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Golferdude21

Illinois

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Posted: 07/05/19 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi guys,
So my wife and I are going to start dry camping. We have a 2007 27’ toyhauler w onboard generator. Most places im seeing do not allow generators 24/7 or are very limited usage if not allowed at all. So planning on upgrading to LED lights inside to start with. And getting a new deep cycle battery cause ours is somewhat old...as far as the fridge goes are you guys that boobdock even using it??? Or are you keeping your meat eggs and such in a yeti/orca type cooler. We only plan on dry camping for a few days 3 at most right now. Dont plan to invest in any solar panels right now. I know well use lights and water pump...how much energy does water heater use. Ours is a pretty standard 6 gal unit, any input is appreciated. Do i need nultiple batteries or can i get away with one big one like a group 27? Or somethin. TIA

way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 07/05/19 10:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure what type of rig you have but won't your fridge and water heater also run on LP?

garym114

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Posted: 07/05/19 10:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Two 6v GC2 batteries would be best, common golf cart size.


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West Haven CT

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Posted: 07/05/19 10:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your water heater and refrigerator should operate on your propane if your dry camping with a small draw off your batteries for control voltage. Multiple batteries would be better . You could use your generator within whatever the rules are for where your staying to recharge your batteries. You should have enough propane with full tanks for a lot longer than 3 days.


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Golferdude21

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Posted: 07/05/19 10:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes both water heater and dometic fridge/freezer can run on LP...how much battery life does the fridge use... i know its hard to tell but on average with a new group 27 battery

wanderingaimlessly

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Posted: 07/05/19 10:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For three days, you can pretty easily modify your behavoir enough to get by with minimal equipment changes.
Learn to use Navy showers to minimize water consumption.
You have a Genny so plan to use it for a couple hours morning and evening to charge your batteries. You wont get back to 100% but if you get back to 90% after the first night, and to 80% the second night, you will be good for that third day.
You will want to get 2 good batteries, and no, a group 27 rv/marine is not a big battery. Either go to a pair of group 31's or better yet, a pair of GC-2, 6 volt batteries wired in series will give you much more usable power.

LED lights will help a lot, reefer use on propane uses minimal electric power for its controls, so use it.
Furnace is a hard user of 12 volt power for the fan, but are you planning ski trips with the trailer? If not evenings in the 40's to 50's are not that had to get through, set the thermostat back to 60 or a little less overnight, and use an extra blanket.

Summer use with a need for AC is the one that is difficult, Batteries cant do much for that unless you go huge.
Try a trip in the fall when temps are moderate, and then decide for yourselves how far into winter you are comfortable.

Happytraveler

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Posted: 07/05/19 10:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We carry a little Honda 2000 generator with us when we dry camp. It's quiet and doesn't use much gas. We use propane for the fridge and hotwater tank.


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Posted: 07/05/19 11:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Solar isn't an investment. It is a quiet, effective way to recharge your batteries without fuel, noise or your attention. Who wants to listen to even a small Honda generator for three hours a day? (PS Your dry camping neighbors don't)


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opnspaces

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Posted: 07/05/19 12:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The majority of my camping is boondocking, though in Southern California deserts, not Illinois so some of my suggestions may not apply. Do be aware though that while we all want to help, we also find it very easy to spend your money for you. So take the suggestions, even mine with a grain of salt and consider if it really makes sense for you at this time. Also I am a pretty frugal guy, but I realize that cheapest is not always best.

First and foremost I would do absolutely nothing, make no modifications and just go dry camp and see what happens. It's summer, it's not like you're going to freeze to death overnight if the battery dies or the furnace quits. Bring an extra blanket or sleeping bag and go see what happens. Worst case every system dies and you're still in a large comfortable tent (toy hauler).

If you decide to replace your battery, and you have room, then by far the most cost effective replacement for a capacity boost is two 6 volt batteries from Costco or Sams club. Around here everyone I know is a Costco member so even if I wasn't, I could easily get my neighbor to go with me to buy batteries if needed. Trojan 6 volt batteries are nice, but they add to the cost for very little in performance increase.

6 volt batteries are wired in series instead of parallel like 12 volt batteries. What that means is you will have to add a single wire between the two batteries. If you have any 8 gauge multi stranded wire around the house that is good enough for what you are doing. You can also go to Walmart or the auto parts store and buy a short battery cable with a ring terminal on either end to connect the batteries.

How to wire batteries in series. Ignore the disconnect if you do not have one.
[image]

How to wire batteries in parallel.
[image]

You can add LED lights to conserve battery power. I did, but I also ran for years on my normal incandescent lights without a problem. Feel free to use your lights as needed. Just don't turn on lights for no reason and leave them off when not needed and you'll be fine.

Your propane refrigerator still needs 12 volts from the battery to run the circuit board. Definitely use your refrigerator, but pre-chill all the food in your home refrigerator and turn on your TH fridge the night before loading. If you have a cooler load it with ice just in case the fridge dies (which truly it won't unless the battery dies)

The air conditioner is out of the question unless you run the generator.

Most toy haulers have large tanks, I only have 40 gallons of fresh and can make it through a weekend. Just don't waste water and you will be fine. Take navy showers.
  • Get wet including your hair and turn off shower head.
  • Soap up head to toe.
  • Turn on shower head and rinse off.
  • Shut off shower and get out.


For washing dishes many people use plastic tubs in the sink, one for wash water and one for rinse water. I do it differently and use running water to rinse the dishes as I feel it gets them cleaner. But only turn the faucet on a little bit. The stream should be maybe half the thickness of a pencil or less. Turning the faucet on harder is only wasting water. Also I use a lot of paper plates when appropriate (not going to use paper when eating a steak for example) so I'm mostly washing things like a spatula or a serving tray etc.

As the weather cools and you start to run the furnace more you might start wanting to use the generator to charge the batteries. Find your battery charger on the TH, it is probably behind or under the fuse panel. Let us know the make and model and we can tell you if it's worth keeping or replacing for charging on generator power. If money is tight and it's not a good charger but you have a decent charger in your garage you can bring that one along and run it off the generator.

Water heater isn't going to impact the battery much, won't really affect your propane usage much either. But I only turn the water heater on in the morning then turn it off once hot. The tank will stay warm all day and sometimes all night. So unless taking a shower the water heater is mostly turned off.

* This post was edited 07/05/19 01:09pm by opnspaces *


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the bear II

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Posted: 07/05/19 12:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WE have a 37ft 5th wheel and added a total of 4 batteries (just plain old 12v deep cycle). We can go for 4 days without a recharge by using LED lights only when needed. We will run our generator during hours allowed to recharge if needed and to run microwave to fix meals and TV/Satellite box in the evening. With the generator use we can extend our time as long as we have fuel, grey and black tank capacity plus freshwater. 2 weeks has been the maximum stay without having to dump tanks (I did use a 5 gallon blueboy tank and dumping it in a campground outhouse to keep the grey tank from filling up).

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