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Old 02-24-2022, 08:27 PM   #1
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Questions on running appliances off 12 volt batteries

I have a 2021 22fb caravel.

Didn't upgrade to lithium.
Did however get factory installed solar

Questions for boondocking.

1. How many watt hours will I get with the battery ? I thought I read somewhere it's a "100 Amp hour battery" or 1200 watts

2. Is it true that I should only use about 50% of the battery or they can be damaged and how do you know it's at 50% ?

3. Since most appliances are rated in watts I want to try and calculate the amount of amp hours I would be able to run them.
Does anyone have a list of the watts each appliance uses?
Then I can calculate amps x volts = watts. (In reverse)

4. How many USB power banks do most boondockers have?
I know I can use the inverter but I understand it draws more power.

5. Does the solar automatically charge the battery? And how long does it take to fully recharge if in full sun?

6. Thinking about getting a generator. I have read the forums on recommendations. Will I need two h2000i to have enough power to run the microwave or ac unit or furnace?

Newbee streamer trying to figure things out.!
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Old 03-19-2022, 05:44 PM   #2
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Congrats on being an Airstream Owner. The 2000i should charge your batteries and run the Microwave no problem. Yea f you install a Easystart on your AC it probably will even power that if you donít try to use any other appliances at the same time. I have the Champion 3400 inverter running on propane off the front connection port. Costco currently has the Firman Dual fuel on sale. Both are great choices.

Solar should charge batteries with no special procedures.

We had two USB connections one in front one in bedroom. I swapped out the bedroom for old fashioned 12v lighter plug so I can use my BiPap when boondocking.

Yes, the inverter (12v to 120v) uses substantial amounts of power. Avoid if at all possible.

When the time comes, it is possible to fit group 27 AGM batteries in your battery box with a small amount of trimming of the steel angle.

If you have money burning s hole in your pocket you can switch to LiFePo batteries, but that requires more modifications, and unless you are full timing or using more than 60 or so nights a year without connections, my opinion is it would be very hard to justify the cost.

Iíve probably touched a nerve with those who have spent 10k-15k upgrading their rig, but all I can say is, I can buy a lot of propane, and replacement inverter generators before I exceed that investment cost.
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Old 03-20-2022, 07:51 AM   #3
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Thanks great info.
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Old 03-20-2022, 08:08 AM   #4
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You’ll find a chart in your owner’s manual that shows how much you’ve depleted your batteries based on the voltage reading. You should see the current voltage on your solar controller and on your tank monitor. Lead-acid batteries (including AGM) can be damaged if you run them too low.

I’ve got solar and a generator. In good sunlight and with judicious use of power, I can easily boondock for 4 or 5 days without using the generator. If I want to use the microwave (which is rare) or the air conditioner, then I fire up the generator.

My Airstream has two factory USB ports in the nightstand. My wife uses those for her iPhone and iPad. I installed two more on the other side of the bed that I use for my iPhone and iPad, or they can be accessed from the dinette with a longer cord.

I don’t worry about trying to calculate what appliances I can run or how long I can run them on my batteries. There are too many variables to make that a worthwhile exercise. If the batteries get low, then I charge them with the generator.
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Old 03-20-2022, 08:29 AM   #5
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Check section 8-10 of your ownerís manual for more information about battery draw. The power delivered by the battery varies based on the rate of power draw. I cut and pasted the SOC vs. OCV chart below, directly from the 2021 Caravel manual.
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Old 03-20-2022, 08:32 AM   #6
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For us to be more helpful some additional information is needed: how much solar do you have, and do you have one or two batteries?

You definitely do not want to deplete lead acid batteries to less than 50% which means you only have 50Ah usable from a “100Ah” battery.

Your electric-only refrigerator alone will consume about 50Ah on a typical day, and more with hot days and warm nights. Not likely that the solar options available from Airstream will keep up with this and other demands.

The fact is that new Airstreams are not designed (even with factory solar and battery options) to operate unplugged for any length of time. You will have to invest in significant solar and lithium upgrades and/or a generator.
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Old 03-21-2022, 12:25 PM   #7
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You have the formula right. Watts = volts times amps. For interest sake the load is a 100 watt lightbulb. 100 divided by 12 is 8-9 amps of load. 6 hours later that is about 50 amp hours draw down and thatís a done battery.
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Old 03-21-2022, 07:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
For us to be more helpful some additional information is needed: how much solar do you have, and do you have one or two batteries?

You definitely do not want to deplete lead acid batteries to less than 50% which means you only have 50Ah usable from a “100Ah” battery.

Your electric-only refrigerator alone will consume about 50Ah on a typical day, and more with hot days and warm nights. Not likely that the solar options available from Airstream will keep up with this and other demands.

The fact is that new Airstreams are not designed (even with factory solar and battery options) to operate unplugged for any length of time. You will have to invest in significant solar and lithium upgrades and/or a generator.
The factory installed solar panel with the 2021 caravel.
We have two batteries, standard AGM
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Old 03-21-2022, 08:23 PM   #9
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GJStreamer, our 2019 27' Globetrotter with factory solar came with two Lifeline GPL-24T 80AH batteries. You may want to check yours. Lithium are usually 100AH.

To your questions about charging times, there's a lot of variables that affect time to charge like shade, clouds etc. It's automatic so you don't need to do anything. Victron makes a SmartShunt that measures the amount of power consumed and replenished by solar or charging from your converter.

