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Old 09-29-2010, 03:35 PM   #1
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Escape Unplugged!

As we start the long and winding road towards our April 2011 delivery date, we have a very fundamental question. Bits and pieces of this are answered elsewhere in the forums, but it'd be great to have a solid, one-topic understanding of what works ... and won't work ... when you're unplugged.

For instance, as I understand it, A/C won't work if you're unplugged (which makes sense). Is that correct? Will things that are plugged into your A/C outlets work? Or do you need to install 6V outlets and get adaptors for anything you may need to plug in (laptop, toaster, etc).

It'd also be very helpful to understand what runs off battery and what runs off propane when unplugged. Such as ... will the hot water heater work off battery or propane? Or both? And if it's both, how do you specify?

Essentially, we're asking this because we want to outfit our Escape for boondocking -- whatever we can do to facilitate that, we want to anticipate and plan for it.

Thoughts?

Elizabeth

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Old 09-29-2010, 03:57 PM   #2
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

Here ya go!
First, the trailer uses a 12 volt system...the two 6 volt batteries are wired to provide 12v service. All the lights are 12 v so they work all the time...when you are plugged in the alternating current charges the battery, and then the lights, fan, furnace, draw 12v power from the batteries.
  • No A/C when unplugged, unless you have a generator...and I think the Honda EU1000 is too small (corrections, anyone). AC outlets are "dead" when unplugged, but there are 12v outlets in the trailer (cigarette lighter-type outlets). We plug the laptop's converter (with 12v plug) into the 12v outlets when dry camping. If they make 12v toasters you might have a chance...but I'd hate to think how much current they'd draw.
  • The water heater runs on either propane or house current (110 volts AC, not 12 volt DC). There are switches to select either propane or electric. The refrigerator operates the same way...either 110 AC or propane.

For boondocking you'll either need a solar set-up or a generator, or both. You will only have air conditioning if you have a big enough generator.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:04 PM   #3
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

Well, I'm going through the same process - also picking up a 17B in April. I can answer a couple of your questions:
You do need 120vAC power to run the A/C. Your 120VAC outlets only work if you are plugged in unless you add an inverter. Inverters provide limited amounts of power since they draw 10X the amps from the battery that you use at 120V. For example, a 10 amp hair dryer would draw 100 amps from your battery. Even a few minutes at that rate would quickly deplete your battery.

A small 100 - 200 watt portable inverter to power your laptop, and other non-heating appliances might be worth having - you would have to have a 12v receptacle installed at the location you want to put the inverter. As long as it in under 100 watts it can be plugged into a 12V receptacle. More than that & it should be wired directly to the battery.

Your 17B uses a 12v battery (or 2 6 volt batteries wired in series to produce 12V). It powers the lights, propane detector, Power Maxx Fan, furnace fan, tank level electronics, etc. The standard 3.0 Cubic ft. 3-way Dometic Fridge will run on 12V, however it draws quite a bit & is generally switched to propane if not being powered by the tow vehicle. The larger refer is only 120V or propane. You can have 12v receptacles added if you want them. Propane powers the stove, heating for the furnace, and the hot water heater. It is possible to order the trailer with a hot water heater that runs on AC or propane.

If boondocking is what you want to do you might consider adding solar, 2-6 volt batteries rather than the standard 12volt, and double propane tanks. If you are planning to pull the trailer on rough dirt roads, ordering the lifted axle might also make sense.

There are a couple of threads here at the forum that are filled with suggestions for options that owners have found useful or wished they had ordered. Check http://escapeforum.org/index.php?topic=1186.0, and the modifications section (http://escapeforum.org/index.php?board=2.0 for some ideas.

I'm sure others will have additional suggestions.
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:35 PM   #4
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

Hi: All...Just a couple of items to add. The furnace and fridge igniters for running propane also use 12V. so a well charged battery or set of batteries are good to have. If I was thinking boondocking/ lotdocking for extended time periods I'd be getting the solar panel from Reace. My opinion...YMMV. Alf
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

Quote:
Originally Posted by escape artist
Hi: All...Just a couple of items to add. The furnace and fridge igniters for running propane also use 12V. so a well charged battery or set of batteries are good to have. If I was thinking boondocking/ lotdocking for extended time periods I'd be getting the solar panel from Reace. My opinion...YMMV. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
Or, a small generator to recharge your batteries occasionally during the boon docking adventure. A small generator will recharge your batteries, and run everything in your trailer, while you are recharging, EXCEPT the A/C. You'd need a larger generator for that. Jon mentioned it, but better to repeat...If you want the dual fuel water heater (120V or propane) you have to ask for it. The propane only is standard. Why dual fuel? If you are plugged into a power pod somewhere (as in a campground with power), you may as well have the fee you paid for the campsite heat the water rather than your propane.
Congrats on your order....now comes the hard part - waiting!!!!!!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:38 PM   #6
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

I often boondock for 4-5 days, and have never come close to draining my batteries. My next move would be to use LED lights to save there. I imagine if it was colder and the heater ran more, then some sort of charging would be needed.

Definitely get the dual fuel water heater, and for times when hooked up to 120V it is nice to have a small cube heater along instead of running the loud furnace fan.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:30 PM   #7
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

Jim,

Which cube heater? I picked one up at London Drugs and took it back the next day. Fan was way loud in my living room so I couldn't imagine it in the trailer.

I'm using a small 800w oil-filled heater. Takes more space, but it is silent.

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Old 09-30-2010, 12:22 AM   #8
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

I will have to check tomorrow, not certain offhand what it is.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:56 AM   #9
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

We've been real happy with our small cube heater. We have the Pelonis B-6A1, Classic 4 Disc Ceramic Safety Furnace. It puts out a lot of heat, is small, doesn't make a lot of noise, & seems reasonably safe as far as portable heaters go.

We picked ours up at the Burlington, Washington Camping World last Oct on our return trip from Chilliwack. We used it when plugged in and camping in temps down in the single digits fahrenheit range. It kept our trailer plenty cozy.

This heater is certainly not cheap which is a downside - although we still feel it's been worth it for us.

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...-furnace/19119

http://www.amazon.com/Pelonis-B-6A1-...5856471&sr=8-4
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Re: Escape Unplugged!

So with this particular heater, are you using while plugged in? Or off battery?

~e
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