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Old 09-02-2015, 10:40 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
Byron, It is evident you do not like generators (even quiet ones). Your blanket statements about campgrounds prohibiting all generator use is questionable.
Every state, and National Parks I know of all allow the use of generators if they are quiet inverter types like the ones I outlined. These parks all have hours you can operate the units (about 4-6 hours daily split between AM and PM). This policy has always been in place to provide a pleasant camping atmosphere.
Please list for the readers of this form all the state and federal campgrounds that prohibit there use. To-date I have not found any such restrictions in both National Parks or State Parks I have camped in. If there is such a "trend" I am sure your list will be a very long one.

Generators for camping also come in handy for homeowner use in the off season in the event of a power failure...another big plus for generator ownership.
Let me give you some examples... Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument last year decreased the number of sites where generators were allowed and it non-generator use.
Death Valley National Park has at least one campground that doesn't allow generators at all.
Big Bend National Park has a large area generator free.

As far as costs, etc are concerned. The initial cost of solar is cheaper than the a generator. I purchased my solar system about 7 years ago for less than $400.00, it would be cheaper now. There's no additional cost or fuss with volatile fuels. Solar is quiet, no noise like there is with ALL generators. As solar and some wind power prices come down the use of generators will decrease and will eventually be banned in most campgrounds. Maybe NY is so used to noise that the people there don't mind. But, out here in west it's different story.

YES, I don't like generators, their noisy and stinky. Most people that use them put the generator as far away from their RV as possible, meaning close to somebody else. Generator owners are often, not always, have an expectation that because they spent the money on a generator they right to use it any time and as much as they like.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:11 AM   #22
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I have a Honda 1000 generator.
Nobody has mentioned that you need to maintain a generator. Change the oil, run it from time to time, buy fresh gas, dispose of old gas.
But, now that I have it, it's handy for power outages at home.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:17 AM   #23
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Elkmont, my National Park Service home away from home in the Smokies, has 210 sites, 115 or 55% of which are generator free. Generator use is limited to 8 AM to 8 PM. I have seen them shut down TV charging of batteries in the non-generator areas. They are nice about it.

This may require a new thread, but what are your experiences?
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:24 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
You didn't mention it, but if you have LED lights you can read until the sun comes back up.
I use, if not plugged in, is puck lights, i have several, till i get around to figure out the led bulbs and solar. But we do like air, so our plan is to go to, at least electric camp grounds, in summer only. The rest of the year it makes no difference. Carl
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:29 AM   #25
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I've said it before when this topic came up and I'll say it again. The use of a generator is dependent upon climate. Until someone invents an A/C that runs off solar power, generator use will continue in the hot and humid climates. While solar may keep your batteries charged, it isn't going to keep you cool. That being said, I own 2 generators. One is 8,000 watts good for powering most things in the house during extended power outages after a tropical storm in Florida. The other is a 2,000 watt Honda which I can use to run the A/C in the trailer under the same circumstances. I have never used the Honda when camping, but if I were into boondock camping, it would come along and would be used, if necessary. But I will agree about solar on one point. It is a far better way to keep batteries charged than charging by generator.
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Old 09-02-2015, 12:22 PM   #26
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Attitudes (e.g. solar vs. generator) are based on lots of things. In my neck of the woods I am used to 300 sunny days a year (the chamber of commerce says 575 sunny days a year) and in general I can see the all too occasional rain coming ad going. When I lived on the east coast the cloud cover was often 1,200 miles wide and I think I recall weeks at a time completely overcast.

There is a time and place for generators. Just NIMBY. Except when I want air conditioning.
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Old 09-02-2015, 01:34 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by M Scott View Post
About how long (days) will the battery last on my Scamp 13, using lights, furnace fan, water pump when no hookups are available/dry camping?

Do I recharge battery by hooking up to car and running engine? For how long?

Is there a way to test the life of my battery while dry camping?

Thanks for the help.
I asked a similar question not too long ago. Perhaps this thread can help
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f95/how-long-will-battery-last-70729.html
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:00 PM   #28
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A word about solar power...yes it works...works quite well in the desert southwest where there are few trees...NO SHADE=Solar......trees, clouds, nighttime=
NO SUN and ergo NO SOLAR.
Can you run your Air Conditioner on your solar panel...I think not.

The entire subject of both solar and wind power is an interesting one.
Studies prove it increases the cost of power production...WHY you may ask?
When the sun goes away and/or the wind stops the blades from turning you still must rely on regular power plants. This means you have increased the total cost of capital equipment to produce power for customers...the same customers who have to pay not only for the electric power but all the new solar generating equipment and their maintenance in order to produce the same amount of total electric power. Also include the new array of switchover controls required to manage the uninterrupted flow of electricity to customers.
More equipment, more manpower all to supply electricity to the same customers.
Now that sounds like a great way to charge more and more per kilowatt hour!

Think about it.
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:13 PM   #29
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I have a Champion 3500/4000 gen I bought for $300 new. I've used it at a model airplane flyin where there IS no hook ups of any kind and many gens are running. You'll see this alot at racetracks, model flyins, etc. We space far enough apart so the gens noise are not a problem. Ironically, I only run mine at night AND- as you say Uplander- it's for my A/C or heaters. Solar would be useless to me in this environment and I'd stay home if gens werent allowed.

