EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: "Hooked up" questions  (Read 3147 times)

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7675
  • Central IL
"Hooked up" questions
« on: July 03, 2006, 01:48:25 PM »
I love this Newcomer's area... makes me feel a little better asking basic questions.   ;)  Please bear with me...

Electricity - when your RV is hooked up to electricity, is there anything that will NOT run?  For instance, it sounds like refrigerators will operate on electric or propane... is one better than the other?  Will electricity override the propane, or is there usually a manual switch?  Or is the propane always being used regardless?  Same question with heater and A/C.  Will the batteries and propane be saved when electricity is in use?  Do all the batteries charge when electricity is active, or does the engine alternator have to run for that?  Also it looks like RV's and campsites alike may have 15, 20, 30, or 50A electrical hookups.  If my MH has a 30A plug, do I need adapters to fit every other plug that a site might have?

Propane - how long will an average tank of propane last, and what does it cost to refill it?  Obviously this depends on the type of RV I realize... if it helps I'm looking at mid-80s Class C's, so whatever the average capacity is for something that size/age.

Water tanks - I know what grey and black tanks are now.  But are they connected in some way?  Someone referred to emptying the black tank first, then the grey to "flush out" the system.  Does that mean all the grey water runs through the black tank on its way out, or did I misunderstand.  I remember as a kid when my grandpa would empty the tanks, my grandma would be inside the RV bathroom pouring gallon jugs of water down the toilet.  Is that kind of flushing always recommended/necessary?  And obviously water conservation is a part of this, but how long on average would a say 40-gallon freshwater tank last when camping?  Do you fill before you leave the house, or not until you get to the campground?

Okay I think that's it for now.  WOW, I'm tired of typing and you're probably tired of reading.   ;D
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Ned

  • Former Staff
  • ---
  • Posts: 25574
  • Ned and Lorna are former full time RVers
    • Have you seen Rolling Stock?
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2006, 02:03:44 PM »
Most RV refrigerators will run on either electricity or propane.  Some must be switched manually, some are automatic and will run on 110VAC if connected to shore power or a generator, and propane when not.

The furnace is propane only, in most cases, and does not need 110VAC, just 12VDC from the batteries.  Air conditioners run only on 110VAC and need shore power or generator for their use.

The battery charger will charge the batteries whenever 110VAC is available, again either shore power or generator supplied.

If you have a 30A power cord, then you will need an adapter to use a 50A or 20A receptacle.  They are readily available from any RV supply store.

Propane consumption will depend on the individual appliances so there is no easy way to tell you how long a gives size tank will last.  The fridge is the most frugal while the furnace will use the most.  The hot water heater usage will vary with how much hot water you use.  Propane will cost anywhere from $1-3/gallon, depending on where you buy it.  The most expensive is delivered to your RV in a truck while the cheapest requires taking the RV or bottles if they're removeable, to a propane station.

The black and gray water tanks are not connected.  The reason for draining the gray water tank last is to flush out the sewer hose after draining the black water tank.  Some black water tanks are fitted with a flushing mechanism and if you have one, it's a good idea to use after draining to insure you get all the residue out of the tank.  It's used by connecting a regular hose to a fitting and turning on the water, closing the drain valve for several minutes, then draining.  Repeat several times until the drain water is clear.

Water usage again is a personal thing.  With good conservation techniques, 40 gallons of water can last 2 people for up to a week, but most would find they were running low in 3-4 days.  If you know you will have water available at the campground, travel with a minimum of water then fill up when you get there.  Why carry all the weight around if you don't have to?

These are all good questions.  I suggest you check our library as well for more information.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Carl L

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7303
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2006, 02:14:38 PM »
Quote
Also it looks like RV's and campsites alike may have 15, 20, 30, or 50A electrical hookups.  If my MH has a 30A plug, do I need adapters to fit every other plug that a site might have?

I have a 30 amp rig.  The only adapter I have found useful in some 10 years of trailering is a 30amp to 15amp adapter.  That was mostly for plugging in at home until I got smart and installed a 30amp RV switched outlet.   Nowadays I use the adapter mostly to plug in a circuit tester to check dodgy campground wiring before risking my trailer's circuitry.   
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

Ned

  • Former Staff
  • ---
  • Posts: 25574
  • Ned and Lorna are former full time RVers
    • Have you seen Rolling Stock?
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2006, 02:19:20 PM »
A 50A to 30A adapter would be of marginal use.  Every campground we've been in that had 50A service also had 30A service in the same box.  However, if you have a 50A RV, a 30A to 50A adapter is a must have item.

