gremlinbangles

Boondocking First Time

Recommended Posts

Okay, since we are new at this I have a concern. We are planning to attend the FMCA rally in Perry Ga and are very excited about the whole thing, except for the boondocking part.

Now I know someone will get technical on me but my husband will be using a computer to work Thursday and Friday so obviously drawing power from the battery, generator or other technical thing. I know the refrigerator will run on LP but no idea for how long. We don't have an inverter or solar panels so I assume if our gas tank is full running the generator solves him being able to work during the week day? I saw they have water available as well as the dump thing, so I guess those shouldn't be an issue.

However on the registration paper it looks like even though the rally is Thursday through Sunday that people will be told to come certain day like Monday thru Wednesday? How long can you go before emptying the tank? Haven't had time to figure out how many gallons of water a shower takes and I refuse to forgo them...

So any advice on the best way to deal with this? Any tips would be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
wolfe10   

With no inverter, yes the generator will have to run to provide power to keep the laptop going. A MUCH better option would be to buy a small inverter-- one rated at 50% more than power demand of what you are going to run on it. That way generator run time would be substantially reduced.

You will have other 12 VDC loads that the generator powering the converter will have to replace: water pump, lights, a little bit for refrigerator (even on LP), etc.

A digital voltmeter is a near-necessity on an RV and start under $20. When battery voltage falls to about 12.2 VDC, start the generator to recharged the batteries. You will quickly learn how frequently you need to do this. Particularly if you have a 120 VAC element in your water heater, many find it reasonable to run the generator some in morning and evening. Best to load the generator to around 50% load.

No idea how frugal you are with water. Having spend several winters in the Bahamas on our sailboat where most of our water had to be carried in jugs in the dingy, we could easily go the full week on a tank of water (unless you have a really small tank). Paper plates and cups help. In Perry, there are also two shower facilities that you can use to stretch your onboard water.

Everyone will be parked before the beginning of the Convention and can certainly stay through the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum. If you need power you can request a site with power. It cost more but if your husband absolutely needs power it might be a solution.

It would help if you put your coach and other info in your signature to get better answers. See Brett's signature.

With out knowing what coach you have there is no way to guess what your capacity's are.

This last October While attending the FMCA 6 state rally in Conroe Texas I scheduled a water delivery and pump out jut over half way. If I remember right I got there on Sat and did the service on Thursday. I didn't have any problems.

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When boondocking we use a small wash tub in the kitchen sink. We save the water throughout the day. At the end of the day we dump the wash water into the commode or black tank. This saves us from filling the grey water tank faster than necessary.

Showering uses up the most fresh water and fills the grey water tanks quickly. When boondocking, and showering in your coach, you can save a lot of water by turning off the shower after you get wet and during the "wash cycle". Then turn the water back on during the "rinse cycle.

You'll be surprised at how long you can run a fridge on a tank of propane. We've run ours for several weeks at a time. Big propane tank though. You shouldn't have to worry about running out of propane for just a week stay. Unless of course you have to run your furnace.......

WildeBill has a good recommendation: include your coach model and year in your signature. That will help others help you.

I see from your initial post you have a Safari Simba. Do you know the capacities of your tanks? Fresh water, grey and black water, propane & # and type of house and chassis batteries? I think these are important things to know. Especially when dry camping.

Have fun and Happy Holidays!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As said before Welcome.

When attending a National or Area Rally there are several things to remember.

1) Arrive with empty holding and gray water tanks.

2) Arrive with full water tank.

(Lots of folks spend the night before arriving at the Rally at a close by park so they can prepare to go in)

3) Make sure your Propane tank is topped off.

4) Have extra water hose, extra sewer hose, and extra power cable (extension).

Having done this will make setting up so much more enjoyable.

Herman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TBUTLER   

Are you staying in your coach now in Florida? If you are, close up your grey water tank and give it a test run. See how long you can go before you have to dump the tanks. Do several runs like that trying different water saving techniques and you will have a good idea of your use and need for dumping tanks. The black water tank typically will go much longer than the grey water tank so as mentioned, washing dishes in a pan and dumping in the toilet will extend your grey water tank. We're not big on extending the water and we usually schedule a waste tank pump-out after about 3 days. If we work at it we can extend it to 4 days but we don't go to extremes. Showers are available, we've used them at some rallies. The showers may be provided in portable shower units or there may be in the case of state fairgrounds fixed facilities with showers. As you might guess, they will be in high demand. At other rallies it just wasn't convenient so we showered in the coach. You could alternate shower days with wash cloth and sink days, a variety of the military helmet wash. If the weather is cool, that may help.

