Possible to go 12v only? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-03-2015, 05:30 PM   #15
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Name: John
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Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
I realize A/C = shore power, no doubt about that. I think where my limited knowledge of RV/TT wiring fails me is with how power is delivered to the A/C unit. Is the A/C wired directly to an outside 110V outlet you run directly to the pole in your campsite? If so, then I wouldn't have a need for an inverter in my camper if everything else I run ius 12V, correct? (as a fulltimer, maybe I have a smaller inverter for recharging power tools?)
No inverter needed for the Air Conditioner. The wiring in most trailers has separate 120v and 12v circuits. The inverters converts 120v to 12v for the 12v circuit. Some may also have 12v to 120v inverters or, you can buy them inexpensively and plug them into the 12v outlet for charging laptops, phones and running small electronics. That's what we use. My wife works on the road so I have to keep her "office" charged up. With a 100w portable solar panel we can stay out as long as we want at least in the west. We have a 16' Casita. My wife uses the heater for a blow drier If you want Air conditioning you are stuck with a generator or hookups. The best thing about owning a trailer is you can look at a weather forecast map and drive to where the weather suites your clothes!!
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:38 PM   #16
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Thanks Ziggy. So it looks like I won't need an inverter. I appreciate everyone's help.
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:49 PM   #17
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120VAC comes into your RF via the "Shore Power Cord".
From there it is routed to a power distribution box. First in line is a master breker, then usually a breaker for power to the converter/charger and several more branch circuits via seperate circuit breakers, just like in your house. There will be a separate breaker(s) for outlets, ac lights, the A/C unit, etc. The inverter will be wired into the fused outputs of the converter and the battery and will usually have separate, dedicated, outlets.
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:58 PM   #18
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Good thread. I was wondering about this. Looks like I am moving to the dessert where it gets really hot, (120s I hear,) and also really cool. I realize I will need shore power in order to have a/c or a fan or an a/c-heater combination thing.

When I go to look at Randy's trilliums I will see what he recommends for his rigs.

Jen
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:15 PM   #19
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His recommendations may only be valid if he is intimately familiar with the weather patterns of the western deserts....
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:27 PM   #20
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Bryce.

It's certainly possible to live without 110VAC as long as air conditioning is not part of your requirement. We have a small AC unit but rarely use it. We travel places that don't typically require it.

We have a 1200 watt Inverter, a 400 watt inverter and a 150 watt Inverter. We use the 150 watt Inverter for charging our computers, often while driving. It also can run our TV and Sat Dish.

We have numerous ways to charge our battery, from our car while driving, from our 100 watt solar panel and from our Convertor.

We installed the 1200 watt Inverter when we bought the Scamp but never have used it other then to test it..

Ginny likes power (hookups), particularly if it's cold. If it were unbearably hot I'm sure she'd like power as well.

Byron does a good job at minimizing his park costs. We're not nearly as successful as him however there are numerous ways to reduce your camping fees without going without AC. For years my goal was $20 a night unless we were doing something special.

I've only camped with Ginny and the hair dryer is the important.
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Old 11-03-2015, 07:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
When I say appliances, it's mostly electronics I suppose... android smartphone, android tablet, camera, etc. Probably a fan to move some air as well.

I am thinking of a 16ft Scamp/Casita with a 250 watt panel and a battery or two(obviously I have not calculated my actual load needs and I'm very new to this).

I didn't realize a fan on a heater (or using a 12v fan during the summer?) would drain the batteries significantly. Could I keep the heater & fan off and just use a Heater Buddy (http://tinyurl.com/oc25ram) in such a small space?

A Maxx fan is excellent to remove a good deal of heat from a trailer and it does not use a lot of power but depends on what you have as to how much you can use it. 12V fans are also available.

With a 150-watt solar panel and two 6-volt batteries, you can run anything but the A/C. Maxx fan, no problem. High-draw items such as a hair dryer on low or maybe medium or a microwave can be run for short periods with a 1500-watt inverter or greater.
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Old 11-03-2015, 08:45 PM   #22
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I like my A/C and "need" it to enjoy camping a lot of the time (summers, kid out of school) I have available to actually go. As to inverters, remember that for some things direct 12V power supplies are available. For instance, there is a 12V to 19.2V (I think) inverter for my laptop that would be more efficient than 12V to 120V back down to 19.2V. May or may not make a difference but is another way to go.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:12 PM   #23
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The device one finds in most trailers is called a CONverter. It takes your shore power and I think your 12V charge line from the tow vehicle, and it sends out both 120V (to appliances that need it) and12V (to the lights and to charge the battery). It's very useful. I would not recommend deleting it from the trailer build, if for no other reason than the enhancement in resale value (hardly anyone would want a travel trailer without a converter).

