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Old 07-26-2020, 09:46 PM   #1
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Boondocking: I know, I've read the threads . . .

I'm sure I'm going to offend some of you, but I really have read the threads. Yes, I'm new, just bought a 2020 Globetrotter 30. We've been out there for about six weeks now, hooked up in parks and learning about our rig.

We're currently in a KOA park, "enjoying" the constant sounds of young families and their enthusiastic children. We get it, we knew (at some level) what to expect. But . . . we're going to be boondocking.

Our goal is to head out to Alaska next summer. We know we're new to this. But we think we have realistic expectations. Time will tell.

So far we're ok with the comfort level of the 30 foot trailer. The queen bed is small but do-able. It's just Karen and me and Baxter, our 8-pound toy mini Schnauzer. We can do this. If we are willing to maximize the power and water resources available to us.

I'm looking for suggestions about how to upgrade our rig to give us the best chance to maximize our off-grid time. I know we're talking about adding more solar, upgrading and adding batteries, upgrading our inverter, etc.

I also know everyone is going to ask us to describe what our power and water usage will be.

Well, I can't be specific, I'll just say we understand we won't be using air condioning while off the grid (we hope to be traveling in cool climates) and we'll do what we can to minimize lighting. As for gray water, I'm willing to shower outdoors (within reason). Karen? I'm not so sure.

Let me start with specific questions we have so far . . .

We expect to run the fridge all the time. Our 2020 Globetrotter has an AC/DC refrigerator. It doesn't run on propane. As I understand it, the Norcold installed in the 2020 Globetrotter is a compressor unit, so it doesn't suffer the historical problems of high power consumption or needing to be level. What I don't understand it how much DC power it consumes.

So far, we have been mostly connected up to full hookups in RV camps. But when we have been traveling, towing the trailer with our Ford F-150, I've noticed that the battery has been drawing down--even while presumably being charged from the 7-pin power and the two solar panels on the roof.

For example, when we begin a day of driving, I see that the batteries are shown as 100% and the 13.3 volts. But after a couple of hours of driving, with full sun, they show 80% and 12.6. This doesn't seem right.

The only power I believe I have on is the fridge. I have disconnected all the USB ports and the electric water heater is off. All the lights are off, as are all the other switches I can think of.

What else should I be looking at, which could be draining the batteries? We expected the batteries would continue to be full while driving.

Meanwhile, I'm open to suggestions about how best to prepare for next summer. How can we maximize our future power and water boondocking potential? Within reason.

Again, I believe I've read the other threads on this subject. That said, feel free to point me to what I may have missed. I'm not asking anyone to cover old news.

Thanks.

Mike
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Old 07-26-2020, 10:32 PM   #2
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Welcome.

Best to figure out your power usage based on what you're currently using. Why guess when you can measure?

It sounds like you're guessing at your battery level based on a voltage number, right? You could easily be seeing a big drop from full because you're reading surface voltage.

You need a shunt style battery monitor (i.e. a "coulomb counter"). Trimetric is a popular brand, but there are others. It will physically count the power, in real time, as it enters and leaves your battery. That's the best way to get a reliable picture of your usage, and monitor your power reserves on an ongoing basis. It also will allow you to do things like turn your fridge off and on to see how much it's drawing, or shut off everything you can to see how much parasitic draw you have.

You'll need a good bit of solar on your roof, obviously. With a DC compressor fridge and everything else, probably around 600 watts, maybe more if you have space. Maybe add a ground deploy if you need more. Panels are pretty cheap these days. Avoid the flexible panels, as they seem to have longevity problems. Also take into account if you're in Alaska, you're not going to get as good of performance as you would in the Southwest due to the higher latitude. Tilt mounts may help.

Lithium batteries are expensive, but they help a solar system a LOT. Not only does lithium have higher capacity for it's weight/volume, but it can suck up pretty much whatever your panels can throw at it. With shorter days and lower angles, that's an ideal application for lithium. Since changing to lithium, I'm seeing more than double the amps going into my battery at noon, with the SAME panels and charge controller.

Water management is going to depend on your personal limits. We shower 2 or 3 times a week while off-grid. Not everyone is OK with doing that, and that's OK. More showers just means more work hauling water.

Dishes are your other factor that you can control to some extent. Get some dish bins and learn to wash everything with as little water as possible. Or put in a dishwasher -- mine is surprisingly water efficient.

Get a few extra sets of jerry cans to minimize trips into town. Haul them empty while you're towing if you don't have the payload for it.

