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Macodiva

Generator & Solar questions...

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So i've just bought a Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser G26!

Well i've committed to buy, papers not exchanged yet but i fully intend to have it as long as it checks out ok.

It doesn't have a generator. Guy said he never needed it & didn't like that it was directly under the bed.

At the moment it will just be used for a few trips, probably a week at a time at most.

Would you recommend buying a portable one, if so which one? 

Or

Should i splash out & get the type it originally had?

I'm thinking the AC will probably be the only thing that really needs a generator right? Or does the microwave need it to?

Will everything else run ok off the batteries? 

Do you think solar is a worth while investment? 

Thanks in advance for your advice & opinions.

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Are you saying that the RV had a generator installed when new, but someone took it out? Might it have never had a generator at all, as they are almost always an optional item?

As to what will not operate without either shore power or a generator, the air conditioner, microwave, and most likely the TV all need to have 120V-ac power from somewhere. You should have a power cord to plug into a 30a outlet when you stay in an RV park or campground that has electricity and that would supply all of those. It is possible that your RV might have an inverter to supply 120V to some items, most likely the TV if it does. It is highly unlikely that it would have inverter enough to operate the microwave and no way the a/c. It takes a lot of battery to run either of those items.

As to the need to buy a portable generator,  that just depends on where you plan to stay in your RV and for how long. A portable generator can be very handy and you can use one to operate the TV and recharge the batteries with a 1000 watt or more generator. It will take at least a 2000 watt generator to operate the microwave and to use the a/c you may need 3000 watts, depending on the size of the a/c that you have. Portable generators come in a very wide range of prices and sizes. Higher wattage generators will weigh more and those with the best reputations for reliability and best-known brands will cost more. I have a Honda, which is one of the best rated and also one of the most expensive. If you don't use it much and if it isn't critical to you, then you may want to buy something less costly, if you buy one at all. 

Keep in mind that if you do buy a generator you will need to have a place to store it and also to store the fuel for it. 

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A lot depends on where you plan to stay and what you intend to use. If you plan on boondocking a lot you may want to consider getting a generator especially if you plan on using an air conditioner. 

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Thanks, i figured the AC & microwave but the TV surprises me. The seller says it used to have a generator on the undercarriage but that he never really used it so he removed it many years ago rather than carry the extra weight. 

I'd like the option to boondock for sure. I suppose a generator could come in handy for many things really.

I think i need to do more reading to understand amps, volts, watts ect. 😄

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I ran my microwave from my solar system but I was only doing very short times. Mostly heating/reheating.

As to A/C I only ran it when plugged in but I had a 12 volt fan that worked really well with an open window/vent to cool me off during winter days in the desert. Desert nights get quite cool so opening windows to let the heat out worked much better than I expected.

Linda Sand

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17 hours ago, Macodiva said:

Thanks, i figured the AC & microwave but the TV surprises me. The seller says it used to have a generator on the undercarriage but that he never really used it so he removed it many years ago rather than carry the extra weight. 

I'd like the option to boondock for sure. I suppose a generator could come in handy for many things really.

I think i need to do more reading to understand amps, volts, watts ect. 😄

Here are 2 links to a good place to help understand RV electrical systems, batteries, inverters, converters, solar etc. 

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm

The above links are to part 1 and part 2 of the same website. 

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On 5/10/2019 at 5:27 PM, Macodiva said:

So i've just bought a Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser G26!

Well i've committed to buy, papers not exchanged yet but i fully intend to have it as long as it checks out ok.

It doesn't have a generator. Guy said he never needed it & didn't like that it was directly under the bed.

At the moment it will just be used for a few trips, probably a week at a time at most.

Would you recommend buying a portable one, if so which one? 

Or

Should i splash out & get the type it originally had?

I'm thinking the AC will probably be the only thing that really needs a generator right? Or does the microwave need it to?

Will everything else run ok off the batteries? 

Do you think solar is a worth while investment? 

Thanks in advance for your advice & opinions.

I would use great caution in buying this rig.  Since he pulled the generator and says he didn't need or use it, you really need to have a good understanding of the 12V electrical system in this rig. That is the number of batteries and the size, i.e. AH (Amp Hours), size and type of inverter, if any. Also to understand what style of camping he did.  It may be he never stayed anywhere that didn't have electric hookups.   

You have written you don't know much about RV amps and stuff.  That makes even more difficult for you to judge just how much work and money you are going to have to put into the rig for you to dry camp or boondock. 

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On 5/10/2019 at 5:27 PM, Macodiva said:

So i've just bought a Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser G26!

Well i've committed to buy, papers not exchanged yet but i fully intend to have it as long as it checks out ok..................

Should i splash out & get the type it originally had?

That is probably the most expensive option.  A 2000 watt inverter type generator like a Honda would be better, but probably to small to operate the air conditioner.  A 3000 watt would run the air conditioner, but is to heavy to pick up and move.

I'm thinking the AC will probably be the only thing that really needs a generator right? Or does the microwave need it to?

The microwave "CAN" be operated off of the batteries, BUT you must have a 2000 watt inverter and at least 4 golf cart type batteries or other batteries with a total of about 400AH (Amp Hours) of capactiy.  The AC will not operate off of the batteries and inverter unless you have an extremely large and well designed system.  Think $10,000 to $15,000 system.

