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 > Practicality of non-propane Camper

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Posted: 05/08/22 03:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wa8yxm wrote:

there is a water heating system or two (Aqua-Hot for one) that uses diesel fuel to heat or uses engine heat... And you can use the hot water to heat cabin if you have enough of it.. (There used to be a residential water heater that did that in fact.. Hi-Point made in Marshall, MI.)

but I don't know anyone doing it.. I like propane for cooking, though I often use gas.


That’s essentially what we have in our trailer. Except it uses propane. There are essentially 4 radiators in the trailer and then a small 10 litre (I think) hot water tank that share the same heat exchanger fluid. It actually runs on electric 120 volt or propane selectable by the user. But for on demand hot water it has to be on propane as the electric side is selectable to 1 element or 2 element depending if you are on 15 amp or 30 amp service. All of our camping so far this year has been dry camping so we have only used propane. It uses a small super quiet 12 volt circulation pump for the heat exchanger fluid. Very low 12 usage. Only down side is it takes a couple hours to heat it up from cold where a furnace is like 10 minutes. Essentially the same kinda idea as the aqua hot systems but propane.

StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 05/09/22 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DiploStrat wrote:




Our current vehicle has 800Ah of lithium iron and 600w of solar. Of course, we also have a bigger, two door refrigerator.

Historic data: We budget 30 wall clock minutes of power per meal; 15 minutes of microwave and 15 minutes of induction cooktop. At a guesstimated consumption of 150A, this works out to about 75Ah for a dinner. With a two door refrigerator, fans/heat, lights, etc., we are usually down about 125 - 135Ah overnight.

Lithium iron allows a lot more power in less space/weight, but we did this for years with lead acid AGM.



While I can apreaceate the ability to do this I am still amazed at how much power people use when there camping.. Maybe I am just the not normal one.

in my truck camper with the furnace running most of the time my AH consumption is about 35AH a day. in my 40 foot 5th wheel it is only up around 85 at 28 degrees F so running the furnace, letting the kids watch 1 movie a night and using my kureg in the morning and after supper and the odd microwave use.. popcorn... so your supper alone is almost my entire days use , but I am using propane not power, and same for my fridge and furnace..

I reciently upgraded to LFP batteries in the camper, and I am still playing to see what I can do with it but my rough capacity is 9 to 10 times my daily use, as I use it a lot in the real early spring and late fall when there is or could be snow on the ground still and we get a lot of overcast days so I want to be able to go untill the sun comes back out and can charge everything up again. I plan on switching the 5th over also , just watching for screaming sales again..

I guess my thought process is that by leaving the furnace, fridge, and stove on Propane, I can focus my power on the lights, furnace fan, pumps etc which maximizes the length of time I can go.. with the solar set up in the summer water and take capacity are my limiting factors now as I can go a couple months on the propane and I'll never run out of power with the solar panels..


2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
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DiploStrat

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Posted: 05/09/22 09:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There were some comments about gasoline/diesel heaters. This just appeared on the EXPO Portal.

Gas - Diesel Heaters for Overland Travel


DiploStrat

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DiploStrat

Arlington VA

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Posted: 05/09/22 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

StirCrazy wrote:


While I can appreciate the ability to do this I am still amazed at how much power people use when they are camping.. Maybe I am just the not normal one.

in my truck camper with the furnace running most of the time my AH consumption is about 35AH a day. in my 40 foot 5th wheel it is only up around 85 at 28 degrees F so running the furnace, letting the kids watch 1 movie a night and using my kureg in the morning and after supper and the odd microwave use.. popcorn... so your supper alone is almost my entire days use , but I am using propane not power, and same for my fridge and furnace..

I recently upgraded to LFP batteries in the camper, and I am still playing to see what I can do with it but my rough capacity is 9 to 10 times my daily use, as I use it a lot in the real early spring and late fall when there is or could be snow on the ground still and we get a lot of overcast days so I want to be able to go until the sun comes back out and can charge everything up again. I plan on switching the 5th over also , just watching for screaming sales again..

