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Old 09-30-2010, 06:14 PM   #1
LyndaB's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
Newbie - with questions!

Hi everyone. So I'm an Englishwoman emigrated with husband, to Kamloops, Canada six years ago. After just selling our equestrian business, we are ready to enjoy some Canadian adventures. We have just purchased a Wildwood T25KS and have some questions:

1. Batteries. What do you recommend? We have been told to go with 2 x 6V (76lb) batteries, but why would you do that instead of 2 x 12V?

2. What do you all use for recharging? Are solar panels a good idea? We have been told it will cost $1500 for one 130W self regulating solar panel - which seems expensive - but would this be better than a generator?

3. Are there any items/goods you would recommend we should buy to make life in the trailer easier or just generally useful?

4. Is there anything we should look out for with this model? Any known issues?

We haven't got a clue about what we would need in our new life as campers - we have never done any camping! (Unless you count years of motorhome camping with parents when I was 10 - which was a LONG time ago LOL) so any advice to a total newbie to this site as well as camping, would be much appreciated.

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Old 09-30-2010, 08:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Enumclaw, WA
Posts: 2,615
Welcome to the forums Lynda.

To answer a few of your questions:

1. Batteries. Typical batteries supplied with an RV are Group 24 or 27 12v "deep cycle" batteries. What is of concern to RVrs is the "Amphour" ratings on the coach batteries. A group 24 battery has about 75amp hours of storage. Two would therefore have 150 amphours. Your gas furnace will use 7 amphours of power while it is running. Therfore if in a 24 hour day it runs for 10 hours it will use 70 amp hours of power from your batteries (7 x 10). Add to that all the other 12 volt items like lights, water pump, etc and you can see that if it is cold outside you will have used over 50% of your battery bank capacity in only one day without hookups! That's not good.

On the other hand. 6 volt batteries are true deep cycle (12 volt batteries aren't really), have thicker internal plates and typically have around 230 amphours of storage. Therfore if you have two of them, you get 12 volts and 230 amphours of power, much better than the two 12 volt batteries at 150amp hours.

2. Solar: If you plan to dry camp a lot (no hookups) then you might need a way to recharge your batteries. A Honda portable generator is much cheaper but if you don't like to hear it running (they are very quiet anyway) solar is a good choice. We installed 2-130watt panels with tiltable racks and a 30amp 4-stage charge controller with digital readout and it cost around $1500US. Therefore if someone is telling you $1500 for one 130w panel they are ripping you off. Whether it is "better" than a generator depends on your power needs and only you can answer this. We tend to be power hungry and like to watch about 4 to 6 hours of TV a day if the weather is bad and we can't fish If the temperatures are cold then we have to run the furnace and 2-130w panels have a hard time keeping up with this demand, we may have to add more. I for one don't like to run my generator if I don't have to, but sometimes it is just necessary.

I highly recommend you read The 12 Volt Side of Life for a good explanation of everything power related including solar charging and inverters.

"I can fix it, and if I can't fix it, I can fix it so no one can fix it!"
Ed & Wendy
2009 Georgetown 378TS | 1998 Jeep Wrangler | 1998 Skeeter ZX202C
Nights camped in 2009: 53 | Nights camped in 2010: 55
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:40 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern Alberta
Posts: 459

I'm North and West of Calgary so just on the other side of Banff. It's really a lovely area with lots of great camping spots.

As far as outfitting the camper, my suggestion is to remember light weight is better (so melamine dishes rather than ironstone). Also I suggest not trying to use your regular household stuff in the camper but get duplicates. First off so you don't forget items but also so you're ready to go without having to load all those things.
***** ***** *****
2011 Georgetown 320DS new June 2010
days camped in 2010: 61
days camped in 2011: 37 (up to Aug 1st)
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
Thank you for your replies

NWJeeper - that is such helpful information, I shall print it off and digest it!
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:50 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
Sooo, the solar stuff is getting confusing! Are these solar panels which remain fixed on your vehicle during transportation, or do you have to assemble each time?

Or should we look at this kind of thing: Solar Elite

If not, are there any solar panel make/model/size recommendations? From what we see, if we got 220W (2 x 110W panels) and a 1200W Inverter - this would cover all our needs power-wise? (I know we will need regulators etc)

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