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Old 05-13-2019, 11:28 PM   #11
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Thanks, mumkin! I’ll check out the sites you mentioned and see what else I can learn. I think having the temperature monitor that I can check on my iPhone would be critical. And, of course, my intent is to avoid the heat because I’m darn tired of it.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:32 PM   #12
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Thanks, Pam. Yes, I would get a Class B with a generator and the Volt Start is designed to start the generator when the battery gets too low to run the A/C. And if I were parked just outside wherever I was running an errand, I could monitor the inside temperature on my iPhone. If it was getting too hot, all I’d need to do would be to run outside and start the RV.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:08 AM   #13
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Just to clear up any misconceptions. Typically the A/C will not run “off the battery”, an exhaust fan will, but a rooftop A/C unit requires the generator when off-grid. Of course the dash air can run if the engine is running.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by magicbus View Post
Just to clear up any misconceptions. Typically the A/C will not run ďoff the batteryĒ, an exhaust fan will, but a rooftop A/C unit requires the generator when off-grid. Of course the dash air can run if the engine is running.
You can run air conditioning off the battery if you have a capable inverter and high capacity batteries for a reasonable amount of time like going shopping, lunch, short touring and hiking. It is practical for about 4 hours if you have 800ah lithium batteries. Some say longer but I donít think you would want to leave a pet alone for much longer and you probably do not want to chance invoking auto start and idling unattended and attract more attention.

Auto starting (Hymer/Roadtrek Voltstart and ARV Autogen) is the least understood feature, IMO. First, you donít want to invoke it involuntarily while away from your van and two, you are still restricted to laws and campground restricted hours. For instance, if you depended on it to get you air conditioning overnight, it would startle you at 3 AM in the morning and go against campground quiet hours. ARV letís you program when it will not start and I program it for campground quiet hours though I donít use it. Itís a nice feature to have but mainly for high idle remote starting (like after you turn your seat around) and keyless starting. You can thus turn it off remotely or pressing the brake pedal. Though the van is running no one can drive off in it.

I have the 800ah lithium battery pack which negates needing auto start if you just pay attention to you battery SOC and plan accordingly. I could get away without it but as mentioned I do like the convenience. On my next campervan I am not getting solar panels. That is another unnecessary feature with 800ah lithium batteries, IMO. It is like filling a glass of water with an eye dropper compared to running a faucet.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:32 PM   #15
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Even when thermally soaked my Sprinter doesn't get dangerously hot with the roof fan thermostat set and a side window vented. With water available, I would be comfortable leaving my dog in it all day. Of course I would leave it in the shade if at all possible too.

Of course that's in NC, not Yuma Arizona in August or something...
What he said.

Had dogs in the motorhome for, I don't know, forty-six years. Never had a problem. I used the beejeezus out of our generators in the big rigs and had every confidence in them. Would come out of an amusement park to find them sleeping in 70 degree comfort while I had been baking in a queue.

Now a days I leave to eat dinner, get groceries, shop and find windows and the Fantastic Fan work great. My Roadtrek 190 has enough battery to run the air conditioning for three or four hours .. two hours more than I'll be gone.

If it's 100 degrees outside I'd come back and check often to find them sleeping in cool and quiet comfort, not really wanting to go out and preferring I close the door.

The dogs come with me. Sometimes I would take others, like the kids. But the dogs come with me.

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Old 05-14-2019, 10:30 PM   #16
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This is very helpful! I did not realize lithium batteries might be enough although I wonder if that’s the case for someone who will be primarily boondocking? What are your thoughts on needing both lithium and solar for primarily boondocking?
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:32 PM   #17
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Thanks, Steve. I’m feeling much more confident about traveling solo with the two fur kids after hearing about others’ experiences.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:33 PM   #18
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You can run air conditioning off the battery if you have a capable inverter and high capacity batteries for a reasonable amount of time like going shopping, lunch, short touring and hiking. It is practical for about 4 hours if you have 800ah lithium batteries. Some say longer but I donít think you would want to leave a pet alone for much longer and you probably do not want to chance invoking auto start and idling unattended and attract more attention.

Auto starting (Hymer/Roadtrek Voltstart and ARV Autogen) is the least understood feature, IMO. First, you donít want to invoke it involuntarily while away from your van and two, you are still restricted to laws and campground restricted hours. For instance, if you depended on it to get you air conditioning overnight, it would startle you at 3 AM in the morning and go against campground quiet hours. ARV letís you program when it will not start and I program it for campground quiet hours though I donít use it. Itís a nice feature to have but mainly for high idle remote starting (like after you turn your seat around) and keyless starting. You can thus turn it off remotely or pressing the brake pedal. Though the van is running no one can drive off in it.

