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About sushidog

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/31/1956

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    Wherver the road takes me.
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    1999 National Tropical

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  1. Yeah, I guess it's pricey to get someone else to design and install a system. This is what I'm planning to add to my MH in a couple months. It's the first phase of a 2 part solar mod. The second phase will be completed in a couple years, and is a large 48v solar project designed for off grid air conditioning and ample inverted a/c power. But here's part #1: 2 - 320 watt solar panels from Northern Arizona wind and solar - $384 I'll be picking them up so no freight. 1- KRXNY 50 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller - $152.00 CC to Battery Wire #4awg multi stranded Lowes 12ft - $12.24 #6 awg multi strand down wire 40 ft - $37.20 Mounting brackets, cable ends, etc. $55.00 60 a circuit breaker and isolation switch $23.00 Total $663.44 I just bought 2 deep cycle 220a GC-2 batteries from Battery plus for $129 ea. I already have a small 400 watt inverter to power my TV and computer, but If i had to purchase say a 1000 watt pure sine inverter charger on e-bay - $399 https://www.renogy.com/renogy-1000w-pure-sine-wave-inverter-charger/_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=GW7ZVFBYQD1XH125TW9Q If you need these things it adds up to $428 more. So for a total of around $1,350 you could have a 640 watt system with 220ah of batteries. Double your batteries if needed for $258 more (plus say $50 more for wire and core if you don't have old batteries to trade in. So for under $1,650 in parts you could build a much more robust one than they are offering. Let's say it takes a full 8 hr day to install it, which I doubt, at $100/hr (I'm sure you could easily find someone to do it for $50/hr.) That's $2,450 total, say $3,000 if I left out a few minor things, like junction boxes, dicor or eternabond, you wanted different batteries, etc. That $7k is way out of line, IMHO. Unless of course they are quoting you a system based on super expensive lithium batteries, then it doesn't sound bad at all. Chip
  2. I have been rving for many rears, but I just started fulltiming the first of the year. I budgeted $375/month for my RV site with another $90/mo for electric and $10 for the occasional dump fee - making my total camping budget of $475/mo. So far I have come well under this and haven't paid the cheaper monthly rates yet. As a disclaimer it helps if you have a America the Beautiful golden age passport (one of you must be 62+) and are a Passport America member for shorter stays. I started out in two beautiful Louisiana state parks moving every 2 weeks between the two which were only about 10 miles apart. It cost me $364/month which includes electric, free wifi, free use of washer and dryer, reserve america booking fees, etc. I've stayed a couple weeks at a free army COE park with no hookups but on a beautiful lake, so figure maybe $6 a day for generator gas to keep my batteries charged and about $3 in propane to cook food, keep the fridge cool and ice in my drinks and to stay warm. $9/day for 2 weeks is $126. If I had sufficient solar it would have saved me $6/day, bring down my cost to only $42 for 2 weeks. I stayed a couple nights in nice roadside rest areas while driving up to western NC, where I'll be visiting my son for a couple weeks. I am staying at a county RV park again on a nice lake for $100/wk with full hookups, electricity included. so I'm running electric heat, (like I was at the first 2 places I stayed that had free electricity) cutting my propane cost to less than a dollar a day. Unfortunately I must pay for my own laundry here at a cost of about $14-15/wk. Still $115/wk for 2 weeks is $230 + $126 for my previous 2 weeks = $356/mo. When I leave here I'll spend a couple days at a nice RV park in the smokies (1/2 price or $22/night with Passport America) followed by 2 days of free boondocking as I head to a nice $9/day COE park in Arkansas for a 2 wk stay - strategically placed to allow us to do a little mining at Crater of Diamonds SP. Then it's a couple free nights at rest areas (and my first ever, in all my years of camping at a Walmart) as we head out west for some very inexpensive rv parks and free boondocking. So it appears we are actually averaging well under $400/mo and haven't enjoyed the cheaper monthly rates yet. YMMV. Chip
  3. I am in a similar situation. Those pleated day/night shades are totally unusable. I'm considering blinds on two small windows and shades on the 2 large windows in my living room slide. Any suggestions?
