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RE: Might sell the F450 and go F550 with liquid springs

We went with a F550 Super Duty with the heavy suspension pkg. to get the most GVW possible. Added the Kelderman 4 link air ride to the rear and Kelderman air bags in the front. The package came with Rancho Shocks and an extra heavy rear torsion bar. Each wheel has a ride height automatic adjuster so the truck never changes the ride height no matter how much load you carry. The empty ride is still a little rough but not as bad as with the springs and loaded it rides very well. Total weight with the boat we are at 28,500 lbs. https://i.postimg.cc/Y4h73XSy/Begore-Air-lines.jpg https://i.postimg.cc/pmKctz6X/Front-bags-in.jpg https://i.postimg.cc/Sj7WqVyP/Empty.jpg https://i.postimg.cc/S2ccnfcJ/Full-load.jpg Beautiful Setup! That's Having Your Cake And Eating It Too!
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 08/03/22 01:44am Truck Campers
RE: Lithium Battery Charging System

First off, Solar panels do not discharge energy into the night. Solarnight discharge The back flow diodes and solar controller will prevent it. There is a minor voltage Vbf but it's very small. Also, it doesn't discharge back into the either or sky, it's just a resistance load to the batteries. Most modern solar electronics have some sort of circuit protection. Even so, since you seem to have power in the day with sun, I would guess your solar charge controller is functio I g to some degree. Since your battery dies quickly, my guess.is.you damaged your batteries BMS. You'll have to do or have done, your own testing. Good luck.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/28/22 11:05pm Truck Campers
RE: Lithium Battery Charging System

I ended up building my own LifePO4 set-up myself. Went from 98ahr's to 560ahr's. Already had 510w of solar on roof and a 30a charge controller that was compatible. Changed out my 120v on-board charger ( have yet to even use ). Also added a Victron DC/DC 18a isolated charger to top off when driving down the road and never have to worry. Also added a 3000w inverter that we use for the coffee maker in the AM and occasional microwave use and haven't used my generator since going this route. Probably set me back 2.5k total but should last quite a while. With the storage capacity I have now I don't even charge everyday. Not a cheap way to go but I know it will last and it's installed correctly. Retired IBEW Contractor here in SD so I gots the skills. Good luck. I'm close to the same solar and battery system as you with a couple differences.. Four solar panels on the roof, 180, 190, 190, and 115 watts respectively for 675 watts total power. Two 202 AH LIFEPO batteries for a total of 404 watts. I oversized the solar because we live in the Pacific Northwest and are subject to low winter sun and lots of cloudy, rainy days. Victron 150|70 MPPT Converter and for driving and backup, a Victron Orion DC to DC 30 amp 12 volt charger. I have a Xantrex 600 watt Pure Sinewave Inverter that we're happy with for now, don't know if I'll ever upgrade to the Victron 3000 watt inverter. My system cost $ 6200.00 for everything at Discount Solar in Quartzite. I shopped around at the time and several stores simply didn't have stock or were running out of stock. I'm sure I got the bend over special but I am happy with the performance of the system. Highly recommend LIFEPO to anyone looking to change batteries.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/22/22 01:46am Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

A little correction to your understanding. There is no solar power going to waste. You have excess capacity, so the potential to produce power is going unused. Power is not produced until there is a load to use it. So, I suppose in one sense you either have a wasted opportunity, or an overbuilt system for your needs. Since you already have the system, finding ways to use the capacity is good, however you have to weigh the costs of having that system vs the cost of a couple of tanks of propane. Semantics. If you are pumping gas and spill 5gal on the ground because you overfilled, if you only consider what was in the tank when you pull away, there is no waste but we all know 5 gal was wasted. Same thing. X KWH of capturable power hit the panels and it would be wasted if not used because the system can't hold it. Not semantics. In your example actual gas is spilled and wasted on the ground. In a solar example, the energy is not even produced, so it can't be wasted in the same way. You don't think in terms of wasted energy when your truck is parked and the engine is not running. I'm pretty sure the sun did produce the power and deliver it to the solar panels...then it went wasted. If it bothers you that the RV is parked, think in terms of solar vs generator and you get a similar result. I would compare the excess solar to a 2000 watt generator. You have a 2000 watt generator but you are only plugging in a device that uses say, 312 watts. The generator is still running with far more capacity available which is going unused. That's what I'm trying to maximize is the full potential output and try to recover a little of the cost of the solar system. I did like the grid suggestion. the closest I've come to that is running my 50" flat screen in the house off the inverter and it worked fine.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/16/22 01:00am Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

