Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-03-2015, 07:28 PM   #71
Rivet Master
kscherzi's Avatar
2013 27' FB International
El Dorado Hills , California
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,148
Images: 24
Before going further I have to qualify myself as amateur hobbyist, not a battery professional. Some of this I just pulled off the internet.

A typical fully charged "12 volt" lead acid battery will actually supply 12.6 to 12.8 volts. In your case your batteries are supplying 13.3 when fully charged. Maybe this is the case with AGM's.

All batteries have some amount of internal resistance. So to get the battery up to its fully charge state a voltage equal to is full state (12.6 to 12.8 volts) plus an amount to overcome the internal resistance has to be applied to the battery. This is why, when plugged into shore power, you see a higher voltage like 13.6 or higher.

It's normal for battery voltage to drop when other things are also drawing power. Think of a battery like a water pump. When a water pump is running and no valves are open the pressure will be high. If the yard sprinklers are turned on the house water pressure will be somewhat lower until they turn off. Most 12 volt appliances are designed to operate within a range of voltage, typically from around 11 to 14 volts.

I hope this helps.

kscherzi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2015, 09:46 AM   #72
Rivet Master
Ray Eklund's Avatar

2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Currently Looking...
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,450
Thank you all for making this easier to understand.

The 2014 trailer has the original equipment and converter.

I am going to keep a notebook of voltages while camped off the grid and what 12 volt users were in use. When at a campground without electrical hookups, it will be interesting for my curiosity, what others are finding. Many trailers do not have volt readings inside the trailer, so have to "guess". Ours is located with the Fresh, Grey and Black water digital readings.... which at times can be rather variable in reliable percentages.

Our original batteries in the 2006 Safari, with a small Airstream installed at the factory solar panel, were purring along 8 years and going strong. It does get one to rethink having a passive solar panel working without getting much credit for the benefits being supplied keeping the batteries charged.

After a week or more Off the Grid, there would be a slow decline in voltage as indicated by the meter in the 2006 Safari. This solar panel might have been 80 watts. I never did find a brochure about it with my trailer manuals. But it worked. I cannot imagine a 160 watt solar panel recharging during the day, with LED lights and the refrigerator fan running on the 2014.

I hope others have benefited through my ignorance of batteries and solar panels.

Human Bean
Ray Eklund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2015, 10:22 AM   #73
3 Rivet Member
Rhino33's Avatar
1980 31' International
Cincinnati , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 189
We have been considering both the Honda generator and a portable solar kit, as neither of us have the desire to try to install a permanently mounted system on our 1980. Thank you to everyone who has contributed on this thread, as it gives us a lot of food for thought on both.

We enjoy boon docking and use our A/C or furnace rarely. No microwave or coffee makers, though periodically the TV is nice.

However - our International has only one battery (which we replaced with a marine deep cell last year). Would it be an option to add a second battery and somehow link it to our first? There is space for a second next to the first under the front seating, but we would rather not have to cut into the skin to install a battery door/compartment to do so.

Jenn & Robb & our two furry kids
Maizie ('the Black Dog') & Dex ('the Brown Dog')
1980 International 31
WBCCI #4447
AIR #70157
Rhino33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2015, 10:51 AM   #74
Rivet Master
urnmor's Avatar
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Berlin , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,273
I just spent 5 days at Assateque National Park and did not use our generators. We strickly used solar and propane I used the propane for the stove, refrigerator and the hot water heater everything else like the lights, and fans used the batteries. I used the inverters to charge our phone, Iwatch, Ipad and Bose portable speakers. I also sed the inverter plug for my sleep apnea machine. In the morning when I checked we had anywhere fro 60 to 80% left on the reading. Because the sun was shining the reading went back to hundred by 9/10 AM

Now I was also more conscious of the fact that I was not using the generator so I was more conservetive then other times. For instance because of the wind I did not use the fantastic fans 24 7 as they were not needed.
urnmor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2016, 07:43 PM   #75
Rivet Master
Ray Eklund's Avatar

2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Currently Looking...
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2,450
SOLAR beats a generator for Boondockers!

Solar or Generator?

