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RE: I'm actually in favor of high cancelation fees....

I would strongly support a significant 'no-show' fee for public lands camping and other reservations (like backcountry and river permits). When you reserve a campsite or backcountry permit, in addition to the camping/permit fee (which should remain low so as not to be a barrier to entry) you also authorize a much larger no-show fee. If you cancel the reservation more than a few days in advance, you still loose the permit fee, but they don't charge the no-show fee as the permit/site can be used by someone else. However, if you don't show up and haven't canceled a few days before, then you loose the permit fee and they charge the larger no-show fee. I think it is important to keep the fees to use public lands low enough that they are not a realistic barrier to entry, but I am so tired of folks who reserve a $25 permit or a $50 camp site in February and then can't be bothered to cancel it later when it turns out they can't use it in August. In some cases, such as Rocky Mountain National Park, 30-40% of the back country campsites end up not being used on popular weekends because of this. Make the no show fee $250, and then there is a motivation to be considerate about those permits booked months in advance.
FWC 09/30/21 08:04am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: $135k for a very basic camper?

I think this is exactly the issue with the current RV industry. Most folks are mostly concerned how many slide outs, recliners, outdoor TVs and LED awning lights a camper comes with, and not at all that bothered with how the camper is made or the quality of the systems. So that is what the manufacturers produce, cheaply built campers with lots of slide outs and TVs, and end result of this is obvious from reading the forums. There is a whole market for exactly the opposite - campers that are very robust and well made using high quality materials and techniques, and very reliable systems, but very few 'luxuries', no slides, no TVs, no outside kitchens, no generators etc. I am not sure if this new brand falls into that category, but they seem to be trying. Other examples would be Nimble, Earth Cruiser, Tiger, Global Expedition Vehicles, Overland Explorer etc. These are all north of $100K for a 'basic camper' but in exchange you are not getting the usual 'RV Quality'.
FWC 09/29/21 02:46pm Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

Again, this is all a distraction from the point I was actually making. The point in the very unlikely circumstance that you need to use your LiFePO4 camper battery in temperatures below -20C, the battery will work just fine, you will be able to fire up the furnace or battery heater and warm up the camper. At that point you can charge your battery, fill your water tank, and do what every you need to do. Every time there is a discussion of LiFePO4 batteries, there are always a few who say that they are no good if you camp in cold weather (some are now even claiming 'cool weather'). My experience is exactly the opposite, they have worked just fine for me in cold weather. Yes there are limitations on charging, but these are generally easy to overcome, and are not nearly as restrictive as the limitations on your water system.
FWC 09/29/21 02:30pm Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

interesting, at -30 they have more capacity available than SIO2 (80% Vs 60%) first time I have seen a chart that shows preformance below -20. is there a corasponding chart that shows if there is a impact on cycle life when used at these temps or if the amprage (flow) is impared? Nevermind, I just saw that was at a 9 amp discharge. more than enough to run a furnace....... Steve Those discharge curves are for a SAFT 44Ah cell, so a 0.2C discharge rate.
FWC 09/29/21 08:26am Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

You are assuming an awful lot here. Notice I said polar and high altitude, the coldest place we deploy instruments is not the poles, it is the stratosphere. For those measurements, we charge the batteries in the lab, on the ground, same way you would in your camper, then use them at ambient temperatures down to a low of around -80C (-112F) but typically more like -70C. Of course we insulate everything, but internal temps still get down around -40C. But thanks for calling me bud and telling me that the equipment I use doesn't work. Back to the actual point here - there is no reason you cannot discharge a LiFePO4 battery below -20C. ^Ok, fair enough. So you are a researcher in Anarctica. (Because the Arctic never gets that cold and by never I mean at least since LiFePO4 batteries have been around) And apparently you’re out with your instruments on the coldest days of the year or decade in Antarctica. They’re not going to work bud. I’d like to hear how you operate in -94F temps and colder….I’m just a greenhorn I suppose because much below -50F, nothing runs. At -60 you virtually can’t keep heaters fired to to keep fuel heated enough to fire the heaters to have a place to warm your batteries. Even in the Arctic you don’t really go outside much below -50F. Not everyone here has worked or lived above the Arctic circle so your claims may sound impressive but until you can explain the process I’m not buying it. Oh, you must be a freelancer, because I don’t know of any agency or r company that operates in the Arctic that doesn’t have strict cold weather protocols that shut down virtually everything between -35 and -50F for safety. But maybe that’s changed since I worked on the Slope in the winter.
FWC 09/29/21 08:16am Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