15A and 20A use the same receptacle.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 19743
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2006, 02:56:00 PM »
For electric, I run with a full set of adapters and some extension cords, however about the only thing I've used in campgrounds since getting my motor home is the 30 to 50 adapter (the MH is wired for 50 amp service)  I have a special outlet here at home for the MH it's also a 30 amp (breakered at 20 and labeled 15)

Refrigerators can run off Gas, 120 or 12vdc, (The last is NOT suggested) mine is gas/120volt, in auto mode it will choose electric over gas (and for good reason)  Works equally well on either source,  hot water likewise can use either 120vac or Gas, When hooked up in a park I normally use 120, I use gas if I'm taking a shower due to the fact that on Gas it heats the water almost as fast as I can draw it (Actually I use both).

Heater, uses Propane only.. I do supplement with an electric heater in many cases because, well,,, The furnance is not properly balanced between front and rear so the bedroom gets a bit cool at night,  The electric is a space heater

How long does propane last.. Can't tell you, too many variables

Black and Gray water tanks... No connection except, They often have a common point where you connect the drain hose,  Usually just "above" the hose connector (before it might be a better term) there is a "T" fitting, this will be AFTER the dump valves.  The idea is to use the gray water, which is mostly used wash/rinse water from the sinks and/or shower, to flush out the hose, not the system but just the hose.

Also, do not forget flushing out the black tank, there should be an special inlet for flushing it, or you can buy a tool, I had to make a tool cause none of the standard stuff did the deed for me (I made good tool, it worked well)

How long will the tanks last, again, too many things can affect the answer for me to give one.

Suggestion, if you plan on dry camping (Camping without any hookup) get a portable water bottle of some kind, this can be a five gallon collaspable jug (coleman, I have 2 of them) or a hard water bottle (i use one of those as a counterweight for my internet tripod) or some folks have found 40 gallon roof top water bags.  You can take these to a water store our faucet, fill them, and then use them to re-fill the tank on your rig.

As for black/gray water.... They make tanks for that too, but not collaspable, and I'd not suggest them for use in a trailer or Motor home unless you don't move often cause they are big and bulky and take up way too much storage space.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Steve, CDN

  • ---
  • Posts: 2389
  • VA3VH
    • The Pallys
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2006, 04:17:27 PM »
Some motorhome manufacturers {I don't know about trailer manufacturers though} sometimes and not universally, so it depends on the make/model,  connect the lavatory sink drain to the black water tank.  The theory being that many people don't put enough water into the black tank, so this design increases the water percentage in the black tank.

My opinion about the most important must have item for dumping and flushing holding tanks is a transparent elbow that attaches to the dump valve of your RV and your sewer hose.

I believe in this accessory so much I carry a spare in case the one in use breaks.   Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

When dumping and flushing, a transparent elbow allows you to see whether your tank is clean of debris or not.  Often the black tank will hold debris at the base and requires additional flushing to break it loose.

After dumping, I like to keep a few gallons of water in each holding tank to keep the valve gaskets wet..even while parked and not in use.  If the RV needs to be winterized, I pour some RV antifreeze into each holding tank to keep the valve gaskets wet.

Good questions, Scotty and very important issues to make your RV experience enjoyable and trouble free.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2006, 04:22:42 PM by Steve, CDN »
Steve, Forum Moderator
Home Page
My Polar Bear Mural

chippysgt

  • Posts: 4
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2006, 06:09:25 PM »
Remember to keep the valve closed on the black water tank until you're ready to dump it and it should be at least 2/3 full or better.  You need that good "swish" when it goes out to help empty the tank.   The clear plastic elbow just down from the valve is a must have.  Rinse until clear water is coming out the drain hose.  Then dump the grey tank.

If you leave the black valve open at the campsite the solids will turn to concrete inside your tank and then you have major, major problems.  Black only open when dumping if you don't remember anything else.  And use plenty of water when flushing the john.

Nothing goes in the toilet that you haven't eaten or drunk.  No paper towels, chewing gum, cigarette butts, tampons, nothing of that type that you might flush at home and get away with it.  Almost guaranteed to get hung up ands cause a clog.

