Possible to go 12v only? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-04-2015, 11:31 AM   #29
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Name: Bryce
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I was thinking of retaining an LP capable fridge because I heard they don't work well on 12v as well, but it sounds like u solved the problem in your setup. But am I correct in thinking running the fridge off LP works quite well in Casita/Scamps?

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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
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, 11:57 AM   #30
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I've lost track, if I ever was on track, as to why avoid AC outlets. Short of buying a trailer in need of rewiring I don't know how this would ever come up. Obviously you don't need an inverter if you have AC outlets. Push comes to shove you could have two separate systems with each running to it's own breaker panel and avoid an converter (reminding some newer campers that inverters and converters are two different things.)
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:23 PM   #31
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For 2 1/2 years my husband and I camped in our Conversion van without propane, but with 12V and shore electric. The nights we didn't have shore power, we used our 12V lights (gradually switched to LED as they became available) and did without. We were able to run a small TV and VHS machine with battery power, and once went three days and nights with only the batteries--though we had a bank of 4 batteries under one of the seats for the bed. I didn't like having those batteries inside the vehicle, but on a conversion van, where else is there? (Towing a battery trailer might've worked!)
We cooked over a coleman stove with small canisters of butane or whatever they come with, or over campfires. THIS summer many campgrounds in the Pacific NW didn't allow campfires due to wildfires and drought. So that's a factor to consider.
Also, we're taking more of a "picnic" approach to food these days, making cold sandwiches instead of cooking hamburgers.


During those 2 1/2 years, we had NO interior fan and NO A/C. Those years weren't terribly hot, and on the one or two hot nights, we just opened all the windows (the van portion had NO screens) so that wasn't entirely great). The van had no A/C and we didn't run the engine when parked.


LED products should help battery drain. Our son set us up with all the batteries, a voltmeter dial to show us how much power was left, and an inverter/converter (whatever it took). He later did his entire garage workshop with solar power, creating enough electricity with an on-roof solar array to run all his power tools...but I doubt we could travel with solar panels large enough for that! (I don't actually "doubt" it--I know we couldn't.)


It'll be interesting to find what products we can locate now that will run on low enough power to use only our deep cell batteries, a solar panel, and occasional shore power when and if we can get it. LED lights help! New tech is coming out; we found a wall panel with half the draw of our ceramic heaters for warmth...


Best to you, sounds very interesting!


I think it's very "interesting" that some people get those EggCampers that run all electric and immediately begin planning to have propane installed...and some people get propane-using units and immediately begin planning to have all the propane removed. GOSH! Cross-cross!
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:58 PM   #32
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Bryce, JD has The Norcold that uses a swing compressor, NOT an absorption style refrigerator that runs off propane/12volt/120volt. I prefer a Danfoss compressor over an absorption, but that's just a personal preference, and I don't know advantages or disadvantages of a Danfoss vs Swing compressor refrigerators (mine is not all that loud) and it also claims aboiut 3.5 amps/hr as JD's swing compressor. I had bought an all electric trailer knowing that I prefer propane, and would be switching it over, because I preferred the floor plan over anything else on the market. I have a 4D AGM battery with 200 watts of solar. You will never be able to practically run AC on solar.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:27 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by David B. View Post
Bryce, JD has The Norcold that uses a swing compressor, NOT an absorption style refrigerator that runs off propane/12volt/120volt. I prefer a Danfoss compressor over an absorption, but that's just a personal preference, and I don't know advantages or disadvantages of a Danfoss vs Swing compressor refrigerators (mine is not all that loud) and it also claims aboiut 3.5 amps/hr as JD's swing compressor. I had bought an all electric trailer knowing that I prefer propane, and would be switching it over, because I preferred the floor plan over anything else on the market. I have a 4D AGM battery with 200 watts of solar. You will never be able to practically run AC on solar.
Dave & Paula
Never is a long time. I believe that solar will be efficient enough in about 10 years the run most anything. Batteries will also improve to the point where these Lead Acid batteries of today will look the water cell batteries of 60 years go. Just look at the Tesla car.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:11 PM   #34
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You will never be able to practically run AC on solar.
Dave & Paula
With my limited budget, I can't prove you wrong, but it is my understanding that a 5000 btu AC unit consumes ~500W of power to operate, and possibly double that to start. So, a 1000W inverter combined with about 1000W of solar should do it. I understand that 1mē of solar cells produce ~150 W of power. The footprint of my Trillium 4500 is approximately 2m wide and 4m long, or ~8mē. This should be able to produce ~1200W of power.

