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Old 08-29-2012, 12:14 PM   #1
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Red face Brand-new, first-time campers - help!

Hello-
We just purchased the A-frame A122bh on Sunday (8/26), got a hitch installed on our new Chevy Equinox and are going to try a close-by camping trip this weekend! We are very excited, but very nervous We have watched the dvd that came with our camper and are reading all of the manuals, but never having owned a camper before, we aren't quite sure about things like the water system, furnace, A/C, propane system, hitch/braking, camper leveling, etc. If anyone has any first-timer tips for us, we would LOVE to hear from you. We did hook our camper up for the first time last night and took it for a test drive, brake adjustment and back-up practice. It went pretty well, although we weren't sure wherer the "break-away switch" was or what we were supposed to do with that.
I look forward to hearing ANYTHING you can tell us so we aren't too much the laughing-stock of the campground this weekend!
Thanks-
Jenn & Mike
Fairport, NY
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:17 PM   #2
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Oh - we do have a specific-type question. Since we just got the camper a few days before Labor Day weekend, the pickings were slim for a campground! We were not able to get a site with electric hook-up. Will we be able to use the refrigerator or A/C unit if we cannot hook-up to electric?
Thanks!
Jenn & Mike
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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Didn't your dealer give you a pdi ?


You'll have to run your fridge on propane.
A/c will not work unless you have a generator.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:41 PM   #4
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What is a "pdi?" We had to purchase from out-of-state so a driver just delivered it and left.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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Pre-Delivery Inspection...
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:48 PM   #6
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Very exciting time for you. Have a great time this weekend.

Although I do not have an A-Frame, here are my thoughts for you...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholjl View Post
Hello-
We just purchased the A-frame A122bh on Sunday (8/26), got a hitch installed on our new Chevy Equinox and are going to try a close-by camping trip this weekend! We are very excited, but very nervous We have watched the dvd that came with our camper and are reading all of the manuals, Good. The appliance, water heater, A/C and furnace manuals will help.

but never having owned a camper before, we aren't quite sure about things like the water system, furnace, A/C, propane system, hitch/braking, camper leveling, etc. There is a lot that could be covered. Do you have any specific issues or questions?

If anyone has any first-timer tips for us, we would LOVE to hear from you. We did hook our camper up for the first time last night and took it for a test drive, brake adjustment and back-up practice. Excellent. I have always practiced with any trailer new to me. They all can tow a little different.

It went pretty well, although we weren't sure wherer the "break-away switch" was or what we were supposed to do with that. There is a steel wire running from your breakaway switch that you need to connect to your receiver whenever you tow. You need to do this to be a lawful and safe driver.

I look forward to hearing ANYTHING you can tell us so we aren't too much the laughing-stock of the campground this weekend! Don't worry about that. All campers have been where you are now and they will help you out if asked. They'll help you out if not asked, too. You'll see what I mean. Generally, campers are very friendly.

Thanks-
Jenn & Mike
Fairport, NY
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholjl View Post
Oh - we do have a specific-type question. Since we just got the camper a few days before Labor Day weekend, the pickings were slim for a campground! We were not able to get a site with electric hook-up. Will we be able to use the refrigerator or A/C unit if we cannot hook-up to electric? No to the A/C and yes to the fridge. The A/C will only work on 110volts. Same thing with a microwave if you have one and any receptacles. The fridge is probably a two-way that can work off propane or AC. If propane, you will also need some power from your battery. I assume your dealer installed one for you.

As for dry camping - what we call camping without electric - you will need to be very power conscious. A standard group 24 camper battery doesn't have many amp-hours and can be run down very quickly. A couple of days usually. Besides the DC component to the fridge, you have draws from the water pump, CO detector, lights, radio, power jack and power awning if you have these things. Try to limit your usage
Thanks!
Jenn & Mike
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:51 PM   #7
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If I were you, knowing nothing, I would stay real close by, like the driveway. Sure, you will get help from other campers in the campground, but I would set up in the driveway, and go through everything first, and make sure I had the basics down. The DVD may be more helpful than this site, as you have video, we can only post pics. You also have internet at home, don't know about the campground.

Not trying to discourage, just need some time to learn, we all went through it. Also, every system needs testing in that camper before it gets used. Hate for you to get set up, then find there isn't any propane in the tanks to run the water heater, or furnace, or cook.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:58 PM   #8
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Being first time everything you really missed out in finding the ins and outs of a pdi . For starters that's the time to inspect the camper for things that were wrong or not correct in your unit .
As you've already stated you know nothing on how to work the unit and may make your first outing a mess.
We encourage newbies to driveway camp to get to "know " your unit before leaving home.
I assume you bought from a wholesaler which is why a driver just "dropped" it off .
Im sure you'll figure it all out and have a GREAT TIME this holiday weekend !
If you have internet access feel free to pop in this weekend iffy your having troubles we''ll get you squared away.

If you have children you may have issues keeping your battery charged for the whole weekend as stated before . Can you atleast borrow a generater ?
Without atleast a 2500 watt you WON'T be able to run the a/c.

Good luck and enjoy your new camper.

Ron
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:02 PM   #9
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Break away switch causes the trailer brakes to engage if the trailer were to come loose from your vehicle. It's a very important safety device!

It's a long thin metal cord with a loop on the end of it coming from under the trailer in the front where you hitch it. The cord attaches to a little plastic 'key' looking thing that inserts into a housing under the trailer. When that plastic key is pulled out of it's housing, that engages the brakes using the battery in the travel trailer. DO NOT leave the key out of the camper - always leave it pushed in well. (It is OK to pull it out for the time it takes to loop it through to attach it to your TV if you need to, and then just reinsert the key into the housing, just don't leave it out as it will lock down the brakes on the trailer)

You need to connect that wire through the hitch either by pulling out that platic key, looping the wire through where you put your chains on your tow bar and then reinserting that plastic key back into it's slot, OR get a STURDY chain-link with a screw/caribiner to link that loop to the place on your TV where the chains go.

Just make sure the break away wire is not tangled up with anything else - your chains, wrapped around the hitch, etc. It needs to be well connected to your TV so if your trailer totally came lose, the key would be pulled out of it's housing and the trailer brakes would engage, keeping your trailer from rolling off into oblivion and also helping minimize any collision w/ other vehicles, etc.

There's a pic on this website that shows the break off switch:

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Old 08-29-2012, 01:04 PM   #10
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In all cases it's illegal to not use it .
And remember if your batteries dead it won't work .
In reference to the break away.
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