EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: I'm scared.....  (Read 5134 times)

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
I'm scared.....
« on: May 22, 2016, 08:53:44 AM »
... to even start this, but I have gotten to the point where I know I need additional information from experienced people... research just isn't enough.  Even though  I am capable of understanding multiple-linear regression analysis, this whole "full timing" thing is making my head want to explode.

You "old hands" tend to use initial-isms a LOT... Thank goodness for the Glossary link at the top of these pages, it has been invaluable when trying to decipher the codes here and in other forums.  You would think retired/full time people would have enough time to use complete sentences and words, but apparently not (no insult intended, just an observation, so get your butt off your shoulders).   If you choose to respond and help out, thank you... but I will ask you to treat me as the neophyte I am and spell things out, it will really help keep the vein in my forehead from pounding.

Thumbnail sketch:  I am a 57 year old competitive juggler (http://www.thewjf.com if you're interested in the difference between that and the goofs you see on cruise ships) and intend on taking my 40 lb. non-threatening rescue dog Dixie on the road to enjoy the various competitions/festivals across the US before I get too old to do this any more.  I have good people back in WV to run my companies and just attend the board meeting for a couple days a year (which I will fly to)... otherwise I talk to the CEO on the phone only occasionally about anything serious.  I intend on staying inside the "reasonable belt" of weather and have absolutely no desire to cross any national border for any reason.... been there, done that in spades, checked off the list.  I would like to "boondock" for a week to 10 days at a time occasionally when there are no Renaissance or juggling festivals going on.  I will use everything from "resort" campgrounds to Bureau of Land Management deep woods.  I could care less about being "green" but understand the need to be thrifty with electrical/water use... I am under no illusions about how my lifestyle will be changing.  I have always cared about leaving no tracks wherever I've gone and pledge publicly to maintain my high level of concern about the quality of life of others and how I may effect it, so no "rich guy" snobbery here.

Ok, on to what I think I know and what I don't know and need help with....

I live in SD now and understand the issues of "domicile" vs. "residence" and I have good accountants that take care of tax issues for my companies.  They know nothing about RVing in any form, however.  I'm pretty sure I won't need to worry too much about licensing, taxes, mail, etc.  as I've managed to read enough about all that from various forums to know what I need to do.  Vehicle insurance, registration, etc. also covered.  Trip planning and logistical analysis is fun for me, so no problems there either.

I've been using the internet as a data resource since before there WAS a World Wide Web and am well aware of the filtering/interpreting required to separate the wheat from the chaff but I am SO completely without a reference base on this one that it's been more difficult...  It's easy to see who are the "crotchety old farts" that like to find fault in anything but their own opinions/experience or the ill-educated pontificating on what they don't really know, but the fact of the matter is, I realize just how much I don't know regardless of all the reading I've done in the last couple weeks and so here I am, begging for either directions to resources or direct help in my decision making process.  Again, thank you if you wish to add to the discussion... please go away if you don't like how I talk... I don't need you to tell me I'm alienating some potential resources, thanks.

Where I get bogged down is equipment.  Not just trying to find factual specifications, but deciphering the wide range of experienced "opinion" I see when others have asked for advice.  Here are some statements of fact I CAN start with:

I will buy a 5th wheel of some kind.
 
It will have additional insulation beyond the 1 1/2" foam junk board. 

I do NOT care what it looks like nor do I care about the "depreciation hit" you take buying a new unit.
 
I would prefer to buy a recent model used unit that fits all my requirements but then, so would everybody  ;)

I am NOT trying to get this done for this "season", but would like to at least make the base purchases before the snow flies here.

If it doesn't come already installed, it WILL have serious solar/battery capacity as I like my air conditioning but don't want to hear a generator all day every day when I'm out in the booney... hopefully that won't be an issue as I don't intend on staying around anywhere too hot unless it's somewhere I can "plug in".

I am willing to pay to have someone modify the unit to meet my requirements.  I am not overly "handy" but am willing to learn once I have what I want to start with.

I am willing to drive a considerable distance to purchase/pick up the unit.

I do not need/want or care about additional sleeping capability... if the unit has "hide-a-bed"couches or additional bunks I will have them removed any way.  Dixie and I just need a single king sized bed.

There are several other specific requirements I have on my list but I fear this is getting too long and most people (even those with lots of time on their hands) will skip it.  I'm willing to haul water/waste with the (1 ton) truck I'll be buying to haul this behemoth.  I'd like to keep it around 35' as I've seen many references to limited sizes when talking about access to many campgrounds/public lands.  Money is not as much an issue as meeting my requirements.  I will not consider a "motor coach" nor will I purchase based on perceived status by others around me... I mean it when I say I don't care what it looks like... I'd rather NOT spend the money on "solid wood walnut cabinetry", stainless steel appliances or custom paint jobs... I truly do not care.  I also realize that manufacturers seem to think that any "coach" that would meet my baseline requirements equipment-wise would only be purchased by someone that really cares if it looks like it came straight off the front page of >insert coolest RV magazine here<.

