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Old 07-22-2013, 10:02 AM   #1
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Coming up on Shakedown 2.0 ...and still shaky

Hi all,

True Newbie 1.0 here as my wife and I are transitioning to a houseless, full-time, nomadic telecommuting life. Purchased a 2010 CCD 27FB last Feb. but just got out to Portland to pick it up on July 1. 10 day shakedown was—educational—and all seeming disasters recoverable. TT now stored in Reno until I pick up again in September (going to my son's west coast wedding in style) and then bring our new abode back to Chicago to wrap up house sale and work transition issues. And on the last point is the immediate (and not so immediate) rubs.
As I need charging/power for work computer/monitor and assorted gadgets, and anticipate plenty of days not on shore power, I'm taking a hard immediate look at my batteries, and the longer term pros and cons of a strategy for generator power and inverter charging backup.
PO only used the AS for one long trip and then traded in for a larger Classic and it appears the batteries have not liked the extended inactivity. Dealer assured us the batteries were hold a charge well, but we managed (with little effort I thought) to drain the batteries down to 10% (on the levels readout) and was sweating getting the TT back on the hitch until it dawned on me that the truck would provide the needed jolts.
So when I pick up again in early September, I need to assess whether the batteries are serviceable (for how long) or need to be replaced (must be about 4 years old) and if so was hoping someone could advise brand/style I might look for. AGM, wet, starting/hybrid info all has my head a little dizzy. Don't want to spend $2 on a 50 cent fix, but as my ability to work is connected to my ability to keep the gadgets happy, I don't want to buy a 80% fix either.
Once we are moving around full-time, my hope was to maybe tackle the ideal configuration for a generator (leaning toward the EU2000 Honda) and what's the best style & size inverter—hardwired to the main system outlets (dealer installed for sure) or stand alone emergency hookup just alligatored to the house batteries.
I wish I had the trailer here, as I read the many posts here that are loaded with good advice, but I can't quite remember enough of the details on our set up to know if they apply. Sorry this is so long and rambling, but if anyone could share their fixes, the advice would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance & hope to do so down the road in person soon...
Al & Robin
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by almcate View Post
Hi all,

True Newbie 1.0 here as my wife and I are transitioning to a houseless, full-time, nomadic telecommuting life. Purchased a 2010 CCD 27FB last Feb. but just got out to Portland to pick it up on July 1. 10 day shakedown was—educational—and all seeming disasters recoverable. TT now stored in Reno until I pick up again in September (going to my son's west coast wedding in style) and then bring our new abode back to Chicago to wrap up house sale and work transition issues. And on the last point is the immediate (and not so immediate) rubs.
As I need charging/power for work computer/monitor and assorted gadgets, and anticipate plenty of days not on shore power, I'm taking a hard immediate look at my batteries, and the longer term pros and cons of a strategy for generator power and inverter charging backup.
PO only used the AS for one long trip and then traded in for a larger Classic and it appears the batteries have not liked the extended inactivity. Dealer assured us the batteries were hold a charge well, but we managed (with little effort I thought) to drain the batteries down to 10% (on the levels readout) and was sweating getting the TT back on the hitch until it dawned on me that the truck would provide the needed jolts.
So when I pick up again in early September, I need to assess whether the batteries are serviceable (for how long) or need to be replaced (must be about 4 years old) and if so was hoping someone could advise brand/style I might look for. AGM, wet, starting/hybrid info all has my head a little dizzy. Don't want to spend $2 on a 50 cent fix, but as my ability to work is connected to my ability to keep the gadgets happy, I don't want to buy a 80% fix either.
Once we are moving around full-time, my hope was to maybe tackle the ideal configuration for a generator (leaning toward the EU2000 Honda) and what's the best style & size inverter—hardwired to the main system outlets (dealer installed for sure) or stand alone emergency hookup just alligatored to the house batteries.
I wish I had the trailer here, as I read the many posts here that are loaded with good advice, but I can't quite remember enough of the details on our set up to know if they apply. Sorry this is so long and rambling, but if anyone could share their fixes, the advice would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance & hope to do so down the road in person soon...
Al & Robin
You should replace the batteries as standard lead-acid batteries do not kindly suffer being fully discharged or over charged. AGM replacements are the best but they are pricey.

As to generators, the EU2000 Honda in pairs are highly recommended by other forum members along with the Yamaha equivalent. My generator is "onboard" and is an Onan Microquiet 4000 which puts out 33 amps and consumes ~1/2 gallon of gasoline per hour running my air conditioner. Do a search on "withidl" and you'll find a number of articles and photos of my setup.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:59 AM   #3
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Since you're starting off more or less from scratch, consider other alternatives to an inverter where possible, since even high-quality inverters are not 100% efficient.

Modern electronic gadgets that run or charge from a USB connection can be charged directly from the batteries without running through an inverter, just using a "car charger" with USB outlets. If your work computer is a laptop, you can get a 12V charger for it that might be a more efficient use of your battery power. You mentioned "work computer and monitor" so that may not be an option, but putting it out there.

AGM batteries are a good choice on the battery specs, but are pretty expensive on a $/amp-hour/year basis. If you're going to be doing mostly generator and shore power, it may not be worth the investment, but if you're going solar that seems to be the tipping point for a lot of people. You don't need starting batteries, definitely. Some of the "Marine" batteries that are hybrid deep cycle/start do OK, but the more you can get it toward true deep-cycle, the better your results will be. Some serious boondockers like paired 6V golf-cart batteries for the physical durability and the long run-times, but that may require battery box modifications and if you lose one battery of the pair you have no 12v battery source.

