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Old 06-25-2021, 10:06 AM   #1
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Any suggestions/pointers for first trip without electric/water/sewer hook ups?

We are taking our first trip where there are no hook ups for anything. There is a dump station on the way out of the camp grounds though. We will be staying 3 nights. Any suggestions or pointers as to how I should plan this trip out?

There is a spigot for non potable water near the restrooms. Do I use this to fill up my fresh water tank when I arrive or do I fill up my tank at home before hand with city water? The restrooms are clean and updated so I guess I can use the showers there like we have in the past when we tented. Same goes for the toilets but I still want to be able to use it as necessary.

I have a 2000 watt inverter generator that I can use for electric but from what I read so far I it would not be enough for the AC. Night time temps are always cool so I wouldn't need it when we hit the sack. During the day though is a different story.

Will the two propane tanks be enough to run the fridge the entire time? Also, exactly do you use the propane to run the fridge? The places I have been at before have had electric so this was a non issue. I am going to assume that you do not leave the hot water heater running. Am I correct?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 06-25-2021, 10:10 AM   #2
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So this place, is it too far away from home to run an extension cord?

Just kidding.
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Old 06-25-2021, 11:28 AM   #3
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Never put non-potable water in your fresh water tank. Non-potable water is what you use to flush out your black tank. You might call the campground to see where you can get potable water in the immediate vicinity. Tankering a full load of water all the way from home is the least desirable option.

Since you probably won't be running the furnace, your propane supply is more than adequate for three or four days.

Some people leave their water heater on all the time, others don't. I turn mine on in the morning and turn it off after I'm done with using hot water. I turn it on again around dinner time and turn it off for the night after dinner dishes are cleaned. The water in the tank is plenty warm enough for washing hands and brushing teeth in-between.
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:36 PM   #4
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Any suggestions or pointers as to how I should plan this trip out?
Take a breath. Worst case scenario, things don't go well and it's a learning experience.


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There is a spigot for non potable water near the restrooms. Do I use this to fill up my fresh water tank when I arrive or do I fill up my tank at home before hand with city water? The restrooms are clean and updated so I guess I can use the showers there like we have in the past when we tented. Same goes for the toilets but I still want to be able to use it as necessary.
You'll definitely want to use the showers. The toilet likely can go the entire time but if you can use the bathhouse to offset it, all the better.

For dishes, try to use more paper + plastic than things that need to be cleaned. When washing dishes, fill one tub with soapy water and a second with rinse water. Wash and rinse out of them vs letting the water run.

I wouldn't put non-potable water into my system. The campground possibly/likely has potable water somewhere else available to you. If not, yep- take it from home. Buy gallon jugs or water bottles for drinking water.


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I have a 2000 watt inverter generator that I can use for electric but from what I read so far I it would not be enough for the AC. Night time temps are always cool so I wouldn't need it when we hit the sack. During the day though is a different story.
A trick here- turn off all of the breakers in the RV and start the generator. Turn on just the air conditioner breaker. It'll likely show "overload" on the generator for a moment but should continue to run. That said, the "overload" is hard on the generator and shortens its life. Secondly, your batteries aren't being recharged while the "converter" breaker is off.


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Will the two propane tanks be enough to run the fridge the entire time? Also, exactly do you use the propane to run the fridge? The places I have been at before have had electric so this was a non issue. I am going to assume that you do not leave the hot water heater running. Am I correct?
Assuming you have a 2-way fridge, it either runs on 120v electric or 12v + propane. You need battery power and propane for it to work. Leaving it on "Auto" is the simplest way of handling this.

Most RV fridges sip propane. The ridiculous double-door Norcold goes through a crazy amount (a 30 lb. tank in a week). But most folks don't have that monstrosity.
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Old 06-25-2021, 03:25 PM   #5
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You should test the Air conditioner before you go and see if your generator will run it so you know before hand. As far as propane donít worry about that, for a 3 day trip you likely wonít even put a dent in them.