So I'm soliciting advice on manufacturers and models.  I've been looking at the Montana High Country series and the Arctic Fox group and have found a couple floor plans that would work (I will be absolute death on my requirement for the primary seating to face the television as I intend on using it for my computer).  I will usually take Dixie with me when I go somewhere, but some festivals don't allow that so I'll need to be able to insure her comfort for several hours while I'm gone.  It seems to me that having a well insulated unit would help compensate for the overall power/fuel limitations in many circumstances.  I will be happy to respond with a more complete list of my specific requirements, but I think if I can get the right shell I should be able to have things modified to meet them post-purchase. Things like 6 point auto-leveling, larger batteries, etc. should all be doable.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated.  My apologies if I offended earlier, but at least now you know more about who you're talking to if you choose to help.

halfwright

  • ---
  • Posts: 1200
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2016, 09:50:42 AM »
Welcome to the Forum!!

First off, it will take a huge solar system to run the AC.  You will be hard pressed to find room for all the needed batteries.

I have no personal experience except with our Montana Mountaineer. But, I have heard that Arctic fox is a good brand.

Other than that, from what I have read in your post,  you have a plan and the ability to implement it. 

I hope you find what you are looking for and enjoy your travels as much as we have.
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, half poodle-- half garbage disposal
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

Koodog

  • ---
  • Posts: 244
  • Another Day in Paradise - Lyons, CO
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2016, 09:58:12 AM »
Sounds to me like you've already got most things covered.
As already described, doubtful you can run AC from batteries for any length of time.
My recommendation is Northwood products for a sturdy, well insulated 5th wheel.
I sure there is quite a selection of models which do not have hide-a-beds, and certainly not bunks. Typically these units are chosen specifically because they have bunks, so not the norm more the exception.
Good luck in your quest.
02 Rexhall 3550BSL
Triton V10 powered
2003 Jeep Liberty Toad
Walt & Terry Sanford

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2016, 09:59:41 AM »
Thanks for the reply and concerns.  I probably wasn't as clear as I should have been re: the AC.  Even if I stay in temperate climates, I have to get the bedroom down to about 70 at night or no sleepy for the juggler.... During the day I'll be able to make do just fine.  I'm hopeful that I can set things up to run a bedroom AC only at night (the whole place when absolutely necessary) and with the door closed and good insulation I would hope it wouldn't run all the time so batteries should last the night... at least that was my hope :/  If that truly isn't possible, maybe I can get a smaller "quiet" generator to get me through ... would hate to do that though since I've seen a lot of comments from folks not liking generators at night, even IF I were in a spot that allowed it.  If life doesn't work out that way, then I'll just have to only go to the woods when it's going to  be a reasonable temperature at night and stay "hooked up" the rest of the time :/

Hopefully this will save someone else some typing in order to give the stats on why you can't run an AC 24/7 while on battery/solar power :P

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2016, 10:02:19 AM »
Sounds to me like you've already got most things covered.
As already described, doubtful you can run AC from batteries for any length of time.
My recommendation is Northwood products for a sturdy, well insulated 5th wheel.
I sure there is quite a selection of models which do not have hide-a-beds, and certainly not bunks. Typically these units are chosen specifically because they have bunks, so not the norm more the exception.
Good luck in your quest.

Thanks, Northwoods was another one I was looking at as well as the Mobile Suites bunch... of course, I may be using the wrong names there as it has been obvious that many manufacturers build many "models" and those model names are used by dealers most of the time without reference to the actual manufacturer... so it's gotten a little confusing comparing forum comments to websites and actual units.

cadee2c

  • ---
  • Posts: 801
  • If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2016, 10:13:36 AM »
Quote
You would think retired/full time people would have enough time to use complete sentences and words, but apparently not

We too are jumping into fulltiming, just got a coach and are in the middle of moving into it from a 3 bedroom house, and getting the house ready to sell. Just yesterday my DH (dear husband) said he thought retirement was going to be easy. He said he might have to go back to work to relax and so people won't bother him.  ;D

There is a lot of good information for your dog in the traveling with pets section. We have two full size dogs who sleep with us, and a queen size bed. I envy you your king.

One thing I found is that no matter how much you research going into this, once the coach (or in your case, 5th wheel) is in front of you, its going to be overwhelming. Id suggest that once you get your rig, spend a few days in it while parked in your driveway or near your home. Go over the owners manual and see where everything is and how it works. Its much easier to do it that way than trying to figure out how to turn off the water while its overflowing the shower or something like that.

