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Old 08-31-2011, 07:48 AM   #15
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Thanks, Jammer! That's exactly the kind of simple estimation I was looking for.

JamuJoe, solar is definitely on our list of future projects.

We are hitting the road on Monday, so my 'dockin education begins soon!

Gary
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:54 AM   #16
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Very simple answer. If you are going to run the furnace, buy the generator. It will take about 2 to 3 hours for a decent recharge.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:02 AM   #17
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Very simple answer. If you are going to run the furnace, buy the generator. It will take about 2 to 3 hours for a decent recharge.
Very simple answer, although not universal. We routinely run our furnace on battery power (two group 24's) along with the other utilities (LED lights make a big difference), and let the 85 watt solar recharge during the day while we're out and about. We've never dropped below 12v, and rarely does my MPPT controller not indicate a full charge before the sun sets. We've done this for many cold nights. I always pick a site with as little shade on the panel as possible. Actually, I had planned to add a second panel, in the place of the TV antenna, but have deferred because the single panel is doing the job.

Everyone has different needs and opinions, but I regret for newbies to think that they must have a generator. If one must use a microwave or A/C - then add the machine, and please be considerate of other campers who find the noise objectionable.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:56 PM   #18
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I have to agree with Bill - if you run the furnace - the generator is your friend.

We use a 2000 Honda - pretty darn quiet (makes it easier to be a good neighbor).

In the summer - we can stretch it to 3 days on one Group 24 battery. We found that switching to a Lifeline made a big difference.

Thinking of changing out the converter - maybe an Iota.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:17 PM   #19
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Furnace use off-grid & Propane level monitoring

Just returned from Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful trip, although we got completely rained out in the park - grey days, low cloud cover, continuous rain, night temps in the low 40's. Off-grid in Moraine Park CG (excellent CG - very large sites with great topography) for 3 days, furnace keeping the cabin at 70º, and the battery pack (2 gp 24's) never fell below 12.2v with marginal solar charging. (I was surprise to even see 0.2 amps of charging without a ray of sunshine). Headed toward home and spent a last night off-grid in the San Luis Valley, caught a few hours of sunshine, and four hours of trickle charging via tow vehicle, that brought the pack back to 13.6v before another cold night. The only issue with the furnace was the propane tank running empty at 0200 and having to dash out into the cold rain to switch over to the full tank. Our 2011 FC23FB tank monitoring system doesn't include a propane tank monitor. I'll be looking for an improved way to monitor propane levels. Has anyone added a propane level sensor/feed to the tank monitoring system?
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:43 PM   #20
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... Has anyone added a propane level sensor/feed to the tank monitoring system?
I added a Marshall Brass indicator that fits on top of the Marshall automatic switching regulators. It doesn't show the level, but a LED flashes inside when the regulator switches to the reserve tank and the indicator on the regulator itself changes from green to red.

My Excella has level lights on the Control Panel, but I don't have tanks with the senders, the wiring is gone outside too. I could deal with the wiring, but the cost of two new tanks with senders is prohibitive.

I know I could just check the regulator periodically to see if the indicator has turned red, but this reminds me. Painless to install, too.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:52 PM   #21
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Has anyone added a propane level sensor/feed to the tank monitoring system?
Joe,

You could get one of these....you'll just have to remember to check them once in awhile.

RMNP...is one of our favorites, glad you enjoyed it.

Sweet Streams

Bob
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:01 PM   #22
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Just returned from Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful trip, although we got completely rained out in the park - grey days, low cloud cover, continuous rain, night temps in the low 40's. Off-grid in Moraine Park CG (excellent CG - very large sites with great topography) for 3 days, furnace keeping the cabin at 70º, and the battery pack (2 gp 24's) never fell below 12.2v with marginal solar charging. (I was surprise to even see 0.2 amps of charging without a ray of sunshine). Headed toward home and spent a last night off-grid in the San Luis Valley, caught a few hours of sunshine, and four hours of trickle charging via tow vehicle, that brought the pack back to 13.6v before another cold night. The only issue with the furnace was the propane tank running empty at 0200 and having to dash out into the cold rain to switch over to the full tank. Our 2011 FC23FB tank monitoring system doesn't include a propane tank monitor. I'll be looking for an improved way to monitor propane levels. Has anyone added a propane level sensor/feed to the tank monitoring system?
I am having a hard time believing a 2011 trailer doesn't have an auto-switchover LPG regulator. If your trailer has one and you keep the second tank turned off until you need it, then I don't have much sympathy.

Every trailer I have owned has come standard with one. That includes my 1993 15' Casita.

In that case the simplest monitor is to check the red green indicator on the regulator once a day, throw the lever when necessary and fill the empty tank when you get a chance.

Am I missing something?

I know my 2010 Classic came with one standard.

Ken
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Old 09-09-2011, 06:02 PM   #23
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My 07 does not have an auto change over.

John
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Old 09-09-2011, 06:15 PM   #24
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My 07 does not have an auto change over.

John
I guess it is another example of cost cutting. Airstream saves 20 bucks, so that the buyer has to go out and spend 60 bucks to get what he should have gotten in the first place.

Ken
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:20 AM   #25
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Ken - yep, it does have an automatic changeover LPG regulator.

Relentless - The Airstream Guide states that all models have such. The red & green indicator rings are there under the "do not remove" black top. You have to look from the side. Not very obvious at all.

No sympathy deserved here for having to changeover in the rain. The cruising sailor part of me prefers to manually switch to my 'reserve' tank. I may change that habit in this less critical mode of 'cruising' until I find a better system. Actually, the refrigerator 'check' light is the remote indicator for an empty tank.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:54 AM   #26
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Ken - yep, it does have an automatic changeover LPG regulator.

Relentless - The Airstream Guide states that all models have such. The red & green indicator rings are there under the "do not remove" black top. You have to look from the side. Not very obvious at all.

No sympathy deserved here for having to changeover in the rain. The cruising sailor part of me prefers to manually switch to my 'reserve' tank. I may change that habit in this less critical mode of 'cruising' until I find a better system. Actually, the refrigerator 'check' light is the remote indicator for an empty tank.
I don't know if this is a difference between years or between models, but our trailer also has both tank levels included in the monitoring system that displays the status of fresh water, holding tanks, and batteries. There is also a little guage on the top of each tank.

The green/red indicator on the regulator can also be a little deceiving. Some turn entirely red when empty, others only show a red stripe below the green.

One hint, if you have the tank that is presently not being used off when the one being used goes empty, it can sometimes be a chore to get the gas flowing again. I did that once. If I remember correctly, I had to disconnect both tanks and let everything equalize for a few minutes and then reconnect. The fellow that helped me figure out the solution told be this is likely to happen in hot weather.

Ken
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:09 AM   #27
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Ken,
My monitor also has an indicator for the LP level but it doesn't seem to be connected. Do you know how to hook it up?
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:50 AM   #28
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Ken,
My monitor also has an indicator for the LP level but it doesn't seem to be connected. Do you know how to hook it up?
I can tell you what ours is like.

Each tank has round guage on the top. Each guage has a black plastic capsule on top of it. There are two wires coming out of each capsule. One wire goes to a ground lug on the meter housing, and the other has a spade lug connector that connects to one of two wires coming up from the trailer through the bottom of the tank cover. These spade lugs must be disconnected when a tank is removed. If your system is the same as ours, perhaps these spade lug connectors were not reconnected. I have not unscrewed the panel from the wall in the trailer, so I am not sure what type of connectors are on the back of it.

Ken
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