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Old 04-05-2008, 09:39 AM   #1
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2008 27' Safari FB SE
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Electrical upgrades b4 delivery of a new AS?

Hi all, Newbie question.

This electrical stuff is really confusing for a newbie.

We are taking delivery of a new 08 Safari SE 27FB next week and want some advice on what if any upgrades we might have the dealer do before we take delivery.

We'll boondock for a few days at a time and plan on getting one Honda 2000 to start and perhaps a second one in parallel later.

The unit has the audio / tv upgrade. 2 fantastic fans. We'll probably mostly use lights and such. And a laptop. We are coffee drinkers and will want to run a coffee machine every morning.

I've received advice to upgrade to a 3 stage converter as one example. I'm uncertain what the relative importance of doing so is over what comes standard on the unit. Also, not certain about the battery meter that comes with the unit and whether that is sufficient.

Solar is another thought. But it seems the generator will really be needed to run anything with a significant draw anyway so is that really useful?

We want to take advantage of doing any of this stuff predelivery since it will avoid service visits later!

Advice from all you experienced folks on any and all electric please!!! Thanks.

Hector and Brenda
"Luna" - 08 Safari SE 27FB
08 Toyota Tundra
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:56 AM   #2
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Welcome Back From the Florida Panhandle

First off, a big Forums welcome to you. You're gonna love Airstreaming, and a 27FB is a great floor plan.

We have an '05 25FB, named Lucy, that we have spent over 200 nights in and absolutely love her. You've already got the only thing that we added later, and that is a second Fantastic Fan in the bedroom. We have not added any other upgrades to Lucy, herself.

We did add a Hensley which has performed as advertised for almost 30,000 miles of towing. We also have a pair of the Honda EU2000i's. These are great generators.

Best of luck with your new baby and safe travels,

Brian
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Old 04-05-2008, 12:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlopez
Hi all, Newbie question.

This electrical stuff is really confusing for a newbie.

We are taking delivery of a new 08 Safari SE 27FB next week and want some advice on what if any upgrades we might have the dealer do before we take delivery.

We'll boondock for a few days at a time and plan on getting one Honda 2000 to start and perhaps a second one in parallel later.
The honda will run most everything. It may run the AC if nothing else is used.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlopez
The unit has the audio / tv upgrade. 2 fantastic fans. We'll probably mostly use lights and such. And a laptop. We are coffee drinkers and will want to run a coffee machine every morning.
Comfy options. They do make 12V Coffee makers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlopez
I've received advice to upgrade to a 3 stage converter as one example. I'm uncertain what the relative importance of doing so is over what comes standard on the unit. Also, not certain about the battery meter that comes with the unit and whether that is sufficient.
the factory converter works ok.
the battery meter that come with the factory installed solar option is better than the standard one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlopez
Solar is another thought. But it seems the generator will really be needed to run anything with a significant draw anyway so is that really useful?
solar is good for topping off the batteries. When I travel cross country the solar panels andthe truck will bring the batteries back up or hold them if I run the heater while travelling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlopez
We want to take advantage of doing any of this stuff predelivery since it will avoid service visits later!

Advice from all you experienced folks on any and all electric please!!! Thanks.

Hector and Brenda
"Luna" - 08 Safari SE 27FB
08 Toyota Tundra
Good plan.
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:39 PM   #4
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Hector,

The main reason for getting a 3-stage battery charge is to properly charge your batteries, which will in turn extend their service life. The stock converter puts out a uniform charging voltage of 13.8 volts, which is too low to properly charge your batteries (14.4 volts) completely and too high to maintain them (13.2 volts).

Extended use will eventually boil the fluid from your batteries, causing premature failure. With a 3-stage charger, you can just forget about the entire charging process and know that your batteries are properly taken care of!

PS: A single Honda 2000 will not run your A/C, but a pair definitely will! A Yamaha 2400 WILL run your A/C.....up to 13,500 BTU. (according to the Yamaha web site)
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:04 PM   #5
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Solar and/or Generator

Solar vs Generator(s) - it's a belt and suspenders thing.... do you need both? A lot depends on your style of camping. Solar works better in non-shaded camping spots, so a backup generator is a good idea. On the other hand if you have generators, why bother with solar? A generator will recharge the battery at 4 am if you don't have neighbors who'd complain. Solar is great for maintaining your batteries, and running lights.

Appliances like a microwave, coffee maker and crock pot. RETHINK - boil water on your stove top using propane, then French Press it. I just got a Dutch Oven - campfire model - and made cobbler as my first experiment. There's the predecessor to the crock pot, and it makes the yummiest stuff - the neighbors were drooling. If you give up your microwave for a month, you may never want it back. REAL cooking just tastes that much better. I've gotten used to using a campfire/stovetop toaster too.

SPACE is your really big consideration. You're going camping to get away from it all, not haul it all along with you.

Get what suits you - but realize that you'll be heavily tempted to buy way too much stuff that you will seldom if ever use! I have one wire wisk, 4 really good sharp knives and a set of kitchen utinsels including an egg beater and a soup ladle that I've rarely used in almost four years. Last time I made soup, I used a coffee cup to ladle it out because I couldn't remember where the hell I stashed the ladle. Worked FINE. The ladle is going to the kitchen at work when I find it. (That set of nesting pots from Camping World IS worth it's weight in gold though.)

Paula
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlopez
... since it will avoid service visits later!...
IF only that were true....

is this your first rv?

get the genset, go camping.

