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Old 07-01-2015, 07:58 PM   #1
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advice on some options please?

We were lucky enough to take advantage of a cancelled 17B that will be ready at the end of November. We are trying to finish our build sheet, and would like advice on the following:
1: additional 12 Volt outlets inside
2: the inverter with transfer switch
3: Spray foam insulation with or without heat pads
4: Are we able to have a power jack added

Thank you for your help!
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:05 PM   #2
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4. I can't see why you would need/want power jak unless there are health issues. But then I'd guess health issues would become a problem when hooking and unhooking

3. I'd get the insulation package. It seems that folks skip the heating pads unless you plan to camp in really cold weather.

2. The inverter will depend on how you camp. We skipped it and don't miss it. Maybe do some searches on this Forum. the inverter option is much discussed. It boils down to how you camp and what you intend to use.

1. Yes put them in, along with the solar and 2 deep cycle batteries. But, again, this depends on what your intended end use is going to be.

Think about your intended end use. Post info about that and we will be able to give more focussed advice.

Enjoy the process of decision making

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Old 07-01-2015, 08:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photoseeker View Post
We were lucky enough to take advantage of a cancelled 17B that will be ready at the end of November. We are trying to finish our build sheet, and would like advice on the following:
1: additional 12 Volt outlets inside
2: the inverter with transfer switch
3: Spray foam insulation with or without heat pads
4: Are we able to have a power jack added

Thank you for your help!

1. You can't have too many outlets but you can have too few. We have added at the bed and dinette, both sides.
2. If you are considering the 1500-watt inverter, that would power the microwave or other heavy draw items and you very likely need the transfer switch to have power for those outlets. If you do not use heavy draw items, you do not need that inverter but maybe you need the lesser one.
3. If camping in cold with electric hookup, you can use the heat pads.
4. We want a certain power jack so we can get it when home cheaper than sending it to ETI and having them install it. They have a certain one, I believe.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
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1: additional 12 Volt outlets inside
Yes. Easier than adding one later when you find you don't have enough of them.

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Originally Posted by photoseeker View Post
2: the inverter with transfer switch
My stock answer: if you plan to run AC appliances or AC devices while boondocking. Otherwise, no.

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Originally Posted by photoseeker View Post
3: Spray foam insulation with or without heat pads
Can't really speak to it. If you live and camp where it's cold, perhaps.

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4: Are we able to have a power jack added??
Yes. Escape will install an Atwood Standard Power Jack. But, you can always install a power jack afterwards. It's a very simple install, and you'll save some money. In our case we got one with better lighting, a ball bearing drive, a quieter motor and a flip-down foot, for less than the standard one. If you don't want to fool with installing it, just get the one from Escape.
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Old 07-01-2015, 09:06 PM   #5
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We have a 17 ordered as well. Since I have back problems, one of the very first things I did when we visited ETI was try out the hand-crank tongue jack on their demo trailer. Easy as pie. SO we're not getting the power jack.
We can always install one later on if need be.

We added a 12V exterior outlet (next to the exterior 120VAC outlet), for air compressor for tires, flotation devices, etc.
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Old 07-01-2015, 09:48 PM   #6
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...
3: Spray foam insulation with or without heat pads
Thank you for your help!
The heat pads run on 12v and draw about 100 watts each. 200 watts from a battery all night long is a very significant drain, so if you decide to buy & use them, plan on being hooked up to 110v AC so your converter will supply the power instead of the batteries.

I skipped them and plan to route some water from the hot water heater (powered by propane) back into the fresh water tank to keep it above freezing in the winter. This is a mod in progress. ETI installed a return line for me (extra cost item). I also had ETI install some 12v heat tape along the plumbing pipes that run under the floor ( about 4-5 feet on the '21). It uses about 2 amps (24 watts) so not a major drain. Finally, I plan to dump RV antifreeze into the gray and black tanks when in winter service. Hopefully this will keep us operational as long as the daytime temperature get a bit above freezing.

Remember - its all a plan, not proven yet.

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Old 07-01-2015, 11:06 PM   #7
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If I were having the bottom foamed, I would get the tank heat pads - they would be a real pain to add later. They take a lot of power for 12V, but if needed they can run off the converter (as already suggested) when in a campsite, and from the tug when towing. Even if they're never used, they don't weigh very much.

I like Alan's heat tracing idea, if actually trying to prepare for low temperatures. Piping (fresh and waste) is at far greater risk of freezing than tanks.
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:31 PM   #8
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Since you asked....at least get the power jack "pre-wired". Like a 21, the batteries are in the back of the trailer and will be a PITA to do later. Will cost very little now.

Get a couple extra 12V outlets inside, but I think many overdo it.

Inverter: that's one you can do later, but if you think you may then consider the transfer switch now. It will probably cost more later.