Ive noticed that on this site, these old guys know their stuff.

I think most important of all is keep your sense of humor and don't take it very seriously. There are several threads about dumb things people have done. Read up on them and laugh a little. This is all about having fun.

We also do the ren faire so we may see you on the road.

take care,
Caryl- Pilot
Bob- Navigator
Mister Hank - homeland security
Buddy the Dog-  Soul Mutt, forever in our hearts.


1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
2010 Jeep Liberty

Follow your arrow, wherever it points

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2016, 10:39:09 AM »
Thanks for your thoughts :)  I'd already figured on setting out here for a bit, testing, testing, testing... and it will let Dixie get used to everything as well as educate me.  I'm out in the middle of nowhere here and love it... it will probably be the only thing I'll really miss. 

I've read the Traveling with Pets forum pretty far back now and have made a lot of notes.  I'm pretty sure I can keep Dixie legal and comfortable no problem.  The power issue can be resolved with an emergency backup generator and automated monitoring/switching I think.  As long as I wasn't in the middle of actually competing, I'd be able to get back to her in a short period of time.  That's really my only other worry about AC besides sleeping.  I've rescued dogs, cats and horses for the last 20 years and like to think of myself as a responsible pet owner so hopefully with sufficient prior planning her life comfort will be assured :)

As to having fun.... well, you'll have to forgive my rather bristly opening, but I've been around forums of various types for a long time.... built and ran my own multi-line system out of my house before AOL was only a gleam in it's daddy's eye... and having recently tried asking for assistance elsewhere (and making note of the general pattern of discussion on various boards), I see it hasn't changed one bit :P  I AM having fun, but regardless of my (still reasonable) mental capacity, there's just more information out there than can readily be absorbed, filtered and analyzed.  Thought I'd save myself some work AND get out there for people to see so that when the times arise I need additional real-time assistance on something, I won't be a completely unknown factor. :)  I'll end up with no house and a special dog that needs to be taken care of and I want to insure I'm in the best position to do that, and hopefully all this typing will help :)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 10:46:56 AM by TheJuggler »

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2016, 11:02:44 AM »
Actually, on further reflection I apologize.  If a moderator would delete this thread it's probably best, thanks.

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44742
    • RV Forum web site
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2016, 11:25:12 AM »
I see no reason to delete this topic.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Stephen S.

  • ---
  • Posts: 992
  • Marshmallows and Irish Cream. Mmmm.
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2016, 11:36:18 AM »
Hmm. With lots of 5th wheels the bedroom already has a door. Mounting a small AC through a wall would be fairly easy, and would also be easier to power from a battery bank. Hey, someone on the Forum has a residential fridge running on batteries, a small AC shouldn't be too hard.

Since you mentioned Ren Fairs, I was wondering if I'd seen you. Ever been to the Georgia Renaissance Festival?
Stephen S.
===============
'99 Winnebago Chalet
2002 VW Beetle
2007 Yamaha TW200
Home town: Mableton, GA

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2016, 11:41:27 AM »
@moderator As you wish.  I just don't want to create a problem right off the bat.  Reading a LOT more I see there's actually a lot of good folks here that would take an opening like that the wrong way.  I thought it best to just keep reading and stop typing :)

Stephen S.

  • ---
  • Posts: 992
  • Marshmallows and Irish Cream. Mmmm.
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2016, 11:47:03 AM »
Beginners butterflies. We've all been there.

You came to the right place to ask, vent, rant, cheer, sigh,... as you go through the experience of starting a new lifestyle.

Just picture a bunch of laid back folk sitting around a campfire. That's all we are. Pull up a chair and be yourself.
Stephen S.
===============
'99 Winnebago Chalet
2002 VW Beetle
2007 Yamaha TW200
Home town: Mableton, GA

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2016, 11:49:27 AM »
Hmm. With lots of 5th wheels the bedroom already has a door. Mounting a small AC through a wall would be fairly easy, and would also be easier to power from a battery bank. Hey, someone on the Forum has a residential fridge running on batteries, a small AC shouldn't be too hard.

Since you mentioned Ren Fairs, I was wondering if I'd seen you. Ever been to the Georgia Renaissance Festival?

I've read some amazing things in various places regarding what folks have been able to do with sufficient batteries/solar cells.  I'm not aiming to build a rig like this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5Fb0kQMwQg
but certainly nothing I buy from a manufacturer is likely to meet my needs without sincere upgrading.  I'll keep a technical discussion to the correct threads but I really think having nighttime and occasional daytime support for Dixie in a trailer bedroom shouldn't be TOO impossible...

Right now I just have to find the right base unit to modify.  Someone could make some money out there by becoming truly fluent in all the support system manufacturer's and the cost/efficiency/limitations of each as well as the trailer makers and be able to offer design services... of course, I haven't done any serious research into folks who do custom trailers yet so perhaps that's part of the cost there.

