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Old 07-08-2010, 07:46 PM   #101
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IMy intention is to use the RV tank for external cooking, not to feed the RV appliances from an external source like most people. Anyway, the low pressure is only 11" of water (less than 0.5psi), and it feels safer. I use common copper NPT parts for that.
I decided against this as in many parks we stay the picnic table is well away from the RV, and I wanted a lot of flexibility in terms of where I move my grill anyway. You never know where the optimal spot will be and sometimes it depends on wind anyway.

I ended up getting one of the small 5 pound propane tanks and that has worked out really well for me.

Audrey
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:50 PM   #102
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About the Xantrex inverter RS2000 as a combo inverter/converter/charger, it also incorporates an automatic transfer switch. This auto-disconnects the RV load from the shore power if the latter drops out, and turns on the inverter. In other words, it does not run the converter/charger and inverter simultaneously to convert AC to 12V and back to AC again. It is possible to do that, but would generate a lot of heat due to conversion inefficiencies.

My pure-sine-wave inverter is also a Xantrex, but it does not have the charging function. I will eventually rip out the RV stock converter/charger and put in a triple-stage charger. The main reason is to be able to charge the batteries more quickly, if I need to fire up the generator. However, I anticipate to be hooked up most of the time. Additionally, we may be on the move quite a bit, and the RV batteries will get charged from the engine alternator.

By the way, another function of the inverter is to allow me to shut off propane while moving, and to run the refrigerator on the inverter. The inverter feeds itself off the batteries, which would not last long with the 300W load of the refer, but they do get charged from the engine alternator when I am driving.

I understand that there are 3-way refers that can run directly off 12V as well as AC power and propane, but mine is a 2-way and uses the 12V only for its controller. Without the inverter, I would have to keep the propane on (and the refer's and water heater burner on with their open flames), and would forget to shut it off when pulling into a gas station.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:55 PM   #103
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A generator seems a bit overkill for a Roadtrek, given size and weight and probably not a diesel gen anyway.
It is certainly proving to be that... at least with us. (Yes, it runs off of the chassis gas tank.)

Another thing that is questionable is the Propane system -- two years (almost) and have used only 1/4 tank. Most of that was during a very cold spell (around zero) in northwestern Wyoming last winter when we used the furnace to supliment the ceramic heaters.

The Roadtrek comes with the pigtail attachment to the Propane tank but I have a one-burner stove (Butane) that I use with a Wok instead of the standard Grill stuff.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:58 PM   #104
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You can power laptops and similar DC appliances directly with a step up DC converter at the right voltage. My FIL had one that output the 16 volt DC his laptop needed from any 12 volt input
Yes, I thought about that too. A DC-to-DC step up converter is theoretically more efficient than the usual inverter+power pack combo. But, but, but how many gadgets does a geeky RV'er need?

Anyway, my inverter draws 0.8A while idling, and it's not too bad. I do have several smaller inverters (of the common modified-sine-wave types) to use if necessary.

By the way, the "modified sine wave" is an awful misnomer. It should have been "modified square wave"!

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The absdolute best. He is planning to leave his entire rig in the driveway.

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In that case no need for brakes, just wheel-chucks.
Are you kidding? Is that what you think I'll do. No way!

I am putting mine on blocks. And remove the tires to keep inside the garage to keep them out of sun light. They last longer that way.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:02 PM   #105
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I decided against this as in many parks we stay the picnic table is well away from the RV, and I wanted a lot of flexibility in terms of where I move my grill anyway. You never know where the optimal spot will be and sometimes it depends on wind anyway.

I ended up getting one of the small 5 pound propane tanks and that has worked out really well for me.

Audrey
You are probably right. However, we have only one basement storage compartment, yes only one, and do not feel like carrying a portable tank.

But we may end up doing that anyway. We'll see.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:28 PM   #106
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In my case, with a humble class C instead of a big class A, do I dare do without tow brakes? Perhaps one quick tow around the block will convince me really quickly that I need one bad.
Putting aside the risk to you and your DW's life and limb for a moment, dare you risk a breakaway with nothing to stop a 3,200 pound missile possibly headed for the oncoming lane of traffic? I don't believe our 30,000 pound bus needs a Brake Buddy to help stop our little 3,500 Chevy as I can't tell I'm towing unless I look at the back up monitor. But the thought of the remote possibility of injuring or killing someone because I had no emergency braking system would give me nightmares.

