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RE: Solar controller tie in

I use these, $12 on ebay for about any amp breaker you want. I use it as an on/off switch to disconnect the solar, or the batt, or the power lead to the 7-pin. With solar you probably never need the vehicle power, so break that connection. breaking it also means your trailer plug will not corrode as easily, no electricl voltage potential at the plug head (positive and negative terminals), mine are not corroding anyway. For the panel safety you disconnect the panel before disconnecting the batteries, so the breaker makes this a lot easier to do. The blister is great, I use that on a trailer. Use Lap sealant as needed. Closer to the batteries is idea, but maybe you can do that long run still; here is what I suggest: Since you will put two panels up then run them in series - positive to negative then out. This is the same "in series" as you do for two 6 volt batteries. This doubles your voltage so you have about 37 volts running through the wire, so you can use lighter gauge wire or use the same and have less voltage drop. The MPPT (and use MPPT) controller can take the 37 volts and drop it down to the 14 needed to charge. This is better than running two 18 volt wires down. Also, if one panel is putting out less voltage, from a bad cell, or shadow, or something is physically on part of the panel, then maybe you only have 35 volts, and this is still plenty, but if running 18 volt pairs, then you have issues. Run the solar straight to the controller then straight to the batteries. Do not try to tie it in to something, many reasons for this, but just dont. The controller may or may not need much venting. I had one in the space under the dinnette seat and it was fine, maybe that is enough air space, so maybe you can put it very close to the battery. It does need to stay relatively cooled though. Further away is ok, and the best place is somewhere where you can look at it often, but where the green indicator light does not keep you up at night (it will be bright when everything else is pitch black). Closer is better because after the controller it will be a lower voltage, so there is more voltage drop. 37 (or 18) volts to the controller, then 14 after the controller.
ajriding 05/31/20 04:33pm Tech Issues
RE: Latest Info on Harvest Hosts & Boondockers Welcome

I used Boondockers a lot for a couple of years. Your stay will depend on the person's house you are staying at. If they are mask breathers, then they probably are scared, but many Americans are done with it all, so the best you can do is ask. Some will be happy to host you, some will not be hosting anyone for at least until Nov 4th. I met great people and you get to stay in the community rather than at a place for visitors. All but one hose was very friendly and I made friends and got a insiders view into the local area. Typically if you need power for AC you pay them $5 per night, suggested, but you ask, if just for battery charging then probably nothing. For water you can offer to pay that 25 cents you will use, and is just between you and your host what you do. I have had host bring me in to shower, and they fed me, and I fixed their bike and enjoyed the evening... Most are just glad to hear about your adventure RVing.
ajriding 05/31/20 04:23pm General RVing Issues
RE: Minimizing inverter usage overnight

not a residential model, it is specific to RVs or off-road Jeep rigs and camping. They run off 36 volts (37), but when plugged into 120v house current still run off 37 volts, and can run off of 12 also, I think as low as 10 or so before it cuts off. This is not a household fridge, It is a special low current, low amp draw compressor, way beyond your house fridge compressor in technology. Well, not way, but it is far better and far more efficient. The best are the chest-style units as the door is on top and no cold air flows out. There are a few front-opening fridges with Danfoss compressors, and one conversion kit that converts a couple specific propane units to this compressor system (just uses the fridge bos, and replaces all the cooling components). If you have a way to use a chest, then do that, but most campers will be best suited for the front door ones.
ajriding 05/31/20 04:16pm Tech Issues
RE: What's the Latest Solar Tech?

I ran my solar wires down the fridge chimney. No holes, just double sided tape to hold the wires down, and VHB tape holding down the solar brackets. With two panels you can run them in series. This doubles the voltage, but the charge controller can convert it back to what the batteries need. Going from 18 volts (used for 12v systems typically) to 37 volts (doubled) means you can use smaller wire, and just one pair of wires. The MPPT controller will bounce this down to the 14 volts needed. There are lots and lots and lots of forum post about installing solar, so i wont go into any details further.
ajriding 05/31/20 04:12pm Tech Issues
RE: Dicor Roof Sealant. Do I need to use the Part 1 Cleaner?

no, Lap sealant is so sticky and gooey that as long as there is no obvious dirt, or a layer of skum it will stick. if you are happy with your soap and water cleaning job then you most likely have cleaned it good enough. I have never prepped a surface with special cleaners, maybe rubbing alcohol, but usually just car wash soap or just windex and it always seals.
ajriding 05/31/20 11:05am General RVing Issues
RE: What's the Latest Solar Tech?

