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Old 04-24-2019, 03:20 PM   #15
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Uncle_bob stated it very well in the post above. the 7-way connector does not conduct much power at all, maybe 6 or 7 amps at best. We camp at Walmart and use our tow vehicle and our www.CarGenerator.com to power everything we need in our Airstream, except not the AC or microwave) we run all our lights comfortably, run our furnace or fans, watch TV, use an instantpot or slow cooker, whatever needed. Our CarGenerator provides power at night or in the rain , up to 1000 watts. Then we go to bed happy and with a fully charged trailer battery.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:32 AM   #16
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Our CarGenerator provides power at night or in the rain , up to 1000 watts. Then we go to bed happy and with a fully charged trailer battery.

Does this mean you must run your truck on idle all night to use the CarGenerator? What about the exhaust fumes from your TV? I’d love to hear more about your setup. We could not get enough power from the factory AGM batteries to even run the Fantastic Fan overnight without a (almost) complete drain.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:48 AM   #17
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Does this mean you must run your truck on idle all night to use the CarGenerator? What about the exhaust fumes from your TV? I’d love to hear more about your setup. We could not get enough power from the factory AGM batteries to even run the Fantastic Fan overnight without a (almost) complete drain.
Hi

The Fantastic Fan on high pulls just under 3A. On lower settings, it pulls less current. Fan + fridge should come in right around 4A. Over a 12 hour "night" that
would be 48AH. If the AGM's are fully charged, that's half their 100 AH usable capacity.

Again, without a shunt based monitor (like the BMV-712) you really don't know if your batteries are fully charged or not. It can take most of a day (= 24 hours) on shore power charge to bring them up to "full". That's one of the gotcha's with a lead acid battery.

Indeed, if it's very hot or very cold out, your charger isn't going to quite do what it should. The answer there is a temperature compensated charger. The same temperature stuff will fake you out big time trying to guess charge state from a voltage reading.

Bob
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:12 AM   #18
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And seriously, if you must run a generator or vehicle all night to power what you must have, strongly consider a traditional campground with electricity.

WalMart is WalMart, it is not a campground.

Imagine a number of vehicles doing this, others nearby subject to the noise and fumes, and eventually this option would become prohibited in many more places.

Maggie
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:15 AM   #19
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If you have the "stock" battery setup you likely have two 100 AH AGM batteries. Bob
Our 2019 Globetrotter only had two 80AH AGM batteries (not 100AH). At 50% max discharge for AGM that is only 80AH usable. The OP probably has the same batteries.

I was initially a fan of the factory solar install but now feel it is more of a marketing thing. It will help charge your batteries but I don't think it has enough capacity to fully charge them if you've discharged them down to 50%. I guess if you keep your power usage low and your trailer is in direct sunlight, it can maintain your batteries enough to provide the basics for the 12V systems. But I wouldn't use the inverter much. Don't run your furnace or fantastic fan all night. And constantly check your battery voltage.

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Old 04-25-2019, 10:18 AM   #20
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Our 2019 Globetrotter only had two 80AH AGM batteries (not 100AH). At 50% max discharge for AGM that is only 80AH usable. The OP probably has the same batteries.

I was initially a fan of the factory solar install but now feel it is more of a marketing thing. It will help charge your batteries but I don't think it has enough capacity to fully charge them if you've discharged them down to 50%. I guess if you keep your power usage low and your trailer is in direct sunlight, it can maintain your batteries enough to provide the basics for the 12V systems. But I wouldn't use the inverter much. Don't run your furnace or fantastic fan all night. And constantly check your battery voltage.

Steve
The problem here is having two low-amp-hour batteries not getting fully charged by 160W of solar. If your batteries aren't getting fully charged, you would not be able to use the furnace or fantastic fans all night.

I have four 100W panels running on the factory prewire with a pair of 6V golf cart batteries and a Victron 100/30 controller. My system allows me to run the furnace or fantastic fans all night, watch some TV, and power all the other needs including refrigerator on propane, water pump, water heater on propane and light. A generator is needed for microwave and A/C use. With 400W of solar, my 230AH battery bank gets fully charged each day.

I think the Airstream factory solar can be improved by installing a Victron 100/30 solar controller and increasing the wire between the controller and busbars to 6 gauge. Doing just these two improvements may get your battery fully charged.

The next step would be to add two more matching solar panels and wire all the panels in series-parallel. This will increase the system to 320W which would be enough to fully charge a pair of wet-cell batteries.