On the other hand, an INverter is a transformer device you run off your 12V DC battery to produce some 120V AC power. It's a freestanding gizmo that some folks like to use for powering mostly small stuff like phone chargers or laptops. They don't cost much, but if you have no use for one, don't buy one.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:10 AM   #24
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Name: Linda
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I'm a girl , abet an older one, and I want power for my CPAP machine, phone charger and if going into town my curling iron.

The gas furnace doesn't work so we use a small oil filled heater when needed.

Have I mentioned the coffee machine, toaster, microwave and air conditioner? And this summer my sewing machine? Movies on the computer?

Steve loves to build things so he needs to charge his toys somewhere.

Sorry there boys but if I wanted to continue roughing it I wouldn't have my Boler 17, I would have bought a bigger tent.

This is not to say sometimes we don't go without power, we do sometimes, but if I don't get my morning coffee, gas stove, french press...stand back and no one gets hurt.


Linda
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:16 AM   #25
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It is certainly possible to live full-time without 120V at all. There are lots out there that do it day after day after day.

There are 12V appliances for just about everything including a tv if you want one. There are also power cords for almost all laptops that go directly to 12V.

Instead of a 3 way fridge take a look at the 12V compressor cooler units (Whynter, Engel, etc).

How much you can run will depend on how much solar you install and the batteries you use for storage.

For a serious comprehensive study of living on 12V only, take a look at several of the marine forums and/or CheapRVLiving.com.

You'll find that all the best advice is to figure out what you need to run first, then you can build your solar/charging system from needs not guesses.

It may be necessary to beef up the wiring and connection systems in your trailer. Most are underwired both in quantity and quality because the manufacturer expects that the owner will be using mostly shorepower rather than living off the grid.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:42 AM   #26
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My old Norcold (Nevercold) refrigerator pulls about 3.7 amps on 12 volts and runs about 50% or less of the time.

That would work out to about 2 amp hours X 24 or 48 amp-hours per day.
It may be slightly less since I have added a small fan to waft air over the coils in the back. The fan draws very little power and I hope it reduces the overall consumption more than it adds.

The Norcold uses a swing compressor like the Engel and can be a little noisy. The closet I built for it and the Microwave left space for a 1/4" cork lining to help insulate and reduce noise as well.
I plan to look into a solar array and controller to operate the 12 volt stuff and perhaps an inverter for short time loads like the microwave when not hooked up the the grid.

One goal for the Scamp is as an emergency hideout in case of power loss or other calamity during hurricane season, Assuming it survives. Of course when retired (soon) escape to friendlier territory as necessary.

As an aside the old Norcold I bought for $75.00 worked good on 120 VAC, bur while it ran on 12 VDC it did not cool as well. Being an electronic kind of guy I checked into it and found that the 12 oscillator put out the correct voltage, but it's frequency was 55 HZ and not 60. I looked into the circuit and found the resistor that fine tuned the frequency and tuned it to 60 HZ and now there is no difference in how it operates on 120 VAC or 12 VDC.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:06 AM   #27
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I agree on the A/C, how could I forget that one? So I'd want A/C as well... and if that's the case, being that the A/C is the single largest draw... well then you're in it ($) for a full sized inverter anyway, so this conversation is no longer needed? Or am I not thinking about this correctly (never spent a night in an R/V, just watched a lot of youtube and read a lot of forum posts ) and there is still potential for savings by going entirely 12v?
A/C runs on 110 voltsAC only. it does not go through the inverter.
A good solar charger would help recharge the 12V DC battery.

"Shore" power at campgrounds will run the A/C and the fluorescent lamps over the stove, if you have them. And, it charges the battery through the power module.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:28 AM   #28
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Name: Bryce
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Thanks for youe perspective Linda.

I am getting the feeling the furnace don't work so great, so a heater buddy may be fine for me and won't require and electrical draw, we'll see.

Phone charge can be handled by 12v, so I'm good there. I'm bald so a curling or straightening iron may be something I need to address if I have a girlfriend traveling with me. I'm unsure how much those things draw and how long my batteries would last for those items if I had to serve up 110v from my battery bank.

Toaster/Microwave/Coffee Machine...I ~think~ they can be replaced by the stove. I don't drink coffee, but a percolator would do the job, no? Stove top could reheat food items, and I suppose I can toast bread on the stove as well. Maybe I'm forgetting something. But sure, some of your items would be more convenient. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda Stewart View Post
I'm a girl , abet an older one, and I want power for my CPAP machine, phone charger and if going into town my curling iron.

The gas furnace doesn't work so we use a small oil filled heater when needed.

Have I mentioned the coffee machine, toaster, microwave and air conditioner? And this summer my sewing machine? Movies on the computer?

Steve loves to build things so he needs to charge his toys somewhere.

Sorry there boys but if I wanted to continue roughing it I wouldn't have my Boler 17, I would have bought a bigger tent.

This is not to say sometimes we don't go without power, we do sometimes, but if I don't get my morning coffee, gas stove, french press...stand back and no one gets hurt.


Linda
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