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Boondocking Power

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176turbodiesel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 176turbodiesel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Boondocking Power
    Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 9:45am

Hello!
Just finished up a 28 day adventure with my wife and 2 under 5 kids. We made it.
We stayed at 2 campgrounds without hook ups. My question is, what does the water pump draw and is it 12v and 110v? I am looking into the goal zero 1000w lithium to power the camper (no ac of course) but maybe I should just power up a second battery and run a generator for the 12v system. Help!
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furpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 10:14am
The water pump is 12v, it does not draw but 3 amps. Dual 6v GC2 batteries is the best d/c storage you can get on the tongue without modifications. Switching to dual GC2's from your (probably) single group 24, will nearly quadruple your usable 12v storage, for about $300..
Signature removed, so as not to trigger any non Ford owners, non Irish Setter owners, current R-Pod owners, unhandy or mod negative Pod owners, or single campers of any gender.
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176turbodiesel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 176turbodiesel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 1:41pm
THANKS!
I own a Honda 2000w generator. I was think of using a battery tender to charge the battery on the go. I also think I can wire it to charge when the car is running.
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 4:18pm
One caveat t to using the vehicle to charge: Be sure to run the refrigerator on propane as many vehicles cannot both charge the RPod's battery/batteries and run the refrigerator at the same time. It is better to arrive at the campsite with fully charged batteries and use propane for the refrigerator than to use 12V from the vehicle to run the refrigerator and find that the batteries are not charged enough for your stay.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 176turbodiesel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 6:46pm

I hope to stack as many batteries as possible on my trailer's tongue and charge them before a trip. If I ran out of juice then I would pull out the generator and recharge the batteries. Our style has been to use the propane for everything possible, we just had the experience of totally draining our one battery and all the beeping happening at 2am. Thanks for the help and feedback!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 7:23pm
The lithium you mentioned would be nice, albeit a bit spendy. If you can afford it, that is likely the way to go although you would need to change converters to one that could be programmed for the Lithium batteries. I don't think the stock WFCO converter is suitable for LiFePO4 batteries. It works well for the dual 6V batteries I use. I can get multiple days from them, even with running my CPAP and fans for air circulation. Lights are insignificant since they are LED. The refrigerator has small fans inside plus the fans I added outside to help with hot weather cooling.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 176turbodiesel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 7:44pm
Thanks. It's a how many batteries you can fit on the tray that dictates the 6V in series? I saw a pure sign wave inverter that took in 24v and put out 110v for around $400. The issue is that we could get away with the 12v system and some propane for all of the summer camping. I could weld another bar on the tounge to support 3 12v batteries and use them through a switch. Once we park our pod we tend to drive places, so I can charge all the phones and tablets, so this could be a relatively simple solution, back up batteries that work with the existing inverter.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tars Tarkas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 8:24pm
Originally posted by 176turbodiesel

THANKS!
I own a Honda 2000w generator. I was think of using a battery tender to charge the battery on the go. I also think I can wire it to charge when the car is running.

Why not just plug the pod into the generator and let the onboard converter charge your battery(ies) a couple of hours a day?  Plus, you have 120v power for the duration. That, and a 100w Renogy solar suitcase should keep you going as long as you want with however many batteries you have.

The Goal Zero thing is basically just another battery with a buil-in inverter.  it will need charging on a regular basis, depending on how much you use it.  You're back to needing your generator or a solar panel.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2019 at 11:46pm
I agree. No more than 2 6V batteries on the tongue. Otherwise, you are adding a lot of excess weight that the A frame is likely not strong enough to carry. I'm not an engineer, but I can see trouble if you try to pack too many batteries there. Bring your generator and run it a couple of hours a day to charge through the converter. With that generator, you won't be able to run the AC at the same time as the converter is charging the battery/batteries, but you might get away with running the microwave.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2019 at 6:28am
 I don't know which rPod  and tow vehicle you have but my 179's tongue weight is already over 500 lbs with dual GC2's and a full fresh water tank and propane tank. 

You need to stick with a 12V battery bank because your entire dc electrical systems is 12V. Its better to connect batteries is series than in parallel because they charge and discharge more evenly, so that leads you to a 2 series 6V system.  The GC2 case size is the largest that fits in the existing rack and 2 of those add about 130 lbs to your unloaded tongue weight, which is a lot.

My water pump uses 5 amps. But it is on so little that it is not a significant energy user.  Its simplest way to calculate energy use in a battery system is in amp hours. Here is my daily summertime battery use for example.  it's warm in NC in the summer so I'm running my bathroom fan a lot and I have a couple of portable 12V fans. if I wasn't running those the load would be much lower.  

item dc current quantity hours daily load
single led lite 0.2 4.0 2 1.6
dual led lite 0.4 1.0 2 0.8
bath lite 0.3 1.0 0.2 0.06
outside lite 1.4 1.0 0.1 0.14
small clip on fan 0.5 2.0 12.0 12
fantastic fan h 2.8 1.0 12.0 33.6
fantastic fan m 1.9 2.0 0 0
fantastic fan l 1.3 1.0 0 0
fridge 12V 10.7 1.0 0 0
water pump 5.0 1.0 0.2 1
TV  12V 1.5 1.0 4 6
Stereo 0.4 1.0 8 3.2
heater on 2.0 1.0 0 0
water heater on  0.6 1.0 1 0.6
total daily ah 59.0


So, I can go about 2 days between recharges on my 230 amphour battery pack (don't take lead acid batteries below about 50% state of charge on a regular basis unless you want to replace them frequently). If you need more capacity than the usable 100-110 amphours or so in dual GC2's then either go with lithium or provide a charging source. As you already have the Honda and it appears like you usually have hookups I suggest that you just use that and recharge with the on board charger that came with your rPod. 

If you are planning for longer boondocking adventures and you don't generally camp in deep forest then you can consider adding a 100-160 watt solar module plus charge controller. It does not need to come from any particular manufacturer. That will extend your boondocking dwell time and might eliminate generator use entirely if you're not running the cooling fans or furnace a lot.

If you're considering getting an inverter then think about what 120vac loads you want to be able to run. Forget running the a/c that way, it uses way too much energy. Its possible to run the microwave for very limited times from the battery via an inverter but you need a large inverter. The rest of the stuff that came with your trailer all runs on 12V except the TV, which you can inexpensively replace with a dual voltage one, That is more reliable and efficient than using an inverter. 


2015 Rpod 179
2012 Toyota Highlander
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