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About VagabondKen

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  • Birthday 08/08/1950

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  • Location
    South Dakota (mailing address only)
  • Interests
    Full-Time RVing; Dry Camping; National Rallies; DOVE (Red Cross)

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  1. What you are probably seeing is the voltage drop caused by the lights and the meter being on the same line. If so, it means nothing. The standard battery indicator meter is useless. As was mentioned earlier, you need to use a voltmeter. And even that is not accurate. If you plan to boondock, you will need a meter that has a shunt. About $200. I don't know why modern RVs don't come with one. If you are not going to boondock more than 48 hours, don't worry about it.
  2. Residential fridge takes a lot of power. One battery will not be nearly enough. Two batteries might not be enough. While driving, the cable between the truck and trailer will NOT charge your batteries enough to power the fridge all day. So, you will be draining your batteries even if the truck engine is running.
  3. My 36' fifth wheel has a tongue weight of about 3000 lbs. So, I would recommend going with the 5000 option. 2000 might not be enough. Are you certain this scale works with a fifth wheel not just bumper pulls? Personally, I just go by the rear axle weigh at truck stops. Cheap and easy. Just subtract your non-hauling weight.
  4. My first full-timing was in a fifth-wheel that was not a Toy Hauler. I sold it and bought a Toy Hauler from Grand Design. I love it! I think "toy hauler" is a misnomer. It's really a multi-purpose room. I can lower the queen bed and it's a guest room. I can put up the table and it's an office or a dining room. I enter from the garage side door and it's a mud room. It has my washer/dryer so it's my laundry room. I extend the ramp and it's a patio. When I'm moving to a new campground, it's a storage room for my lawn furniture and ebike. At this point, I wouldn't want to full-time in anything other than a Toy Hauler. My two cents.
  5. Your truck box should be at the front of the truck bed, hence in front of your hitch. Therefore, height isn't particularly important. What does matter is weight. Check the tongue weight of your trailer first. You can easily overload the GAWR for your rear axle. Personally, I'd like to have a combination tool box and fuel tank but it would be too heavy for my 3500.
  6. I don't understand why you need a welder? All loading gear on a fiver are bolted on, using a large U-bolt secured with standard hex nuts. There are weld joints on the support beam but these hold the vertical weight. They do not hold the jacks on. If they are broken, you'll need much more than a welder to repair them. You should be able to put blocks under the unit. Then, manually raise the landing pads an inch or two. This will enable you to remove the jacks. Reverse the procedure to install the new ones. To manually raise the landing gear, they should have given you a crank. If you have no crank, use a power drill or a manual wrench. Why do you need a welder?
  7. Has anyone signed up for virtual health care? I can get prescriptions filled anywhere but I can't find a doctor who will write the prescriptions. My primary care doctor will not write prescriptions for longer than 90 days. Since I typically move to a new campground every week, that just doesn't work. I'm looking to find a way to get my annual physical on-site somewhere, such as Livingston, then use virtual visits the rest of the year. Problem is I can't find anyone who offers this. I think I remember reading that Escapees is considering negotiating a contract but I can't remember where/when I saw it. Anyone had any success?
  8. Here's a revised drawing with both the 110VAC and the 12VDC feeding the same battery bank. It's safe to assume that, if plugged into shore power overnight, the batteries will be completely charged overnight. Hopefully the MPPT controller can compensate if the generator is only run for an hour.
  9. Thanks for your feedback! Why should the MPPT controller be upstream? It seems harmful to me to have several devices feeding directly into the battery bank. One goal is to fully charge the batteries whenever I'm driving several hours from one site to another. I'm assuming that the long DC feed from my truck to my battery pack will have significant voltage loss. Also, I don't think the puny wires in the standard 7-pin connector can provide sufficient current (even though the alternator can); so, I'm planning to add a wide gauge connection. My biggest concern is that it will not adapt to the current battery charge state. Shouldn't the MPPT be able to adapt the voltage to the "maximum power point"? Similarly, if the 110V charge is directly connected to the battery pack, wouldn't it confuse the MPPT controller regarding the active charge state. The charger now in the RV doesn't appear to be a "smart" multi-state charger. Do I really need to manually cut off the solar feed when connected to a shore line? By making the controller the master, I was figuring it could optimize best. From everything I've read, it just selects the optimal output voltage for the current charge state of the configured battery type. Do you believe the controller only likes working with Solar? Yes, I'll need disconnects and fuses and terminal posts. I was simplifying for graphics clarity. I haven't planned them all yet. Although it's possible to power the entire 110 VAC with an inverter, I was thinking that I wouldn't run the high-powered appliances (A/C, microwave) from the batteries. This would mean a smaller, less expensive inverter, a smaller solar array, and protect my battery power longer. All I really care about is my computer and TV, which have a relatively insignificant draw and happen to feed from the same outlet on the same slide-out. For the low amperage I'm considering, the Xantrex transfer switches are small, automatic and not very expensive. I like automatic! One less thing for me to remember. <grin> I would mount them inside a sub-panel for protection but without a manual switch.
  10. Can you give me a sanity check on my plans to convert my Fifth Wheel for use off the grid? I'll be full-timing as soon as my S&B home sells. The previous owner obviously did little or no dry camping. Everything appears to be exactly as it came from the factory. The RV systems are 12VDC. The fridge and hot water are switchable between LP and 110VAC. The furnace, range and stove are propane (with 12VDC thermostats). Everything else is 110VAC (TVs, stereo, A/C. microwave) with no inverter. I've added a generator (Cummins Onan LP – 3600 Watt). My plans are to add solar panels with MPPT charge controller and an extra line from my truck's alternator (180 amp). My goal is have to the critical systems, in my office area, available 24/7 whether or not I have shore power. I intend to manually prevent overloads, such as not running the A/C unless the generator is running with everything else off or I'm on 50A shore power. Attached is a JPG file showing how everything is currently configured and other JPG file showing my plans. The large dots on the 2nd diagram indicate isolators (diodes for the DC lines and automatic transfer switches for the AC lines). Does this look like it will work? Does anyone else have a similar system?
  11. Here's a test post with 2 jpg files
  12. Thanks for the suggestions. For my first stop, I called the local police and they were very helpful. I guess I'll just have to wing it until I learn more.
  13. Where can you park a fifth wheel for a few days when you're not using it? Do I pay for dry camping at a nearby RV park and then just park it and leave it in a site, even though I'm not living in it? When visiting my sisters, I need to park my 38' Dutchmen Grand Junction somewhere. It's too big to fit in either sister's driveway and is not legal to park in the road. They each have a guest room for me but nowhere to store my RV while I visit. They live in the northeast; so there's no BLM or NF land around. It's too big to fit in a parking garage or most parking lots. I know you can park for a night in places like Walmart but I'm sure that they don't want the rig minus the pull vehicle using up space in their parking lot for 3 days. Do RV parks have a short-term parking area that's less expensive than camping?
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