  4. I am planning a trip to Florida in my MH and toad to visit family and google wanted to route me over 2 bridges with tolls totaling $26 + a $2.50 fee each for mailing us the toll bill. Thankfully it alerted us to the tolls, but not the rate, which was available online. Needless to say I rerouted my trip to one of about the same mileage but about a half hour longer, saving both tolls. Since our time in retirement is no longer worth $62 an hour for us both, the reroute was a no brainer. I wonder what would happen if one had a dirty license plate, perhaps inadvertently splashed with mud, where the camera might find it impossible to read all the numbers on the plate? How would they know who to bill? I'm just saying...that would indeed be unfortunate. Chip
  5. Wow, that's sweet. I would have never thought of a fold-up antenna. I like the way you secured it when down. Very professional looking installation. Do you have to get up on a ladder to release the clamp when you put her up? I wonder if there is a company that makes a power antenna like the one I had on a 1980's model car I used to have. You turned the radio on and the antenna went up on its own. Turn it off and it went down. Of course it would have to be a little larger diameter than a car radio antenna for the WiFi antenna to piggy back on as it went up and down. So far mine is giving me excellent reception compared to the little linksys computer antenna I was using, enabling me to quickly and easily type and post this reply. Chip
  6. Thanks for helping out a noob! Chip
  7. Thanks for the info, Chuck. I thought that I was online because they had me open my web browser and either type wificamppro2.myalfasetup.com or into the address bar. They also had me connect a short Ethernet RJ-45 cable from my PC to the router, so I guess I'm communicating to the router via a LAN cable. Good deal, it explains why the Ethernet cable is need. Do you use a directional antenna, Chuck, to pick up that 2 mile signal, or will an omni get you that kind of range? Also do you mount your antenna just above your RV like I do (attaching it to my ladder) or do you run a pole up for your antenna after you stop? I'm trying to keep my set-up as simple and easy to use as possible and still be able to pick up a sufficiently strong wifi signal at a typical campground. I hope those two parameters aren't mutually exclusive. Chip
  8. I just purchased and installed a Camp Pro 2. I was having problems receiving a decent, reliable wifi signal at a couple CGs I frequent on my bedroom PC at the rear of my motorhome. This device has a 9b gain omnidirectional antenna that I mounted on the ladder at the rear of my RV. It connects to a small router which rebroadcasts the signal inside the rv so my DW can also access the internet via her tablet - something she could not do at all before. The provided USB cable was just long enough to reach. After installation you must go online and set up your password and what hot-spot CG signal you would like to receive and boost. You will obviously have to do this whenever you move, selecting the signal you want to use. I just installed it yesterday and it all went smoothly. The signal is much stronger than before and the throughput appears to be twice improved from before. I like the online software that gives you the signal strength from all available sources, as some campgrounds (like the one I'm currently at) have multiple wifi signals you can access depending on your location in the park. Bottom line, if you are having problems accessing campground wifi, or the speed is super slow, this will fix it on the cheap, compared to other solutions out there. I have no financial or other interests in the company that makes it other than as a new customer. For me, it was $135 well spent (they are available from multiple vendors on the internet). Your mileage may vary. BTW, you can also get it with a directional antenna with a little more gain, but I like not having to worry about finding the tower, climbing the ladder, locating the CG router antenna and pointing my antenna every time I stop. Chip
  9. PPL, a consignment dealer, says they require $500 earnest money, and though they take your credit card info, they don't charge anything on it. Of course they say it's fully refundable if the RV is not as advertised or the owner refuses to fix any deficiencies discovered. In truth, I think it's just to get you to show up like you say you will, as they are holding the unit for 2 weeks, basically on your word. They never did charge my credit card, but instead asked me to bring the entire negotiated amount with me, either cash or cashier's check. I chose a cashier's check to keep the government out of it, as any purchase over $10k cash must be reported to the IRS on form 8300. I don't think I'd trust an individual seller with any earnest money though. Too much opportunity to be scammed. Chip
  10. Another thing to consider is fees. All Louisiana state parks charge $10 a day to use your golf park in their park. That's almost as much as it costs me to stay there. Many other private and state parks charge a fee too, that varies by rv park. Chip
  11. The main advantage of the higher voltage DC is that lower current is needed, thus smaller wires can be used. Also the highest efficiency mini split available runs off 48v dc. Here's a link: http://www.geinnovations.net/HSAC_Productline.html Remember, do not confuse SEER with EER. EER is simply the number of BTUs produced vs watts used. 12,000 BTUs / 560 watts = 21.4 EER. For comparison, an excellent Fujitsu 12,000 btu mini split has an SEER of 29.3 but an EER of only 15.2 meaning it draws 790 watts to produce the same cooling power of the previous unit. To make matters worse you must buy a 220v inverter resulting in another 20% loss in efficiency meaning you now have about 986 watts coming out of your batteries. This means you need 75% more solar panels and battery capacity if you select this unit over the first one mentioned. The first mini split costs about $600 more than the second, but after you add in the cost of the inverter needed plus a 75% bigger system you can see, it it is more economical and you save much more weight by going with the 48v native mini-split and a 48v battery bank to match if at all possible. Anytime you convert from AC to DC, step up or reduce voltage there is an efficiency penalty. The goal is to maximize efficiency so the smallest, lightest system can be utilized, since weight is at such a premium on an RV. Chip
