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RE: 3500w power inverter

. . . It would take a huge battery bank and solar system to try to use batteries for running an A/C unit. Even a microwave is more than I would want to power unless it is just for a short use in reheating coffee or the like.When we had our two GC2's we were happy just to power our microwave. When we upgraded to a DIY 200ah Lifepo4 pack, it was a game-changer. It had more than double the useable AH vs. our two GC2's. Weighed 90 lbs. less, and was far from "huge"---BMS & cells fit inside a small Group 24 battery box. On top of all this, the Lifepo4 also produced excellent voltage stability while under heavy load from 100-10% SOC (12.8v/100a/100% SOC; 12.2v/100a/10% SOC). Discovered it would power our a/c (120vac, 10-11a) with ease. We're able to get 90 min. of runtime (100% to 10-15% SOC with compressor on 100%). No, not practical for cooling the camper while dry camping, but it's an awesome convenience when we take short breaks while we're on the road. Our a/c only takes 5 min to make a very noticeable difference inside our truck camper even on a hot day. No generator rumble or noise to contend with, just turn on the a/c and relax. When we get back on the road our dc to dc charger charges the Lifepo4 back-up in time for our next break.
otrfun 10/05/21 12:38pm Tech Issues
RE: 3500w power inverter

. . . The 3500w inverter I got is listed as 1a idle draw . . . A parasitic current of 1a is suspiciously low for a 3500w inverter. Got to wonder if that’s a true, unrestricted rating. Some manufactures use a so-called “power saver” mode to reach low parasitic ratings. In this mode small loads (such as a phone charger) are ignored. Only larger loads will activate the inverter.
otrfun 10/04/21 05:39am Tech Issues
RE: 3500w power inverter

I have 2 100Ah batteries right now and 200w of solar. Just trying it out to see how it works for us before I spend 10k+. The inverter was reviewed well and only $500 I think you need to step back and layout a full system...a couple 100Ah batteries will be an issue unless you limit the inverter to a small fraction of it's capability.Ya I agree, but again, I started at 3500 watt so I don't have to buy another down the road (who knows, maybe I still will). This is the one I got, its pure. downside to larger inverters is higher parasitic current. Parasitic current is the current the inverter draws when it's sitting idle with no load. Most 2000w (high-frequency) inverters typically have parasitic current in the 1-2a range. Odd are this 3500w you ordered will be in the 2-4a range. In 24 hours, 4a can discharge two, paralleled, 100ah 12v batteries (200ah total) down to ~50% (lead cell batteries would need recharging at this point); 2a would discharge down to ~75%. FYI, this draw-down occurs with the inverter just sitting in your camper, turned on, but with no load. In addition, your camper probably has its own parasitic current (typically around 1a) to add to the mix, too. It all adds up. As mentioned, you're going to need a lot more than two 100ah batteries to power a 3500w inverter under more than a 50-60% load. A good quality, properly wired/powered, 2000w high-frequency inverter will power a Micro-Air equipped, reasonably efficient 13.5k a/c, microwave, hair-dryer, etc. Unless you have a need to power two of these devices at the same time, a 2000w inverter will suffice.
otrfun 10/03/21 04:53pm Tech Issues
RE: Can now run the A/C while boondocking

Another advantage of the Micro Air Easy Start is it eliminated the "thump" when the compressor starts. The thump is what stalls smaller generators, but in a small trailer it is an annoying noise. Glad to "hear" it is gone!That thump is the result of 55-65a of compressor inrush current. It also forces 2000-3000w inverter generator engines near/at full throttle for a second or two, not to mention the severe stress on the inverter components as it ramps up to provide that 55-65a. This, of course, is assuming the generator is even capable of starting the compressor without the Micro Air to begin with. In any event, with a Micro Air Easy Start installed that 55-65a thump is replaced with a leisurely, near thumpless, 15-20a load. May not be a big deal to some ears, but certainly a big deal to the generator.
otrfun 10/01/21 09:17am Tech Issues
RE: Visit to New England

