Which Casita would be best for heavy computer use? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-06-2015, 02:23 PM   #15
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Name: William
Trailer: Casita SD17
New Jersey
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Originally Posted by fridaynext View Post
That's a great question. My wife and I are talking about doing a stint in a Casita or Scamp, and I'm wondering about my computer setup as well. I'm self employed and work from my computer, so it will be important to keep a computer workspace in the trailer.

Unfortunately, I just upgraded from a 17" MBP to a custom built desktop with a 27" display in Nov 2014, and I'm quite spoiled by it. I've also worked at a standing desk for over 10 years now, and I don't think I could work sitting down. This will definitely be fun, coming up with a solution to this conundrum!
I also have no idea how far "30 amps" is going to go. I have a giant iMac that cost as much as a used trailer, I hope I will be able to use it. I also have an Airport/Basestation that acts as a router and backup NAS device. My APC XS1500 UPS-device is "865 Watts/1500 VA", not sure what that means, but I am guessing it means it wont work in a campground! I think I am going to have to get a book on all this stuff, so I will know what it means.
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Old 04-06-2015, 02:31 PM   #16
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I also have no idea how far "30 amps" is going to go. I have a giant iMac that cost as much as a used trailer, I hope I will be able to use it. I also have an Airport/Basestation that acts as a router and backup NAS device. My APC XS1500 UPS-device is "865 Watts/1500 VA", not sure what that means, but I am guessing it means it wont work in a campground! I think I am going to have to get a book on all this stuff, so I will know what it means.
Nah, you'll be fine - that UPS rating is the max amount it can supply at once (when it's running on battery). A 2013 iMac uses 229W max (full load) - which is about 2 amps at 110V - and your Airport uses 1.5 amps input current. You can calculate how long your UPS will be able to power these, but it depends on the load you're putting on your iMac's CPU.

Inside a 16" camper, 30 amps is going to be fine, unless you have the Blendtec blending a golf club, while juicing, vacuuming, boiling water, and running a 4k transcode on your iMac.

Your main problem will be figuring out how to get it all set up in your camper.
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by whoot View Post
What is the "Nest" trailer?

This thing? NestEgg Trailers

Or this? Nest Carvans
The latter, and there is a thread about them here: Nest Caravans Building a new FG trailer, step by step

I mentioned them because this design eschews a traditional dinette in favor of a side-facing desk/breakfast bar. Pictures of the interior are in post #451 near the end. Note that this unit is still in the prototype phase. Production is supposed to start soon, but I haven't seen any pricing information yet.
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:18 PM   #18
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Outside the 'egg' (box)...

Our first RV was a used motorhome, not more expensive than a trailer and a tow vehicle. I mention it because I used the front dash for our computer and printer.

I made a slideout desk with drawer that sat on the dash with plenty of storage space in the front overhead cabinets.

The motorhome's front seats were about as comfortable as any seat.

This was a nice set up because besides being large, it did not disrupt the living area, kitchen or bedroom.

The computer was available to serve as a GPS when driving.

Just another approach....
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Old 04-16-2015, 12:23 AM   #19
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Name: Doug
Trailer: Casita
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If you add a sine wave inverter to your trailer you won't need the APC UPS. In a power outage the house battery and sine wave inverter will keep your computer running without interruption. All the UPS is is a (small) battery and inverter.

I'm a software developer and run a macbook pro + Monitor, router, WiFi booster, cellular booster, NAS drive and Apple TV. I run them boondocking (charged off solar) as well as plugged in at campsites.

One item I would recommend would be an RV Surge Suppressor. I use this one when plugged into a campground power: Portable Surge Guard with LCD Display, 30 Amp - TRC 34830 - Surge Protectors - Camping World

-Doug
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Old 04-16-2015, 12:46 AM   #20
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Name: William
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Originally Posted by dougtuck View Post
If you add a sine wave inverter to your trailer you won't need the APC UPS. In a power outage the house battery and sine wave inverter will keep your computer running without interruption. All the UPS is is a (small) battery and inverter.

I'm a software developer and run a macbook pro + Monitor, router, WiFi booster, cellular booster, NAS drive and Apple TV. I run them boondocking (charged off solar) as well as plugged in at campsites.

