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Old 04-12-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
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what runs on what? (A122)

I just picked up my new A122 this morning, and I am feeling quite regretful about it. I have never owner a camper or even camped before. The demo walk thru was terribly rushed, as it was sleeting heavily outside. This place had no indoor area to go over the camper with me. Plus the guy was somewhat forgetful and/or hard of hearing. I would ask him questions and he would not answer or just change the subject. Then he left me with a different person to go over the hitch with me. I had to tell this second guy to stop and go back repeatedly to show me how to connect everything. In the end he said, "Why did you buy a trailer if you don't know how to drive one?" Man...

Anyway, I realize I am going to have to spend the next couple weeks deciphering the owner manual on my own, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me what appliances will run on what power sources in my A122. A couple of weeks ago when I was speaking with the sales rep, she assured me I could do so many things without a land line. At the demo today, I was told I could run the fridge, furnace and stove on the propane and that's about it. Not even the heated mattress will work without a land line.

Did I really need to have a battery installed? What is it good for? Is there a chart somewhere that can easily tell me what all the appliances use as a power source? All my camping will be dry camping, unfortunately, for 1-3 nights at a time. Did I buy this well-equipped camper only to find that I cannot use most of the stuff in it?
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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your 12v options may very but.
lights
fridge on gas
water heater on gas
radio


you also MUST have a battery to run your trailer breakaway device if your trailer would come un-hooked from the vehicle. its a law in most states.


turbs
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MishaFoomin View Post
I just picked up my new A122 this morning, and I am feeling quite regretful about it. I have never owner a camper or even camped before. The demo walk thru was terribly rushed, as it was sleeting heavily outside. This place had no indoor area to go over the camper with me. Plus the guy was somewhat forgetful and/or hard of hearing. I would ask him questions and he would not answer or just change the subject. Then he left me with a different person to go over the hitch with me. I had to tell this second guy to stop and go back repeatedly to show me how to connect everything. In the end he said, "Why did you buy a trailer if you don't know how to drive one?" Man...

Anyway, I realize I am going to have to spend the next couple weeks deciphering the owner manual on my own, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me what appliances will run on what power sources in my A122. A couple of weeks ago when I was speaking with the sales rep, she assured me I could do so many things without a land line. At the demo today, I was told I could run the fridge, furnace and stove on the propane and that's about it. Not even the heated mattress will work without a land line.

Did I really need to have a battery installed? What is it good for? Is there a chart somewhere that can easily tell me what all the appliances use as a power source? All my camping will be dry camping, unfortunately, for 1-3 nights at a time. Did I buy this well-equipped camper only to find that I cannot use most of the stuff in it?
First "Welcome to the Forum", and no you didn't make a mistake. Its 'seems' like a lot to learn but you'll see soon its not complicated. A easy way to lean what is powered on AC is just think is that appliance also in my house. Air Cond., Microwave, even electric blankets all run on house hold current. Water heaters sometimes work on gas or elec (A/C), small and medium refrigerators are powered by gas and A/C. If it takes a lot of electric power its probably not 12 volt.
Hopefully you got books on all your appliances and accessories separate them according to power supply and by seeing the items you'll soon know the difference. And oh yes many folks bring along a small generator to produce the AC you need when shore power is not available. The battery you have also controls the refrigerator and heater controls, you also need if for that, neither will run with AC connected without the battery.
Good luck and have fun.
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:56 PM   #4
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Dealers like that make me sad. We all have to learn somewhere, somehow.

That said- we're here to help!
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:10 PM   #5
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The fridge may be a three way that runs on 120V AC, 12V DC and propane. Only use the 12Vdc if the trailer is hooked up to your car. It will drain your battery in no time. Propane is the best way to run a fridge.

Your lighting, water pump and furnace (if you have one) are 12V DC. This allows you to dry camp and be reasonably comfortable. Use the furnace sparingly because the fan will drain the battery. That is, keep the temps low and turn it off at night. OTOH, if there is shore power, you can let it blaze away.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:15 PM   #6
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Your experience at the dealer reminds me of the sales guy I didn't buy from. He really didn't care much for his customers either. Don't let a grouch or two get in the way of your fun. You can learn everything you need and there are experienced campers here to help. Also if you find a FR AFrame in a campground, just go up, introduce yourself and ask.

The best place to learn is Camp Driveway. Take a notebook and write down everything that comes to your mind. Then spend some time sorting it out while you enjoy your campout.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:34 PM   #7
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Hi and welcome. Don't let an uncaring dealer derail you. It's all easily learnable and you'll soon be enjoying your A122.

Your fridge will run on any of 3 power sources--12 volts, 120 volts, or gas. (Just don't have more than one power source for it on at the same time.) All the controls for it are accessible from outside, under the two removable grilles on the drivers side of the camper. Your owners manual will show you how to run it. Your furnace needs both gas and 12volts, the gas for the burner and the 12 volts for the fan. The ceiling fan is 12 volt, as are the lights and the water pump. The water heater is gas and needs only a tiny jolt from the battery to ignite it (once you've filled it with water--your manual should tell you how to set it to fill). And the radio is 12 v also. The stove doesn't need anything but gas and a spark. So most everything you'd need to camp can run off your battery, which is essential for the systems to work. The battery is a standard item, so it should already be on board. And when your big electric cord is plugged into shore power, the battery will get recharged without you having to think about it.

