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About sushidog

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/31/1956

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    Folsom, La
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    1999 National Tropical

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  1. I thought about using a converter, but the slide motor and jack motors draw lots of amps (up to 100 amps) even though they just run for a short time. A pair of these would do it: https://www.ebay.com/itm/48V-to-12V-60A-Step-down-720W-high-power-DC-Transformer-Vehicle-power-converter/142174939521?_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982&_trkparms=aid%3D888007%26algo%3DDISC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131227121020%26meid%3D88db938dd9ee4b35ad8fe00510af09f5%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D222127847212 This transformer or a simple buck converter cannot be used as a 12v battery charger as their output is stabilized at 12v, not the 13.7 one would need to charge a battery. Plus they are pricey, at $200 for the pair. What I haven't found is a relatively inexpensive 12v DC multi stage battery charger powered by a 48v dc source. I think a more direct approach would be to install an additional solar panel, wiring and charge controller for my existing 12v battery bank (basically a pair of GC-2s). That way you would be collecting more power as well. A single 305 watt solar panel can be had for 33 cents/watt ($100.65) a decent 30 amp MPPT controller kit will cost about $150 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071XP39BK/ref=psdc_2236627011_t3_B07DNVNV7B So for under $300 You can have another 300 watts of solar charging your 12 v bank with an additional 220 amp hrs of power for 12v incidentals, saving all the power in my main 48v bank for the heavy lifting, ie. air conditioner/heat pump and 110v plug in devices. Plus I still have my 5.5kw onan generator back-up to charge both 12v and 48v battery banks (12v through the RVs converter charger and 48v through an add on inverter/charger like this https://www.sigineer.com/product/2500-watt-48v-100v-110v-120v-off-grid-battery-inverter-charger-65a-mppt-solar-controller-pure-sine-wave-w-transformer/) on those rare occasions when solar proves to be inadequate. Chip
  2. sushidog

    Texas in Feruary....Where To Go??

    Don't forget to see the caverns of sonora. It's a beautiful, show cave with formations everywhere. They also have a campground on the property that we've stayed at several times. There is no dump station however because of the closeness to the cave. There are lots of places to overnight in Texas, including most rest areas. Chip
  3. Thanks Loki! I appreciate the info, as I am planning something similar - off grid solar powered AC but with a seperate 48v battery bank (as I plan on installing a super efficient native 48v mini-split DC air conditioner like this one that only draws 560 watts to produce 12,000 BTUs of cooling. http://www.geinnovations.net/solar-electricity-cost.html You answered my question about how you charge your 12v house battery bank. I have been wondering exactly how I am going to do it. I have been considering a separate 300+ watt solar panel and controller for the task, as my 12v needs will be minimal - mainly lighting, slide motor, jacks and fridge/roof AC control boards. I thought that the inefficiency of converting high voltage dc to ac and back to 12v dc would be impractical. Do you know how many amps your 12v battery charger draws? Mine is an older model so if I go this way I will need to replace it with a more efficient converter/charger. I'm afraid I can't afford the sweet lithium batteries you have, though I recognize their inherent advantages. I plan on using 8 GC-2 FLA golf cart batteries initially, maybe upgrading in a few years when they wear out and lithium's drop in price. Yeah, they are heavy, (500 lbs) but they are cheap - under $800 for the 10.3 kw (5 usable kw) bank vs $$$ for an equivalent amount of lithium battery power. It's hard to compare the two because lithiums charge and discharge more efficiently too, lacking the internal resistance of FLA, but I don't think Peukert will affect me much as the AC only draws 11.5 amps (at 48v) - close to the 20hr discharge rate for my planned bank. Do you mind me asking where you got your Tesla battery modules? I'd rather spend $2,000 for the super efficient mini-split AC that only draws 560 watts with no start surge than try to run one of my inefficient rooftop air conditioners that draw about 1,500 watts to run and 2,000 watts to start - meaning I'd have to have 3+ times the solar and battery power for the same amount of cooling produced. I'm planning on around 2,000 watts of solar now, so I wouldn't have the roof space or the weight capacity for that big of a solar system. Also the money I save on the smaller solar system will more than offset the ACs cost. I'm sure if I used lithium batteries I could reduce the solar bank even more, due to their better charge/discharge efficiency But I'm not sure if I could afford their high cost (plus the cost of the BMS and temp management system like you installed) initially. Chip
  4. I just booked 2 weeks each at 2 Louisiana state parks that are not far apart, Fontainebleau State Park and Fairview State Park. Not only do they allow free day use admissions for 62 and older people but recognize the 1/2 price camping discount for America the Beautiful senior pass holders. Another neat benefit is free washers and dryer use for campers. Bottom line, 28 days of camping on the water at 2 beautiful Louisiana state parks full of moss covered cypress, historic buildings, boarded nature walks, fishing, wildlife, etc. cost me $364 including taxes, electricity included. We're gonna' pass a good time cher, I guarontee! AAEEEE! Chip
  5. sushidog

