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Old 10-12-2018, 05:36 PM   #1
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1961 26' Overlander
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Hooked up all winter at our vacation cabin

Hello,
So I've been reading a lot of posts on here about preparing for winter camping, but I haven't found all of the info I need for my exact situation.
We recently purchased a property with a small cabin and an RV pad with full hook ups that sits about 25 yards away from the cabin. We are at 7500ft in elevation in the mountains of northern New Mexico average temps will be around 0 at night and 40 during the day and could experience temps as low as -30F under an extreme situation with up to 5ft of snow on the ground. We need another living quarters for family during the winter as our cabin is a small studio so I am planning on leaving the trailer up there all winter. We will be up there on most weekends, but it will be vacant during most days during the week so its not like someone will be in it all the time to monitor the temps and appliances. I winterized the trailer and was planning on just using it for heated sleeping, but it would be nice to be able to use the water if properly equipped although with infrequent use I realize this probably isn't going to happen. We have a 1961 Overlander with the original copper plumbing and metal water tank with an air compressor. We have a newer heater that works great and along with two 30gal tanks, our propane tank for the cabin is about 50ft away. I was planning on putting an electric space heater in there as well.
My questions are:
Can I leave the waste hose hooked up and be able to use the toilet and just dump some bottled water down drain after each use?
Can I leave the power cord plugged in all the time?
Should I tap into the bigger propane tank assuming the smaller ones will get eaten up quickly?
Is there any safe way to run water in this old system for the winter?
What other things do I need to look at or purchase so make sure everything runs smoothly?
Other thoughts?

Thanks guys!
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:59 PM   #2
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
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2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Waste hose...no it should be closed, it won't dump w/o water in the tank. you'd have tan concrete by Spring.🤢

Power cord depends...on the charger and battery type.
Lead Acid...most likely not, a trickle charger with the batts disconnected probably ok

AGM's with a 4 stage charger very good chance you'd be ok.

Propane... yes with a residential tank.

Skirt the stream to help with the heat retention.

Bob
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:18 PM   #3
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

If you are in an area that goes down to -30F (and yes indeed you are) on occasion ..... water just isn't going to be an option. Unless you put the trailer in a heated barn, you can't protect it from freezing.

Battery wise, the cold is also a problem. The float / charge / operate / .... voltages on a battery are all temperature dependent. At very low temperatures you need a charger that is temperature compensated to those low temperatures. That rules out a lot of the stuff you can get easily.

You also loose battery capacity at low temperatures. More or less, your 80AH of available capacity may be down to < 20 AH. The colder it gets the more capacity you loose.

On top of all this, a battery that is not fully charged will freeze (and split open) before you get to -30F. Combine all those issues and you very much get into YIKES territory.

Bob
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Old 10-15-2018, 11:38 AM   #4
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1961 26' Overlander
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 35
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Yes of course the battery. That is my top priority right now. The issue is my battery doesn’t charge when I’m plugged into shore power. I have all the original wiring too and there is just a circuit breaker box where the power comes in. I don’t know how hard this would be to make happen. I was looking at getting a Progressive Dynamics 9200, but can I just tap into any 12v wire in the trailer with this unit to get the battery to charge?
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Old 10-16-2018, 08:30 AM   #5
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

If the battery is exposed to the outside temperatures, you will need a pretty fancy charger to work in the dead of winter. A better answer would be to simply store the batteries and run off of shore power.

If you do decide to run the batteries (as opposed to store them) all winter, you will need a charger with a temperature sensor on it. It needs to handle the range of temperatures you anticipate seeing. This becomes very much a "read all the spec sheets" ( = don't assume anything) sort of search.

====

Fully charged, your battery is ok to any temperature you will ever see ( they freeze below -70F). Fully discharged, they freeze just about like water. At 50% charge, they will freeze before you get to -30 F. They also will be at 50% charge at the float voltage of a conventional charger. None of those numbers are absolute. There are a lot of variations in battery chemistry.

====

Hooking in a charger / converter should be done properly.

At some point AS went to a power bus approach with SAE type II breakers on it. It's not a bad way to do things. The charger needs it's own shot at the battery (with protection). The rest of the circuits need a shot at the battery and also need to be protected.

