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Old 12-13-2017, 04:13 AM   #1
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Default AC - Briefly Leaving Dog In Van

Which Class B van set up will allow me to run the AC without a generator and without the van idling for about 30 minutes? I want to be able to briefly leave my dog in the van.

I am van shopping and need to select a setup that would let the AC run just long enough for me to run an errand. I am not sure which Class B van set up I should be considering.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:25 AM   #2
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30 minutes isn't too hard, but you will need a substantial and high quality inverter properly wired to an adequate battery. Our 2800 watt Outback inverter/charger wired with 3/0 cable was able to run our A/C for about an hour with our original 220aH AGM batteries (down to 50% SOC). We have since doubled the battery capacity, and so can run for about 2 hours.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:36 AM   #3
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.

*smh*


Would you leave your kid in the RV with the air conditioner?

Some RV manufacturers try to pull people's heartstring with their promises.
Think before you leap.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:38 AM   #4
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Thank you for the information...I don't want to rely on a sales person to tell me sure it will work, but I don't know enough on what is needed to get the AC to run this long off the battery. Generally, do most of the Class B vans have the capability to run the AC off the battery for about 30 minutes or are there specs I need to look for when selecting a camper van?
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:45 AM   #5
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smh
apples and oranges
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver2017 View Post
smh
apples and oranges
To say the least.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
.

*smh*


Would you leave your kid in the RV with the air conditioner?

Some RV manufacturers try to pull people's heartstring with their promises.
Think before you leap.
The OP asked about his dog, not his kid.

Some of us lead lifestyles where the scenario the OP proposes is unavoidable. I have driven solo cross-continent in the summer and plan to do it again. Sorry, but there will be times when I need to grab groceries or repair parts or something else - it is not possible to physically remain in a Class B for, say, up to a week at a time while traveling, without ever exiting for some reason. By law, I cannot take my dog into a grocery store. Nor can I take my dog into a restaurant. As I write this, I am recalling one memorable stop at a Subway sandwich shop in Georgia where the Wunderground app was reading the local temperature at 103 degrees.

To answer the OP's reasonable question, our DIY system consists of the following:

-- 300 watt solar (not essential for the usage scenario being described, but it helps slow battery drain overall and also helps with recovery)

-- 300 AH lithium battery bank

-- 2,000 watt inverter

-- 11,000 BTU coach roof-mount a/c (many of those sold today are larger, but this does fine for a 22' Sprinter-based rig - bigger is not necessarily better in this case)

-- EasyStart unit retrofitted to the roof a/c so that it can be successfully powered up and run on batteries. Note that some owners of larger and newer a/c units have reported that they cannot physically fit the EasyStart module into the a/c casing. There may be other ways of incorporating it, but I don't yet know of anyone who has tried.

-- We also have an upgraded engine alternator but my husband put that in and I can't remember the specs. This is necessary for quicker recovery after major battery suck-down events such as going into the aforesaid Subway shop and then having a nap in the van afterward before getting back on the road.

My dog is alive and kicking, and has never once suffered in a hot Class B.

EDIT: Among other gizmos, I also have an IP security device permanently wired into our van. It includes temperature and humidity sensors and transmits data to my phone via an air card. So if I happen to be stuck in a long Subway line during lunch rush hour and something were to happen to the above-described set-up such that the a/c failed, abnormal temperature readings would immediately transmit to my iPhone. Same thing if someone were to break into the van - I'd get pictures transmitted to my phone. It's a lotta lotta work to set up all this stuff, but the end result is worth it.
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:33 PM   #8
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That is probably $5000 in lithium batteries and well over $10,000 in electronics just so she can leave her dog for 30 min.. If that is the only real need, I would just leave the van running with the AC on and hurry a little in the grocery store.