For long term boondocking without moving the rig to dump the black tank, a composting toilet works well for us. Liquids get dumped in a public toilet (or on a friendly tree or bush if we're somewhere sufficiently remote). Solids get double bagged and go in the dumpster with our trash. As a bonus, it doesn't use any water.
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Old 07-26-2020, 10:41 PM   #3
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Great response, thank you very much. This is just what I was expecting from the folks here. Plenty to digest and learn from. Brilliant.

Mike
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Old 07-26-2020, 11:41 PM   #4
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Coming at this from a practical angle:

Schedule a total off -grid time of at least five days, six if you can manage it.

Go to a NP campground where there are no amenities. Hang out, have a great time, go nowhere. This will inform you about which areas you need to pay attention to, and give you some clarity about which things you don't really need.

A situation like this will allow you to step back from all the 'wants' you have, and concentrate on your 'needs'.

Your boondocking needs are highly personal, and will evolve over time. Be flexible, adapt.

Hope this helps. We've been camping together for 45 years, and our trailer is packed to accommodate both sides of this equation. You have to fund your own balance.
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Old 07-27-2020, 04:50 AM   #5
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One footnote. The vehicle charging your battery is marginal, at best. I don't have a DC refrigerator but I imagine the vehicle charging cannot really keep up with that; it is probably only useful with no DC load. This is mostly because the charging wire is too small and too long to give you adequate charging voltage. Although, I would expect a couple of 100w solar panels to keep up and the battery monitor advice is a good place to start, You can also look for posts on what people have done with DC-DC converters to boost the voltage.
I have a fully upgraded electrical system, but no matter what I do, my boondocking limitation is grey water. My wife will not shower outside and I admit to liking an indoor shower, most of the time. We also run out of fresh water, but in many places that can be supplemented.
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:09 AM   #6
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You can, and should, in my opinion, add a DC to DC converter so that the batteries of the trailer are actually charged while you are hooked up and driving. Probably $150 if you use the 20 amp one and run through the 7 way plug. More if you get a higher rated unit and run a separate wire for it. Your poor charging experience does seem right to me. We get no useful charge from our Dodge while driving. The DC to DC converter fixes that cheaply and easily. Ought to be a factory item with a DC fridge in my opinion,

Then a generator for cold, rainy weather and to keep things charged. Size depending upon what you want to use on the generator. We carry a 2000. It lets us run the furnace as much as we need and then recharge. And with your fridge and lead acid batteries you will probably need to recharge every day.

I think the lithium battery conversion would be a great way to go. We have a propane fridge and do not boondock a lot so we have not gone that route. But is is a very good way to double your useful capacity and to greatly reduce your generator run time for recharging. The bad things about lead-acid is they go bad if you discharge them and they take forever to recharge since they only accept power at a low rate. Lithium fixes both of those problems and doubles the useful capacity.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:42 AM   #7
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Lets try to keep it simple. We have an older (2001) 30' Classic. We got it at 11 yrs old and completely original. With new batteries and full water we managed to dry camp for 4 days and still had some leeway. We made a trip to Alaska in 2016 with no troubles with Boondocking along the way wherever we found a convenient spot to overnight. Since then we have installed 400w of solar and using a plug in 400w inverter we have dry camped up to 5 weeks at a time. Keep in mind we were in Florida in Jan - Feb and air conditioning is not available AND not needed. We are in a RV park with no on site hookups. We have water and dump nearby and can easily go a week with our grey water tank being the biggest limitation. Power is not a problem since our 400w solar keeps us fully charged.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:43 AM   #8
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Easy out is to invest in a Honda generator if you are going to Alaska. It's always a good back up and they are very quiet. Take a 150ft cord and and run as far away as you can and sit back and have a cocktail.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:52 AM   #9
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batteries & charging system - 2015 International 23

We are on our 3rd set of Interstate batteries (traditional lead/acid) in 5 years, and need a 4th set now. I have been using and maintaining batteries in cars, trucks, tractors and motorcycles for 50 years. I am not in the habit of overcharging or letting batteries get low of water. NEVER had a problem until I bought an Airstream.

