Part Time - Full Timer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-07-2008, 04:25 AM   #1
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: Boler 13 ft / 31 ft Holiday Rambler
Maine
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I soon will be leaving for the Summer to start work as a campground host in the White Mountains of NH.
It is a remote campground called Covered Bridge, off the Kancamaugus highway in NH, without power or water hook-ups and my biggest concern is the life of a deep cycle battery.
The longest we have been out is just for a 3 day weekend on battery power with no ill effects, but that was in the real summer and the furnace was not needed, but still here it gets down in the low 30's at night so I may want to heat at night.
I have read threads about how some just turn heat on before they go to sleep to take the edge off, but they must have tighter campers then I do, a Boler 1300, because I was out last weekend and tried this only to be cold after 30 minutes after heat was turned off.
My wife's cousin has a 16ft camper that she doesn't use and this will afford a little more room, and she seemed OK with letting me borrow this for the summer, but I only have 2 more weeks before I leave and I haven't heard back from her.
I wonder what condition her camper is in because it has been parked in her garage for 12 years with no use and I would like to go over it.
What could go wrong with it.????
After I leave I will no longer keep my internet connection as I am the only one who uses it in the house so this will be my last month on the site and I will miss all the banter back and forth.

Gerry the canoebuilder
Come see me if in the area.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:23 AM   #2
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Good luck with the summer thing. Sounds like quite the experience. Hope you check back in with us all in the fall. It's been a pleasure to read your posts and see some of your pictures.
Jim
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:43 AM   #3
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Sounds like a great summer, Gerry. Older furnaces don't have a fan, so they don't need electricity to run. Probably too expensive/hard to find to retrofit, tho, so it looks like the best solution is more quilts or a couple of dogs. (Remember Three Dog Night?)
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:50 AM   #4
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Gerry,

Have a great adventure...
Maybe you can find a public library or Internet cafe sometime over the summer and update us. If not, can't wait to hear the stories when you get back.
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:50 PM   #5
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Trailer: 2005 16 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe / 1996 Dakota 4x4 V6
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Gerry, you're going to need some way to charge that battery, or it will be discharged in a matter of days with any use.

Here's my best suggestion:

http://www.siliconsolar.com/12v-solar-batt...r-15w-p-133.php

This is the panel that I have. It's only 15 watts, but it has given me great performance. I use the original incandescent lights (1 or 2) at night, watch 12V television, run the Fantastic Fan or furnace as much as I want, and I'm back at full charge (12.8-13.3 volts) every day by about 2 pm. That's after getting down to about 12.2 volts after using stuff.
I bolted it flat to the top of the Casita, and wired it directly to the battery with the included alligator clips (no charge controller because of the relatively low power and slow amperage). For staying in one place all summer, you wouldn't have to install it - just lean it up somewhere and point it.

On Edit: I notice the website recommends a charge controller for anything above 5 watts.

This panel is still $120, which is what I paid a couple of years ago. The company made a mistake and sent me the single panel instead of the double (30 watt) that I ordered, so I decided to try just the 15W. They had great customer service, found the warehouse mistake, and credited me the difference in price.

Also, get a simple volt meter that you can plug into a 12V socket for a quick read.
Here's my rough guide to your state of charge, with no load (nothing on).


Click image for larger version

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I hope this helps! Good luck and have a great summer!
P
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
what condition her camper is in because it has been parked in her garage for 12 years with no use...What could go wrong with it.????
Of course depends on the make and model, and if it has been cared for (not too likely). I would think a lot could be wrong with such a camper, such as:

tires dry-rotted
brakes/bearings rusted/siezed
propane lines contaminated/dry-rotted
ignitors/thermocouples faulty on water heater/furnace/fridge
leaks/rotted wood frame (if a sticky)
air conditioner with no refrigerant
dead battery(s)
mold inside and/or outside

It might be perfect, but a camper that has sat for 12 years is more likely a project!
P
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Of course depends on the make and model, and if it has been cared for (not too likely). I would think a lot could be wrong with such a camper, such as:

tires dry-rotted
brakes/bearings rusted/siezed
propane lines contaminated/dry-rotted
ignitors/thermocouples faulty on water heater/furnace/fridge
leaks/rotted wood frame (if a sticky)
air conditioner with no refrigerant
dead battery(s)
mold inside and/or outside

It might be perfect, but a camper that has sat for 12 years is more likely a project!
P
Palmer you missed the part about [b]because it has been parked in her garage for 12 years, so some of these.. like leaks and mold aren't an issue. Once, outside it may very well start leaking as the seals have dried out. UVs haven't killed the tires as they haven't been outside either, but tires rot from the inside out too.
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Old 05-07-2008, 03:47 PM   #8
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Wow, Gerry - sounds like a neat adventure, and as Greg said, we will look forward to "tales of the north woods" when your gig is finished.