After Boondocking for two years and testing the Honda to charge my AGM batteries and depending on the tow vehicle to charge my AGM batteries... I have come to a final conclusion which of these two options best serve my best interests:


I plan to have one or two 100 watt panels installed on my 25 footer as soon as we get to Tucson, Arizona in February 2017 for the Tucson Rock Show. The new Airstream dealer had a better price than our local dealer and I liked how they operated.

The Honda is not passive. It requires fuel, hauling it around, setting it up, have it purr on the tailgate of the pickup... and just is not... convenient.

After watching the five Solar Panels on Forum Member VeeVee's 27 footer and her liberal use of ceiling fans and lights... I would have to be insane not to see that SOLAR is much more convenient and works for you 24 hours a day.

Yeah... 24 hours... in Alaska. Maybe 20 hours, but those glimmers of light for four hours might count.

I can understand why Lewster is so busy.

Solar prices are a better value today and the Honda has been holding its own as far as retail price. With that thought... I feel better and this decision cost me $849.99 plus sales tax. That is a lot of double cheeseburgers, fries and a Cokes with no ice! (NO ice... Ice is profit in the fountain business.)
Human Bean
Ray Eklund is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2016, 08:48 PM   #76
Rivet Master
FCStreamer's Avatar
2014 30' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,301
Blog Entries: 1
I for one won't camp without a 50amp connection. I need those two ACs on high. Anything less wouldn't be civilized...for me.
2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 30 Recliner - WBCCI #4850 - AIR #110821
2013 Cadillac Escalade Tow Vehicle, Equal-i-zer Hitch
Visit Our Flying Cloud blog for my latest adventure!
FCStreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2016, 08:51 AM   #77
Rivet Master
switz's Avatar

2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,998
Images: 8
We were able, after removing the crank up Winegard television antenna and installing their round Rayzar auto tune television antenna, to install five AM Solar 100 watt panels on the roof of our 2015 23D International Serenity that charge a 300 amp hour lithium battery located under the sofa just in front of the wheel well. We take a GenConneX propane conversion 2000 watt Honda generator along and with the Magnum hybrid MSH-3012 inverter can run the air conditioner off grid. Otherwise, the solar system has no issues powering the Vitrifrigo 12Vdc Danfoss freon based compressor to keep the food cold plus any other stuff inside the coach

Our 2014 31' Classic currently has eight AM Solar 100 watt panels on the roof and with the MagnumMS-2812 inverter and 600 amp hour lithium battery can actually run either of the two air conditioners during a rest stop. Since we have the space in the back of the truck, we carry the matched pair of Honda 2000 watt generators (both have the propane conversion) and a 30 pound propane tank. That covers the bases for us.

We are about to convert to a Vitrifrigo refrigerator in the Classic as well along with a Dometic CU-434 stove upgrade next month (October 2016) and replace the Fantastic Fan that has their bulbous cover with a Maxxfan 7000K unit like we installed on the 23D.
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 06:22 PM   #78
Full Time Adventurer
BoldAdventure's Avatar
2007 27' International CCD FB
Nomadic , USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,747
I've been living off of solar power for a year and a couple of months. You'll never convince me to go back. Period. Ever.
Family of 5 exploring the USA with a Ram Power Wagon & Airstream in tow.
BoldAdventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2016, 06:37 AM   #79
Rivet Master
IanPoulin's Avatar
2011 28' International
Aldie , Virginia
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 541
Images: 4
... tangent, but semi-relevant ...

During college spring break 1991, we convinced a "sheltered" friend of our to come camping in the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon. a full days hike down Tanner, to the campsites at the Colorado river, setup camp, went swimming came back for to prepare dinner. Then our friend pulled a hair dryer out of his pack and asked where he could plug in.

The trip sorta went downhill from there.

Anytime my airstream is plugged into the mains, it aint camping .

