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Old 11-29-2015, 08:33 PM   #1
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2015 Roo 21bd, First Time Boondocking

Hi,

I'm a first time RV owner and new to the forums. We recently bought a new Roo 21bd and have now taken it on two trips. The first time was to a lake close by with full hookups. Everything was great and easy on that trip.

We just got back from our first boondocking trip and while it was fun, we had some things happen that we weren't expecting and I'm hoping to get pointed in the right direction on whether or not it was user error.

It was pretty cold where we were and decided to give the heater a try. I set the thermostat and turned it on. I could hear it kick on and we started to get warm air flowing. Within a few minutes both our smoke alarm and propane/CO alarm were beeping. I didn't see any smoke and didn't smell propane (I know you can't smell carbon monoxide). I turned the heater off and after about 10 minutes the propane/CO alarm stopped beeping. I tried again a couple of times and had the same result each time. I gave up and we slept without heat. Any ideas on why this would be happening? Full disclosure, we were not level (getting something to level the trailer before the next trip). Could that be the problem?

The other thing we tried to use were some of the GCFI power outlets for charging cell phones and using our heated mattress. None of the outlets worked and neither did heating the mattresses, obvously. Perhaps I have a misunderstanding of how the systems work in the trailer, but shouldn't those outlets and mattresses work while operating off the battery? I was told during our pdi that the only things that don't work when not plugged into a 30amp service are the TV, microwave, and AC.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-29-2015, 09:28 PM   #2
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Furnace:
New furnaces need to be run for 30 min or so to burn off the manufacturing oil/paint/stuff. Setting off your alarms is expected. Should be OK after a 1/2 hr operation. Suggest you read some of the articles in the Library under Heating and Cooling: Forest River Forums - Downloads - Heating and Cooling

GCFI:
I suspect your GCFI is tripped. The outlet in the bathroom controls them all. Check and reset the one in the bathroom, and you should be OK. HOWEVER: You say you were "boondocking" which usually means, no hookups. If you have no hookups, none of the 110VAC outlets will work. Since the heated mattresses run on 110VAC, they won't work, either. Only 12VDC stuff will work. You CAN purchase an inverter that changes 12VDC into 110VAC, but be aware that this will run down your battery VERY quickly. Suggest you read some of the articles in the Library under Power and Electrical: Forest River Forums - Downloads - Power and Electrical

Also, the furnace fan runs on 12VDC and can run down your battery quickly. People who boondock a lot usually install solar panels or purchase an inverter generator to recharge their battery.
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Old 11-29-2015, 10:18 PM   #3
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No AC when you're running off the batteries. So, yes the dealer was correct, your AC devices like the micro and TV won't work, but none of your outlets will either. But, you should have a power outlet (basically a 12 DC outlet) near the entertainment center to charge your phone. Boondocking without a way to charge your battery will drain it quickly. Especially running your furnace.
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:44 AM   #4
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You obviously had a lousy dealer who performed a lousy PDI.
First, they should have told you to run the furnace at home, before going camping, to burn off the factory oils. Our dealer did.
Second, you should have had them run the furnace during the PDI, to make sure it ran.
Third, they obviously didn't explain how the 12v DC system works and how the 120v AC system works. The outlets and mattresses only work on shore power or with a generator.
Fourth, you should have done Camp Driveway BEFORE going camping. That way all these issues would have been found and you could have contacted your dealer, before going dry camping.

Suggest you Google "the 12 Volt Side of Life".
And if you plan on doing more dry camping or boondocking, suggest you come here and ask what's needed to do it successfully. Minimum would be two matching 12v or 6v deep cycle batteries.
Using the furnace all night can completely drain a single battery, especially the cheap marine battery most dealers install.
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Old 11-30-2015, 09:56 AM   #5
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Thanks for all of the information; all of it is very helpful! We're looking forward to our next trip and I'm sure we'll be better prepared for it!
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
Fourth, you should have done Camp Driveway BEFORE going camping. That way all these issues would have been found and you could have contacted your dealer, before going dry camping.

I agree with everything else in your post except this one. Remember that not everyone is able to camp in their camper on their property.
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Old 12-01-2015, 09:14 PM   #7
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Install a solar panel and inverter.

Check out this blog about boondocking. https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ging-puzzle-2/

I installed a 100 watt panel, 8 gauge wires to a Morningstar charge controller, and two deep cycle batteries. I changed out the lightbulbs to LED bulbs from eBay. Now we can boondock as long as we wish. I don't like the heater waking me up at night, so I have warm sleeping bags. In the morning the batteries will run the heater just fine until the sun comes up, and the panel will run the heater all day long if needed.

If you want AC power, just get yourself an inverter. It changes AC 120 volt to 12v DC. If you want to, you can even run a microwave, toaster, or coffee maker off of an inverter. For computers or TV you may want a higher end inverter. I'm not a guy who goes camping to watch TV or play on the computer, so I'm not up on inverters.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mnoland30 View Post
If you want AC power, just get yourself an inverter. It changes AC 120 volt to 12v DC.
I think your fingers were dyslexic. Inverter changes 12v DC to AC 120 volt.
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
I think your fingers were dyslexic. Inverter changes 12v DC to AC 120 volt.
Yep!

It's CONVERTERS that change 120v AC to 12v DC.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:07 PM   #10
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Guess I needed a little more coffee.
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