In that regard, any suggestions on established businesses that can do warranted custom work would be appreciated as well.

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2016, 11:51:24 AM »
Beginners butterflies. We've all been there.

You came to the right place to ask, vent, rant, cheer, sigh,... as you go through the experience of starting a new lifestyle.

Just picture a bunch of laid back folk sitting around a campfire. That's all we are. Pull up a chair and be yourself.


*tips hat*  You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar.

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2016, 12:02:59 PM »
Hmm. With lots of 5th wheels the bedroom already has a door. Mounting a small AC through a wall would be fairly easy, and would also be easier to power from a battery bank. Hey, someone on the Forum has a residential fridge running on batteries, a small AC shouldn't be too hard.

Since you mentioned Ren Fairs, I was wondering if I'd seen you. Ever been to the Georgia Renaissance Festival?

I had seen several units with dual ACs that operated separately (two thermostats) and was assuming it wouldn't be too tough to close off the space.  Since they operated seperately, any emergency system should be able to be set to power only that unit.  Of course, I've also seen where you can have a system that will let the battery bank run it until it discharged a certain amount, then kick on a generator so I suppose that would do the same thing... and perhaps be helpful in other situations.

No, I've not been to that one, much to my Aunt's chagrin (she lives in Atlanta and knows it would result in a visit) :)  I'm sure I will soon though :)

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61070
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2016, 01:56:49 PM »
Running just one a/c is usually a built-in capability, and nicer rigs typically have a bedroom door as well. I see no difficulty in meeting that need.

I do, however, think you are going to stumble on the overnight a/c power usage. Even a modest 13,500 btu a/c draws around 11 amps @ 120v, and they tend to run quite a bit unless it is a cool evening to begin with.  To generate 11A of 120v via an inverter requires about 120A @ 12v from the batteries, and a typical  size 12v battery can only store about 85-120 amp-hours (AH), of which about 50-60% are usable before the voltage drops too low to power an inverter. That means a lot of batteries, and batteries are heavy (figure about 65 lbs per 100 AH). And you still need a genset to recharge them during the next day.

I also think you are going to run into problems trying to insulate better, since the sidewalls simply aren't thick enough to do much better, plus there are windows, skylights, etc. that allow a lot of heat transfer.  You might be able to get one of the custom RV makers to do something for you, though. Get in touch with New Horizons RV and see discuss your needs. North American RV is another possibility. Keystone won't even discuss a custom built Montana with you.

A customized Class A motorhome would probably be easier to adapt to your program than a trailer. Have you rejected that possibility?
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2016, 06:14:14 PM »
Running just one a/c is usually a built-in capability, and nicer rigs typically have a bedroom door as well. I see no difficulty in meeting that need.

I do, however, think you are going to stumble on the overnight a/c power usage. Even a modest 13,500 btu a/c draws around 11 amps @ 120v, and they tend to run quite a bit unless it is a cool evening to begin with.  To generate 11A of 120v via an inverter requires about 120A @ 12v from the batteries, and a typical  size 12v battery can only store about 85-120 amp-hours (AH), of which about 50-60% are usable before the voltage drops too low to power an inverter. That means a lot of batteries, and batteries are heavy (figure about 65 lbs per 100 AH). And you still need a genset to recharge them during the next day.

I also think you are going to run into problems trying to insulate better, since the sidewalls simply aren't thick enough to do much better, plus there are windows, skylights, etc. that allow a lot of heat transfer.  You might be able to get one of the custom RV makers to do something for you, though. Get in touch with New Horizons RV and see discuss your needs. North American RV is another possibility. Keystone won't even discuss a custom built Montana with you.

A customized Class A motorhome would probably be easier to adapt to your program than a trailer. Have you rejected that possibility?


First let me thank you for your time, Gary.  I've seen your name a lot on here and appreciate your input.

Hmmm... The amperage draw for the small AC was the data I didn't have, thank you for that.  I'm seeing references to pretty stout insulation on units by Arctic Fox (plus you get a supposed "off road" frame) at R38.  Given double pane tinted windows and the small space of a bedroom only, I just can't get my head around an AC unit that size having to run constantly... or even 50% of the time, to keep the bedroom at 72 even in 90 degrees plus.  Perhaps I give the insulation more credit than it is due, though.  Thus my need for additional empirical data.

I've read that a temperature differential between inflow and outflow on a 13.5k unit should be between 15 and 20 degrees... once the space is cooled to the proper temperature (from 90 degrees outside I suppose), wouldn't it maintain temp at night  without having to run all the time as the temperature is dropping?  I mean at that point the return air is already at 72 degrees right?  Then all you're dealing with is the "bleed off" from the shell...  I'm seeing anecdotal evidence of a 13.5k AC cooling a 24' cheap-o trailer in 110 degree heat (only down to 80, but still)... but that could also be complete bull.