Not to mention that a supplementary braking system is required by law in almost every state: Towing Laws - Braking systems for motorhomes towing a vehicle

And heck, it looks like you will have to keep working for many more years to support those two houses and your RV, so what better do you have to do than work on that baby while it sits in your driveway?
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:33 PM   #107
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Yes, I thought about the toad coming loose too. But there's the safety cables.

OK, OK, the safety cables only mean that you would total both the toad and the RV instead of just the toad (and someone else's car), but many smaller trailers are just as deadly and they also have no towing brakes. For example, the smaller U-Haul trailers have no brakes at all. The mid-size ones have surge brakes, but no break-away brakes.

I may end up doing a tow brake anyway...
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:41 PM   #108
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I agree. However, unless you "boondock," a generator is just excess weight that you haul with you. I have been wishing for an opportunity to use it... well, wishing in the Boy Scout's "Be Prepared" vein.
Sounds to me like my generator will see more use than my inverter, especially in warm tropical locations where AC is often a necessity. Cool weather places probably call for more inverter camping since the AC is not necessary. Not sure the inverter will support the microwave or AC, but it should be good for just about everything else. And my battery (chassis) also charges while on shore power.

Nice to have both.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:42 PM   #109
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... but many smaller trailers are just as deadly and they also have no towing brakes. For example, the smaller U-Haul trailers have no brakes at all. The mid-size ones have surge brakes, but no break-away brakes.
So that makes it OK for you?

I wonder if your umbrella policy will cover you if you get sued for hurting someone without tow brakes when the law says you need them? Sounds like an ambulance chaser's idea of heaven...
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:45 PM   #110
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Sounds to me like my generator will see more use than my inverter, especially in warm tropical locations where AC is often a necessity.
Yep, that's how my genny racked up so many hours. The original owner boondocked a lot - in Texas - in the summertime.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:53 PM   #111
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About the Xantrex inverter RS2000 as a combo inverter/converter/charger, it also incorporates an automatic transfer switch. This auto-disconnects the RV load from the shore power if the latter drops out, and turns on the inverter. In other words, it does not run the converter/charger and inverter simultaneously to convert AC to 12V and back to AC again. It is possible to do that, but would generate a lot of heat due to conversion inefficiencies.
This functionality is just amazing. Switching between shore power, inverter and generator is totally seamless - nothing blinks, flickers or surges. We don't even know we have lost shore power except that the A/Cs, if running, shut off. We also have a very smart "smart surge protector" that monitors shore power and shuts switches to internal systems if any problems.

As a EE who has worked on a few electronic power supplies, I am still in awe of this power system. Of course, these days that these power systems have such big "brains" that they can run super sophisticated algorithms and perform so seamlessly.

Audrey
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:04 PM   #112
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I wonder if your umbrella policy will cover you if you get sued for hurting someone without tow brakes when the law says you need them? Sounds like an ambulance chaser's idea of heaven...
I do have an umbrella policy. I guess it is not a good idea to call my insurance company up to pose the above question.

Anyway, on undivided highways with twists and turns, I don't think any break-away brake would prevent a loose toad or any trailer from causing a head-on collision. The real prevention is to make sure, really damn sure, everything is attached solidly, including the safety cables.

However, legal issues like what you pointed out may cause nightmares, just to think about it. In that regard, yes, the cost of the tow brake is worthwhile for peace of mind.

Anyway, it appears to me the BrakeBuddy is not assisted by vacuum. Am I right? Then, how well does it work? Some other systems run a vacuum line from the RV (gas-powered) to the toad. That makes more sense to me.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:07 PM   #113
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As a EE who has worked on a few electronic power supplies, I am still in awe of this power system. Of course, these days that these power systems have such big "brains" that they can run super sophisticated algorithms and perform so seamlessly.
We have one of these power monitor/surge protector gadgets. It is very sturdy and reliable. Already helped us twice. In one case spiders had moved into the grounding receptacle and disabled it resulting in an error alert. In another, the ground was not wired correctly - the campground owner admirably called an electrician who patched it all up and acknowledged the risk of that situation.

You've gotta remember that you are living in a house on wheels - safety first.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:09 PM   #114
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Anyway, it appears to me the BrakeBuddy is not assisted by vacuum. Am I right? Then, how well does it work? Some other systems run a vacuum line from the RV (gas-powered) to the toad. That makes more sense to me.
The relative merits of supplemental/tow brake systems are the subject of as much debate on RV forms as are early mortgage payoffs here. Some swear by systems that tie into the tow vehicle (what you mention above) while others swear AT them.

