We bought a Camper Trailer! WOOT! Now, what?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Galen925, Jul 17, 2017 at 12:40 PM.

  1. Galen925

    Galen925 New Member

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    Jul 11, 2017
    Hi all, so excited to be part of all these discussions. Last week we purchased a 2007 Rockwood HW pop-up. Im obsessed at the very least, I feel like so many doors just opened up for me and the family.

    A couple questions for those more seasoned with camper-ing:

    1) If traveling off the grid, how many Amp/Hours is your battery (batteries)?

    2) I'm considering the WindyNation Solar kit from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CETDCJK/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=A2TN19FHI2Z5KL&psc=1) .... does anyone have RV Solar solutions they'd like to share with me?

    3) What are some must-haves for getting the most fun in a camper for a family of four?


    THANKS ALL!
     
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  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    When camping off grid you will need to do an energy audit of your usage. If your very conservative changing lights over to LEDs and use them minimally with minimal use of water pump and that's it a group 24 battery could last you two to three days if not more. If your family plans to use the furnace a lot or leave lights on or hook up an converter to use other powered devises you will go through a group 24 battery VERY quick. So you first need to figure out what your needs are then you can determine what size battery you will need to then figure out solar options. If you do more dry camping then not, two golf cart batteries in parallel may be the way to go. So best to try it out in a camp driveway fashion before going to camp and realizing you ran out of power half way through. Everyone has their own way of camping. I operate as if I'm tent camping so hardly use power, now my family, forget it, they use power like no tomorrow. Ugh.
     
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  3. Galen925

    Galen925 New Member

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    Jul 11, 2017
    Great suggestions. I'm not sure how I'll be setting this up, but my camper has a converter already installed. My plan was to use the Solar to keep my battery charged (2x 100Wh deep cycle, group 27). Then, I'd run everything off battery power using the existing system. It seems like some solar users run directly off the DC produced from the solar and others hook up a 1500W inverter. My existing converter I'm guessing only kicks in when we use AC appliances, correct me if you know otherwise. The furnace & 3-way fridge will operate on propane when we don't use shore power.

    So my question now, is this a good plan to use the solar just to top-off the batteries? I doubt my usage during the day will be significant & my biggest concern is the use of a CPAP at night.
     
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  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    2,130
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    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    If you camp with a good source of sunlight then solar should work for you. I will have to leave the size of the panels etc to the experts. The furnace even when on propane still uses the battery to power the fan so don't totally discredit the furnace. Now the big question and I'm afraid not my area of expertise is where your CPAP machine is involved. Not sure how much power it uses. You don't want to deplete the battery altogether as that could shorten the life of a battery. There was another post regarding this same issue so try and do a search for CPAP and battery perhaps you can find it and see what someone else did.
     
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  5. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    Mar 17, 2013
    Austin , Texas
    A converter changes 120 VAC to 12 VDC. It runs your lights, pump and furnace when you are connected to shore power. It also is the power center housing the 120VAC circuit breakers and fuses for the 12 VDC circuits. To run 120 VAC items you need an inverter.
     
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  6. BillG

    BillG Go'in fishing

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    Mar 8, 2011
    Capital District NY
    Your CPAP will hook up to the 12v output of the battery. I use one when camping and disconnect the humidifier as that runs off 120v. You will need a "auxiliary" socket, better know to me as a cigarette lighter outlet and a cable to run from the CPAP to that socket.
    I use a generator and run it during generator hours to keep my batteries topped off. The CPAP should last two nights without a recharge and conservative use of the electricity.
     
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  7. Galen925

    Galen925 New Member

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    Jul 11, 2017
    Yes, I've seen several of these CPAP posts. I think 200Ah of battery storage will suffice, the device uses


    Thanks, this helps me understand yet a little more. My camper is equipped with an AC unit and a 3-way fridge. When hooked up to shore power, do the Fridge and AirConditioner run off AC power typically?
     
