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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. sushidog


    We visited there last year. I have a good boondocking recommendation there. Right after you turn in on 395, take the first road on your left, which is 545B. There are several boondocking locations down this road and the view is outstanding. I ended up camping right next to an extinct volcano cinder cone a couple miles down the road on the left, passing up several sites on the way. https://www.campendium.com/forest-road-545b This is the exact GPS coordinates of our campsite where we stayed in a 36ft MH with toad. 35.381992,-111.560695 The road that goes past it is very rough so gets very little traffic, but we did go down it a ways and saw a couple people camping with travel trailers in a beautiful remote valley. You'd probably have to have a 4wd to get your trailer there though. We barely made it with our little car. I think this is the best campsite on the road, but it was occupied for the entire week we were there. 35.378660,-111.555925 Directly opposite of Sunset Crater, on the west side of hwy 89 is a beautiful spot on top of Sugarloaf mountain called Lockett Meadow CG. You should not try to go there in a big RV as the road is steep and windy. But it is definitely worth a day trip in a smaller vehicle if you are not afraid of heights and don't mind narrow twisty mountain roads. There are a couple places to camp off road 553 before it starts to climb around here 35.379411,-111.589536. Chip
  2. Yes they will work, but you must program each parameter individually. Of course you only have to do it once. What the seller means is that they are not plug and play, like most people want these days. I'm sure he had some returned because there's not a button that says press here for lithium. They do make some other models of controllers (smaller ones) that you just press one button to select Lifepo4 and it sets it up for you. Sure, the Victron is the best but both work. It just depends on how much money you want to spend. If you are looking for a car to get to work you can buy a Honda or an Acura. Both will do the job equally well, IMHO. Of course the Acura is better, but you pay for the added features and quality. I'm on a budget, so I'll buy the Honda, but congratulations if you can afford the Acura and want to get it. It's a better car, no question about that. But if your solar system is limited by dollars rather than roof space you could buy an extra couple solar panels with the money saved on the cheaper controller. The choice is yours. Chip
  3. Probably not. It would be much easier to just connect them to the outside wheels, making a simple ladder arrangement out of heavier rope. I could get 2 of these ropes https://www.amazon.com/Synthetic-Winch-Rope-Protective-Motorcycle/dp/B07FC75DJ6/ref=pd_cp_263_3/139-8800684-4327450?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07FC75DJ6&pd_rd_r=a367029c-f56b-4f27-a967-148b674075fd&pd_rd_w=BtBnP&pd_rd_wg=CfEPi&pf_rd_p=592dc715-8438-4207-b7fa-4c7afdeb6112&pf_rd_r=ZEF1WPTX1Y8FCVVZBAF9&psc=1&refRID=ZEF1WPTX1Y8FCVVZBAF9 and use some nylon webbing like this for the ladder rungs: https://www.amazon.com/Webbing-Polypropylene-Climbing-Backpack-Repairing/dp/B07T2TM61G/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=nylon%2Bstrapping&qid=1579723591&s=automotive&sr=1-5&th=1 Then I'd simply fold the ropes in half, cut the webbing to the appropriate width and bring it to an upholstery shop to sew the rungs around the rope at about 10-12" intervals. Then add a another similar rope to loop around a tree for an anchor point and I'll be good to go. Chip
  4. I just found this item from down under. https://www.bogout.com/ I wonder if I made a heavy duty set, say made out of those nylon tow cables they're putting in winches these days, how it would work. I'd need to make them wider to fit a dually - maybe with an internal strap or two for reinforcement. I'd come up with my own design. I'll bet I could build it cheaper than buying a suitably sized winch. What'chall think? Chip
