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Author Topic: Simple Boondocking  (Read 326 times)

dlb53151

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Simple Boondocking
« on: June 09, 2019, 02:22:03 PM »
Trying to not over-engineer the boondocking concept.  We want to get our CL16TBS out on some boondocking trips (2 to 3 nights). 

- Water: we can fill our tank but looks like we should be careful about the weak bars that hold it in place.  Based on other posts and talking with our dealer, the welding of the OEM bars can pop.  Dealer said a guy with same camper dropped his tank on freeway.  So I need to get some stronger supports in place.

- Power:  will a standard marine battery (HD24 -DP) be sufficient to open and close the slide out?  I have a larger gas generator but am sure the noise will piss off anyone else camping in the area.  I guess I could bring it as emergency power in case battery doesn’t work.  Or just buy a spare battery?  (I always put mine on trickle charger when not in use). 

We can use propane to power the fridge so am good on that.  Will make sure it is connected to our home 30 amp power for 12 hours before we leave to get a head start.

Thanks.




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ADR

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Re: Simple Boondocking
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 03:53:02 PM »
So much depends on your useage of appliances for 12V longevity.   Personally since I dry camp* a lot I would not have less than 2 group 31 batteries or 2 golf cart batteries.

As for generators- if you are boondocking no one usually much cares BUT if you are dry camping with others around it is extremely important to have a quiet generator.  I have the quietest made and still get the stink eye at times, especially in CG's that mix tents and RV's.
Run any open frame generator and you may have very pissed off neighbors.

*dry camping and boondocking are very different things- dry camping is in a campground with no hookups.   Boondocking usually means the middle of nowhere not in an actual campground.   


BTW you need to tell us what year your CL is to get specific info about some things.

DavidM

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Re: Simple Boondocking
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 04:06:32 PM »
We "boondock" in our 16TBS almost every time we go camping.

Our battery, a Group 24 like yours will easily carry us for three nights with just lights, a few minutes of water heater running, water pump and cell charging, but no fans or furnace use. We use a measured 10 amp hours per 24 hours and that battery has about 60 AH of capacity which you should not drop below 50% for best life.

The battery easily pushes the slide out and pulls it back in after three days. If I ever had any concern about enough power to pull the slide back in I would just hook up the lights/power connector to the TV and let it charge for a few minutes with the engine fast idling. For that to work sometimes you need to add a fuse that for some reason the TV builder sometimes doesn't provide. It is a 30A fuse located in the main fuse holder or maybe an auxiliary one underneath the dash.

If you want to stay longer than three days without grid power or towing your camper for a few hours to another spot which will also charge it up, you have three choices:

1. Get a bigger battery. A single Group 31 will provide 100 AHs and will cover me for 5 days. Or replace the G 24 with two 6V golf cart batteries wired in series. That provides 220 AH and will last me up to 10 days.

2. Connect up your TV cable and run the engine at high idle for an hour or so which will add 10-15 Ahs back. Or better still hook up jumper cables from your TV directly to the camper battery and run the TV for an hour. That will probably add 20-30 Ahs back.

3. Hook up your Honda or similar to the power cord. Don't use the Honda's 12V output as it is too low and the voltage is not regulated. With the power cord connected the converter should charge at 45A for at least a half hour, tapering down after that.

I fill up the water tank at the campground when I arrive and travel with it 1/4 full or lss. Our water tank lasts for about 3 days with nightly showers for two and one of those is always a big one where my wife washes her hair. The grey water tank fills up by then as well.

I wrote an article published in the newsletter section about dealing with these issues last year so it might be worthwhile reading as well: https://mailchi.mp/39f7ccd9dfe2/acf-spring-2018-newsletter

David
« Last Edit: June 09, 2019, 04:09:10 PM by DavidM »

Pinstriper

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Re: Simple Boondocking
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2019, 12:22:31 AM »
1) David is our resident battery expert. Listen to what he says.

2) Moving the slide in/out doesn't take that much juice. If you have a problem it will be all the other things drawing down the battery.

3) Your fridge running on propane still draws a small amount of battery for the electronics that control it.

4) I have this generator which I use for boondocking with my teardrop during hunting season: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M8L2RTS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It weighs 18 pounds, which is half of what a 5 gal of gasoline weighs. Even in a "no generators" campground, if you found yourself unable to bring the slideout in as you were packing up, you just run it, bring the slideout in, and say "go ahead and kick me out, we're packing up anyway".

At David's 10ah/day rate, you could run this for 90 minutes a day and maintain full charge. Doing so for 5 days would take....between a quart and a half gallon of gasoline.

5) Even a ~$100 solar panel from Harbor Freight could be the difference between running out of battery, without any generator noise. It would not in any way keep up with 10ah/day but with a long summer's day might cover half, which extends your trip.

DavidM

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Re: Simple Boondocking
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 08:44:25 AM »
I wrote an article on how to install a solar panel in our first newsletter, here https://mailchi.mp/fc579d244794/aluminum-camper-forum-newsletter?e=098d190c6d

Since then I have become an even bigger fan of long MC4 cables to get your solar panel into a sunny spot and move it as the day progresses. Merlin installed such a system and it works very well for him. I am also a fan of the lightweight flexible panels for this purpose. They are easier to store and move around. Prices have dropped considerably since I wrote that article. Look on Amazon or eBay for deals.

Finally Victron came out recently with a line of low cost MPPT solar controllers that now makes sense to install them on small systems rather than less efficient PWM controllers.

A 100 watt panel which costs about $100 today fixed or $150 flexible will put out 30 amp hours on a sunny day. That should cover anyone's usage.

David

gibby

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Re: Simple Boondocking
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2019, 09:39:29 AM »
I will second the Solar solution.

I have a folding 80 watt panel, and it is more than sufficient to recharge the battery fully each day.

dlb53151

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Re: Simple Boondocking
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2019, 08:08:07 AM »
Thanks for these responses!! Very helpful.  My 16TBS is a 2016 model, if that helps.


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