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Old 05-06-2015, 10:16 PM   #61
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

I'm not familiar with their fuel cell setup. Sounds intriguing. Please post a link if you can.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:07 PM   #62
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

I'm not too worried about the lithium ion fire danger as much as I am about propane that has proven to be a major hazard in RVs killing people by gas and fires. You need a lot of battery power to eliminate the need for propane and you cannot load enough lead acid in a small B to do so. Of course, as you know, I have no propane yet can still live permanently off the grid.

PS. We toured two nearby bourbon distilleries today in Kentucky. All that use of electric overnight was topped off with those short trip tours of less than 20 miles from our campground. Ask me anything about bourbon whiskey. After 8 different tours so far I think I have the spiel down pat. I'm just more confused of which one I like best.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:23 PM   #63
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

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LOL. Winnebago has offered a completely reliable, durable and cheap off-grid boondocking solution for many years. It's called propane. You should try it sometime. You can even make expresso with it in the middle of a desert or the arctic.
You must have a different concept of off the grid than I. I've had two propane equipped RVs. I know well the capabilities. Winnebago has nothing anyone else provides and much less than Roadtrek and Great West Vans.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:24 PM   #64
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

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I'm not too worried about the lithium ion fire danger as much as I am about propane that has proven to be a major hazard in RVs killing people by gas and fires. You need a lot of battery power to eliminate the need for propane and you cannot load enough lead acid in a small B to do so. Of course, as you know, I have no propane yet can still live permanently off the grid.

PS. We toured two nearby bourbon distilleries today in Kentucky. All that use of electric overnight was topped off with those short trip tours of less than 20 miles from our campground. Ask me anything about bourbon whiskey. After 8 different tours so far I think I have the spiel down pat. I'm just more confused of which one I like best.
I think the point folks were making is that propane can give you equivalent off grid capabilities compared to huge amounts of battery power. (you asked when someone like Winnebago would do it, and it turns out they did a long time ago) I am no more scared of the propane than you are of the batteries, so I guess that is a wash. And you don't have to drive even 20 miles to recharge the propane you used in a day!
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:52 PM   #65
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

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Originally Posted by booster
Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher
LOL. Winnebago has offered a completely reliable, durable and cheap off-grid boondocking solution for many years. It's called propane. You should try it sometime. You can even make expresso with it in the middle of a desert or the arctic.
You must be referring to this statement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
Of course it cost money but you get more bang for your buck and what you want - now. For older B owners time can't wait. Does anyone want to speculate how soon Winnebago will offer an off-grid boondocking solution?
I totally agree with Wincrasher about the propane, and many folks with older units have added a couple batteries, some solar, and a big alternator. With their propane to run heat, frig, cooking, they can offgrid for very long times--and they don't have to drive every day or two. I think that this setup would be rated at much higher bang for buck than a very expensive new RV, if you are looking to off grid camp.
I'm in.
Along with it being safe, cheap, and plentiful, I can probably tear out and replace my entire propane system, including all the appliances, for less than the cost of replacing a Roadtrek or ARV lithium battery bank of similar energy producing capability. Agreed, refilling the propane tank is more of a hassle when you're not near a source, but lithium batteries don't last forever, either. They have a finite number of recharge cycles available to them. Then you replace them. That eventuality alone might adversely affect the resale value of an ARV or E-Trek type of vehicle, should you decide to upgrade or sell. The buyer has to accept that possibility.
If they can create energy to recharge small electronics from burning twigs in a small cooking device, why not generate more power for larger applications when required, in the same manner in a larger scale, using propane? I suppose it's not practical or efficient for one reason or another, or someone might have already looked into it, and had a prototype. Oh, hang on, Onan......
It comes down to a personal choice in most cases. If you're OK with propane, you use propane. If you're not, you look for something else. Or, you're somewhere in between with a little of both, which is what many of us with older rigs do, as booster points out.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:27 AM   #66
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

I came close to deleting the propane system when we had our customized GWV Legend built last summer. As it is, the only propane consumers in our van are the range and the Onan genset. Nine months later I still am reading 60% on my initial tank of propane. I could easily have gone with a diesel genset and an electric range. In the end, I decided that there was no point. A propane system is cheap, lightweight and in my experience trouble-free. I couldn't see any practical advantage in deleting it. I find gas superior for cooking, and the genset is there for the rare occasion that we need A/C while dry camping. Going all electric is elegant, I admit. That was almost, but not quite, enough to push us away from propane.