I am not trying to be vague, I am pointing out that there really isn't a lower temperature limit to discharging LiFePO4 batteries, only to charging them. This all arose because one user always brings up his specific scenario that he stores his camper at -37C and therefore LiFePO4 wouldn't work - my point is LiFePO4 could work, assuming he heats his camper, as he can use the LiFePO4 to power the furnace that he presumably uses to heat his camper to a livable temperature. This example is so out of the ordinary that it is really not a concern for 99.999% of RVers. In most cases, if you use water in your camper, then you can use LiFePO4. The water system is much more sensitive to freezing than the batteries are. As for my non-camper use - in my professional work I use LiFePO4 (and Li-Ion) batteries to power instruments for polar and high altitude research. Ambient temperatures regularly go below -70C.
FWC 09/28/21 02:48pm Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

There is no physical reason that LiFePO4 batteries can't be discharged below -20C. I don't pre-warm them in any way, just use them. They are generally rated for -20, because they only test to -20C because 99.9% of their customers don't care about performance below -20C. However, some manufacturers do test down to lower temperatures and while they loose capacity at low temperatures, it is not nearly as bad as many battery chemistries: http://www.arhservices.co.uk/GoldenMotor/LiFePO4DischargecapacityVstemperature.JPG width=640
FWC 09/28/21 07:56am Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

Or more accurately, even though "you" personally want your rig "camp-able" at -30 deg and colder, LiFe's still have issues below freezing and you can't just "turn on he furnace" as one person suggested, although they will still "work" to discharge, IE provide power down to well below freezing (Not -30, someone can look it up though ). It's charging when the batteries themselves are around or below freezing. Bottom line, they are a great option for lightweight, and duty cycle for warm weather campers. Not worth fiddling with if one is winter camping. Although it appears some folks (on rvnet here anyway) really enjoy engineering and maintaining "off grid" solutions. I wonder if the "maintenance free" aspect of LiFe's is lost on the added $ and effort to make them work though. Why would you not be able to turn on the furnace at -30? PS, I winter camp extensively with my LiFePO4 batteries and have used LiFePO4 batteries well below -30 (just not in my camper).
FWC 09/27/21 04:44pm Truck Campers
RE: Renogy self heating LiFeO4 battery

The discharge low temperature limit is typically not a hard BMS limit (like the low temperature charge limit) and there is nothing that will physically damage the cells if you discharge below -20C. It is just that the cell manufacturers don't test below -20C because few customers care about that. Some do and actually show pretty good performance down to about -45C. They will loose capacity, but not nearly as much a lead acid batteries.
FWC 09/22/21 08:07am General RVing Issues
RE: Battle Born BB8D

Look at Lifeblue batteries also and compare $$. They have 100, 200, 300ah batteries and if cold temp is an issue they have batteries with warmers in them. The one I thing I don’t like about Lifeblue is their max draw is 150 amps continuous and 200 amp for 30 minutes on their 200ah and 300ah batteries. So I would need to have two to run my 2800watt inverter at full draw where Battle Born is 300amps continuous and 500amps surge for 30 seconds on one of their 270ah. If you are planning on running two in parallel then the max draw adds. So it would be 300A continuous and 400A for 30 minutes wth two Lifeblue in parallel.. That should be more than enough for running your 2800W inverter. And yes, battleborn is over priced. The price of LiFePO4 cells has plummeted in the last year, yet BB prices have not.
FWC 09/21/21 06:23pm Tech Issues
RE: Battery Question

