Inverters and Power Draw - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-16-2011, 09:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'm amazed at all the effort one takes to make a pot of coffee using a battery. Why not use the stove and a coffee maker. I envisioned with dual batteries,LEDs and a solar setup that everything in the trailer would operate off 12v or propane, with no 120v needs. You can just about buy any appliance now that operates off 12v albeit some are inefficient, but that is why you have propane, for your refer, heat, and for cooking. Why not eliminate any 120v use unless you have hookups?
Jim, it's good that you ask because solutions often evolve without much thought. As a result my response will be a wandering....

I must admit to being careful with money (cheap). If I own something I usually don't throw it out until it fails. We had the coffee pot and TV. (You know there's been no Social Security inflation increase for three years, everyone knows prices have soared plus with the national state of things I tend to be a little conservative in my spending.)

We first bought an 1200 watt Inverter because we had an AC only fridge. The reason for the coffee pot being AC is that we are often at sites that have AC plus we have the coffee pot. A 600 watt coffee pot running on 12 volts would require wiring capable of 50 amps. I also admit it's somewhat of a convenince item.

Our stove is normally busy and busier when boondocking. We eat the same thing for breakfast every day, one egg and bacon or sausage, toast (english on the stove if no AC for the toaster) and coffee. Your basic 200 calorie breakfast. Yes I am blessed with low cholestrol (sp), life on the road has been good for our health.

Our TV was a gift and is AC only as is the Sat dish receiver. Both computers require 19 volts at the input so the battery doesn't cut it. Our Kaito radio has an AC/DC charger to recharge its batteries. Our blanket is AC because when we bought it we didn't know there were 12 volt blankets.

The things we can run on propane we do. If there's something we can run on 12 volts we do. We have three 12 volt outlets in our trailer and 10 AC outlets (more for convience than need).

As well with the big Inverter if Ginny wants to run the hair dryer for 10 mnutes on 800 watts she can.

By the way we only have a single battery but may go to two batteries next year. I will also say we haven't run the AC Converter since we installed our first solar panel, now 2 panels, they seems to handle our battery's charging needs.

If we have a choice we run our water heater on AC, because it's quieter and 'free'. The same for the electric heater versus the furnace.

If I were creating the ideal trailer I'm sure I could survive without an Inverter, however the inverter is relatively efficient, the wiring is practical in size. AC is sort of a universal solution, practically everything comes with some sort of AC/DC charger and there's little consistency in voltage from product to product. We have 3 volt, 6 volt, 12 volt and 19 volt AC/DC chargers for various products.

I think there's no common DC voltage theme today and continue to see the need for AC and of course there's my inherent cheapness (though I suspect Ginny would tell you, with a smile on her face, that I spend money in some ways without care...dare I say carelessly.

Thanks for encouraging me to think about it...

P.S. it seems many new trailer manufacturers are trying to move to AC only...go figure.
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:38 PM   #16
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Thanks for your thoughtful response, I understand you are making the best use of things you have. If starting over you may have done things differently.
I'm still thinking about another trailer, have my eye on a fiberglass trailer, non molded, but 100% fiberglass. Think the forum members will "shun" me? There is one reason this type is appealing, it has 1.5 thick, insulated walls and thermopane windows and I love winter camping but hate being cold.
Are you excited about your upcoming trip and do you have a route plan, I'm sure some of the members here would enjoy your company for a short visit, I have electric available for your morning coffee!
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
..................
100 watt Inverter draws 0.3 amps
200 watt Inverter draws 0.35 amps
400 watt Inverter draws 0.1 amps
1200 watt Inverter draws ???
....................................
I have AIMS 1500 pure sine wave (digital) inverter which drains 1.3A at idle. With 3 batteries at 105 AH each it is not an issue. Primary use for me is small LCD TV, PCs, camera batteries charger, and occasionally Microwave. I used to have a simple (either square or modified wave – I don’t remember), inverter and fried expensive Nikon battery charger. Since then I use pure sine wave only.
George.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Jim, it's good that you ask because solutions often evolve without much thought. As a result my response will be a wandering....(...)
Thanks for encouraging me to think about it...
P.S. it seems many new trailer manufacturers are trying to move to AC only...go figure.
As you probably know, new trailer manufacturers made standard 110/220V 50A connectors RV Electric, so you can have 12,000 Watts available for 110 or 220V appliances ! Multiple A/C units, hot water tank, microwave oven, name it ! RV are getting bigger and bigger. I would not call that camping, this is more the idea of a mobile home you can park near a lakefront for extended periods on a campground instead of buying or renting a lodge. Some rent or buy powerful diesel trucks to travel with them, sometimes with a motorboat behind the already impressive RV !