We have been full-timing with our Scamp 13 since Aug 2006. We have a small electric 'cube' heater for when we have shore power, and use a small Coleman catalytic heater (NOT while sleeping!) when dry-camping. It uses the same 1-plus pound cannisters the Coleman 2-burner campstove uses (so buy several depending on how long you will be hosting). We heat up the trailer, then jump under lots of quilts & blankets. If the chill awakens one of us, we just run the propane for a short time (window or vent open slightly) to re-heat the 'bedroom' then back to sleep.

Our electrical needs are minimal - 2 12-volt incandescents. We recharge the house battery with a 10.3 watt solar panel for those. We use a 75w cigarette lighter inverter (Radio Shack) to recharge the laptop and phone when driving or just idling a bit in camp. We do intend to add more solar collectors, but don't have a place for more battery storage yet. Have you considered a small quiet gen-set like the Honda or Kipor? We don't want to pack one, but others use them successfully for long-term dry-camping.

IMHO, trying to get ready a unit which has been unused for years in a short window of time sounds like an exercise in frustration. Your

Hope this info if helpful. We wish you a great summer in that gorgeous country. Take care, L 'n D
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:49 PM   #9
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Name: Adrian
Trailer: Lance 1985~'Casita de Campo' ~23' 4"~Dinette Slide Previously: Scamp 16 ft Side Dinette, Front Bath
New Mexico
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If there is not electric for you to tap into to charge the battery, using the furnace for heat, 2 days would seem like the tops. I do not have a furnace in our Scamp. We use a cube electric heater if we have power, and would also use it if we can use our generator without bothering others. If the the electric heater is out, we have a propane Colman catalytic heater to take the chill out. So far we have not had to use it exept in the mornings to warm it up. But one could be used, but must leave a vent or window opened a little to vent the trailer.

I do not see how you can get by without someway of charging the battery. One way is to have a back up battery. We wired our pickup in the '90s so we could charge a battery as we drove around, then switched them around.

Is there electric outlets in the restrooms? If so take a charger, hook up the battery to charge now and again.

A small generator 1000w or less would all you would need to keep the battery going. Run it a little each day.
Some are fairly cheap, Honda nicest but not cheap.
http://www.casitaclub.com/forums/index.php...mp;hl=generator
This sit is just as an example of a small generator, Sutherlands are many hundreds of miles from NH.
http://www.sutherlands.com/products/...p?item=7784929
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
[b]in her garage


You're right, I missed that. It still could have serious issues that would be hard to address in a couple of weeks, though.
P
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:19 PM   #11
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Gerry, look into a portable LP heater like Coleman Cat or Mr Heater Buddy for electric-free heat.

Consider making a harness with fuse to plug into TV outlet to put egg battery in back of TV to charge when getting groceries. Far from perfect, but petter than nothing.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:34 PM   #12
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Hi: Gerry... I found the Kancamagus Hwy. on the N.H. map, looks interesting..not straight!!! No hookups could be real mountain livin'. Enjoy the peace and solitude. I will miss your posts and emails.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:31 AM   #13
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(Haven't been to New Hampshire since I was a little girl...)
Hope you take some pictures for us to see when you're back online.
Have a great summer!
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:01 AM   #14
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: Boler 13 ft / 31 ft Holiday Rambler
Maine
Posts: 1,136
Quote:
Here's my best suggestion:

http://www.siliconsolar.com/12v-solar-batt...r-15w-p-133.php

This is the panel that I have. It's only 15 watts, but it has given me great performance. I use the original incandescent lights (1 or 2) at night, watch 12V television, run the Fantastic Fan or furnace as much as I want, and I'm back at full charge (12.8-13.3 volts) every day by about 2 pm. That's after getting down to about 12.2 volts after using stuff.

On Edit: I notice the website recommends a charge controller for anything above 5 watts.

I hope this helps! Good luck and have a great summer!
P
Palmer (or anyone)
Thanks for the link, I have read some about Solar power here on FGRV and never thought too much about it as said we only went out on 3 day weekends to remote campsites, and forgot all about this option.
I have a 5000W generator but the thoughts of hauling this back and forth is not something I want to be bothered with. (I will be working 5 days on - 2 days off)
A few questions for you.
How does it work on extended cloudy days...This is my greatest concern, the damp weather getting into my bones creating a chill that you just can't get rid of unless you can get it around 70 degree for a few hours.?
You said you did not buy the controller.
The $35 seems like a good investment ???What was your reasoning behind this
Also any reason you went with the Thin-Line over the RV-409???
http://www.siliconsolar.com/rv-solar-panel...5-watt-p-61.php
The campsite is deciduous tree covered and will this in effect make the device useless?
Any replies will be helpful.
Gerry
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