adamis, Starting with the RV at -30 in storage, how do you plan on heating the batteries up? You can't draw much current from them, so you can't run the furnace. It is a fail. There is a good solution which doesn't involve Li. You would start your furnace to warm the batteries, or if you have a battery heater yo would switch it on. However, it is only a tiny percentage of folks who live anywhere where it regularly gets to -30, and of that percentage it is a vanishingly small number of folks who go camping in those conditions. You maybe one, but that does not imply that your limitations apply to others.
FWC 09/18/21 01:53pm Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

The lithium temperature issue is majorly overblown. Most LiFePO4 batteries are rated to discharge down to -20F/-30C and will likely work lower than that, they are just not tested that cold. There is no BMS limit on low temperature discharge. The charge cutoff is programmed into the BMS and varies by manufacturer, but for Battleborn is is 24F/-5C. A simple rule is that if you camp where your are using your RV water system, then you don't need to worry about lithium batteries. It is fine to install LiFePO4 batteries inside the living space of the camper, in which case there is no temperature issue, as most of us don't keep our RVs below freezing when we are using them. If you cannot install the batteries inside the living space AND you plan on using your RV where the AVERAGE (not the minimum) temperature is significantly below freezing, then a battery heater and a blanket around the batteries may be necessary. You can buy batteries with a built in heater, or you can add an inexpensive tank heater under the battery bank.
FWC 09/18/21 01:50pm Truck Campers
RE: Battery Question

OP here. Thank you all for some great insights. I read all your posts and did other research and now I understand the pros and cons of the battery types. Now with that information other questions are raised and again I look forward to any insights you can offer. I am planning on buying a new TC and it will not come with a generator nor with a generator hookup. I am also planning a pretty long trip for next year. Right now it looks like it will be a total of 4 months with at least 2 of them in Alaska. We enjoy boondocking; usually no shore power, so having adequate battery power is important. To that end, I'm sold on the benefit of the lithium batteries and plan to put at least 2 in the TC. The reasons I'm sold on them are 1) lighter weight, 2) OK to discharge further without degrading its capacity, 3) accepts a charge faster. So my next question is... is there anything special I need to know or do if I decide to put Lithium batteries in a TC when the manufacturer was planning on it using FLA batteries? The camper will be equipped with solar panels, either 2 or 3 100w panels. But my question is not about whether those panels would be enough to recharge that much battery capacity, rather the question is about the equipment's compatibility. Thanks I agree that Lithium sounds like it would be a good fit for your usage scenario (off grid camping, weight limited). As for the equipment, drop in lithium batteries WILL work with 'standard' (ie designed for lead acid) equipment, it just won't be optimized for the performance and longevity of the batteries. If you are not planning on keeping the camper long term, then you may not care about the equipment as you should still get 1000+ cycles even while using lead acid equipment with lithium. Now if you do want to maximize longevity and performance, then you may want to use programable/lithium compatible equipment. I am not sure which camper you are looking at, and what sort of solar instal the manufacturer does, but you may want to consider purchasing the camper with a solar pre-wire only and installing the solar yourself or through a specialized solar installer. Typically the manufacturers use low quality electrical and solar equipment. If there is a good chance you will end up replacing the factory equipment anyway, so why pay for it? Victron Energy will be able to provide all you need for a lithium optimized solar install and provides excellent quality and value.
FWC 09/18/21 11:42am Truck Campers
RE: Solar Panel question??????

