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Old 08-12-2019, 02:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TheWolfPaq82 View Post
Hi all, I'm new to the camper life in general and decided to start with an a frame. I purchased a 2016 Rockwood A212HW. I am going on my first "boondocking" trip this month. We will be going for four nights. I have scoured this forum for hours but cant seem to find a consensus on my two questions. Can you help?

Yeah he did.
Yep, missed that!
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
As an A-frame camper for the past 6 years (half of it dry camping), and 7 years of pop-up camping prior, these are my findings:

Propane usage - fridge uses next to nothing. Heater uses considerably more when it's running. Nevertheless, I have never used a full propane tank in less than a year of camping. I use the stove inside the camper maybe once every 2 years. The throwaway 1lb bottles that we use for our 2 burner camp stove and Weber 1200 Baby-Q last about 1 week on each appliance. We use the hot water heater maybe 6 days a year - normally heat water on the camp stove for dish washing.

Battery usage - I was frustrated by dead batteries mid-week on 8-9 days dry camping at Lake Tahoe (every year for 8 years). Before the trip was up, I could no longer pump water out of the tank because the battery was too low. I went up to a Group 29, which helped, but didn't solve the problem. The primary villain was the heater fan, although our incandescent bulbs in the lights didn't help. We really needed a way to recharge the battery mid-trip.

When we started with the A-frames, I went with a dealer-installed 2nd Group 24 battery. Our use case was 4 nights without going below 50%. A-frame heaters run a lot less than a pop-up - there is more insulation in the walls, and there is a lot less volume to heat. In the A-frame, on a 40 degree night, I can keep the thermostat at 60, and still have less than 5 hours run time on the heater. With the 2 batteries, we could make our use case of 4 nights without recharging, but not much better. Which was OK, since the food and water were running out after 4 nights anyway.

Doing some investigation, I found the stereo was a power hog that was difficult to control. It kept turning itself on every time there was a voltage change - such as plugging in/unplugging the camper, disconnecting the battery, plugging/unplugging into the tow vehicle, etc. I installed a separate switch in BOTH stereo + power leads - there are 2 leads, one for power through the ignition, and back power for memory that bypasses the ignition. With the external switch off, the stereo cannot turn itself on.

When the parallel 12V batteries crapped out - a bad cell took out both batteries before I realized what had happened - I replaced them with 2 Costco/Interstate GC-2 6V batteries (210AH). This gave me additional power (105 usable AH).

As others have pointed out, the fridge in HW A-frames has a DC control board that must be on for the fridge to run on propane. If you eliminate the stereo, and use LED lights and water pump reasonably, you can keep your electric usage around 15AH/day (no heat running). The standard Group 24 has 40AH available (max) before you run into the 50% line. The 50% is not a cut-off but repeated discharges below 50% really reduce battery life (number of charge/discharge cycles). The heater fan draws about 3.5 amps, so you can see that will impact the number of days you can run without recharging.

Bottom line: to get 4 consecutive nights dry camping without recharging and without destroying your batteries, you need 2 batteries.

hope this helps
Fred W
2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
Fred knows his stuff. His opinion on A-frame power usage is "Expert".
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:38 PM   #13
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Fred knows his stuff. His opinion in A-frame power usage is "Expert".
x2!
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:43 PM   #14
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Well, just to be contrarian I will say that I have gotten by several times on the dealer group 24 batt with 4+ nights dry camping, and it's still working out fine - but I don't have a 12V draw from the fridge, don't use the furnace, and have a 30W solar "trickle charge" when I think it necessary!
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