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Old 01-29-2011, 10:09 PM   #1
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thinking about converting a van to a camper. I really dont want to have any form of gas or propane. I would like to use battery power to run lap top, EdgeStar FP430 Portable Fridge Freezer 43 quart ( i would only have to run this every 3-4 days), charge cell phones and ipods, run electric burner 750 watts 12 volt. and maybe a george forman grill once in a while. i would maybe want to run a space heater too sometimes the lowest watts I have found for one is 800 watts. Is this possible??? I dont know anything about batteries. from what i have read is you can hook up extra batteries to the van battery and they will charge when the van is running? any help would be wonderful. thank you. any other ideas of how to cook or heat in winter would be great too if my ideas wont work.. thanks again.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:42 PM   #2
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A portable 1000 watt Honda generator might be the answer for power for the heater and grill.

only 29 lbs
59 dB noise level (that's really good for a generator)
8 hour runtime on its built in gas tank in eco-throttle mode

I'd chain it to the van somewhere so someone doesn't steal it.

Batteries and inverters will do a lot of what you want but the heater would deplete at least one deep cycle battery per hour of use. The real problem would be recharging all of the depleted batteries in time for the next night.
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:10 AM   #3
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The EU1000i MSRP is $949, so it might be an issue if frugal is a factor. But it is one of the most
talked about and praised portable generators on the market. They are supposed to be very quiet.

Sounds like you plan to spend some time in your van/camper when you finish it, and maybe some
of it will be in cooler weather? Running the electronics and cooling shouldn't be too problematic,
nor the hot plate, and George Foreman for short stints. The issue is getting some heat for the van
on cold nights? As markopolo says it could probably be done off of batteries assuming you had lots
of them and could recharge them in time for the next evening's requirement. I wonder if one of those
oil filled heaters would work here (marko and VernM swear by them as I recall - and some people
also swear by extra blankets and 2 or 3 dogs on top of them)?
For heating, IMO, a small propane furnace is still your best bet. However that's not an option, as your
preference is no propane or gas. (Propane would also give you another way to heat water, and cook)
My only suggestion would be to ask your questions on 2 other forums I know of, where they may have
more all weather/season campers, and perhaps some of them have faced, and possibly solved, this problem.
http://www.rv.net/forum/ RV Net, they have all shapes and sizes of RVs and plenty of full timers.
http://www.4scf.com/index.php 4 Season Camping Forum - as the name suggests.
They're both free to join, and are just as friendly as this place.
Good luck.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:12 AM   #4
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thank you both!!!
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:43 AM   #5
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If you are going to stay in campgrounds when you need the heat you just need to plug in to the sites electric. It kind of depends on how and when you are going to use it. If you boondock I would go with the generator. I prefer fully self contained, power included this way I can do what I want at any time, of course providing it is permitted.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:05 AM   #6
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thank you all for the info. I too would like to be fully self contained. I didnt realize that these generators would run so many hours on so little fuel. that helps alot. I also found a really cool self built heating solar panel for added heat in the winter that i might try from the websites you suggested mike. Thank you!!!
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:37 PM   #7
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One thousand watts is too close in output to your various power draws. I believe you'd need at least the eu2000i (which I've had for almost 10 years and it runs flawlessly as well as quietly). New was around $900 from Mayberry's in New Jersey. I believe you can sometimes find them used on eBay or Craigslist for as little as half that. But you have to shop used very carefully.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrjrjr
thank you all for the info. I too would like to be fully self contained. I didnt realize that these generators would run so many hours on so little fuel. that helps alot. I also found a really cool self built heating solar panel for added heat in the winter that i might try from the websites you suggested mike. Thank you!!!
Keep in mind, solar doesn't work well after dark, so unless it's a multi-panel array, and you're charging a
large battery bank, it may not be very useful at night for power/warmth, in addition to the other stuff
you might want to run at the same time.
There are some regular solar users on here who might be able to give you some ideas about how effective
your "self built heating solar panel" might be. If you decide to try it, post up the particulars. Better to know
ahead of time what pitfalls are there than to get half way into the DIY and find out it's not going to work
the way you want.
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