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Old 06-16-2011, 06:13 PM   #1
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Question Total electric. Good idea or bad idea?

I have my 1978 31' excella 500 totally down to the frame and am trying to decide what to do next. I was wanting to try and go all electric with everything and do away with the gas completely. Would this be a crazy idea? i.e. huge solar system. If I do keep the gas what should I keep on gas and what makes more sense to make electric? I am planning on boondocking quite a bit year round and would like the only limiting factor to be fresh water. Some of my main areas of concern are water heater, heater, cook top, and a/c. I am insulating with closed cell foam so it should be pretty sealed up. Since the AS is totally gutted anything can be done and I want to do it right and do it nice.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

Hi, all electric would be great as long as you have a gas stove top, gas oven, gas water heater, gas furnace, and gas for your refrigerator when you don't have 120 volt power.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:04 PM   #3
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If you are planning on boondocking a lot gas is the way to go for most everything.
You can't carry enough batteries to run your fridge for three weeks but a 30 lb bottle of gas will. We have and like our solar system but would never consider all electric unless we were going to be 100% in full hook up campgrounds.
If you can't do it all with solar, and you can't if the weather is bad or you are in the woods ,then you have to back up with a generator which means carrying generator fuel etc and possibly annoying your neighbors.
WE carry 2 30lb bottles on the trailer, plus one in the truck and our staying power is limited by water availability and how much food we can stuff in the fridge.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:04 PM   #4
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I do not think it is a good idea based on the comments "year round" and "boondocking".

This makes the assumption of running an inverter for heat and that ain't going to happen without a HUGE battery pack. You have the option of a generator but that means carrying a lot of automotive gas.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, all electric would be great as long as you have a gas stove top, gas oven, gas water heater, gas furnace, and gas for your refrigerator when you don't have 120 volt power.
Thats about right.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, all electric would be great as long as you have a gas stove top, gas oven, gas water heater, gas furnace, and gas for your refrigerator when you don't have 120 volt power.
Could not have put it any better if I said it myself!! Gas and 2 batteries with solar panels connected does it most of the time.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:31 PM   #7
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Airstreams are not designed to have a full roof full of solar panels. You are adding about 5 lbs a square foot onto the roof and if you ever get a snow load on the flat panels it may hold a lot more snow than the natural roof. I haven't studied it closely but around 175-185 Watts requires about 12 sq ft from a panel I was looking at. Moving the TV antenna it would be fairly easy to put 4 on the roof of a 31' after that you would have to take out vents. There are mat cells that glue down from the ones I have seen they don't have as much output for the area.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:53 AM   #8
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Our 63 Sarfari had gas lighting, that should be very illuminating.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:44 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reality check. Not sure why I don't want to use gas. I just like the thought of being efficient enough where all I need is a little water and I'm good to go I guess. I think I am going to use a chest freezer with a thermostat on it as a refrigerator. So if I have the gas lines probably from 1978 would there be any reason to replace them? they are on the exterior of the under side so not sure what kind of deterioration happens over the years but they visually don't have any gapping holes in them. Thanks for the responses. This website is the best. Looking forward to getting my airstream back on the road.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:04 PM   #10
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You will need to find out the amp draw to make sure you will have enough battery + solar power for 24/7 operation and keep the batteries up.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wsmith View Post
Airstreams are not designed to have a full roof full of solar panels. You are adding about 5 lbs a square foot onto the roof and if you ever get a snow load on the flat panels it may hold a lot more snow than the natural roof. I haven't studied it closely but around 175-185 Watts requires about 12 sq ft from a panel I was looking at. Moving the TV antenna it would be fairly easy to put 4 on the roof of a 31' after that you would have to take out vents. There are mat cells that glue down from the ones I have seen they don't have as much output for the area.
You are a little behind the current offerings on RV solar panels. I just finished installing 8 (that's EIGHT) 100 watt GS-100 watt panels from AM Solar on an '04 28' CCD. The total weight of each panel (20" X 40") is under 15 lbs. Yes, the roof is pretty covered, but when you see almost 60 amps of charging current at the batteries (the old Parallax converter only put out 45 amps) you can surely do quite a lot with that much free juice!!! It's the same weight as adding another roof air conditioner, but spread out over the entire roof. NO PROBLEMS!
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:39 PM   #12
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Or just go for a diesel-powered trailer as did Smokeless Joe.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:56 PM   #13
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Lewster what did you use for a battery bank with your 800w system?
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:17 AM   #14
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4 Lifeline GPL-6CT 300 amp/hour batteries for a total of 600 amp/hours. Look for the Litiionics Lithium-ion batteries to be ready for 'prime time' in about 6 months to a year. One of their units that they rate ate 200 amp/hours will be the equivalent of this size battery bank.............but weigh 75 lbs!.

As I said, they are not ready for RV use yet (AM Solar is working closely with the company in their R & D) as their charging profiles and some of their hardware is being tweaked. I will definitely keep the Forum posted when these new batteries are ready!
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