Hi, I'm Anthony - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-02-2020, 02:00 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Anthony
Trailer: '96 Bigfoot 17'
Yukon
Posts: 13
Hi, I'm Anthony

I picked up a 17' bigfoot last year for a good price. It's in pretty good shape but I have a few things to figure out.

1) The furnace doesn't seem to be working, just blows cold

2) Solar, my system is likely going to be ~200-300 Watts and 200-230 Amp Hr with a small inverter to charge devices and run basics like coffee grinder. I am struggling through figure out which components to buy and how to wire it.

Things I have learned (not just through building a trailer, but in life and with bicycles (avid cyclist)).

1) RV places generally provide crap service and sell you garbage.

2) wiring a brake controller is easy if you take some time to learn and you will end up with something better for less money.

3) There is an epic number of options in solar and deciding what is best for you is challenging.

Hope to learn lots on this forum and contribute what I learn back into the community. I've learned from many years of membership on other forums that people come and go and the ones who have learned the most recently as the most eager to give back. It's a resource that needs to continually cycle information from person to person as the old timers get tired and stop contributing. I know because I am an old timer on the classic bike scene and rarely check in there anymore. Cheers.
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:28 PM   #2
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Name: Kenneth
Trailer: Scamp
Wisconsin
Posts: 700
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[QUOTE=Anthony B;764167]I picked up a 17' bigfoot last year for a good price. It's in pretty good shape but I have a few things to figure out.

1) The furnace doesn't seem to be working, just blows cold

2) Solar, my system is likely going to be ~200-300 Watts and 200-230 Amp Hr with a small inverter to charge devices and run basics like coffee grinder. I am struggling through figure out which components to buy and how to wire it.

You do not need an inverter to charge/run some things, that would require you to convert DC to AC and then back to DC to charge. Many devices can be charged/run directly from the 12 volts. If you do need an inverter for some equipment be sure to get a good one. Some of the modified sine wave inverters are very inefficient and over heat some chargers. Depending on the type of camping you do and space requirements, I'd like to see more battery storage. I like to buy 12VDC equipment whenever I can find it but I've only found hand coffee grinders, never 12 VDC.
For the furnace, look up the model number and you should find a trouble shooting flow chart. Is it getting gas, is the vane switch working, and other things like that? Please let us know what you find.
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:41 PM   #3
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Name: Anthony
Trailer: '96 Bigfoot 17'
Yukon
Posts: 13
Thanks for the reply AC0GV.

I intend to look at the furnace when the temperature rises north of 60.

I think the first step is to get a Bogart Trimetric battery monitor so I can see how much power I am using. My rough calculation is that by adding a second battery (2 x 115 AmpHr 12V AGM) and say 200-400 watts of solar I should be well within my needs for being disconnected indefinitely, but I still have many electrical questions to sort out. What you are saying makes sense as many things like cell phones and the batteries for our bike lights have power packs that step down, but are the receptacles in the trailer live when I'm not hooked up to shore power? I thought I recall testing this with a cell phone last summer and finding no power.

My hand grinder is worth more than my counter top, but after spending over 5 months on the road last year grinding about 70 grams of beans a day, I'm ready to switch. I'm looking at the Morningstar suresine 300, what I can't work out is whether I should just have a single receptacle wired to it or wire it into the panel with a transfer switch. I'm still confused about several things there. The reason I want to wire it in is so I could run the grinder from the kitchen receptacle. Maybe it's not worth the effort just to grind coffee. I'm also thinking I'll want to add a receptacle with USB ports so we can charge phones and tablet directly. It would also be nice to use a laptop and we need AC power for that.
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:41 PM   #4
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,918
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Originally Posted by Anthony B View Post
Thanks for the reply AC0GV.

I intend to look at the furnace when the temperature rises north of 60.

