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RE: National Parks entry tickets

Am I correct that Yosemite is now charging $2 to enter even with a federal senior pass? That is the case if you are entering for day use and don't have any other reservation/permit such as a wilderness permit, camping reservation etc. The same $2 fee applies to folks who have annual National Park Passes. The money doesn't even go to the park, but the contractor that runs the reservation system.
FWC 05/26/21 04:31pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Controller puzzle - Float for LFP on solar (long post)

A 'float' of around 13.3V is about perfect, won't charge the battery, will carry the load. Yes the Victron is a little more expensive, but they are very high quality products and you will be up and running in minutes - the phone app or computer app is extremely easy to use (no futzing with cables, drivers etc). If you want a display/interface there is also one available, but the app is so good I doubt you would end up wanting one. I am still not sure why you were trying to set the float so low. But I think you are on the right track, with the amount of time sunk into this you would be further ahead to just buy a Victron MPPT to begin with and call it good. Skip the Renogy and get one that is easy to program and just works, no laptop required. I tried to set Float low because the battery manual said so - no Float or as low as possible :). Victron quality is definitely superior to Epever or Renogy, though at a double cost. From what I read, Victron has no display and no interface on the actual unit, you have to use the phone app or again a laptop with cable. Seems like after the defunct Rogue nobody can make a small MPPT with a proper interface on the unit. Don't recall anybody before Rogue, either. Kid by Midnite Solar came the closest, at a higher price and fewer features.
FWC 05/25/21 09:12pm Tech Issues
RE: Controller puzzle - Float for LFP on solar (long post)

I am still not sure why you were trying to set the float so low. But I think you are on the right track, with the amount of time sunk into this you would be further ahead to just buy a Victron MPPT to begin with and call it good. Skip the Renogy and get one that is easy to program and just works, no laptop required.
FWC 05/24/21 07:30am Tech Issues
RE: Avoid Silverton Colorado

I started this thread a dozen pages ago. Here is an update: I wrote the following to the Silverton Mayor: I just learned of the city council vote to ban OHV vehicles in town. This news is sad to hear. I guess the townspeople want quiet streets and quiet cash registers. We were in Silverton last September for a week of OHV riding and spending money in the local economy. It seemed to us that most all the people staying in town at RV parks were also driving OHV vehicles. We thought we were helping the local economy by eating our meals in local restaurants and shopping in local stores. It's sad to learn that the people of Silverton no longer want the business of OHV vehicle owners and renters. My friends and I will no longer be spending our money in Silverton and hope the town can do without us. We will be looking at other towns that want our business. You had better avoid just about every town in Colorado as well. You can't ride an OHV in Durango, Telluride, Ouray, Ridgeway, Denver, Aspen or 95% of other towns. I am not sure why you are so upset with Silverton. They tried allowing OHVs in town and decided through experience that it wasn't a good idea. With the current boom in visitation to Colorado, they won't notice any loss in revenue and can choose to support forms of recreation that have lower impact on the residents of Silverton.
FWC 05/23/21 08:20am Toy Haulers
RE: Controller puzzle - Float for LFP on solar (long post)

12.9V for float and 12.8V for reconnect is too low. For example: say you use relatively little power overnight, the sun comes up in the morning and solar gets the battery through bulk and absorb by 10am. The solar controller then switches over to float but isn't providing any power as the float voltage is lower than the resting battery voltage. You then start using a bunch of power, the solar won't help out until the battery voltage is below 12.9V, which is almost flat for a LiFePO4 battery. Furthermore, it won't kick back into bulk charge until you get down to 12.8V, which means the battery is flat. As a result you missed out on a whole day of solar charging, used an unnecessary cycle on your batteries and go into the night with a flat battery. If you set the float for 13.3V, the solar charger will carry for as long as there is enough solar power available.
FWC 05/23/21 08:14am Tech Issues
RE: Controller puzzle - Float for LFP on solar (long post)

Set the float voltage to 13.2 - 13.3V. This is the resting voltage of your batteries and with the float set this low it will carry the parasitic loads on the batteries, but will not charge the batteries beyond about 30% SOC. You want to set the boost reconnect higher as well, or the charger will never go back into charge unless the battery is completely flat. Otherwise the settings look good.
FWC 05/22/21 07:34pm Tech Issues
RE: DC to DC converter for small electronics

This will do what you want: Victron DC-DC Converter Output range 10V - 15V. Do the "double conversion" (DC - AC - DC). Safer ! The converter is adjustable over that range. It will regulate the output to better than 0.2V of the setpoint with less than 0.002V of noise. This will work well for this application.
FWC 05/22/21 08:26am Truck Campers
RE: DC to DC converter for small electronics

