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Old 08-26-2020, 03:20 AM   #1
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This is just a matter of curiosity. I have an old 1997 PW that (now) has a single 100AH battery. I also have a 100W solar suitcase that I deploy. I donít (and never will) have a TV. I donít (and see no need, personally) to have an inverter. So my daily draw on the battery comes from the water pump, the fan-tastic fan, the furnace fan (if itís cold at night), LP and CO detectors, fridge fan and the cabin lights which are all LEDs. I might have some draw from my absorption fridge from the thermocouple, but Iím not sure. Itís so old it doesnít have a circuit board.

Iím not criticizing, but I am curious as to why people have 200AH, 400AH or 800AH capacity. Is it for a compressor fridge?

When I evaluate my own investigations into upgrading theyíre based entirely on being able to power a compressor fridge. I donít see why Iíd need it for anything else. But thatís just me. Why do the rest of you use this additional power for?
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:21 AM   #2
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That should have read "What" not "Why."
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:27 AM   #3
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Compressor fridge, yes. But also the microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, telecom, media, and short periods of A/C.

I totally realize that that kind of stuff is not everybody's cup of tea, but we thoroughly enjoy all of it.
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:34 AM   #4
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Compressor fridge, yes. But also the microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, telecom, media, and short periods of A/C.

I totally realize that that kind of stuff is not everybody's cup of tea, but we thoroughly enjoy all of it.
Absolutely. Again, I don't mean to criticize anyone's priorities. Everyone has their own valid cup of tea and I respect that. I'm just trying to figure out my own rationale for upgrading and whether or not I'm overlooking anything. Thx for your reply....glenn
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:46 AM   #5
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Compressor fridge, yes. But also the microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, telecom, media, and short periods of A/C.

I totally realize that that kind of stuff is not everybody's cup of tea, but we thoroughly enjoy all of it.
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Absolutely. Again, I don't mean to criticize anyone's priorities. Everyone has their own valid cup of tea and I respect that. I'm just trying to figure out my own rationale for upgrading and whether or not I'm overlooking anything. Thx for your reply....glenn
We did fine with 2 x 75Ah (75Ah usable) lead acid batteries and a compressor fridge so long as it was only one night and we did not use the inverter (we never did).

Well, I say fine and yet for the reasons avanti mentions above and my dislike of battery maintenance, I went to 2 x 100Ah (180Ah useable) lithium batteries and an inverter large enough to run the microwave. $2800 later, and boy can we zap those burritos in the microwave without being plugged in or running the generator.

And so far it's only cost about $250 per zap.
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:46 AM   #6
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I agree with both of you.

Have a huge 48 inch TV I purchased for the 2019 Rugby World Cup & for no other reason.

The first thing I did was remove the Microwave & put in a cupboard ins its place.

But I want my DC Fridge to work.

And to keep my Batteries topped up each night, for 2 years before & especially since adding the Fridge.

Hair drying is done with a towel.

A convection stove doesn't gel with my level of cooking expertise.

And AC would be great but it seems like a huge investment in Solar, etc for the benefit.

But I am a single Bachelor who although married before spent 32 years in Third World working. Staying silent & alive is not synonymous with AC & Hairdryers.

But a bloody fridge that would work as promised doesn't seem so much to ask with thr investment I have made so far ...
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Old 08-26-2020, 04:06 AM   #7
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The microwave is a big deal for us. DW prepares for each trip by producing a wonderful assortment of plastic quart containers kept in the freezer, each of which the microwave magically converts to an amazing feast.
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:26 AM   #8
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It seems to me a compressor fridge will destroy any idea of low power living. Even tho the conversion kit is standing in my hallway I think it will stay there as long as possible.

I use wheels to stay away from heat the 3-way fridge can’t handle. I put that limit at 100F.

I needed more power to run SAT TV and the furnace. I may have suckered myself in to the compressor fridge thing and am delaying. The propane fridge works quite well below 100F.

I do have an Engel compressor cooler/freezer to cover fridge emergencies and the power to run it. Hopefuly my 2 year old propane cooling unit lasts a few years. The power tyranny of a compressor fridge I’m not looking forward to.

Like everyone else I’m looking forward to MexDocs final numbers. He is including fan power which I hadn’t considered before.
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Old 08-26-2020, 07:04 AM   #9
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It seems to me a compressor fridge will destroy any idea of low power living. Even tho the conversion kit is standing in my hallway I think it will stay there as long as possible.