Either we were not properly advised by our dealer, Airstream Adventures NW in Gladstone, OR, misled by the Airstream manual, or the charging system built into the Airstream is defective and overcharging - and is cooking the batteries. 1st set overcharged when I left the trailer plugged in to AC power a couple weeks while in storage. Dealer said, watch the water level closely - blamed me and sold me a new set of batteries. I did that, and only plugged in the AC power for short periods of time after that while in storage. After about a year - the 2nd set wouldn't hold a charge. This time, dealer said they had a "like new" pair of batteries that they gave to me - as I was not a "happy camper" and I think they wanted me to leave the store.
For this set, I used the trailer lightly, and in off season, disconnected both batteries, checked water level often, and hooked them up to trickle chargers over the winter. Now, on my 1st trip out - they went dead at a campsite (no AC power available at this site)
- and the only way I could use any power at all was to keep the truck, 2015 GMC Sierra, hooked up and running so I would't kill the truck battery too.

It seems like you need an engineering degree to operate and maintain an Airstream. Last summer our water tank fell off while driving though Montana. The dealer and the factory had no time for us.

We love the design & look of the Airstream - but for a trailer that costs between $60,000 to $100,000 - can't Airstream do better? Why do owners have to run out and "upgrade" systems right away to enjoy their camping experience?
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:04 AM   #10
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Although people successfully boondock/dry camp with these things, I do not think they were really designed for anything except camping with hookups. Or, at least the design is deficient for serious dry camping. The DC storage and charging system is the perfect example, but now, the newest trailers have refrigerators that don't have propane capability. It is very, very common to find that owners simply modify the trailer to allow it to meet their needs. You are right, it does seem like a high price to pay for something you have to modify, but people keep paying it!
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:05 AM   #11
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Question. I see references to showering outside all the time to save grey water tank capacity. My question is how is that different from dumping the gray water in the forest? All the soap is safe to the environment anyways. I donít mean right where you are camped. But drain into a portable 30 gallon plastic tank. Roll it out to a dry patch and let it go. Most places like Arizona this is not legal. But no regulations against showing out side.

ThNk you looking forward to your thoughts

Jim

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Old 07-27-2020, 10:06 AM   #12
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All of the responses above are correct. And yet I feel no hesitation sticking my oar in the water. I have boondocked for 7 days with only one thing added to the standard factory package, a Honda 1000 generator.

Spoiler - I do not have a life companion, that is how I can!

I shower inside with the plug in the drain. The water is scooped into a bucket or waste basket, or a gallon jug if needed.
When the toilet is flushed I use that dirty shower water.

Paper plates and minimal silverware work well. As do vacuum bagged food cooked in boiling water. Dishwashing must be avoided if possible.

A Homda 1000 can run one appliance at a time, and can recharge the batteries. Extra water with a bit of gray being dumped on the ground and 7 days is easy.

The rest is nice to have but expensive. Add as needed. IF needed.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:09 AM   #13
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Just a quick note from this seasoned traveler and former Alaskan native. Take a generator. A Honda 2000 is adequate, and will give you great piece of mind and greatly expand your alternatives.

There will be days, sometimes three or four in a row when you get nearly zero charge from your solar panels. Welcome to high overcast in the higher latitudes. The generator is the difference between great and miserable/. Running your house batteries into the ground, and to less than 50% charge will kill them in short order. Topping off with the generator only makes sense.

You can put that generator in a plastic tub with a lid and you have zero odor, or go with a propane generator. If it's in the way, set it outside with lock to the wheels. If your tow vehicle is a pick up truck, keep in in the truck bed (chained and covered) and charge from right there. And by the way, there will be nights when you sleep better with the AC. Fit your AC with an EasyStart, and your Honda 2000 will run it all night without a hicup. Consider an aux-offboard fuel tank if you go the gas generator.

\Safe travel and be well my friend...and remember that Alaskan moose are NOT friendly and are dumb like a chicken, and will destroy your vehicle if you hit one. Be safe.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkaiseraz View Post
I'm sure I'm going to offend some of you, but I really have read the threads. Yes, I'm new, just bought a 2020 Globetrotter 30. We've been out there for about six weeks now, hooked up in parks and learning about our rig.

We're currently in a KOA park, "enjoying" the constant sounds of young families and their enthusiastic children. We get it, we knew (at some level) what to expect. But . . . we're going to be boondocking.

Our goal is to head out to Alaska next summer. We know we're new to this. But we think we have realistic expectations. Time will tell.

So far we're ok with the comfort level of the 30 foot trailer. The queen bed is small but do-able. It's just Karen and me and Baxter, our 8-pound toy mini Schnauzer. We can do this. If we are willing to maximize the power and water resources available to us.

I'm looking for suggestions about how to upgrade our rig to give us the best chance to maximize our off-grid time. I know we're talking about adding more solar, upgrading and adding batteries, upgrading our inverter, etc.

I also know everyone is going to ask us to describe what our power and water usage will be.

