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amarie1

Can I boondock for a night?

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i don't have any solar on my 30 ft motor home. I have one house battery that was in good shape when inspected last month. It's the one that came with the rig (a 2017), a lead-acid, maintenance-free one. 

So ... if i want to have lights, and light the stove, and run the water pump, and my fantastic fan, and run the fridge, can I do so for an afternoon/night off of the house battery alone? Or do I need to run the generator (4000 Onan) the whole time? 

I ask because I'm planning a long trip and there's a dispersed camping spot I'd like to stay at for a night near the Tetons. But I'm on my own and I've never done that before. Also I've heard that if anyone is near me (there are 5 spots in this location), generator used is frowned upon. 

Note: I do have a small solar generator, a RockPals 300watt, that I bought to keep my CPAP running for a night via 110, and that can charge my phone and laptop. 

Thanks,

AM

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Perhaps adding battery capacity would be something that you should consider.  Your 300W can help keep the battery bank up, and then have the genie in case you fall below allowable capacity.  Keep in mind that the refer you should run on LP as much as possible.  1 single wet cell battery will only provide 50% capacity of what the battery is rated for.  If you are to add battery/ies to create a bank, consider that all batteries should installed at the same time, as new batteries will mirror the capacity of the older battery.  So, if you add, lets say, 3 batteries to make a 4 battery bank, you really might not be helping your rig out to the FULL capacity of the new batteries.  A 3-4YO battery is nearing the end of its useful life, esp considering that RV manufaturers dont provide the best quality when putting batteries into their product.

 

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We used to have a small travel trailer with one battery and we were able to boondock a couple nights.  We didn't have slides at that time.  Do you really need to open the slides for one night?  The awning is optional, also.  The warm sun will feel good there.

Your refrigerator and stove are on propane, aren't they?  Use minimal lights. You won't need the Fantastic fan if going to the Tetons at this time of year.  Use the water pump minimally.

Enjoy!

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no time to add batteries at this point. Before my next big RV trip I may, which would probably be in the early spring of 2021.

Well I guess I don't need to use the slides or awning. 😉  

So assuming I don't, and I use the water pump carefully, then do you think I can run the rest (yes stove and fridge are propane) without running the generator? 

AM

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2 minutes ago, amarie1 said:

no time to add batteries at this point. Before my next big RV trip I may, which would probably be in the early spring of 2021.

Well I guess I don't need to use the slides or awning. 😉  

So assuming I don't, and I use the water pump carefully, then do you think I can run the rest (yes stove and fridge are propane) without running the generator? 

AM

Just run the generator while using the slides and awnings, then run your low usage items off the battery. If you have a state of charge indicator, that'll tell you when you're getting low enough that you need to run the generator. An SOC gauge is really essential for accurate and efficient battery management. Jay

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The refrigerator uses 12V power on LP as well as 120VAC, to power the circuit board, light, and any  automatic defrost heaters in the fridge.

 Count on running the genset in the morning while making coffee and breakfast, then retracting awning and slide.

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Leave your engine running while you extend your slides or awning.  Then start the engine before bringing them in.  Should be no need for generator for a single night.

Lenp

 

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13 hours ago, amarie1 said:

...stay at for a night near the Tetons...

If you will need to run the RV's furnace at night, in my experience, that is by far the greatest draw on the 12 volt system. In addition to the other suggestions, I would run the generator to top off the battery before quiet hours if any begin. Run it again in the morning if you need power before starting the engine to move on.

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9 hours ago, lenp said:

Leave your engine running while you extend your slides or awning.  Then start the engine before bringing them in.  Should be no need for generator for a single night.   

That is what we do with our current RV which has only 1 battery. If you don't need the furnace 1 battery is sufficient. You probably do not have an inverter, which is good for a 1 battery situation and that means that you won't have 120V power for the microwave or air conditioner, unless your RV has an onboard generator to supply that. If your solar panel is mounted and wired into the RV it might be able to supply some 120V power to things other than the cpap. Just leave the refrigerator in the auto position and it should take care of itself and operate on propane, that is what it is designed to do. 

Just for clarity, most of us use the term generator for a unit with an engine and electricity generator to supply 120V power. Solar is not usually called a generator. 

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It appears that the RockPals 300watt unit is a self-contained battery/inverter unit. It is listed as "Solar Compatible" and can be purchased with a small solar panel. 