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  8. Txbum

    Txbum Pop up, Pop Top, Chill....Ahhhh

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    Mar 25, 2013
    yes, you will need a.c shore power to run your air conditioner and refrigerator. unless your refrigerator is a three way unit, that can run on commercial a.c. ,lpg propane gas, or 12vdc battery power. You would want to run on commercial shore power to be safe. Save your battery and propane gas.
     
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  9. WeRJuliIan

    WeRJuliIan If it's "Aluminum", why not "Sodum" and "Uranum"?

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    Sarasota, FL
    How about this... set it up in Camp Driveway, and try "living" in it for a few days, a weekend or whatever.
    That will give you all the fun of trying it out, and let you see how fast "normal use" will knock down your batteries.

    Above all... have fun!
     
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  10. mpking

    mpking Active Member

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    Jun 17, 2014
    Raynham, MA
    One other thing. Those panels you linked too are pretty expensive.

    I personally like the Renology brand: (This is the suitcase model, not permanently mounted)
    http://a.co/h5CEfnw
     
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  11. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    Mar 17, 2013
    Austin , Texas
    Not necessarily; Of the three heat source for most(all?) RV fridges propane puts out the most heat, so it cools the best. 120VAC is the next best source. 12VDC is usually at best mediocre, just barely enough to keep the fridge cold during travels. So if you need to keep the fridge as cold as possible, run on propane. It actually doesn't use that must propane.
     
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  12. BillG

    BillG Go'in fishing

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    Mar 8, 2011
    Capital District NY
    I guess I was not clear, but I usually dry camp where I do not have access to shore power. That is where it is necessary to recharge the battery. If you have shore power that would not be necessary.
    Last year I did camp with access to shore power and it was nice and there were no thoughts about use of the CPAP.
     
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  13. SteveP

    SteveP Member

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    May 21, 2015
    You'll get more bang for the buck if you put more money into your battery bank. Assuming your g27 is probably not new you should look at upgrading your battery bank first. If you have room on the tongue, and your tv can handle the additional tongue you might think about going to two GC2s. You might be able to get 3 or 4 days camping with no other mods.

    I have a G31 battery and 100 watt panel mounted flat on the roof. The reason for the G31 is that my tongue is crowded and I haven't figured how to mount dual batteries yet. I use a Resmed S9 cpap 8 hours every night. I can make it through 2 days without sun and if I average 4 hours of sun a day I can run indefinitely. I mostly camp in west TX and NM so sun is not an issue for me. Because you have a high wall camper I think you probably have more parasitic drain than I do.

    I agree with MPKING that the kit you linked is a pretty pricey. I think you can get a better system for less money. Shop around a bit. Take a look at Nick Gatel's blog for some good ideas and then scale back to what you need.
     
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  14. Txbum

    Txbum Pop up, Pop Top, Chill....Ahhhh

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    Mar 25, 2013
    Now I see your question....I read a forum called Myswag.org...it is an Australian off road camping site. There is much info about bush (off grid) camping especially about the use of solar energy . It is free to subscribe. There is a search function in the site. Aussie terms (slang) can be interesting. Example we use charcoal briquettes, they refer the charcoal as heat beads. A PIG is a smoker grill usually home made. A BILLY is a pot for boiling water. Txbum
     
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  15. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Active Member

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    Nov 25, 2016
    Chicago suburbs
    Well I have no battery/solar experience, so I'll answer your question #3. I tried to think about what truly makes our family of 5 have a happy camping trip.

    1. Snacks
    2. Organization
    3. Outside games/toys/balls
    4. Inside activities for when it rains (cards, dice, coloring, small toys, etc.)
    5. Rum

    1 makes everybody happy. 2 makes me happy. 3 & 4 make the kids not fight. 5 is for when the first four fail!
     
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  16. djturnz

    djturnz Member

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    Jun 13, 2014
    One post said to use two golf cart batteries in parallel and i didn't see it corrected.
    Its two GC2s in series to get 12v.
     
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