Ok, upon a recalc (me dummy!!…) I found my error, now revised… At 325w per hr, and a 75% duty cycle for 24 hrs = 244w (admittedly conservative numbers), watts convert to 19,968 btu/day. Propane at 91,451 btu/gal / 19,968 = 4.58 days of refer operation per gallon… 5gal of propane x 4.58 days p/gal = 22.9 days of refer operation… Sounds much more realistic (sorry for my bad)… 3 tons My use of propane is much faster than that. For all TC use of propane, I need to fill my two bottles about every 3rd week. Sooner in winter.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/16/22 12:46am Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

I have a similar set-up (at 400a/h LFP and 660w) and get the temptation but in the vagaries of the real world harvest, not too sure it’ll always pencil out - In theory something like this: a gallon of propane has about 91,400 BTU’s, while 325w (ac power) at say a more conservative 75% duty cycle (considering local and inverter losses…) would equal 5850w over 24hrs equals 15.6 hrs refer operation per gallon of propane or 78 hrs per 5 gal tank…Just saying… 3 tons Im not sure what your trying to say, but my fridge in my camper is a old one where the burner stays on all the time and I can easily let it go 3 months running 24/7 on a single 5 gal tank. once I start it up in the spring it stays going all summer until I winterize it in the fall, so three years now it has done this. I do this with my 5th wheel also and same thing, I fill my bottles in the spring and they don't get filled untill winter when I am doing inclimate camping. the 5th wheel does have a DSI large fridge, but it has 7lb bottles. Well, in retrospect it does seem oddly high but was only a rapid back of the napkin calc.. However, I believe converting BTU’s into watts is the proper way to draw conclusions… 3 tons Your calculations are probably pretty close. I have not done a solid 24 hour test yet. My feeling is it may be a losing battle trying to maintain the charge in the batteries with the fridge going 24 hours on electric. I think the fridge would deplete down to 10% charge overnight on the second or third day. I will do that test in a couple weeks when I'm on the road in the camper to moniter the conditions. If it was 4 AM and the batteries were down to 20 or 25%, I would end the test there knowing the batteries will not supply enough power till the sun came up high enough to begin supplying sufficient regenerative current. Even if I decide to do this during the daytime, it's still a winner.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/16/22 12:42am Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

I have a similar set-up (at 400a/h LFP and 660w) and get the temptation but in the vagaries of the real world harvest, not too sure it’ll always pencil out - In theory something like this: a gallon of propane has about 91,400 BTU’s, while 325w (ac power) at say a more conservative 75% duty cycle (considering local and inverter losses…) would equal 5850w over 24hrs equals 15.6 hrs refer operation per gallon of propane or 78 hrs per 5 gal tank…Just saying… 3 tons Im not sure what your trying to say, but my fridge in my camper is a old one where the burner stays on all the time and I can easily let it go 3 months running 24/7 on a single 5 gal tank. once I start it up in the spring it stays going all summer until I winterize it in the fall, so three years now it has done this. I do this with my 5th wheel also and same thing, I fill my bottles in the spring and they don't get filled untill winter when I am doing inclimate camping. the 5th wheel does have a DSI large fridge, but it has 7lb bottles. I would dearly love to know what brand of propane you use because I do go through the stuff when on the road. Water heater, cooktop and oven, furnace in the winter. My fridge is 8 CU FT so I may use more just for that if you have a smaller fridge. I do plan to change my regulator and hoses soon as I suspect a small leak though I don't smell anything.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/16/22 12:33am Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli, Thanks for the report Most RV absorption fridges have a 2/3 duty cycle. I.E. in one hour 40 minutes on and 20 minutes off. I did a "back yard" experiment on this about a dozen years ago. My fridge does draw 325 watts. I just read a post in rv.net from 2018 in the vans and in Florida 90 degrees. The author had a duty cycle of 65% but when he switched the fridge over to 12 volt, it performed much better.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/14/22 02:43pm Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

