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Old 12-09-2009, 09:43 AM   #15
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Talking heat

I have two campers, my Airstream and a cab over truck camper. The cab over only has a WAVE Catalytic heater , comfortable down to about 25 out, always two windows cracked open. The Airstream has a furnace, also a large WAVE heater, I use the wave heater for the night, then fire up the furnace about 15 minutes while I put the Percolator Coffee Pot on the stove. Both units have carbon monoxide detectors, and Wave heater have low oxygen shut off.
We also have a 2500 W Generator.
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:03 PM   #16
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hi big john...

Quote:
Originally Posted by big_john View Post
...Any cold weather boondockers have any advice on how to keep warm with the existing systems...or possibly easy to add accessories...
4 people in 25 and tennessee winters...

ok just wearing stocking caps and sweaters (even to bed) will make a huge difference in comfort...

but won't keep the pipes/tanks from freezing in SUB 30 weather.
_________

flooded wet cell batteries don't perform as well in COLD temps, so your batteries may only last 1 nite.

especially considering a full family is using energy in various ways.

agms perform better but that's an expensive way to gain only a few extra amps.

a VENTED catalytic heater would keep the trailer toasty...

but the issue in a 25 is a LOCATION that leaves space for 4 people to move around and sleep.

also the cat will produce a LOT MORE MOISTURE inside the trailer.

with 4 folks (1-3 quarts per night) and your location, adding moisture INSIDE isn't a great idea.

so the simplest approach would be to JUST KEEP USING the central furnace...

and get a small genset to recharge the batteries, then fire it up every other day, or as needed.

LOTS of threads on gensets and lots of threads on moisture issues inside a trayla...

so read about genset and choose your price/model (a used honda 1000 or 2000 is a reliable starter)
_____________

IF you do opt for a cat heater, my ONLY recommendation is a VENTED version,

because inside a 25 with CHILDREN, fresh air is important.

please don't try using ANYTHING that's not approved and INTENDED specifically for heating an enclosed INDOOR space.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...-ir-38149.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ent-29984.html

and the BRAND covered in this thread is proven to last decades in rv use...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ers-35230.html

other ideas, not necessarily good ones...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ion-36449.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...eam-20451.html

gotta love winter camping....NO SKEETERS!

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:12 PM   #17
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You can use Ceramic heaters, catalytic heaters, candles, the oven, etc. to heat the interior, but if you don't run the furnace, your holding tanks will freeze. At least mine did.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:31 AM   #18
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I use a seven or eight gallon propane tank with a 'mr. Heater' screwed safley onto the top. Last real good depending on the weather. Make sure you have ventilation as best as you can and watch where you set the operation. Ours is right inside the door. Also if your pilot light in the oven is lit you can leave the oven door slightly ajar and that- beleive it or not is some heat! Good Luck...I need to read your profile and see where you are at John.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:24 AM   #19
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Thanks!!

Thanks everyone for the advice!!!

I think we are going to err on the side of "using the existing furnace" and come up with ways to keep our 12v batteries alive. Some ideas from the forum:

1. Use a generator - we have one, albeit a noisy one, but def able to bring along in the event we need it...I shoulda got a Honda...maybe I'll trade up.

2. Use the TV - just got a new alternator (I hope the other one died due to old age/use at 7yrs and 165k miles and NOT because we just started towing with it!!!).

3. Solar - expensive!!!

4. Wind - I LOVE this idea. Check out a post by 2xS regarding some electical upgrades he did. Not going there, but I love the idea of putting up a small wind turbine to charge our 12v batteries. It appears to be 1/2 the price of solar, more convenient to install, less fragile and IT WORKS AT NITE!! I'll do a search to see if any folks on the forum have installed one.

Thanks again!!
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:27 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big_john View Post

4. Wind - I LOVE this idea. Check out a post by 2xS regarding some electical upgrades he did. Not going there, but I love the idea of putting up a small wind turbine to charge our 12v batteries. It appears to be 1/2 the price of solar, more convenient to install, less fragile and IT WORKS AT NITE!! I'll do a search to see if any folks on the forum have installed one.