One item I would recommend would be an RV Surge Suppressor. I use this one when plugged into a campground power: Portable Surge Guard with LCD Display, 30 Amp - TRC 34830 - Surge Protectors - Camping World

-Doug
Awesome! I will probably ask you some questions once I get my Casita. Your setup is exactly what I want to do.
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:36 AM   #21
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Name: Casey
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Originally Posted by dougtuck View Post
If you add a sine wave inverter to your trailer you won't need the APC UPS. In a power outage the house battery and sine wave inverter will keep your computer running without interruption. All the UPS is is a (small) battery and inverter.

I'm a software developer and run a macbook pro + Monitor, router, WiFi booster, cellular booster, NAS drive and Apple TV. I run them boondocking (charged off solar) as well as plugged in at campsites.

One item I would recommend would be an RV Surge Suppressor. I use this one when plugged into a campground power: Portable Surge Guard with LCD Display, 30 Amp - TRC 34830 - Surge Protectors - Camping World

-Doug
How long can you run your setup before the battery runs out? And what size battery do you have in your rig?
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Old 04-16-2015, 08:17 AM   #22
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Thumbs up wall

can you mount the mac on the wall like a tv in the dinnite swivel out when working redo the table amake it bigger under the mac fold out to 30 inch. that gives you more room for your big chair fold it all up when not in use ?
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:46 PM   #23
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Name: Doug
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I personally wouldn't consider mounting a computer to the wall of a Casita, especially if its an iMac. The Casita bangs around a lot on the road, the computer would probably be too heavy.

I have a 24" Samsung HD Monitor/TV mounted to the wall of my Liberty. The Samsung is light weight and has excellent clarity connected to my Macbook Pro. Its mounted to the side of the cabinet above the refrigerator. I removed the carpeting inside the cabinet, reinforced the wall with 2x4s, and laid the carpet back over the wood. I glued the wood to the fiberglass plus added screws with caps to further brace the fiberglass. The Monitor is mounted on an articulating arm. I removed one of the vents to the cabinet and installed a cable port hatch (from camping world) so I could use the cabinet for power cables and other gear. I sometimes (when I don't need dual monitors) put my Macbook Pro 15" inside the cabinet cabled to the monitor and sit at the table using a bluetooth keyboard and touchpad.

Its traveled 700 miles so far without problems. Since I've installed the Shock Kit on the Casita the items inside seem to travel much easier (no cushions on the floor, cabinets stay shut, things I put on the seats stay on the seats during travel, etc).

Attached are 2 photos one shows the TV mounted and the other is a shot of the cable port installed where one of the vents were. Note that the articulating arm comes with a removable mount. I can take the Monitor out if I choose to.

-Doug
Attached Thumbnails
TvOnWall.jpg   TvCablePort.jpg  

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Old 04-21-2015, 05:32 PM   #24
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Name: William
Trailer: Casita SD17
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Originally Posted by dougtuck View Post
Since I've installed the Shock Kit on the Casita the items inside seem to travel much easier
Is the "Shock Kit" the stuff you built by hand, or is it a commercial add-on for the Casita?
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:19 PM   #25
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A lot of people (myself included) take WiFi and internet access for granted. When you are on the road it is not as accessible as you might think. If you can find free access it is usually painfully slow and the campgrounds that offer it usually charge a premium for it. The other option is you cell phone so you might want to consider how much data you will be using and how much it will cost.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:46 PM   #26
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Name: Doug
Trailer: Casita
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The Shock Kit I was referring to is from Perfect Casita (Casita Shock Absorber Kit).

Internet on the road is something I've had to spend a lot of effort and $$ on. Its rarely a certainty that you'll get decent (or any) signal/speed from any one source depending on where you travel. I have an iPhone on ATT with a hotspot plan, a MiFi with a Verizon pay as you go plan, a Wilson weBoost Drive M (Amazon.com: weBoost Drive 4G-M Cell Phone Booster Kit: Cell Phones & Accessories) cellular booster, and a Pepwave Surf for WiFi boosting. I'd also recommend external high gain antennas. Most of the time I can get very good internet. My fallback is to drive my tow vehicle to a coffee shop, but I haven't had to since I've had my current collection of systems together.

