Need Power - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-17-2003, 11:45 PM   #1
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Need Power

Ok, first some background.
We Just bought a 72' Boler 13ft
It had no battery/no cable for power hookups/no LP tank.:sad

We have no Fridge (icebox only), No Furnace.
So we decided, with your help, a single 20lb tank with a T valve
would suffice to feed our Range top and mini Gas BBQ.
Thanks again. :)

Now, I've started pricing out electrical toys and weighing the
benefits of a Deep Cycle Battery, AC/DC Inverters, and Battery

We expect to be deep into the boonies at times, with little or no
access to serviced sites. For those that missed
my First post last week, We are TrailGuides for JeepJamboree,
and spend many of our weekends exploring trails and mapping them
with GPS and digital mapping software. We camp-out in the eastern
slopes of the Rocky Mountain foothills.

So without electrical hook-ups the outlets on our Kitchen cabinet
will be useless. The only thing, so it would seem, that gets connected
to the Battery are the two small lights on either side of
the upper cabinet. :reye2 So I guess an inverter is needed.

So I'm starting to think the standard equipment that *most* would
purchase ...(Deep Cycle Battery/700watt Inverter/Battery Charger)
is going to run about $150/$120/$70...and we cant really
re-charge our battery until we find an AC outlet once we're back
near civilization. I'm assuming 700 watts is enough for an inverter
(the 1200 watt unit is $230)

So how about one of these?
I saw this at Canadian Tire while Inverter shopping

<img src=>

<img src=>

It's kind of like a battery/inverter/charger all in one
It has two AC outlets ,one DC outlet, I can boost a
dead battery from it with the booster cables. It has a trouble
light and best of all.. It can be charged with an a/c adapter or
plugged into the cig lighter in my Jeep while we are out on the trails all day.

The specs on the box said it can run a clock/radio for 22 hours,
a laptop PC for 6 hours, or a small T.V. for 2.5 hours on a single
charge..there were some more examples...but I cant recall now.

I think it would mostly be used for lighting, a small radio or CD player
and Karens blow dryer...oh and an electric fan for me
if and when it gets too hot at night so I can :zz

I think its a Bargain at $149.00

Watcha think? I suppose a Deep Cycle Battery would hold a charge
a lot longer and maybe the better route to go if it could last a week
without needing a re-charge. But I have no idea.

So how long do you go between charges on your Battery?

I suppose most of you camp at a serviced site
where you have hook-ups though :conf

wow, that was a long one :red sorry


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Old 07-18-2003, 12:09 AM   #2
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Me too

Dear MIke and Karen,

I make maps too.

One thing you want if your going to run computers is a "true sine wave" inverter. They are sorta expensive and I'm dead sure this one is not. Its probably a modified sine wave. good for most everything except valuable computers.

Those little all in ones have at best a motorcycle or gel cell battery.
When it comes to batteries, bigger is more. Just lift the thing and you'll feel that this light weight all in wonder doesn't have much to it.
It is a nice little package though.

You'll never regret a real Marine Deep cycle battery, but I bet you'd regret that little machine right away, unless you just want a big flashlight or to jump your car. Once.

Sorry to bear the news. I know it looks attractive, but you want to make more than one map while you're in the field.

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Old 07-18-2003, 12:55 AM   #3
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Thanks Thomas

The unit is actually quite heavy, almost as much as a battery.

My biggest concern is how often it can be depleted and recharged. A Deep Cycle battery can be re-charged for years before it gives up the ghost...these units I'm not too sure about.

I did have another revelation. Jeeps typically run a dual battery system for starting/accessories (normal starting battery), and a second one for the Winch (a Deep Cycle unit), Typically an Optima Yellow or Blue top. I have not done this yet (been putting it off).