Finally, are you sure you don't already have an inverter in the trailer? the CCDs tend to be pretty well optioned out... do you have any outlets near the TVs that are a different color?
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:38 AM   #4
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I'm sure that you are finding that the amount of money you can throw at the electrical solution you desire is endless. My ideal system would consist of a bunch of solar panels, a bank of big AGM batteries and a HUGE inverter. The reality is I don't need all that stuff. My advice would be to get in the Airstream, start using it, and then decide where you need to make improvements. You only need all this stuff if you intend to live off the grid for long periods of time. (I don't).

If you want to see my dream system check out this thread.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...ish-87557.html

But again I say, get out and enjoy, and upgrade at your leisure.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:46 AM   #5
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Good points all. Immediate concern is the batteries which I'm assuming may retain some service life, but at 4 years of age with minimal-if-any maintenance, they're on the block for early replacement. Hoping I can nurse them home (picking up from storage in Reno and coming back to home base finally in Chicago in September) but preparing myself to swap out during the trip. While the generator/inverter question is open (when & what rather than if), it sounds like a wet deep cycle pair of 12s that fit in my battery box may be the object of an en route CampingWorld/Walmart shopping trip (any better retail options to suggest? Would 6 volt batteries fit the existing 2010 CCD box? If so, are they easily available?)

Thanks all for the help.

—Al & Robin
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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Regard Generators, anybody use or heard any good-bad-ugly scuttlebutt on the Champion line? Their 3100w looks like a possibly good alternative at similar price to the Honda/Yamaha defaults.

Amazon.com: Champion Power Equipment No.75531i Inverter Generator, 3100-watt: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Again, appreciate your thoughts. The best cure for a bad case of newbieitis.

—Al & Robin
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almcate View Post
While the generator/inverter question is open (when & what rather than if), it sounds like a wet deep cycle pair of 12s that fit in my battery box may be the object of an en route CampingWorld/Walmart shopping trip (any better retail options to suggest? Would 6 volt batteries fit the existing 2010 CCD box? If so, are they easily available?)
Sears? They have a good selection of Marine/RV deep-cycle batteries. Probably at a better price than Camping World, too.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almcate View Post
Good points all. Immediate concern is the batteries which I'm assuming may retain some service life, but at 4 years of age with minimal-if-any maintenance, they're on the block for early replacement. Hoping I can nurse them home (picking up from storage in Reno and coming back to home base finally in Chicago in September) but preparing myself to swap out during the trip. While the generator/inverter question is open (when & what rather than if), it sounds like a wet deep cycle pair of 12s that fit in my battery box may be the object of an en route CampingWorld/Walmart shopping trip (any better retail options to suggest? Would 6 volt batteries fit the existing 2010 CCD box? If so, are they easily available?)

Thanks all for the help.

—Al & Robin
If you are a Costco member, their group 24 marine/deep cycle is made by Interstate and a decent price. I have had good luck with a group 24 from O'Reilly's, $85.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almcate View Post
Regard Generators, anybody use or heard any good-bad-ugly scuttlebutt on the Champion line? Their 3100w looks like a possibly good alternative at similar price to the Honda/Yamaha defaults.

Amazon.com: Champion Power Equipment No.75531i Inverter Generator, 3100-watt: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Again, appreciate your thoughts. The best cure for a bad case of newbieitis.

—Al & Robin
Interesting that it appears to have a 30A RV socket rather than the more conventional twist-lock, so you wouldn't need an adapter for it.

I have no experience with these... I was tempted by their pairable 2000w models that were very nicely priced at Costco, but while I was vacillating I had the chance to buy a used 3000w Yamaha from another member of my WBCCI unit and went with the known quantity.

The Machiavellian impulse is to urge you to buy one and report back to us on what you think of it.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:57 AM   #10
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Sears? They have a good selection of Marine/RV deep-cycle batteries. Probably at a better price than Camping World, too.
Sears? Who knew...remember the day when if Sears didn't sell it, you didn't need it.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
Interesting that it appears to have a 30A RV socket rather than the more conventional twist-lock, so you wouldn't need an adapter for it.

I have no experience with these... I was tempted by their pairable 2000w models that were very nicely priced at Costco, but while I was vacillating I had the chance to buy a used 3000w Yamaha from another member of my WBCCI unit and went with the known quantity.

The Machiavellian impulse is to urge you to buy one and report back to us on what you think of it.
That Machie was quite a guy—but figured that's what I was doing to all of you...

uhmmm, RV socket? Is that a good thing?
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:29 AM   #12
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Batteries

Let me say up front, I am not a fan of Walmart. There, I said it. I went looking for the best deep cycle battery I could find and it showed up at Walmart. I have read that a true deep cycle is a better choice than a Marine/Deep Cycle combo since they typically have more reserve power and that is what you need for a coach. We are not concerned about turning over the outboards on the back.

All things being equal I choose to buy from other sources. I don't mind paying a bit extra. In my area when it came to the battery issue, all things were not equal so I went ahead and did the deed. Next time I am considering going with two 6 volt deep cycles.
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