This is getting the opposite direction than most lighweight Fiberglass RV owners in my humble opinion. My Trillium is equipped to be self sufficient for about a week for 2-3 adults, even without water or electric hookup. I don't need a special truck or driver's licence to carry it. It can be used as long as the average temperature is not freezing. Freedom to travel and contact with nature is preserved with minimalist, but comfortable camping.

The idea of "camping" definitely changed over the years.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:12 AM   #19
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Minimalist direction

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Originally Posted by lamimartin View Post
As you probably know, new trailer manufacturers made standard 110/220V 50A connectors
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamimartin View Post
RV Electric, so you can have 12,000 Watts available for 110 or 220V appliances ! Multiple A/C units, hot water tank, microwave oven, name it ! RV are getting bigger and bigger. I would not call that camping, this is more the idea of a mobile home you can park near a lakefront for extended periods on a campground instead of buying or renting a lodge. Some rent or buy powerful diesel trucks to travel with them, sometimes with a motorboat behind the already impressive RV !

This is getting the opposite direction than most lighweight Fiberglass RV owners in my humble opinion. My Trillium is equipped to be self sufficient for about a week for 2-3 adults, even without water or electric hookup. I don't need a special truck or driver's licence to carry it. It can be used as long as the average temperature is not freezing. Freedom to travel and contact with nature is preserved with minimalist, but comfortable camping.

The idea of "camping" definitely changed over the years.


We just sold our Motorhome; it only had a 30 amp power cord, and one air conditioner. We did have a 3300 watt generator.

It was difficult for us to sell the motorhome after 10 years (though it sold in one day). We absolutely loved it, our first RV. It was a pleasure to travel in and took us to every state but one and every province of Canada. With the motorhome we were as self sufficient as one could be, 100 gallons of water, small solar panel, 3300 watt generator, 80 gallons of gas and the ability to take freezing temperatures in comfort. As well no special licence required. We have taken the motorhome to places that are truely isolated and been surrounded by wild life. It's certainly not camping in the sense of our tent days but as we approach 70, the true minimalist, on the ground camping, is beyond us or at least difficult.

On the electrical side, we push for a little more than might be considered minimalist. We're gone for so long that we need to be able to keep in touch with our bank, relatives and the world in general. We need power for our computers, Internet and TV. 11 months is a long time, and we need to be alert to our 'family' and to measure the events in the world even when we're down some dirt road, on a way out Indian reservation for a couple of weeks. It's good for us and the people we love back home. I think the power of electronics to keep you in touch is a great comfort, particularly to my wife.

We bought our first trailer for a 2 month cross Labrador trip figuring it was too much for our Motorhome and loved the trailer, using it 10 months that year. Now we're small trailer people. We hardly ever use an air conditioner but added one to our Scamp because we'll be gone 11 months this year and be crossing the middle of the country in August/September.

This year we have sought to be as self sufficient as possible, hence the solar panels, because we're going to have a period deep in the Ruby Mts of Neveda on this trip. The only modification to the Scamp I didn't do was installing a larger water tank, next year I guess.

I love our small trailer, we show it off all the time to friends and strangers as most Fiberglass owners do. Most people are shocked by the openess of our rig, how much there is inside that bathroom sized space. It's enough for us.