You might want to add one to get an accurate measurement of your batteries. I added one and replaced the original Atkinson Solar Controller with a new Victron Smart Controller. Your Caravel may have a Victron controller. Now I can monitor both the solar input and battery condition. We don't boondock enough to upgrade to Lithium but when our AGM's die I'll consider it.

If you boondocks a lot it might be worth upgrading to Lithium to take advantage of 80-90% of the 200AH capacity.
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Old 03-21-2022, 08:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJStreamer View Post
The factory installed solar panel with the 2021 caravel.
We have two batteries, standard AGM
Sorry to have to say this, but this trailer is not set up for any significant time unplugged (i.e. either shore power or a generator, which you may have to run daily). Under typical conditions, I think you would be lucky to last two days before damaging your batteries.

The problem: Your AGM batteries have a useful 100Ah combined. On the demand side, the fridge alone would use all of that in two days, and all other uses are additional. On the recharge side, a single 90w solar panel might realistically provide 30Ah per day under very best case conditions, but shade and cloudy skies can reduce that by 70-90%. Like I said before, Airstream does not build trailers to run unplugged.

Solutions: for folks who can tolerate the hassles (handling, fuel, noise, smell), generators can make up the difference. For others, this requires a pretty substantial dollar investment in solar panels, lithium batteries, and related electronics; even then a generator may be required for camping in the woods or cloudy stretches.
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Old 03-21-2022, 08:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
Sorry to have to say this, but this trailer is not set up for any significant time unplugged (i.e. either shore power or a generator, which you may have to run daily). Under typical conditions, I think you would be lucky to last two days before damaging your batteries.

The problem: Your AGM batteries have a useful 100Ah combined. On the demand side, the fridge alone would use all of that in two days, and all other uses are additional. On the recharge side, a single 90w solar panel might realistically provide 30Ah per day under very best case conditions, but shade and cloudy skies can reduce that by 70-90%. Like I said before, Airstream does not build trailers to run unplugged.

Solutions: for folks who can tolerate the hassles (handling, fuel, noise, smell), generators can make up the difference. For others, this requires a pretty substantial dollar investment in solar panels, lithium batteries, and related electronics; even then a generator may be required for camping in the woods or cloudy stretches.

F&S is 100% correct.

I will add that if you plan on extended boondocking anywhere in a season that requires AC usage, continued furnace usage and/or heavy appliance usage, you can spend all you like on solar/batteries. However, you will still likely need a generator and will be limited by fresh water capacity anyway.
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Old 03-21-2022, 08:59 PM   #12
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We have always been able to replenish the fresh water, it is more likely the waste tank(s) would force us to move the trailer.
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Old 03-21-2022, 09:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
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We have always been able to replenish the fresh water, it is more likely the waste tank(s) would force us to move the trailer.
Depends on how "remote" the "remoteness" is, and how "long" is "long" in terms of time.
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Old 03-22-2022, 06:20 AM   #14
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I failed to mention in my comments above about going multiple days that I have the older style absorption fridge, so I’m able run it on propane. We tend to cook in the gas oven, on the gas stovetop, or on the gas grill. We make coffee using an AeroPress and hot water heated on the stovetop. We use electric power primarily for lights and the water pump.
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Old 03-25-2022, 03:18 PM   #15
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I have a '21 Caravel 22FB, too. Absolutely love it. In terms of boondocking, we have always had plenty of power to charge our phones, run a couple of lights, the pump, the fridge, and listen to tunes, all by getting the recharge from the stock solar unit. I did invest in a generator for the rare case when it was so hot that I had to run AC for my two dogs.

See you down the road.
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Old 04-01-2022, 01:20 PM   #16
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Broderick Crawford?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Edgerton View Post
Congrats on being an Airstream Owner. The 2000i should charge your batteries and run the Microwave no problem. Yea f you install a Easystart on your AC it probably will even power that if you donít try to use any other appliances at the same time. I have the Champion 3400 inverter running on propane off the front connection port. Costco currently has the Firman Dual fuel on sale. Both are great choices.

Solar should charge batteries with no special procedures.

We had two USB connections one in front one in bedroom. I swapped out the bedroom for old fashioned 12v lighter plug so I can use my BiPap when boondocking.

Yes, the inverter (12v to 120v) uses substantial amounts of power. Avoid if at all possible.

When the time comes, it is possible to fit group 27 AGM batteries in your battery box with a small amount of trimming of the steel angle.

If you have money burning s hole in your pocket you can switch to LiFePo batteries, but that requires more modifications, and unless you are full timing or using more than 60 or so nights a year without connections, my opinion is it would be very hard to justify the cost.

Iíve probably touched a nerve with those who have spent 10k-15k upgrading their rig, but all I can say is, I can buy a lot of propane, and replacement inverter generators before I exceed that investment cost.
Sorry for the off topic post but is that a pic of Broderick Crawford?
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Old 04-10-2022, 07:36 AM   #17
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Questions on running appliances off 12 volt batteries

Running the furnace is well known battery hog due to operation of the furnace fan. However if you have enough batteries and an efficient furnace and itís not too cold it wonít use up too much of your battery capacity. We have 300 Ah of lithium, a furnace fan that only requires about 2 amps to operate and with a low temperature last night of 40, the batteries were still at 94% capacity this morning.

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