I prefer more rustic settings, State Parks and Thousand Trails preserves. Finding internet at these campsites is more difficult than if you stay the more commercial RV Parks. I can usually get either ATT or Verizon data signal through the booster. Most of the time you'll get Verizon at these parks, but some times you'll get ATT and not Verizon. RV Park internet is my least favorite but good when needed. RV Park networks are generally unreliable, and almost always slow and intermittent. They're also very insecure, so use a WiFi Bridge/firewall like the Pepwave if you must connect. The Thousand Trails parks I've been to have had pretty good WiFi but its always limited range within and right outside the Activity Centers. The Pepwave with external high gain antenna can sometimes pull it in at the site I park in. Try to select a site as close to the activity center as is comfortable.

A good source of information for boosters and antennas is 3GStore (3Gstore.com, 3G/4G Routers, 3G/4G Antennas, 3G/4G Amplifiers & Boosters, Data Cards, WiFi, Data, IP Switch & CloudCam).

-Doug
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:20 PM   #27
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Fridaynext, Sorry I missed your question on my power setup. Its still a work in progress, I need more power....

Power, like the internet, can't be take for granted while on the road. It takes planning and discipline to make sure you have enough in all conditions. Replacing the light bulbs that come with a Casita with LED bulbs is a must. If you stay at RV Parks that have Power Hookups, I highly recommend using a Surge Protector like (Portable Surge Guard with LCD Display, 30 Amp - TRC 34830 - Surge Protectors - Camping World). I've run into low voltage conditions at several parks that could have damaged my electronics or appliances. In the summer especially, when all those rigs with dual ACs start up, the power can dip to 90 volts or less in some sites. All my computer gear is always run off the battery+inverter to protect them, the surge protector protects my appliances and converter.

Right now I have a single Optima T31 Yellow Top AGM battery, two 30 watt GoPower Flex solar panels glued to the roof (Solar Flex Kits and Modules (Flat, bendable solar) | Go Power!), a Xantrex 600 watt PureSine inverter, and two 32 Watt folding backpacking solar panels (32.2W Blue Nylon Folding Solar Panel, Our Most Popular Panel) I can move to where the best sun angle is. The backpacking panels fold up small enough to be easy to carry in the Casita closet floor. I've had these for several years (before the Casita) and seemed a good fit for the Casita.

I also use a GoalZero Yeti 400 battery (with its own 30w solar panel) to run the Cell Booster and a few other small gadgets. The T31 battery needs to run the "house" systems in the Casita (refrigerator on gas, LED lights, water pump) so I offload to the GoalZero to make sure I have enough in the T31 to run the "house" systems. (I'm a huge GoalZero fan and have several of their products, Portable Power Packs - Extreme Portable Power Backup - Goal Zero)

I haven't boondocked in my Casita enough yet to really test the capacity, but by my calculations I need to add at least one more T31 to cover for over cast or stormy days. So far I've been able to run my laptop and monitor all day usually 8-10 plus keep my cell phone, iPad, and MiFi charged. This requires that I have sun for 4-5 hours a day to replenish the battery and provide a little extra power during the day. Right now I need to schedule my peak energy use to when the sun is shining. I know I need more power to cover the times when the weather isn't clear and sunny.

I'm in the process of planning for a second T31 battery and a GoPower folding 120w portable solar panel (Portable Solar Kits (120, 80 & 40 watts) | Go Power!). I'm debating where to mount the additional T31. My current thinking is to mount it in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I don't have the heater option in my Liberty so I have room there. The trailer tongue isn't an option for me and I prefer to not hang anything heavy past the rear bumper. The 2nd T31 should eliminate the need for the GoalZero 400, plus double my external solar panel capacity. I like the GoalZero 400 a lot and will always travel with it.

I travel with a Honda 2000 Companion generator in the bed of my truck for times when there isn't enough sun/solar to keep things charged. Also you can't run the air conditioner off the battery/solar. So far I've only used the generator when I want to run the air conditioner. But I'm currently traveling in northern Oregon and the forecast is clouds and rain for the next few days. It doesn't matter how many watts of solar you travel with, if you don't have sun you need another option to charge the battery(s).

Sorry for the long post. There's a lot more to cover on this topic but this should give you some ideas.


-Doug
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:59 AM   #28
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Mifi

I'm in rural Vermont. Our only source for Internet access is a Verizon Mfi hot spot. Same is true for most of the area. In town hard wired internet is easy to get but not on the back roads. At $10/gig it's not cheap. We avoid all video. It's very fast if you are the only one using it but Verizon has sold it with out concern to capacity. When every kid in the back of the bus decides to talk to every kid in the front of the bus you'll think you're on dial up. Raz
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