Safe travels,
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post

We just sold our Motorhome; it only had a 30 amp power cord, and one air conditioner. We did have a 3300 watt generator.

It was difficult for us to sell the motorhome after 10 years (though it sold in one day). We absolutely loved it, our first RV. It was a pleasure to travel in and took us to every state but one and every province of Canada. With the motorhome we were as self sufficient as one could be, 100 gallons of water, small solar panel, 3300 watt generator, 80 gallons of gas and the ability to take freezing temperatures in comfort. As well no special licence required. We have taken the motorhome to places that are truely isolated and been surrounded by wild life. It's certainly not camping in the sense of our tent days but as we approach 70, the true minimalist, on the ground camping, is beyond us or at least difficult.

On the electrical side, we push for a little more than might be considered minimalist. We're gone for so long that we need to be able to keep in touch with our bank, relatives and the world in general. We need power for our computers, Internet and TV. 11 months is a long time, and we need to be alert to our 'family' and to measure the events in the world even when we're down some dirt road, on a way out Indian reservation for a couple of weeks. It's good for us and the people we love back home. I think the power of electronics to keep you in touch is a great comfort, particularly to my wife.

We bought our first trailer for a 2 month cross Labrador trip figuring it was too much for our Motorhome and loved the trailer, using it 10 months that year. Now we're small trailer people. We hardly ever use an air conditioner but added one to our Scamp because we'll be gone 11 months this year and be crossing the middle of the country in August/September.

This year we have sought to be as self sufficient as possible, hence the solar panels, because we're going to have a period deep in the Ruby Mts of Neveda on this trip. The only modification to the Scamp I didn't do was installing a larger water tank, next year I guess.

I love our small trailer, we show it off all the time to friends and strangers as most Fiberglass owners do. Most people are shocked by the openess of our rig, how much there is inside that bathroom sized space. It's enough for us.

Safe travels,

Earlier this year we traveled the south west part of the US with our 13' trailer. We spent almost 100 days, electric hookups were not used in most cases. A 65 Watt solar panel and the tow vehicle keep the house battery and an extra battery charged. On the rare occasion when we stayed in a place with electric hookups the only thing 120AC ran was the refrigerator. No Air conditioner, No television. Computers are net-books. that can be charged when traveling and not used a lot. Kindles require the most recharging.
Most of lighting was done with CCFL (Cold Cathode Florescent Lights). Before the next trip I replace the incandescent lights with LEDs. Now I can turn all the lights on and draw about the same amount as one incandescent.
Electric appliances are NOT part of mix. I can cook almost anything on the stove top or in a dutch oven as I can at home.
I'm convinced that we could stay out indefinitely with our set up.
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:55 AM   #21
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Small Spaces

"I'm convinced that we could stay out indefinitely with our set up "

Byron and Anne,

I'm convinced you could stay out indefinitely as well. In some measure it's a state of mind and in some measure like most abilities, if you've done it once you know you know you can do it again.

People who haven't spent a week, a month or even longer in a small space, can not imagine how adequate 13 or 16 x 6.5 feet can be. This particularly true from the outside of the trailer, once they come in they begin to feel it might be possible.

We have set up our trailer for the next 11 months. We do think our computers, nook and TV are important. We love the travel, the adventure and newness of places and things, but there are vestiges of our past we still are attached to hence the large amount of electronics. This year we've been doing a lot of Skyping and will be using it to keep in touch with family.

Wishing you and Anne continued adventures...
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:09 PM   #22
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What service do you use for internet access?
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:37 PM   #23
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Internet Access

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What service do you use for internet access?
Being cheap, I use wifi hot spots. McDonald's and Star Bucks plus many many other places have free wifi. A few state owned campgrounds have wifi, the one in Westwego LA has free wifi. Some Denny's, some Elemer's Pancake houses. The list goes on and on and on. I've never had any trouble finding a wifi hot spot when I wanted one. The store in Big Bend NP had free wifi. Quartzsite, AZ senior center works good, that one's $5.00 per year membership in senior center. Libraries are another good place.
Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:26 PM   #24
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Verizon

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What service do you use for internet access?
We have had a Verizon wireless card for about 4 years. It is expensive. When we intially bought the service free wireless was not as available as it is today and few campgrounds or MacDonalds had wireless.