The Montana High Country brochure states R38 on roof and floors but only R10 on the side walls, obviously an issue.  Adding foil bubble to the outside of the windows in the bedroom would help (I've read not the inside as that will mess up the seals on the double panes). 

As long as the frame would hold it, I have no problem with an 8 battery bank of whatever is the best you can get.  The whole solar issue is more to take the pressure off the generator to refill them for the next night than anything.  I also understand that it's better to use the generator first to get the batteries back to 80% or so as they are slower to recharge for the final 20%... do you know if this is common among all 6v batteries? 

I would invest in something like a 6500w generator which I would hope could provide enough amperage to run the AC by itself as well as the fridge, my laptop and some lights... at least according to here: https://www.steadypower.com/pages.php?pageid=133  - using the startup watts since I know that's what the AC will draw each time the compressor kicks on...

As to the Class A..... sigh.... I REALLY don't want to go that way as that would require dragging a vehicle around to use for exploring and general outings.  It would also require different licensing than I'm used to (I could drive it... drove bigger things in the Army) not to mention the whole "second engine" maintenance thing.  I hope to be planted stationary for at least a month at a time during the "off" season for the festivals though and that will require me to have additional, substantial, transport.  Of course, if that's how it must be in order to sleep comfortably at night then that's what I'll have to switch to... I see a whole new researching project in my future I think :/

I knew electric would be my big issue.. at least when not "hooked up".  It's also possible that I can leave my "boondocking" time for only areas/times of the year when night time AC isn't that big a deal.  Adjustments are easy since I can pretty much do what I want timing-wise.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 06:15:54 PM by TheJuggler »

Lou Schneider

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7418
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2016, 06:54:37 PM »
Insulation is really limited by the width of the RV.  Northwood uses R18 fiberglass and R15 "reflective" insulation in the ceiling, for a theoretical R-33.  But note there's no fiberglass in the area used by the air conditioning ducts, a practice common to most RVs with ducted air conditioning.

In the walls, Northwood uses 2 lb. dense foam block insulation that has a R value of about 6.5 per inch.  If the foam is 1 1/2 inches thick it would give R-10 wall insulation.  That's pretty light by home construction standards, but that's the tradeoff given the RV's width limits.  Make the walls thicker for higher R values and you pinch off the living area inside the RV.

If you're concerned about insulation, forget the Class A.  At one end you have that massive windshield punching a hole in the box, in the other you have whatever insulation is between the bed and the exposed rear engine compartment (hot when the engine is running, cold and open to the outside air when the RV is sitting).
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 07:03:05 PM by Lou Schneider »

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2016, 09:00:25 PM »
Insulation is really limited by the width of the RV.  Northwood uses R18 fiberglass and R15 "reflective" insulation in the ceiling, for a theoretical R-33.  But note there's no fiberglass in the area used by the air conditioning ducts, a practice common to most RVs with ducted air conditioning.

In the walls, Northwood uses 2 lb. dense foam block insulation that has a R value of about 6.5 per inch.  If the foam is 1 1/2 inches thick it would give R-10 wall insulation.  That's pretty light by home construction standards, but that's the tradeoff given the RV's width limits.  Make the walls thicker for higher R values and you pinch off the living area inside the RV.

If you're concerned about insulation, forget the Class A.  At one end you have that massive windshield punching a hole in the box, in the other you have whatever insulation is between the bed and the exposed rear engine compartment (hot when the engine is running, cold and open to the outside air when the RV is sitting).

I suspected as much on the Class A, but was going to do some more digging to try and get specifics. :/

On the Northwood... I DID send an inquiry to one of the links Gary posted asking about being willing to give up additional interior space to add insulation.  They will of course say "No" because that would mean doing EVERything outside their normal way of doing things.  Unless I was a rock star getting a true "custom bus" built, I'm sure no one will be willing to find all new materials, re-engineer their structural plans and pay overtime for employees who have no idea what's going on because they always make them all the same. :/  Sadly I am both unable and unwilling to spend $2,000,000 on a mid-life crisis vehicle :P

I just don't get it... how tough would it be to give up an additional 4 inches (2 on each side) to double the insulation factor.  I have to say that keeping things warm is usually the subject matter, but in two weeks this is one of the most consistent questions I've seen on various forums (aside from "what medical insurance do I get?").  I just can't see being unwilling to lose 4 inches in order to gain a huge amount of efficiency ... but then, I also don't get custom paint jobs either :/

It looks like I'm most likely just going to have to suck it up and only stay at places where I can "hook up" everything or else only go to rustic areas when the night time temperatures are reasonable to sleep in... but, I hold out hope that some genius will have figured out a way (like that kid and his 3kw solar outfit on youtube I linked earlier) and it will be feasible in some way that doesn't require spending like a rock star :P

Stephen S.

