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Old 11-03-2015, 01:05 PM   #1
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Possible to go 12v only?

EDIT: I plan on fulltiming

As I sit here in my studio apartment as a single man, bald (no hair dryer needed), don't own a TV, very basic cooking, spend most of my time surfing the internet when home (could easily do this on my smartphone or tablet)...

I'm wondering if I could do without an inverter and/or 110v outlets in my FGRV? Maybe I'm being short-sighted? If I'm single I'm pretty basic, but if a girl ever joined me on the road, what 110v accessories would she need? Am I forgetting 110v accessories ~I~ would use? Maybe power tools occasionally for repairs (or do the repairs in a campground w/ shore power dummy... or maybe campgrounds don't allow u to do repairs then? I have no idea)?

Thanks for any guidance!
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Old 11-03-2015, 01:32 PM   #2
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Are you planning on "Full timing" or just the occasional trip, and if the latter, how long for the trips? If you have a three-way refrigerator so you can cool on gas and a gas stove, a propane tank will take care of those jobs (+ heating if desired) so 12V power will only be routinely needed for light and the electronics you mention.

My '83 Burro has a 110V circuit in place but I've never hooked it up, rather I use a Jump Start Pack from my local Horrible Freight to provide for the electronics and battery operated LED lights for the various lighting duties necessary. I carry a 100 ft long heavy duty drop cord to recharge and on the rare occasions that I want/need shore power and it is available.

I'm a 66 year old bachelor and use my Burro almost exclusively at shooting meets of the North-South Skirmish Association and the American Single Shot Rifle Association, so my focus is fairly narrow... your mileage may vary!

Froggie

PS I have gotten several "splitters" for the 12V plug that came on my first jump pack and when I used a car battery. My current pack has two outlets so I don't need them as much. Also I have a 12V DC to 110V AC inverter for when I need AC from battery, but I am gradually designing out my 100V items.
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Old 11-03-2015, 01:47 PM   #3
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Maybe the ladies can answer this better than I, but I can't think of anything that my different camping partners have had to have 120VAC for over the years. The only thing that Judy carries is a hair dryer and, if needed, the 9 times out of 10 that we don't have power, she just walks over the restrooms and plugs it in there.


That said, I would still opt for a least a 400 watt inverter to run computers and entertainment systems. Ya gotta have something for the moods that might, or might not, occur.


As far as repairs, battery power tools basically own the market place and you can run the batter chargers from a plug-in inverter.


That said, IF you are looking or a camping partner, be sure to mention that up front. And, if her favorite pair of shoes just happens to be a pair of hiking boots, and an REI membership card is in front of a Sierra Club card in her wallet, you are off to a good start. LOL



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Old 11-03-2015, 02:01 PM   #4
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Answer to Can go with only 12 Volts.

Short Answer YES.

We've had our Scamp for 10 years now. Camp something 120+ nights a year for past 6 years. Before that about 30 to 50 nights per year. Number of days connected to 120Volt can be counted on my fingers.

How do we do it?
First off no unnecessary electrical stuff. No Television, no electric water pump, no AC, no hot water heater, etc. etc. etc.
The first thing I did to improve battery only performance is to get rid of the incandescent bulbs inside the trailer, all LED now. Next a 65 Watt Solar panel was purchased. The panel lives in the truck and has a stand so I can follow the sun.

No 120 Volt stuff at all. The only things that get power from the battery are my indoor LED lights and the fan on furnace. Once in a while we'll charge a phone, camera, or computer. Often those thing are charged from the truck while we're off sight seeing or laundry or shopping.

Depends on the cold on how often I have drag out the solar panel. The colder the more it comes because the runs more. Warm weather and warm nights the furnace doesn't run the battery will last for months.
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:45 PM   #5
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"no AC" is no-go east of Mississippi river in summer...
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:49 PM   #6
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I agree on the A/C, how could I forget that one? So I'd want A/C as well... and if that's the case, being that the A/C is the single largest draw... well then you're in it ($) for a full sized inverter anyway, so this conversation is no longer needed? Or am I not thinking about this correctly (never spent a night in an R/V, just watched a lot of youtube and read a lot of forum posts ) and there is still potential for savings by going entirely 12v?
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:08 PM   #7
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I've spent many Summer nights in my Burro in Central VA and the Shenandoah Valley and only needed a fan (designed for an over-the-road tractor dash board) that plugs into a... cigarette lighter socket to be reasonably comfortable. Maybe I'm less sensitive than others, but then again I know of lots of folks who think having to walk more than 25 feet to the ice machine and only having 30 channel TV is "roughing it." eyes:

Froggie
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:16 PM   #8
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COST OF AC.

If you feel you need AC be prepared to pay a lot. Not just for the AC but for camping. We've averaged over the 10 years less than $10.00 per night. If we "required" AC that would jump to $30 to $60 per night.

As Green Frog said a fan can make a warm night comfortable. I do carry a "Constant Breeze" 12 volt box fan. I've used it about 4 nights in 10 years.
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:27 PM   #9
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Ok, so if my wussy self requires A/C (or a future mate will), is my thinking about the inverter still true? That there is no use in trying to limit myself to 12v appliances if I'll need a big ol' inverter for the A/C anyway?

(The only benefit in this situation would be if I had solar and didn't need A/C in the Fall for example. In this case having all 12v appliances would more efficiently use my battery banks while off grid)
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
Ok, so if my wussy self requires A/C (or a future mate will), is my thinking about the inverter still true? That there is no use in trying to limit myself to 12v appliances if I'll need a big ol' inverter for the A/C anyway?

