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Old 08-14-2014, 12:41 PM   #111
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Okay. If I set my 17B up with the solar option, two 6v batteries, and the 1500w inverter, what typical appliances can I run and what can't I run? Is there anything I would need a generator for, other than if I had A/C? I plan to spend virtually all my time dry camping.
With the solar option and the twin 6V batteries and management of your power consumption, you will have the capability of very long duration dry camping, potentially indefinite. Your stays will generally be limited by the size of your storage tanks (black, grey, and fresh), and your capabilities for emptying and refilling those tanks.

We have the solar and twin 6V in our 19' and have stayed in unserviced sites for periods as long as 3 weeks without 120V power connections, and could have stayed out longer if work didn't get in the way. We found the solar would bring the batteries up each day to a state of charge where we never had issues with insufficient power. We have no inverter (and have no need for one), and do not carry any 120V devices with us when we camp in unserviced or serviced spots. We do use the 12V quite extensively for the LED lighting, the Maxfan, the furnace, charging devices (ipads, ipods, phones), television, etc.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:56 PM   #112
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You will be able to run everything in the trailer except the AC (and the water heater on electric). You will have to watch what you plug into the inverter - most heating devices under 1500 watts will work, but will quickly use up your available amp hrs. For example, a 1500 watt hair dryer will draw close to 130 amps at 12V while running. Short uses are OK, but don't plan on using your toaster oven to bake a cake! Same for a microwave. During a good day in full sun you can expect to be able to put at most, 30 - 40 amp hours back into your batteries, under average conditions, probably closer to 20 - 25 amp hours, heavy clouds or rain, even less. While rare, I've had days that ended up using more amp hours than the dim skies put back.

As long as you put back what you take out, you can go forever. I survived 4 weeks without hookups with the 95 watt panel my only charging source, however I did do as much as possible to conserve (I only made coffee with my electric drip coffee maker that uses 6-8 amp hrs per pot twice).

I strongly suggest adding a Trimetric battery monitor if you plan to spend most of your time dry camping (The TM 2030 can now be combined with their SC 2030 solar panel controller which provides a better voltage match for the Interstate batteries than the ETI supplied GoPower controller). The battery monitor shows exactly what goes into and out of your batteries, and is far more accurate than the built in monitors in the trailer & GoPower controller.
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:16 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by singletracker View Post
Okay. If I set my 17B up with the solar option, two 6v batteries, and the 1500w inverter, what typical appliances can I run and what can't I run? Is there anything I would need a generator for, other than if I had A/C? I plan to spend virtually all my time dry camping.
Welcome Dick, to our Escape world. Can you tell us more about yourself and tow vehicle and how you plan on camping? I'm afraid your post may get lost in this long thread, perhaps you may want to start a new thread about yourself?
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Old 08-14-2014, 02:11 PM   #114
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Thank you all for the responses. I am not planning on having A/C. It would be nice to have a microwave to nuke a quick meal, as I am a lazy cook, but I'm not sure it's worth $480, especially if it's going to drain my batteries dry. Other than charging my phone and computer, I would have no other unusual power requirements, that I can think of. IF I were to get the TV setup, I assume a 12V TV would be necessary. In this case, I would want to use my satellite receiver. However, then I am back to the 120V/inverter issue, again, correct?

How much power savings do the LED lights provide?

Good point ice-breaker about water and disposal being limiting factors. Most of the time, I would be the only person along for the ride, so I imagine I could last a decent amount of time.

I will be towing my 17B with my FJ Cruiser. I have little desire to spend much time in campgrounds where I would be hooked to power. Most of the reason I am getting the Escape is to do just that and be self sufficient - any place, any time, in any weather. I will likely spend most of the time down some dirt trail, not in a campground, at all.
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Old 08-14-2014, 02:28 PM   #115
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The LED lighting uses far less power than standard incandescent lamps, enough less that it would be my first consideration when planning to dry camp. As to the inverter & watching TV, while there is a bit of loss using an inverter, using it to watch TV running a satellite receiver for reasonable lengths of time isn't going to a major problem. Some people have purchased small inverters that plug into a standard 12V receptacle for the TV & receiver. In general, running a small inverter will result in less loss than a large one, but it is worth checking specifications for efficiency - a good large inverter may have less losses than a poorly engineered small one.

If you can find 12V chargers for the phones & computer, it will usually be more efficient to use them instead of charging the devices throughout their 120V chargers & the inverter. I have 12V chargers for all my electronics.
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Old 08-14-2014, 02:59 PM   #116
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Clearly, the 6V batteries are a no brainer. It sounds like the LED lights are, as well. I'm not concerned about the phone and laptop, as I can charge those on 12V.

However, the water seems to get a little murkier when we start talking about anything that requires 120V. In my case, that might be TV/receiver and maybe a microwave. Total cost, from ETI, for the solar and inverter is in excess of $1200 US. A Honda 2000w generator is slightly less, will power everything, and is pretty much plug and play. Clearly, maybe the biggest downside of the generator is having to carry gas. I suppose, if one spends most of their time in organized campgrounds, noise might be an issues. Are there other reasons that nobody seems to be going this route vs. the solar or solar/inverter setup? The generator could also double for home use and backup power.

I may be able to forego all 120V devices, but, one way or the other, I need to be able to charge my batteries. So, it's either solar or generator.
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:06 PM   #117
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If you are only using 12v appliances the new ETI 160 watt solar package with a single group 29 battery should get you thru the night and the next day you will be recharged before breakfast.
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Old 08-14-2014, 03:30 PM   #118
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If you are only using 12v appliances the new ETI 160 watt solar package with a single group 29 battery should get you thru the night and the next day you will be recharged before breakfast.
As long as it's not cloudy or raining or you're in the shade.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:22 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by singletracker View Post
Clearly, the 6V batteries are a no brainer. It sounds like the LED lights are, as well. I'm not concerned about the phone and laptop, as I can charge those on 12V.

However, the water seems to get a little murkier when we start talking about anything that requires 120V. In my case, that might be TV/receiver and maybe a microwave. Total cost, from ETI, for the solar and inverter is in excess of $1200 US. A Honda 2000w generator is slightly less, will power everything, and is pretty much plug and play. Clearly, maybe the biggest downside of the generator is having to carry gas. I suppose, if one spends most of their time in organized campgrounds, noise might be an issues. Are there other reasons that nobody seems to be going this route vs. the solar or solar/inverter setup? The generator could also double for home use and backup power.

I may be able to forego all 120V devices, but, one way or the other, I need to be able to charge my batteries. So, it's either solar or generator.
One thought if you go the generator direction - there are campgrounds that do not allow generators, but don't have hookups. For example, one that I liked was Texas Springs at Death Valley National Park. Even out in the middle of nowhere, there will be times you just don't want to run a generator, or drive to the nearest gas station for a refill. I've managed to get by on solar only for 3 1/2 years, and only missed a generator on a few days where the temperatures were over 100°F & I didn't have an electrical hookup.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:29 PM   #120
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I'm not sure which is worse. The noise of the generator ( and I have a quiet Honda 1,000 ) or the noise generated when my wife complains that I am running the generator.
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