Regarding the electric, we usually pay for the electrical supply. You have to sign up early as the number of electrical connections are limited. If boondocking, you can run a generator for several hours in the morning and completely charge the batteries for the day. If needed, you can do the same in the evening. We usually watch a little TV in the evening while the generator is charging the batteries. If the furnace runs during the night it may deplete the battery charge and this plus a pot of coffee call for the generator in the morning. Using the generator for an hour or two each morning and evening will amount to about 10 to 15 gallons of fuel in the course of the rally. The generator will use somewhere between a quarter to half a gallon of fuel an hour depending on the size of your generator and the load on the generator.

If you can use your generator now, you might give this a test run as well. Disconnect and see how the power works out for several days off line. Doing this before the rally will allow you to go to the rally with some strategies already tested. Over time as you live and travel in your coach, you will perfect this and become quite comfortable with a variety of living, weather conditions and variations in utilities supplied at any given site. The motor home is quite a marvelous piece of equipment that provides comfortable living almost anywhere but it does take careful management at times to make everything work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom suggestion on doing a test run on water usage and holding tank capacity is right on. The kind of charger you have and battery bank will dictate how long you need to run the generator. One of the advantages of having an inverter/charger is the charge rate is much higher than most chargers have. They also have a three stage charging which is better for the longevity of the batteries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ObedB   

If your budget can stand more money, a 2000 watt Honda Inverter generator at around $1000 is a great thing to have. Pure sine wave making it kind to sensitive electronics. It will keep your batteries topped off, the absorption fridge working, and computers running. Don't know the weather in Perry during the convention, but if no ac is needed it will be fine. Will not run an ac without a buddy. I filled mine and let it run all night to keep the battery up two years ago in a travel trailer. We were dry camping in late October (19 degrees). I let her run until out of gas. 15 hours and 40 minutes at 9000 feet with a frigid low on 1 gallon of gas and old people like me can't hear it from inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TBUTLER   

A 2000 watt Honda inverter that runs on gas must actually be a generator. Gremlinbangles indicates that they have a generator in their coach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ObedB   

Tom/ yes it is a generator, but I forgot to proof read my post. It has been modified. We don't know anything about their coach. Gas generators, especially on older rigs, can be quite noisy and of course bother everyone around the rv. Our 34 gasser had an Onan that was just plain loud. It would run both air conditioners and other stuff as well, but WHEW!!! I would have loved to have had the Honda back in the day because we were usually in Colorado in September at altitude. The Honda would have been all we needed.If they are going to do much dry camping, it would be a nice thing to have. I may take ours on the trip to Montana in case we decide to dry camp, although our Onan diesel generator is very quiet under low load.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow thats a lot of information, thanks everyone. I did hopefully, corectly add that we have a Safari Simba and we joined the Florida on Safari group and plan to attend a Jan rally with them. We keep hearing we need this and that and that and this and we have gotten quite a few things already and just decided to slow down and get the right stuff. Our toy has expensive tastes:) An inverter is on our list, along with tire inflation monitors and, face plates to tow car and I don't even remember what else.

I know we have a digital voltmeter. Ah ha I know something actually I know our generator is a 4000 Onan (only because it stopped working on us and we had to have it repaired) I gather the coach had sat too long and they just cleaned everything and replace the filters and works fine now. Fortunately we were in GA and near a Cummins dealer at the time.

We are going to try and do it without paying for the electric and we will make sure we will arrive with the right stuff fill and the tanks empty. It will be an experience for sure..if you have thoughts as to the pros and cons on an inverter and/or a portable solar panel unit would like to know them as we may do that before we come...

And yes thanks for the idea of a trial run we do have a few weekend thinks planned already but we might try a longer trip in late Jan to see how we do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, the Honda inverter/generator (there are other brands available), is a different breed of generator with sine wave technology. It produces electricity at a varying frequency allowing the motor to turn at varying speeds. This allows the motor to run slower for smaller current demand and rev's up to a higher rpm when more current is called for. In turn the inverter portion of the generator
changes the frequency to 60 cycles/hertz at 110 volts in a pure sine wave which is a much cleaner waveform for your electronic equipment.