Spray foam- maybe, if you have the $$ for some insurance for warmth; heating pads no, unless you like to ice fish.
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:51 PM   #9
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Someone said he wired his jack by the propane tanks, did not need to go to the back.
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:56 PM   #10
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That is for a 19 because the batteries are in the storage box. Otherwise you're maybe splicing into other wiring. For $25 probably- get it done in advance.
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:56 PM   #11
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Someone said he wired his jack by the propane tanks, did not need to go to the back.
Right, he connected it to a terminal block adjacent to where the tow vehicle power cord terminates. That's one way around it.
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:07 AM   #12
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Maybe somebody will come up with an electric jack that you wind up to charge the battery, like those emergency radios.
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Old 07-02-2015, 01:33 AM   #13
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Maybe somebody will come up with an electric jack that you wind up to charge the battery, like those emergency radios.
Or hook up the non-electric one to do that. Might as well use all of that cranking for something.
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:32 AM   #14
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The heat pads run on 12v and draw about 100 watts each. 200 watts from a battery all night long is a very significant drain, so if you decide to buy & use them, plan on being hooked up to 110v AC so your converter will supply the power instead of the batteries.

I skipped them and plan to route some water from the hot water heater (powered by propane) back into the fresh water tank to keep it above freezing in the winter. This is a mod in progress. ETI installed a return line for me (extra cost item). I also had ETI install some 12v heat tape along the plumbing pipes that run under the floor ( about 4-5 feet on the '21). It uses about 2 amps (24 watts) so not a major drain. Finally, I plan to dump RV antifreeze into the gray and black tanks when in winter service. Hopefully this will keep us operational as long as the daytime temperature get a bit above freezing.

Remember - its all a plan, not proven yet.

--
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We're just now looking at our build sheet. Can you explain this a bit more and what you actually requested ETI to do? This sounds like a viable option to me as I'm not really enthused about burying systems under foam that will make maintenance more difficult. We're in Colorado too and need something to get through the night/day-freeze/thaw.
Thanks
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:35 AM   #15
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The spray foam not only insulates but also protects the undercarriage. The floors remain warm with heat, without the foam you may have cold spots. I have had both with and without the heated pads, but they make hookups necessary. That said my 21 does not have pads but does have the foam and an auxiliary electric heater. I have camped down to -0- without any issues with the this set up, but did have electric. I would not boondock for more than one day in these temperatures without electric.
The only added item I would add for winter camping is an additional 120v out let on the driver side to allow using a heated water supply hose if available. that eliminates any tank issues.
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Old 07-13-2015, 04:48 PM   #16
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We're just now looking at our build sheet. Can you explain this a bit more and what you actually requested ETI to do? This sounds like a viable option to me as I'm not really enthused about burying systems under foam that will make maintenance more difficult. We're in Colorado too and need something to get through the night/day-freeze/thaw.
Thanks
Starting on the assumption that you are asking about the '21 (which is what we have): There are about 4 feet of hot and cold pex pipe running from under the bed, over to the sink, that is under the floor - visible from under the trailer - unless you order the foam insulation option. I obtained a length of 12 v heat tape and asked ETI to attach it to the pipes in question. ETI installed a switch on the drawers by the bed, next to the USB power port. The reason I worried about this is that there is not much thermal mass to skinny pipes and I have heard second hand reports that this the first to freeze in cold weather. I was charged $125 for the installation.

Second, I asked ETI to run a length of low pressure water hose ( 1/2 inch vinyl ) from the vicinity of the hot water heater to the vicinity of the of the fresh water tank vent tube (also 1/2 inch vinyl). They would not make the actual connections due to various Canadian rules and regulations. I am in the process of adding a 3 way valve at the hot water tank and a 3 way "T" at the vent tube. It has not been easy so far but I will eventually get things to work. Perhaps if you asked very nicely they would make the "T" connection for you and save a bit of agony from working in a very tight space. If I had a second chance I would also specify that the vinyl hose be the reinforced variety that they use to pull water from the tank to the pump. What they did use was only rated to 130 degrees F, and I assume the hot water going back to the fresh tank will be around 150. I believe the charge for laying the hose was $25.

As I said, this is unproven until our first winter.

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Old 07-13-2015, 07:12 PM   #17
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Thanks Alan, great description.
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:51 PM   #18
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We were camping in Lake Louise last September and experienced a cold blast with snow and overnight temperatures around - 5 deg C for about 3 days. The campsite turned off it's water to the campsites, but had water to the washrooms, and we had power. We have the spray foam and heat pads, and lots of propane to keep the heater running, so we were able to use our trailer as normal. The heat pads are a bit costly but if you camp in the spring and fall in the mountains they may come in handy.
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:57 PM   #19
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It sounds like the spray foam is good for cold weather insulation but what about hot weather insulation too? And sound insulation? If you don't plan to camp in really cold weather, is the $700 cost justified?
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:59 PM   #20
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It protects the entire underside of the trailer, tanks, wiring, plumbing, frame are all encased with foam, quieter, warmer, but about 40 lbs heavier, estimated.
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