Depending on how stable the output needs to be, you may do better with a higher quality DC-DC converter. I use one of the no-name cast aluminum ones with my MPPT solar controller to use it as a DC-DC charger and the '24V' output on that is all over the place depending on load, luckily it doesn't matter in that application.
FWC 05/21/21 08:33pm Truck Campers
RE: DC to DC converter for small electronics

This will do what you want: Victron DC-DC Converter
FWC 05/21/21 08:23pm Truck Campers
RE: Avoid Silverton Colorado

I entirely understand the residents of Silverton objection to ATV/UTVs, living with this on a day-to-day basis would have a major impact on quality of life. This is also not just a Silverton issue, Moab and lots of other towns are having this same discussion. To start with, there are no street legal ATVs/UTVs in Colorado, and by default it is not legal to ride these on public streets. Silverton had made an exception to allow these on roads in town (as had Lake City etc) however I don't think anyone quite realized the volume of vehicles that this would eventually turn into and the resulting noise, dust and bad behavior. Not allowing ATVs on roads is really just going back to the status quo, not banning something that is otherwise allowed. While I am sure the people who profit off ATVs are not happy about this, everyone else in town was bearing the brunt and reduced quality of life and have now spoken up about it. This is further exacerbated by the fact that many of the UTVs are rentals by folks with little experience in riding these, and little respect for public lands and the residents of Silverton. There has been discussion of a moratorium on any more ATV/UTV rental outfits in the area (as Moab has done) to try and reduce this impact. I also hear you about loud Harley and other street legal motorbikes, but that is a very hard thing to enforce on a local level. I do wish the national parks would install decibel meters near the entrances and if you are above the legal limits they would not let you in.
FWC 05/21/21 12:52pm Toy Haulers
RE: Lithium battery charging in FW of truck

One thing to realize here is that almost all modern (as in > 2010 or so) alternators are 'smart'. They have a small microcontroller in them and communicate with the vehicles ECU, which can command the voltage output of the alternator and query the status of the alternator. As part of this system there is thermal monitoring of the alternator - it is gets too hot, it will sense this and drop the output voltage and thus the current to reduce the load on the alternator. In this case it is actually worse for the alternator to be connected to a DC-DC charger as opposed to directly to a battery. A DC-DC charger will actually draw MORE current as the alternator output voltage drops.
FWC 05/12/21 08:39am Tech Issues
RE: Lithium battery charging in FW of truck

The trailer charging fuse in truck is 40A, in FW wire is 10 avg to a 30A fuse before batteries, the V from truck to FW is 14.1V to the 30A fuse before the batteries. ? Any way that batteries can damage the alternator,or will the fuse blow if to much amp are getting called for by batteries. I can easily pull the 30A fuse in FW if necessary. Thanks Frank There is no way you will damage your alternator with this configuration and it is extremely unlikely you will pop the fuse either. You will likely find that you are not getting a whole lot of charge current to the battery though, which could be the motivation for a DC-DC charger.
FWC 05/12/21 08:27am Tech Issues
RE: British couple buying an RV in the US

Don't even consider california. It makes no sense. You can find 4x4 trucks everywhere. The biggest issue is they may never have used the 4x4, so check that it engages and disengages properly. Yes, you can find the trucks anywhere, but try finding a used 4x4 Sprinter Van, Sportsmobile or a four wheel drive capable truck camper like a Hallmark or a Tiger in the East. These are hard to find in general and are really hard to find in the East, because there is really no use for them there. It all depends on what the OP is looking for, but if they really want a four wheel drive camper to explore North and South America, these are mostly built and found in the rockies and west.
FWC 05/11/21 12:19pm Beginning RVing
RE: British couple buying an RV in the US

If you want a smaller, rugged, possibly 4x4 camper then your best choices are a 4x4 pop up truck camper, a 4x4 Sprinter van or an older 4x4 converted Ford van from Sportsmobile. These are expensive, but have good resale, so you can get most of your money back. While the taxes in CA are slightly higher, 4x4 campers are far more plentiful on the West Coast than on the East Coast, so it may be worth basing out of CA. It is also much closer to the areas you probably want to explore. Depending on how adventurous your plans are, you may find a more appropriate audience on forums such as Expedition Portal or Wander the West.
FWC 05/11/21 09:05am Beginning RVing
RE: Quad Bike mounted to ladder?

The 300lb rating for the ladder is most likely a 'static' rating - ie a big fat guy can climb the ladder with the camper parked. Although I would be doubtful that the manufacturer did any sort of calculations and just had Bubba go climb it to test it. What you are suggesting would be a dynamic load - a load that is there while the camper is in motion. With it hanging way off the back, if you hit a dip or speed bump a little too fast, the effective load could easily exceed 300lbs due to the g-forces and leave your ladder and bike lying in the road. I wouldn't do it.
FWC 05/11/21 08:30am Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: LiFePO4 - SOK or Renogy.