They have their place even though it may not be congested campgrounds and/or state parks. But so does solar if you're staying where the temps are comfortable without additional help. It just amazes me how people want to bash them when they have their place....as long as it's not annoying to another camper.

But to be honest? SMOKE from others campfires annoy me A LOT quicker than the purr of a Honda generator ANY day!!
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:16 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
...
Studies prove it increases the cost of power production...WHY you may ask?
When the sun goes away and/or the wind stops the blades from turning you still must rely on regular power plants. This means you have increased the total cost of capital equipment to produce power for customers...the same customers who have to pay not only for the electric power but all the new solar generating equipment and their maintenance in order to produce the same amount of total electric power. Also include the new array of switchover controls required to manage the uninterrupted flow of electricity to customers.
More equipment, more manpower all to supply electricity to the same customers.
Now that sounds like a great way to charge more and more per kilowatt hour!

Think about it.
I think you have some underlying assumptions that are incorrect.

"... When the sun goes away and/or the wind stops the blades from turning you still must rely on regular power plants. This means you have increased the total cost of capital equipment to produce power for customers...the same customers who have to pay not only for the electric power but all the new solar generating equipment and their maintenance in order to produce the same amount of total electric power. ..."
Capital investment in plant is based on meeting peak load requirements (over time). As I recall solar arrays tend to peak in the early afternoon and are still going strong by late afternoon when peak load usually occurs. This can actually diminish the peak load requirement.

Around here home owners and businesses may either buy their own PV array or invest in PV farms. The utility gets credit for the percentage of renewables but hasn't invested a penny.

PV maintenance? Baseball sized hail doesn't seem to be a problem.

I don't know anything about wind power but I'd guess that that is diurnal and highly predictable.
"... More equipment, more manpower all to supply electricity to the same customers.
Now that sounds like a great way to charge more and more per kilowatt hour! ..."
As I understand it one guy or gal admires the computer while it matches fuel feed to the load. The only problem area that I'm aware of is that when the light changes rapidly e.g. from a storm that coal plants (only coal plants) have some difficulty matching the fuel feed rate to the load. I'm not sure of how that guy or gal copes with that. Obviously they succeed somehow.
If I've got anything wrong I look forward to being corrected.

Alan
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:26 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by M Scott View Post
About how long (days) will the battery last on my Scamp 13, using lights, furnace fan, water pump when no hookups are available/dry camping?

Do I recharge battery by hooking up to car and running engine? For how long?

Is there a way to test the life of my battery while dry camping?

Thanks for the help.

Just a reminder that this is the question the OP actually asked.

Solar, running the car, or a generator are all ways to extend your battery time. Each having some trade off.

Solar has a finite limit - you can only get how much sun there actually is. Often addressed by having enough capacity in panels that even a few hours of hazy sunlight will charge you back up. Or at least extend you battery time by long enough you run out of water and have to leave anyway. With adequate panels one can camp for an indefinite period as far as electric goes but water, food, fuel, laundry these things can remain limiting factors.

Generators - unlimited power (depending on size) but heavy, require fuel, create noise and may have some limits on where or when they can be operated. Only way to run power hungry devices such as AC or to insure power to health related equipment such as CPAP machine or Oxygen concentrators. Deep cycle batteries charge best with modest charge over longer time, charging off of generator means running the generator for a longer time. Or in cold weather with young children insuring you can have enough battery to run your furnace.

Converter - a charger that runs trailer 12 volt systems while plugged into the parks power and charges the battery at the same time. Fairly standard equipment for campers. A good one will do a good job of maintaining your battery, a junky one will cook it. These can be nice if you do a few days of boondocking then hit a park with showers where you can plug into shore power for a night. Or when running off of a generator.

Running the car - effective IF you are doing it when driving from one location to another. Requires the tow vehicle and hitch be wired to bring power back to the camper battery.

There are test gadgets to tell you the "state of charge" these range from cheap LED lights that more lights mean more charge to systems that are tracking actual usage and charge going in. A simple voltage meter works well. Voltage drops as the battery gets discharged so you can watch the battery go from 13 volts down to around 10 volts which is considered too low.

Advantage of a volt meter is you can monitor your battery, test for broken wires or troubleshoot bad tail lights etc. Sometimes just going from battery and checking for power along the way toward a device that is not working will go a long way toward figuring out what is wrong. Or answering the immortal question. Does it have a connection to ground? Useful in other words. If you don't know how to use one, it is not hard to learn the basics and a skill worth having.

One thing that get overlooked is the "solution" does not have to charge your battery to fully charged. Just put enough charge in to extend you camping time before battery gets drawn down to 50% charge. If you can get 3 days from the battery and only put 1/2 of that back with solar each day. That means you can now do 4 1/2 days instead of 3. Maybe running the generator for a couple of hours would give you enough battery charge to get that "extra" day and a half of camping.

See what I mean? For folks that more often than not do a weekend or long weekend 4 days is all they need, maybe they add a battery and/or more solar and extend that to a week but for those that work getting more than a week in the woods is a rare treat.

For those that camp and travel the car can charge during travel so battery solution only has to last as long as you think you will be in one place. I have done a fair number of trips like that. Go to some area then spend a couple of days, drive to another location further along and see what is there. Done loops through Colorado for example as a way to see the state.
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