Then the only remaining question is whether the factory batteries have been damaged from being consistently in an undercharged state or from being drawn down too deeply in the past. If the batteries are damaged or weak, a new pair of batteries would also be needed to be able to use the furnace or fantastic fans all night.
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:35 PM   #21
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Have to get this off my chest. Why do people pay large sums of money to purchase an AS and tow vehicle then go cheap and sit in a parking lot? Understand if you’re “stuck” but a little planning would avoid that. Campgrounds are important and why not support them!?! Many are family owned. WalMart sure isn’t camping.


What . . . ?

Too many judgments above to warrant any further energy IMO.

Great recent comments.

Doh . . .

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Old 04-26-2019, 06:57 AM   #22
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Our 2019 Globetrotter only had two 80AH AGM batteries (not 100AH). At 50% max discharge for AGM that is only 80AH usable. The OP probably has the same batteries.

I was initially a fan of the factory solar install but now feel it is more of a marketing thing. It will help charge your batteries but I don't think it has enough capacity to fully charge them if you've discharged them down to 50%. I guess if you keep your power usage low and your trailer is in direct sunlight, it can maintain your batteries enough to provide the basics for the 12V systems. But I wouldn't use the inverter much. Don't run your furnace or fantastic fan all night. And constantly check your battery voltage.

Steve
Hi

The factory solar *will* indeed fully charge the stock (or any other) batteries. Regardless of the type of charge system, lead acid's take a *long* time to charge. That's just how they work. There is no magic way around that.

The factory solar will hit nearly 200W of output with a Victron controller on it and the stock wiring. With the stock wire and two more factory panels you can hit nearly 400W. The panels are fine, the stock controller is ok, but not the best.

With the stock controller the two panels can deliver just over 12A at 13V to the batteries on a sunny day. My guess is that is where the "160W" number comes from.

Again, the problem comes from the assumption that if you have 10A available for four hours that will take your 80AH batteries from 50% to 100%. Instead what happens with any charger is that you go from 50% to 80% at the 10A rate (in a bit under 3 hours). It then will take *much* longer (at lower current) to bring them up to full charge.

======

First step is a power budget - how much are you going to use in a day? That could be 100AH. It could be something very different. It is a number you manage with your usage. If you go with "I don't care" that's not a budget.

Next step is to work out what part of the country you will be in and when. If you are in the northeast, you might only get 5 hours of peak solar equivalent on a good day. If you are in the southwest, you could do much better.

If you assume 13V and 100AH, you will need 1.3KWH into your system a day. At the 5 hour number, that would be 260W of panels at 100% efficiency and all the power being used as it becomes available.

That works on a perfect day in a perfect setting at 100% effeciency . On a cloudy rainy day in the shade, you might get 100WH. If you want to be able to handle four days of rain, get 400AH of batteries.

If you still want to camp when you only have sun every few days, double or triple the amount of solar. If you want to charge the batteries without long charge times, go with lithium instead of lead acid.

So no, it's not simple / easy / you can ignore it sort of stuff. You can *easily* get into the 150AH a day range without much effort. ( = 80AH batteries dead in < 12 hours). That's why the first step is a good battery monitor.

Bob
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:03 AM   #23
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CarGenerator for off grid power

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Originally Posted by SewStream View Post
Does this mean you must run your truck on idle all night to use the CarGenerator? What about the exhaust fumes from your TV? I’d love to hear more about your setup. We could not get enough power from the factory AGM batteries to even run the Fantastic Fan overnight without a (almost) complete drain.
No need to run our vehicle overnight ever. Say we pull in to a Walmart or a non-powered campsite late afternoon or evening. Hookup CarGenerator in under a minute (and lock it to the vehicle if needed), leave our vehicle running for 1-2 hours, and enjoy 1000 watts of pure clean power. Safe, Fast, Easy, and without the hassle of a gas generator. The factory converter charges at the rate of around 60 amps DC. So you can see how quickly that will recharge your trailer batteries, given typical 100-200 battery amps capacity. Plus we get extra available power to run all our lights, take showers, run blenders, watch TV, charge our devices. Then we shut off our tow vehicle engine and go to sleep with a full topped up trailer battery, use fans , furnace or whatever with no worry. No problem for the vehicle, no hassles with refilling tiny gas cans or propane tanks, and surprisingly uses a comparable amount of gas versus running a portable gas generator, see our website with FAQs for more info and actual stats.