FWC has not allowed 20% which is unusable in the guess for Li. So if you "roll your own" allow for it--or even exceed it. Of course these numbers are limited by what the makers of the individual cells create. One of the few things I like about battleborn is the batteries are really 120 amp-hours--but are sold as 100 amp-hours. Their battery management system 'shuts down' at 100 amp-hours of discharge. This is completely untrue. The rated capacity for LiFePO4 (typically 3000 - 4000 cycles) is to 100% DOD, which is what BB, Trojan, ReLion etc all use: https://www.powertechsystems.eu/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/09/EN-DoD-vs-Cycles-PowerBrick-PRO-version.png Also check the Trojan Trillium Spec Sheet. If you need more cycles than this, say 5000, then you might want to stop at 80% DOD. But this is not really relevant to RVs as it would be almost impossible to get even 2000 100% DOD cycles out of your battery before either the RV, you or the battery aged out. It is also not true that the battleborn BMS 'shuts down' at 100 out of 120Ah. The battleborn BMS shuts down when the voltage hits 10.0V (~0% SOC) just like any other LiFePO4. There is no secret extra 20Ah.
FWC 05/10/21 01:51pm Tech Issues
RE: LiFePO4 - SOK or Renogy.

If I understand your post correctly because of a deeper discharge of Li Down to 0 SOC and with 2 6v GC batteries only going down 50% SOC gives only 115 usable AH's. Is that what you are saying? That, and that if you can go a week on 115Ah, then storage is not your limiting factor. If you had a very small solar system you could easily have indefinite power.
FWC 05/10/21 12:30pm Tech Issues
RE: LiFePO4 - SOK or Renogy.

How much cheaper would it be to build your own? Roughly what would it cost to get the equivalent of 2 6v GC batteries say about 230 ah's? 280Ah is probably the closest 'standard' LiFePO4 cell size. For that you are looking at $600 - $700 for the cells, another $60 - $120 for the BMS and maybe $100 for wiring equipment and some sort of case. I would guess $750 - $900 all up, cheaper if you are wiling to go with Alibaba and wait on freight, more expensive if you want it shipped from the US (amazon or ebay). This would give you ~3000 cycles at 100% DOD so about 10x the usable Ah than lead acid over the life or the battery (if you plan to use it heavily or keep it a long time). I guess it comes down to what your electrical requirements are VS cost per AH. I was thinking the price of these batteries would come down to make them competitive with lead acid batteries because of the big push to go to EV cars, but as some report the prices have gone up along with other camping supplies. I dry camp 95% of the time and am conservative when it comes to water and electricity. 230AH batteries last a week before they reach 50% SOC and by then I am out of water. So I guess if you full time or have much greater electrical requirement then $900 might make sense VS $200 for 26v GC batteries. One would think with more batteries being produced the cost will comedown dramatically at some time in the future. The cost of these has fallen dramatically - the cells themselves are 1/3 - 1/2 the price of what they were three years ago, and drop in batteries can be had for 1/2 the price. The prices are very competitive with lead acid if you are thinking about the total cost of ownership, rather than just the upfront cost. For your use case a 100Ah LiFePO4 seems like it would be sufficient, which is about $300 for the DIY route or $550 for the drop in route.
FWC 05/10/21 10:34am Tech Issues
RE: LiFePO4 - SOK or Renogy.

How much cheaper would it be to build your own? Roughly what would it cost to get the equivalent of 2 6v GC batteries say about 230 ah's? 280Ah is probably the closest 'standard' LiFePO4 cell size. For that you are looking at $600 - $700 for the cells, another $60 - $120 for the BMS and maybe $100 for wiring equipment and some sort of case. I would guess $750 - $900 all up, cheaper if you are wiling to go with Alibaba and wait on freight, more expensive if you want it shipped from the US (amazon or ebay). This would give you ~3000 cycles at 100% DOD so about 10x the usable Ah than lead acid over the life or the battery (if you plan to use it heavily or keep it a long time).
FWC 05/09/21 01:43pm Tech Issues
RE: Lithium Ion Batteries...Yikes

Do you know the brand/model of the jump pack that caught fire? The lithium polymer batteries used in these have extremely high energy densities and require respect. However, with careful engineering these can be safe. There are literally billions of these in cell phones, laptops etc, and while fires are not unheard off, they are uncommon. I do worry about the flood of very cheap and likely poorly engineered jump packs, phone power banks, and camping battery packs that are selling like hotcakes. I trust Apple, Dell and the like to engineer their products for safety, but who knows about the uber cheap box of battery type devices.
FWC 05/09/21 08:21am General RVing Issues
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