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Old 07-20-2021, 08:42 AM   #1
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First Boondocking trip (w/ Gen) - Advice

We are camping this weekend west of Rapid City in our WP 17JG and this is our first place without power. It doesn't have water hookups either or a dump station, but I think we've figured that out.

We can run the generator from 6a to 10p. We are renting a Honda EU3000is. It's going to be warm weather, so we plan to make sure we keep the camper cool. We don't normally use the microwave, but what are your other recommendations in regards to hot water? Use propane to heat the water? If so, all I do is shut off the switch where the water heater vents correct? Then turn on the switch near the door 20ish minutes before we need hot water?

The fridge will just have to run off the battery and I hope we can keep it charged with the Gen during the day. I do plan to pack the fridge full of 1/2 gal ice jugs and rotate those if necessary.

I am sure we will be running the bathroom fan at night in hopes to keep us cooler. Hope that won't kill our battery overnight.

What am I missing?

We are spending one night along the way in a CG with power/water, so on the 2nd-4th night we will be transitioning to boondock mode.

Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2021, 08:56 AM   #2
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If I were running a 3K generator I would use the electric side of the wh. The ice jugs are something many do but even so cool it with the generator and at night when you are not using try turning it off it should keep things cool overnight (i'm assuming it a 12V frig). Yes the way to switch from electric to propane is hit the switch inside for propane. It really makes no difference if the electric switch is off or on for this to function. I always turn mine off so I don't forget and have it on when the tank is empty and burn the element.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:01 AM   #3
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Find a place to boondock away from other people and you can run your gen all you want.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:05 AM   #4
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Find a place to boondock away from other people and you can run your gen all you want.
Yes, that would be ideal, but we are meeting other family coming from CO and are not familiar with the area. Being a CO native, we did LOTS of primitive camping, and that is what I prefer. I don't care for the idea of driving hours only to be closer to neighbors than I was at home. However, I do enjoy the new scenery and other adventures we don't have at home, so it's kind of a wash.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:13 AM   #5
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Since we have no clue what your battery(ies) capabilities are, or what refrigerator you have and how you are powering it. (you say the fridge will have to run off the battery) we are simply guessing at best

Is that a 120v residential refrigerator using an inverter, a 12v compressor type refrigerator or a conventional LP/12v refrigerator? We don't know so it's hard to answer you.

Whether your refrigerator will run overnight off the battery(ies) along with a fan are anyone's best guess based on what I asked above.

Also depending on the size of A/C unit you have, a 3000w generator may not start the A/C if the water heater is powering the element on 120v.

I'd simply use LP on everything you can and save the 120v for things that absolutely can't be run off another source of power.

Answer some questions and we may be able to guess a bit closer to reality.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:25 AM   #6
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Since you are obviously going to camp in a campground with rules as to when you can operate the generator.....

Operate the water heater on propane and don't turn off the electric switch on the water heater itself. It will default to propane when you turn on the propane switch. You should have a switch to turn the wh off when not in use and use that.
If you have the option to run the fridge on propane, do that. If it's residential or 12v, keep the drinks and refrigerated snacks in a separate cooler and open the refrigerator door as little as possible. You might want to pick up a bag of ice from the store. That's frozen to a lower temp and keeps longer.
If you have the option of opening the bathroom fan without turning on the fan do that and crack a window to increase circulation. (Hot air should vent through the fan and hopefully cooler air will enter through the window.)
Be careful about leaving lights on in the rig overnight. We drained a battery overnight by leaving a light on in the bathroom. Of course, that was before LED lights.
We invested in this O2COOL fan years ago and bought a second one this year. It operates on an internal rechargeable battery, 8 D cell batteries, and an ac or dc adapter . It's not very big when the power in the house went out this summer, it kept our bedridden relative cool with a bag of ice in front of it to cool the air. https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B000VI2H...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
And PLEASE place that generator carefully. They lost a couple of people at a horse show this week from carbon monoxide from a generator near a trailer
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
Since you are obviously going to camp in a campground with rules as to when you can operate the generator.....

Operate the water heater on propane and don't turn off the electric switch on the water heater itself. It will default to propane when you turn on the propane switch. You should have a switch to turn the wh off when not in use and use that.
If you have the option to run the fridge on propane, do that. If it's residential or 12v, keep the drinks and refrigerated snacks in a separate cooler and open the refrigerator door as little as possible. You might want to pick up a bag of ice from the store. That's frozen to a lower temp and keeps longer.
If you have the option of opening the bathroom fan without turning on the fan do that and crack a window to increase circulation. (Hot air should vent through the fan and hopefully cooler air will enter through the window.)
Be careful about leaving lights on in the rig overnight. We drained a battery overnight by leaving a light on in the bathroom. Of course, that was before LED lights.
We invested in this O2COOL fan years ago and bought a second one this year. It operates on an internal rechargeable battery, 8 D cell batteries, and an ac or dc adapter . It's not very big when the power in the house went out this summer, it kept our bedridden relative cool with a bag of ice in front of it to cool the air.