Well, I can't be specific, I'll just say we understand we won't be using air condioning while off the grid (we hope to be traveling in cool climates) and we'll do what we can to minimize lighting. As for gray water, I'm willing to shower outdoors (within reason). Karen? I'm not so sure.

Let me start with specific questions we have so far . . .

We expect to run the fridge all the time. Our 2020 Globetrotter has an AC/DC refrigerator. It doesn't run on propane. As I understand it, the Norcold installed in the 2020 Globetrotter is a compressor unit, so it doesn't suffer the historical problems of high power consumption or needing to be level. What I don't understand it how much DC power it consumes.

So far, we have been mostly connected up to full hookups in RV camps. But when we have been traveling, towing the trailer with our Ford F-150, I've noticed that the battery has been drawing down--even while presumably being charged from the 7-pin power and the two solar panels on the roof.

For example, when we begin a day of driving, I see that the batteries are shown as 100% and the 13.3 volts. But after a couple of hours of driving, with full sun, they show 80% and 12.6. This doesn't seem right.

The only power I believe I have on is the fridge. I have disconnected all the USB ports and the electric water heater is off. All the lights are off, as are all the other switches I can think of.

What else should I be looking at, which could be draining the batteries? We expected the batteries would continue to be full while driving.

Meanwhile, I'm open to suggestions about how best to prepare for next summer. How can we maximize our future power and water boondocking potential? Within reason.

Again, I believe I've read the other threads on this subject. That said, feel free to point me to what I may have missed. I'm not asking anyone to cover old news.

Thanks.

Mike
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:26 AM   #14
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The Interstate batteries suck -and it isn't just Airstream...it is for every type of trailer out there. Our Starcraft needed new batteries each year, even with proper monitoring, even with a trickle charger, even with suitcase solar, even with a restorative trickle charger, even with prayer...you get the idea. Good news, Costco carries them and are great about refunding the core costs and honoring the dates!

There are some parasitic draws on your battery even with everything "off". The propane alarm is one, water heater and pump, and thermostat can also suck battery power as well.

All that said, you can boondock without any power or water...we did that for years. Hauled what we needed to drink in jerry cans, used the batteries until they were useless then opted for lanterns. Washed up in the creek or lake, used public toilets. Washed our dishes on the picnic table with water heated by the sun. Beautiful spot? It was well worth the effort and sacrifice until the family of 8 show up with three trailers of off road motorcycles.

Solar works great, our Airstream is never without lights or a water pump and we ditched the Interstate batteries for AGM. We haven't needed to conserve energy even when parked in a shady spot. When boondocking, we hand dump gray water and black tank with a portable system. You do have to find someplace to dump it, but it works (nasty, smelly and time consuming...but it works).

Sone great boondocking sites are at the edge of the world, down miles of gravel or dirt roadway. We've seen folks stuck with rigs too big to turn around or the rough roads that have really messed up the interior of the trailer. One favored boondocking spot of ours has a creek you have to go through even just to turn around. It's rubble so the water can flow through where the road crosses it but the roadway slopes in and out. We've seen more than one trailer stuck there because it was too long. Amusing only if you aren't the driver of said trailer. So, if you don't know the area be sure to do a recon BEFORE you drag a 30' trailer down 5 miles of washboards just to discover the biggest trailer site at the bottom of the canyon is 22' and you are going to have to unhitch and manually spin the trailer to get out.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OR23 View Post
We are on our 3rd set of Interstate batteries (traditional lead/acid) in 5 years, and need a 4th set now. ...

Either we were not properly advised by our dealer, Airstream Adventures NW in Gladstone, OR, misled by the Airstream manual, or the charging system built into the Airstream is defective and overcharging - and is cooking the batteries.
I think you identified the problem. You will find many posts here on the stock OEM AS charging system cooking the batteries.

Since the majority of AS owners camp in campgrounds, Airstreams are not "boondock ready", so we decided to upgrade, which took care of the battery cooking problem by not having the stock AS converter-charger charge the batteries.

When connected to shore power, I switch to "Store" mode, which cuts off the converter-charger from the battery bank. The converter simply feeds the 12V circuit. The 110V circuit is also directly fed from shorepower.

When boondocking, I switch to "Use" mode where the battery bank supplies the 12V circuit and the Inverter feeds the 110V inverter circuit when we need it.

