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Old 02-23-2008, 01:28 PM   #1
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Does anyone know if a Honda 2000 generator can run the factory air conditioner in the 21 foot Bigfoot models? How about the microwave? Also, would an 80 watt solar panel keep the battery charged for extended boondocking trips? I am fixing to order a new trailer and need all the help I can get!! Thanks
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Old 02-23-2008, 02:36 PM   #2
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Bottom line...An 80 watt panel will be sufficient to charge the battery enough to run your lights, water pump and *Maybe* your furnace blower on a daily basis with slight conservation.

It will not supply enough of a charge to use an inverter to run your microwave.. and your air conditioner is totally out of the question to run inverted.

There are several ways to calculate your needs. This is an old, but valuable resource for getting an idea of your consumption 12v Side of Life averages.

Since that was written, the common use of low voltage lighting such as LEDs and Cold Cathodes comes into play. If you convert your rig to just low voltage lights, and 80 watt system is about perfect if you don't watch a lot of TV or use inverted items frequently. Thats a generalization.. I don't know what your precise needs are.

I have converted to low voltage lighting and "Get By" on 60 watts and am able to keep the lights going daily, + water pump but have difficulty charging enough to run the heater blower on my furnace on less than stellar sunlight days. I will be adding 20 more watts shortly in hopes that I can improve that.

(The catch 22 is that if it's sunny, I hardly need the heater LOL!)

Not knowing what AC you have, it's hard to say if the 2k watt genny will start it. Most won't, but there are quite a few here with that gen set that can chime in on thier experiences.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:55 PM   #3
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The 2000 watt units should easily be able to handle a 9000 BTU air conditioner, and I've seen customer reviews of 13000 BTU A/Cs running on 2000 watt gensets, but the math there is getting close. You certainly couldn't run the A/C and a microwave or perhaps even a coffee pot at the same time.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:49 AM   #4
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Since that was written, the common use of low voltage lighting such as LEDs and Cold Cathodes comes into play. If you convert your rig to just low voltage lights, and 80 watt system is about perfect if you don't watch a lot of TV or use inverted items frequently. Thats a generalization.. I don't know what your precise needs are.

I have converted to low voltage lighting and "Get By" on 60 watts and am able to keep the lights going daily, + water pump but have difficulty charging enough to run the heater blower on my furnace on less than stellar sunlight days. I will be adding 20 more watts shortly in hopes that I can improve that.
Gina, doesn't your "new" (I guess you've had it for a while now) trailer have a catalytic heater?

I love the little IKEA LED puck lights I installed last year. They pump out a much friendlier color of light than any other LED or cold cathode fluorescent light I've looked at and suck down 0.5w/0.4 amps per puck . . . I'm planning to install them all around the trailer so my solo 50 watt panel will have no problem keeping the battery charged for lighting and running the water pump. I'm not sure whether it can keep up with the forced-air furnace . . . I may replace it with a catalytic heater some day.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:10 AM   #5
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No, I have an Atwood (Or is it a suburban??? :-P ) furnace. My cat heater is a small portable one.

The "newer" Cree leds are truely white, and give of a LOT more lumens, but they are difficult to work with, and to my knowledge, no one is making inexpensive easy fixtures with them yet. (They may be, I just haven't looked too hard)

We have started to incorporate some of them in our newer products and I saw them working a few weeks back.. was truely impressed.

2 of these LEDs are brighter than the 24 LED fixtures I currently use. I may do a couple of fixtures for fun, just to see... or, I can wait for some enterpising company to mass produce affordable ones.

I am happy with what I have, but it would be great to have less blue in my life.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:20 AM   #6
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Does anyone know if a Honda 2000 generator can run the factory air conditioner in the 21 foot Bigfoot models? How about the microwave? Also, would an 80 watt solar panel keep the battery charged for extended boondocking trips? I am fixing to order a new trailer and need all the help I can get!! Thanks
The Bigfoot has a 11,000 BTU A/C. My Casita also had a 11,000 BTU A/C and my EU2000i Honda Generator had not problem running it. It also ran our Microwave as well. NOT at the same time.

For my new 25B25RQ Bigfoot, I bought a 2400iS Yamaha which will run a 13,500 BTU Air Conditioner and runs much quieter then a Honda does.

BTW [b]Wise Sales gives us a great discount on both and FREE shipping. That is who I bought mine from.

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:55 AM   #7
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Thanks for the help. It sounds like my Honda will probably be enough to run the AC. That will save me some money. The Bigfoot is gonna take a BIG bite out of my wallet already! I am impressed with the Yamaha noise level though. I wish it had been available when we purchased our generator.