I just checked the charge controller history. Yesterday, The test day, 3.85 KWH were produced with a peak power of 472 watts. Today the system produced 290WH power and 213 watts peak power p
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/14/22 01:26pm Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

A little correction to your understanding. There is no solar power going to waste. You have excess capacity, so the potential to produce power is going unused. Power is not produced until there is a load to use it. So, I suppose in one sense you either have a wasted opportunity, or an overbuilt system for your needs. Since you already have the system, finding ways to use the capacity is good, however you have to weigh the costs of having that system vs the cost of a couple of tanks of propane. My feeling is, if the capacity is there and not being taken advantage of, it's being wasted. If you know the power is there, use it. Cost isn't my issue, maximizing potential is in regard to this solar system. I can also run my TV in the house with this system. I'm having fun seeing where I can cut costs with it.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/14/22 01:07pm Truck Campers
RE: Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

If you have a massively oversized solar/battery system, you can certainly dump the excess power into the absorption fridge (you might check into a 12v heating element to avoid losses with the inverter. If your battery bank is fully charged by 10-11am, you are only using maybe 20% of the daily solar output and if the battery bank only goes down to 85%, that's also much bigger than needed. If you are building a new system, it would make more sense to look at the loads before building it and size it closer to the expected loads with maybe a 20-30% surplus for unexpected situations. You could have installed a solar/battery system 1/3 to 1/2 the size and never noticed the difference. Propane must be a lot more expensive out west. Just filled one for $20, so 8 would be about $160 saved...also does that account for other uses (stove, furnace, etc...). If you are getting a new rig and want to run it off solar/battery, a 12v unit makes far more sense. Probably closer to 1/6 to 1/8th the electric consumption (ours draws around 50w when running and also cycles). Unless it's dead quiet, can't hear it run and even then have to listen for it. So makes good sense not to waste it once built but I wouldn't build it that way. The 5 gallon exchange tank is 20.00 here also. I've been traveling and could have sworn I was paying more. Another thing that will happen soon is the wife will also retiring. Then we will bring 2 laptops and other devices with the two of us traveling more together. The fridge has a tube for another heating element, 12volt I Presume. I would have to make a switch with temperature control. In the summer, the system is overkill but come winter and dark rainy days, I will have some available capacity to charge.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/14/22 12:50pm Truck Campers
Absorption Fridge Running on Solar/Battery/Inverter System