I guess my thought process is that by leaving the furnace, fridge, and stove on Propane, I can focus my power on the lights, furnace fan, pumps etc which maximizes the length of time I can go.. with the solar set up in the summer water and take capacity are my limiting factors now as I can go a couple months on the propane and I'll never run out of power with the solar panels..


Would be interesting to do an energy audit - am I using the same amount of energy, regardless of source. As my camper is considerably smaller than a fifth wheel, I suspect so. I am just using electricity as opposed to propane.

My objection to propane is mostly the challenge of finding the right adapters outside of the US, getting a certification that there is no propane left before shipping, compressor refrigerators tend to work better than absorption, and, finally, a 60 gallon diesel tank will produce more heat, longer than a common propane tank without the need to refill.

But if you never travel outside of the US, none of this may be worth it. Ironically, we have a gas stove at home. [emoticon]


toedtoes

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Posted: 05/09/22 09:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

StirCrazy wrote:

DiploStrat wrote:




Our current vehicle has 800Ah of lithium iron and 600w of solar. Of course, we also have a bigger, two door refrigerator.

Historic data: We budget 30 wall clock minutes of power per meal; 15 minutes of microwave and 15 minutes of induction cooktop. At a guesstimated consumption of 150A, this works out to about 75Ah for a dinner. With a two door refrigerator, fans/heat, lights, etc., we are usually down about 125 - 135Ah overnight.

Lithium iron allows a lot more power in less space/weight, but we did this for years with lead acid AGM.



While I can apreaceate the ability to do this I am still amazed at how much power people use when there camping.. Maybe I am just the not normal one.

in my truck camper with the furnace running most of the time my AH consumption is about 35AH a day. in my 40 foot 5th wheel it is only up around 85 at 28 degrees F so running the furnace, letting the kids watch 1 movie a night and using my kureg in the morning and after supper and the odd microwave use.. popcorn... so your supper alone is almost my entire days use , but I am using propane not power, and same for my fridge and furnace..

I reciently upgraded to LFP batteries in the camper, and I am still playing to see what I can do with it but my rough capacity is 9 to 10 times my daily use, as I use it a lot in the real early spring and late fall when there is or could be snow on the ground still and we get a lot of overcast days so I want to be able to go untill the sun comes back out and can charge everything up again. I plan on switching the 5th over also , just watching for screaming sales again..

I guess my thought process is that by leaving the furnace, fridge, and stove on Propane, I can focus my power on the lights, furnace fan, pumps etc which maximizes the length of time I can go.. with the solar set up in the summer water and take capacity are my limiting factors now as I can go a couple months on the propane and I'll never run out of power with the solar panels..


My electric use is even less. I don't run an onboard furnace - I use a Mr Heater and a small canister of propane to take off the chill the few times it's necessary. Electric only runs the water pump, a light or two for 30-60 minutes a day max, and recharging a phone/kindle when needed. I run out of fresh water long before I run out of battery (no solar) or propane.


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Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

DiploStrat

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Posted: 05/09/22 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

toedtoes wrote:

...I run out of fresh water long before I run out of battery (no solar) or propane.


That's why I have a 100 USG water tank! After years of living out of the back of a Blazer, we do love our (hot) showers! [emoticon]

afidel

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Posted: 05/10/22 12:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

K3WE wrote:

Very simple: Do you want, or need to camp with batteries/no electrical hookup?

Typical battery setups fall way way way short on heating, cooking and AC .

Being slightly more complicated: 20 and 30 Amp hookups also fall a little short sometimes...It can be done, but you'll have to stagger things.


The last one is where a solar setup with a decent battery bank and a hybrid inverter come into play, set your max AC input at 24A or 16A and let the inverter and battery bank make up any spikes.

