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Old 06-29-2013, 08:39 PM   #29
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Solar panels will be a consideration for later travels - but I'm doubting I will go that route any time soon. Love the idea though - will consider much later - money tree is too lacking.

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Old 06-29-2013, 09:22 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Of course you can run a can run an electric coffee pot and a microwave too! Yes, you have to watch your battery condition and depth of discharge, but it's done every day....... even with a 200 amp/hour battery bank.


You toaster draws about 800 watts (mine does). At 120VDC, this gives you a 7 amp draw (actually 6.6, but we'll use round numbers). A 7 amp AC draw is equivalent to a 70 amp DC draw. Add 15% for inverter inefficiencies (10 amps DC) and you have an 80 amp draw from your batteries.

This seems like a huge amount......BUT REMEMBER......... it only takes a couple of minutes to toast a piece of bread. A generous estimate is 1/20 of an hour....or 2.5 minutes. You divide 80 divided by 20 which is a real battery drain of 4 amp hours.

A 200 amp/hour battery bank has 50 % useable amperage, or 100 amp/hours. The toaster's draw is 4% of your useable battery capacity........easily replenished with a quality solar charging system in short order or left alone for a short generator run at sometime later in the day.

Class dismissed!
I've heard that deep cycle batteries don't like rapid discharge. Wouldn't a toaster demand a lot of current in a short timeframe? Spread across a large bank of batteries (say 6 to 10) might mitigate the draw.

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Old 06-29-2013, 09:32 PM   #31
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that optima takes repeated shots from my trolling motor...on and off...on and off...assuming no wind that day much, it can keep going nicely for a solid 5 hours (conservative) under frequent use...but more practically it goes 7-8 hours with usual moderate use....

I am not sure how that correlates with a toaster, a TV, etc?? Im electrically a dullard
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:33 PM   #32
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oh, and those numbers include running my sonar unit (a 9 inch screen) during the whole time period...
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:41 PM   #33
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Hey Pharm Geek

Lots of info here. Here is my experience on this. I purchased a used AS a year and a half ago. I added an inverter to it last December. Basically it added the ability to use electrical devices even when the trailer was not "plugged in" adding more than interior lights to the experience. In January I ended up boondocking in a parking lot and was fine using the inverter for the TV, the coffee maker and blue ray player. My truck charges the house battery while traveling. I DID go the generator route though for the need of AC. The inverter uses power like crazy. I also had to pay more for a SINEWave Inverter since my tv would not work on the first one I purchased which was modulated. At any rate, even the best inverters have a conversion efficiency in the low 90th percentile. So, you are losing a chunk of power during the drain which means - time out what you want to do and cut it off ASAP- That or carry a bunch of batteries around. The generator option allows for full charge in a few hours 2-4 and also provides an option for AC use. Solar cannot do the latter and still requires a battery array. The inverter provides a quick use without generator hookup of your little stuff. My invertor shows "how much time at current draw rate" by indicating the draw, then showing the remaining voltage. I figured that I could watch tv with disc player for about 6-7 hours or make coffee for about 45 min on my house battery spec. before running down to the min remaining voltage. It never drains the battery all the way down. BTW, the eletrical wiring to the inverter was to me, massively heavy wiring as required by the manufacturer. I had to use the large wiring between my batteries too and add a trip fuse. What is important is the battery AH rating and RC and I found that these are not always better than say AGM batteries, which charge more times but cost a lot more too.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:50 PM   #34
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Seems to me you are going to be pretty well outfitted to start. We went some time before we got generators, but when we started doing more dry camping it was an obvious need. Then we only bought one Honda 2000 to start ... 18 mo later we got the 2nd. We really like the solar, which was factory-installed. WE went nearly 6 years on our original AGM batteries (2) and when we finally replaced them we were pretty astounded at the difference it made to have healthy batteries that could actually hold a charge well. (What a concept!) And the solar became far more efficient, as well with good batteries. Don't worry about solar at first if you don't want to. Your rig will no doubt be prewired for solar and it's probably better to have that added later because you can get a better system post-purchase ... you have lots of real estate up on top of a 30' for panels (unlike a 19"'s pretty full with two vents, AC and a solar panel). You're gonna love your rig.
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Old 06-30-2013, 04:30 PM   #35
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It is pre wired and what I have gleaned from this site - I will wait till later and buy a different system...the price tag already is growing too much - gotta cut it off somewhere or no money to ACTUALLY camp
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Old 06-30-2013, 05:46 PM   #36
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Lewster, this is probably not the thread to argue this point but of course the numbers support a toaster, even up to 300 amps out of the batteries. That is not the point...the batteries do not like it and you will end up with shorter battery life with high amperage discharges. Deep cycle batteries are designed for many cycles but not so much for high bursts, less so than starting batteries. Do whatever you want but AGM's are expensive enough that I do whatever I can to prolong their life. That means low discharge rates, even with many cycles, and long slow charging. I have very little control over the charging rate, but I have a lot of control over the discharge rates and toasters are forbidden on my inverter.
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:26 AM   #37
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We have a 1500 watt inverter in ours (installed by the original owner). It's large enough to power the microwave for some reason. But we rarely use it.

You're really only going to use it if you go camping without shore power, and then only if you don't have 12 volt chargers - we have 12 volt chargers for our phones, iPads, etc. The times we've been camping/lifeboating (power out at home) without electricity, I never even turned on the inverter.

My suggestion: Wait until you see what kind of camping you do, then decide. If you find yourself constantly out in the backwoods wishing you had 120 volt power, then get an inverter. Otherwise, don't bother. If you're just powering small devices you can buy cheap ones that plug into 12 volt power outlets (I assume newer Airstreams still have those - ours has a lot less than ones from the 70s do, I know) to give you 120 volt power for that specific device. But you're much better off to get 12 volt car chargers to recharge phones and the like than you are to run an inverter for those.
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:48 AM   #38
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I do think the word "camp" is important.

For me, the Airstream was always one step short of hauling a house. I'm sure that for fulltimers the needs are very different, but when we're out camping, we don't really need much power.

For example, one of the first things we got rid off was the microwave. Don't need one, don't want one, in the trailer or at home.

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