  5. The MT-50 came with mine. There are vendors who leave them off to advertise a cheaper price. You really need it unless you want to go to computer monitoring. You need the battery temp sensor too. Mine came with a cable to attach to a computer, but it was too short to be useful. If you decide to go with either the wifi box or the bluetooth box that transmits a wireless signal to your computer you will have to buy them separately. I liked the simplicity of a dedicated panel, plus it was included in the price of the kit. Who wants to crawl in an outside bay under the rv to read the display and press buttons on the controller itself? Here's where I got mine. https://www.amazon.com/EPEVER-Controller-Negative-Regulator-Flooded/dp/B07LC657SH/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=50+amp+solar+charge+controller&qid=1556485348&s=gateway&sr=8-4 My 50a model was only $215 the big 100A model is $398. The 60 amp model for only $239 will be perfect for my 48v system, handling up to 3,000 watts at 48v. Since my panels will be mounted flat they won't produce anywhere near that. Here's a link to their 200v controllers if you need to go that high. https://www.amazon.com/EPEVER-Controller-Negative-Battery-10420AN/dp/B07KB6FMCX/ref=pd_sbs_86_10?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07KB6FMCX&pd_rd_r=2c1cafd5-a2b0-4149-b13c-43e9da740837&pd_rd_w=PTvth&pd_rd_wg=1VvX6&pf_rd_p=bdd201df-734f-454e-883c-73b0d8ccd4c3&pf_rd_r=A8PQND1887HNY752BB26&psc=1&refRID=A8PQND1887HNY752BB26 The downside is that since they have no preconfigured lithium settings each parameter must be set manually. But of course this only has to be done once. They have new 40a and smaller controllers that have several lithium settings, for all the different types of lithium batteries available. I believe that in the near future, maybe before you are ready to buy, they will upgrade their big controllers to include these features as well. Chip
  6. I think if you get stuck going in that you are showing bad judgement. But if you get stuck going out because conditions have unexpectedly changed considerably, then it's just good insurance. Yes, block and tackles provide quite a bit of mechanical advantage. I wonder if anyone makes an affordable 120v winch that would suffice? I could fire up my generator to provide substantial power (5,500 watts worth) if needed. I can't afford a 20,000 lb plus tow truck winch, if that's what's needed, as they are over $1,000. I have the FMCA road service but that doesn't include vehicle recovery if it is more than 50 ft off a "maintained road" and in any case the limit is $500 worth of coverage. I may have to just be careful and rely on that as a back-up if I get stuck. Sech, I know what you mean about the danger of a cable snapping. It reminds me of an incident that happened decades ago when I was in the Army. As a young officer I was assigned as the platoon leader of a heavy equipment maintenance company. We had a track vehicle recovery section which included a giant wrecker called an M911. It was so wide we had to get a permit to take it on the road. It's purpose was to pull stuck m60 tanks out of the mud. One day we got a call from a civilian who's bulldozer was stuck. So as a community service, we agreed to help him recover it - besides it was good training. When we arrived on the scene with our 911 we found the rather large dozer stuck in the mud sideways, halfway buried in mud at the bottom of a ravine. We attached a 1/2 inch cable off our front winch to a big pine tree and let out our main 1" recovery cable down about 50 yards to attach to the stuck dozer. When everything was ready we started winching it up. One of my recovery specialists was standing too close to the cable. When I ordered him to move back and he was slow to respond. My sergeant barked my order to him and he moved out more briskly. No sooner did he clear the area than the turnbuckle attached to the cable at the dozer broke. That 1" cable under thousands of lbs of pressure whipped back to exactly where the trooper was standing, and would have cut him in half had he not moved as ordered. I still remember Sergeant Moses, the burly, black NCO on the winch remote control, chewing on his stubby cigar saying, "Specialist, you need to thank the lieutenant for just saving your life. Next time, move when he tells you!" I would have hated to have to written that letter, I'll tell you that. Chip
  7. Glen, I was just looking at the user manual for my Epever 50a controller. It came with an MT-50 remote panel or you can send the info to your phone or computer and adjust everything using their software. The even have special software you can download off their website specifically for lithium batteries. It can be sent by USB cable, a wifi serial adapter, a bluetooth adapter or an available data logger that not only logs your data but allows you to monitor everything's performance in real time. It even came with a remote temperature sensor included in the price. You can even network up to 8 controllers using an available PT adapter. It's actually a pretty sophisticated controller. It allows you to adjust the charging limit voltage and over voltage disconnect and reconnect voltage (essential for lifepo4 batteries), the equalize, boost and float voltage (you can even turn the equalize function off - also essential for Lifepo4s) You can adjust the undervoltage warning voltage, undervoltage reconnect, and