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Old 08-13-2020, 12:36 AM   #1
jls
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Default Big-picture thinking about off-grid systems

Iím new this and hoping to purchase a smaller class-b for boondocking 3-5 days at a time in a variety of hotter and colder climates. Iíve read some posts re: lithium v. lead-acid batteries, generators v. no generators & LP v. no LP but havenít found the answer to my question (it has probably already been addressed in a previous thread but I havenít found it yet).

What Iím wondering is if an ďall-electricĒ lithium-solar combo running 12V appliances (AC, heat, induction stove, fridge, microwave, hot water, TV, lights, pumps, panels, etc) is actually viable in some of the configurations currently being offered? Maybe with the addition of Volt-Start or similar technology in case the batteries need charging to keep everything running?

One example is Coachmenís Beyond with 330Ah or 600Ah Lithium + 200W Solar

Another is PWís Ontourís 2.2 with 200Ah Lithium + 330W Solar

Another is American Coachís Patriot with 600Ah Lithium + 320W Solar

These examples seem to be about where the commercial industry is at though Iíve seen custom builds with much higher amounts of both battery and solar (and perhaps an indication of what is really required to make this kind of setup work?)

Putting cost aside(!), is the all-electric capable of providing a nice functioning system for someone who knows how to take a conservative approach to using energy? (Or will I regret not having the alternate source of energy from a generator and/or LP gas?)

thanks for your thoughts
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:46 AM   #2
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Hi,
Welcome to the Forums


I have old tech ( 2006 ) and no problem boondocking for 5~7 days
limiting factors are usually boredom, requirement for supplies & laundry-

LP for 2 burner, furnace hot water and fridge( 3 way) is very efficient ( we also carry a cassette feu single burner for use on the picnic tables- uses butane cans)

DC for fridge's added fans, tv, & lights...have small solar panel I put out which equals the draw of the fans

Have genny, have never actually used camping- but I could

33(?) gallon water ( can't remember, never been an issue) used for washing and consumption IF boiled- we do carry jugs of water for drinking

solar requires parking van in the sun= hot van

I am yet unconvinced that we have hit the nail on the head as far as energy needs covered by one source...and cost!!!

some ( well, most) hate the 3way fridge- which takes constant monitoring.
on DC while driving it will barely keep temperature, on AC like genny or shore power it will make colder.
on LP I can rely on fridge temps to 60ļ colder than ambient. doesn;t mean much in AZ...but at temperate climes, that's dandy.
tending the fridge is my new camping hobby, replaces whittling or reading books



Mike
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Old 08-13-2020, 01:39 AM   #3
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I need LP for hot water, furnace, and stove if I used it. Other than that all electric is fine. I choose a generator over the second alternator thing as runtimes are so short into lithium.

Occasionally we need A/C which the generator provides.
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Old 08-13-2020, 01:40 PM   #4
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I just posted this message in the Alternators thread. It applies here. However, I'm not familiar with the Coachmen, Pleasure-way or American Coach vans you asked about other than if you are asking about what you are proposing I would not install an Onan generator either. I am not an advocate of solar either with a second alternator. Heat and hot water can come from the fuel source for the engine.

I have an 800ah lithium ion battery system from ARV with a second alternator. I am having built another ARV on a 144 WB chassis with as much as 864ah of 6 group 27 drop in Valence lithium batteries (undetermined at this point as I am considering reducing it with my experience.) Maybe 576ah can achieve my historical use and travel with no apparent change with a 3 day non-traveling stay. We seldom use air conditioning. I've owned my current ARV almost 5 years and 92,000 miles on the road. So, with that, all electric, no propane, I can tell with 800ah or less of batteries and a second alternator you will not need to idle your engine and not need solar when traveling. I'm dropping solar entirely with my next Class B. Solar could be useful if you store longterm outdoors.
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Old 08-13-2020, 04:32 PM   #5
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Itís great to hear whatís working for everyone. Fewer systems seems attractive and it sounds like a beefy lithium configuration (600ah or more) is the key. If anyone else has first-hand experience with an all-electric, especially a standard commercial model like Roadtrekís Etrek, ACís Patriot Eco Freedom, or MADís Passage, I would like to know how well those are covering all the bases for you.
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Old 08-13-2020, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jls View Post
it sounds like a beefy lithium configuration (600ah or more) is the key.
Lithium is the key if and only if you have a solution to the cold-weather storage problem. There is another thread that discusses this in detail. Bottom line is that if you store your rig with reliable access to shore power, it is a non-issue. Otherwise, it could be a significant one.

I have 440Ah of AGM, which meets my needs nicely. Given all the hassles of lithium, I am not tempted to switch. Even if I needed 600Ah, I would probably stand pat with AGM. Much more than that, lithium starts to become necessary.
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