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Old 05-02-2012, 05:43 PM   #1
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Would like the option to Boondock

Hey all,

I'm looking for some serious guidance towards outfitting my Tracer 3150 to handle some occasional boondock camping in the summers. I see that most of the folks here get pretty serious on this subject, so please excuse my ignorance with my request.

My wife and I have four kids 12, 10, 8 and 6 plus the dog. We have had the opporutnity to camp at a couple public sites this year so far to understand how things work and such. My goal is to be able to outfit the Tracer to handle the a four day extended weekends without electricity and being able to dump grey & refill fresh water durring that same period. I will also have the occassional tailgate setup for outtings that would mainly consist of four to five adults, no kids.

In reading some posts, there is a strong emphasys on energy and water conservation. The Tracer has a 48gal Fresh/30gal Black/30gal Grey. I replaced all the interior lights with LED's and looking to replace my single cheap marine deep cycle battery with two decent (not Trojans).

What do I need to consider in order to make this work out so we are comfortable. What would I need to consider if I wanted to run the A/C?

Thanks, Joe
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:43 PM   #2
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You will not be able to run the AC unless you have a genny. With 6 people in the TT water conservation will be a big issue.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:11 PM   #3
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Joe,

Your next biggest issue while boondocking after fresh water and dirty water management is power.

I was a bit knocked back when you said you were going to put in a couple of "decent" batteries, "but not Trojans."

We boondock a LOT and I have two OEM Deka DC-24 batteries and when they go a pair of Trojans are going in those holes.

http://www.batteriesinaflash.com/dee...-cycle-battery

That will give me 260AH capacity for about 400 bucks. What do you have against Trojans?

With your brood you will be needing plenty of battery supplied AC so you will also need a fair sized (1500 Watt range) pure sine inverter to keep up with the kid's electronics.

Like Caper said you will also need a good sized generator to keep the batteries charged. If you want to run the Air (you did not say what size you have) you will need about 2400 watts generator power.

There are some mods you can do to the air conditioner to make a 13.5K air conditioner work with a Honda 2000. If you have a 15K only a 2400 watt unit or up will most likely work well for you.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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I boondock 95% of the time and with your four kids and wife I would say water management will be your biggest problem. Spend some time training the kids because most will treat it like they are at home and leave faucets run, etc. Take bottled water for drinking and cooking and use paper plates etc to minimize dish washing. I would invest in a good generator sized to your needs as well as a good battery bank. Trojans are among the best. They are spendy but well worth the investment and if you take care of them will last for years. I had four years on a set in my last TT and they were still going strong. Personally I prefer two 12 volts instead of the 6 volts. I run two Trojan SCS225 batteries and they last a long, long time, even running the furnace allot. They are big batteries so you have to have room for them. The LED lights help allot. If you intend to run your AC off the generator be sure you size it accordingly. Try one before you buy it to make sure it works. You can install a soft start capacitor to help. Even with a soft start capacitor my Yamaha 2400 wouldn't start my AC reliably. I am at 6500 ft and often camp at 8000 ft so that does make a difference. I just bought a 3000 watt Honda to replace the Yamaha 2400. It starts the AC without fail.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:20 PM   #5
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Though Trojan batteries are rated and reviewed very highly, the dang things are just that much too tall for my stock battery box. I just ordered a couple these... US Batteries

You are off to a good start by replacing your bulbs with LEDs. If you camp in warm climates, you will need a generator for the AC. Water... you can never have enough, and with the bunch you have, you won't last long with the stock tanks. You will either need a way to haul extra water, transport water after you set up camp, or forget it. There are collapsible water bladders that might fit in your tow vehicle, and a portable waste tank of some sort will likely be needed unless you camp where you can bury all your human waste... I've never seen a boondocking spot like that FWIW.

Some folks disperse their gray water but I won't get into that debate.

For a true test of your families ability to dry camp, set it up in the driveway and see how long you last.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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Red face

Herk, I just thought spending $200 per battery was steep was all. I have nothing against Trojan batteries, in fact I see them as a refrence point in what to look for in a true deep cycle battery.

My thought was if I'm not going hardcore, I could take a step or two down from Trojans to spend elsewhere. Although I might change my mind once I finish evaluating the pros and cons with this project.

I have an additional question regarding pure sine wave inverters. I was looking up a Samlex SK1500. Where do you place this in the TT? I already have a PI EMS-HW30C surge protector, is this something I would connect additionally to the TT's main power input?? Or would I be limited to only using the two plugs and USB port from the inverter itself. Again sorry for the ignorance here, trying to make sense of this key area regarding power inverters.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #7
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Would an inverter be neccessary on the generator as well, if I already had something like the Samlex SK1500 alreadyinstalled in the TT?
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:11 PM   #8
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You are talking about two different things. The Inverter Generator uses a different type of alternator from the Conventional Generator. Usually the Inverter alternator produces 3 phase AC power. This power is then converted to DC current. The DC Current is then converted (inverted) into 120 volt AC power. The resulting power is often much cleaner* than the power from a conventional generator.
The 1500 watt inverter takes 12v power and coverts it to 110v power. An inverter generator like you are talking about supplies 110v power. You don't have to have the 1500 watt inverter if you want to run the genny all the time. It will power your 110v needs and charge the batteries as well.The 1500 watt inverter just gives you the option to run off your batteries. You will need to recharge with the genny or solar panels.
Personally I would put my money into a good quiet generator (Honda or Yamaha) and add the rest later.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:30 PM   #9
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Samlex SK 1500W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter

I like the specs on this inverter. Don't forget you will need a 150 amp fuse inline to the batteries.
1500 watts divided by 10.5 volts (low voltage cut out) = ~150 amps.

You should locate the inverter as close to your batteries as possible to eliminate wasted battery power in line loss.

I used extension cords to power my AC equipment when boondocking until I dropped the belly pan for a tank sensor upgrade and ran hard wire to dedicated inverter duplex outlets.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:34 PM   #10
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A dumb question for you guys. Could you mount the inverter in a handy location and plug the shore power cord into it?
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