I have the 800ah lithium battery pack which negates needing auto start if you just pay attention to you battery SOC and plan accordingly. I could get away without it but as mentioned I do like the convenience. On my next campervan I am not getting solar panels. That is another unnecessary feature with 800ah lithium batteries, IMO. It is like filling a glass of water with an eye dropper compared to running a faucet.
Davydd,

I am concerned about the dogs as well and we're getting ready to downsize to a class B this fall/winter after one more big trip. You made a good point about solar, you're not getting it for your next van. I am considering the Galleria with the Li3 system and was contemplating how much solar I really would need. I note that they are now claiming, with the ProAir 12v Air conditioner, 10 honest hours of runtime of the Air Conditioner with the 600amp LiFePo batteries. That sounds about perfect for my needs, and I would not need solar, either as I'd either be driving (quicker charge with the second alternator) or at a campground for most overnights (charging on shore power). I understand the LiFePo batteries can be turned-off and lose little charge when sitting, don't need watering and are relatively maintenance-free.

I want neither a generator or to over-do the solar. Looking forward to hearing more about what a van with total battery-powered systems would look like. The final thing I'd love to get rid of is the propane - a heating system powered by diesel would be better, but not sure how trouble-free those systems are vs the propane system that many coaches have.

Hope the OP is getting a good feel for what is available to meet her needs.

best,

Dave
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:29 AM   #19
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My SO and I travel with our dogs and I'm always concerned about their safety. My class B has a Fantastic vent and RV Pet Safety monitor but no generator and limited AH battery.

If it's hot and we want to go out to lunch we search for restaurants we can take the dogs too. Sometimes we can shop with them, they're pretty mellow. Sometimes we don't do things because I'm concerned about their welfare or we do different things where we can take them or I wait until a cooler day. We have rented a car before and left the dogs in the RV hooked up at a campsite with the A/C running. We returned hot and sweaty and miserable and the dogs looked all cool and refreshed from a long nap.

I like the RV Pet Safety monitor, it works fairly well but there are limitations. You have to have a cell signal for it to work (we've been places without cell service). If it doesn't seem to be working like I expect it to, I go back to check on them.

Recently we went to Carlsbad Caverns, clearly we didn't have cell service below ground, they do have kennels (but I didn't have proof of rabies vaccination with me). We did tour the caverns but only because I knew it would be cool and we got there when it first opened. We went through pretty quickly because I was worried it would rain and the rain sensor on my Fantastic Vent would close the vent and turn off the fan. It did rain and we returned to the find the vent closed, the fan off and the interior temperature 68 degrees.

Returning home through the desert it was very hot and I had to run the cab A/C the entire time which really didn't keep the back cool at all. I had one vent for me and one for the dogs, all of us were hot.

What I learned on this last trip:

- Travel with proof of rabies vaccination for my dogs
- Maxxair Deluxe fan is a better choice for dogs than the Fantastic Vent I put in 2 years ago. The Maxxair Deluxe will stay open when it rains and you can run the fan even when the vent is closed which may have helped keep the back a little cooler. I've decided to spend the money to swap out my existing fan before my next trip.
- Closing blinds on windows with direct sunlight does help but an additional product like warm window or reflectix may help more. I'm looking into making covers for my windows.
- I probably worry a little more than I need to because I always return to find them comfortable (except the trip home). My SO doesn't worry, he says I'm more heat intolerant than the dogs.

I do search for shade. I'm careful to close blinds on the side with direct sunlight, open windows on non sunlight side, open vent and turn on fan (which has a thermostat) and a full water bowl which replenishes as they drink and use my pet monitor if I have cell service. I always put window shades on the windshield and I keep track of how long I've been away too.

My dogs are older which usually means more heat intolerant but they're both healthy and fit and a double coated breed. We generally get to do and see what we want while on vacation but I do make some compromises on what time and which day.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:57 AM   #20
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We have plenty of experience with off-grid climate control. We explain the equipment required for off-grid A/C (800Ah-900Ah lithium and either rooftop or split DC A/C) to every prospect. 14-16 hours of runtime is typical. Aux alternator is recommended.
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