  • ---
  • Posts: 992
  • Marshmallows and Irish Cream. Mmmm.
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2016, 09:16:18 PM »
One thing I have wondered about when thinking of extreme climates is setting up a canvas "garage" over the RV. I wonder just how much the layer of air between the RV wall and the canvas would help with heating or cooling the inside of the RV?
Stephen S.
===============
'99 Winnebago Chalet
2002 VW Beetle
2007 Yamaha TW200
Home town: Mableton, GA

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2016, 09:20:32 PM »
One thing I have wondered about when thinking of extreme climates is setting up a canvas "garage" over the RV. I wonder just how much the layer of air between the RV wall and the canvas would help with heating or cooling the inside of the RV?

I'm guessing it would help, but not be acceptable to a lot of campground owners :/  but I know nothing so don't listen to me :P

I don't consider 90 degrees during the day extreme, though.  And I don't think in today's age of amazing materials it should be that tough to engineer something much better than appears to be available.  Of course, there may be less demand that I seem to think from only a couple weeks worth of reading.... I also don't understand (other than weight) what the big deal is about thicker walls for more insulation...  "We can put a man on the moon" and all that.....

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2016, 10:47:17 PM »
HAH!  I found the answer.... I think.  Lithium batteries... a little more than 1/3 the weight, can be discharged to 20% with no problem, charge time is dramatically less and consistent up to 100%, much less maintenance and the new formulations (specifically Lithium Iron Phosphate) do NOT catch fire like the pre-1996 versions.  I can easily double the normal amount of onboard juice for less weight, hassle and drama.  More cost, yes, but at 2000-5000 cycles, it sounds like it would last many years.  Add 1kw of solar and a boosting whatchamacallit and it looks like I'm in like Flynn....

Also see here for a system that is proven to work:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rZY5uotKI   Again, I would have a larger battery bank.

Equipment list: http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/off-grid-solar-rv-air-conditioning

Feel free to have a look at a system half the size I would install here:  http://www.technomadia.com/lithium/

Thoughts are appreciated.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 11:04:44 PM by TheJuggler »

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61070
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2016, 08:50:23 AM »
A lithium battery is definitely a big plus, with the lower weight and far less voltage drop-off. Takes about the same physical space, though.

As for the insulation and wall thickness, RV makers build for the volume market and most people are more impressed by the interior decor and space than the R-value. And a lower price. RV manufacturers that tried to offer more effective/efficient designs have repeatedly floundered and failed, providing an object lesson for those that remain. And for the new owners that purchased the bankrupt outfit.  Your wants & needs are those of a very small portion of the buying public.  I'm not saying you are incorrect, but it's a fact of life.

You are, however, missing one salient fact about any RV.  The size and shape means that just about every inch of wall is an exterior wall and thus transferring heat. And even just one person breathing in a small room contributes both heat and moisture to a surprising degree. Cooling an RV is not at all like cooling a house and it typically takes at least double the btus to cool even a small area. A 30-35 ft RV typically needs 25k-30k btus to keep in the 70's inside, whereas that much a/c would probably handle 1000 sq ft of house.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2016, 11:20:01 AM »
A lithium battery is definitely a big plus, with the lower weight and far less voltage drop-off. Takes about the same physical space, though.

As for the insulation and wall thickness, RV makers build for the volume market and most people are more impressed by the interior decor and space than the R-value. And a lower price. RV manufacturers that tried to offer more effective/efficient designs have repeatedly floundered and failed, providing an object lesson for those that remain. And for the new owners that purchased the bankrupt outfit.  Your wants & needs are those of a very small portion of the buying public.  I'm not saying you are incorrect, but it's a fact of life.

You are, however, missing one salient fact about any RV.  The size and shape means that just about every inch of wall is an exterior wall and thus transferring heat. And even just one person breathing in a small room contributes both heat and moisture to a surprising degree. Cooling an RV is not at all like cooling a house and it typically takes at least double the btus to cool even a small area. A 30-35 ft RV typically needs 25k-30k btus to keep in the 70's inside, whereas that much a/c would probably handle 1000 sq ft of house.

