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Old 09-22-2014, 04:00 PM   #57
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We don't use the a/c, microwave or a hair dryer when boon docking so our factory solar does a great job. If we ever need more power we will add solar. We have traveled with our Honda 2000i and gas can but like to keep travel light and simple so we don't take it along anymore.
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Old 09-22-2014, 04:17 PM   #58
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Gringo, not sure if the 1000 and 2000 can link together, suspect the answer is no.

My thoughts: while the 1000 would likely do fine for charging batteries, it is a little light for other possible applications (such as a 1500 watt heater, toaster).
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Old 09-22-2014, 05:03 PM   #59
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We have two Honda 2000 generators with the two-generator connector setup. In our trailer, we have a convection oven, flat-screen TV, air-conditioner and hair-dryer to run, often at the same time. No problem with the generators. Would I consider Solar?....................maybe if the majority of our camping were off grid, but (unfortunately) it's not.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:40 PM   #60
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Under the right conditions, solar would be nice to have. But, we don't have it on our '01 Safari and we dry camp 90% of the time mostly along the Northern CA coast where it's often foggy. I carried a Honda 1000 generator for years to keep the single battery charged up. But, I traded up to two Honda 2000 generators a couple of years ago. Total cost of the generators was about $2k (less if you deduct the sale of my old perfectly good Honda 1000). I considered the total cost of the two generators and weighed it against the cost of solar installation which can be pricey. Then, I also considered that with the two Honda 2000's, I could also run my AC which we have actually needed numerous times when dry camping. I couldn't do that with solar panels. I also can't disconnect solar panels from my AS and use them as an emergency power system at home, or to power tools and other stuff as needed. Most of the time, I only need to use a single generator for an hour in the morning and maybe an hour in the late afternoon to provide all the battery power we need. I plug the trailer directly into the generator so that the battery is charged with the onboard converter which I upgraded from the original. Another advantage to a generator...when you have noisy, inconsiderate, late-night partying campers in the site next door and they keep you up all night, even a really quiet generator like a Honda 2000 provides a nice way to return the favor when they're trying to sleep it off the next morning at 11:00 AM. You can't get that with solar panels.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:19 PM   #61
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My two group 24 batteries in my 2013 27FB will last about 4 or 5 days of normal use in a really shady campsite. My 400 watt solar will recharge them fully in a summer afternoon in full sun. Have never yet run out of battery power. Will charge in fog too, just more slowly. My cost from AM Solar self install after the federal tax credit was about the same as a small honda gas generator. No microwave but the inverter powers the TV's for movies. I plan to get two golf cart 6 volts when these batteries die for more storage capacity.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:58 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
I plan to get two golf cart 6 volts when these batteries die for more storage capacity.
Is there a real 'storage capacity' advantage to using 6 volt batteries? I know that they are often rated at a little over 200 amp hours, but when wired in a series to produce 12 volts, the storage capacities of the two batteries are not additive.

That and the higher height of the 6 volt batteries makes me wonder if switching to 6 volt is really worthwhile.
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:07 PM   #63
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Quote:
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Is there a real 'storage capacity' advantage to using 6 volt batteries? I know that they are often rated at a little over 200 amp hours, but when wired in a series to produce 12 volts, the storage capacities of the two batteries are not additive.

That and the higher height of the 6 volt batteries makes me wonder if switching to 6 volt is really worthwhile.
One of the major advantages of a 'golf cart battery' is their durability. Remember, they are not called 'golf cart' for no reason. They were developed for use in electric golf cart applications and provide a more robust, vibration resistant platform that other types of batteries.

Think of a 6VDC battery as half a battery in the same case size as a 12VDC battery. This allows said 'golf cart' battery to be built with fewer, larger, thicker plates and heavier internal connectors that are better suited for true deep cycle use in harsh conditions. This feature alone points to their use for folks that use their trailers often. I have yet to see a 'shorted' cell in a Lifeline golf cart battery after installing them for almost 10 years.

And for informational purposes, Lifeline has a range of 6VDC batteries available in 220 A/H, 300 A/H and 400 A/H sizes. Just depends on what your needs are and how much space you have available.
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:20 PM   #64
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Thanks Lewster!
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Old 09-23-2014, 12:02 AM   #65
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Two factory AGM with solar option + Honda (the quietest one) EU3000i: we are ready for most anything!
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Old 09-28-2014, 10:34 AM   #66
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Solar-Generator-Propane: ALL have their limitations!

The October 2014 Consumer Reports had an article on Home Generators and the amount of fuel needed to keep the average household..."normal". It forced me to think about Boondocking in the Airstream.

When we tent camped, we depended on carrying ICE to keep what refrigerated foods, cool. Dry Ice was out, but also an option for meat. A trailer carried what we lacked and needed the most... a REFRIGERATOR! That was the luxury we did not have while trailer camping. The freezer provided an expanded menu, not possible on three week rock prospecting adventures into the unknown and off the grid.

Of course, with the refrigerator came expanded water capability and the other amenities that a home on wheels provides. But, that all could be done tent camping.

I began to consider, again, the limitations of each power source. AND there are limitations. Even for those of us who are comfortable living with minimal home grid living conditions while on the back roads and minimalist living conditions of places we frequent.