Depending how much you use your lights and water pump and what sort of battery or batteries you have you could very well not even have to charge them for that sort of stay. If you do just plug the camper into the generator and that will charge them. Most run it a few hours in the AM and PM, unless you have a residential fridge, if not your frig will run on propane and consume very little battery power.
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Old 06-25-2021, 03:50 PM   #6
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Water by the dump site is non-potable -- fancy name for non-drinkable. There will be potable water elsewhere to refill (with jugs) when your water from home runs out.

An LP refrigerator will run for a couple months on a cylinder of propane. Just leave it set to AUTO and it will switch to LP when the AC power is disconnected. Turn the stove top on until you get a flame to be sure the air is purged from the lines. Our Roo is in the driveway right now with the refrigerator set to AUTO and cooling nicely. It will AUTOmatically switch over to propane when we leave to go camping. (Who'd have thought it was this simple.) Stays on LP while on the road. Magically switches back to AC when we get shore power.

AC may run on generator power but neither you nor your neighbors will appreciate the noise. Why are you indoors during the day anyway? Give it a try before you leave. Don't be surprised if it runs fine until the water heater calls for heat or someone runs a hair dryer or the microwave -- it's rough out there without shorepower.

Turn the AC power to the water heater OFF. Run this on propane as well.

If you can try all this at home it will save time and frustration. That means tonight if you intend to leave in the morning.

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Old 06-25-2021, 04:09 PM   #7
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Wow. Thanks for all of the advice. I will definitely call tomorrow and inquire about drinkable water at the campsite. Worst case scenario I can take an empty 5 gallon water tank and put water in the freshwater tank for dishes, sink and toilet.

The question about the AC is just so that I know I have that luxury. I don't plan on spending the day inside if we had a less than desirable day due to rain I want to know that I have have options.

I will definitely try all these things out before we head out. I am going to get the camper out of storage on Monday. We leave Wed so I have time.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 06-25-2021, 06:03 PM   #8
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My 15 year old Roo air conditioner will start and run on a 15 amp circuit plugged into the garage at home.

We're headed to a full service site next Tuesday for a week in the Shenandoah. I'll have 30 gallons of city water in the freshwater tank for use enroute -- never more than 25 feet from a bathroom.

If we're going to a campsite without water I take my blue, wheeled waste water tote, 35 gallon "farm water tank," and water pump with us. Every morning after breakfast I tote waste water to the dump and back haul fresh water. I didn't buy a camper with a shower to use the shower house.

20 years of accumulating stuff for those special requirements.

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Old 06-26-2021, 09:04 AM   #9
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don't know your model of trailer...

What is the group and type of your trailer battery? i.e. Group 24 or 27, Marine/RV or deep cycle?

what kind of fridge do you have? Newer trailers are being outfitted with 12 V only refrigerators unfortunately this type fridge eats battery power. Likely will need to re-charge with generator every day.

I might suggest that you use this trip as a learning experience... use minimal water and use the bathroom at the campground as much as possible. With no water hookups it is easier to just use minimal water. You can flush anything down your toilet with a cup of water and empty the black tank as you leave the campground and flush the black and gray system with the non-potable water at the dump station. your fellow campers can help and answer many questions while you are there.

Using bottled water in gallon jugs is not that big of a deal. Bring some shallow plastic pans to wash/rinse your dishes and pour it down the sink drain.

Learn ( find out ) what type of fridge that you have and use it accordingly... propane = NO problem, but 12 V only will chew thru battery power in a day.

Get a cheap $10-15 voltmeter at Harbor Freight or walmart and watch a youtube video on how to use it. Keep track of your battery voltage during the stay.

12.6+ volts= full charge
13.0+ volts = batteries charging
12.0 volts or less = battery fully discharged, needs to be charged
10 volts or less = damaging batteries unless recharge immediately

Have you thought about bringing the camper home and driveway camping for a night or two to familiarize yourself with the systems?
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Old 06-26-2021, 09:34 AM   #10
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Okay My Turn

If some of this is posted ignore it because I did not read it.