Mercedes even designs their Sprinters with a "high idle mode" so you can add a second alternator if you want and let the van idle. They have no problem with people idling the van for 30 min.
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:58 PM   #9
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Time for someone to come up with that air conditioned dog crate that will run on 10% of the power it would take to cool the whole van. Leave the windows open and vent on to keep close to outside temp and just keep the pet cool.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:05 PM   #10
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The investment is more than just running an air conditioner for 30 minutes. It is also freedom to boondock or not be dependent on shore power ever and have complete use of you van electrically 24/7.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:51 PM   #11
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She didn't ask for help with boondocking. She just wants time to run short errands and it was suggested to spend $10,000+.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:15 PM   #12
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I've never tested it, but my 170 might run the AC for 20-30 minutes. I have 2 group 31 AGMs and a 2000w inverter. So I've been told... but I wouldn't trust it. I would definitely just leave the engine running with even just the dash AC... and don't understand why this is a big deal to our OP. I wouldn't want to try doing it for a couple hours or more, but 30 minutes isn't a big deal.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrobe View Post
She didn't ask for help with boondocking. She just wants time to run short errands and it was suggested to spend $10,000+.
It's all part of the decision if you want to spend the extra money.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:00 PM   #14
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The mods on this particular forum are not great, and I find there is too much "holier than thou" behavior here. Rather than asking objective questions and obtaining factual answers, some users proceed directly to unsubstantiated judgment, the kind that is based on their personal assumptions rather than on the wider facts of the situation.

DUH, my husband and I did not spend X thousand dollars on upgrades just so that we could leave our dog in our van with the a/c running.

We spent X thousand dollars on targeted power management upgrades so that I could partially run a small business out of that van -- which I do. A business the income from which justifies the investments in both my wheeled office, as well as my stick-and-brick office.

Lo and behold, a fringe benefit of this investment is that I get to leave our dog in our battery-powered van while running errands on big solo summer trips.

The is the kind of basic, objective perspective that would emerge far more efficiently if some of this forum's users would restrict their eager business of looking down their noses trying to identify inferior beings to pass judgment on. That practice is nothing but a time-waster for other users (such as this OP, myself, and others) whose primary goal is not denigration, but rather to obtain actual information, strategies, and examples of successful tech applications in the Class B context.
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Old 12-13-2017, 09:36 PM   #15
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The cost of 30 min of A/C is nowhere near $10K. That may be the price for an Advanced-RV-class setup that will let you leave your stuff turned on all the time. But a 2K watt inverter is maybe $500. A pair of group 31 AGM batteries about the same. Add wiring and insulation and $2K is a very reasonable price target.
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrobe
That is probably $5000 in lithium batteries and well over $10,000 in electronics just so she can leave her dog for 30 min..
You're talking out your behind. Why even comment if you don't have a clue what you're talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog
The mods on this particular forum are not great, and I find there is too much "holier than thou" behavior here. Rather than asking objective questions and obtaining factual answers, some users proceed directly to unsubstantiated judgment, the kind that is based on their personal assumptions rather than on the wider facts of the situation.
Not the mods, but the users.

Can you run AC on batteries for 30 minutes? Yes. Will it cost $15k? No. Will it cost some money? Absolutely.

As stated earlier you need the right setup. Inverter, cabling and batteries. I'm not the right guy to tell you what you need but there are others on this forum that can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avanti
The cost of 30 min of A/C is nowhere near $10K. That may be the price for an Advanced-RV-class setup that will let you leave your stuff turned on all the time. But a 2K watt inverter is maybe $500. A pair of group 31 AGM batteries about the same. Add wiring and insulation and $2K is a very reasonable price target.
That's about what I figured quickly, although I considered three batteries simply due to the fact they may not be at 100% charge so 3 would allow some leeway.
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Old 12-14-2017, 02:31 PM   #17
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There are lots of great points and advice in this topic. I'd summarize it like this:

1. Yes, 30 minutes of A/C on battery power is obtainable both on production units and DIY retrofits.
2. Don't assume 100% reliability as there are many parts in the system and any of them could fail without any warning.
3. Remote monitoring via smartphone is perhaps a must if trusting the system for pet care.

