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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Converting a travel trailer to all 120/240 volt electric

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colliehauler

Mc Pherson KS USA

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Posted: 12/16/20 08:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BB_TX wrote:

Are you planning to get rid of propane also? If not, remember the water heater on propane uses 12 vdc for control board and solenoid and the furnace runs on 12 vdc.
Not to mention the slideouts, lighting, water pump, stereo. Like others would be foolish in my opinion. Just to change the lighting and wall switches would be a pain. I would also go with a mobile home for better insulation if parked along with being on one level and larger. Would come with residential appliances, toilet, WH, lighting, furnace, A/C along with no black or grey tanks to deal with.

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 12/16/20 08:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

schlep1967 wrote:

Flute Man wrote:

My neighbors fifth wheel has all been converted over and he just loves it. It is now a park model. The plumbing was even changed to residential. His rig is now permanent in an RV park.

I'm just not seeing the benefit. What does he love about it? The only real improvement I can think of is getting rid of the propane heat so you don't have to fill the tanks. Everything else should be the same as long as you are hooked up to electric.
My concern would be a power outage. With no 12 volt back-up your at the mercy of the parks power. You lose your cold storage, hot water, heat and even water if the park has a well instead of public service. With your 12 volt systems you keep all of these for a little while until the power comes back on.


Guess you have never priced "Park" models, have ya.. They are not cheap, most likely switching to all 120V lighting would be far, far cheaper than any Park model even if you had to pay an electrician to do it.

Romex can be added after the fact to walls and ceiling, does take some work to do it, but can be done without ripping up the interior.. At the same time can add in wall mounted light switches which makes like easier for folks that are height challenged.. Would only need one 120V lighting circuit for the entire RV and with the use of all LEDs it isn't going to amount to any big load but you will get far more light than any 12V LEDs..

No need to change outlet wiring, those can be put into a new 240/120V breaker panel.

Heck you could even just add a new 240/120V panel, use a 30A SINGLE POLE breaker to feed the existing panel and you would be pretty much all set.

The only issues I see is you would need to convert or replace the existing furnace, conversion I would not imagine that would be easy or cheap and a new 120V park model furnace would be insanely expensive..

Water heater if DSI would require 12V for the ignition and safety system board ( although if they have a pilot only water heater there is no issue with no 12V, Replacing the water heater with pilot only is going to set them back $00 easily) and the RV fridge would need to go since it also requires 12V for the control board, that would cost $400 for a 10 cu ft home fridge.

As far as the reasons to replace the 12V system, well I am sure the OP has their reasons.. Part of it is they may be wanting to get rid of the battery maintenance/replacement costs..

If this is the case, it can be done even if they plan to travel, with one caveat.. They WILL still need a SMALL battery for the emergency Break away braking system. That can be a small gel-cell system like this..

[image]

About $40 for that box with battery..

schlep1967

Harrisburg, PA

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Posted: 12/16/20 09:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:

schlep1967 wrote:

Flute Man wrote:


As far as the reasons to replace the 12V system, well I am sure the OP has their reasons.. Part of it is they may be wanting to get rid of the battery maintenance/replacement costs..

What cost is there to maintaining the existing battery? Replace it every 5 to 10 years? A lot cheaper than any other option.


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theoldwizard1

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Posted: 12/16/20 10:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

Biggest issue would be replacing the lighting with 120v.

Keep the 12V lighting, but replace the converter with a small 12 power supply.

BurbMan wrote:

Would you abandon propane too and make everything electric?

I would. One less thing to think about. Residential fridge, microwave and 1 or possibly 2 induction cook plates.

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 12/16/20 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hmm.. not sure what happened to the editor, kind of ran all of my comments into someone elses?

To correct that I move my comments to the top and made them red for clarity..

Some folks tend to burn up batteries every 2yrs-3yrs (not myself though) and some folks may feel it is a total waste to have a battery sitting around idle, 24/7/365.

Most FLA batteries in group 24/27 sizes are "maintenance free" sealed filler lids, so you can't add any water when they get low which can quickly shorten the battery life.. Even with multistage converters, over time with the battery continually being charged even in "maintenance mode" of 13.2V the battery WILL lose some water over time.

I have a pair of GC2s which use about 16 oz of water per yr, GC2s are larger than group24/27 and have more electrolyte capacity and can afford to lose some water due to constant charging..

Group 24/27 do not have much room for water loss..