The battery bank size will be determined partially by the power storage density and lithium is 2.5 times as dense as lead acid.  My quick investigations would show that there will be a considerable size savings.  Also, over the life of the battery, the cost for equivalent number of cycles is considerably less.... actually less than half as you can see in the chart here: http://www.technomadia.com/2011/11/lithium-update-3-lithium-battery-cost/.  Remembering of course that you'll be discharging the Lithium to 20% remaining while only going to 50% with the lead acid.  Add to that the low/no maintenance, no fumes/fire risk and this is certainly the way to go I think.  Of course, it will all get MUCH better in 5 years if Elon Musk decides to adapt his current "Powerwall" offering to RVs :) https://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall

I assumed market forces were what has shaped the current offerings, I'm just an odd duck I suppose.  Luckily it would appear that there is some hope, based on the response I just received from North American, quoted for your convenience below.  Thank you for the link yesterday, it appears to have been invaluable. :) 

Coupled with the new power information, I now think it's possible to design a unit that will allow for chilling the air continuously in a segregated space for up to 12 hours at a time on battery only.  One that is supplemented by solar and a generator that would allow for extended stays "unhooked" in the right conditions.  This aspect of the unit would not have been in any way a deal breaker in my overall plan, but knowing it's at least possible allows me to add an dimension to things that I think will substantially enhance my quality of life for an extended period.

I'm going to look forward to seeing what North American has to say as I dig in to more details.  I copy and paste his email below because it really amounts to just a short selling piece and I'm sure he won't mind.  If there's an interest, I'll get his OK to share the process as we go along, but I think I've found the folks that can make what I'm looking for.  Because they also do "work" trailers of various sorts, they're used to function over form and seem to be able to produce just what I'll need, at least as a base to work from.  It will be interesting to see how far I'll have to go for the solar/lithium work, but maybe they can do that, too.  Here's the response:

*********************
Thank you for contacting North American Custom Built RV.

Due to the fact that about 80%of our customer base are either full or nearly full time RVers, we  offer up to R-52 Insulation value in our units. A good share of our customer base live in their units and move with their work. We offer this heavy insulation package a couple different ways.  1.  A  true year round Winter Pack includes up to R-52  (R-14 Double insulation and then R-38 Reflectant Foil Wrap insulation), plus heated holding tanks, Fully enclosed underbelly with  enclosed dump valves. The R-38 Foil Wrap was developed for NASSA to insulate the space shuttles. We have had great success with this in addition to our double fiberglass R 14 Insulation.  We have a customer we built a 3 bedroom 54’ Fifth Wheel who was working in North Dakota last year on the pipeline and he as well as several others, have raved about how easily the unit heats & cools.  2. You can get this in an Al-a-cart version if you don’t want the cold weather pkg and you are only I warmer climates.

Adding Thermal insulated windows is the next key element to this equation making these unit as close to a house type insulation quality available in our industry.
*********************

I would say having 1200 Ah of battery, 1kw of solar and a 8kw generator would put me in a position to do just about anything I want :)  I'll have to go with a toy hauler shell so I can convert part of the garage to be a "power room" probably, and give myself enough roof space to get most/all of the solar panels up there.  I'll want to bring additional gas and water, too, I think, so a garage would be handy for that, not to mention the show junk I'll accumulate if I decide to do any performing as well as competing.  Longer overall unit but still a dually 1 ton should do it, letting me have the freedom to at least "tent in" to the places I can't stay at because it will be too big. 

Yes... I'm thinking this is entirely possible now.  Thanks again for your help.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 04:44:31 PM by TheJuggler »

JudyJB

  • ---
  • Posts: 957
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2016, 11:36:56 PM »
I don't know where you plan to travel, but the good news is that in the drier states, even in summer, the nights can get downright cold.  I try to avoid 90 degrees and up during the day, but I can tell you that in the southwest, a lot of times I run the AC in the daytime and then switch to heater as soon as the sun sets.  For example, a couple of days ago, it was 86 during the day and dropped down to 40 that night.  And last night, near Taos, NM, it was 77 during the day and dropped to 30 that night. 

Unless you have a reason to stay in one area of the country, the nice thing about an RV is that you can move north if it is too hot and south if it is too cold!  I try to stay in areas where days are 70-85 and nights are chilly.
Full-timing for over five years in a
2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31N

AndyJ

  • ---
  • Posts: 60
    • My Old RV
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2016, 11:19:45 AM »
Let me address the sleeping comfortably at night issue as 70 degrees is my cutoff as well.  I spent 5 months last year in Central Texas off grid with a large dog in a mid range 32' TT.  I have a 200w solar system and 220ah of batteries.

A small 2kw inverter generator like a Honda or Yamaha is a nice addition.  Lightweight, quiet, miserly on fuel. These models will NOT run a rooftop AC unit.

Ventilation fan(s) like the Fan-Tastic model are worth their weight in gold.  They draw little power and will run easily all night on a single house battery.  Opening a bedroom window and allowing the fan(s) to draw fresh air across the bed will extend your comfortable sleeping range quite a bit.

Around mid-June I found the RV too hot to lounge in by around 1pm daily.