Absorption or Compressor Fridge, Which One? I have installed a fairly large solar electric system in my truck camper. It has 675 watts of solar panels on the roof. 400-amp hours of lithium iron batteries. I also like having the fall back of a 30-amp DC to DC charger from the alternator. Normally I run my batteries down to about 85% full through the course of an evening till bedtime. The electrical system is generally fully recharged by 10 to 11 AM. The rest of the days solar power generation has nowhere to go and be used so is wasted. I decided to try running my absorption fridge off the electrical system to see how well it would handle the load. I have a 600-watt pure sinewave inverter which can easily handle the 312 watts the fridge heating element takes. I ran the fridge for 5 hours at night till around 11 when the batteries hit 72% charge. The next morning, I reconnected the fridge at 6:30 AM and ran it all day into the evening. The solar peak output for the day was 472 watts though I have seen it register as high as 745 watts, 70 watts more than the rated output of my 4 solar panels. The fridge runs intermittently through the day as the thermostat in the fridge cycles the system on and off to keep temperature. The fridge and electrical system worked fine all day and come about 4 PM, the batteries were fully recharged from 72% and the fridge had been operating normally all day. When the fridge would kick on, it wants 312 watts or about 24 amps at 13.2 volts from the inverter, batteries, and solar panels. Typically, the Victron 150/70 MPPT charge controller reported around 30+ amps output on the battery side. The battery BMS reported 15+ amps each battery coming in and when the fridge kicked on, the current would divert from charging the batteries to running the inverter and fridge. The BMS would show the battery charge current in, drop from 15+ down to 3+ amps each, the surplus solar energy is more than needed to run the fridge, so it still keeps charging the batteries. This method works well in spring, summer, fall during good sunny days. Powering the fridge using the solar electric system can save me I suppose around 8 5-gallon propane tanks a year or 250 to 300 dollars. That's money that can go towards fuel for a trip or two. I should also be able to use other electric items like an Instapot to reduce cooking with propane though I would need a larger inverter. The solar electric system produces a large surplus of energy that would otherwise go unused. Using it to power the absorption fridge makes perfect sense to me as the fridge is a big propane user since it is on 24/7/365 for me, always being stocked ready to go. Other people have used secondary loads as well such as the water heater, trolling motor batteries, EBIKE batteries and whatever else you can imagine. Ultimately, this is sort of a comparison between the practicality of a compressor fridge versus an absorption fridge. A compressor fridge does use about 1/3rd the power of an equivalent size absorption fridge. But what of the finer details. The fridges are not on all day, they cycle on and off. A compressor fridge makes noise that can be annoying to some. There are people who have removed them due to noise issues. As for performance, I have no issue with my new Amish Built improved efficiency cooling unit which I installed a year and a half ago, still working perfectly and best of all, silently. For me, I have the capacity to run the absorption fridge. It would be foolish of me to not run the fridge off the electric system and let that power go to waste. My solar system is capable of producing 4 KWH a day. I get the solar power whether I want it or not. If I use it to run the absorption fridge, I get to keep the propane in return. There is no return with the compressor fridge. It either uses the power or not. In this video, I'll give you the visual presentation of this setup. The second half of the video is going to be showing all the screen shots of the GUI's from the MPPT and BMS. I'll be reading and explaining the information as the reports progress through the day till the end of the video. Probably a little and dry and not exciting enough to hold most peoples attention, but if you like this topic and are wondering about whether to go Absorption or Compressor fridge, this should be an informative video for you. Enjoy!
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 07/13/22 11:53pm Truck Campers
RE: First big trip - Newbie questions

Fresh is always full, black and gray are always empty when traveling. Nothing sucks worse than not being prepared.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/21/22 02:18pm Truck Campers
RE: VIDEO: 2 Month Southwest Roadtrip Expense Report

I was hoping to hear a couple cost comparisons of others travels. This particular trip was fast paced and trying to pack in as many sights as possible within the allotted time. It was a 3 day drive to Quartzite but I did spend a few days with my 90 yo brother in Las Vegas. I spent two weeks in Quartzite for RTR and installing my new solar system. That system works magnificently giving all the power I could ever use,making things just like home. After that was a nonstop drive to see the sights. Phoenix,Tombstone, Bisbee, Douglas,White Sands, Alamogordo, Billy Kids end, Valley of Fires, NM BLM CG ***** STARS, Failed attempt to see the Trinity Site, the Very Large Array, a couple campgrounds between there and Phoenix, a couple nights at Saddle mountain BLM, then back to Quartzsite Roadrunner Wash for the truck camper rally. After that, to Pa4ker for a night at a blue water casino for a big bacon cheeseburger, Walmart and off toward Wickenburg but turn8 g up to Alamo State Park and reservoir, I liked that place.I decided to be adventurous and drove about 35 miles along Wickenburg Road which looked to be well maintained but that changed for the worse the last 15 miles when the road came under the care of another county, The last 15 miles, I broke a turnbuckle, rocked hard enough to make stuff fly out of the cabinets. Engined died when a vacuum hose disconnected, and I sank deep into sand. After making it out of there, I drove through some other towns to Lincoln spending the night at Love's, then up to the Grand Canyon for a couple days exploring taking pictures. Beautiful weather and small crowds. 10 to 15 at night. Away again to Winslow for a picture on the corner and overnight at a very nice new restaurant area. Meteor Crater was oolong but windy as heck. Drive through Flagstaff and down to Phoenix for a week of golf. Other sights I worked in are the Salton Sea for two days during a powered Paragldder event, major score. Then to Yuma and the Imperial reservoir camping and looking for materials to fix the escape hatch, computer drafting pad, and a delicious treat at the Imperial Date Farm. Then a 4eturn to Quartzite acouple days, then Las Vegas a few more days and finally to home to sweetie and Archie, after a quick stop in Hood River. You can see this was no ordinary trip. This was more or less a dream trip for me. There will be others soon when I get this retirement thing setup properly. Next trip will not be so jam packed, allowing more time to settle and relax, becoming one with the destination. I 8nvite you to share your favorite and any spending information you want to share.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/19/22 02:35pm Truck Campers
VIDEO: 2 Month Southwest Roadtrip Expense Report