otrfun 09/25/21 05:13pm Roads and Routes
RE: Battery Question

OP here. Thank you all for some great insights. I read all your posts and did other research and now I understand the pros and cons of the battery types. Now with that information other questions are raised and again I look forward to any insights you can offer. I am planning on buying a new TC and it will not come with a generator nor with a generator hookup. I am also planning a pretty long trip for next year. Right now it looks like it will be a total of 4 months with at least 2 of them in Alaska. We enjoy boondocking; usually no shore power, so having adequate battery power is important. To that end, I'm sold on the benefit of the lithium batteries and plan to put at least 2 in the TC. The reasons I'm sold on them are 1) lighter weight, 2) OK to discharge further without degrading its capacity, 3) accepts a charge faster. So my next question is... is there anything special I need to know or do if I decide to put Lithium batteries in a TC when the manufacturer was planning on it using FLA batteries? The camper will be equipped with solar panels, either 2 or 3 100w panels. But my question is not about whether those panels would be enough to recharge that much battery capacity, rather the question is about the equipment's compatibility. ThanksAs several folks have already mentioned, you may want to consider building a DIY Lifepo4 pack. We purchased 4, 200ah prismatic cells and a 200a BMS from two different US distributors. Total cost was ~$800 for the cells, BMS, and hardware. We ended up with 200ah of capacity in 1/2 the space that two BB or Lifeblue 100ah batteries would have taken---at 1/2 the cost. The 4 prismatic 200ah 3.2v cells and BMS all easily fit inside one Group 24 battery box. We often use our Lifepo4 to power our 11k a/c in our truck camper when we take short breaks on the road. When we get back on the road we use our 40a dc to dc charger to charge the Lifepo4 to 100% to prep for our next break. Already taken 3, 10-14 day, cross-country trips this summer powering the a/c on a regular basis with zero issues. Have given some thought to building another 200ah DIY pack to bump our capacity up to 400ah. We have enough room in our truck camper for two group 27 size batteries. As for equipment compatibility, we passed on purchasing a lithium converter. Our OEM 45a 3-stage 14.4v lead-acid converter in our TC charges our Lifepo4 just fine.
otrfun 09/21/21 08:48pm Truck Campers
RE: Crummy headlights - Can't see, need upgrade

For those folks with 2010-2018 Ram trucks. We installed a set of 9005 high beam/H11 low beam Sealight LED's on our 2016 Ram 3500 with standard OEM reflector headlight assemblies. As long as you don't mind modifying the mounting ring on the 9005 high beams to get them to mount at 9 & 3---it's a simple plug and play installation with no load resistor or ECM programming necessary. Retained the original OEM halogen beam pattern after some minor adjustment. The Sealights are a very bright white---very little to no blue cast. They significantly improved our visibility at night---at least double the brightness/lumens vs. the OEM halogen bulbs. Have yet to have anybody flash us.
otrfun 08/31/21 09:37am Tech Issues
RE: Visit to New England

Roads in New England tend to be insane on Friday and Sunday as weekend traffic heads out from and back to the cities. The closer you get to the ocean, the worse it gets. If you don’t already have an EZPass, consider it. It’s hard to avoid the toll roads out there.Great suggestion, thanks. Works everywhere in New England except VT and CT, correct?
otrfun 08/24/21 11:03am Roads and Routes
RE: Visit to New England

365 and 8 and 9N are all decent roads--not glass smooth, of course, but not by any means what I would consider rough. 17 is generally fine in terms of not having particularly rough pavement etc. as well, even through the Appalachian Gap; while the road may be a bit rough, it matters a good bit less when you're going 20 mph or so instead of 50...and towards the top of the gap, that's what you'd be doing. Like I wrote before, I would generally not recommend the Appalachian Gap for RVs, even though it is safely doable with proper care. US2 and US302 I'd expect to generally be in fairly decent repair, but I don't travel them too frequently and so can't be specific there. They're rather important secondary truck routes (US2 in particular), and so kept in pretty good repair. Naturally there will be some areas better than others, and quite likely a few spots of construction along the way. The Kancamagus Highway was in very nice condition the last time I drove it, too.Thanks, DrewE!
otrfun 08/24/21 10:51am Roads and Routes
RE: Visit to New England