Solar is dependable through sunny and overcast days. The batteries can be used and when the sun reappears after a storm, they are recharged. Pretty much 12 volt system to operate lights, water pump, furnace fan and the fan to cool the refrigerator cooling fan if you have one. So 12 volt, off the grid.

Generator. If you do not have Solar, the generator provides the electrical power and in the process charges the battery. There is a limit to the amount of fuel. When it is used up, the generator becomes obsolete. That is the limit to a generator.

Propane. This is the workhorse for the self contained trailer. Airstream or Popup Camper, propane provides heat when it is cold and the fuel to run the refrigerator. When the propane runs out, and it will eventually no matter how frugal you use it, those systems become obsolete. The refrigerator now is good for storage. You no longer have heat for cold weather. You cannot use the hot water tank.

Solar. It keeps charging the 12 volt batteries and provides consistent replacement of energy used during the evenings. Slowly the batteries discharge and in the evenings the meter will indicate the slow degradation of the batteries. During the day... 100%, during the evening... declining over time. (At least this was our experience with the small panel Airstream used on the 2006 Safari.) Solar is no longer needed for the furnace, when the propane is exhausted. Any 110volt television or other equipment is obsolete. The refrigerator fan is not needed, as there are no hot coils to cool. Solar is good for lighting, water pump and radio. Eventually this is all you Solar will provide once your gasoline and propane have been exhausted.

This is the Airstream Doomsday Scenario. Only Solar Power remains and eventually provide only power for lighting and the radio. Other items are less necessary: charging cell phone and batteries, but still an option.

In such a situation some have considered their trailer the viable option when power and fuel is disrupted. You are best served staying home. The trailer, no matter how efficient it might seem under normal conditions, has a limited amount of "off the grid" time. The generator would be the first to become obsolete. Then anything depending on propane, which the refrigerator is important, until the perishable foods are gone, then for heat and then... obsolete.

This is to force you to THINK. Consider your situation. We could not survive more than one winter with the power resources we carry on one back country trip. We had better have a rifle to hunt. A fishing rod to fish. Matches. An axe. We live sheltered lives, unless you have lived in a back woods cabin and already understand the limits that modern living provides as a given.

When you are at a full service RV Park, "camping out"... you do not know camping out. Tent campers already know their limitations. If you recall the Oil Embargo of the 1970's... people had their first taste of shortages. Always topping off the gasoline tank in their vehicle. It makes me think how the majority of people have forgotten how many millions of people exist, from day to day. We are privileged and have lost important aspects of survival.

Take my experiences for thought. The trailer is a thin skinned kin to a tent. It gets cold inside during the winter... freezing cold without propane. It gets freezing cold when you are trying to conserve propane under normal conditions. Don't believe me? Eighteen degrees F in July, camped north of DuBois, Wyoming was an "eye opener". Live smart. Travel safely. Be wise.
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Old 09-28-2014, 10:43 AM   #67
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Ray, great insight! Jim
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Old 09-28-2014, 10:57 AM   #68
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Seasonal trailer orientation to the sunrise

O.K., this will complete my carrying on this dialogue between me and myself. This IS important, if you do or do not think so right now. Orientation of the trailer according to the season of the year.

We carry a compass. I have a Brunton Geological compass, but even a simple operation compass is adequate.

Cold Months: Use the compass to determine sunrise. When you find a camping spot, orientate the trailer with the front door and most windows INTO the sunrise. The aluminum skin absorbs radiant heat and the windows allow sunlight to come in and warm the interior. Just common sense, but I see it not practiced so often, that many depend on easy fuel access to heat.

Hot Months: Orientate the narrowest part of the trailer with the least amount of radiant heat exposure INTO the sunrise.

Both options give you maximum Solar Exposure, for Solar Panels, as well. Hot months you can determine the shade from trees, which is beneficial. With Solar, this creates a compromise, but you figure it out.

Awning(s): Great for Hot weather screening of the exposed afternoon sun.

Again, THINK. Most Airstream owners care less about any of this. Fine. Some day, you might just learn the hard way. This is how WE can remain off the grid. We call it Common Sense, but it is not common. Much of this has never been needed for most. And, that is fine. Carrying a rifle, 22 caliber, could be a life saver for some of us camped beyond immediate contact of civilization. Carry a compass or GPS when hiking in dense forests or rugged terrain. Carry a dry container for some strike matches. It takes very little to enjoy your trailer with Solar, Generator and Propane on board. Always be prepared for what you expect the least.

I am finished. Threads die and others open up new ideas. If several off the grid trailer campers find some of this useful, my time has not been wasted. Our trailer was not purchased to party and socialize. It was to extend our comfortable lives into the back country. If tea parties and lighting up your trailer like a city bar is your idea of camping... great. You just will not see us. We want to get away from the comforts of the city. We prefer to be different. We find camping a reminder than Human beings are becoming too dependent upon the gentility of living. When things go wrong... these people are the first to panic and want YOU to take care of them. Give it some THOUGHT. Do some inconvenient camping. Feel comfortable doing so. You will become a better rounded person and understand what I am trying to explain, as limited as I am to do so. Life untested is a life wasted. Every morning when the sun rises above the horizon, we understand how wonderful our lives have been. Camping ... without these trapping of civilization... are a stark reminder of how humans spent 90% of their existence, without them.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:13 PM   #69
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It sounds like you're talking yourself into solar.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:57 PM   #70
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Naaaah! Solar speaks for itself!!!!!


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