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Old 04-19-2015, 09:21 AM   #1
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Confused about RV power

I am confused by RV power. I am not sure why but here is what I am confused about.

I want to be able to dry camp. I have two 105 amphour deep cycle batteries. The RV is a Puma 26RLSS. It is a standard factory setup. I want to install 100 watt solar panels to supplement. It doesn't seem like a hard job to wire it up. Mount the panels and run the wire down the frig vent through a controller then wire it to the electrical panel where the battery wires come in.

My understanding is that the converter will not really charge the battery that well. No problem. Do I also have an inverter. When running on battery, will I have 120v power? If I want to add or upgrade the inverter where would the wires (120v) hook into?

Ed
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:33 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bianchina3 View Post
I am confused by RV power. I am not sure why but here is what I am confused about.

I want to be able to dry camp. I have two 105 amphour deep cycle batteries. The RV is a Puma 26RLSS. It is a standard factory setup. I want to install 100 watt solar panels to supplement. It doesn't seem like a hard job to wire it up. Mount the panels and run the wire down the frig vent through a controller then wire it to the electrical panel where the battery wires come in.

My understanding is that the converter will not really charge the battery that well. No problem. Do I also have an inverter. When running on battery, will I have 120v power? If I want to add or upgrade the inverter where would the wires (120v) hook into?

Ed
Generally I think solar is wired to charge controller and from there directly to battery. Wire size (guage) is important for max efficiency. Good quality converters will properly charge battery(s), i.e. 3 or 4 stage charging. Most trailers do not come with inverters a few exceptions! An inverter wired into the battery (again proper wire sizing) will provide you with 120vac. Most inverters for RV usage have the power outlets directly on the front of the unit. Wiring the inverter out put into the electrical distribution panel is a little more involved and probably would require a transfer switch.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:55 PM   #3
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Your Puma did not come with an inverter. Keep in mind with an inverter & the set up that you have you will not be able to run anything but low Watt 110V appliances. No AC or other power draining appliances. A generator would be your best answer.


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Old 04-20-2015, 12:40 AM   #4
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Other users run higher-power AC appliances but have far larger battery capacity. A generator isn't necessarily the best answer. It depends on what Ed hopes to use it for.

Ed, if you provide more detail as to your intended use of AC power you'll get more specific answers.

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Old 04-20-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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We mainly dry camp and run a Honda 2000 generator to keep the batteries charged and to run a toaster oven, can opener, etc. when we need 120v power. The parks we go to have restricted hours for generators so we don't bother with A/C (when I'd appreciate A/C would be at night which is quiet time). Also, I don't think the 2000 would give me enough power. I carry an extra deep cycle battery to which I hook up a 750 W inverter. This gives us plenty of power for the TV. Last year we had 2 visitors who each used 120v breathing machines while sleeping. The inverter worked great. I recharge this battery from the Honda as well.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:42 PM   #6
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Last year we had 2 visitors who each used 120v breathing machines while sleeping. The inverter worked great. I recharge this battery from the Honda as well.
There are many threads here, on cpaptalk.com, and on other sites, about traveling and camping with CPAP. If your visitors will be camping with you more often, look up 12V adapters for their CPAP machines. Many run directly on 12V. Others require conversion to 24V. In any case it's far more efficient to power them directly off the batteries than to convert DC to AC with your inverter, then convert that back to DC with the power brick on their CPAP.

If it's not terribly dry (I mean humidity) where you're camping, consider having them disable the humidifier on their CPAP. It's not essential if you don't live/camp in an arid environment. The power consumption of the CPAP alone is less than half that of the CPAP with humidifier.

BTW, I have CPAP but haven't used it on 12V while camping, yet. I bought a Honda 2000 for recharging batteries primarily for that purpose, but I'll power them directly off the 12V circuit.

I don't have an inverter and don't expect to get one. I can live without an electric coffee pot, microwave, and AC. If it's too hot to dry camp without the AC I need to camp somewhere else, or find a site with power.
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Old 04-21-2015, 05:06 AM   #7
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Inverter

Our 2008 Shamrock 183 didn't have any 12v ports to plug into and I already had the inverter with 2 115v ports so it worked out well. This is a Centech w/ 750 continuous watts and measures 5" x 9". Paid $39 on sale. We mainly use to watch occasional movies. Our new 2015 Shamrock 231KSS does have a port. Looking forward to seeing how all LED lights affects power consumption.
Where our generator gets its most use is when we fall camp in the Adirondacks. The furnace really drains the batteries.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:55 PM   #8
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Unless you are going to use a generator, dry camping of more than 2 days requires electric energy conservation.

The first step is to figure your battery usage, usually in amp-hours. Find the draw (in amps) of each 12 volt item in the RV, and mulitply by the number of hours you will use that item each day. For 120 volt items, multiply the current listed on the device by 10, and then by the hours of use.

With the two 105 AH batteries, you have 105 AH available each day before you start seriously shortening battery life. But a reasonable solar panel array is not going to put back 105 AH. Two 100 watt panels can probably get you 50 AH on a sunny day. This assumes 6 hours of direct sunlight in the middle of the day, but not tracking the sun with the panels (angling them for best output).

So in reality, you have to use less than 50AH per day - ideally less than 35AH per day. The 35AH figure allows you a couple of cloudy days in a row. Your furnace fan alone will consume 30AH or more on a cold night unless you set the thermostat quite low.

hope this helps
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sized to do 4 days max without hookups March - November in Colorado, heater set to 50 degrees at night, off during day.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:16 PM   #9
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Greats reponses!

I understand about the lack of inverter in my camper. I don't think it is a big deal since the only things I need are things that are set up for 12v (water pump, LED lights, furnace). The furnace worries me a little for staying warm at night, but that is what a spouse is for (as long as I avoid her feet)!

I use a CPAP as well and I actually have an adapter for it to run off a 12volt battery. The problem is how do people hook theirs up. My adapter has alligator clips. I really don't want to drag the battery into the bedroom. Our old popup had 12v plugs that we 1/4" headphone plugs. I thought I could mount a female plug in the wall and convert the CPAP to a male plug.

If I wanted to add an inverter to run a TV I would assume that there are inverters made especially for after market installs and mount by the beaker box.
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Old 04-22-2015, 12:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
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... I use a CPAP as well and I actually have an adapter for it to run off a 12volt battery. The problem is how do people hook theirs up. My adapter has alligator clips. I really don't want to drag the battery into the bedroom. Our old popup had 12v plugs that we 1/4" headphone plugs. I thought I could mount a female plug in the wall and convert the CPAP to a male plug. ...
I don't have practical experience yet but will, shortly. My wife and I both use CPAP. Hers draws 5A without the humidifer; mine draws 3A. Combined, that's 64AH per night.

I'm preparing for a camping vacation which includes several days in Cades Cove without power. Based on personal research and advice from helpful people here, I've assembled the system described below.

I bought 2 Deka Group 27 deep-cycle batteries rated at 90AH, and an Attwood F27 Power Box for each. The boxes have standard 12V sockets built in and will serve as backup for power failures at home.

I'm installing an accessory 12V outlet in the cabinet wall near the bed, properly fused and with adequately sized wire for the distance to the converter. I also bought a 2-in-1 splitter for the 12V outlet so we can run both CPAPs on one socket. The batteries will stay on the rack outside.
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