Sanitize your fresh water tank before leaving home.
Make sure one cold water faucet has sanitized water running out of it before draining and rinsing the tank.
When dry camping take your fridge of auto. Put it on gas only. This turns off the brain which drains your battery.
There maybe another switch on the fridge you need to turn off. Can not remember the name but know the location.
We turn off the fresh water pump at night.
We never use the 10 gal HW when shower facilities are available.

We use a lot of paper and plastic but when it comes time to wash dishes we found it cheaper to boil a small pot of water on the stove.
Our toilet will last 7 days for 2.
By using the shower facilities our grey water will last 7 days.


That is all I have for now. Time to go back to sleep.
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Old 06-26-2021, 11:06 AM   #11
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don't know your model of trailer...

What is the group and type of your trailer battery? i.e. Group 24 or 27, Marine/RV or deep cycle?

what kind of fridge do you have? Newer trailers are being outfitted with 12 V only refrigerators unfortunately this type fridge eats battery power. Likely will need to re-charge with generator every day.

I might suggest that you use this trip as a learning experience... use minimal water and use the bathroom at the campground as much as possible. With no water hookups it is easier to just use minimal water. You can flush anything down your toilet with a cup of water and empty the black tank as you leave the campground and flush the black and gray system with the non-potable water at the dump station. your fellow campers can help and answer many questions while you are there.

Using bottled water in gallon jugs is not that big of a deal. Bring some shallow plastic pans to wash/rinse your dishes and pour it down the sink drain.

Learn ( find out ) what type of fridge that you have and use it accordingly... propane = NO problem, but 12 V only will chew thru battery power in a day.

Get a cheap $10-15 voltmeter at Harbor Freight or walmart and watch a youtube video on how to use it. Keep track of your battery voltage during the stay.

12.6+ volts= full charge
13.0+ volts = batteries charging
12.0 volts or less = battery fully discharged, needs to be charged
10 volts or less = damaging batteries unless recharge immediately

Have you thought about bringing the camper home and driveway camping for a night or two to familiarize yourself with the systems?
I havea Cherokee 26dbh that has a deep cycle battery and the fridge is 12v. I brought the trailer home a month back and had the batter on for 2 days with the fridge running and when I check the batter meter I was at 11.7. I quickly disconnected the battery because I did not know any other way to keep it from draining the battery any further. Once we went camping the batter charged back up to 13.6. The trailer comes with a batter meter below the fridge and also in the front storage bin.

This will definitely be a learning experience because I have been spoiled my first 3 trips by going to facilities that have full hook ups.
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Old 06-26-2021, 11:21 AM   #12
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batter meter I was at 11.7. I quickly disconnected the battery because I did not know any other way to keep it from draining the battery any further. Once we went camping the batter charged back up to 13.6. The trailer comes with a batter meter below the fridge and also in the front storage bin.
Ya... those stock battery meters I don't trust... verify with a numerical digital meter. ( cheap).. any reading above 12.6-7 you are NOT reading the battery voltage at a rested NON_CHARGING state... with the battery disconnected and not charged or discharged for 3-6 hours you should only read 12.6-7 as this is a fully charged battery. The converter or solar will be charging the battery at the higher voltage you are seeing in the built-in meters.

Your 12 V DC only fridge will be your biggest energy hog... again anything lower than 12.0 on the battery and you are fully discharged.

read your fridge manual and figure out how to turn it OFF and use it as a cooler for periods of time while in transit
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Old 06-26-2021, 04:25 PM   #13
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Ya... those stock battery meters I don't trust... verify with a numerical digital meter. ( cheap).. any reading above 12.6-7 you are NOT reading the battery voltage at a rested NON_CHARGING state... with the battery disconnected and not charged or discharged for 3-6 hours you should only read 12.6-7 as this is a fully charged battery. The converter or solar will be charging the battery at the higher voltage you are seeing in the built-in meters.

