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Old 08-29-2012, 01:30 PM   #11
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My advice is... GO for it. With no hook ups, carry a cooler just in case. As long as you know how to properly park it and set it up safely, everything else is just cake. I have helped MANY newbies and have been helped. You will find plenty of help as well. If you have never been camping, you will be surprised at what a helpful bunch we are. I have been loaned a car by the camper next to me when I had a problem with my motorhome and needed to go to town for parts... Just remember that something always goes wrong on a camping trip. Its how you handle it that determines whether your trip is ruined or you have a funny story to tell the rest of us.
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:33 PM   #12
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The A-Frames are fairly good when it comes to dry-camping power consumption, so don't be too nervous about not having electricity.
- We removed the top bulb from both the front and rear ceiling lights. This cuts the draw on the battery in half and there is still LOTS of light.
- We run our fridge on propane when dry camping (If you use it on 12volt it will drain your battery quickly)
- We bring extra blankets for cool nights as the propane furnace draws a lot of battery power. We rarely use it and it will stink the first few times you use it - be warned. Like most things that get hot they take a few 'cycles' to burn off.
- We read a lot at night, using LED headlamps - the ceiling lights aren't positioned for reading anyways
- We use the propane hot water heater which does use a little battery juice, but it is soooo convenient.
- We can easily go 2 nights and usually 3 nights with the battery staying well up

The driveway camping can't be stressed enough, and if you have kids they will love it. If you have never towed a trailer before you should try to reach out to someone who has. The hitch, chains, break-away switch etc are all areas that you do NOT want to learn the hard way. Everything else can come in time.

Have fun, enjoy it and dont let it overwhelm. Take small bites at first, learn each appliance well, then move on to the next one.

Randy
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:00 PM   #13
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I did my first trip with an A128S last week and loved it. Looking forward for more trips. Checkout the questions and answers I got here in "A128S Converted from ALINER Ranger".
I drive a Pontiac Torrent which is similar to your SUV, did you get 6cyl?
The max tongue weight is 350 pds, without adding anything to the trailer it was over 400 pds, watch out for that too. Do not put any heavy stuff in the front storage.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:02 PM   #14
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That's good to hear, maybe we won't do so bad Yeah, we did get the 6 cylinder, AWD - we specifically bought that earlier this summer in preparation for buying the camper.
So we went tonight over to the camper (storing it in my parent's barn) to try out things and what-not and couldn't seem to figure out a few key things. So in the barn it's not hooked up to the vehicle or any electric. Can you run the microwave that way? We couldn't figure out how to power it so we thought maybe we had to have it hooked up to electric to use that. As for the refrigerator - is there a power button? Or a switch to tell it to use the electric or the propane? And we weren't sure if there was a pilot light or not. We found some sort of panel on the non-door side, near the front, but had no idea what that was and none of the manuals seem that clear.
Ok, I'll stop with the endless questions for now We're still planning on going this weekend, but figure we'll mostly use the camper for sleeping in until we can get a better handle on the water system and then next time get a site with electric!
Thanks for all of your helpful (and patient) suggestions!
Jenn & Mike
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:14 PM   #15
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When you get to the campground let them know you would really like a site with electricity so if they have a cancelation with one to let you know. Also sometimes on holidays weekends we see people moving out on sunday
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:23 PM   #16
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The Microwave runs on the shore power so you have to be plugged in for that to work. Basically when running off the battery you'll have lights and enough power to fire up the fridge to run on propane and water heater (if you have one). You won't have any plug in outlets, microwave, Air Conditioning, etc.

Hopefully someone else can help on the fridge. There should have been a separate manual for the fridge in the packet of manuals you got. If not, posting a picture of what it looks like may help get you a quick answer.

A couple of general tips on the fridge - be sure the camper is reasonably level or it won't run efficiently. Run the fridge on propane when camping w/out electric hookup because the battery will go down pretty quick trying to run the fridge. Run on battery/12V when you are plugged in on shore power and/or towing with the engine running. Some folks will leave it on propane when towing - that's a topic with a lot of opinions which I will leave for another thread Many RV fridges have an 'auto' selection where it will run propane unless you are on shore power and switch back and forth automatically.

