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Old 07-30-2016, 03:00 PM   #11
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Northwest NJ
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Thanks for all the replies. I think Inwill bring the generator as a backup. It really doesn't take up much room to have it along.

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Old 07-30-2016, 07:58 PM   #12
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Take the generator with you. We have been dry camping for more than 40 years with a variety of rigs from a 1973 Chevy Surfer Van to our newest fifth-wheel. Our little Honda Eu 1000 is all we need to keep batteries charged, run TV's occasionally, but most of all to provide the security that we will not be stranded with dead batteries anywhere, especially when the weather does not cooperate. When the Honda is running in "Economy" mode no one can hear it unless you are within 20 feet.

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Old 07-30-2016, 08:54 PM   #13
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 56

Hooray for you. My wife and I are snowbirds and spend most of six months on the road with 100 watts of solar power. I carry a Honda 2000 but never used it last year but nice to have just in case. I hate the sound of generators. My Honda is quiet but even at idle the noise carries a long ways. Our biggest restriction on how long we can stay is grey water.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:15 PM   #14
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fander - I agree with your sentiment about the noise of generators, especially in those very special, remote camp sites where the sound of a falling leaf can disrupt the silence. My wife and I try our best to be responsible campers, and we never run our little generator in close to proximity of other camp sites, or in such a way that it would disrupt the privacy of nearby campers. We often camp in the local San Bernardino Mountains here in California, and we are too often confronted with camping families who think nothing of running their generators all day long at their camp site, when no one is there!! Then they come back to camp and crank up their "Boom-Boxes" to incredibly loud levels and wonder why people complain!!

I'm thinking about writing a book about all the things that people do wrong when they are camping. No.....I'm too old for that!!
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:39 PM   #15
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Location: Florida
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Originally Posted by Gaberdeen View Post
We are heading up to Sebago State Park in 2 weeks. We much prefer the sites that don't have any hookups and will be dry camping for 1 week. Here is my current set up. I just upgraded the batteries to 2 6v Trojan t105's wired in series. I also purchased a Zamp solar 160 watt portable solar charger. My main draw on the power I believe will be running the propane fridge and lighting at night. We might watch a movie or 2 while there to keep the grandkids entertained. Coffee ( a must have ) will be made on the coleman stove using a percolator as will most of the cooking.
So what do some of you more experienced folks say. Am I safe leaving the generator home? I hate using the thing even though its a run quiet model. Any other suggestions or tips?
I would bring the generator just in case. We also have the Trojan T105s and it's almost like having a powerhouse. Run the fridge on propane as it takes just a pilot type flame to power it. No sense to use any electrical power there. Watch TV all you want as today's LED TVs take little power to run. If you have LED lighting you can use all the lights you want. If you don''ll want to swap them out for LEDs asap.

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Old 07-31-2016, 09:28 AM   #16
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Location: Lake Tahoe
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We use close to the same set up and dry camp mostly as well. The thing with the portable solar is that you must "chase" the sun all day. The panel should be exposed to full sun a minimum of 3 hours per day to get a pretty decent charge back to the batteries. I made up a 14 gauge 50 foot extension cord to be able to move our panel around our site to gain full sun. Voltage lose over 50 feet is .1 to .2 volts so not a big deal. Your batteries will charge without full sun but it's painfully slow. I agree as well with others that generators are noisy and a pain but that said I also carry it along as a backup. The t-105s are amazing!
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:53 AM   #17
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If you have a Dometic fridge, you can significantly improve battery life by going to the control panel in the back and unplugging the wire labelled "light/htr". The fridge has a door seal heater that draws around 1A ALL THE TIME when the fridge is operating. It doesn't seem like a lot but that's 24A/day.

Many years ago, they had a shutoff switch to disconnect the heater strip, Later, they removed the switch but left the hole in the frame for it, with accessible wires. Now, if you want to just shut off the heater, you need to cut the power wire to it where it is attached at the interior light and install a switch there.

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Old 08-31-2016, 09:03 AM   #18
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A weather forcast for upcoming week shows temps in the mid 50's at night. Unless you have heavy comforters, you'll probably running heat at night.

Your solar and battery setup should work fine even with the heat running at night.

With that said, I have a pretty sweet solar setup on my fiver, 650 amp hours of battery capacity, 400 watts of solar, 1500 watt true sine wave inverter, etc..etc... and I always carry my 3k generator with me. I usually leave the 3k generator in the truck bed and in my front storage, I have a small 800 watt HF 2 stroke generator which can easily charge one battery bank at at time-all 3 banks are switched.

Bring the generator! If it is too large, consider getting a smaller one that you are comfortable transporting with you all of the time. Harbor Freight has a nice light 1900 watt inverter generator on sale for $349.

BTW, first time dry camping many years ago, generator saved our butts. We left our two vehicle plugged into our camper and it got very cold on our last night camping. Our heater ran all night and not only drained the two 12 volt batteries but also our truck battery. Running the generator allowed us to recharge the camper batteries which we then removed one to jump the truck. For some reason, the truck battery was able to be discharged but not recharged via the tow cable.

Without the generator, we'd have been stuck a long way from civilization.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:00 PM   #19
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So Gaberdeen, inquiring minds want to know how you managed.

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