I installed a 5k BTU window AC in the bedroom  out of necessity.  The small generator ran it handily all night on around 1 gallon of fuel.   Normal routine was to turn the generator/AC on approx one hour before retiring and close the bedroom door.  It was cooled nicely by the time I went to bed.

The generator was routinely run for an hour or so morning and evening for coffee, microwave, top off the batteries etc.   I survived June, July and August and saw temps go north of 100 degrees on many days.  I lived to talk about it.  8)

Fulltiming in a 2010 Puma 30RKSS
1993 Dolphin 32D -destroyed by South Texas Hail storm Easter 2013

My Old RV

Oilfield Gate Guard Online Forum

TheJuggler

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2016, 11:33:32 AM »
Let me address the sleeping comfortably at night issue as 70 degrees is my cutoff as well.  I spent 5 months last year in Central Texas off grid with a large dog in a mid range 32' TT.  I have a 200w solar system and 220ah of batteries.

A small 2kw inverter generator like a Honda or Yamaha is a nice addition.  Lightweight, quiet, miserly on fuel. These models will NOT run a rooftop AC unit.

Ventilation fan(s) like the Fan-Tastic model are worth their weight in gold.  They draw little power and will run easily all night on a single house battery.  Opening a bedroom window and allowing the fan(s) to draw fresh air across the bed will extend your comfortable sleeping range quite a bit.

Around mid-June I found the RV too hot to lounge in by around 1pm daily.

I installed a 5k BTU window AC in the bedroom  out of necessity.  The small generator ran it handily all night on around 1 gallon of fuel.   Normal routine was to turn the generator/AC on approx one hour before retiring and close the bedroom door.  It was cooled nicely by the time I went to bed.

The generator was routinely run for an hour or so morning and evening for coffee, microwave, top off the batteries etc.   I survived June, July and August and saw temps go north of 100 degrees on many days.  I lived to talk about it.  8)

Glad to hear your experience on such a light weight system :)  I think the inclusion of a "soft start" http://www.fairford.com/product/hfe/ might help expand the range of what the overhead 13.5btu unit would "run" on.  There will be R52 insulation in floors/walls/ceiling and I was thinking that with the door closed and only cooling the bed/bath it won't run all that much anyway as far as overnight...  I'll definitely be having vent fans in all three (if I go with a 40' trailer) ceiling vents :)

The way it looks now, I'll probably have a roof covered with solar panels (maybe as much as 2000 watts, talking to Starlight now) with a min. 1200Ah (960Ah usable) lithium battery bank and that should get me by most times with no generator usage.  With hydronic heating for those cold overnights and a super miserly fridge (still working on research there) I have to say I think living reasonably comfortably with no generator hum will be possible most of the time :) 

All depending on weather of course... and generator time is inevitable I know.  I just want to minimize it as much as possible.  I don't want to be "that guy" when I'm around other folks and I want to enjoy the peace and quiet when I'm alone :)

Mandaid

  • ---
  • Posts: 6
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2016, 11:51:52 AM »
In my own battery research I also stumbled across Technomad from Technomadia and I got the impression that Lithium batteries need just as much or more maintenance than Flooded cell/AGM lead acid batteries. I surmised that it was not the Li batteries themselves that were troublesome, but a lack of available support components, namely a good charge controller.

In regards to the air conditioning: I live with my wife in a small 24ft. travel trailer. When Boondocking off grid, my Onan 2.5 kw Propane generator was enough to run the AC unit, fridge, microwave, and water heater simultaneously. I realize you will have greater power needs but I wanted to give you another reference point.

Many "toy hauler" models come standard with an onboard fuel station and a gasoline generator. I think the cost of getting a super quiet custom muffler job would be cheaper and less hassle than the maintenance on a large solar array. This would save space as well.

Cheers.

caz

  • ---
  • Posts: 35
  • Retired, Full Time RVing, and Lovin It!
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2016, 10:05:52 AM »
  Even if I stay in temperate climates, I have to get the bedroom down to about 70 at night or no sleepy for the juggler....

We just hook up a clip-on fan at night pointed toward the bed and that keeps things nice and cool at night. (less noise than the AC, too.)   And, we also have the luxury of following the weather, whereby we are in SD or ND or somewhere north during the summer, and south during the winter.  Working with your job, however, that might not be possible....

BTW - we are from SD, too. :)  Good Luck and Enjoy Full Timing!
Caz - SD

JDOnTheGo

  • ---
  • Posts: 395
    • JdFinley.com
Re: I'm scared.....
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2016, 03:44:07 PM »
This is a semi-old thread.  Did you get your questions answered TheJuggler??  Did you end up purchasing anything?  If so, what did ya get?
JD - Full timer out west
1998 MCI 102 EL3 Revolution | 2010 Wrangler (daJeep) | 650 Watts Solar
My Adventures

 

Hosted by Over The Network