    Mini split location

    A 3 ton mini-split will freeze you out of there in death valley in the summer. Which model have you chosen? Are you going to use the existing holes from your factory roof mounted ACs for mounting drop-in evaporator cassette ceiling units, or do you plan on using wall mounted interior units? Two zone or three? Sounds like an Interesting project - that should have come from the factory. Much quieter, better cooling, higher efficiency and lower electric consumption. Maybe they'll get the hint one day. Chip
  6. sushidog

    radiant heat for floors

    Any type of electric resistance heat, creates 3.41 BTUs of heat per watt of electricity. This means that a 1,500 watt electric heater produces no more than 5,115 BTUs of heat. However your mini-split does not make heat from electricity, it just moves the heat around. In the case of heat mode, from outside to inside (the reverse in the summer in AC mode.) This allows a heat pump to be several times more efficient than resistance heat - and most are 4-5 times more efficient. The very best mini split heat pump is over 6 times as efficient as radiant heating, meaning it will produce over 6 times the heat per watt of electricity consumed under ideal conditions. Their efficiency drops off quickly below freezing, especially for heat pumps optimized for AC use. Some can work down to -5 degrees F, though at about only 2.5 times the efficiency of electric resistance heat. So you are right, Glenn. As far as efficiency goes, heat pumps are impossible to beat with electric resistant heat even in a worse case scenario - unless of course you RV in Minnesota in the winter - then all bets are off. Chip
  7. sushidog

    RGV Cheap RV lots

    Florida and Minnesota sound like senior friendly states for sure. 3% a year sounds reasonable, not an onerous 1,000% in a single year as I was subjected to. Louisiana will freeze your property tax assessment at age 65 if your income is below about $72k (though if they increase the millage rate say 10% you still pay 10% more taxes, as just the assessment of the value of your home remains the same). Also if you make any improvements on your property that substantially increase its value all bets are off and they can reassess your property. BTW, we have some of the highest sales taxes in the nation, as not only the state taxes your groceries, haircut, oil changes and such, but each parish and local municipality can add their local sales tax on top of that, totaling almost 11.5% in some places (hotel taxes alone in New Orleans are almost 17%). Nice state, huh? But yet they can't fix the giant potholes in the roads. Go figure. Chip
  8. sushidog

    RGV Cheap RV lots

    I am afraid of buying any property these days due to the volatility of property tax assessments. I've related this story before, but it bears repeating as a warning for those who have not heard it. I used to own a house on a lot in St. Tammany Parish Louisiana. Before hurricane Katrina I was paying about $400/yr in property taxes on a modest 40 yr old home on a rural lot. After the storm many people moved out of the area and many homes were destroyed lowering the revenue generated for the parish from property taxes. They tried to pass a property tax rate increase but it was voted down, as everyone was still recovering from the storm (my wife lost her job too, as the storm totally destroyed the business she worked for as well as many others.) Not to be thwarted in their efforts to increase revenue, the parish tax assessors reappraised everyone's homes. They increased everyone's property taxes massively, including mine 1,000%. With my family income cut in half due to my wife losing her job, we simply could not afford the $4,000 yr tax bill (in addition to the second mortgage needed to pay for storm repairs) so I lost my home. I'm afraid something similar might happen if I purchased an RV lot. Who's to say that a few years down the road that an affordable property tax bill today might double, triple or even jump to 10 times what it is today like mine did, and being on a fixed income, I'd lose it again? No thank you. It's a nomad's life for me at this point on. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Chip
  9. sushidog

    Problem with slide outs?