Will everything else run ok off the batteries? 

That depends on what you mean by "everything else".  If you mean the gas/elect fridge operating on gas, the forced air propane furnace, the lights, then yes.

Do you think solar is a worth while investment? 

Only if you plan on doing a lot of dry camping/boondocking.  And then only if you have a well designed and installed system.  It also needs to be a total system.  Solar panels, batteries, battery monitor, inverter. 

Thanks in advance for your advice & opinions.

This following link has some great info about what to look for in a solar/battery/inverter system.  Especially good info about what to not do.  He has very strong oponions, some of the info is outdated, some I don't agree with, but the over all article is a great starting point for info to understand what to do and what not to do.

Bottom line:  It is easy to buy or have someone install a system that doesn't work well.  It takes quite a bit of thought and planning to get a good system which works well for someone. You really should know exactly what your needs and wants are before buying. 

BTW, we have been dry camping/boondocking for many, many years.  Also users of solar for the last 8 years so have quite a bit of experience.  

If you are interested in our travel style and boondocking take a look at our blog found in our signature line. 

Edited by Al F

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17 hours ago, Macodiva said:

I'd like the option to boondock for sure. I suppose a generator could come in handy for many things really.

You do not need a generator to be able to use the RV without utility hookups. Most of your appliances operate from 12V power that comes from the batteries which are then recharged from the engine when you are driving. There is also an air conditioner driven by the engine, just like a car but it will not operate when the engine isn't operating and it probably won't be able to cool much more than the cab area, which is the reason for the roof air conditioner that is powered by 120V. The lights and water pump will work on 12V from the batteries, the furnace, water heater, and refrigerator us propane but have controls that are powered by 12V. RVs have 2 very different electrical systems. Most things use 12V direct current electricity, the same as your car has and like the car it is supplied by a small generator mounted on the engine and it is stored in 1 or more batteries. For things that require more power than 12V easily supplies it also has 120V alternating current power that comes from the RV power cord or from a generator and which is the same as you have in your house. It supplies the air conditioner and microwave in any RV and usually the RV and if you have one the DVR. It also supplies any power outlets you have which look like those at home where you would connect your blow dryer, a toaster, electric toothbrush, computer, or most anything else that you bring from home. Keep in mind also that while you do not have to be in an RV park with connections to power, water, and sewer, your batteries have a limited ability to supply power without charging, the water tank will be fairly small in your RV as will be the 2 waste tanks. 

I strongly suggest that you plan to stay in campgrounds where there are utility connections for your first trips to learn how to use things before you attempt to spend a night without them. 

 

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4 hours ago, Al F said:

I would use great caution in buying this rig.  Since he pulled the generator and says he didn't need or use it, you really need to have a good understanding of the 12V electrical system in this rig. That is the number of batteries and the size, i.e. AH (Amp Hours), size and type of inverter, if any. Also to understand what style of camping he did.  It may be he never stayed anywhere that didn't have electric hookups.   

You have written you don't know much about RV amps and stuff.  That makes even more difficult for you to judge just how much work and money you are going to have to put into the rig for you to dry camp or boondock. 

Don't worry i'm going to have a 'Pro' check it out before handing over the money :)

Thanks

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I strongly suggest that you plan to stay in campgrounds where there are utility connections for your first trips to learn how to use things before you attempt to spend a night without them. 

Thanks this is a good layman term explanation.  I figure half the fun is figuring it all out. I'll be experimenting a lot with it before i try any proper trips. I currently live in a static 5th wheel that is permanently hooked up so i've learned the lesson & got in the habit of one thing at a time on things like kettle, microwave, hairdryer, toaster, AC. So i'm not going into it totally blind. I tend to learn better by doing than reading about it. I'm hoping all the helpful advice given here will make my learning curve a little less steep 😁

I've done a bit of camping, so until i've got it all figured out i may end up camping in a tin rather than a tent!

Be assured my first trips won't be into the middle of the desert with no cell service 😄

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On 5/12/2019 at 5:02 AM, Al F said:

I would use great caution in buying this rig.  Since he pulled the generator and says he didn't need or use it, you really need to have a good understanding of the 12V electrical system in this rig. That is the number of batteries and the size, i.e. AH (Amp Hours), size and type of inverter, if any. Also to understand what style of camping he did.  It may be he never stayed anywhere that didn't have electric hookups.   

You have written you don't know much about RV amps and stuff.  That makes even more difficult for you to judge just how much work and money you are going to have to put into the rig for you to dry camp or boondock. 

Well Al F. Turns out you were right on with the caution advice. On inspection this rig was nothing like he described. Engine lights on, spongy patch on the floor, water leak & quite a few other things :(. Waste of a few hundred $ but better than a many thousands! 

Seriously why aren't people honest in their descriptions?

I mean did he really think that after checking it out i'd just say oh well never mind all the obvious issues i'm here now so may as well take it.

I work way to hard for it to be throwing my money away!

Major disappointment, guess i'll keep looking.

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Glad you checked the rig closely.  Always aggravating when people don't tell the truth in sales ads. 

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