BTW, word has it that Sterling/Great West will stop installing propane except by special request in their new models, and I don't think they are going with Li (yet). So, it CAN be done with lead-acid, apparently.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:28 AM   #67
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

I just found this YouTube lecture by Professor Jeff Dahn (Dalhousie University) on Li-ion battery life. Good info if you have patients to watch all 1 hour and 13 minutes.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:45 AM   #68
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

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I just found this YouTube lecture by Professor Jeff Dahn (Dalhousie University) on Li-ion battery life. Good info if you have patients to watch all 1 hour and 13 minutes.
I'll have to recharge my lithium based smartphone battery first. That's a long vid. ..
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:50 AM   #69
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

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Originally Posted by booster
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
I'm not too worried about the lithium ion fire danger as much as I am about propane that has proven to be a major hazard in RVs killing people by gas and fires. You need a lot of battery power to eliminate the need for propane and you cannot load enough lead acid in a small B to do so. Of course, as you know, I have no propane yet can still live permanently off the grid.

PS. We toured two nearby bourbon distilleries today in Kentucky. All that use of electric overnight was topped off with those short trip tours of less than 20 miles from our campground. Ask me anything about bourbon whiskey. After 8 different tours so far I think I have the spiel down pat. I'm just more confused of which one I like best.
I think the point folks were making is that propane can give you equivalent off grid capabilities compared to huge amounts of battery power. (you asked when someone like Winnebago would do it, and it turns out they did a long time ago) I am no more scared of the propane than you are of the batteries, so I guess that is a wash. And you don't have to drive even 20 miles to recharge the upropane you used in a day!
Right now I am in a no generator campground with electrical hookups. This is our second day here and we still haven't hooked up since February 23rd on the road. Propane or no propane with our electrical use the past two days I would venture even an AGM ETrek would be crying uncle and plugging in. How else can I say this? You couldn't stay with me in the Quartzsite BLM desert without seeking relief. When I speak of off-grid I mean truly off-grid with carefree thought. I can park it anywhere anytime for the night without careful planning ahead. That kind of travel freedom has pushed me 13,300 miles in three short months. We still have a month to go before giving it a rest.

Roadtrek is selling that future. Winnebago, LTV, P-W and AS are still selling travel from point A to B and plug in except for the occasional night.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:27 AM   #70
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

OK, so I make a comment that folks are talking about propane giving equivalent boondocking capability, and you go off on line that you have a lot of electric power to boondock compared to other manufacturers.

Repeat the discussion was about propane being able to give equivalent boondocking capability, not if you have more battery capacity than and etrek or can charge it fast by driving (which isn't really boondocking anyway).

There are lots of folks with moderate amounts of battery, some solar, maybe a big alternator and yes PROPANE, and they will stay off grid at least as long as you can. It has been being done for years.
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:55 AM   #71
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

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Mlts22-has anyone done a comparison of propane use between an absorption frig on propane, and a compressor frig being run on power from the Truma propane fuel cell. If equal, you could have the benefits of the compressor frig with the offgrid benefits of the absorption frig.
I have read good things about the VeGA fuel cell on an European caravan site, but trying to find the relevant info. The fuel cell isn't cheap, which is why there are not that many out there.

However, there is energy loss due to the conversions. The absorption fridge burns the propane, which heats the boiler, which pushes the coolant around. The fuel cell makes electricity which is turned into mechanical force by the compressor, and the fuel cell also has waste heat. However, even if the loss was 25-50%... it still is not that much fuel used, so the difference is trivial... but you get rid of the issues with absorption fridges. Compressor fridges also have a fairly short duty cycle, so they may take 10-20 amp-hours if running 100%... but oftentimes, they are using a fraction of that electricity.

