battery life question - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-02-2015, 09:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
We do a lot of "Boondock" no hook-up camping. The simple solution is to buy a small, low noise "inverter" generator and use it to both charge your battery daily through the system in your travel trailer and to run your systems when the generator is in use. Schedule showers and other high power consumption activities for when you use the generator.

Some camping areas limit the number of hours and the times when generator use is allowed. This is enough time to keep everything charged if you plan accordingly.

Some generator choices might include a 1000 or 2000 watt Honda generator
or a Yahama generator of your choice (most costly of possible choices). To save some money you might select a nice quiet 2400 watt inverter generator from Harbor Freight Tools...in store or on line...@$499 it is a real value. If you want maximum power to run Air Comditioner and everything else you might consider a Champion 3,100 watt inverter unit. I own one and it is as quiet as a Honda and very reliable with a 2 year warranty with a service network. I purchased mine at a Cabelas store on sale for $749 however others have reported retail prices of as low as $699 via Internet sales. The great thing about a generator vs solar is you are not dependent on the sun shining and the ability to find a full sun campsite.
Most campgrounds pride themselves on providing shaded sites for camping comfort.
We have been doing this RV camping thing since 1985 and have always used a quiet generator. Avoid the loud "open-flame" cheaper "contractor-type" generators as they are too loud for use in any campground.

Happy Camping!
Purchasing a generator could be throwing money down the drain. More and more places are banning generators. There are dry camping campgrounds that no generators are allowed. Some places the generator useage is limited to 4 hours per day. Some have no generator areas, one place just increased the number of sites that are generator free by taking away sites that allowed 4 hours a day generator use. From my view point the trend is eliminate generator usage in all public campgrounds.

For the same amount a solar system can be purchased, a very nice solar system.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:26 AM   #16
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Byron, It is evident you do not like generators (even quiet ones). Your blanket statements about campgrounds prohibiting all generator use is questionable.
Every state, and National Parks I know of all allow the use of generators if they are quiet inverter types like the ones I outlined. These parks all have hours you can operate the units (about 4-6 hours daily split between AM and PM). This policy has always been in place to provide a pleasant camping atmosphere.
Please list for the readers of this form all the state and federal campgrounds that prohibit there use. To-date I have not found any such restrictions in both National Parks or State Parks I have camped in. If there is such a "trend" I am sure your list will be a very long one.

Generators for camping also come in handy for homeowner use in the off season in the event of a power failure...another big plus for generator ownership.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:50 AM   #17
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You didn't mention it, but if you have LED lights you can read until the sun comes back up.
Changing all your lighting over to LED does indeed go a long ways in helping to preserve battery life & owning a small headlamp for reading into the wee hours of the morning will also help to ensure you have enough power to use the furnace as well to keep the trailer nice and warm as well.

While a generator works well at recharging your battery the current issue with the long term viability of getting many years of use out of the purchase cost of a generator is that due to their increasing unpopularity, the use of them has become increasingly restricted in most of NA. In some camping areas I have been (including a couple of back county spots) the use of a generator is not permitted at all - particularly during summer months.

To give you an example of how times have changed, here in BC most of our Provincial campgrounds do not have power. As a result 10 years ago generators where common place but not so much these days as people have shifted away from generator use and switched over to solar.

Its has come to the point that generators have become so unpopular that there are folks lobbying the provincial government to outlaw the use of generators during summer months in our Provincial parks completely, unless the camper has medical equipment that requires the use of a generator to power it. It would not surprise me at all if the powers that be were to decide in the not to distant future to put such a law into place.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:11 AM   #18
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These parks all have hours you can operate the units (about 4-6 hours daily split between AM and PM). This policy has always been in place to provide a pleasant camping atmosphere.
"Always" been in place Really? Hummm then how come while I was in Yellowstone as well as Death Valley a couple of years ago the first thing I was told by the park rangers was they had "new" more restrictive hours of use of generators that we needed to be aware of? They had lots of signs up in the registration area on the topic as well.

At check in at Yellowstone a staff member went so far as to tell me when I asked about the reason for the change in generator usage that the parks were getting so much public pressure on the topic it was their opinion that the new hours of use rules were just the beginning of the end of of generator usage in National Parks.

If your wishing to disprove Byron's position (one I happen to agree with) why not call all the National and state parks yourself and ask them what their usage policies were on generators 7 years go vs what they are today.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:11 AM   #19
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The hummmmmm of generators running in a campground is much like that old statement "I love the smell of napalm in the morning", it's just doesn't add to the camping experience.


Add to that, the generator owner is then tethered to the campsite while the generator is running, not my idea of enjoying a stay in places like Yosemite or Yellowstone where the campsite is for eating and sleeping for most of us.


As mentioned, with a bit of solar power and a pair of good sized batteries, one can get by very well without a generator.


We were out for 30 days earlier this summer and had hook-ups only twice, and that was only because those were the only spaces available near Zion & Bryce Canyon NP's. As it turns out, we almost never stay where it's even available and get along fine with our twin battery system, and without solar.


How is taking showers a high power consumption activity? Most FGRV's have fairly limited water storage and the use of a shower wand with an ON/OFF squeeze handle is more common than not to conserve both water supply as well as gray water storage space, and it also minimizes pump run time to maybe 2-3 minutes per shower. But maybe it's different in stickys.