This is absolutely not true!

You can use BOTH the LP side and the 12v side simultaneously to get quicker recovery. Turning on the LP switch doesn't override anything. You must turn off the 120v switch if you don't want the 120v side to operate.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
This is absolutely not true!

You can use BOTH the LP side and the 12v side simultaneously to get quicker recovery. Turning on the LP switch doesn't override anything. You must turn off the 120v switch if you don't want the 120v side to operate.
I apologize. You are correct..... I need coffee......
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Old 07-20-2021, 02:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jesus_man View Post
We are camping this weekend west of Rapid City in our WP 17JG and this is our first place without power. It doesn't have water hookups either or a dump station, but I think we've figured that out.

We can run the generator from 6a to 10p. We are renting a Honda EU3000is. It's going to be warm weather, so we plan to make sure we keep the camper cool. We don't normally use the microwave, but what are your other recommendations in regards to hot water? Use propane to heat the water? If so, all I do is shut off the switch where the water heater vents correct? Then turn on the switch near the door 20ish minutes before we need hot water?

The fridge will just have to run off the battery and I hope we can keep it charged with the Gen during the day. I do plan to pack the fridge full of 1/2 gal ice jugs and rotate those if necessary.

I am sure we will be running the bathroom fan at night in hopes to keep us cooler. Hope that won't kill our battery overnight.

What am I missing?

We are spending one night along the way in a CG with power/water, so on the 2nd-4th night we will be transitioning to boondock mode.

Thanks!

IF you are not hooked up I WOULD ALWAYS RUN WATER HEATER ON GAS. it pulls a 1000 watts more or less on AC so why tax the generator. You will be lucky if it runs your AC with the converter still on to charge the batteries.


On the issue of Charging the Batteries. Unless you are using a Shunt controlled Am Meter you will tent to look at the idiot lights. Do NOT. Do not eve rely upon a Volt meter while charging. Remember effective charging is 13.5 to 14.5 volts and that IS NOT THE STATE OF CHARGE OF YOUR BATTERIES. It will likely take all day to charge the batteries back up if you are running a Residential frig on inverter. Not sure how BAD a 12 v frig might be. If you can run yours on Gas then the load on batteries will be light and a few hours charging may be enough to get you through from one night to the next. In fact, two golf cart batteries with a Gas frig and Gas water heater and minimal other use and some report going days with just two good batteries.


Residential or 12 v frig is another game al together


Trial and error is the way most of us learn
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Old 07-20-2021, 02:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
Since you are obviously going to camp in a campground with rules as to when you can operate the generator.....

Operate the water heater on propane and don't turn off the electric switch on the water heater itself. It will default to propane when you turn on the propane switch. You should have a switch to turn the wh off when not in use and use that.
If you have the option to run the fridge on propane, do that. If it's residential or 12v, keep the drinks and refrigerated snacks in a separate cooler and open the refrigerator door as little as possible. You might want to pick up a bag of ice from the store. That's frozen to a lower temp and keeps longer.
If you have the option of opening the bathroom fan without turning on the fan do that and crack a window to increase circulation. (Hot air should vent through the fan and hopefully cooler air will enter through the window.)
Be careful about leaving lights on in the rig overnight. We drained a battery overnight by leaving a light on in the bathroom. Of course, that was before LED lights.
We invested in this O2COOL fan years ago and bought a second one this year. It operates on an internal rechargeable battery, 8 D cell batteries, and an ac or dc adapter . It's not very big when the power in the house went out this summer, it kept our bedridden relative cool with a bag of ice in front of it to cool the air. https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B000VI2H...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
And PLEASE place that generator carefully. They lost a couple of people at a horse show this week from carbon monoxide from a generator near a trailer

Let me step right in to it. In our rig IF we have 120v ac, turn off the AC switch and use only the gas switch if you need to conserve 120 wattage/amperage. This rig and out last rig if I turn on both Gas and A/C the water heater runs both. Only the frig will default to AC if it is set that way and default back to gas if you have no 120 vac.



You cannot not run both on the frig. You can definitely run both on the water heater and I have had both Suburban and Atwood.
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Old 07-20-2021, 04:50 PM   #11
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Kind of a side note and not sure of your entire setup, but don't forget to account for some type of shelter for your gen if the weather turns foul. We completed our first outing with a generator a few weeks ago, only to panic when thunderstorms set in and we didn't have any shelter for it. We managed through it, but just something to think about. I second the comments on the placement to minimize CO and propane use.