you must have skipped over the post that talked about solar. Agree, the flexible ones are lower quality and more prone to damage and failuer and because there is no protective glass can be damaged by falling limbs or hail easier. They have their place if the situation calls for a thin and flexible panel, but the glass panels are the top choice. mono is slightly better than poly but so close in performance it almost doesnt matter. I cant imagine not having solar panels on my RV now.
ajriding 05/31/20 11:03am Tech Issues
RE: Minimizing inverter usage overnight

The fridge should stay on propane, The OP stated his refrigerator was 120 volt only. LOL, I missed that.... 120volt-only. the hyphen makes all the difference.... He must have bought a used camper and this was his first ever camper. Many people ruin their propane fridge and try to pass off a cheap dorm-style (like the hyphen?) fridge as something that is right for an RV when they go to sell. This error should be addressed if you plan to RV very much. The pipes for the propane are likely just capped off behind the fridge, so adding a propane (2-way or 3-way) will be easy. You can get used ones but that is a gamble. The Danfoss-style compressor fridges are the latest technology for fridges and easier to used and less prone to damage as they can run 30 degrees off-level and be fine. However, you will be using power to run it, so that will compete with your high-draw entertainment system at night. Look up ARB or Engle, or Dometic compressor fridges. Choose one with a freezer and a fridge if you go that route.
ajriding 05/31/20 10:57am Tech Issues
RE: Minimizing inverter usage overnight

No, nothing wrong to do this; flipping the circuit breakers is the correct way to keep fridge from trying to run off your 120 volt alternating current (AC) inverter. The fridge should stay on propane, the ACond has no power, and you can use your outlets for 120v AC. I assume you have the inverter wired into the electrical panel? Not everyone wires the inverter in as it is usually just one or two items that need inverter power. Keep the inverter off when not in use, it draws a lot of power just being on. I once had mine wired so the inverter could not feed the ACond or the fridge. The fridge and ACond ran off the panel. The panel fed the outlets but first went through a 3-way switch that selected either panel electricity or inverter electricity (or off). The inverter was not able to back-feed the panel, and either way the switch was tossed presented no danger. I could be plugged into shore power and have the inverter on and still there was no danger, because the 3-way switch only selected one. Way complicated for me to come up with this the first time btw, but much safer than trying to remember circuit breakers and if I was plugged into shore or or not. On my 3 wire electrical AC system both ground and neutral were grounded, so I had the switch control the hot lead from the panel.
ajriding 05/28/20 04:59pm Tech Issues
RE: What's the Latest Solar Tech?

If concerned about the cold temps, then do consider that portable lithium battery. You can take it inside in the winter, and it is also available for lots of other things wherever you might take it. I literally wish I could go back and get that from the beginning of my project. I have 200 watts solar, and the batts usually recharged by the time I get up; I don't get up right at sunrise. Good call on the 12v items
ajriding 05/28/20 04:47pm Tech Issues
RE: What's the Latest Solar Tech?

I was kidding about the battery fire, but some people worry on this forum about the most minute of things... Agree, you don't want to just imp by with ever decreasing battery charge. If you have batteries, get solar! It cost a few hundred up front, but power is free after that, and long-term much cheaper than a generator, gas and the hassles it brings. You said 30 watt TV. Amps is the critical number, not watts. If you have solar and start the evening off with charged batteries, then TV will not be any problem at all. I have two GC batts and run a big electric Danfoss compressor fridge/freezer and still have available power, and the fridge should be the biggest power consumption I ever use, though an inverter running something big will be a drain also. If you can get DC powered everything this is more efficient than using the inefficient inverter to turn DC into AC, and everything except lights and heaters will turn that AC back into DC anyway (your TV does). You laptop will be the only thing that prob does not have a DC way to charge... Also, with solar, use power early in the day so there is time to recharge before dark, if possible.
ajriding 05/27/20 05:43pm Tech Issues
RE: What's the Latest Solar Tech?

The battery is really the big thing in tech that has advanced. Yes, a little risky to mount lithium in camper cause you fear it will catch fire. Check out this full-timer's review of a couple of systems. He has a Jackery, which is a self contained power pack. A battery, controller and a small inverter in a box not much bigger than your existing battery, and it is lighter. It is portable, so you can take it out and use it, or store it wherever you want. Down2Mob videos If I was going to start from scratch I would consider this. The battery being a huge advantage in that it is light and you can discharge it a lot deeper than a GC battery and not damage it. Being able to discharge it deeper means you get more battery availability, so that one is now equal to two lead acid batts.
ajriding 05/26/20 06:39pm Tech Issues
RE: Costco/ Colman Solar set up?