Like uncle_bob pointed out wisely in an earlier comment, your trailer 7-way pin connector provides power at best around 6 amps DC. Using our CarGenerator on the other hand, charges safely full speed at the rate of around 60 amps! almost 10x faster charging. For comparison, our 5 solar panels with almost half a killowatt of solar, charges average between 10-15 amps, or at most 25 amps for an hour in perfect sunlight at dead noon.

At Alumpalooza May 31st friday morning 10AM, and at the Airstream Intl rally at Doswell rally on July 24th 10:30am, I am leading a seminar, an informative session entitled "Boondocking Power Secrets" explaining and demonstrating the various charging methods and speed of charging (grid power vs. solar vs. vehicle) and answer any questions regarding these topics.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:07 AM   #24
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I guess I just don't get the Walmart thing. I guess if you drive till you're tired then it may be your only resolution. I like to plan ahead my stops. Typically I determine how many miles I plan to drive on a day and then check out the campgrounds within that driving distance. Never has failed me to find a suitable campground stop, and on locales that are busy, I make reservations ahead.

Keep in mind that some WalMarts have local jurisdictions that do not allow camping overnight. The local WalMart by me has signs posted. Secondly and more concerning is the locales where some of these WalMarts are located. While I don't believe we've had anyone on the forum who has reported difficulties, I personally would not stop there, especially being familiar with some of the WalMarts in my metro area. Seems like the bad guys are getting more emboldened carrying their own weapons. Even if you are packing heat, the last thing I would like to see is a gun battle. No one wins there. And those aluminum walls don't give you much protection. To those who say Walmart has camera's and good security, I had a friend whose car was damaged in the parking lot. When he asked management about getting a picture, he was told that the camera's range was close to the entry and not designed to reach the far reaches of the lot (where usually you are asked to park).

Jack
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:23 AM   #25
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This is an informative video that shows EXACTLY how many amps the various items in our Airstream pull, fantastic fans, lights, stovetop lights, and more. Also shows charging speed from our vehicle. FYI
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:49 PM   #26
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Add me to the group that does not get it.
I understand there are many ways to Airstream but calling a Walmart lot a "campground" is past me. I can see in a pinch where you might have no other choice, but if you have the energy to sit inside and consume electricity watching tv while in a Walmart lot I would rather keep driving.
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:10 PM   #27
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My comments on this thread don't have anything to do with Walmart. My comments, and most others, are to help a fellow forum member determine how much power can be used when parked in a location without shore power with a solar powered Airstream. Sure, Walmart's don't have shore power, but neither do many of the most beautiful places where we like to stay in our Airstream including most National Forest Campgrounds, National Park Campgrounds, County Park Campgrounds, BLM land/campgrounds . . . Very little commentary on this thread is about Walmart except from those who want to drag this thread into the mud. Let's save our mud throwing for when we get stuck at a great boondocking location in our solar powered Airstreams.

Notice there are no power cords in this picture from the non-electric Jeff Busby Campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway:
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:27 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
I guess I just don't get the Walmart thing. I guess if you drive till you're tired then it may be your only resolution. I like to plan ahead my stops. Typically I determine how many miles I plan to drive on a day and then check out the campgrounds within that driving distance. Never has failed me to find a suitable campground stop, and on locales that are busy, I make reservations ahead.

Keep in mind that some WalMarts have local jurisdictions that do not allow camping overnight. The local WalMart by me has signs posted. Secondly and more concerning is the locales where some of these WalMarts are located. While I don't believe we've had anyone on the forum who has reported difficulties, I personally would not stop there, especially being familiar with some of the WalMarts in my metro area. Seems like the bad guys are getting more emboldened carrying their own weapons. Even if you are packing heat, the last thing I would like to see is a gun battle. No one wins there. And those aluminum walls don't give you much protection. To those who say Walmart has camera's and good security, I had a friend whose car was damaged in the parking lot. When he asked management about getting a picture, he was told that the camera's range was close to the entry and not designed to reach the far reaches of the lot (where usually you are asked to park).

Jack
Not only bad guys w/guns at walmart. A off duty in plain clothes dep.sheriff pulled a weapon on mo. pregnant woman for no valid reason except he was upset because her husband pushed him away from her lady is white husb. black internal investigation results county board approved $20,000 for esteem of dept?? Couple filed fed lawsuit still don't no results of suit. Our local walmart is not in bad area, now they have posted signs no over nite parking, as far as me I would not even think of staying over nite at wally world except extreme emergency. This Elected sheriff was defeated last election, I won't say any further about his term in office but many ?
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