If possible, turn on the fridge a day or two ahead of time. Plug your camper in to a 110 outlet (you can get a converter for the 30amp plug if you don't have a 30amp camper plug at your house). You can't run the A/C when using a regular 15/20amp outlet, but you will have enough power to trickle charge the battery and run the fridge.

The camper fridge doesn't work on a compressor like your home fridge and is very slow to cool down.

If you don't have time to cool it down ahead of time, you can turn on the fridge and just put several gallon sized freezer bags with ice in them in the fridge when you left the house and turned on the unit. The ice works as a heat sink and will get the fridge cooled down pretty quickly. You can even go ahead and put stuff in there and it will stay cold until the fridge reaches it's operating temp. Just be sure to use the freezer type bags with the extra good seal so you don't have melt water leaking

Hope this helps! There's a lot to learn at first, but that's 1/2 the fun!
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:30 PM   #17
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Wow the PDI you missed would have answered all your questions. I just had it 2 weeks ago so it is still fresh in my memory. I should have a check list for all this stuff.

The appliances requires electric hookup. Battery is for lights inside and outside, fridge, water pump, fan, radio and electric brakes. I believe the outlet near the furnace is active via the battery, you could use this for your computer or to recharge your phone. The fuse box is for battery connected devices protection.

The switch for the fridge is located outside, driver side, looks like a grill cover. The top is to choose between electric or battery, choose one only or turn them off for propane. The bottom grill cover is for propane power. Turn it on while holding down the on button press/click the red button to fire up the pilot light. You could hear the fire going if it is quiet. The knob with numbers is the level of cold, I use the high number when hooked up to electric.

I had problem with the fresh water pump because they had it in bypass, in the cabinet under the sink the is a red and blue pipe, make sure the lever switch is parallel to the pipe. Test this by filling the tank full and then turn on the water pump, turn on the hot water faucet and the water is flowing good, this means it is safe to turn on the hot water furnace. You could test the cold water too. The water pump should be pumping when water is flowing and should be quiet when the faucets are close.

Make sure to use a 12 or lower gauge extension cord for 15A hook up, the breaker was triggered when I was using the electric heat pump. To be safe use a 30a extension cord, then you could use the AC/Heater and Microwave at the same time otherwise boom/breaker gets hit.

Hope you understand my tips.

Good luck.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:11 PM   #18
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BTW do you know how to remove the panel outside?
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:23 PM   #19
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Nicholjl

The fridge is probably the one thing you will need most and it can be a bit tricky to get going on propane. As Ko777 mentioned the operating controls for the fridge are on the outside wall, behind the fridge (drivers side). there are two removable white plastic panels, one above the other (the metal panel closer to the front of the trailer is the rear of the hot-water heater). The top fridge panel has the 'electrical' controls - 12volt & 110volt. When on propane these both should be off. The bottom fridge panel has the propane controls. I should first mention, these white panels have little black 'locks' that hold them in place. To open the panel turn the black button vertical with a dime and then pull the bottom of the panel out. It will swing up & off.
You should see three 'buttons' on the little control panel once you open the bottom panel. A red starter button, and temp setting 1-5 and the On/Off control.
To start the fridge first make sure the valve on the propane tank at the front of the trailer is turned on. then set the temp setting to 5. Next turn the On/Off control to 'On' and then press and hold the On/Off button down and keep it held down. This starts the flow of propane. While holding the on/off button down press the red starter button to ignite the propane. It may take more than once. You may hear a small 'pop' when the propane pilot ignites - keep pressing the red igniter every few seconds until you no longer hear the 'pop' noise, this means the propane has stayed lit. Continue to keep the On/Off button pressed down for a few more seconds to ensure the pilot is fully lit. Then release the On/Off button. You should be fully lit now. Set the temp control to the desired setting (I generally set mine at 5). I usually leave the white plastic cover off for a while and come back after about 30mins to make sure the propane has stayed lit (the chrome colored stack will be hot to the touch). If the stack is hot then the fridge is working and I button up the white plastic cover. When it is time to leave the cg all you need to do is turn the On/Off control to off and then turn off the propane tank. (Dont forget to lock the little black fasteners - horizontal position).

Hope this helps

Randy
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:23 PM   #20
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No....what panel?!
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