I think the first step is to get a Bogart Trimetric battery monitor so I can see how much power I am using. My rough calculation is that by adding a second battery (2 x 115 AmpHr 12V AGM) and say 200-400 watts of solar I should be well within my needs for being disconnected indefinitely, but I still have many electrical questions to sort out. What you are saying makes sense as many things like cell phones and the batteries for our bike lights have power packs that step down, but are the receptacles in the trailer live when I'm not hooked up to shore power? I thought I recall testing this with a cell phone last summer and finding no power.

My hand grinder is worth more than my counter top, but after spending over 5 months on the road last year grinding about 70 grams of beans a day, I'm ready to switch. I'm looking at the Morningstar suresine 300, what I can't work out is whether I should just have a single receptacle wired to it or wire it into the panel with a transfer switch. I'm still confused about several things there. The reason I want to wire it in is so I could run the grinder from the kitchen receptacle. Maybe it's not worth the effort just to grind coffee. I'm also thinking I'll want to add a receptacle with USB ports so we can charge phones and tablet directly. It would also be nice to use a laptop and we need AC power for that.
I power my hand grinder with my rechargeable drill motor. I don't need an inverter to power the battery charger, I have a 12v vehicle charger for the batteries. Readily available for many brands of cordless tools as mobile contractors and repair people need to recharge tools while on the road. The drill motor runs plenty fast for grinding.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:22 PM   #5
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Name: Anthony
Trailer: '96 Bigfoot 17'
Yukon
Posts: 13
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
I power my hand grinder with my rechargeable drill motor. I don't need an inverter to power the battery charger, I have a 12v vehicle charger for the batteries. Readily available for many brands of cordless tools as mobile contractors and repair people need to recharge tools while on the road. The drill motor runs plenty fast for grinding.
That is brilliant, and I'll likely have a drill with me anyway. However, I'd need to fabricate some kind of adapter for my grinder as A) I don't want to mark it up and the top cap and handle are a nice integrated piece. I have a FeldGrind grinder that cost more than my electric one! But if I am honest, the Baratza Encore does provide superior grinding. I plan to make a small wooden box insulated with soft foam so we can dampen the grinding noise so as not to disturb sleeping babies. I also plan to use it in the house! Right now we throw a down jacket over it! I want the inverter anyway because I want to be able to charge our mac books. I found that switchable 12V socket power adapters exist with interchangeable fittings, it should be able to charge all our batteries etc.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:22 PM   #6
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,918
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Originally Posted by Anthony B View Post
That is brilliant, and I'll likely have a drill with me anyway. However, I'd need to fabricate some kind of adapter for my grinder as A) I don't want to mark it up and the top cap and handle are a nice integrated piece. I have a FeldGrind grinder that cost more than my electric one! But if I am honest, the Baratza Encore does provide superior grinding. I plan to make a small wooden box insulated with soft foam so we can dampen the grinding noise so as not to disturb sleeping babies. I also plan to use it in the house! Right now we throw a down jacket over it! I want the inverter anyway because I want to be able to charge our mac books. I found that switchable 12V socket power adapters exist with interchangeable fittings, it should be able to charge all our batteries etc.
Much depends on how old your Mac books are for if you do or do not need an inverter that powers it for 120V .


If you have a thunderbolt there are other options such as the one in this review. https://www.appleworld.today/blog/20...ok-on-the-road
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:12 PM   #7
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Name: Anthony
Trailer: '96 Bigfoot 17'
Yukon
Posts: 13
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
Much depends on how old your Mac books are for if you do or do not need an inverter that powers it for 120V .


If you have a thunderbolt there are other options such as the one in this review. https://www.appleworld.today/blog/20...ok-on-the-road
A very old pro and a 2017ish air with MagSafe and MagSafe 2. We'd probably just take the air in which case it looks like we'd meed this $30 adapter plus another adapter to connect to the MacBook (around $50 US) so I'm in at over $100 Canadian. I'm going to install an inverter no matter what because I want to bring the grinder and I just want to have the option of 120V outlet power should the need arise so it seems like it's probably not worth a bunch more electrical gadgets filling the trailer to make it work. I realize there is an efficiency loss, but I'm building a system that can handle it.
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