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Old 02-28-2012, 03:31 PM   #1
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Help me design the ultimate boondocking setup for my MoHo!

Hey everyone!

First off, I gotta say I've been using forums of various kinds for research, for a long time now. None have been so helpful as the airforums! Thanks so much.

First off, here's a primer on my project
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...ded-87888.html

I need assistance designing the most robust boondocking system for the MoHo. We'll fit as many solar panels as we can on the roof storage system I'm designing. We also have a good amount of space allotted for batteries. From my preliminary research, it sounds like the lifeline 6v are the best way to go for batteries. I think I need the most help in choosing a good inverter and any other important control electronics. I'm also considering a wind turbine.

Any and all help is much appreciated!
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:33 PM   #2
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We have a mostly stock 2004 Safari with a small capacity solar power system.
We boondock a lot and stay off the grid for as long as we can particularly during hinting season.
Our biggest limitation is fresh water. Our has a 40 gallon tank and we spend a lot of time filling and hauling water jugs.
The other big limitation is lack of insulation. The r factor in our trailer is nill and the inside quickly gets down to the ambient air temperature. We have enough battery to run the furnace all night but hearing it cycle on and off is irritating.
One of our favorite campsites is near a creek. With a 120 volt pump, we pump water from the creek into the tank. If we are not near water, we haul jugs.
We have not found a good answer to the chilly trailer problem, other than to sleep in sleeping bags and get dressed quickly in the morning.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
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"roof storage system"
Slope it right toward south use latitude to determine optimum, and build in water collecton system.

your land? Dry wells could work for grey water or use for irrigation.

New toilets can store toilet waste and compost it, for latter spreading.

If you are on a budget, rather than one very expensive inverter to do it all you might look into smaller units to do specific jobs.

Find as many 12 v appliances as possible, reducing need of inverting.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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Great info! Thanks! I'll let you know what system I'm thinking about for electricity once I have done a bit more research.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:27 PM   #5
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Any idea what kind of insulation they use in the new construction of TT? Thats one subject I've put a good deal of time into.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:03 PM   #6
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Depending on how long you'll be parked in one spot will determine a lot... If you're moving frequently and have access to fresh clean water, I prefer 7 gallon aquatainers for spare water. If you are parked for long periods of time near a water source, you might consider a biosand water filter, created by Cascade Engineering in Michigan.

Solar is great, but a small generator to backup the solar (ex. - Honda 2000) is very convenient.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:12 PM   #7
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Read any posts by Lewster on solar, batteries or inverters. I think that he recommends Magnum inverters. You can go with whatever Lew says to do. You won't be sorry.

Dan
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:39 AM   #8
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If you are parked for long periods of time near a water source, you might consider a biosand water filter, created by Cascade Engineering in Michigan.
Depends on what contaminants you find in the water. There is no such thing as one all-purpose filter that will handle all sixty-some contaminants listed in the EPA Safe Drinking Water Act guidelines. Biosand filters are primarily used in third-world countries as a plug-and-play filtration system that's better than nothing, but not up to first-world standards. A biosand filter is actually a sand bed filter on top of a biological filter not much different from a septic tank in the way it works, the combination reducing bacteria, turbidity, and limited heavy metals, but not pesticides (which may actually kill off the biofilter elements) or other organic chemicals. Its effects are similar to those of a granular activated carbon filter that you can buy cheap at Walmart, but without needing replacement canisters.

Every treatment and filtration method will handle some things well, and other things poorly or not at all. You won't know exactly what water treatment you need until you have the water source tested to see what harmful chemicals and microorganisms are present.

Taking water from a creek is risky; you would have to retest the water every time it rained, lest different contaminants or concentrations of contaminants be present in the water due to runoff from sites upstream, possibly requiring different treatment. You're definitely better off using a source of ground water such as a properly-designed well. It still may require water treatment, but the treatment required will be consistent from one day to the next. If a well is not within your capabiliies, then at the very least, take your water from a gravel-filled sump dug below the year-round water table NEAR the creek, so you get the benefit of natural sand bed filtration through the soil between the creek and the sump before you draw the water.

EPA guidelines, available at Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) | Safe Drinking Water Act | US EPA cover allowable levels of disinfectants, pesticides and other organic chemicals; minerals and other inorganic chemicals; and mircoorganisms. EPA primary standards address heath risks; treating the water for any contaminants on the EPA primary list that you find in your water source is definitely a good idea. EPA secondary drinking water standards mainly address aethetics such as appearance, odor, and taste, but don't necessarily make the water any safer.

While the EPA Safe Drinking Water Act specifically applies to public water sources, meaning those that serve 25 people or more, the health risks associated with contaminated water apply equally well even if only one person is drinking the water. Being exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act just means you won't get written up for not treating the water if you choose to take the risk.

I researched the issue of safe drinking water supplies when we had to replace water wells at some of our field installations that got flooded by hurricane storm surges that contaminated the old wells. We ended up having to design treatment systems for three new wells; for two other sites, after seeing that extensive treatment would be required to make the water safe for human consumption, we bit the bullet and had municipal water lines run out to the site to replace the wells.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:53 PM   #9
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Protagonist,

Thanks for the detail... I had actually included all of that information (almost word for word) in my post but forgot to hit "submit"!

Seriously, I learned a ton from your post. Unfortunately, so did my wife and we'll not be boon docking again any time soon.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:56 PM   #10
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If we do not have water at the camp site, which is normal, then we carry our old 40 gal water tank in the back of the truck. When we need water we just drive the truck to the source, fill the tank and then go back to the trailer and use gravity to transfer the water from the tank in the bed to the Airstream tank- no lifting of water jugs at all. This works well for us. Hopefully this will convice your wife to go boondocking again.

Dan
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:34 AM   #11
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Seriously, I learned a ton from your post. Unfortunately, so did my wife and we'll not be boon docking again any time soon.
Don't let it keep you from boondocking; just exercise greater care in your choice of fresh water sources, or bring all of your drinking water with you. As long as you don't use it for consumption (drinking, cooking, or washing dishes) you should still be able to use creek water with no problems for things like bathing and flushing the toilet, with only minimal treatment— granular activated carbon filter canister on your inlet hose, chlorine added to your fresh water tank periodically— without having to test the water every time.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:09 AM   #12
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Those solar showers are kind of nifty, the bags you fill and hang? When empty, they take up very little space.

You could use creek or any other non-potable water for a shower/shampoo, although be careful about getting water in your mouth or nose lest you pick up a nasty little parasite.

We bought one of these, haven't yet tried it out 'cept for the dog, but intend to for shampoos---the biggest water-consumer for me.


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Old 03-01-2012, 07:39 AM   #13
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We have a separate filtration system for drinking water. Creek water is used for household uses.
Collecting rain water is a good idea for a semi permanent site.
I love my Airstream for the styling and ease of towing but I wouldn't have it if I were spending a lot of time in it in very cold or very hot conditions. Several rv's have 4 season insulation packages.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:18 AM   #14
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Smile

We live on rainwater in our home and the last few years have been a challenge. My grandmother would wash clothes, then use the water to mop the floors and then use the water to irrigate her garden. The same thing can be done at the trailer...wash your dishes , then mop the trailer floor and then use it to flush the toilets...shower water can be "reused " too. It really is not as hard as it sounds once you get use to it.
Patti
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