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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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Thanks for the invite, Gerry. Unfortunately I will need to be working those dates at the Shrimp Fest in Gulf Shores, AL. If not, I would have liked to attend it. Chip
  9. Thanks, LongWay! He used the battery from a Fiat. Six of these http://www.ebay.com/itm/24V-64Ah-Fiat-500e-TESTED-Lithium-Ion-Golf-Cart-battery-/222419957522?hash=item33c9433712:g:EcgAAOSwbiFZUti9&vxp=mtr would be under $2,600 - about half the price of new. Now that's in the price range that makes it economically feasible.192 AH (153 useable) at 48v is perfect for my needs. I've got to learn a lot more about a BMS for it though. Chip
  10. Thanks, Jack. I value your opinion. I looked at the Prius battery packs a couple years ago but learned that they are nickel metal hydride not lithium. Which Hybrid battery packs would you recommend I look at? Cracking into one and rewiring for 48 volts wouldn't be a problem as long as it wouldn't affect the BMS. Yes I understand that LiFePo4s are more temp sensitive and the fact that pioneers like C&C end up with more arrows in their backs than settlers, so I can learn from the mistakes of others - this is wisdom. I was pioneering an electric supercharger setup a few years back. I found out that as voltage increased, intake manifold pressure increased logarithmically. Long story short, I ended up overvolting and destroying a couple of high dollar rare earth magnet motors in my quest for boost. Heck, education costs money, no? Thanks for your advise, Chip
  11. sushidog

    Solar 12V or 24V system

    Even if you parallel 2 of the 60 amp transformers I posted a link to that's still only $200, less than 1/2 the price of a 48v pump. Do you really need over 120 amps? They will surge to 125% capacity too, according to their specs, so that's a spike of 150 amps. Plus you've got all this 12v power available for everything else too, like the fridge board, fantastic fans, lighting, etc. Chip
  12. I could go with 8 Trojan T-145s which have a 260ah capacity (at the 20 hr rate) The 20 hr discharge rate for this battery is 13 amps and my AC will be discharging them at the 11.5 amp rate, less than rated capacity. Peukert won't have to be taken into account as I plan on discharging them at less than the 20 hr rate. Unfortunately they come at a hefty price of $200 each. At a 50% discharge that's 130 available ah - that's over 11 hrs of AC from a fully charged battery or 6240 watts/day. Assuming an 80% charge efficiency I would need 7,800 watts of solar power going into the batteries. To complicate matters. flat mounted panels typically only produce around 80% of their rated capacity which I would need 1950 watts of panels assuming I can get 5 hrs of sunlight/day to top them off. To add a small cushion I am considering buying 6, 350 watt panels or equiv for about 2,100 watts, which should be sufficient. If I could afford the lithiums I could get by with about 1,600 watts of solar due to their low internal resistance, saving about $300 in solar panels, wiring and hardware. I would have to buy 2 -75ah lithiums at $2,700 ea. to equal the trojans usable AH's. So at today's prices I'm looking at $5400 in lithium's that last 10, maybe 15 years if I don't kill them first vs $1600 in Trojan FLAs that last 5 years. The FLAs are still a better buy, though granted they do not charge or discharge as efficiently as the mature technology of FLAs. I also recognize that a million dollar Prevost is far superior to the used $25,000 MH that I can afford. But since I can't afford $5,400 in batteries I can't consider their inherent advantages, just as I can't consider a Million dollar Prevost even if it got 100 MPG and could drive itself, as I could never afford one. Now if the price drops in half over the next year and a half then I'll consider them. Maybe after my "learner batteries" die about 4 1/2 years from now they will drop to a point that I can afford them, but I'll have to do a lot of learning in the mean time in order to figure out a way to get the advertised life out of them. Because as Technomadia found out with theirs, losing 25% of their capacity over only 3.5 years, they can be easily degraded if you are not careful. That's an expensive mistake I simply couldn't afford to make as a retiree on a very limited income. http://www.technomadia.com/2015/02/living-the-lithium-lifestyle-3-5-year-lithium-rv-battery-update/ Here's their unfortunate experience with their LiFePo4s "Considering that our batteries are seemingly not on track to outlive an AGM bank as much as theory promised, our personal value calculation haven’t worked out nearly as well as we had hoped." Chip
  13. sushidog

    Solar 12V or 24V system

    Here's a 60 amp 48v to 12v step down transformer that's 97% efficient. It's a hundred bucks though. http://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 Chip
  14. Agreed that lithium is far superior to lead acid, but its out of my price range. The mini split AC I linked to draws 11.5 amps at 48v so if I wanted to run the AC for 8 hrs I would need 96 amp/hrs at 48v. Eight GC-2's would provide about 100 usable AH at 50% discharge which is barely sufficient for my needs, assuming the AC has a 100% duty cycle, which at night, it should be much less. Sams sells these batteries for $85 each or $680 for the bank, which should last about 3 years (my learning bank). Later I will buy some better batteries, possibly Trojans for around $1000 which should last about 5 years. This means that my lead acid batteries will cost between 200-225/yr. Let's say I'm a little off and they cost $250/yr. for estimation purposes. For comparison, a 60ah 48v lithium battery bank with BMS costs about $2,500. I would need at least two of these for $5,000. Let's say they last 10 years. That's still 500/yr. They would have to last 20 years to break even, and their life is greatly reduced in excessive heat (like where AC is needed) to make a 20yr life unlikely. This does not consider the time value of money, meaning that if I would borrow the money to buy these expensive batteries that they would cost even more. http://www.electriccarpartscompany.com/48V-60Ah-br-LiFePO4-EV-Golf-Cart-br-Lithium-Battery-br-h3-2524--FOB-Salt-Lake-City-br-1980--FOB-China-h3_p_739.html Chip
  15. On this page of the link https://polarstorm.com/benefits/ they say it draws 25 amps, not 20 amps like it says on another page. On the solar page it says it draws 8 amps. https://polarstorm.com/options/#solar I don't think the advertising people know much about the tech specs. 21,000 BTUs is quite a bit of cooling power, if accurate. Using their highest amp draw figure at 48v, this gives it an EER of 17.5, which is pretty good, but not as high as this mini-split which has an EER or 21.43. http://www.geinnovations.net/HSAC_Productline.html Batteries are the most expensive component of their system. The mini-split I linked to costs around $2k and produces 12,000 Btus of cooling - good enough for the bedroom at night, but one would need 2 of these (24,000 Btus) for the entire RV ($4k.) 16 CG-2 conventional golf cart batteries (8/ac unit) is about $1.6k. 4kw of solar is currently 50 cents/watt - $2k - less if you shop around. Add a charge controller, wiring, mounting hardware, a 48v inverter charger, monitor, etc. and you are looking at about $5,500 min. (if you installed it yourself) for the first mini split/solar set-up and about $10k for two (as there is some redundancy which can be eliminated due to economy of scale), to cool the entire RV (8-10 hr run time for both) but this includes solar panels, charger and a 48v inverter/charger to charge when hooked up. The big downside to a system like this is weight (lead/acid batteries are heavy) - a little over a ton for the whole RV system and half of that for a bedroom only system - which is much more practical, and is what I, planning to get in about a year and a half. A mini-split also provides efficient supplemental heat to stretch your propane for extended boondocking forays. On the upside when not using your AC to its max capacity you will have more than enough AC power available for other things, like that big screen TV, home theater system, sat dish, computer, microwave, etc. while off grid. Of course extended foul weather would still require some generator back-up use, but not very often. Chip