I would check in advance to make sure there's availability. Some school systems have already to started so mid-week shouldn't be much of an issue but weekends might be. Acadia in ME, Mt. Washington/N. Conway in the White Mountains. Keep in mind you may have difficulty crossing back into the US if you go the Canadian route.Thanks for the info. We've made a number of calls to campgrounds throughout NE. Weekdays look promising, but, as you said, weekends will likely be hit or miss. We may be forced to seek out a Walmart (or equivalent) on the weekends. We were thinking about driving into Canada for a few hours (via the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls). All the red-tape may make a cross-border excursion too much hassle at this point. We'll see.
otrfun 08/23/21 05:58pm Roads and Routes
RE: Visit to New England

DrewE, thanks for the helpful, informative reply! Nice to get some kind of perspective on what some of our options might be. This will be our first time traveling to NE, so any and all info is much appreciated. Really like your suggestion to drive from Verona, Crown Point, Hague, and Montpelier, as a gateway into Acadia NP. How are road conditions on NY 365, 8, and 9N? We can deal with switchbacks and grades, but we're not particularly fond of miles of rough, bumpy roads. Read a few reports that VT 17 road conditions (via the Appalachian Gap) were poor? Once we get into Montpelier (and continue heading east), how would you say the road conditions on VT/NH 2 and VT/NH 302 compare? Thanks again for all the great info!
otrfun 08/23/21 05:15pm Roads and Routes
RE: Visit to New England

OP here. We were aware of the Parkway restrictions. Are you saying one of the highways I listed or the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway is a Parkway? Anyone aware of a map identifying all the Parkways in New York State? Thx!
otrfun 08/23/21 11:39am Roads and Routes
Visit to New England

Have plans to visit NE in about 2-3 weeks (mid Sep). Driving from the mid-west with our 10.5 ft high truck camper. We have about 9 or 10 days set aside for our time in NY and NE. We're aware that campgrounds are still very full this time of the year. First planned stop is Niagara Falls. From there our general plans include a drive to Acadia NP, then down the coast to Cape Cod, then east, through New London, New Haven, Bethel NY, then either I80 or I86 back home. Very much looking for recommendations to get us from Niagara Falls through NY, VT, NH, to Acadia NP. Is Hwy 18 and Hwy 101 along Lake Ontario scenic? Or would we be better served taking another route, say, Hwy 31 or I90? Is the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway (Schenectady to Waterford) worth a detour? In light of our somewhat limited travel time through NY & NE (9-10 days), any thoughts about driving through the Green Mountains and White Mountains vs. a more southerly route through, say, Manchester or Concord, before taking I95 to Acadia NP? Lastly, any must-see places of interest that anyone would care to recommend along this route would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
otrfun 08/23/21 09:39am Roads and Routes
RE: Coleman Mach III 13.5 btu replacement

outstanding! Thanks all for the insight. I'll start with trolling through the specs from the document library. From there i'll start making decisions. We're not going out in the 5er at least until October - so I have time to figure this all out. We're finishing the RV Makeover - and i'm planning the next phase of the update. Take Care all and thanks for the suggestions! joshcoleman has a 13.5K version that draws less current and has better (lower) starting current and LRA spec's. That's what I would go for.Check out the 48208C966, one of Coleman Mach's most efficient 13.5k BTU ac units. More than likely you'll have to special order the 48208C966. They're rarely stocked by RV distributors. Dometic can't come close to this unit in terms of efficiency (BTU vs. LRA/continuous current). It has a 50.5a LRA rating and a continuous current draw of ~11a under "desert" conditions---both excellent specs. Most 13.5's (especially Dometic) have a much higher LRA (60-68a) and a higher continuous current draw of 13-15a.
otrfun 08/14/21 12:24pm Tech Issues
RE: New Coleman Soft Start Option vs Microair