If I ever need to (rapidly) charge my battery bank (four 6V industrial deep cycle batteries) from shore power, I switch to Use mode and when the battery bank reaches 85-90% of full charge (based on the reading from an accurate battery monitor), I switch to Store mode and let the solar panels do the rest of the lifting (same if I was to use the Honda generator instead of shore power).

With solar, I have not seen the need to replace the stock AS converter-charger which does a good job of supplying the 12V power to the AS-- I just don't let it touch my batteries unless supervised.

Have not had to add a drop of water to the batteries in the past two years and that includes a 65 day trip south (including Florida and Texas). Their at-rest voltage hovers around 13V. I also leave the batteries in the trailer in the Winter when temps can reach -20F without any problems.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:44 AM   #16
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Thanks to all who have replied so far. We're traveling today, so it will take me awhile to digest and respond.

Mike
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:30 AM   #17
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Batteries / Genset(s)

The AS Forum group of folks here is awesome, many great suggestions. I would add that if batteries: Take a look at the Lithium "Battle Born" batteries and opt for the best (most capable) solar/inverter/hybrid charger that you can (2-3kw). If you are boondocking and no one is around you then you can use a generator almost anytime, i would suggest an inverter type. They are more expensive and better on the "quiet" scale. Get a brand like the Honda 2000 or maybe a Yamaha, the Honda 2k comes with a parallel option and uses gasoline. They are light in weight (about 40 pounds each). Be sure to install an "Easy Start" on your Air Conditioners, this will allow less power/current draw on power upon startup.

Take a look on youtube at "loloho" and "keep your daydream" - They both have a large amount of helpful videos and both of them have Airstreams .

Best of luck to you out there and be safe!
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:02 PM   #18
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Not a comprehensive answer, but some stuff we learned.

First, welcome to the open road. Not everyone can do this and it speaks volumes that you are.

Regarding battery drain, here are some things we learned. We have the advantage of using propane for our fridge but even if we didn't, depending on what's in it and the temps outside, we learned that it doesn't have to run all the time. It's like a big cooler. We have a tiny freezer, so that bit is pretty useless, but the stuff in the refrigerator stays cold enough to be safe. We put a thermometer in there to know when we need to turn it back on.

We limit our towing time to 6 hours between locations because we're in no rush and we want to make sure we to enjoy the journey.

THINGS WE DIDN'T INITIALLY REALIZE DREW CURRENT: The CO2 detector and smoke alarm. Depending on your rig (ours is a 25' Airstream Safari) there are little things like that are always on, even when you shut off the connection between the 7 pin and the interior. We were surprised to learn, those items are still connected, even with the switch in the off position. We were also surprised to lean that they draw more current than we would have guessed. SO much that, like you, we were losing stored power even while driving.

WHAT WE DID ABOUT THAT: We had an exterior switch installed that cuts the power to the RV, all of it. We considered replacing our smoke detector with a battery style, but the switch solved the problem.

WHAT ELSE WE LEARNED: solar panels are not standard. There are good ones and not so good ones, and the ones we currently carry are not on the roof at the moment (we put them out when we stop) because the panels Airstream sells ... well, they stink. Their reputation is just bad. So we will eventually have top rated panels installed on the roof, but we will never stop carrying the portables because sometimes it's not possible to get your rig into full sun (depending on the site) but it's almost always possible to position the portable solar panels in the best location.

WHAT YOU ASSUME YOU ALREADY DID: change all your bulbs to LED if they aren't already (even outside and running lights). Turn off the water pump if you're not using it. (We had a switch installed in the bathroom so we can flip it on from there when needed. The original is at the kitchen sink.

Have fun. Stay safe.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mkaiseraz View Post
I'm sure I'm going to offend some of you, but I really have read the threads. Yes, I'm new, just bought a 2020 Globetrotter 30. We've been out there for about six weeks now, hooked up in parks and learning about our rig.

We're currently in a KOA park, "enjoying" the constant sounds of young families and their enthusiastic children. We get it, we knew (at some level) what to expect. But . . . we're going to be boondocking.

Our goal is to head out to Alaska next summer. We know we're new to this. But we think we have realistic expectations. Time will tell.

So far we're ok with the comfort level of the 30 foot trailer. The queen bed is small but do-able. It's just Karen and me and Baxter, our 8-pound toy mini Schnauzer. We can do this. If we are willing to maximize the power and water resources available to us.

I'm looking for suggestions about how to upgrade our rig to give us the best chance to maximize our off-grid time. I know we're talking about adding more solar, upgrading and adding batteries, upgrading our inverter, etc.

I also know everyone is going to ask us to describe what our power and water usage will be.