Thanks for all the advice in the thread on portable panels. I've been mulling all my options of recent, including a professional roof install. I believe I may now have another viable option.
2011 Airstream International Serenity 28'
2016 Ford F250 Crew 4x4 KR Diesel
IanPoulin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2016, 12:54 PM   #80
Rivet Master
Gearheart's Avatar

1973 Argosy 24
Kitchener , Ontario
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 885
Images: 1
My take on the matter is this. In Canada we get no rebate or tax relief for going solar. The 2 @ 40 watts solar panels that I tried to run on the Wyoming trip were not up to the task but cost me $150 each plus taxes total outlay of $339. My 3500 watt genny cost me $250 used no tax. It burned 2 gallons of gas in the 10 days we were camping. 500 watts of solar plus 2 AGM batteries would run me about $2500 plus 13% sales tax. I can buy a lot of gasoline for that coin.
Gearheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2016, 04:48 PM   #81
Rivet Master
gandttimes's Avatar
2014 25' FB International
2007 20' Safari SE
2005 19' Safari
Qualicum Beach , British Columbia
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 853
Gearhart. Minor relief in that there was no pst or gst on the panels I ordered from the US.
Also, the only problem with a generator, is the fact that it takes forever to fully charge ( good battery monitored) your batteries, if at all.
gandttimes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2016, 10:18 PM   #82
DKB_SATX's Avatar

2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,505
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
Originally Posted by Gearheart View Post
My take on the matter is this. In Canada we get no rebate or tax relief for going solar. The 2 @ 40 watts solar panels that I tried to run on the Wyoming trip were not up to the task but cost me $150 each plus taxes total outlay of $339. My 3500 watt genny cost me $250 used no tax. It burned 2 gallons of gas in the 10 days we were camping. 500 watts of solar plus 2 AGM batteries would run me about $2500 plus 13% sales tax. I can buy a lot of gasoline for that coin.
I respectfully submit that if you have a 3500 watt gen-set you paid $250 for (even used) I don't likely want to camp within 100 meters of your generator. I like the fact that with my 3kw Yamaha sitting in the bed of my pickup, if I'm 30 feet away from the truck and there's a 2kw Honda 50 feet away on the ground, all I can hear is the Honda, which is itself relatively quiet.

Zero Gravitas 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2016, 09:03 AM   #83
Rivet Master
2011 23' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 507
Solar or generator?

Neither 'saves' the environment, but one does use less fossil fuel if that matters to you. That's not my prime motivator, although I do find satisfaction in averaging 17.6 mpg (overall mpg for >24000 miles of towing our FC23FB in all conditions) with my clean emissions Jeep GC Eco Diesel. Comparisons of generator fuel usage with towing fuel usage are pointless. If noise and smell do not matter to you, then you have many more camping options than do I - truck stops, highway rest areas etc. Camping for me is a quiet forest/seashore/desert setting. We use RV parks for hard driving, gotta make miles today kind of trips.

I have both generator and solar, and since installation of solar the generator has remained in our garage at home. This engineer does admire the Yamaha 2400is as a fine machine. However - noise, fumes, hazards of carrying gasoline, and inconvenience drive my choice not to carry the generator. Solar takes care of our energy needs quietly and safely. Now, IF the Airstream had a well-designed permanent generator installation, I would possibly use one. It doesn't.

My sailing yacht is a different matter. Although I have ample space for a huge solar installation, I have not made that investment. Our permanently installed 5.5KW NextGen generator safely draws diesel from the main tanks, and with a sound enclosure and wet muffler the sound is truly minimal. Run it for an hour in the am and have breakfast or go fishing while charging the AGM batteries at 100 amps (3KW Magnum three stage charger/inverter). Run it in the pm for a break from the SW FL heat and mosquitos with air conditioning while again recharging the batteries. Comfort and convenience are the drivers. I use about 25 gal of diesel per month while cruising - varies with wind, sailing vs engine usage, etc.

None of us will save or destroy the environment individually, but cumulative choices do matter. I'll leave the carbon footprint discussions for a larger scale, and just enjoy my camping and sailing as responsibly as practical.

Safe Travels,
Safe Travels,
Joe & Joan Donnaway
Durango, CO
JamuJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2016, 12:54 PM   #84
2 Rivet Member
cstevecook's Avatar
2017 23' Flying Cloud
Gaithersburg , Maryland
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 42
I admire your pragmatism Joe. What are the particulars of your solar system? Brand, etc?

Sent from my iPhone using Airstream Forums

cstevecook is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need ideas for maintenance prep for a marine environment 2Tex4Fun General Repair Forum 4 12-01-2012 10:41 AM
A stitch in time saves mine! Excella CM Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 0 05-31-2008 04:08 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.