I think which rig is best for boondocking can be debated, and is subjective. Davydd's large battery bank works for him, while for someone like me, I'd be well off with a smaller battery bank, propane, and multiple energy generation methods that can be used singly, or in combination (alternator, generator, fuel cell, or solar.)

Everyone boondocks differently, so what might be acceptable for one person may not work for another.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:45 PM   #72
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I boondock any way or anyplace including places where if you have one or two batteries, generator and propane you are screwed if you can't run your generator and your battery runs down. Many national parks come to mind. I am also referring to having access to all systems in your B 24/7. Again, how do you run your microwave, hair dryer or use your 120v AC outlets boondocking in a generator prohibited campground? Yes, I know what that is like. I'm no spring chicken and I know how to make do boondock on one battery and propane. Did so for 5 straight nights in Glacier NP, but I also got rudely woken up on one single overnight with a chirping low battery at 4 am. The point I am making is boondocking and use of your B is totally transparent in use and a nearly totally no-brainer in decision no matter where with battery power as opposed to propane. I would venture most of you don't know what or understand what freedom and choice of travel that gives you as you haven't experienced it. BTW, with a hell of a lot less stress.

You will all be jumping on the bandwagon if Roadtrek gets it lithium ion strategy out successfully. I have to admit Advanced RV is not going to try to satisfy the masses.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:09 PM   #73
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

Quote:
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if Truma sold their VeGA propane fuel cell here
Truma discontinued the VeGA:

"Therefore, Truma has decided to stop the production of the VeGA and all activities within the fuel cell technology."
"Truma does not take any orders for the fuel cell system VeGA and does not deliver products any more"
http://www.truma.com/int/en/energy-syst ... n-vega.php
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:28 PM   #74
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It seems like much of the debate is over the noise levels associated with the various terminologies being tossed around for the term "boondocking". The way one defines boondocking will affect the point of any argument over what combination of off grid energy sources are appropriate. It's pretty subjective in my opinion. Some think it is synonymous with terms like dry camping, rustic or primitive camping, and even off grid camping. You have to define your terms before evaluating the energy sources you would like to have available. Some mention it in a National Park or other commercial campground setting where generator use isn't necessarily permitted. Some refer to it in the context of a Walmart or truck stop or other urban parking lot setting where generator use is probably OK in most cases (at least I've heard them run all night there). Then there are those who define it as truly middle of nowhere like a USFS or BLM or other similar area where you are pretty much by yourself and anything goes noise - wise.
If you define your terms better, much of this debate becomes moot.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:39 PM   #75
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

Mike makes a good point about the terminology. I generally prefer the term offgrid to simply say no electric power available from outside the van. It would cover all the examples Mike stated. Beyond that you still would have all the conflicts of power sources that generate noise and power.

For us, the goal is to be able to be offgrid, wherever, and to have the maximum amount of noise we generate be from the van engine to run the microwave (knowing that there will be some places we can't do that). The gas Chevy is nearly silent compared to most generators. We still could do the micro off batteries, but if we don't have to we don't as it is more to recover. In our goal is to be able to be offgrid basically as long as we want, even without driving, if we chose to, and we should be able to do that if we get any decent sun. Our normal use is in the 35-60ah per day with the compressor frig.

Having the generator was a great ace in the hole, but between the noise and the upkeep, there are just too many limitations to keeping it.
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Old 05-07-2015, 03:15 PM   #76
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
I'm not too worried about the lithium ion fire danger as much as I am about propane that has proven to be a major hazard in RVs killing people by gas and fires. You need a lot of battery power to eliminate the need for propane and you cannot load enough lead acid in a small B to do so. Of course, as you know, I have no propane yet can still live permanently off the grid.