discharge limit voltage, as well as the time its in boost and equalization mode. For a 48v bank all voltage parameters are adjustable from 36 volts to 68 volts by a tenth of a volt. Both the 100A and the 60a versions have a max conversion efficiency of 98.6% and a full load (min efficiency) of 98.0%. Tracking efficiency is over 99.5% with ultra fast tracking speed. Pretty impressive for an inexpensive controller. My model has a 150v limit, but you can get other models with a 200v limit (but I don't recommend going to that high DC voltage unless it can't be avoided as it is very hazardous.) It seems pretty robust too, because the manual says you can overpanel the controller by as much as 50%. In other words you could put 6,000 watts of panels on one of their 4,000 watt controllers without burning it up. Of course it will only send a max of 4,000 watts to your batteries, but under low light conditions (like almost all of the day for flat mounted panels) it is capable of sending more amp hrs to your batteries. This feature might be useful if the converters were very expensive, but they are not. However it does speak to the reliability of the unit. They even offer free training courses online that teach you how to set-up and use their products. It has exceeded my expectations, representing an outstanding value, IMHO. Chip
  8. I smell what you're stepping in Randy. I think having a winch should be like having a life insurance policy. It's there if you need it, but you really don't look forward to using it. Chip
  9. Thanks for the heads-up, BigJim. I'm used to boondocking for 2 wks at a time so that's not a problem - as long as I can dump and fill going in and out. If I have a little shade and can run my AC in the afternoon and evening for a few hrs to cool things off I'm good to go. High humidity can be a bugger, but I grew up in New Orleans, so I'm quite used to dealing with it. The deer are the best part! I think $10 a night and 1/2 price Metro is about the cheapest way to see DC. I've been there before, but only for a single day, as I was paying $200 a night for a hotel room and had to get back to work. I only got to see the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum, and those only briefly. I could have spent a couple weeks there sightseeing all the free stuff, and indeed I intend to now that there's no work to go back to. But that also means that there's no paycheck coming in, only SS and a small pension, so I must do so on the cheap. We have enough to do what we want, maybe even budget for a nice sushi meal while we're there, as long as we don't squander any of it. Chip
  10. I decided to hang 2 panels on the side as you suggest to free up my roof for 9 panels in the 39" x 66" format. This will take up a little over 29 ft of roof length leaving enough room for a walkway to service the panels. https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/IUMiUb5rFDH4wdqL7cQWkJ_GOqWlJY0len5X5KXT8eWsBbl9Rs6r1RZW5SOdH3M7hfXKPg2uiCBOjdyf-_Gx6zx6KCfIDIQjmjUuRysaTKWTrIy17Ldz96D35-g9oWwLKQlQ_TWCv3PzEG1Ut8vS0RmuTV5pxtH2b5_kc3jdllWdrZkdn2x3l6sw98fT9i8OfqdjWqTWPe-ushiAvB6W85uUTu7iGa7bRt-2Uk8y_VGkaO9CPawhSG94FC_H1-HJN-3hUiYdatgLrh-iwa5M_uYpeqzmEN3VwBU4B-WVo9iKuUrC61zxNaKM0sZK06v_JmsJ3mVKstYFd-r2_RUjHTcfxYOeBj8f5V05q_akSCRdStN55C33O4cNL4ym72SjAeShL2FzB1ICzMizcNacFM1wEoCHuFWNbM7WkhREgQ9Y0vMYfxeKm2eGpGcAsnraIItVk7Bxam-X-GN4r9JVh_FVRZ3DMIo0l7dVbV7BQ1NFTMIlTnOfAjfTe0k9ZcgYLyxEs4IiFjgGY18R6o5UztOD33uypBObuRwAg2QKUO5XTziI6-pZ1-7ovto8wyZygCRYSPKDDdG0PQtXG-dfch6ZmJw6eoPaoSPN9pCEg77C2y9BXNrT5f3JdK9gbzciL1aJHuwwY5SMZfe4nV0HXn9UYYi7YIjNqany0rX45m8KBQ31vERCMA=w640-h480-no I would go with a cheaper controller like this: https://www.amazon.com/Controller-Regulator-1100W-4500W-Lead-Acid-Communication/dp/B07SVRLMBG/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=mppt%2Bsolar%2Bcharge%2Bcontroller%2Bfor%2Blithium%2B80%2Bamp&qid=1579360650&sr=8-3&th=1 The 80 amp controller I linked to is rated to 4540 watts, ( a little over 80 a) but with 4,000 watts of flat mounted panels you will never see over 4,000 watts of production. I would expect between 2,500 and 3,500 watts of real world output (depending on latitude and season). I would caution about wiring too many panels in series, running the voltage up too high, for the sake of safety. High voltage DC will arc (in fact you can weld with it) and it can be deadly. Please be very careful when installing, covering the panels and keeping the breakers off until you have the connections made. I went with an Epever 50 amp MPPT for my 2 side panels (620 watts), giving me plenty of headroom in case I want ti upgrade my 12v batteries. I am very happy with its performance so far, but I do not recommend this controller for lithium batteries as there is no programmed setting for them. You can manually set it for lithiums, however, if you know what you're doing. Chip