Your 12 V DC only fridge will be your biggest energy hog... again anything lower than 12.0 on the battery and you are fully discharged.

read your fridge manual and figure out how to turn it OFF and use it as a cooler for periods of time while in transit
I bought a cheap multi meter from Harbor Freights when I thought that my electric water heater element burned out. Do I just connect each end to the battery and see what the reading is?
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Old 06-26-2021, 06:57 PM   #14
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I bought a cheap multi meter from Harbor Freights when I thought that my electric water heater element burned out. Do I just connect each end to the battery and see what the reading is?
Pardon me if you know this already, but I TAKE FROM YOUR QUESTION YOU NEED SOME INSTRUCTION...

First there are three functions of most voltmeters...
1. AC voltage
2. DC voltage
3. Ohms or resistance ( continuity)

Then there are different ranges on the meter, as meters will measure accurately from 0.2 volts DC to over 1000 VDC.

So two things have to happen when measuring DC voltage.

First pick the function... in this application pick V DC or the V with the straight lines above the V... VAC is V with a wavy line above it.

Next pick the RANGE... since we are dealing with 12 VDC, then pick the next highest range on your meter, which is probably 20 VDC. This range will give accurate results up to 19.99 volts. Anything over 20 VOLTS will display as an error.

Also there are three holes to plug probe wires into. The BLACK probe wire should always be plugged into COM, while the RED probe wire should be plugged into V-Ohms. The third hole is only to be used for amperage measurements and that does not happen very often.

It really does not matter much which probe, RED or BLACK touches the battery terminal(s) to get an accurate voltage measurement.

When measuring trailer battery voltage, the most accurate voltage you can take is with ONE of the battery cables disconnected from the trailer, and letting the battery rest ( not being charged or discharged) for a period of several hours. Then one probe to each of the battery posts... use the probe tip point dig into the lead post, then read the digital display.

If you don't want to disconnect the battery, then you might be getting the CHARGER voltage if plugged into shore power or a SOLAR panel charging voltage if so equipped.

If you don't disconnect and don't let the battery rest for several hours, you might be measuring a higher "surface charge" on the battery ( something higher than 12.7 VDC), which will quickly dissipate when the battery is hooked up again. Same is true if there is a load on the battery... your battery might test lower then it actually would be if the load was disconnected. Perhaps after reading this search out a youtube video to watch about digital multimeters.


good luck
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Old 06-27-2021, 03:39 AM   #15
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:26 AM   #16
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I bought a cheap multi meter from Harbor Freights when I thought that my electric water heater element burned out. Do I just connect each end to the battery and see what the reading is?
Assuming your note about buying the meter to test the water heater element has nothing to do with anything and is merely history...

To check battery voltage merely set the meter to DC and touch the Pos and Neg battery terminals.

Note, however, that unless the battery has been at "rest" for 12-24 hours you'll only read the surface charge which will show a higher than true voltage for the entire battery. For example the battery will read 12.8vDC when removed from a battery charger after 5 minutes of charge -- and the battery ain't charged.

My battery charge procedure:
1. Ensure the electrolyte -- battery acid -- covers the plates (don't add more than that). .
2. Charge for 24 hours. (Or at least overnight.)
3. Check voltage. 12.8v?
4. Add distilled (and deionized if you can get it) water to the fill line.

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Old 06-27-2021, 03:14 PM   #17
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I bought a cheap multi meter from Harbor Freights when I thought that my electric water heater element burned out. Do I just connect each end to the battery and see what the reading is?
If you're checking to see if your water heater element is still working you need to check for resistance in the element, not voltage in the battery. Select the lowest Ohm setting, which is probably 200 ohms, and see if there is an open (0 Ohms) or you get a reading. I don't know the specs of your water heater, but the reading should be less than 200 ohms. Make sure you disconnect the leads on the element before you test, and obviously, make sure you're not hooked up to shore power or a generator. If the heating element checks out good, then you need to trace your 120 volt circuit, starting with the breaker.
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