Southwest Roadtrip Expense Report I categorized and added up all my receipts from my 2 month roadtrip this winter. Interesting to see what I spent and how much.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/18/22 06:17am Truck Campers
RE: TC and MPG

I have determined beyond the shadow of a doubt, that getting to where you're going, and staying put longer, with fewer separate destinations in between than originally planned, will unequivocally lower your fuel costs.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/16/22 11:33pm Truck Campers
RE: Camper (and Ham Radio) helped with a rescue....

I have meant to get an amateur license since the days of the morse requirement.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/11/22 10:27pm Truck Campers
1. Alamo Reservoir-Wickenburg Rd. 2. Grand Canyon Watchtower

1. Alamo Reservoir and Stuck on Wickenburg Rd. AZ https://i9.ytimg.com/vi_webp/INZGVpTQngs/mqdefault.webp?v=629e80d4&sqp=CKztjpUG&rs=AOn4CLAln8w_-K2-cdXVU0wHbWxlF5xV3Q I have a nice stay at Alamo Lake and give you a quick look around. I then drive East on Wickenburg Rd which turns out to be one of the rougher roads I've taken with the Truck Camper. The road rocks my camera off it's perch a few times, it flings open the cabinets to launch pots, pans, cans, onto the floor, I bend the hook out of a turnbuckle hold down. Fortunately I carry a spare. An air hose disconnects from the intake manifold which makes the engine die but it's a quick fix. I finally reach the end of the road with the highway just off in the distance only to find it impassable. Fortunately I was able to backtrack a short distance and take another road to the highway that would put in the direction of Prescott and The Grand Canyon. It was a challenging and interesting drive. Enjoy the video!! 2. Grand Canyon Watchtower and other scenery. https://i9.ytimg.com/vi_webp/OaFK4GV9EfU/mqdefault.webp?v=629a9be1&sqp=CNjvjpUG&rs=AOn4CLCAWh4j745rRsxwvRzaKc7B9H_rVA Desert View Watchtower Grand Canyon 2022 I show you inside and outside the Watchtower. Look at the Colorado River. Mention a few details about the Worst Plane Crash in The US which Happened Right There In 1956 at 20,000 feet between a DC-7 and a Lockheed Constellation, Two Of The Largest 4 Engine Passenger Propeller Planes of the late 1950's era.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/10/22 03:37pm Truck Campers
RE: Tesla Cybertruck Camper - 24K pricetag

if you're going up into the woods for a week or two, be sure to bring your generator. If in the sun, solar panels on the pop top just might do it. I saw two up there in the video and it looked like there was room for two more if the structure will handle it. Anyway, I saw I was charging at 53 amps peak sometime today looking at my charge history. That should be able to do it and act as a significant range extender to the vehicle itself. Still, too small for our travel needs but a day tripper, weekend warrior, and the like would like it.
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/05/22 03:07pm Truck Campers
RE: Anyone Cancelling Truck Camper Trips Due to Fuel Prices?

We planned a bunch of trips within two states away this year in hopes of building on property. Due to labor and supply shortages, we have delayed the build out but will keep our nearby travel plans. My new house project is on hold too. Might as well go camping!
Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli 06/01/22 08:34pm Truck Campers
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