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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > What can I plug in and run off batteries?

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kdenneny

Delaware

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Posted: 04/12/10 12:06pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BeeDub wrote:

So in terms of my batteries, the only real things they are powering then are the lights, bathroom fan, range hood, and the fridge when it's not running off the propane? Anything else, I am gonna need an inverter or run my generator. That's kind of what I am hearing. As for an inverter, what's the best kind - hard-wired or plug-in? Can a plug-in run a laptop or a coffee maker just fine?


Fridge runs off 110v OR Propane, not off battery (although it needs a slight amount of battery power for the control when on propane). I was shocked when I found out how little propane the fridge uses!

When we dry camp, I use a stove top coffee percolator (wally world) to avoid needing the generator first thing in the morning. Really only leaves the hair dryer for my 3 girls, or the A/C later in the day if needed.

Happy Camping!


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ksg5000

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Posted: 04/12/10 12:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BeeDub wrote:

I don't want to run my generator all the time just to watch TV or make a pot of coffee! HELP!!


Dry camping requires common sense and energy conservation - no big deal.

If you have a generator then use it when it makes sense - high energy items which would quickly deplete your battery (using an inverter) should be run by your generator - microwave, hair dryer, and coffee maker only require you to run your generator for a short time. Running those devices off an inverter may require a more expensive inverter and your going to have to run a generator significantly longer to replenish the batteries than the few minutes it would take to run the devices using the generator. Modern TV is energy efficient and can be run off an inverter with no problem.

Also - remember that running your batteries too low damages the battery.


Kevin

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Northern California

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Posted: 04/12/10 01:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This site helped me understand an RV's electrical system. If you get a chance, take a look. Click Here


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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 04/12/10 12:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi BeeDub,

All but the smallest inverters need to be hardwired. Some plug in ones will run a laptop. Some laptops can only be charged with a plug in inverter.

The coffee pot may need 1000 watts (That would be 100 amps of load on the battery bank).

I have a Cobra that runs my entire RV if needed.

To see all the electrical mods I've made to my RV surf here:

Technology

and click on "Solar Boondocking".

BeeDub wrote:

snip
As for an inverter, what's the best kind - hard-wired or plug-in? Can a plug-in run a laptop or a coffee maker just fine?



Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

Tothill

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Posted: 04/12/10 06:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BeeDub wrote:

Another dumb newbie question here! When I am dry camping, what kind of appliances can I plug directly into my trailer's outlets and run off battery power? TV, coffee maker, hot pot, hair dryer, DVD player, cell phone charger, etc.? Or do I need an inverter to run these types of things? I don't want to run my generator all the time just to watch TV or make a pot of coffee! HELP!!


For your cell phone use on the 12V outlets and use your car charger, or just charge it in the TV.

Use a non electric coffee pot. There are many options ranging from Coleman coffee makers that go on the stove to stove top espresso makers, French Press and drip coffee makers.

I am not sure what you mean by a hot pot, but a cast iron dutch oven will cook most things with a few briquettes and some foil.

As far as a hair dryer goes, where will you be dry camping that coiffed hair is important? A towel works well for drying hair, as does sitting in the sunshine.

We removed the television from our RV, but do bring a laptop. We only watch movies on it if we have had a few days of rain, otherwise we play games on rainy days. The battery lasts quite a few hours and we do charge it with an inverter if needed.

Other things that use battery power, furnace fan, fridge fan, stove fan, bathroom fan, all lights inside and out, automatic step, C0 monitor, water pump tank guages, TV antenna booster (we do not use).

John Bridge

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Posted: 04/12/10 07:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have two pretty good 12-volt deep cycle batteries wired to a master switch, so I use only one battery at a time. When the first one gets weak I know how much longer we can go without recharging. I make a game of seeing how long we can go on battery power alone. No unneeded lights are left burning. I go by the number of bulb, not the number of fixtures. If a one-bulb fixture with do, that's the one that's used. When you turn on a light you turn one off -- that sort of thing. The longest we have dry camped is two days and nights, so I've never run out of battery power.

I've installed a 12-volt car radio/deck, and I've just purchased a 12-volt TV that won't be used much on battery power. It will be handy, though, for the times will pull into rest areas or truck plazas for the night. It's nice to catch the news and weather.

You can still buy old fashion percolators, and we have one for when there is no AC power available. I think part of the fun of dry camping is appreciating how little you can get by on.


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catkins

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Posted: 04/12/10 08:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, time for a ball cap unless you have a generator............ likely no hair dryer unless you use a generator. Anything that produces heat requires a huge amount of energy. The coffee pot and hair dryer are not going work off the battery(s) unless you have lots of batteries and a huge inverter. Another big draw is the fan for the furnace. Dry camping is really a balancing act between what you must do and what you would like to do. Without specifics on your system, we are kind fo guessing here. Even minimal use of incadencet lightbulbs draws lots of battery power down.... more batteries than come standard, a bigger inverter plus a way to recharge the batteries will be required for lots of "normal use" dry camping. Good luck!

Cruzette

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Posted: 04/13/10 07:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Before we got a generator we could go for about 4 days if we were careful on our 2 batteries. We never ran the heater, as the fan can drain the battery. And we ran the frig on propane.

You'd be surprised as to what will require some battery when dry camping. Not only the lights, but every time you flush the toilet or wash some dishes and turn the pump on, you are using up the charge on your battery.

Get yourself some flannel sheets and some extra blankets, it usually gets cold at night. I always set up the coffee pot and the tea kettle before I went to bed at night and the first thing in the morning I would start the coffee & tea and the stove would do a pretty good job of warming up the RV, especially if you close off the bedroom.

Good luck!


It doesn't matter where you go in life.........it's who you have beside you


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BeeDub

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Posted: 04/13/10 08:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all the replies! I am still learning an awful lot about this whole world of RVing! I do have a generator, although it's the Champion model that is either hated or beloved on this forum. I do have a old percolator coffee maker from my tent camping days, so I will use that one.

My family is just beside themselves that we finally broke down and got the trailer. I have to admit, I am pretty darn excited myself. The bummer is that we picked up the trailer last month, and I swear it has done nothing but snow and be miserable here in Montana since! In fact, it's snowing again here in Helena and we are supposed to get another 4-6 inches --- ughhhhhhhh! We just look out the window at the trailer and pray for Spring!


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fixer58

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Posted: 04/13/10 09:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

John Bridge wrote:

....... I think part of the fun of dry camping is appreciating how little you can get by on.



If you like running for a long time with out starting your generator you ought to go LED bulb replacements. They burn 12% the power of incandescent bulbs. They product from 70 to 110% of the light bulb they replace, depending on the LEDs you get, and are a very comfortable light. In other words they are easy on the eyes.

Click the link below to see them. Warm White is the way to go.
http://led4rv.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=5

Another neat thing they have out now is a 12 and 18 inch LED strip that replaces the fluorescent light. They also consume 12% the power and you don't need a ballast. You just BYPASS the ballast. These work when it is cold and last 5000 hours. They also have a video that shows how to replace them.

Click here to see the strips and the repair video


Fix

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