In that link it shows a poly crystaline panel. That is the lesser compared to the mono. The poly uses chips (think OSB wood) instead of a whole piece of silicone solar stuff (think ply-wood). It is a slight difference. That panel is 4 squares across and 8 down. You can see two lines going vertical through each square. You are better to get a higher quality panel that will have 3 or 4 (or 5?) of these lines going through. They are more efficient. IDK what that charge controller is . If you plan to get a charger controller then get a MPPT. The PWMs are good, but not as good. The MPPT will do a better job and use more "stages" to charge and float the battery. Avoid the $18 ones, they might not even be real MPPTs. The chinese lie so much now about any and everything to sell you their junk it is not even funny. There is good stuff and there is bad stuff made in china.
ajriding 05/26/20 06:29pm General RVing Issues
RE: Costco/ Colman Solar set up?

ebay all that if you want a system. Panels are less than a dollar per watt (100 watts for around $80 shipped), and a good MPPT controller (well, decent controller) for around $50. That's $130 plus the wire and connectors you will use which Coleman may not include. The mono panels are slightly better than the poly panels, but both work fine. Glass is superior to the flexible ones , in quality, not because of the glass, but just of quality.
ajriding 05/26/20 10:10am General RVing Issues
RE: Mini Winnie needs major work

He is undergoing cancer treatment, so might be in a phase where he would want to give stuff away or see it go to some use as it is just stuff and means little to him. He has money so doesnt care about selling it, just does not want the extra stress in his life. I have a young friend that is building out his passenger van so is interested to take a look at what he can salvage out of it too, so we will go soon, and I will try to start it then also.
ajriding 05/26/20 10:03am Class C Motorhomes
RE: tax writeoffs for full timers who work from road

Being full-timers make it complicated. I used my RV almost exclusively for work related travel (to save on hotel cost, or to have a "home" while in places too remote to stay in a hotel). Everything I did in the RV was for work, so this was easy to assess for tax purposes. Because your Rv is your home, then you would live in it 365 anyway, so what days are left to write off anything there? None I imagine. But travel is travel, and you can write off cents per mile, or in a bad-mpg RV maybe write off actual gas expense and calculate other cost based on miles according to irs tax code. I was better writing off miles than actual cost. From the time you leave to go to that far-off work location to the time you get back there are things you can write off like meals, and that amt varies depending on where you are in the country, or parking fees (maybe campgrounds, since you likely are paying rent back home too), tolls, convention ticket prices, supplies for work, or things you know more about than us. To the guy that wrote off every expense.... That works until you get an audit, then you might be sorry. I tend to error on the side.favor/benefit of the irs, not on my side when in doubt about any write-off. Many things I could write off I do not because Im scared of those people. I drive 30,000 miles per year for work, so that is a huge write off by itself, so I don't need to go looking for iffy write-offs. Get an accountant .
ajriding 05/25/20 07:12pm Full-time RVing
RE: Confused and Frustrated