I use wheels to stay away from heat the 3-way fridge canít handle. I put that limit at 100F.

I needed more power to run SAT TV and the furnace. I may have suckered myself in to the compressor fridge thing and am delaying. The propane fridge works quite well below 100F.

I do have an Engel compressor cooler/freezer to cover fridge emergencies and the power to run it. Hopefuly my 2 year old propane cooling unit lasts a few years. The power tyranny of a compressor fridge Iím not looking forward to.

Like everyone else Iím looking forward to MexDocs final numbers. He is including fan power which I hadnít considered before.
We have an Engel my family has used ymevery year in NZ since 1973 - never fails.

One of the Chest Type Engel MT45 Combo units I would have installed but in an existing Class B, the fridge cavity isn't deep enough or tall enough.

Then you need the space to store it & open it and or a sliding unit which again is a compromise in our existing units.

I might have a bad Novakool.

Or its an issue with ventilation, now it's down to
36.6F.

Maybe it was the Sensor falling off its Velcro mount but regardless I am throwing away the milk.
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Old 08-26-2020, 08:09 AM   #10
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This is just a matter of curiosity. I have an old 1997 PW that (now) has a single 100AH battery. I also have a 100W solar suitcase

I'm similar to you but with TV & sometime satellite radio

we can go a week off grid.
power is not our limiting factor, water, laundry or itchy feets gotta move


the old fridge works fine as long as we are somewhere comfortable- I'm not going to be camping anywhere that's 100ļ

Mike
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Old 08-26-2020, 09:58 AM   #11
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We have similar use as Avanti, except don't use batteries for AC. We do have 440ah of batteries and 300 watts of solar. Microwave, compressor frig, rare hair dryer, TV, computer, fans, furnace.


I don't consider us as high power users as rarely over about 60ah a day. We did pretty much the same use pattern with two GC2 wet cells previously when testing, although we would run the engine maybe 1/2 the time when we used the microwave.


Our goal was to to get rid of the two troublesome areas, for us, in the van, the gas frig and the generator.



We have, undoubtedly, overkill on capacity for both battery capacity and charging ability but that was intended so it could cover anything we ever would want to do.
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Old 08-26-2020, 02:17 PM   #12
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The Keurig coffee maker is a big deal for us. That is the first thing turned on in the morning and usually at a service station or rest stop.

We have an all electric van (no propane and no Onan generator) and we can stop anywhere for the night, or for that matter several nights, and have all electrical functions available to us transparently and without needing to worry or husband tricks to conserve electric use the same as being on shore power. We seldom plug in when we have shore power access unless we intend to stay several night. We carry and use a microwave/convection oven, Instant Pot, portable induction cooktop for indoor or outdoor use, Keurig, electric articulating beds with massage vibrating without quarters, and I sometimes carry a Breville electric pizza maker that bakes Neapolitan pizzas in 6 minutes. We have a 6.8 cf two door Novakool compressor refrigerator/freezer, electric resistant floor heat in the aisle and electric generated hot water if we need it especially when surrounded by tent campers like Chisos Basin CG in Big Bend NP but that is a rare occasion. Normally heat and instant hot water is supplied by a diesel-fired Espar burner that can sound like a jet engine outside the van.

We have 800ah of lithium ion batteries and a second Delco alternator that is capable of 330 amps at peak and steady 280 amps for an hour driving at 50 mph for battery charging. We have autostart and high idle capability but never use it as we don't need to. We have 420 watts of solar but that was a waste of money in the overall scheme. Our next comparable set up van will not have solar.

For the campfire we carry pie irons, cast iron skillet and a a cast iron Dutch oven (mostly used with charcoal briquets) and use the built in griddle many campgrounds have so carry the BBQ tools.
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:18 PM   #13
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Our 200Ah AGM and 300W solar are normally more than adequate for fridge, MW, Instapot, etc., but this smoke is playing havoc with the system and cramping our lifestyle. Even in Laramie, WY, the panels collect a layer of soot and function at less than half capacity. Since we are stationary and boondocked, this means limited cooking. Really makes me appreciate what I donít have at the moment.
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Old 08-26-2020, 04:55 PM   #14
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And so far it's only cost about $250 per zap.
We've used that kind of reasoning on things as well. In fact, we got on one of the forums and announced triumphantly "we've now lowered our campervan cost to just $1,000/camping night."
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:14 PM   #15
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We have an all electric van (no propane and no Onan generator) and we can stop anywhere for the night, or for that matter several nights, and have all electrical functions available to us transparently and without needing to worry or husband tricks to conserve electric use the same as being on shore power.
We were waiting for the Davydd Team to chime-in before adding our 'standard fare': "we use lots of power".

