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Old 02-21-2021, 01:46 PM   #21
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We are about to enter the era of tow vehicle free camping.

People are starting to tow their trailers with their generators.

I wonder if we'll begin to see "tow vehicle free", quiet hours at camprounds?
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:05 PM   #22
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first we need a definition

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We are about to enter the era of tow vehicle free camping.People are starting to tow their trailers with their generators.
I wonder if we'll begin to see "tow vehicle free", quiet hours at camprounds?

Words no longer mean things. At one time a generators PRODUCED electricity. Now many call anything that can store electricity a generator. It is much like a tiny house being anything small that people live in. For some a tiny house is anything under 1000 Sq ft others call a Scamp a tiny house.
According to the news release last year, the big Fords produce power from the drive batteries, without the engine running, Ford shows a real fifth wheel with the 30 amp cord plugged into the box. On my small Ford 400w inverter I get power with the engine running only.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:56 PM   #23
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I have a 3000 watt continuous/6000 watt surge, 12VDC to 120VAC inverter that I took off my boat a few years ago. All I have to do is connect it to my truck battery with regular jumper cables. Then plug into it. This is so low tech, as to be laughable. If the batteries get low on charge, I can simply start the truck. This can work for power tools in the field, or at home during power failures. Simple. Anyone can get a big enough inverter to run the fridge and a few lights, and a set of jumper cables. Then any car will become an emergency generator.
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:33 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
One place this makes sense is for those that depend on solar and do not want to carry a generator (and the gas for it) for those rare occasions where there is not enough sunlight to allow them to keep camping. While I wouldn't go out and purchase the truck just for the "generator" capacity, if I needed a new tow vehicle, I'd consider it.
Very good post! There have been a lot of, can I say ridiculous comments on this thread. One doesn't say Gee I need a generator I think I will go buy a truck. On the other hand if you are looking for a TV I think that is a heck of a selling point.

A generator is nice to have for the house not just the RV. The main problem with generators is are they going to work when you need them and then you also have to haul them around and and provide separate fuel containers for them. With this rig if you have your truck you are in business.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:03 PM   #25
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It's nice to have 120 volts available in the trailer. If your needs are modest, or you plan to live off-grid, fine. But it is still nice to have.

This gives us the chance to charge computers and phones, or run electric tools. We can watch the local news or a movie. And it also makes the trailer a second home during power failures or other emergencies.

I have more power than I need while camping, my trailer came with a 300 watt solar system and a 2,000 watt inverter/charger. It charges the four 100 AH AGMs and supplies 120 volts, all in one unit.

With so much power, I now make electric coffee which saves water and is fun to be able to do, but certainly not necessary. It also means, I could plug in the house refrigerator and a few lamps during a power failure at home, and run with solar for days, from the trailer. No solar available? Fine. Jumper cables from the truck to the trailer's house batteries will keep things going.

Any house in cooler climates should also have an efficient wood stove that uses no power.

During the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the power went out and stayed out. Getting information and damage reports was hard. No problem. I lived on my 42' cruising ketch and had a large battery bank, a good running diesel, and an inverter. I simply turned on the TV, as usual, and stayed informed. Pretty soon lots of people were coming by to see how things were going. I had lights and power and heat.

It seems a little bit of preparation, with things that are useful in normal conditions, can be a lifesaver in emergencies. We are all fortunate to have these little cabins on wheels. I find it fun to have more capability than the minimum I can get by with. Those things take nothing away from the quiet I enjoy out in the desert, but it do tend to giggle a bit at running the electric coffee maker, miles from anywhere, all from the sun.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:09 PM   #26
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It's nice to have 120 volts available in the trailer. This gives us the chance to charge computers and phones, or run electric tools. We can watch the local news or a movie. And it also makes the trailer a second home during power failures or other emergencies.

I can do all that with 12V chargers and if no charger, with a 200 watt inverter. No need for 120V.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:16 PM   #27
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I think it is a great idea to use the drive battery to produce serious AC power for whatever.
When I had a Prius I though this would be a great idea for standby power here on the Gulf Coast.
The car could supply power and crank when it was necessary to recharge the traction battery.
That way you have the fuel in a safe place and mobility.
A great idea and it should be an option for both Hybrid cars and trucks.
Several times I (or more likely my wife, but don't teller I said that!) left the car "running" and no one noticed as it started and stopped by itself all day long.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:28 PM   #28
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The new Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Sienna Hybrid offer 1500 watts 120 VAC from the traction battery. Plenty for coffee in the camper or emergencies.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:34 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I can do all that with 12V chargers and if no charger, with a 200 watt inverter. No need for 120V.
Isn't your "200 watt inverter" 120 volts?