I have been watching this for some time. It would be nice to see some actual LRA numbers for the Coleman "soft start" vs no soft start. I suspect if they were impressive numbers that Coleman would publish them. I do not see them anyplace unless I am missing something?I've made a number of inrush/LRA current measurements over the last few years after installing a few Micro-Air Easy Starts ($250-$300) and hard/soft start cap kits ($20-$30). The Micro Air typically reduces the 55-65a inrush/LRA current found on a typical 13.5 BTU RV a/c as much as 35-45a (down to 20-25a), sometimes even lower. This is a dramatic, 50-75% reduction in inrush/LRA current. A hard/soft start cap kit *may* net you a small 2-4a (<5%) reduction in inrush/LRA current. If you have a generator that's right on the edge of starting your a/c, a hard/soft cap kit can nudge your generator into successfully starting your a/c compressor. However, as soon as ambient temps rise (along with your inrush/LRA current) you may find your generator unable to start the a/c again. Bottom line, the Micro Air Easy Start dramatically outperforms any hard/soft start cap kit.
otrfun 08/14/21 05:57am Tech Issues
RE: Generators

Has anyone used an extended run gas tank for two Honda 2000's. Going to be dry camping on military campground in key west this coming winter for 6 weeks. Any suggestions would be helpful. Ease of use etc.We've camped at the NASKW campgrounds (Sigsbee and Trumbo) in Key West a number of times. During the winter (late Dec thru mid Feb), temps in Key West are typically in the mid/low 70's during the day (mid 60's at night). IMO, no need to run the a/c much (if at all) during the winter. FWIW, we have an extended run tank for our Honda 2200. Rarely use it. They work well as long as you have everything vented/sealed properly.
otrfun 08/11/21 08:58am Tech Issues
RE: Great Tow Capacity - Bad Payload Capacity... Increase PL?

I believe it was around 2016 that the RAWR on the 2500s went from 6500# to 6000#. Check your door sticker to be sure. My 2014 has 6500# but I know the newer ones are 6000#.The 2014-2018 Ram 2500's came with both a 6000 RAWR and 6500 RAWR. The 17" wheel/tire option (typically found on a bare bones Tradesman) had a 6000 lb. RAWR. The 18" wheels (steel & alumunium, all trim levels) bumped you up to a 6500 lb. RAWR.
otrfun 07/25/21 11:03am Tow Vehicles
RE: ALDE heating and water heating system. Comments welcome.

Truck Camper Magazine review of the Alde system.
otrfun 07/25/21 07:57am Tech Issues
RE: Great Tow Capacity - Bad Payload Capacity... Increase PL?

So I have a 2016 Ram 2500 Megacab with the 6.7 Cummins. I love it. Great truck. It has plenty of tow capacity for us and our current trailer and possible future 5th Wheel upgrade at 16,936lbs. The problem is that the payload capacity is absolutely horrible at only 1637lbs!! . . . The empty rear axle weight on the Cummins equipped '16 Ram 3500 SRW megacab and '16 Ram 2500 megacab is nearly identical at ~3100 lbs. RAWR on the 2500 is 6500 lbs. (with 18" wheels/tires) and 7000 lbs. on the 3500. Bottom line: you have approx. 3400 lbs. of rear axle capacity remaining on your 2500 (and 3900 lbs. of rear axle capacity remaining on a 3500 SRW). Some folks will tell you don't have this rear axle capacity based on the lower payload and 10k GVWR, but the fact is, based on Ram's own specs, you clearly have 3400 lbs. of rear axle capacity on your '16 Ram 2500 Cummins megacab. Since the Ram 2500 and 3500 SRW use 99% of the same components, it's easy to deduct the lower payload and 10k GVWR on the 2500 is solely based on the need to pigeon-hole a 2500 (in reality a 3500 SRW with slightly derated rear axle) into a class 2b (3/4-ton) rating for marketing purposes only. Nothing more, nothing less. A lot of folks will say you need to upgrade to a 1-ton 3500 SRW. Not sure it's worth your time and money just to gain 500 lbs. of additional rear axle capacity.
otrfun 07/25/21 06:57am Tow Vehicles
RE: Colorado Route 10

We just drove Hwy 10 from La Junta to Walsenburg a few days ago. A very desolate drive for our tastes. YMMV. Be sure to fuel up in La Junta. As byronlj stated, no fuel till you get to Walsenburg.
otrfun 07/19/21 07:40pm Roads and Routes
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