The older technology requires that constant rpm on the motor be maintained to maintain the 60 cycles required for equipment in U.S. devices to run correctly. This is why the older style generator is louder than the inverter style.

Same technology is now being implemented in some newer air conditioning systems which works in reverse of the generator, 60 cycles is inverted to a higher frequency and varied to actually slow the motors for quieter operation, and increase the speed for higher demand, thereby increasing efficiency and lowering current demand.

Also there are 12 volt dc chargers available for charging your laptop batteries http://www.powerstream.com/ADC-p006.htm, I use one, this allows me to recharge my laptop without ever cranking a generator, just plug into a 12 volt power outlet in the coach or car.

What a wonderful world we live in!

Happy holidays,

Kay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the lap top link. I have shown my hubby so he can check it out. He works 8 to 5 still and needs to stay connected.

Today his laptop said he had 3 hours left and 15 minutes later he was at 7 percent left so we do need to make it work. We appreciated all the info.

Last night after Big Bang I read all about converters...yuk and now I even know what we got and we can add a smart wizard module for about $25.

So much to absorb and while my hubby understands it much better I need to understand too...sigh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fagnaml   

Ms.Gremlinbangles --

Is this your first RV experience?  If so, welcome to the most wonderful times you will have.  Being avid LSU football fans, my wife and I "dry camp" seven weekends a year in the heat of Baton Rouge (cool weather doesn't arrive until early November).  We are in our mid-50's and working full time thus we have similar need (begrudgingly) as you to "do career work" on football weekends. Our dry-camping experiences comes from four years of travel trailer use and two years of motorhome use.  The dry-camping efforts are the same but much more convenient with the capacities and capabilities of a motorhome.  The necessities of dry-camping for LSU football are:

1) Run the generator all of the time as the ladies (wife, daughter-in-laws, daughter) and grand-kids like cool air (the guys tough-it-out in the 90 degree heat).   For the travel trailer we used two Honda EU2000 generators in parallel to power the air conditioner, Keurig, etc.  Those generators required work to set-up as in the close confines of the RV parking lot LSU requires the use of an exhaust stack (we use the Camco brand stack).  Our 2007 Damon Astoria motorhome has an Onan 7500 watt generator which is just a start button away from running!   The motorhome generator is much more conducive to using the exhaust stack.

2) Propane tank is full to operate the refrigerator and fire the hot water heater.  One 40 pound propane bottle (gas grill size) was plenty for an LSU weekend (noon Friday to noon Sunday).  On a cool late November weekend we used 1 to 1-1/2 bottles when also running the furnace.

3) Fresh water tank full and holding tanks empty.  Quickly learned the shower "spit washing/rinsing" technique described above to minimize fresh water use.  "Sponge bathing" using the kitchen sink is another way to conserve fresh water. 

4) Only ladies can use the RV toilet to conserve fresh water.  Guys have to use the porta-potties.   The travel trailer only had a 48 gallon fresh water tank (plus 30 gallon each gray and black water tanks) which was adequate using these water use practices.  The motorhome has a 100 gallon fresh water tank, 60 gallon gray tank and 40 gallon black tank which is comparison is "luxury".

5) Use paper plates / bowls and plastic cups & utensils to eliminate the need to use water to wash dishes.  Use foil 9x9 and 9x13 pans for taking food to/from the grill, use as "serving bowls", etc.  We assure all of this disposable stuff can be placed in recycling bins provided by LSU.

6) We have a seven year old Winegard Carryout tailgating (portable) satellite TV antenna that is compatible with both Dish and Direct TV service (we use Direct TV).  The Winegard is connected to the outside 40" flat screen to watch various football games before going to the LSU stadium AND the Winegard is connected to the inside 28" flat screen TV mostly so the grandkids can watch their favorite shows.   The TVs plus three outside 12" oscillating fans are another reason the generator runs continuously.

7) We dump the gray and black water tanks at the Love's Truck Stop near Lake Charles, LA during the return trip from Baton Rouge to the Houston area.   Love's charges a measley $5 for this convenience.

Hope this helps!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Elkhartjim said:

I think they are still waiting on the honey wagon, Bill. :o

 

I hope not, by know they would need a clean up on ilese 3,4 and 5.:lol:

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now