USE the unit some, get a feel for what you REALLY need in terms of modifications.

go to some rallies, see what others are doing to personalize their units.

the oem charger/converter is ADEQUATE, there is NO reason to replace it now...

if fact having a marginally adequate (inadequate) service shop mess with it early on,

will ONLY make potential warranty issues on any related item messy, when they happen.

i've used the oem version for 3 years with solar and genset and had ZERO issues or problems with it.

my factory batteries have NOT suffered in any way whatsoever.

only now as i plan to double the solar watts, am i considering a change of converter/charger.

no doubt u r getting excited about the expected deliver and should be.

if is a BIG purchase. make SURE a/s and the dealer have properly assembled and prep'd the unit.

spend more time developing your predelivery inspection approach, and a season of camping adventures...

since these are not 'assembly line' modifications, no modifications really need to be done beforehand.

there will be PLENTY of basic camping/rv supplies to buy early on...

and lots of time to personalize, after u better understand YOUR camping style and needs.

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:36 PM   #7
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Congrats on the new addition to your family! You have a wonderful AS and will have many great nights/days enjoying our beautiful country. It seems that you have all of the important bases covered (2 fans-good choice). I agree with Lewster about the 3-stage charger....this is a must for dry camping if you want the most efficiency from your battery power (you don't say how many, but 2 batteries is a good thing). You may want to spend a few days camping before any major changes.
I use the Yamaha 2400 and it runs the AC without a problem, and no need to deal with 2 generators. It is very quiet and has been a flawless unit.
Again, Congrats on your new purchase and Happy Camping!
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:34 PM   #8
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Lewster,
If the converter put in by the factory is so inferior why do they use it??? If I should switch mine what brand/model do you suggest and how much is it to switch?
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:31 PM   #9
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The factory-supplied converter is suitable for occasional use. Occasional being the one weekend or so per month most RVers use their coaches.
If you are going to use your coach more, or leave it plugged in at home constantly, it makes sense to upgrade to e 3 stage converter. They are not all that expensive.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:52 PM   #10
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If you don't leave it plugged in at home what do you do? Leave it plugged in intermittently?
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIstream'n
If you don't leave it plugged in at home what do you do? Leave it plugged in intermittently?
Yes, kind of like the Army Reserves--one weekend a month, and two weeks a year.
If you are going to leave the fridge on all the time, it would make sense to, among other things, upgrade to the 3 stage unit.
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:10 PM   #12
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if u are worried about boiling the batteries from 24/7/365 charging...

use a simple house hold timer.

plug into a 20 amp timer and set it for 2-4 hours of ON time per day.

this will keep the batteries VERY charged.

IF u wanna use the fridge on electric, set the timer for 10 hours or so of ON time in 3-4 intervals.

i've got 600+ nights of camping in 3 years, which is a tad more than the occasional weekend...

and when not camping the trailer IS plugged in 24/7, with no battery or charger problems.

while i agreed the newer 3 stage charges have added features the parallax IS adequate.

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:37 PM   #13
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Battery charging, converter

Congrats on the new trailer.

We have a 2005 A/S. I leave it plugged in at all times, whether camping, or at home in the shed. The batteries need water once every 4-6 months. Our 1970 model would cook the batteries promptly, but this one is very gentle. Yes, perhaps it doesn't put a GOOD charge into them. I think the Tow vehicle does that.

So far, we have not needed a gen set for our camping. At present, I would go for a Honda 1000 to maintain charge, or the Yamaha 2400 sounds like a good size for heavier use.

Dwight
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIstream'n
Lewster,
If the converter put in by the factory is so inferior why do they use it??? If I should switch mine what brand/model do you suggest and how much is it to switch?
I'm sure that you can blame the suits at Airstream for that decision..... strictly economics!!
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
I'm sure that you can blame the suits at Airstream for that decision..... strictly economics!!
Like we don't pay enough for these babies!! I don't expect everything but for the money it would make sense to not have to change out a converter so you can stay plugged in without roasting your batteries.... So if I'm looking to change this what am I looking for? I went on the best converters website and I was lost before I started . Is there a particular converter you'd recommend?
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIstream'n
Is there a particular converter you'd recommend?
You can either call Randy from Best Converter, or Lew, I'm sure either will be happy to help you. I've had dealings with both of them, and think highly of them both.
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:36 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by overlander63
You can either call Randy from Best Converter, or Lew, I'm sure either will be happy to help you.
Randy can fix you up with the best product for your needs. My personal choices are WFCO, Parralax Paramode Temp Assure, and the new Xantrex units. YMMV
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:19 AM   #18
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Life On it's Own

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlopez
Hi all, Newbie question.

This electrical stuff is really confusing for a newbie.

.................................................. .......................

We want to take advantage of doing any of this stuff predelivery since it will avoid service visits later!

Advice from all you experienced folks on any and all electric please!!! Thanks.

Hector and Brenda
"Luna" - 08 Safari SE 27FB
08 Toyota Tundra
Congratulations on your purchase.
Money is a limiting factor sometimes, time is another limit, we only have so much so be careful.
I like the ideas of the 'old dawgs' that put quality and quantity time in the receiving inspection before taking delivery.
We lived in ours in Maine in December for a month with 1 battery while waiting for our home. It was fun!
I like to keep it simple because when the poop hits the rotating blades it is easier to get back to where you started from, simple.
Good people here, great ideas, also, take time to meet Airstreamers, there are all kinds of them.
R
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:26 AM   #19
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THANKS everyone!!

This forum is great - what a great resource.

Hey Brian and Donna - nice to know we aren't alone in the electrical confusion department

I think we are going to go w 2Air's advice to go with the standard and give it a go before mucking around too much. Seems there is lots you could do but nothing you immediately MUST do. Other than a generator.

Luna's maiden voyage is next Saturday!!!!
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:44 AM   #20
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Hector & Brenda,

Be sure to post a few pix of the maiden voyage! You may want to keep a copy in the AS, so in 20 years you can look back on your adventure....and you will still have a smile.
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