  12. Lockmup68, all the 24v systems I've seen are bus type systems that are very expensive and not very efficient. Fortunately, my older 35 ft. motorhome is very well insulated, with dual pane windows, reflectix for the windshield, etc. I find that 2, 1,500 watt heaters keep it a comfortable 70+ degrees inside when it gets down to freezing outside, which is the coldest it has gotten so far. 2, 1500 watt electric heaters produce a total of 10,240 btus/hr.. A human being who is reasonably active produces another 650 btus/hr (about 300 btu's/hr when sleeping). Assuming no heat assistance from sunlight (as the observation of the heater's performance was over night) this means that 11,540 btus are responsible for a 38 degree delta T, or roughly 300 btus per degree change. Therefore a 12,000 btu air conditioner (minus 1,300 btus of body heat for 2) = 10,700 effective btus divided by 300 = 35 degree change in temp. theoretically possible. So a single AC should theoretically be able to maintain a 70 degree inside temp at up to 105 degree ambient temperature (again assuming no heat load from direct sunlight, as under a heavy shade or at night). This computation ignores relative humidity factors which will minimally affect the outcome and more importantly, temperature load from sunshine. I plan on racking roughly 2,300 watts of solar about a foot off the roof, to act as shade, minimizing heat load on about half of my roof. My large awning and slide topper will also help provide some shade to. Practically, if I a single mini split could produce a 20 degree temperature change from outside, taking into account heat load, this would still allow me to keep it a comfortable 75 degrees inside in 95 degree heat, without having to fire up my generator and run my rooftop heat pump for supplemental cooling when required. Any hotter than this and it's not fun to spend much time outside anyway, so I plan on moving before this point. Of course night time is when a system like this will perform its best, with no solar heat load and falling ambient temps, allowing a good night sleep practically anywhere (especially if the bedroom door is closed, so only it is cooled). Obviously I couldn't camp at death valley in the summer, relying on a single 12k btu mini split, but who would want to anyway? Nevertheless, I think it is a practical way of extending my off grid camping season/range while keeping my total solar climate control system (as it's also an efficient cool weather heat-pump) initial cost under $6,000, with minimal supplemental generator or furnace run time, which is my goal. Chip
  13. Two 12k btu mini splits producing 24k btus of cooling would consume 1120 watts, while one 18k btu unit would consume 1368 watts. Plus most times you are nowhere near capacity making the scalable power of 2 smaller units much more efficient, when less cooling is needed (which is most of the time) though at higher initial cost. Chip
  14. Yes, but the efficiency drops on the bigger units. The 12k btu has an unbelievable EER of 21.43. (The SEER is not listed but I'm sure would be around 35. ) However when you just go to 15k btu the eer EER to 19.48 and at 18k btu it drops to 13.16. Efficiency is everything when running off batteries. For comparison, the 15k model uses 37.5% more electricity to produce 25% more cooling, while the 18k btu model uses a whopping 144% more electricity to produce only 50% more cooling . Plus if you are dealing with lead acid technology there's Peukert to take into account with that kind of heavy current draw. The small, 12k btu model only sips 11.5 amps at 48v which is close to the 20 hr rate of the cheap FLA batteries I'm considering initially. Anything larger would necessitate lithiums. Of course during the day the battery bank is only a buffer, as I'll have over 30 amps coming from the planned 2kw of solar at full sun which is more than adequate to power the mini-split directly plus provide sufficient extra power to both charge the batteries that were depleted the previous night and have a tad left over for inverter use for my 110v needs. Chip
  15. Absolutely. No judgement my friend. That is definitely the most cost effective solution since you already have it installed. It is twice as efficient as a standard rooftop RV unit. I'll be keeping my front rooftop Duotherm heat pump and replacing my rear unit with the 48v mini-split. Not in the same hole with a cassette, but with the inside unit that comes with the mini-split. I might plug the hole with an insulated plate, and leave the duct open to work with the front AC unit. I can then use the front AC in blower only mode to circulate air from the bedroom mini-split better rather than trying to mount a fan or blower on the hallway ceiling. I intend to attach the inside mini-split air handler to the rear bedroom ceiling, right in front of my mirrored closet, blowing down the hall. I wish I could afford $3k for a battery bank, but it's a little more than I want to spend, right off the bat. I'd rather add more solar first and more and better batteries a few years down the road. But with over 300 usable amp hrs in your lithiums, I'm drooling. Plus it's a pretty doggone big T-shaped battery bank. I don't know where I'd put it. I sure hope it comes apart. You probably have more basement space on your 5er than I have in my MH. I barely have enough room for 8 GC-2s. They probably weigh as much or more than your lithium bank and only hold 1/3 the energy. They are far less efficient to charge and discharge too - but they're only about $700 bucks and I don't have to worry about keeping them in a temp controlled environment. I think they will be my "learner set." I'm sure I will be upgrading down the road, as the prices of lithium continue to drop, but for now I'll probably be running my generator from time to time. Heck it needs exercise once a month anyway, right? (Certainly if I need to run my front AC off grid.) Chip
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