    I just replaced the slide control board on my 1999 National Tropical. There was a design problem with these old boards where the circuit breaker protecting the board wouldn't trip fast enough if the slide motor drew too many amps (like if your batteries are run down or your slide binds on something) damaging a relay. The solution is a new upgraded board (since power gear no longer makes the old ones) with bigger relays and a glass fuse in addition to the circuit breaker. But this is a rare occurrence (once in 19 yrs yrs for me) and shouldn't happen again now that I have the upgraded circuit board. The original slide motor is still going strong! Besides, in an emergency I can manually extend or retract the slide on my unit with a wrench, if needed, to get me on my way. BTW mine is not hydraulic, but an old, reliable rack and pinion electric model. Chip
  10. This is true to a point, but bad things happen to good people, and they can be catastrophic. Suppose you did what you felt was right and saved as much as you could afford for decades. Perhaps you had a business failure, or one of your family members had a catastrophic illness. Perhaps you lost everything in a natural disaster. These things take decades to recover from, if you ever do. Take my own case, a sick spouse can cost you everything you have, all your retirement savings and put you deeply in debt. What are you going to do, let your spouse die and be a miser? Of course not. So if you start over in your 40's or 50's, deeply in debt with no savings, or assets, having spent them all to keep your loved one alive, there's just not enough time left to dig yourself out, even if you have a decent job. This is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the USA, affecting more people than you might think. High small business failure rate is another and leaves people in similar financial straits. Do the math. Let's say you make $60,000 a year, just to use the median US income. By the time you pay your withholding and health insurance you'll be lucky to have $50,000 left. Then you've got food, housing, transportation, communication and medical expenses not covered by insurance which will probably eat up at least $30k of that. Then you need at least $5k a year for an emergency fund to fix things that break, right? So if you live a frugal lifestyle, minimizing your controllable expenses such as entertainment, clothing, utilities, fuel, camping, etc. expenses you have maybe $5k yr to invest. In truth, most people pay over $800/yr in credit card interest alone, not to mention interest on their car loan, mortgage loan, etc. But let's just say you're not typical and are a frugal money manager who avoids all this, paying for whatever you can cash and have that $5k to invest. Let's say you are 45 yrs old and want to retire at 65, giving you 20 yrs. This will mean you will have about $150,000 in a tax deferred account assuming a 4% growth (which you will have to pay taxes on after you retire.) Now $150k, 20 years from now won't buy what it does today, just like $150k, 20 yrs ago bought much more than today. At an average inflation of only 2.9% it will be worth only $85k in today's dollars - not much of a nest egg, is it? And this assumes that everything goes well for you from that point on. If a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina hits you, like it did me, it will set you back a ways too, even if you are properly insured, as insurance never covers everything, not to mention the loss of income after such a catastrophic event, impacting millions. Let me summarize: Life's a B, you marry one, then you die. 😜 Chip
  11. Zulu, I'm in pretty good health, but one never knows. What I was referring to was not being fired. I've seen people at my company fired if they get a whiff you are ready to retire. One guy in upper management gave a 6 month notice and they fired him immediately. When you're in an "at will hire" state they can term you without giving a reason, regardless how long you worked there. And if you have been there a long time and are making good money they are looking for a reason to let you go - to bring in cheaper, younger blood. They know the new hires won't do as good a job (they might even have to go through a few) but that's ok if they can pay them half what they are paying you, plus it shakes up the rest and motivates them to work harder so the same thing won't happen to them. You won't get unemployment either. They will fight you tooth and nail, making up some trivial thing, like punching in a few minutes late for work ( yes they make you punch the clock even if you're on salary) or calling a last minute meeting, the night before on your day off, making you get up at 3:30AM or so on your only day off and drive 150 miles, (it happens all the time) reimbursing only 25 cents a mile (I've only had one day off a week for the last 15 years - no holidays at all but Christmas day) If you say you can't attend or show up a little late then it goes in your file. I almost got fired once for taking my regular scheduled day off, after working 3 weeks straight without a day off, after a hurricane (to reattach my back porch to my house that had got washed away during the flood.) Now you see why I'm looking forward to retirement. It's after midnight so I only have 201 days, and counting. Chip
  12. My dad retired at 62 but lived till 90 (cancer.) My mom died much younger at 55 (cancer.) My FIL also died young, during a minor operation. He worked hard all his life supporting his family, wanting to go to Hawaii but never made it. So who knows how long we will live? I plan on retiring the first of the year if I can make it. I turn 62 in July and my DW does in December. We will be without health insurance during the gap years, as we have no other choice. We will be living off SS. My DW has some retirement money available at 65, but I spent all my savings (and went in debt) trying to keep my former DW alive - so everyone's situation is different. We plan to make some day trips to Mexico if we need any meds or dental work during the gap years, till medicare kicks in. We'll have no choice but to roll the dice and take our chances. At least we won't be saddled with the ACA penalty during this time - paying for someone else's healthcare while we must go without it ourselves. I look at early retirement this way: Suppose you are on your deathbed (whenever that is) and someone were to offer you 4 years more of life (the difference between 62 and 66). Not at your current age and debilitation, but in the same shape you were when you were 62. How much would that be worth to you? Would it be worth the extra social security you might receive by waiting till you're 66 (if you happen live past 82)? To me I'd pay whatever I had to, to get 4 more months or even weeks of enjoyable life. Who wouldn't? When you choose to retire at 62 rather than 66 that is what you get - 4 more years of live while still young enough to enjoy it. Because if you choose to work those years at an unpleasant job then that time is lost, and regardless how much money you have you can't buy it back. Well that's what early retirement means to me. Maybe you like your job? Maybe your job is fulfilling and they don't make you work 70-75 hrs a week, being away from your loved ones, living out of a suitcase half the time, while tracking your location constantly with a GPS? If you enjoy what you do, it's rewarding work and you get to sleep home every night, kiss your wife and pet your dog, then go for it and work while you are able. But I'd like to have a few years of enjoyment out of life before I die, living the FT RV lifestyle as a real family for whatever time I have left. Fortunately my DW feels the same and we can't leave soon enough. I hope to see you guys on the road in 202 days. Wish me luck. Chip
  13. sushidog