PS. We toured two nearby bourbon distilleries today in Kentucky. All that use of electric overnight was topped off with those short trip tours of less than 20 miles from our campground. Ask me anything about bourbon whiskey. After 8 different tours so far I think I have the spiel down pat. I'm just more confused of which one I like best.
I think the point folks were making is that propane can give you equivalent off grid capabilities compared to huge amounts of battery power. (you asked when someone like Winnebago would do it, and it turns out they did a long time ago) I am no more scared of the propane than you are of the batteries, so I guess that is a wash. And you don't have to drive even 20 miles to recharge the upropane you used in a day!
.......
Roadtrek is selling that future. Winnebago, LTV, P-W and AS are still selling travel from point A to B and plug in except for the occasional night.
Right now I agree that only Roadtrek and ARV are giving true flexibility to stay where you want easily. Sure I can use my propane generator to recharge the batteries. But with the stock setup I had to do that every day if I wasn't driving. That's why I added more solar to give me more flexibility. Now water tank size becomes the limiting factor.


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Old 05-07-2015, 03:35 PM   #77
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Default Re: Tesla to announce new revolutionary product Apr 30

yep-it is all a balance.

The reality is that having 600ah usable and using 200 a day and charging at 200 amps driving isn't all the different from having 100ah usable and using 33 a day and charging at 33 amps. The big difference is that on the lower use, you can get enough solar to make up the use pretty easily, but with the high use vehicles, you really have to drive regularly or idle to get the capacity back.

Different setups for different folks and how they use them.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:03 PM   #78
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I had the 100ah setup. Acceptable means living with what you got. That is compensation talk. They have quiet hours in campgrounds because the majority abhor noise. For me it became unacceptable when you can't use your Keurig to brew a cup of coffee without running a generator. And for now I am the only B owner enjoying a zero gravity/lazy boy type articulated bed that runs 24/7 on 120vac to change with my whims no matter where I am parked.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:32 PM   #79
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Hmm. In my rig, all non-high current devices run on native DC: My TV is 12VDC, my AppleTV has been modified to run at 12VDC, my refrigerator is 12VDC, all my USB ports are 12VDC, my Internet router is 12VDC. OH, and my tri-fold electric sofa/bed is also 12VDC. The ONLY 120VAC devices in my van are the A/C, the Keurig, and the microwave--all high current devices that SHOULD be 120VAC. I have a 2800 watt inverter that can be turned on or off with a single flip of a physical switch, so I often just leave it off. If I want to leave it on 24/7, we are talking about maybe a 2 amp draw, so it is no issue even with my pathetic AGM batteries.

I wonder why ARV chose to power their new zero gravity/lazy boy type articulated bed on 120VAC when 12VDC motors would obviously suffice. Oh, that's right--the mechanism came that way and they didn't bother to retrofit. A compromise. Imagine that.
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:17 PM   #80
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Hmm. In my rig, all non-high current devices run on native DC: My TV is 12VDC, my AppleTV has been modified to run at 12VDC, my refrigerator is 12VDC, all my USB ports are 12VDC, my Internet router is 12VDC. OH, and my tri-fold electric sofa/bed is also 12VDC. The ONLY 120VAC devices in my van are the A/C, the Keurig, and the microwave--all high current devices that SHOULD be 120VAC. I have a 2800 watt inverter that can be turned on or off with a single flip of a physical switch, so I often just leave it off. If I want to leave it on 24/7, we are talking about maybe a 2 amp draw, so it is no issue even with my pathetic AGM batteries.

I wonder why ARV chose to power their new zero gravity/lazy boy type articulated bed on 120VAC when 12VDC motors would obviously suffice. Oh, that's right--the mechanism came that way and they didn't bother to retrofit. A compromise. Imagine that.
You are very similar to what we are, everything 12v if possible. For us it is air conditioning, micro, and hair dryer. Don't like coffee Our inverter is also always off. Even 2 amps will chew up 50AH per day, which is nearly 25% of most 2 battery systems, so it does count up. I think ARV determined that having full time AC would be a good selling point in high end units, and as long as folks are willing to spring for the extra batteries and inverter capacity to run it, it is all the advantage of ARV.
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