat but not need to run in heat mode if boondocking .

Convection microwaves that bake and cook and induction cook tops.

LED lighting, etc, etc.....

It's all about choosing devices that will enhance your enjoyment of your trailer in any situation that you will find yourself in.By only choosing one form of energy you will possibly limit your enjoyment.

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Old 12-13-2015, 08:38 AM   #7
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If it weren't for propane, we wouldn't have RVs. It's really that simple.

Maybe the water system is more important (on a design and maintain basis; though this makes the case further for propane), but the energy available to do nearly everything AND to do it at low cost and next to no maintenance makes replacement with heavier, bulkier, expensive, higher maintenance solar should give one pause.

At best, solar is an excellent back up and quasi replacement. It is dependent on a peculiar supply chain, unlike propane.

I'm all in favor of a nice solar electrical system to extend boondocking capability, but of the trailer systems, electrical is dead last in importance (with the exception of exterior lamps whole on the road).

Tires, brakes, etc are more important, but get less attention than they should.

The robust simplicity of the propane system is it's great virtue.

Get the thinking straight about what the vehicle does, first.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:08 AM   #8
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It takes loads of electricity to make heat. It takes very little propane to do the same job.
Ever heard the expression "Now we're cooking with gas!" ?


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Old 12-13-2015, 10:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
505 Watts of solar and 400 amp hours of lithium batteries and the only thing I'd take off the propane is the refrigerator with one of the really nice 12v marine systems.

Stove/Burners & Furnace, that's just not practical at all, unless you want to build a 1000amp hour battery bank.
We have 540 watts of solar on the roof and 400 AH of LFPs and replaced the Dometic fridge with a marine 12v Danfoss compressor fridge which we love. But we still kept propane for heat, cooking, hot water and to run the generator when needed.
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Old 12-13-2015, 01:35 PM   #10
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I did it in my '78 AS renovation. She's total electric. And I love it! If I'm headed to parts unknown, I'll take my generator and let the noxious fumes be away from me and my camper. Gave me much more space and lightened the weight of the camper, too.
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:08 PM   #11
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For the OP, I don't think an all electric appliance situation in a conventional travel trailer is very appealing. Large class A motorhomes are different because they have the capability to easily accommodate large battery banks and on-board generator systems. I agree with other posts that propane is to a large degree responsible for the ability for RVs to go where others don't.

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Originally Posted by paddle whisp View Post
I did it in my '78 AS renovation. She's total electric. And I love it! If I'm headed to parts unknown, I'll take my generator and let the noxious fumes be away from me and my camper. Gave me much more space and lightened the weight of the camper, too.
There are relatively few noxious fumes in the cabin of an Airstream resulting from propane appliances. The combustion gases from most on-board propane appliances are vented to the outside. The stove and oven don't make significant noxious fumes or it wouldn't be tolerated in a trailer (or home) environment.

Please tell where you saved weight so we can understand the benefits. I guess you might make a case that electrical appliances are lighter than propane appliance but you'd have to convince me that's true. Is a propane water heater really heavier than an electrical water heater? Is the propane stove and oven really heavier than an electrical stove and oven? Maybe you only use a microwave but that's not nearly as versatile as a stove and oven. Is a propane refrigerator dramatically heavier than an electrical refrigerator?

I don't begrudge anyone changing their trailer to whatever system they choose but your comments could be construed as misleading unless the entire "energy" equation is taken in consideration.

You may have lightened the trailer but if you're operating electrical appliances with a generator that takes more pounds of gasoline than it would probably require operating the same appliances with propane. And that doesn't even consider the inefficiency of the energy lost in converting gasoline to electricity. Per pound (not gallon), my understanding is propane has more energy than gasoline.

If 99% of your camping is hooked up to electricity and only 1% is boondocking I guess all-electric might make sense. But what about all the other situations that come up during RV travel? There are any number of times that many RVers stop at Walmart overnight and want a hot shower, stop at a rest stop and make hot tea or coffee, etc. and an all-electric RV doesn't work well in those cases.
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:13 PM   #12
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No lp tanks.
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:40 PM   #13
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No lp tanks.
Yep, and that's replaced with the weight of a generator.

I suspect the weight of an all electric trailer (ignoring the weight of the generator and gasoline) might be lighter than a trailer with propane appliances. But at what "cost"? You are more are less relegated to go from campground to campground so you can have electrical hookups nearly every night. We don't even have solar to recharge our batteries and we don't have to see a commercial campground or state park for the better part of a week and we don't use a generator either.

Feel free to do whatever is desired on a given trailer, for a given owner. I am simply trying to point out the possible downside of an all-electric trailer. Yes, there is upside to all-electric and I suspect weight is not as much as some might suspect when all factors are considered. As they say, different strokes for different folks. All-electric removes more options than it's worth in my mind.
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:46 PM   #14
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Gen carried in the tv.
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