If I install a Deep Cycle battery in my Jeep as my winching battery, it will be charged by my alternator constantly while running. I could then install an inverter in the Jeep and simply run an extention cord to the trailer when we return to camp to power the trailer. The battery *could* be totally depleted and I could still start the Jeep with the main battery and the Deep Cycle would be charged as I drove.
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Old 07-18-2003, 01:12 AM   #4
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The 2 lites on cabinets in boler are 12volt.If you install deep cycle battery in your tow vehical make sure you have a isolation switch between vehicle battery and other battery.You do not want to draw down vehical battery by accident.
If you install inverter,make sure it is as close to battery as you can get.Buy right size inverter for what you are going to use it for.:wave
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Old 07-18-2003, 05:48 AM   #5
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Electrical Stuff

Look at your hair drier. It should have some power usage information printed on it. 700 watts from the inverter seems like it might be about the 'low' setting on a drier. Heck, you're boondocking! I'm thinking sacrifices will have to be made. Tell her she looks gorgeous with wet hair. ;)

The portable unit you're considering is basically 400 watts. Not much. I wonder how many amp hours the unit is. It's not mentioned in the specs.

I'm a fan of true sine wave inverters also. Xantrex has just come out with a new 400 watt unit, but I expect it to be $300-400 US. Next step up from there is the 1000 watt unit, usually around $1,000 US!

I'm with those who recommend a dedicated marine/RV deep cycle. Perhaps a pig tail cord from your winch battery. Keep in mind that an automotive alternator is a poor battery recharger. It'll do if you're on a major road trip, but as a topper-upper, not so good.

For the dedicated boondocker, solar is worth looking into. If you're camping mostly in the woods, then some types of solar cells are less shade sensitive (but of course, more expensive).

One things for sure, you can burn up watts WAY faster than you can replenish them. No easy way out. No cheap way out.

Maybe you need to think of your trailer as just a hard tent. Coleman stoves and lanterns, candles and other nonelectrical 'stuff'.
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Old 07-18-2003, 06:13 AM   #6
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See also an older (way older!) thread about Jump-its!

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Old 07-18-2003, 06:43 AM   #7
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Charles needs in on this. he just spent how many days out boonying? :conf 45? not all at once, but still out. Course I think his opinions are in the jump-it discussion. I do know for a fax with two big o'l batteries if you have someone that likes to leave things on, like all the light in the trailer, you will have no juice when you need it most. :) and no it WAS NOT me.
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Old 07-18-2003, 08:28 AM   #8
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Well that was a lot of reading to do, thanks for the link to the older post about jump-its, interesting reading. It sounds like a good thing to have for a just-in-case back-up plan. It is also a good addition to a winter emergency kit for a car. So no money lost if I buy one of those , right?

I wish somewhere on the description they gave the amp/hrs for comparison, but this does look like the most powerful powerbox available (at this particular store anyway). Perhaps the picture is deceiving, but it sits about 8 in high (not including handle), and is a little wider than a PC keyboard (18 in.)...and 8 in. front to back. My best guess is about 35lbs to 40lbs.

I think I'm going to pick this unit up because even if it isnt the best system for us, it will certainly wont be money lost when we do eventually upgrade. It appears to be one step up from a basic jump-it, because of the built in 400 amp inverter, and I like the fact that I can re-charge it while out for the day by taking it with me in the Jeep(8-12 hours) and plugging the male/male cord into the powerbox and my cig lighter socket. It will only be used as a powers source for an hour or two in the evening. So the charge to use ratio time looks favorable.

If I spent money on a lesser battery/lower power inverter/and a cheap charger at this time, and then decided next year I wanted more, Then I would be dissapointed that I threw money away.

I guess the hairdryer will stay home for now(1200 watts I think) unless she can find a pee wee travel model, a towel will have to suffice. I dont currently have a the sine wave is not critical at this point. An A/C light and mini-fan in the evenings will be a convenience and the ability to recharge my cell phone and the rechargable batteries in my GPS and Digital camera will be a huge help.

The ultimate goal, I think, is going to be an Optima Blue Top ($150+)Deep Cycle Marine battery, and may as well get the BIG inverter ,the 1200Watt one ($230) in case we ever want to run a more toys in the future (ie:TV,M/Wave etc...) and a good battery charger ($75). But at close to $500 bills, I think that will have to wait until next year.:omy

Thanks everyone. I'll see if I can get the amp/hrs rating this afternoon.

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Old 07-18-2003, 09:59 AM   #9
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Mike, there are opinions galore in previous discussions on batteries, inverters, converters, and chargers. Check out our Search feature (blue button, upper right of this screen).