My opinion - For DIY, I'd budget up to $4K if using lead acid batteries (400AH minimum). That would include a recognizable brand name inverter rated to handle inductive loads. A lot of these less expensive 2KW inverters are rated at 2KW for a purely resistive load. They'll work for a Youtube demo and occasional use but I'd expect them to fail prematurely if continuously subjected to near max load conditions. You should also be able to get great monitoring capabilities if spending the entire $4K. The budget might only need to be increased to $5K or $6K if using lithium batteries as you might not need as much AH capacity compared to lead acid batteries. You most likely would end up with a much better inverter that what is in a standard production Class B.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if $10K can be attributed in the overall cost of a somewhat similar system in a commercially available Class B RV.
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Old 12-14-2017, 02:57 PM   #18
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It wouldn't surprise me at all if $10K can be attributed in the overall cost of a somewhat similar system in a commercially available Class B RV.
I recently was looking at the Coachmen Galleria class B which has a lithium battery option. It was recently discussed in this forum. The price of that option is $21,000. It is a very nice setup but does illustrate the premium one usually pays for a high quality setup in the commercial world.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:47 PM   #19
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Well, some of this I agree with, and some I don't:

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
2. Don't assume 100% reliability as there are many parts in the system and any of them could fail without any warning.
Well, yeah. That could be said about any technology.
But, I do not think that an A/C driven by quality inverter connected directly to a battery is particularly failure prone. If there were an Onan in the loop, I would wholeheartedly agree.

Quote:
3. Remote monitoring via smartphone is perhaps a must if trusting the system for pet care.
Agree. As an aside, for OP's application, you don't need a smartphone and its corresponding service plan. I have a <$100 alarm with a "smart fob" that can display the temperature in the vehicle. Works for at least half a mile and no cell signal required.

Quote:
My opinion - For DIY, I'd budget up to $4K if using lead acid batteries (400AH minimum).
400Ah is serious overkill for 30 min. As I said, I can report from direct measurement that 220Ah of will get you an hour w/o getting below 50% SOC. I DID go up to 440, but I had aspirations well beyond OP's.

There is no way I would bite off the hassles of lithium if all I needed was 30 min of cooling.

Quote:
That would include a recognizable brand name inverter rated to handle inductive loads. A lot of these less expensive 2KW inverters are rated at 2KW for a purely resistive load. They'll work for a Youtube demo and occasional use but I'd expect them to fail prematurely if continuously subjected to near max load conditions. You should also be able to get great monitoring capabilities if spending the entire $4K. The budget might only need to be increased to $5K or $6K if using lithium batteries as you might not need as much AH capacity compared to lead acid batteries. You most likely would end up with a much better inverter that what is in a standard production Class B.
I totally agree about being careful about buying a quality inverter. But, there is no reason to go overboard. My Outback 2800 watt unit is one of the standard Marine-grade units and I can attest first hand that it starts and runs my A/C without raising a sweat. Shop around and you can find one for well under $2K:

VFX2812, True Sine Wave Inverter, 2.8KW, 12V, OutBack Power Technologies

I suspect it would be overkill for OP's needs, though.

Quote:
It wouldn't surprise me at all if $10K can be attributed in the overall cost of a somewhat similar system in a commercially available Class B RV.
Probably true. My only point is that one can do MUCH better in a DYI install.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:54 PM   #20
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I would put one qualifier on a lot of the discussion, I think.

If, and how long, a battery bank will run the AC is greatly influenced by what state of charge you start out at. Most batteries rarely, if ever, truly get to 100% full, except lithium, due to the long charge times needed for the last 20% of the charge to full. Realistically, I wouldn't use full as a starting point in the real world, unless you just stopped driving after 8 hours, or have a charger that is capable of charging to all the ways full, which many aren't.

We have 440ah of AGM, and it will start the CoolCat AC at 50% full, but the voltage is getting to being close to dropping in the inverter cutoff range (Magnum MS2000 pure sine wave). This would indicate to me that if you had 200ah of AGM, you would be close to not starting the AC if you down much, and where the cutoff voltage of the inverter is set. Once running, the amperage drops and the voltage goes back up a ways, so then would run a while until it cycled the compressor, which would leave a hot doggy.
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