Full time means your motor or transmission or something related to the driving part will have to go into the shop at some point. Even mechanics cannot do many things "on the road" due to not having the tools or shop as if they were at their home garage... A trailer can be parked and then the tow vehicle, usually a truck, but suv also, can be driven like a regular person drives, or towed to the shop. A truck can be towed by any tow truck, and a trailer can be towed by any tow truck, and sometime the driver can use a flatbed for truck and tow the trailer behind the same tow truck (ask me how I know). A class C, even a small one, CAN be towed, but most large tow companies refuse it or have to bring in a very big truck, usually a big flatbed, and drag the motorhome up onto a 4 foot high platform and drive it to the shop. So, harder to get a tow truck for a motorhome than truck and trailer. I had to sit in a parking lot for two days trying to get a tow truck to pick me up once (I had a truck camper, which is a motorhome as far as towing is concerned). As others mentioned, being able to drop the trailer and go drive around, especially in some national parks, is a huge plus. Full timers will end up parking/staying in one spot for longer periods than vacationers, so likely you plan to have safe spots to be able to just leave the trailer and go shopping or driving without your home behind you. Vehicles, even motorhomes, lose value with age and lose value with every additional mile you rack up. Trailers hold value based on their condition, and age is a smaller factor. Another vote from me for a separate trailer. Towing a car behind a motor home means now you have two vehicles to keep up, two vehicles to insure, two vehicles to pay taxes on, and a car is heavy, even a small one so will ultimately put the motorhome into the shop sooner than later from the stress of towing it.... If you are towing the car on its own wheels then that car will rack up the miles even though it is not running, and those miles count the same to a buyer if it was driven or towed. Possible to put 100.000 miles on a car that has never been driven this way. Maybe some cars do not count miles if the vehicle is off, I do not know for sure... If towing the drive wheels on a tow dolly then you avoid this, but you cannot back up a tow dolly with a car on it more than a few feet. Total pain in the neck, and you do not want this full time. Another vote for truck and trailer, one vehicle. With a motorhome you can panic and drive away, but a trailer you have to get out to get in truck. If you want to live in RV, you can't be this sissy. Reality check, escape is not something to consider, it is just not something very high on the list of reality. If someone is after you then that glass drivers side window is not going to protect you either in he time it takes to start up and put it in gear. You can't always escape an attacker. Better to come up with self defense protection you can have from your bed. When the vehicle wears out and the trailer is still in great shape.... trade in truck for new truck and drive away with your old trailer.... Also, get the smallest trailer you can live with. Big giant 5th wheels is great for going to an rv park for a vacation, but the reality of driving with a trailer all the time is that a smaller one is easier to drive, fits in parking places easier, turns around easier, is easier to maintain on the outside, is lighter so less wear on truck, fits in places better (you will not always be in a campground, maybe a friends driveway and they will appreciate a small rig), is lighter so less wear on the trailer tires (less trailer tire expense), can be towed by said tow truck driver, and will give you better gas mileage so you feel more free to roam. Narrow is better than wide. 7 foot wide is better than 8 foot wide. mpg will benefit. Narrow is easier to see behind with mirrors too. Same goes for trailer height. I suggest a tow vehicle with a lot of storage. You can store stuff here, and store stuff that you can take with you if you do drop the trailer off and go drive without it for any reason. I have had, and traveled in a lot all of: one Class C, two truck campers, and 3 trailers. I vote for trailer.
ajriding 05/25/20 06:51pm Full-time RVing
RE: Mini Winnie needs major work

I imagine someone would buy it as is. Like I said, the entire left side will have to come off. I may advertise it as is. I kinda want the genny but rather have #3k
ajriding 05/25/20 11:01am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Battery Life?

I agree with two 6 volt golf cart batteries. This is the easiest route, and on the road you can maybe get a warranty depending where you buy them (lots os Autozones or Advanced Auto or similar all over the nation...). Golf cart batts are real deep cycle. Marine are not deep cycle!!! Marine batts are wrong for RVs IMHO. The Golf cart batts have thicker plates so can be discharged more than a marine battery before death. (i think marine can go 200 cycles, and deep batt can go 2,000??, a car starting battery maybe 2) Benefit of two 6 is that you run them in series so even if one is in bad shape it will not parasitically drain the other one to death. You can replace one 6 and pair with an old 6volt, but mixing a new and old 12 volt is death for the new one. Sounds like a good time for this upgrade.
ajriding 05/25/20 09:53am Tech Issues
RE: Mini Winnie needs major work

Thanks. O am now leaning to selling the chassis and vehicle as scrap. A low miles trans is desirable for someone wanting to rebuild one. Maybe the motor is good for a scrap yard and desirable for such little wear. I really don't want to attempt to get the vehicle running, too many issues, not counting needs 6 tires. I planto call some junk yards, not sure if they buy and come pick it up... I will likely salvage the rv stuff. It is all in great shape and might be worth a few bucks. Is there anything minor I should pull out? water pump fresh tank (not waste ick) AC heater boiler breaker box/charger sink shower faucet/wand shower pan? oven/range propane fittings and regulator gen hub caps door? windows? windows need new rubber table and parts? I think it has a folding couch which is worth $300 or so depending on the steel frame design fridge
ajriding 05/25/20 09:18am Class C Motorhomes
Mini Winnie needs major work

A friend has class C rv. Tryton V-10, less than 30k miles I think. Late 90's model year. He has not cranked it in over ten years. It did run and work perfect when he parked it. He said I can have it, he wants it gone. Major delamination on the drivers side, but I have experience doing those repairs. Probably a little in the roof, but it looked good. Some general cleaning up. The entire side panel will have to come off. it has a nice 2 cylinder Onan, that has not been cranked, but I am more confident in getting that back to life. Im sure the gas is all varnish. The interior is not bad. Im torn wether to take all the valuable RV stuff out to resell and try to sell the motor for parts with the chasis, or to get it running and sell for a little profit.
ajriding 05/24/20 08:28pm Class C Motorhomes
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