BTW: The specs "seem" to indicate that your Champion has an "Operational Volume" of 58dB without indicating the load or distance from the source for that measurement. So, I'm taking that as being the minimum noise level. The Honda's minimum noise level is 53 dB, or about 1/2 the sound pressure at a given distance.


When it comes to generators, it seems that those that sell for less seem to know what their product is worth.....
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:25 AM   #20
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You didn't mention it, but if you have LED lights you can read until the sun comes back up.

Sometimes I do just that.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:40 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
Byron, It is evident you do not like generators (even quiet ones). Your blanket statements about campgrounds prohibiting all generator use is questionable.
Every state, and National Parks I know of all allow the use of generators if they are quiet inverter types like the ones I outlined. These parks all have hours you can operate the units (about 4-6 hours daily split between AM and PM). This policy has always been in place to provide a pleasant camping atmosphere.
Please list for the readers of this form all the state and federal campgrounds that prohibit there use. To-date I have not found any such restrictions in both National Parks or State Parks I have camped in. If there is such a "trend" I am sure your list will be a very long one.

Generators for camping also come in handy for homeowner use in the off season in the event of a power failure...another big plus for generator ownership.
Let me give you some examples... Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument last year decreased the number of sites where generators were allowed and it non-generator use.
Death Valley National Park has at least one campground that doesn't allow generators at all.
Big Bend National Park has a large area generator free.

As far as costs, etc are concerned. The initial cost of solar is cheaper than the a generator. I purchased my solar system about 7 years ago for less than $400.00, it would be cheaper now. There's no additional cost or fuss with volatile fuels. Solar is quiet, no noise like there is with ALL generators. As solar and some wind power prices come down the use of generators will decrease and will eventually be banned in most campgrounds. Maybe NY is so used to noise that the people there don't mind. But, out here in west it's different story.

YES, I don't like generators, their noisy and stinky. Most people that use them put the generator as far away from their RV as possible, meaning close to somebody else. Generator owners are often, not always, have an expectation that because they spent the money on a generator they right to use it any time and as much as they like.
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Old 09-02-2015, 12:11 PM   #22
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I have a Honda 1000 generator.
Nobody has mentioned that you need to maintain a generator. Change the oil, run it from time to time, buy fresh gas, dispose of old gas.
But, now that I have it, it's handy for power outages at home.
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Old 09-02-2015, 12:17 PM   #23
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Elkmont, my National Park Service home away from home in the Smokies, has 210 sites, 115 or 55% of which are generator free. Generator use is limited to 8 AM to 8 PM. I have seen them shut down TV charging of batteries in the non-generator areas. They are nice about it.

This may require a new thread, but what are your experiences?
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Old 09-02-2015, 12:24 PM   #24
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You didn't mention it, but if you have LED lights you can read until the sun comes back up.
I use, if not plugged in, is puck lights, i have several, till i get around to figure out the led bulbs and solar. But we do like air, so our plan is to go to, at least electric camp grounds, in summer only. The rest of the year it makes no difference. Carl
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Old 09-02-2015, 12:29 PM   #25
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I've said it before when this topic came up and I'll say it again. The use of a generator is dependent upon climate. Until someone invents an A/C that runs off solar power, generator use will continue in the hot and humid climates. While solar may keep your batteries charged, it isn't going to keep you cool. That being said, I own 2 generators. One is 8,000 watts good for powering most things in the house during extended power outages after a tropical storm in Florida. The other is a 2,000 watt Honda which I can use to run the A/C in the trailer under the same circumstances. I have never used the Honda when camping, but if I were into boondock camping, it would come along and would be used, if necessary. But I will agree about solar on one point. It is a far better way to keep batteries charged than charging by generator.
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Old 09-02-2015, 01:22 PM   #26
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Attitudes (e.g. solar vs. generator) are based on lots of things. In my neck of the woods I am used to 300 sunny days a year (the chamber of commerce says 575 sunny days a year) and in general I can see the all too occasional rain coming ad going. When I lived on the east coast the cloud cover was often 1,200 miles wide and I think I recall weeks at a time completely overcast.

There is a time and place for generators. Just NIMBY. Except when I want air conditioning.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:34 PM   #27
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About how long (days) will the battery last on my Scamp 13, using lights, furnace fan, water pump when no hookups are available/dry camping?

Do I recharge battery by hooking up to car and running engine? For how long?

Is there a way to test the life of my battery while dry camping?

Thanks for the help.
I asked a similar question not too long ago. Perhaps this thread can help
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f95/how-long-will-battery-last-70729.html
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:00 PM   #28
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A word about solar power...yes it works...works quite well in the desert southwest where there are few trees...NO SHADE=Solar......trees, clouds, nighttime=
NO SUN and ergo NO SOLAR.
Can you run your Air Conditioner on your solar panel...I think not.

The entire subject of both solar and wind power is an interesting one.
Studies prove it increases the cost of power production...WHY you may ask?
When the sun goes away and/or the wind stops the blades from turning you still must rely on regular power plants. This means you have increased the total cost of capital equipment to produce power for customers...the same customers who have to pay not only for the electric power but all the new solar generating equipment and their maintenance in order to produce the same amount of total electric power. Also include the new array of switchover controls required to manage the uninterrupted flow of electricity to customers.
More equipment, more manpower all to supply electricity to the same customers.
Now that sounds like a great way to charge more and more per kilowatt hour!

Think about it.
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