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Boondocking in a trailer?


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I understand I just have one battery on my fifth wheel and I want to boondock! I understand there is a Generator that has an inverter! Is this something I can keep in my truck and simply plug in the trailer to it? Do I need batteries in the Truck as well. Would like some ideas or links to set ups for boon docking?? I understand the idea of running the generator to have power, I would like to be able to be able to simply run the generator for a couple hours a day and then be able to run on batteries like my friends do in there Motorhome.

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Good Morning, good questions here is my response:

 

"I understand I just have one batter on this rig and I want to boondock!"

 

 

If you want to do much extended boondocking, just one battery isn't going to store much energy. At the very least, Id want it to be a so called RV/Marine semi deep cycle battery,,,,,,A step above Id use two 6 volt true deep cycle golf cart batteries wired in series to get the needed 12 volts,,,,,,,,,,,,Another option would be two of the so called RV/Marine semi deep cycle 12 volt batteries connected in parallel. THE BOTTOM LINE IS ONLY ONE 12 VOLT BATTERY IS MARGINAL FOR EXTENDED DRY CAMPING, but hey it can "work" subject to loads and available means to re charge etc. IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOUR 12 VOLT POWER REQUIREMENTS AND RECHARGE METHODS but only one battery isn't a lot of energy storage.

 

 

"I understand there is a Generator that has an inverter!"

 

Many typical (cheaper) Generators produce 120 VAC directly into which you can plug your RV's shore power cord into that provides 120 VAC, plus if your trailer has a built in Converter/Charger (most do), when the genny is running it can charger your trailer battery. Some more expensive Generators are Inverter types, but still once all is done they produce 120 VAC, its just a matter of how its electrically produced. BOTTOM LINE A GENERATOR CAN PROVIDE 120 VAC POWER PLUS CHARGE YOUR TRAILER BATTERY (provided the trailer has its own built in Converter/Charger)

 

"Is this something I can keep in my truck and simply plug in the trailer to it?"

 

YES many trailer owners who use a truck to tow it simply haul the genny (and gas tanks) in the truck and fire it up and plug the trailer into its 120 VAC outlet. If that's the case Id prefer a genset which has a Neutral/Ground bond versus using a floating Neutral.

 

"Do I need batteries in the Truck as well"

 

IT DEPENDS some smaller cheaper gensets are rope pull start so you wouldn't need any genset battery, while if its an electric start it would require a battery source for starting. Some have a small 12 volt battery right on board yet with others you could rig up the truck battery to start the genny.

 

SUMMARY it all depends on your loads and boondock time and your energy storage. The more battery energy storage the better for extended dry camping. Its typical to have a smaller rope pull start genset (no battery required) in the back of a pickup truck to provide 120 VAC plus charge the trailer battery while running via a built in Converter/Charger (if your trailer has one which id guess it DOES). If you're into extended dry camping you might consider a solar panel to help keep your trailer battery charged and id invest into LED 12 VDC lighting which is much more energy efficient. Id also want the ability to charge the trailer battery while driving via the trucks alternator, that's pretty cheap and easy and you may already have that????

 

NOTE we can go much deeper into all this if needed but this should give you a start. There are a lot of other things you could do all subject to your budget and loads and batteries and power requirements and boondock time.

 

John T NOTE Im retired and a bit rusty on all this electrical stuff so listen to the more current gents here also.............This is just one mans opinion....

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I would like to be able to be able to simply run the generator for a couple hours a day and then be able to run on batteries like my friends do in there Motorhome.

 

If you want to be able to run AC-powered items while boondocking, you'll need a properly-sized inverter (changes DC power into AC power).

 

I agree with the previous poster, that if you plan on doing any amount of boondocking, you'll want to get at least two batteries (and if you REALLY get into boondocking, consider adding solar). Don't just add another battery...change both of them at the same time (unless the battery you currently have is very new).

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To clarify John T's post, The Honda - is series (as in EU2000is), Yamaha inverter series, and there are others, do contain an inverter. What this gives you (more expensive) is a variable gas motor that runs based on load and the inverter portion creates the AC @ 120 volts. By varying the motor speed and doing other sound deadening work, it is quiet and sips gas. Typical run time varies between 4 and 12 hours per gallon of gas, based on your load. The quietness is background noise (very little) at 50 to 100'. And the thing weighs in at 49 lbs so is portable (hint - by more than just you, so out of sight, out of mind) You can run it in the back of the truck but put it on a board with some foam under it, the truck will act as a drum head and make more noise than the genny.

 

More batteries as JT suggests. And another thought, would be to look at the charger. Let us know what you have. A PD92xx will charge much faster, safely, (less genny time) than many of the converters out there.

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Yo Bill B, I agree:

 

"Let us know what you have. A PD92xx will charge much faster, safely, (less genny time) than many of the converters out there."

 

The old noisy humming heat producing NON Smart Converter/Chargers were more like a constant charge source, they just sat there and charged at maybe 13.4 to 13.6 volts so as NOT to overcharge the batteries quite so bad (I prefer a float level charge around 13.2 volts) BUT that took a longggggggggggggg time to recharge. However, the newer generation of so called "Smart Charges" like you're talking about charge much faster (less generator run time as you referred to) as they initially kick in at a Bulk charge rate of maybe 14.4 to 4.8 volts before they back off to say 13.6 then 13.2 float. I replaced my old DUMB charger with a PD 9200 series and it was one of the best conversions I made. If you still use the old cabinet/system as the DC distribution center and replace/reuse ONLY the converter/charger they aren't all that expensive either.

 

John T

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If you go with the generator and you are going to be around other campers, by all means go with one of the Honda's or Yamaha's that are quiet. Do NOT buy one of those cheap contractor generators from Lowes or Home Depot, as many camping places have a DB level and if your generator exceed that you want be able to use it.

 

With one 12v battery, you want be watching too much TV or running fans as with people with motorhomes. Most motorhomes have any where from 2 to 8 6 volt batteries and even then you are limited to how much can do with them without running a generator to keep them charged.

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Homeless...... we boondock a lot with our motorhome. We have 4 golf cart batteries and no solar. I run our 2000i Honda in the evenings while we watch tv for a few hours and it tops up our batteries at the same time. Then we are good until the next evening. We probably could get by with just 2 battereis and that is what I suggest for you for now unless you are thinking about getting solar and an inverter. Then you might want to think about getting 4 batteries....it depends on your power requirements. Until we get solar I am quite happy with the setup we have now.

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