The electric bed heater, microwave, and Cool Cat AC/heat pump are the only 120 volt-only items. That would be true no matter what kind of camper you'd bought, so it's not a shortcoming of your unit, nor a bad decision on your part. You made the right decision!

Every one of us started from zero knowledge at some time, so don't worry about asking a camping neighbor for advice and help. Or ask anyone here; we get a kick out of helping. With a few camping trips under your belt you'll be helping newbies here on the forum yourself!
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:36 PM   #8
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What does 12V DC mean? The battery by the propane tanks?

Thanks, everyone, for your support. I was just feeling disappointed by being slightly misled by the sales rep about what I could use without a generator. I had initially been thinking about a plain Aliner Ranger 12 with furnace, and do water heating on the stove top, but then saw this A122 for less $ than the Ranger but with more goodies inside.

I suppose I will figure out this camping business with my new little camper, and do better next time I shop!
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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You're correct. The battery is the source of 12 volts. It supplies direct current (DC) as opposed to the 120 volt alternating current (AC) you have in your house, and that is needed for the appliances that demand huge power, like the Cool Cat.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
Dealers like that make me sad. We all have to learn somewhere, somehow.

That said- we're here to help!
Ditto!

it would be good for you to name the dealer, so that word will get out how you were treated and others can avoid them.

as was said, the dealer made you get the battery because it's the law that any trailer with electric brakes, have a working battery installed.

if the A-frames have a 3-way fridge, then it will run on propane, 110vAC shore power or 12vDC battery power. the 12v is really only good while driving and you should switch to propane if you're dry camping.

in fact, i suggest you adding another battery, if you plan on doing a lot of dry camping.

i suggest you Google "the 12 volt Side of Life I and II". it will help you a lot.

your a/c, microwave, heated mattress and wall outlets will require shore power or a generator.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:18 PM   #11
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I'll wait on posting a dealer review, depending on how they resolve the gouge on the wall over the bed, which I pointed out when I first saw in the A122 a couple weeks ago, and they only halfway fixed by today because they did not have any tape onsite to complete the repair.

It doesn't seem so bad, now that I have so many reassurances. Thank you, all.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:32 PM   #12
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Welcome to the FR family.

If most of your camping is going to be dry I recommend installing a 2nd 12 volt battery or changing over to 2 6volt batteries. You have purchased a very nice unit and will be happier with all the extras once you figure out how to use them. If you want to use the heatpump/AC during warmer weather you should purchase a generator.

Take your time to get use to all the items in the trailer. Most new owners will driveway camp for a weekend or two in order to get to know how their trailer works. It will also let you know how long your battery will last, how much water you will be using etc. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the summer (if it every gets here).
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:31 AM   #13
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We've got your back, Misha.. Call on us if you need advice. If its something you don't want to ask everyone, pick a member and use the forum's Private Message feature to send them a PM without having to use your email address. Security and confidentiality together!

The learning curve may be steep for a while but as Mark Twain would say, it keeps one's brains from caking up.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MishaFoomin View Post
I had initially been thinking about a plain Aliner Ranger 12 with furnace, and do water heating on the stove top, but then saw this A122 for less $ than the Ranger but with more goodies inside.
I was in the exact same boat (er...R/V) when I bought my T10. I really didn't want or need all the extra goodies but the price was right.
The fact is -you don't have to use all that fancy crap just because it's there.
Driveway camping for a night or two when you first get the thing is a good idea but my advice to you would be to make sure you can pull it safely (you'll need the battery for that) and then take it out somewhere nice and get camping!
Camping -to me anyways- is about enjoying a fire and watching the stars. Getting away from the rat-race for a while. It's about listening to the loons or wolves and seeing some beautiful country.
It's not about stressing over operators manuals.

What you have right now is a hard-sided, warm, dry place to camp in, with a bed and a table you can sit at. They're superior (I think) to pop-ups and there's just no comparison between them and a tent.
Take a cooler, a Coleman lantern and a decent sleeping bag and you can learn about all the nice-to-have stuff as you go.
There's no lack of people who will take the time to help you out. The folks on here are just awesome for that as you've probably noticed by now. You'll find more of them at the campgrounds.

Just my .02.
Whatever you do -enjoy!
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:28 PM   #15
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Yukon, you summed it up perfectly!
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Old 04-14-2013, 12:09 AM   #16
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Yukon, that's a pretty nice description of camping.

Misha ... a heated mattress pad???? Where has that been hiding all my camping life. In truth, if I ever needed that I'd be lost some place. I do most of my camping where a functioning A/C is much, much more important.

Don't feel overwhelmed by all the "stuff". The more you use it, the more it will make sense to you until it's second nature.
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