(The only benefit in this situation would be if I had solar and didn't need A/C in the Fall for example. In this case having all 12v appliances would more efficiently use my battery banks while off grid)
What kind of 12 volt appliances are you talking about. Anything with a heater is going to drain your battery, even if they are 12 Volt. A large inverter isn't going to do you much good unless you can put in a 4 to 6 battery bank. I know one guy that manages his 40' motor home with 8 or 10 large batteries and the top covered with solar panels. Another guy with about a 35' Motor home pulls a trailer with a large number of batteries and solar panels on the motor home and the trailer.
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Old 11-03-2015, 03:50 PM   #11
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When I say appliances, it's mostly electronics I suppose... android smartphone, android tablet, camera, etc. Probably a fan to move some air as well.

I am thinking of a 16ft Scamp/Casita with a 250 watt panel and a battery or two(obviously I have not calculated my actual load needs and I'm very new to this).

I didn't realize a fan on a heater (or using a 12v fan during the summer?) would drain the batteries significantly. Could I keep the heater & fan off and just use a Heater Buddy (http://tinyurl.com/oc25ram) in such a small space?
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:31 PM   #12
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I am completely (90%) 12v in my Escape except when I need air conditioning for my companion. I can escape a/c with a 12v cooler and some ice, so technically you can make 100% 12v, but you will need solar and at least 2x6 volt batteries.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
When I say appliances, it's mostly electronics I suppose... android smartphone, android tablet, camera, etc. Probably a fan to move some air as well.

I am thinking of a 16ft Scamp/Casita with a 250 watt panel and a battery or two(obviously I have not calculated my actual load needs and I'm very new to this).

I didn't realize a fan on a heater (or using a 12v fan during the summer?) would drain the batteries significantly. Could I keep the heater & fan off and just use a Heater Buddy (http://tinyurl.com/oc25ram) in such a small space?
First and foremost, Air-conditioning and Battery power are mutually exclusive items. The only two ways you can power an a/c unit is either with hook-ups in a camp ground or a (yuk) generator. Running an air conditioner with battery & an inverter is not going to happen.

So, if you have to have A-Conditioning, you are noosed to campgrounds with power (not all that common, and usually more expensive) or a Generator you can't run at night due to restrictive generator hours in most campgrounds.



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Old 11-03-2015, 04:55 PM   #14
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I realize A/C = shore power, no doubt about that. I think where my limited knowledge of RV/TT wiring fails me is with how power is delivered to the A/C unit. Is the A/C wired directly to an outside 110V outlet you run directly to the pole in your campsite? If so, then I wouldn't have a need for an inverter in my camper if everything else I run ius 12V, correct? (as a fulltimer, maybe I have a smaller inverter for recharging power tools?)
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
I realize A/C = shore power, no doubt about that. I think where my limited knowledge of RV/TT wiring fails me is with how power is delivered to the A/C unit. Is the A/C wired directly to an outside 110V outlet you run directly to the pole in your campsite? If so, then I wouldn't have a need for an inverter in my camper if everything else I run ius 12V, correct? (as a fulltimer, maybe I have a smaller inverter for recharging power tools?)
No inverter needed for the Air Conditioner. The wiring in most trailers has separate 120v and 12v circuits. The inverters converts 120v to 12v for the 12v circuit. Some may also have 12v to 120v inverters or, you can buy them inexpensively and plug them into the 12v outlet for charging laptops, phones and running small electronics. That's what we use. My wife works on the road so I have to keep her "office" charged up. With a 100w portable solar panel we can stay out as long as we want at least in the west. We have a 16' Casita. My wife uses the heater for a blow drier If you want Air conditioning you are stuck with a generator or hookups. The best thing about owning a trailer is you can look at a weather forecast map and drive to where the weather suites your clothes!!
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:38 PM   #16
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Thanks Ziggy. So it looks like I won't need an inverter. I appreciate everyone's help.
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:49 PM   #17
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120VAC comes into your RF via the "Shore Power Cord".
From there it is routed to a power distribution box. First in line is a master breker, then usually a breaker for power to the converter/charger and several more branch circuits via seperate circuit breakers, just like in your house. There will be a separate breaker(s) for outlets, ac lights, the A/C unit, etc. The inverter will be wired into the fused outputs of the converter and the battery and will usually have separate, dedicated, outlets.



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Old 11-03-2015, 06:58 PM   #18
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Good thread. I was wondering about this. Looks like I am moving to the dessert where it gets really hot, (120s I hear,) and also really cool. I realize I will need shore power in order to have a/c or a fan or an a/c-heater combination thing.

When I go to look at Randy's trilliums I will see what he recommends for his rigs.

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Old 11-03-2015, 07:15 PM   #19
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His recommendations may only be valid if he is intimately familiar with the weather patterns of the western deserts....



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Old 11-03-2015, 07:27 PM   #20
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Bryce.

It's certainly possible to live without 110VAC as long as air conditioning is not part of your requirement. We have a small AC unit but rarely use it. We travel places that don't typically require it.

We have a 1200 watt Inverter, a 400 watt inverter and a 150 watt Inverter. We use the 150 watt Inverter for charging our computers, often while driving. It also can run our TV and Sat Dish.

We have numerous ways to charge our battery, from our car while driving, from our 100 watt solar panel and from our Convertor.

We installed the 1200 watt Inverter when we bought the Scamp but never have used it other then to test it..

Ginny likes power (hookups), particularly if it's cold. If it were unbearably hot I'm sure she'd like power as well.

Byron does a good job at minimizing his park costs. We're not nearly as successful as him however there are numerous ways to reduce your camping fees without going without AC. For years my goal was $20 a night unless we were doing something special.

I've only camped with Ginny and the hair dryer is the important.
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