I opted to go with the Brake Buddy because it is a stand-alone system. I've been using it for three years now and it has worked well.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:10 PM   #115
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Sounds to me like my generator will see more use than my inverter, especially in warm tropical locations where AC is often a necessity. Cool weather places probably call for more inverter camping since the AC is not necessary. Not sure the inverter will support the microwave or AC, but it should be good for just about everything else. And my battery (chassis) also charges while on shore power.

Nice to have both.
Yeah, I don't know of any Inverter that will run an A/C unit... and even if it did that 3,000 watts of energy use would drain even the largest battery bank in short order. An Inverter will run a microwave oven if it (the inverter) is 1,500 watts or greater capacity (same with most coffee makers) -- again the battery storage is a limiting factor.

My battery bank is charged, through the Inverter, by whichever is in use; the chassis engine (alternator), the generator, or shore power. They tell me that the generator (using chassis gas) is the most cost effective but since we drive so much the batteries are constantly charged up. In fact, they have only been drained twice -- both times after six hours of computers and TV watching with all the lights on.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:16 PM   #116
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I opted to go with the Brake Buddy because it is a stand-alone system. I've been using it for three years now and it has worked well.
Yes, the stand-alone feature is what got my attention. I want to be able to move it to the next toad. It looks like it would have to apply several hundred pounds of force to be effective without the vacuum assist.

Hey, why do I even talk about the next toad? The current one should last forever, sitting on blocks with wheels removed, just like the coach.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:26 PM   #117
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Yep, that's how my genny racked up so many hours. The original owner boondocked a lot - in Texas - in the summertime.
I wouldn't want to boondock where I need to run the genny for AC. Not intentionally anyway. Boondocking somewhere in the NW, or along the Alcan highway is more of what I have in mind.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:26 PM   #118
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Sounds to me like my generator will see more use than my inverter, especially in warm tropical locations where AC is often a necessity. Cool weather places probably call for more inverter camping since the AC is not necessary. Not sure the inverter will support the microwave or AC, but it should be good for just about everything else. And my battery (chassis) also charges while on shore power.

Nice to have both.
The inverter won't run the A/Cs. But it might run the microwave. Ours does. This depends on the inverter power rating.

We generally avoid boondocking in hot weather - not fun! You just have to run the gen so much and it's noisy and vibrates and my bedroom reading light flickers. I don't mind for a couple or three hours a day, but not most of the day and night - please!**

But in very hot weather traveling down the road we run the gen so that one of the motorhome A/Cs runs. This really helps the comfort while driving - and when driving you don't notice it is running.

We often use the gen in rest areas when in transit.

We occasionally boondock, sometimes 3 or 4 nights. We don't usually need to run the gen more than a couple hours a day when boondocking.

Still, we don't seem to exceed 100 hours on the gen per year.

Audrey

** Funny story about the running the gen in hot weather. We were once in a GA campground in really hot weather (reaching 100), and the 30 amp power was pretty marginal, we couldn't even draw 25 or thereabouts without the voltage dropping pretty bad during the day. But we managed with running just one A/C, the hot water on diesel (as needed) and the fridge on propane, and switching off the A/Cs when we needed to run toaster or microwave or whatever.

Our neighbor big rig, had a different approach. They unplugged from the power pedestal, and ran their generator for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. Even at night, and when gone for several hours they left it running. Fortunately their site was somewhat distant from ours even though next door, but we sure got tired of hearing that gen!

In the spot next these guys was a tent - with a window air conditioner stuck under one side of the tent! We had never seen that before either.

You just never know what you are going to encounter!
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:31 PM   #119
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It looks like it would have to apply several hundred pounds of force to be effective without the vacuum assist.
It has a variable setting to allow anywhere from very light pressure up to enough force to lock all four wheels. Of course you probably wouldn't want to do that, but it can.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:34 PM   #120
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Our neighbor big rig, had a different approach. They unplugged from the power pedestal, and ran their generator for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. Even at night, and when gone for several hours they left it running. Fortunately their site was somewhat distant from ours even though next door, but we sure got tired of hearing that gen!

In the spot next these guys was a tent - with a window air conditioner stuck under one side of the tent! We had never seen that before either.
There are no other places where they can be? Isn't the idea of the RV mobility is so that you can be where it is nice outdoors? So that you can escape from the confine of your air-conditioned home?
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