AM - From the specs on that unit it has an advertised battery capacity of 280 Watt-hours.  It appears that CPAP machines draw anywhere from 30 to 60 watts, which means that this powerpack should run one for 4 - 8 hours, depending on the CPAP.  Have you had a chance to test your CPAP on the RockPals unit to see how long it will run?

If you charge your phone, and especially your laptop, the available power for your CPAP will be less. 

 

Edited by mptjelgin

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amarie1,

As bigjim suggested, it helps others answer your questions better if we have a little information on your rig. An easy way to do this is to go into your profile and create a signature (like mine below). Include as much information as you're comfortable with. This way, you won't have to repeat it every time you ask a question and members won't have to ask you before they answer.

Rob

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In addition to telling everyone a little more about your rig are you planning on this trip NOW?   Because it is September and snow is already falling in some areas of the Rockies.  

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hi all, thank you for the advice. I tried to find the area to enter my rig info for the footer but didn't see it. I'll try again.

AM

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2 hours ago, Second Chance said:

amarie1,

As bigjim suggested, it helps others answer your questions better if we have a little information on your rig. An easy way to do this is to go into your profile and create a signature (like mine below). Include as much information as you're comfortable with. This way, you won't have to repeat it every time you ask a question and members won't have to ask you before they answer.

Rob

I'm not seeing a signature field in my Profile or Edit Profile area Hrm. Here's a screenshot: https://www.dropbox.com/s/b2k1gk5g6znds6d/profile.png?dl=0

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Go up to where you see your name (top right on my browser) click and scroll down to Account Settings.  Then you will see the page to change and there will be the link to set up your signature line.

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Anyway I have a 2017 Thor 29FE motorhome, which I bought from the original owner a few months ago. He bought it new and took some good trips with his family in it. He said when he needed to boondock for the occasional night in a Walmart lot "I just ran the generator all day." It has 23k miles. The independent inspector I hired said the battery was in good shape. So did the service center I hired to go over everything before I left for my trip from Chicago to Oakland. I'll be heading back in a week.

Here are the specs:

https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2017-thor-motor-coach-freedom-elite-class-c-floorplan-29fe-tr30886

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19 hours ago, amarie1 said:

I ask because I'm planning a long trip and there's a dispersed camping spot I'd like to stay at for a night near the Tetons. But I'm on my own and I've never done that before. Also I've heard that if anyone is near me (there are 5 spots in this location), generator used is frowned upon. 

 

Where is this dispersed camping?  Who said generators are frowned upon?  There are no 'rules' at dispersed camping spots and people do use generators.  With colder days/nights coming up I would guess there will be generators run at that place.  Not everyone has solar.  If you're really concerned with your power, why not stay in the park itself?  You'd have a better overall experience being able to spend time in the park and perhaps you could extend your time there for added benefit.  

There's a lovely campground close to Jackson, WY called Gros Ventre.  It's dry camping but generators are allowed during specific times.  It also has about 20 electric sites if you're fortunate to get one.  They are snapped up in the morning.

If you're set on staying where you planned try to park as far away from others as possible and feel free to run your generator, if necessary.  Let them frown!! :)  You're entitled to do so if it's truly a dispersed site.

September to mid-October is a very popular time to visit Grand Teton Nat'l Park.  The Aspen is in full color against the blue sky.   We've been there quite a few times during that time and had clear Fall weather - no snow.  Yes, The Rockies had a freak snowstorm about a week or two ago but since then they've had very nice weather.

Edited by 2gypsies

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34 minutes ago, amarie1 said:

Anyway I have a 2017 Thor 29FE motorhome, which I bought from the original owner a few months ago. He bought it new and took some good trips with his family in it. He said when he needed to boondock for the occasional night in a Walmart lot "I just ran the generator all day." It has 23k miles. The independent inspector I hired said the battery was in good shape. So did the service center I hired to go over everything before I left for my trip from Chicago to Oakland. I'll be heading back in a week.

Here are the specs:

https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2017-thor-motor-coach-freedom-elite-class-c-floorplan-29fe-tr30886

If the previous owner said he had to run the generator 'all day' to stay at WalMart that is not typical.  He must have been in very hot weather and was running his air conditioner.  Otherwise, he  definitely wouldn't have to run it that much.

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Yes, you can get snow after Labor Day in the Rockies.   You need to watch the weather this time of year, and be prepared to hunker down for a day or 2 if a storm is overtaking you.  Don’t stray to far from I-80, they keep the interstates open for the most part.   And we are almost to October!

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