I would hazard a guess that group24/27 is going to lose 3 oz maybe 4 oz of water per yr.. 3 yrs is going to mean that batteries plates will be nearly exposed if you can't pry the lids off. Dead battery shortly after the plates are exposed.

Batteries are not cheap by any means, group24 is going to pinch your wallet for $70-$80 and some folks just don't want to put that into there rig just to sit around unused.

I am sure someone is just about ready to tell the OP to get Lithium based batteries instead of retrofitting the electrical system [emoticon]


schlep1967 wrote:

Gdetrailer wrote:

schlep1967 wrote:

Flute Man wrote:


As far as the reasons to replace the 12V system, well I am sure the OP has their reasons.. Part of it is they may be wanting to get rid of the battery maintenance/replacement costs..

What cost is there to maintaining the existing battery? Replace it every 5 to 10 years? A lot cheaper than any other option.


valhalla360

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Posted: 12/16/20 10:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm failing to see a purpose:
- If you are towing, you need a battery if for no other reason than the emergency brakes if the trailer becomes separated.
- If you are stationary, the battery lasts pretty much forever because it's never run down.

By the time you update all the 12v devices, you are likely looking in the thousands of dollars to pay someone (cheaper obviously DIY but still far from free). All to save replacing a $50 battery every 5-10yrs.


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time2roll

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Posted: 12/16/20 11:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Guy Roan wrote:

Has any one here ever done it and got rid of the 12 volt system and inverter/converter ?
No


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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 12/16/20 12:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

I'm failing to see a purpose:
- If you are towing, you need a battery if for no other reason than the emergency brakes if the trailer becomes separated.
- If you are stationary, the battery lasts pretty much forever because it's never run down.

By the time you update all the 12v devices, you are likely looking in the thousands of dollars to pay someone (cheaper obviously DIY but still far from free). All to save replacing a $50 battery every 5-10yrs.


Batteries do not "last forever" just because they are not "run down".

Batteries DO FAIL not being "run down".

Just because modern RVs may have a multistage charging converter does not mean the batteries will "last forever".

Multistage converters will apply 13.2V in storage mode, that WILL boil any battery dry in 3yr-5yrs IF you do nothing to the battery like ADDING WATER.

My GC2 batteries use 16 oz of water per yr and that IS with a converter that DOES go into storage mode at 13.2V, they are substantially larger than any group24/27 battery, they have more water capacity to afford more water loss than any group24/27..

Most RV/marine batteries are SEALED, the tops ARE PLASTIC WELDED IN PLACE and cannot be removed without serious force which typically damages the caps in the process.

If the trailer is not going to ever be towed again, leaving a 12V battery connected is the dumbest thing I have ever heard and a complete waste of money.

Modern switching power supply converters actually CAN be operated WITHOUT A BATTERY CONNECTED. The old transformer linear converters cannot.

OP COULD just remove the battery and as long as they are plugged into shore power the converter should supply enough 12V to run the furnace, lights, fridge control board, water heater control board.

BUT, the thing you are also missing is the OP mentioned replacing the 30A 120V supply with 120V/240V supply which at least means they will be rewiring anyway with new breaker panel and I suspect they were planning to stay in one place..

Not unheard of and I am sure folks HAVE done this, recently seen someone posting about removing all the grey and black tanks and putting a residential toilet..

So, not everyone likes to hug all of the RV stuff..

I AM sure the OP has their reasons for the questions and I would not doubt that they have left the building after all of the sniveling here about batteries being cheap and live forever.. They are not cheap and they do not live forever so if you don't plan to use the 12V stuff why keep it clicking away at a battery?

trail-explorer

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Posted: 12/16/20 12:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bumpyroad wrote:

do "park" models run stuff on 12 volt?
bumpy


Probably should start your own thread for your question, since it has nothing to do with the OP's topic.


Bob

Guy Roan

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Posted: 12/16/20 01:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

“My concern would be a power outage. With no 12 volt back-up...”

Excellent comment! X2


Do you have 12 volt back up in you residential home now ?
Do you have a 12 volt system that can burn out now in your residential home.
Why don't you have a dual water heater system in your residential home

I won't answer all the questions or comment on all the remarks but I am glad to see that one person with a fifth wheel did it and loves it.

And I will comment that it is a lot easier trouble shooting just a 120/240 volt system then that combined with a 12 volt system

Guy

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