  11. So are you suggesting a 5,000 lb rated hitch? I was hoping the hitch would hold more than it's tow rating for an occasional emergency. They must build a pretty big safety factor into it, for instances like towing a 5,000 lb trailer up a steep hill, or to withstand the force of the trailer brakes locking up. I don't have to attach it to the car. A fair sized tree would be best. I would only attach it to the car's hitch if I had no other choice. Just because the MH weighs 26,000 lbs doesn't mean I will need more than a couple tons of pulling power assisting the MHs engine to pull me out. I don't envision going into places that are dicey on the way in, but you never know when a bad rain will hit when you are boondocking down a dirt road that was solid and firm going in but now that it's time to leave, a couple weeks later, it has turned into mud. I remember one time I was camping at a forest service campground in Georgia when I my current toad was my tow vehicle and my camper was a little Aliner. I had to ford a shallow stream going in - maybe 2-3 inches of water. But a week later when it was time to leave a little rain fell and the stream had swollen to a good 6-8 inches. I made it, thank goodness, but I can envision worse circumstances in the future now that I'm doing this full-time and not just a couple times a year when I get a vacation. What does everyone else do, just wait for the road to dry, hoping it won't rain again and get worse in the meantime? That's what I did earlier this year when it rained while I was camping on FR-611 at a campsite overlooking the N. Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was absolutely awe inspiring, and free to boot. The road going in was gravel and washboarded a little, but not too bad, other than a couple of big low spots that when filled with rain water went all the way across. But the main problem was the ditch I had to cross to leave the campsite and get on the road. I ended up leaving a couple days early because it was supposed to rain again. I made it out OK, but probably would have gotten stuck if I didn't leave when I did. I would sure feel better if I had a winch just in case - though it would have had to pull from the front to have worked in that particular scenario. Does anyone make a portable winch that has hooks on both ends so I could pull from the frame rather than a bumper or the hitch? Maybe even something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzDUpUDJm5Q Chip
  12. I plan on visiting DC in June and staying here: https://www.campendium.com/greenbelt-park-campground It's only $10 a night with an America the Beautiful Senior pass. It is a long walk or a short drive to the College Park Metro station where you can park for $5 a day and catch the Metro. You can buy a senior Metro Pass for $2 at nearby library which saves you 50% on Metro around DC. There's water and sewer but no electric (which doesn't bother me since I have solar with a generator backup.) Chip BTW, the most I've paid for an RV park or campground for the last year has been about $100/wk, not $100 a day. If you don't have it, you can't spend it. But it you've got it, why not blow the whole wad on your way out and enjoy life while you can? Chip
  13. I've just been fulltiming about year but I discovered that I like to boondock a lot. I sometimes drive my 36 ft motorhome to places where if it ever rained I might have a hard time getting out. I've also driven through sandy washes where if I stopped I would have to call a tow truck to extract me. My toad is no help as it is a little 4 cylinder car. A jeep might make more sense for the places I sometimes go, but you do what you can with what you've got. I already own the car, and can't afford a 4wd vehicle to replace it with. My question is, has anyone seen a winch on a motorhome before? If so, how large of one would I need o pull a 26,000 lb MH out of the mud or sand? I guess I would need to mount it on a carrier that I could just pin to the hitch. I could tie into the generator cable that runs to the rear of the motorhome for power. Of course this assumes that my toad isn't stuck as well. If that were to happen I don't know what I'd do. Chip
  14. They've actually dropped in price since I posted this link. They're now only $99 ea. What a deal! Chip
  15. There's a good deal of free boondocking in Northern AZ, around the Grand Canyon. Just click on the link to go to campendium for hundreds of locations all around Arizona. https://www.campendium.com/arizona/free-camping#bounds=((30.420612306668517%2C+-117.01120628593829)%2C+(37.97917060057381%2C+-106.73898948906326)) Chip
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