When I started this full-timing adventure, I was on shore power almost every night,
and a 2 or 3 day trip off shore power had no apparent effects on the 12V system.
Then I started working 3-4 days at a time off shore power, and quickly killed a couple
The propane is pretty efficient and predictable -
Winter - 1 20lb tank lasts about a week
Summer - 1 20 lb tank lasts about 3 weeks.
Incredibly, the cost of propane hasn't skyrocketed like other fuels. In late '04, I was paying
$11-15 per tank; today I am paying $13 per tank locally.
The things that run off propane - 1 tank of hot water every day, kettle of water for coffee,
, and the furnace
- use a lot of BTUs, something that the battery power could
only provide for a few hours, really. Generating heat via electricity is, generally speaking,
very inefficient. Heat from electricity is basically a big short circuit through a big wire!
I added a modest 15 watt solar panel
and have plenty of power for the lights
, water pump,
fan, even hours of 12V television/movies in the evening. Every day by late lunch,
even on the shortest day of winter, the battery is back at full charge. I haven't seen the
charge go below about 50-60% since adding the solar panel
, which is good for battery
I wouldn't dream of powering things like hot water, cooking, heat, or refrigeration electrically
power/DC battery(s). Not even if I had 50-80 watts solar
, because, electrically
speaking, these utilities use KILOwatts of energy! You would need to deploy about an acre
of solar panels to power these utilities.
I think that any all-electric rig would realistically need to be plugged into shore power at least
every couple of days, and you would want to make sure to be disconnected from your tow vehicle
while using any electricity.
Mike, you don't specify the particular accident that caused your friend's death, but if you are
able to post the details, I and probably others would appreciate it as a safety lesson.
I agree with Bonnie: camp out first, then add what you need.
With a little solar boost, and the energy density of propane, my rig works great all the time
with basically no thought or maintenance required.