Thanks again!!
I have seen these in use at Padre Island and I know a couple who have one. They seem to like theirs but there are some serious limitations to keep in mind. First, you have to have wind, a lot of it; no wind and you will be sitting in the dark. Second, wind generators are gawd awful loud. If you go that route, spend the money to get top of the line. Get solid construction ( saw one that had blown apart and took out a solar panel ) and one that has a governor that cuts off when the wind gets to high. For my money, wind generators are just not the way to go.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:35 AM   #21
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Gen - whoa...didn't think of the downside...I keep getting pulled toward the combo of:

Expensive Honda Gen + Solar

At least I can do one maybe in 2010 and the other in 2011 to spread out the cost...
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:04 PM   #22
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hi big john...

well, good gensets DO seem expensive at first glance.

but the RESALE is excellent and there are good deals to be found on used models.

IF you've got a quiet reliable genset and healthy batteries there is NO need to add solar, unless THAT is a priority.

solar is great but COSTLY and really beyond what the average camper needs.

also dig deeper into the wind thing, it is NOT nearly as useful as some are suggesting.
___________

don't expect the tow vehicle to RECHARGE the trailer batteries to ANY significant extent...

you can confirm this in MANY threads or by MEASURING the amps provided at the 7 pin plug.

the alternator via the 7 pin and oem wiring is really a trickle charge

and takes days of driving to RESTORE a deep cycle battery that's at 50%.

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:14 PM   #23
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One more bubble burst

Solar works best with long sunny days. TN winters feature many gray skies and short hours of sunlight. Unless you are in the south west, solar is an adjunct for winter charging at best.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:15 PM   #24
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hmmmm....

2air' - thanks for the advice re: the trickle charge - I was actually going to try that out with my multimeter as I had similar suspicion but now I don't have to.

I will begin my craigslist adventure to SELL the $500 Home Dept gen I just bought (hopefully I'll only take a $100 loss on it) and find me a Honda at a reasonable price (I've seen the multiple links).

Since you are reading - minimum WATT rating required on a genset to run my 86 SOV - both with and without the Air Conditioner?
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
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...minimum WATT rating required on a genset to run my 86 SOV - both with and without the Air Conditioner?
1 2000w will handle ALL the systems except the AC.

and "how much" for the AC really depends on the AC in question and how long u would like it to last...

simple answer is 2x2000 on the gensets....

so get 1 2000 now and when/if u really wanna run the AC, add a second one at that time (plenty of time for shopping used too).

there are smaller ACs and more efficient ACs...

and there are folks reporting that 2400 watts (a yamaha) will run SOME ac units ok...

again check the specs for YOUR model of air conditioner and how many amps are needed at start up and for continuous operation.
________

UNDER powering the start up or marginal power is a sure way to KILL the ac in short order.
________

some are using 2800 watt gensets or 3000 or 3400.

the larger gensets are harder to move/lift/carry but DO work fine.

the utility of 2 smaller gensets in parallel is that they are easier to move and ONLY one can be used most of the time.
________

scan the genset thread subforum, there are GREAT long exchanges by smart folks on what works and why.

and reading here is free!

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:42 PM   #26
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thanks - been doing some great reading on the generator forum. some really neat stuff out there.

i just LOVE research!!
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:07 PM   #27
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Heat is btu's, can get them from any source BUT if it was simple and cheap all would be doing it. I can say solar, wind or batteries won't. Shore electric, genset electric, propane will for as long as the tank and batteries last. You can solve part of it by doing an efficiency study of your space, IR thermometers are getting cheaper, shoot the walls, outlets, windows from inside and out and see where the heat is going. If you can elliminate loss you will be be able to use the least of any power you decide to use. Right now I have a fire going in the fireplace, not camping. Very few do the simplest pot belly stove, they do make them for boats so it wouldn't be too hard to use in an AS, but they come with many precautions. Stay warm.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:03 PM   #28
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Well....

Our boondocking likely won't last more than a long weekend and we will likely stick to the SE USA for the time being.

Hence a GenSet seems to be the most reasonable option!

I appreciate all the feedback. As we get more adventurous and branch out we may have to use some other options....

Best!

BigJohn
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