I'd be really interested if anyone has good recommendations for USB or rechargeable fans. I've seen a few available, but curious is anyone has recommendations?
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:21 PM   #12
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I'd be really interested if anyone has good recommendations for USB or rechargeable fans. I've seen a few available, but curious is anyone has recommendations?
I have a pair of 10000maH USB chargeable clip on fans. Even on high, they run a long a time but low speed pointed at the bed runs all evening through the morning and there is still plenty of charge left. I think they are 8" in size. I just clamp them to the window valances and point them where needed. The brand was OPolar off of Amazon but they are no longer listed however there are many similar items.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:24 PM   #13
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I have a pair of 10000maH USB chargeable clip on fans. Even on high, they run a long a time but low speed pointed at the bed runs all evening ....
That sounds great and I'll take a look. Thank you!
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:27 PM   #14
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I hope that the generator can run your AC if you don't have an easy/soft start installed. I suspect it will but may be hard on the generator at startup.

I don't know about your trailer specifically but my water heater has a switch outside that i leave on all the time even in storage. Inside I have a switch for gas and a switch for electric. Can use both at the same time but I just stick to gas 99% of the time.

What type of fridge is it? Two-way, 12v only, 120v only? Knowing that will help us help you
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Old 07-20-2021, 08:08 PM   #15
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So I've got the standard deep cell battery that came with the camper.

I believe the fridge is the Cannon 12V High Efficiency Residential at a little over 10 Cu Ft. So I do not believe it will run on gas.

The AC is a 13.5k BTU unit and I know the generator may struggle on start-up, but it's a rental Gen. I wonder if a Soft Start will void my warranty? I don't see myself boondocking much in the next year otherwise I would consider installing a soft start.

I will switch off the electric for the WH and run it on propane when needed. Open fridge only when necessary and fill voids with ice jugs. Be careful of lighting usage. And enjoy whatever adventure presents itself!

I do have the juice pack, so the solar will help if we're not under trees, although I am relying more on the generator.
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Old 07-20-2021, 08:25 PM   #16
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Run everything you can off gas.

Since you are not going to do this much, I'd buy or bring an extra 12 volt deep cycle and connect temporarily for extra capacity at night.

Assuming you have a 12 volt Dometic or equal, disconnecting the heater strip on the door and light will save about 1 amp.
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Old 07-21-2021, 11:40 PM   #17
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RE--First Boondocking Trip (w/ Gen) - Advice

One thing I do when running a external Genset, is to properly ground the Generator to earth . I do this by driving in a small ground rod about 3 feet long and attaching the ground cable from the ground point of the generator to the ground rod with a approved clamp .By plugging in your RV to the 120 volt receptacle , now the RV is properly grounded much like plugging into shore power . If something on the 120 volt side of the RV was to have a issue now , it will trip the breaker to the circuit that has a issue , and the leaves zero potential for a shock situation . I have seen many people leave a gen set in the back of a pick-up and connect it to a RV which in most cases is completely isolated by the rubber tires . Make sure to read your Gen Sets manual with respect to operating it safely with respect to connections and which way the Engine Exhaust is facing . (away from the RV hopefully)
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Old 07-28-2021, 04:58 PM   #18
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Trip was successful. Even tho it cooled off most nights, we were thankful to be able to cool the camper down prior to bedtime using the generator. We used it during the day to top off the battery. We did have a beeping noise around 6:30a the first morning, from what we think was a low battery alarm. Oddly enough, with the similar use, we never got that alarm again.

I think if I were to buy my own generator I would rather buy two smaller ones than one large one. Two smaller are far more manageable by one person than that huge 3000is. And I could probably get by with one if I added a soft start to the AC. That being said, we have no plans to boondock again anytime this year.

Thanks for all the advice!
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Old 07-29-2021, 12:41 PM   #19
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Good to hear the trip was successful with no major issues.

I recall in a different thread the Champion brand generator being recommended. In my limited research of different types, this is probably the model that I would consider purchasing if needed for boondocking:
Champion Dual Fuel Generator
Pretty good price and given the power output, only 120 lbs too!
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Old 07-29-2021, 01:36 PM   #20
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Good to hear the trip was successful with no major issues.

I recall in a different thread the Champion brand generator being recommended. In my limited research of different types, this is probably the model that I would consider purchasing if needed for boondocking:
Champion Dual Fuel Generator
Pretty good price and given the power output, only 120 lbs too!
I have the Champion 3400 watt gasoline inverter generator with remote start. It sounded awesome using the remote start to start it in the morning for some coffee. Turns out I never use it. What a waste of money and weight. Another thing I really dislike about this particular model is the push-button choke. It's either all on or all off, and if the generator battery is dead, it won't move the choke. I find myself having to remove the back cover and manually set the choke to get it started.

My friend has the 3400 watt dual fuel Champion, and it is far superior. It has the old-fashioned manual choke that you can easily set in any configuration, and it runs on either LPG or gasoline. I wish I had gone that route.

Either way, I still love my Champion generator, and may end up adding a manual choke lever to make it work how I'd like it to.
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