Seems this topic surfaces every couple of months and the comments reflect that most pride themselves on maintaining low electrical consumption. We chose to spend a bit more 'up-front' in order to fully enjoy our toys and gadgets while on the road. We just returned from a trip in which we camped 106 days without shore power - - and having a competent electrical system that allowed us to do what we wanted to do was a pleasure.
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:25 PM   #16
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Even in Laramie, WY, the panels collect . . .
Ah Ms. Nomer, you have us reminiscing over that lovely 10,800' Medicine Bow campsite you found for our rendezvous . . .

You may remember our glee when we recorded our maximum ever instantaneous solar panel output of 821 watts (we're easily amused).
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:54 PM   #17
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You are thinking the right way here - be clear about what you actually want the power to be used for before you spend the money to get it.

Our biggest power usage is our 2-way 120/propane fridge being run on the inverter. This is, of course, completely unnecessary as we can switch it to propane whenever we want.

We drive every day, almost without exception. When the fridge is on propane we typically use no more than 40ah overnight between drives. If we do stay put and have some sun exposure most of this will be recovered by our 340W solar array. If we are in full shade, it can be recovered by running the generator (80A charge rate) while driving (adds between 30 to 40A to the charge rate). Even a short trip through the campground to the dump station and back is enough to fully charge the batteries with this method.

I will second Davydd's thinking on solar at this point: given what I know now I would not install this much solar power the next time. The main benefit it provides is that it keeps the batteries topped off when parked (I do not have covered storage). This could be done with as little as 50W.

The remaining item we use our power for is running AC during short stops. With 200A LiFePO4 we can get about 1.5 hrs of AC use. Enough for a lunch stop or to keep the RV cool if we run in to do some shopping.

The next step up in functionality would be to have enough to run the AC overnight. This would require around 800ah depending on the duty cycle. I have a tough time justifying battery bank sizes larger than 200ah but smaller than 800ah for my needs. Those in-between sizes cost more but don't really provide any new functionality for our usage patterns.
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:03 PM   #18
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I have a tough time justifying battery bank sizes larger than 200ah but smaller than 800ah for my needs. Those in-between sizes cost more but don't really provide any new functionality for our usage patterns.
I don't completely see it that way. We have 440aH AGM. I see your point if you stipulate driving every day, but if you ever want to chill in one place for a couple of nights, the extra comes in handy. In addition, although all-night A/C is out of reach for us, a couple of hours is easy, and it is really nice for cooling off after a hike or drying out the van in the evening.

Finally, there is the fact that 440 is about the biggest practical battery for AGM, and we just don't want the hassles of today's Lithium technology.
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Old 08-26-2020, 10:30 PM   #19
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I will second Davydd's thinking on solar at this point: given what I know now I would not install this much solar power the next time. The main benefit it provides is that it keeps the batteries topped off when parked (I do not have covered storage). This could be done with as little as 50W.
That was the decider. We used to store outside but we had shore power anyway. Now we store inside in a climate controlled garage. There is absolutely no incentive now to have any solar.

Spank me if I travel anywhere if I need air conditioning over night. There are advantages to living in a northern climate other than ice fishing for eel pout.
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Old 08-26-2020, 10:43 PM   #20
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I don't completely see it that way. We have 440aH AGM. I see your point if you stipulate driving every day, but if you ever want to chill in one place for a couple of nights, the extra comes in handy. In addition, although all-night A/C is out of reach for us, a couple of hours is easy, and it is really nice for cooling off after a hike or drying out the van in the evening.

Finally, there is the fact that 440 is about the biggest practical battery for AGM, and we just don't want the hassles of today's Lithium technology.

Yep, use patterns make it all happen or not happen in all of this. We like to sit in one spot for longer periods and our solar on a good day will give us two days worth of energy (300 watts of panel). Couple that with 440ah of AGMs to cover the bad days and maybe a trip to the store or dump station with a very high alternator charge rate, and we can essentially be wherever we want, for as long as we want, without shore power.


If you drive a bunch every day, you could get be on one battery in many cases, with no solar.
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