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Old 03-15-2018, 09:39 AM   #1
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Ivins , Utah
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Boondocking in a Classic

With all the new tech - ALDE, Firefly, etc, how efficient are the new Classics while boondocking? Specifically, in the area of electrical consumption? We are considering upgrading from our 2010 27FB and find with itís 300W of solar, the first thing we run out of is fresh water after 3 or four days. Biggest electrical sink is the furnace.

Yes, resource consumption is highly variable, but I am trying to get an idea on how efficient the units can be. For instance, is the ALDE system a bigger or a smaller consumer of electricity off grid than the conventional forced air furnace?

Inverters usually draw an amp or so quiescent current, even if no power is drawn from the outlets. Can the inverter be shut down?

The 27FB draws less than 2 amps in a quiescent state at night, when solar is not adding to the system. Most of that is supporting the refrigerator and a couple other parasitic loads such as to LP detector and others. How does the ClSsic perform in this state?

Appreciate any advice from others who have experience with these systems.
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:53 AM   #2
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I donít have specifics but just did a 4 day adventure. We ran out of water before electric. Realized on day three that there is a draw even when nothing is in use and started using our portable solar to get the system caught back up.

Yes, inverters can be shut off remotely though the firefly. We were not using any heat or cooling at all on this trip and didnít need to charge electrical devices and beyond electric kettle in the morning to heat water our electrical consumption at night was minimal because of head lamps and other light sources beyond the airstream.

Hope this helps keep the conversation going.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:08 PM   #3
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I believe Uncle Bob would be the guy to ask about this. A PM to him might be very useful. As far as I know the Alde system uses much less juice than forced air system. How much less, I don’t know. Another great resource would be a forum member who goes by Lewstar...I believe.
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:41 PM   #4
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My 2017 Classic draws 1.7 Amps in the quiescent state. With the Alde on, heating with LP, pump on, the draw increases 0.8 Amps to 2.5 amps total. The inverter can be shut off.
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:34 PM   #5
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Perfect, Pete, exactly what I was looking for. It appears that the ALDE heating system will draw significantly less power over a cool night, and quiescent draw is very reasonable.

Thanks to all who responded.

Steve
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:47 PM   #6
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That Alde system sounds like quite the energy miser....in a great way! That is a fantastic benefit vs the more common LP furnace with fan. Really fabulous to hear.
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Old 03-16-2018, 12:08 AM   #7
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Just to put a bow on this, I recall that the forced air blower draws about 7 amps, and depending on outside temperature and the thermostat setting, might run 15 to 30 minutes per hour. Thus consuming somewhere between 1.7 to 3.5 amp-hours on average. ALDE heating, at 0.8 amp continuous (ie 0.8 amp-hour) less than half to 1/4 that. YMMV depending how low (or high) the thermostat is set.
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:21 AM   #8
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We have a 2014 31’ Classic that has no issues being off grid. We retrofitted nine 100 watt solar panels on the roof (room for one more) and have a 600 amp-hour lithium battery sitting under the front sofa. The battery can power an A/C unit for a period of time.

So the reality of the 155 watt solar panel installed by a dealer on our 2013 25FB International Serenity (more watts than Airstream installs) was it could not recharge the two batteries from running the furnace overnight dry camping at the Albuquerque Ballon Festival in October.

It was possible to put five 100 watt panels on our 23D and a 300amp-hour lithium battery under the sofa seat with no loss of storage. Both the Classic and 23D have Vitrifrigo refrigerators that have 12Vdc Freon based compressors in addition to Truma instant on water heaters.

One can fine tune power use with practice.

Running the tow vehicle engine to charge the trailer battery system with jumper cables is a very expensive way to charge and the sound of a diesel engine may not go over with the “neighbors”.
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:55 AM   #9
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...
Running the tow vehicle engine to charge the trailer battery system with jumper cables is a very expensive way to charge and the sound of a diesel engine may not go over with the ďneighborsĒ.
My gasoline TV engine is quieter than any high RPM inverter style generator that I have heard and when you look at how fast you can top up the batteries from a high output alternator vs the converter/charger in the trailer it is, IMO, less expensive - especially when you factor in the cost of the generator. You are correct about the noise if you have a diesel pickup. Those are annoying when idling.
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Old 03-16-2018, 07:54 PM   #10
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Glamping

We LOVE boondocking, we have run low on battery by morning when using heater all night on low in Colorado but we happily turn on our generator because no one is camping anywhere near us to hear it.
And I have to have my coffee in am so on goes the coffee maker at the same time as we're juicing up the battery.

Life is good in a Classic!
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Old 03-16-2018, 09:23 PM   #11
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This isn’t quite on topic but more a cautionary post. We have a new 2018 Classic 30’ w solar. Tho on shore power at a SW desert campsite, we began seeing a daily drop in available battery voltage. We chalked a little of that up to being parked in the shade for half days but began being concerned when it kept dropping each day. The converter did not seem to be doing its job. The last day there we woke up in the middle of night to find all of the lights dead.