Wire gauges in all cases should be big enough to be safe. In some cases they need to be a bit larger than the safe minimum to take care of voltage drops. Normally both power and ground get run for DC circuits in a modern AS. ( = frame return is not relied on). Getting this or that wire from here to there can be a bit exciting .....

Lots of fun !!!

Bob
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:49 AM   #6
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1961 26' Overlander
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Thanks Bob. After looking into it more yesterday and going off of your advice, I am going to store the battery and not mess with the 12v system this year. Especially since wires need to be run in the walls and I’m not about to tackle that. I’m going to get some good ceramic heaters to use instead and insulate the trailer well. I’m going to skirt with foam boarding and bubble wrap in the windows to allow light through. I decided that I need a functioning toilet since my parents tend to use the bathroom a lot at night and I don’t want them going outside in the cold, so I am going to get pvc piping and make a custom drain and wrap it in foam. The drain valve is directly below the toilet so it’s a straight shot down. I’ll have a mixture of rv antifreeze and water to dump down after every time. For now, the simpler the better. My only question left is should I use 1in or 2in thick foam board or does it even mater?
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:07 AM   #7
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2017 30' Classic
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Hi

Hay bales are the "go to" item for cheap skirting on a trailer in the winter. Yes, they do eventually rot and that's not perfect

Bob
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:58 AM   #8
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Also, I think you would have to be concerned with the snow load on the roof of the trailer. I have seen an AS roof collapse due to snow accumulation.

I have not ever read what the load rating is, but I do not think it is all that high.

something to think about if you are not going to be on-site to monitor.
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:35 AM   #9
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1989 34.5' Airstream 345
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Quite some challenges dealing with temps as low as you expect.
Snow load has been mentioned, maintaining manageable temps inside, trying to keep plumbing functional a big one.
Having someone ther all the time during the colder weather to keep systems going will help. Fingers crossed for no power outages.

Here is a link to a post about doing a simple skirt. If I was planning on the snow build up you mentioned I'd think of using the two inch and securing it well on the bottom
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...rt-161065.html

Using heat tape and wrapping insulation on the valves would help a lot, as well a heat lamp inside the skirting will help under there.

Keep us posted as you progress.

There was a great thread some years ago by a pioneer spirited woman in Alaska going thru the winter there. Maybe someone can find it for you. She was knarally.

Cheers Richard
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Old 10-18-2018, 08:17 AM   #10
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2017 30' Classic
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Hi

The problem with foam board for skirting is snow and ice. If you get several feet of snow, it has some weight to it. It will drift to one side or the other of the trailer as the wind blows. As it melts off the trailer, (from the heat inside) you get a pretty good glacier going on the north side of things. You need a barrier that will take some weight or it's just going to collapse ....

Bob
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:21 AM   #11
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
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Hay vs Straw...🤓

Straw is much cheeper...placed inside the actual barrier could satisfy the "appearance police" and provide some support.

Bob
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:37 AM   #12
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1961 26' Overlander
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 35
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Thanks everyone. The trailer is winterized so no water will be flowing so I’m not concerned about how cold it gets inside or underneath. I purchased waste pipe and insulation so there will be a semi functional toilet. The total waste pipe length will be about 4ft to the ground inlet so hopefully pee wont freeze before getting there. Antifreeze will help this too. I also got 2in foam board with 3M foil tape and I’m either going to secure it to plywood or straw bales although being in the mountains, I don’t want to harbor a living space for rodents so I’ll probably go the plywood route. I have a handyman that lives close by and I’ll talk to him about informing me when snow is heavy and have him remove it if it’s a big storm and I’m not there. I got a Lasko ceramic heater and we also have 2 other space heaters up there as well. Upon thinking about it further, my furnace may run off of 110v too. I’ll find out tomorrow.
As far as protecting the electrical connections, I read a post about using a car inner tube and zip ties but finding a car inner tube is harder and more expensive than I figured. Any other ideas to protect the connection?
If all else fails, power outage, our cabin has a wood burning stove and we can all stay in there if need be.
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Old 10-22-2018, 01:04 PM   #13
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1961 26' Overlander
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Started the process this weekend. Framed out the skirting with plywood. Built a drain pipe and wrapped it in Reflectix and 3M foil tape. Next time it’s attaching the foam boards and insulating the inside!

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