We use the service year round and is what we use as our home wireless system in the summer, it can support 5 computers at once and this is often the case with summer guests. Since we're on the road so much, we've had no home Internet system or home phone land line system for at least four years. When home we use what we use on the road. This helps justify our costs.

We will eliminate the wireless card when we upgrade our phones to wireless 4G smart phones. Smart phones have the ability to create a 5 computer hotspot. We've just been waiting for the 4G situation to further settle in terms of phones available.

We do use wireless hot spots in Canada where our wireless plan is not active. Canada has the Community Access Program where no matter the size of the community there is a place where you can go and have wireless access. It is not always at a library, since many small towns don't have one; it may be a town hall or community building.

The issue for us is we want continuous access to wireless, particularly when we're home (in the trailer) in the evening. When you're gone for long periods we need it for all kinds of things, from banking to human contact. We justify our satellite dish in the same way. We dropped Comcast at home and switched to Satellite Dish with similar reasoning

The reason we keep the smart card is because we're often in locations where there simply isn't any wireless like the middle of the Blackhills, yet we still get our Verizon wireless Internet.

Byron we tend to be conservative with our money as well and find RVing, even with a wireless to be significantly less expensive then staying home. I do agree that today it is often possible to take advantage of the numerous wireless hot spots.

Also I do believe that smart and smarter phones are really reducing the need for many electronic items I felt were important when we started traveling. I now use my existing phone for email, geo caching, gps, still and video camera, low order note taking, sometimes book reading, and occasionally news. With my next itteration (sp) of smart phone this will further expand.

Safe travels
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:20 PM   #25
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I've been watching the high speed networks associated with the cell phone system. As soon as I can get a reliable cell phone system that works as fast as my cable at home I'll make the switch. Right now the speeds aren't there. Our cell phones are not smart phones. I might change that once the high speed cell phone connections are increased and reliable.
As far as the amount of electronic equipment we carry, it's a bunch.
2 cell phones
2 Kindle ebook readers
2 Palm PDAs
3 Digital cameras
3 GPS receivers
2 computers
1 printer
4 or 5 Ham Radios
It seems like there's something else I can't think of it at the moment.

It's all in what works for you.
My goal has been and to be off the grid as much as possible. My trailer is my escape pod so then when the infrastructure fails I'll have a place doesn't need it to be comfortable.

Happy travels. Someday I might have to go back to Labrador. Was there 63/64. I was leaning against the news teletype at the TV station when President Kennedy was shot.
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:39 AM   #26
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Don't believe the ratings printed on equipment. That's the maximum rating for fire protection purposes. Get a Kill-a-Watt meter and measure peak and long term AC power consumption.

1A at 120v from an inverter is going to be 10A draw on your 12V battery (+what your inverter uses). One of the advantages of having a 24v or 48v house battery is that current is reduced proportionally for the same Power (Watts) output. 1A @120v is 5A from a 24v bank, and only 2.5A from a 48v bank (+ inverter losses).

Cheers.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:51 PM   #27
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Enjoying the thread. Both parts. original inverter/power draw and internet use. Now to further the highjacking of the thread. There are some good websites that list all the local free wifi sites per city across the US and Canada. Plus an app called wi-fi finder. The information can be downloaded to your computer or device for reference on the go. They are user content created. I've found it accurate and invaluable while traveling south of the border.

Cheers,
Mark
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:16 AM   #28
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On the subject of measuring consumption, here is a simple little tool that just works great! I've had mine for years and I've measured everything I own. It will read in watts or amps with the flip of a switch. I've actually learned a lot about the power needs of all kinds of devices using it.

Reliance Amwatt Appliance Load Tester | Electrical Tools | Northern Tool + Equipment

David
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