THE CAUTIONARY PART: these new coaches have so much low power technology that you can’t run many of your accessories if your battery goes dead - no stabilizer jacks, no electric awning, refrigerator, Firefly, Alde, hitch jack and who knows what else. Mercifully we’d got most everything ready for towing a day before.

It all had a good ending thanks to Joe & Allan at Las Vegas Airstream. They took us in on short notice, found it was a likely combination of two things. 1) a loose connection on a battery terminal, thus probably sending intermittent current to a breaker in the converter box, causing it to cut out.

BTW, tho we’ve had an older Classic and got to know it quite well, the new Classic is far more sophisticated and not all controls/breakers/switches are easy to find. The Airstream tech also found the converter & inverter were not fastened to the floor - that too could have played a role.

I’ll be posting this to the Classic forum too as I think it’s worth circulating.
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Old 03-17-2018, 07:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Taj MaHaul View Post
This isnít quite on topic but more a cautionary post. We have a new 2018 Classic 30í w solar. Tho on shore power at a SW desert campsite, we began seeing a daily drop in available battery voltage. We chalked a little of that up to being parked in the shade for half days but began being concerned when it kept dropping each day. The converter did not seem to be doing its job. The last day there we woke up in the middle of night to find all of the lights dead.

THE CAUTIONARY PART: these new coaches have so much low power technology that you canít run many of your accessories if your battery goes dead - no stabilizer jacks, no electric awning, refrigerator, Firefly, Alde, hitch jack and who knows what else. Mercifully weíd got most everything ready for towing a day before.

It all had a good ending thanks to Joe & Allan at Las Vegas Airstream. They took us in on short notice, found it was a likely combination of two things. 1) a loose connection on a battery terminal, thus probably sending intermittent current to a breaker in the converter box, causing it to cut out.

BTW, tho weíve had an older Classic and got to know it quite well, the new Classic is far more sophisticated and not all controls/breakers/switches are easy to find. The Airstream tech also found the converter & inverter were not fastened to the floor - that too could have played a role.

Iíll be posting this to the Classic forum too as I think itís worth circulating.


We have the factory solar panels and have found it is not enough even when we do not need heat. So, this is what we have gone to.

http://www.genconnexdirect.net/honda...generators.htm
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:48 AM   #13
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Hereís my concern with the newer Classics with the Alde heating system, boondocking and cooler/colder weather.

It is my understanding that since there is no hot air furnace that then there is no heating of the belly pan/tanks that you would have with a furnace. Instead they use 12v heat mats. Obviously in early shoulder seasons this shouldnít be much of a problem but if you were boondocking in a Classic and the temps were to drop into the lower 20ís for several days, Iíd be seriously concerned. Youíd have to have one heck of a battery bank to run those all night!!

Someone correct me if this is wrong please as itís what keeps me out of a newer Classic.
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Old 03-17-2018, 12:25 PM   #14
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Hereís my concern with the newer Classics with the Alde heating system, boondocking and cooler/colder weather.



It is my understanding that since there is no hot air furnace that then there is no heating of the belly pan/tanks that you would have with a furnace. Instead they use 12v heat mats. Obviously in early shoulder seasons this shouldnít be much of a problem but if you were boondocking in a Classic and the temps were to drop into the lower 20ís for several days, Iíd be seriously concerned. Youíd have to have one heck of a battery bank to run those all night!!



Someone correct me if this is wrong please as itís what keeps me out of a newer Classic.


Iím more of the mind set that I shouldnít be in low temps that long. Thatís why the trailer is on wheels. In any case, even a 12v matt to heat should be enough if you get a trailer skirt with it as well. Iím many cases a light build in a small space generates enough heat to prevent freezing. Donít need to heat above 60 just need heat above 32 to prevent freezing of small pipes beyond that itís going to take contestant freezing temps to freeze your 50 gal fresh tank too. Just my .02.

Iíll let you know how it goes if I am ever in prolonged freezing temps with my classic vs sipping beers on a beach in Florida or southern Cali.
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:52 PM   #15
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Iím more of the mind set that I shouldnít be in low temps that long. Thatís why the trailer is on wheels. In any case, even a 12v matt to heat should be enough if you get a trailer skirt with it as well. Iím many cases a light build in a small space generates enough heat to prevent freezing. Donít need to heat above 60 just need heat above 32 to prevent freezing of small pipes beyond that itís going to take contestant freezing temps to freeze your 50 gal fresh tank too. Just my .02.

Iíll let you know how it goes if I am ever in prolonged freezing temps with my classic vs sipping beers on a beach in Florida or southern Cali.
I and the OP were talking about boondocking and the power draw of the HEAT. OBVIOUSLY not a concern if you move with the weather. Skirting and light bulbs under the trailer arenít options when boondocking, hence the questions.

Some of us do indeed use our trailers as base camps for skiing, snow shoeing, etc as well as warm season use.
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