When you go out and get confused, ask one of your fellow rv neighbors.  They'll be glad to answer your questons.

Have fun!!!

joelmyer

  • ---
  • Posts: 1047
  • Joel (W4JNM) and Camille, GA
    • The Retirement Saga
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2006, 07:43:22 PM »
When you mention black water, everybody seems to chime in.

Instead of the simple elbow Steve suggested, I have this
http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus/index.cfm/Maintaining-Your-RV/Sanitation/Drain--Flush-Systems/RV-Hydro-Flush-with-AntiSiphon-Valve/skunum=14496

And wish I had this
http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus/index.cfm/Maintaining-Your-RV/Sanitation/Drain--Flush-Systems/Flush-King/skunum=20522

Either one allows you to back wash the black tank.  The second one would allow you to do so more quickly, but would also allow you to fill it so full it overflowed inside.

Propane.  I'm not nearly so experienced as some of the others, but I think propane will last effectively forever until you start the furnace.  Then if it's cold you'll be filling up in a day or three.

Joel
Joel (W4JNM) and Camille, GA

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44570
    • RV Forum web site
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2006, 07:55:40 PM »
Joel,

Neither of those elbows fit between the sewer outlet and the hole in the bottom of the services compartment on our coach - because of those protruding flush valves running interference. Next time you see me, remind to give you the one I have that doesn't fit.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Steve, CDN

  • ---
  • Posts: 2389
  • VA3VH
    • The Pallys
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2006, 11:17:45 AM »
Well stocked RV stores carry a variety of shapes of transparent inserts for dumping.  There are straight ones and curved ones to fit virtually any configuration of coach design.  If one wants to flush the tank and one of the models Joel suggested can't fit,  it's a fairly easy job to install a flushing system directly to the black and/or grey tank.

A final alternative is to run a garden hose {not the drinking water hose}  into the toilet and lower the hose into the open toilet.  This method works best with an accessory sold for that purpose or can be made with a length of 1" pipe, a hose fitting and a cap at the bottom end.  Drilling a few holes at the capped end will allow water to spray into the tank for flushing.

I keep a full bore Y connector on my water spigot with a check valve on the side I use for flushing the tanks to prevent any backwash from getting into the drinking water.
Steve, Forum Moderator
Home Page
My Polar Bear Mural

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7675
  • Central IL
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2006, 02:27:57 PM »
What do the various elbows/attachments shown do, and how do they connect to the tank?  I'm not quite understanding their function and placement.  Regarding the hose flushing method mentioned above, do you complete that procedure with every black tank dumping, or just on some scheduled basis?  Do campgrounds have a hose you can use when dumping/flushing, or is that something you carry with you in the rig?
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44570
    • RV Forum web site
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2006, 02:53:02 PM »
Elbows are necessary on some RVs in order to form a smooth bend/curve from the RV's sewer outlet to the sewer hose. The "clear" elbows that some of us use also allow us to see if/when the dump cycle is complete. All these elbows attach to the tank with the same kind of bayonet fitting that a dump hose uses.

Do campgrounds have a hose you can use when dumping/flushing, or is that something you carry with you in the rig?

You carry your own in the rig, usually in the basement or in a storage pod provided for the purpose.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Carl L

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7303
Re: "Hooked up" questions
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2006, 03:19:41 PM »
What do the various elbows/attachments shown do, and how do they connect to the tank? I'm not quite understanding their function and placement. Regarding the hose flushing method mentioned above, do you complete that procedure with every black tank dumping, or just on some scheduled basis? Do campgrounds have a hose you can use when dumping/flushing, or is that something you carry with you in the rig?

They all have a standard bayonet coupler.  The pins are on the tank outlet, the slots are on the coupling.   The hose is attached variously by a worm clamp over a smooth bushing on the coupler or by a barb on the coupling.   I like to use a worm clamp on the barbed couplings for a belt and suspenders precaution.

Campgrounds will not furnish you a hose.   The often have cheap hoses for sale at expensive prices, but it is a assumed you will have your own.  We all do.  I carry a hose in two 10' lengths that couple together; a tank coupler with a long bushing;  a right angled sewer inlet adapter with a matching multithreaded bushing to give a gas seal and provide a positive coupling with the sewer that is not likey to be kicked out in use, or, God forbid, during dumping.

Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

 

Hosted by Over The Network