I haven't done it yet but in theory a DC air conditioner and 6-700 watts of solar should allow you to keep the bedroom of a typical RV cooled during the day (won't help in places with high overnight temps unless you go massively overkill on solar and battery). I say should because I've seen some van lifers do it and the size of a typical RV bedroom and a van aren't that dissimilar.


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StirCrazy

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Posted: 05/10/22 06:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

toedtoes wrote:

StirCrazy wrote:

DiploStrat wrote:




Our current vehicle has 800Ah of lithium iron and 600w of solar. Of course, we also have a bigger, two door refrigerator.

Historic data: We budget 30 wall clock minutes of power per meal; 15 minutes of microwave and 15 minutes of induction cooktop. At a guesstimated consumption of 150A, this works out to about 75Ah for a dinner. With a two door refrigerator, fans/heat, lights, etc., we are usually down about 125 - 135Ah overnight.

Lithium iron allows a lot more power in less space/weight, but we did this for years with lead acid AGM.



While I can apreaceate the ability to do this I am still amazed at how much power people use when there camping.. Maybe I am just the not normal one.

in my truck camper with the furnace running most of the time my AH consumption is about 35AH a day. in my 40 foot 5th wheel it is only up around 85 at 28 degrees F so running the furnace, letting the kids watch 1 movie a night and using my kureg in the morning and after supper and the odd microwave use.. popcorn... so your supper alone is almost my entire days use , but I am using propane not power, and same for my fridge and furnace..

I reciently upgraded to LFP batteries in the camper, and I am still playing to see what I can do with it but my rough capacity is 9 to 10 times my daily use, as I use it a lot in the real early spring and late fall when there is or could be snow on the ground still and we get a lot of overcast days so I want to be able to go untill the sun comes back out and can charge everything up again. I plan on switching the 5th over also , just watching for screaming sales again..

I guess my thought process is that by leaving the furnace, fridge, and stove on Propane, I can focus my power on the lights, furnace fan, pumps etc which maximizes the length of time I can go.. with the solar set up in the summer water and take capacity are my limiting factors now as I can go a couple months on the propane and I'll never run out of power with the solar panels..


My electric use is even less. I don't run an onboard furnace - I use a Mr Heater and a small canister of propane to take off the chill the few times it's necessary. Electric only runs the water pump, a light or two for 30-60 minutes a day max, and recharging a phone/kindle when needed. I run out of fresh water long before I run out of battery (no solar) or propane.


ya I just cant get onboard with the catalist heaters, as far as I am concerned they should only be used outside, but thats a different thread. Most of the camping I do in the camper you need to do more than take the chill off, most of the time the furnace is running a 50% duty cycle haha.. I guess I could always buy a few more heavy blankets, but then what would keep the water lines from freezing..

toedtoes

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Posted: 05/10/22 07:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't camp in extreme heat or cold. I only use the Mr Heater to take the chill off while I am awake.

I admit though, my internal thermostat is wonky - I will be cold for about 5-10 minutes and bundle up in blankets, etc, then I am overheating horribly and start pulling blankets off.

Sjm9911

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Posted: 05/10/22 07:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DiploStrat wrote:

Two comments:

-- NEVER needed a generator. But my largest draw is the air conditioner and I can only do a short time before I would probably need shore power to replenish.

-- Would not consider electric heat. I use diesel. Diesel or gasoline are MUCH more energy dense than propane. (And using diesel or gasoline eliminates the need to carry multiple adapters for gas fittings in different countries.)

A number of new builds are using a heat exchanger for hot water. Water typically stays hot for two/three days after driving.

The systems on my truck are typical of expedition campers.

Two commercial examples are:

Aeon

Nimbl


You answered your own question, if you need ac for a long trip, no. If you need heat for a long trip ,no. Of you need lights and a water pump a battery will do.

But it depends on your needs, people tent camp with nothing. It almost seems if you had an answer in mind before you started the thread, labeling people as unaware of the options that are out there. A little disingenuous if you ask me.


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