With the solar panel I hope to limit the generator use significantly. Since most of our camping has been done in forest service campgrounds we have learned to be fugal with power consumption (we do not use a TV, we read by headlamp, we flush the toilet with a jug water..) but it will be nice to now have the option of fully using our amenities without the noise and hassle of dragging out the generator! I wonder if we should get an extra battery?
Yvonne
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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Personally I would go with 2---6 volt batteries. This will give you lots of power. I had them in my 17ft Boler and never wanted for power. I used Television each night and ran lights etc. I never encountered any problems.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:02 AM   #9
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What type of maintenance do 6 volt batteries require? Does anyone know if they will fit in the battery compartment for 21 Bigfoot?
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:10 AM   #10
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What type of maintenance do 6 volt batteries require? Does anyone know if they will fit in the battery compartment for 21 Bigfoot?
Yvonne
6 volt batteries require same maintenance as 12 volt units. There size is a bit bigger as i had to buy the bigger battery case . Will they fit in a Bigfoot? I don,t know but i do know our web guy just did a set up of 2---6 volt batteries in his Bigfoot. Hopefully he chimes in.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:23 AM   #11
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I have used an 80 watt solar panel system on my last 2 trailers, and had one installed on my new Bigfoot 25FB. I do not have A/C, but recently installed a microwave. I mostly do dry camping, so have little use for the A/C or microwave, but had two fantastic fans installed for ventilation. I also have two 6 volt batteries installed. I find that the 80 watt panel is sufficient for my needs, as it charges during daylight hours with sufficient capacity for evening reading/cards or watching TV (I have a LCD TV which has a low power draw. I have had a Honda 700 watt generator for several years and bring that along sometimes in the event that I need to charge the batteries for whatever reason. I left my batteries in my trailer this past winter, kept the snow mostly cleared from the panel, and despite temperatures to as low as -30, the lowest voltage that I noted was 12.3

Yvonne - A sore point with me was the install of two 6 volt batteries. When I visited Bigfoot last June, prior to placing my orderI made it clear that I wanted to install two 6 volt batteries in my new trailer. They said it would be no problem. When the dealer went to install my batteries, it was a problem, as they had to move the batteries to the rear of the storage area, and replace the two 30 lb propane tanks with two 20 lb tanks. I have attached a photo of the install.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:44 AM   #12
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That is a sore point! I would hate to lose the larger propane tanks. Is there any other place the batteries could go?
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
I would hate to lose the larger propane tanks. Is there any other place the batteries could go?
I have always been impressed with what Bill Abbay has done with his BigFoot.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:03 PM   #14
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My 21RB Bigfoot will be done on the 6th of March so I donít have hands on experience yet. My dealer claims having experience of installing 2 X 24 series 12V batteries with 30lb LPG tanks but 2 X 27 series would not fit without some major modification. I think 6V batteries are closer in size to 27 series.

George.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:41 PM   #15
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Trojan Batteries

I believe the Trojan T-105 battery is the one most commonly used (and often found at warehouse places like Sam's). Its dimensions are 10 3/8" L x 7 1/8"W x 10 11/16" H. It's the height that usually messes up the installation, however the width is also slightly larger than Group 24/27 batts.

BCI Battery Chart

BTW, after some checking around, the big reason for the 6V batts is because they are better deep cycle batts than those found in Big Box and Auto Supply stores(designed from the ground up for a long life of charge-discharge). They would give no fundamental advantage over a 12V battery of like construction except in price because the 6Vs are available at discount.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:26 PM   #16
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I went a totally different way. I bought two 6 volt AGM Lifeline 220 Ah batteries and connected them in series to get 12 volts. Because they are AGM, they require NO maintenance and can be stored inside the trailer. That being the case, I have them aganst the front wall under the table. This location made it very easy to set up the wiring.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:37 PM   #17
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I went a totally different way. I bought two 6 volt AGM Lifeline 220 Ah batteries and connected them in series to get 12 volts. Because they are AGM, they require NO maintenance and can be stored inside the trailer.
Great batteries, Mike, but look like over $300 each?
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:17 PM   #18
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You can spend a lot on batteries, but I have to admit the AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries are very nice to have. They're tough: you can run them dry without damaging them and they store and deliver power very efficiently, much better than regular lead/acid batteries. Both qualities are very nice to have in a solar power setup.

My battery is a single Optima "Yellow Top" AGM battery. It has a 50 amp hour capacity and stores energy at 95% efficiency or better (standard lead-acid batteries run 75-85% efficient), which means it stores all the juice my 50 watt solar panel can pump out with very minimal loss. The sun would have to shine at high noon for 12 hours before my 50w panel completely charged it up from zero, but since the sun doesn't actually hang out at high noon for that long, a more realistic view is my battery stores around three times as much juice as my 50 watt setup generates on a bright, sunny day.

So, from a solar power perspective, it isn't how much my battery stores that limits my electric capacity, it's how little solar electricity my panel pumps out on a dreary winter day that sets my electrical limits.

--Peter
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:37 PM   #19
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So, from a solar power perspective, it isn't how much my battery stores that limits my electric capacity, it's how little solar electricity my panel pumps out on a dreary winter day that sets my electrical limits.
Precisely. This is a common misconception folks have about solar. It is not perfect, but to me the few minor trade offs are worth it.

I have a day or two on occasion where I have not replenished as much as I would like, and I have to conserve to make up for it. It's not really a big inconvenience to me. So.. I don't watch tv that nite.. whoopie. Thats what they make books for. Even in the most dismal of charging conditions, I have not been left in the dark at anytime.

Getting the heater situation dealt with is a high priority for me. I just got another briefcase panel off eBay and will add a few more as I see them at a good price.
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:53 PM   #20
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I went a totally different way. I bought two 6 volt AGM Lifeline 220 Ah batteries and connected them in series to get 12 volts. Because they are AGM, they require NO maintenance and can be stored inside the trailer. That being the case, I have them aganst the front wall under the table. This location made it very easy to set up the wiring.
Mike,

What charger/conveter do you use for your AGM batteries? Personally, I would have a batteries ventilation system for any lead acid batteries even AGM. AGM batteries can unlikely but possibly generate hydrogen if charging voltage is too high.

George.

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