Of course the solar array would have to be in direct sun and as close to perpendicular to the sun as possible, but I see this as doable. This would have the added benefit of providing shade for most of the trailer. A linear actuator on the array, and a powered wheel on the tongue of the trailer to keep it pointed at the sun. That and the necessary controls to make it work. This is all fairly inexpensive, other then the solar cells them self.
At about $2/W, the cells would cost $2400.
Solar battery charger: $200
Batteries: ~$400?
Controls: I could do it cheep, I am a controls tech after all. But lets say another $600.

So for on the order of $3600, you could provide enough power to run AC on a sunny day.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:35 PM   #35
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His recommendations may only be valid if he is intimately familiar with the weather patterns of the western deserts....

My friend who is there mentioned total surprise at the thought of RV living there, concerned over air conditioning.

I might call the rv park there to see what they recommend too. I definitely do not want to melt inside and know this will be as big a deal as it was dealing with the cold and snow in the northern Interior of Alaska. A full time job in itself too.

Jen
p.s. edit, unless you have a good recommendation, I'd be willing to hear!
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:07 PM   #36
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I dunno... I think it depends on how you look at your RV. It's a glass half empty kinda thing... Do you see your RV as a surrogate house, or an upgrade from a tent? I come from the tent side. 120 means I'm plugged in to civilization... not what I had in mind when I got into RVing. I'm in this to get AWAY from all that.
And, seriously... Why on earth would I want to bring a hairdryer camping? My hubby doesn't mind my hair under a hat, and I really doubt the locals (squirrel, crow, etc) will even notice.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:04 AM   #37
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So for on the order of $3600, you could provide enough power to run AC on a sunny day.
It is all a matter of personal perspective of course, but I am with Dave B. on this one. I would not call $3600 and a requirement for a sunny day "practical".

I do wonder though, as much as I am impressed with my 12V compressor Truckfridge, where the heck are the very efficient 12V compressor A/C units?
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Old 11-05-2015, 12:20 PM   #38
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It is all a matter of personal perspective of course, but I am with Dave B. on this one. I would not call $3600 and a requirement for a sunny day "practical".

I do wonder though, as much as I am impressed with my 12V compressor Truckfridge, where the heck are the very efficient 12V compressor A/C units?
You can find some (some made by the same manufacturers as the RV ACs) built for the boating industry. Not roof top, more expensive, but far more efficient.

For example, a 5000BTU unit that draws 4.4 amps: Webasto Marine AC FCF 5000 BTU Air Conditioner - Star Marine Depot
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Old 11-05-2015, 12:37 PM   #39
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Instead of a 3 way fridge take a look at the 12V compressor cooler units (Whynter, Engel, etc).

.
If one is wishing to go off the grid full time I would suggest that even the new 12V compressor fridges are going to create a challenge in maintain enough power due to weather and location at times that it is preventing full solar power. Having the fridge running on propane is one way of greatly reducing your daily 12v needs.
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Old 11-05-2015, 12:47 PM   #40
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I'm plugged in to civilization... not what I had in mind when I got into RVing. I'm in this to get AWAY from all that.
And, seriously... Why on earth would I want to bring a hairdryer camping? My hubby doesn't mind my hair under a hat, and I really doubt the locals (squirrel, crow, etc) will even notice.
I agree with your view of the need for a hairdryer if you are only using your trailer for camping trips but not everyone does.

Some of use use our trailers for accommodation when attending other events (such as a wedding) or we are traveling for long stretches of time and its nice to be able to be able to make yourself a little more presentable when eating out or doing our shopping, than the level the local squirrels and crows back in the campground mind
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Old 11-05-2015, 12:47 PM   #41
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This is correct since we are talking about power density. The only answer without resorting to propane is greater efficiency and better insulation for the reefer.
200 watts of solar and and optimistic 8 hrs of sun would produce 1600 watts of power or at 12 volts is about 133 amp hours.
The reefer I have uses about 48 amp hours so that should work with a little margin for lights and pumps.
Not even close to run the AC though.


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Old 11-05-2015, 01:04 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
This is correct since we are talking about power density. The only answer without resorting to propane is greater efficiency and better insulation for the reefer.
200 watts of solar and and optimistic 8 hrs of sun would produce 1600 watts of power or at 12 volts is about 133 amp hours.
The reefer I have uses about 48 amp hours so that should work with a little margin for lights and pumps.
Not even close to run the AC though.


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I think the BIG thing to remember is not everyone lives or camps in places where there is a high % of days with sunshine and the camping spots all have a nice clear overhead view of the sky for the solar panels to work.

I have two camping partners here in the PNW who would be happy to remove the new 12v compressor fridges out of their new trailers in a New York minute if they could do it without having to remove the trailers windows. Both have 160w or more solar systems but they have confirmed that solar can not to be counted on when the days have little sunshine and lots of tree coverages overhead. Unless your a willing to spend way more than they are to upgrade their solar systems. Both have had fridges that ran on propane in previous trailers so they are able to do a pretty fair comparison in regards to functional use in all camping situations.
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