    Can only read one page

    Same problem here. I kept duck-duck-go on chrome as I like the privacy feature but it interferes with attaching files to e-mails too. Now I run 2 browsers, firefox and chrome depending on what I need to do and how secure I want my searches to be. Chip
  14. sushidog

    Just a thought on depreciation

    Houses depreciate too. It's the land that they are on that appreciates - if you are lucky. Plus they need repairs, yard maintenance, homeowner's asc. fees, property taxes, homeowner's insurance, flood insurance, etc. When I had my S&B the property tax and Homeowner's insurance alone amounted to 2% of the value of the home. That's more than monthly campsite fees - plus you often get free WiFi, cable, a swimming pool, garbage collection, sewer and often a gym or lending library included in the low monthly fee. That's a built in depreciation that one must write a check for every year, not wait till you sell it to pay. In 50 yrs you just bought a new home! Skip a year and the state will seize it, throw you out on the street and sell it. Then there are other incidental fees associated with home ownership that do not apply to living in an RV. Trash pick-up is one - I just wrote the check today. Then there's the water and sewer bill. I don't know many RVs that use $300 worth of electricity and gas a month, but that's what it cost me to cool my home in the summer, not to mention $75 every 2 weeks to cut my grass - more if you have a big yard. House repairs are higher too. Compare the cost of replacing an RV roof or AC vs a roof or central air on a S&B. An RV may need more frequent maintenance, but house maintenance is often 10 times the cost. I had a pipe burst under my S&B. Have you ever priced hydro-tunneling? OMG! If a pipe starts leaking in your RV not only is it dirt cheap, but you can often fix it yourself. Add all these up and the RV's depreciation is relatively cheap in comparison, especially if one buys a slightly used RV when most of the depreciation is already over (and all the bugs worked out too.) People often complain about the gas mileage of an RV, but what would it cost to pull your house down the road to warmer weather in the winter and cooler climes in the summer? See my point? How can you put a value on having the entire country as your back yard? And you never need to cut one blade of grass! Chip
  15. Yep, that's a pretty efficient AC, with an EER of 19.3 according to their spec sheet. http://www.hotspotenergy.com/DC-air-conditioner/Specs-DC48.pdf The unit I linked to is also a 48v DC heat pump with an EER of 21.43. http://www.geinnovations.net/HSAC_Productline.html Both are very similar units, but the higher the EER the better. Chip