The Victron MPPT 100/20 48V model will work with 36V battery banks. You will need solar panels with an open circuit voltage near greater than 45V or so, so three '12V' panels in series or two '24V'panels in series.
FWC 09/12/21 08:01pm Tech Issues
RE: Fan Speed Control

The PWM frequency is something like 20 kHz and the Victron is reporting at 1Hz, but may sampling a little higher than that and averaging in software. The BMV-712 current measurement doesn't jump all over the place, so it safe to assume that there is a fair amount of capacitative integration on the ADC which should provide a decent average measurement. There is also no chance of aliasing when the response rate of the sensor is several orders of magnitude lower than the PWM frequency. For the type of measurements we are talking about here it is certainly good enough. For reference the 'classic' Fantastic Fan model 4000R draws ~ 3A on high, 2.3A on medium and 1.9A on low. Using a PWM controller, dialed in for what appears/sounds to be about the same speeds medium and low I am seeing 1.6 and 0.9AThe PWM measurements are deceiving. The fan still draws 3A during the duty cycle period. Your digital current meter is trying to average the ON periods but its sample rate is too slow to be accurate. This is called aliasing. The true average over time will be higher. No fault of your meter. It wasn't designed to accurately measure high speed pulses. The first measurements using the "heating elements" should be accurate because this will be a steady analog signal. The "heating elements" are there to reduce current. The higher the "heating element" resistance, the lower the current.
FWC 08/29/21 08:41pm Tech Issues
RE: Fan Speed Control

Could you suggest a specific brushless fan for replacing the standard fantastic fan and the hardware you would need to make this replacement?
FWC 08/29/21 10:39am Tech Issues
RE: Fan Speed Control

Which is why I am saying you are going down a rabbit hole. You have two different "efficiencies" at work here. 1 is current draw of the inefficient brush can motor. 2 is lack of air movement of the fan blade design. This is why I mentioned trying a computer case type of fan, the motors are high efficiency brushless PWM controlled motor and well designed fan blades that make the most of getting max air flow for the RPMs. If you dig around you can find a 4" computer case fan that draws less than 1A and gets well over 100 CFM of airflow which is more than twice the airflow at 1/3 the amperage of what you now have. Get the right one that runs at a lower RPM and they tend to be very quiet also as a bonus. HERE is just one example. That example is rated roughly 70 CFM at a noise level of 25 DB which is very quiet and runs at 1700 RPM max at 1.08W of power. 1.08W at 12V=.09A!! Yes, you read that correctly one watt of power an yet get 70 CFM of air flow. Full specs can be found HERE The only downside to computer case fans it they are not designed to be reversible, but buy two for one each direction and switch between them. I have converted my trailer fans over to computer fans yrs ago, much less noise with a lot more air movement with a bonus of less current draw. This is all true about brushless motors and better fan designs being much more efficient. However it is also true that a simple and cheap PWM controller can significantly increase the efficiency of the existing fan on all but the 'max' setting. Re-engineering your fantastic fan to use a PC fan is a pretty major undertaking, adding a PWM controller in line with it is fairly easy.
FWC 08/28/21 04:15pm Tech Issues
RE: Vax Passports

Last update. You are still at risk to catch, and spread covid as if you were not vaccinated. Per the CDC. That is completely untrue and not at all what the CDC says. While vaccinated people could still catch COVID and transmit it, a vaccinated person is both significantly less likely to catch COVID and significantly less likely to transmit it to another individual. A vaccinated person is also dramatically less likely to end up with sever COVID and therefore consume medical resources. In no scenarios does a vaccine eliminate all risks associated with COVID, vaccines are about reducing risks, not eliminating them. Here is the current CDC science brief about vaccinated individuals.
FWC 08/28/21 04:11pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Fan Speed Control

My ~0.9A reading was at a speed kind of equivalent to the prior low speed. The current doesn't actually drop that much more when you go even slower, there is a certain amount of energy to overcome friction and that is lost in the motor windings, so the current isn't linear with speed. I don't remember what the minimum current is though.
FWC 08/28/21 10:33am Tech Issues
RE: Fan Speed Control

From my Victron BMV-712. The FF does have brushes, but not user serviceable. Quite frankly the Fantastic Fans, like most RV appliances, are total junk designed in the 1980s.
FWC 08/28/21 09:45am Tech Issues
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