Well, I can't be specific, I'll just say we understand we won't be using air condioning while off the grid (we hope to be traveling in cool climates) and we'll do what we can to minimize lighting. As for gray water, I'm willing to shower outdoors (within reason). Karen? I'm not so sure.

Let me start with specific questions we have so far . . .

We expect to run the fridge all the time. Our 2020 Globetrotter has an AC/DC refrigerator. It doesn't run on propane. As I understand it, the Norcold installed in the 2020 Globetrotter is a compressor unit, so it doesn't suffer the historical problems of high power consumption or needing to be level. What I don't understand it how much DC power it consumes.

So far, we have been mostly connected up to full hookups in RV camps. But when we have been traveling, towing the trailer with our Ford F-150, I've noticed that the battery has been drawing down--even while presumably being charged from the 7-pin power and the two solar panels on the roof.

For example, when we begin a day of driving, I see that the batteries are shown as 100% and the 13.3 volts. But after a couple of hours of driving, with full sun, they show 80% and 12.6. This doesn't seem right.

The only power I believe I have on is the fridge. I have disconnected all the USB ports and the electric water heater is off. All the lights are off, as are all the other switches I can think of.

What else should I be looking at, which could be draining the batteries? We expected the batteries would continue to be full while driving.

Meanwhile, I'm open to suggestions about how best to prepare for next summer. How can we maximize our future power and water boondocking potential? Within reason.

Again, I believe I've read the other threads on this subject. That said, feel free to point me to what I may have missed. I'm not asking anyone to cover old news.

Thanks.

Mike
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:20 PM   #19
demijac
 
2014 27' FB Classic
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 167
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Our Rules of Thumb

When we are on the road on extended trips, our normal practice is to boondock three or four nights a week. When boondocking, our goal is to live our normal life without having to take any conservation measures whatsoever. For us, being able to boondock two nights in a row while charging our devices and running the TV's three or four hours a day is OUR benchmark.

We have two '2013 vintage' solar panels and two LifeBlue lithium batteries which allow us to easily go three or four days from a battery perspective; this used to be two days when we used LifeLine AGM batteries.

Running out of black tank capacity and water supply have never been issues.

With regard to gray tank capacity, two days (taking no special conservation measures) has been our rule of thumb for the last several years and has worked well for us: that's two showers a day and washing dishes after breakfast and dinner.

During the summers, what I've described is pretty easy: even with AGM batteries. Note that there is less margin for error in the winter months due to both reduced solar charging and lithium battery performance.

And finally, getting the lithium batteries has been a life changer for us. Battery capacity is now a total non-issue: the peace of mind will quickly make you forget the extra price vs. AGM batteries. We were pretty tough on our LifeLine AGMs and never got them to last more than about three years before we had to replace them in order to keep to our 'two nights of boondocking' benchmark.

For those who don't mind taking extreme conservation measures, I'm sure you can go far beyond our two night benchmark. It's a lifestyle choice. As we are full-timers, we were looking to live normally without having to make sacrifices every day.

Hope this perspective helps.

Cheers!
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:27 PM   #20
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2017 27' International
Wasilla , Alaska
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 197
Living in Alaska;

So far, our approach is a generator in the bed of the truck and a solar suitcase. Some of our favorite boondocking sites are in the trees, and a top-mounted array of panels would 1. be shaded and 2. need frequent cleaning. The Renogy 200w suitcase really gets with it when the sun is shining. The integrated handle is stout, the legs easy to adjust and the integrated controller is informative. On a clear day, I can watch the output increase or decrease as i adjust the declination/orientation. The zipper case keeps it relatively clean and safe in the bed of the truck.

The Champion 3400 inverter generator is a bit heavy, and not quite as quiet as a few others, but the remote start and price were hard to pass up. It means that I can run the 30amp cable from the generator to the front power input on the coach in a bout 1/2 a second, then drape the flexible, insulated exhaust extension over the tailgate - passing through a short joint of double-wall gas appliance pipe to protect the plastic top of the tailgate - in about 2 seconds, and we are a push button away from ample power - even for the rare day in AK when air conditioning is welcome. Mostly the genset means the Nespresso machine can get a workout in the morning without taxing the inverter and batteries. Most nights the batteries are used to run the furnace and keep the fridge cold.

We are still refining the process. For example, the double-wall pipe is a recent addition since i discovered my prior insulator (moving blanket) was wanting to melt during an extended run; i know - what was I thinking?

Sorry for the photo orientation - three tries. I'll check the forum for iPhone photo orientation... again.
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