I could certainly get by with less than a 2,000 watt inverter most of the time, but I can't figure out how to run my home refrigerator, lights or heating system off 12 volts without an inverter of some sort. If I'm only charging the phone, I run on a 150 watt cigarette lighter inverter and leave the big boy off. Separate from the trailer, the other inverter, running on battery cables from the truck works very well for emergency use too.

The beauty of the larger inverter is that it is also an 80 amp smart battery charger. 2,000 watts wasn't so much the required minimum, but the 2,000 watt/80 amp charger combination was.

I'll also admit that I occasionally use the microwave, in addition to my electric coffee maker, but not at the same time. I have even charged my electric bike with 120 volts.

Yikes! I guess my next stop is a huge sticky fifth wheel with multiple sideouts and built in generator. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I'll bring a chainsaw to cut those pesky trees out of the way in National Parks.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:36 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
Several times I (or more likely my wife, but don't teller I said that!) left the car "running" and no one noticed as it started and stopped by itself all day long.

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Old 02-21-2021, 08:37 PM   #31
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The electronic designers could design a traction inverter that could put out 60 HZ three phase 208 volt (120 vac per phase) to power a house.
There should be plenty of power available.
The inverter already generates 3 phase AC for the motors and their speeds are determined by the frequency from the inverter.
Switching could be handled fairly easily.
Of course with the shift to all electric cars they could supply temporary power, but O would still want a hybrid or liquid fueled vehicle so that I would have longer range and flexibility.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:57 PM   #32
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The electronic designers could design a traction inverter that could put out 60 HZ three phase 208 volt (120 vac per phase) to power a house.
Why would someone want three phase 208 power to run their house in an emergency? Just curious. I could certainly see 240 volt single phase tied properly into the house box with a transfer switch. And a main breaker rated for the output of the generator to limit the use as needed. Otherwise people will be running the electric water heater, electric stove, several hair dryers and arc welding in the garage, at the same time, or at least trying to.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:33 PM   #33
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Isn't your "200 watt inverter" 120 volts?

It is an inverter, not a converter. Takes power from a 12V direct current outlet and changes it to alternating current so I can plug in an AC device, if it doesn't run on DC.
My TV runs on DC, as does satellite radio, DVD player. No, I can't run a microwave, crock pot or electric coffee maker, but I have propane and butane stoves and BBQ for cooking and making coffee or tea.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:30 AM   #34
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phew, 3000 watt inverter, thats 250 amps at 12V at 100% conversion efficiency if you're actually drawing a 3000 watt load.... I hope those are some beefy jumper cables! most big trucks have a 120 amp or so alternator.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:57 AM   #35
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phew, 3000 watt inverter, thats 250 amps at 12V at 100% conversion efficiency if you're actually drawing a 3000 watt load.... I hope those are some beefy jumper cables! most big trucks have a 120 amp or so alternator.
I'm only using that as an example of a method to make emergency power with what I have on hand, easily with the truck, jumper cables and an inverter, not to deliberately run any 3,000 watt loads. It is a ridiculous size for a boat, and that is why I removed it, and why it is stored in the garage and not installed somewhere. But I would not hesitate to hook it up and run some lights and the fridge, to turn the truck into an emergency generator.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:23 AM   #36
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Out of curiosity, why do you use an inverter to charge your phone? I have a cigarette lighter socket in my camper, which I do plug a similar inverter into to charge power tools and my laptop. But for my phone, I just plug in the same usb port that goes into the cigarette lighter socket in my truck, directly into the socket in my camper. Am I doing something wrong?
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:53 AM   #37
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No, you're not doing anything wrong. Sometimes these power discussions become really silly.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:15 AM   #38
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Out of curiosity, why do you use an inverter to charge your phone? I have a cigarette lighter socket in my camper, which I do plug a similar inverter into to charge power tools and my laptop. But for my phone, I just plug in the same usb port that goes into the cigarette lighter socket in my truck, directly into the socket in my camper. Am I doing something wrong?
I went beyond that and installed a couple USB charging ports, as well as another 'cigar' socket and a couple powerpoles, under my U shaped dinette.




those powerpoles in the middle are fused at 15A each and are wired with 12 gauge marine wiring.

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Old 02-23-2021, 06:33 AM   #39
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Nice wire dressing John!
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:27 AM   #40
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I've been wanting to do that since I bought my trailer. But since I currently need to splice into existing wires to do it, I keep putting it off. It's one of those things I'll do "when I buy a new converter/charger/power center". Been saying that for 5 years. One of these days!..
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