And, good luck with your decision - whatever you do, we want to hear how it works out!

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Old 07-18-2003, 10:21 AM   #10
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All those goodies and you didn't mention a Solar Panel?!

The boondockers best friend. :)
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Old 07-18-2003, 10:39 AM   #11
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Interesting look device Mike! Thanks for detailing it.

I agree, I don't think you'll regret having it ... but I don't think it will meet your perceived needs.

Assuming it will generator enough power to run your wife's hair dryer in the first place .... a few minutes of hair drying (using electricity to generate heat and power the blower) will drain the device in short order.

Now, lots has been written about dry camping and Jump-It's. I love them. But we also don't use them to power hair dryers when we dry camping. By the by, my wife has really long hair ... and yes, she does look good with wet hair and lets it dry naturally.

If I were you, in your situation, assuming your two lights are 12 volts ... which I'm almost certain they are ... I'd rewire the trailer, to a point under the sink or somewhere, to a cigarette torpedo plug, and then "plug" in the plug to your Eliminator (and have a back up Jump-It) to power the lights (although you should really use some LED lights), the water pump (if equipped) and the furnace (a couple of cycles in the morning to get dressed).

You should have enough power, if you practice conservation, to get through a week's campout with an Eliminator and a Jump-It.

We just did a 43 day trip in the Rocky Mountains, with 35 day's dry camping. I carry 5 Jump-Its ... We spaced 9 to 12 nights dry camping between a couple of nights in commerical campgrounds, to recharge the Jump-Its, do laundry, etc.

Some nights, it got down to the mid 20's F (-4 C) ... but with some wool blankets and cuddling, we were snug as two bugs in a rug.
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Old 07-18-2003, 10:50 AM   #12
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Solar panels , O great more things to spend $$$ on :o

I just spent a while using the search, Charles seems to be the main man to talk to about these jumpits'. I dont know how the Eliminator Powerbox compares to them...they are relatively close in price.

There are 12 pages on the C/T site with inverters/power packs/chargers Click Here

What would you pick out of that bunch, best bang for the buck (with consideration that a inverter by itself still requires a deep cycle battery) add another $100 - $200 ...something I May wait until next year for unless someone can give a good reason to forget the jumpit/powerbox completely and just spend the money now

Charles :helpme please <img src=>

edit note <Charles replied while I was typing this message> THANK YOU

The hair dryer will stay home, the water pump is manual, and we have no furnace or I think it will do. Check out my link above and let me know if you think I chose the right one (I think there are 3 or 4 versions of eliminators) pages 3,4,5,7,8

Much appreciated

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Old 07-18-2003, 11:23 AM   #13
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Mike. I love Canadian Tire ... and have even driven up to Canada just to shop there (well, ok, we also camped a few nights, but hey.)

However, I'll let you pick out your own Jump-IT type battery. Look at capacity ... pick the one with the largest reserve. They are all about the same.

But I gotta tell you ... it sounds like all you really need a battery for is lights. Pick up a couple of 4-LED flashlight/lanterns, that use standard AA batteries. More than enough light. Besides, when it gets dark, you should either by outside by a campfire or inside in bed.

You also mentioned radio. We listen to the radio a lot while dry camping (provided we can receive a signal, because in most cases, we can't!) ... but the radio is a one that features a solar and/or hand crank recharging method ... using no battery power at all. It's called a "Crank n Go"

The first thing I do when we get to a dry camp site is disconnect the trailer house battery ... and wire in a Jump It via a torpedo plug.

But then we use LED lights, the Crank N Go, and other power-saving devices to conserve energy useage.
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Old 07-18-2003, 11:42 AM   #14
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Excellent info! <img src=>

You're right about the campfire. I have a small rechargable flashlight with two power packs, so while ones in use the other is charging.

Being x-tenters we also have a wide assortment of gas powered items..lantern, tent heater, single burner stove element using power will be limited to a few things that need a re-charge (flashlight/cell/GPS/digi camera). If I leave the hair dryer out we should be good to go. Karen has cut her hair recently so I dont think it's really a big deal...I'll probably get a <img src=> for even making sound like she *needs* it (hope she's not going to read this)

This board is truely a blessing,
thank you, thank you, thank you! <img src=>

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