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RE: What is a “converter”?

As far as the name, you could as easily say an inverter CONVERTS from 12vDC to 120vAC and it's true .... You can't convert AC from DC. You have to invent AC current using electronic devices and then you can convert to desired voltage. Over the years converters went via several designs. Back in 1980's they would supply 12VAC for RV lights and water pump, when small DC circuit would charge the battery and operate radio. Then some designs put 12VDC converter parallel to the battery, some disconnects the battery from RV when on converter. That surprised me lately as 20 yo converter was showing 18V on new digital gauge. Took few forum experts (not on this forum) to figure out that converting AC with electronic circuit, the voltage spikes high for microsecond, before it levels at ca 12V. Analog meters will not register it, some digital multimeter will not register it, but cheap meter that come with lighter socket does. Sure it can. 12vDC goes in one side, is converted to 1120vAC out the other side. Convert and Invert aren't well defined terms and outside of the RV world, you will never hear of a battery charger referred to as a converter. Went ahead and looked it up. The definitions for converter are all over the place. Some describe what you do that it only converts the voltage but not AC to DC. Others say it also converts AC to DC. Even found one that. A battery charger doesn't leave the ambiguity.
valhalla360 04/22/21 12:56pm Truck Campers
RE: 5th Wheel entry steps

If you are really worried, throw a couple orange cones in the doorway and put them off the edge of the trailer.
valhalla360 04/22/21 11:39am Fifth-Wheels
RE: RV travel across Canada during these lockdown times

If you are Canadians, and your not leaving Canada there is nothing to worry about. Why would there be? If you are an american doing this you should be worried. Many stories of transits through Canada which turned into sightseeing trips to Banff (etc) and been busted by RMP. Our friends in Ontario tell us even the province to province boarder is being shut down but I'm not sure about the western provinces. So depending on how serious they take it, it could be an issue.
valhalla360 04/22/21 11:38am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Test charging stop for large EV’s, busses, trucks, mohos.

Also, not considered is the grid upgrades to accommodate such installations. Nightly charging of cars takes advantage of the grid and production already available to service the peak loads in the daytime. A trucker with flat batteries at 10am, isn't going to wait until 8pm when there is excess capacity available to recharge. If the truck stop is say 10miles from the power plant, it could easily be $10's of millions to upgrade the lines feeding a truck stop.I believe a significant number of large trucks etc are day trippers and will take advantage of slower overnight charging at lower cost. These will be the first to get implementation. Infrastructure will grow organically as needed and as economically feasible. Depending on the mix of solar and wind there is already a growing surplus of daytime electricity. I already said, local delivery trucks are very much viable. But these high speed charging stations are geared toward long haul trucking.
valhalla360 04/22/21 11:36am General RVing Issues
RE: Test charging stop for large EV’s, busses, trucks, mohos.

While I don't question any of the numbers above, I also don't question the business sense of these & so many other companies - if its not going to work, they're not going to invest $1 into it. Success (according to the masses at least) goes to those who make the most money, and the ones who lead this race are generally the ones who can think beyond the box. With wind, solar, and other power forms becoming popular, it could be reasonable that that coal plant has fewer customers, or that it's customers need less power - enabling more charging stations at the truck stop. From Wikipedia: In 2019 there were 241 coal powered units across the United States which generated 23% of the United States electricity in 2019, an amount of electricity similar to that from renewable energy or nuclear power... Installed capacity was about 236 GW. So if you have 5 coal plants per state today, then each serves a couple hundred miles- is there a need for 14 truck stops within each one's service region? If it was the businesses leading, I would agree. The problem is this is the politicians driving the process and using our tax dollars to allow them to ignore the financials. If the govt throws a few billion at it, industry happily will put together a program to test running trucks on unicorn farts. Coal plants are being taken off line. We are actually entering a period where excess production capacity is steadily going down. I wasn't proposing to build coal power plants but just using that to explain the scale of what these chargers need in terms of power supply. You could use in nuclear, hydro or solar the charging stations as equivalents, doesn't matter but we are talking huge concentrated demands. A couple acres of solar panels aren't going to be even close to enough to service an individual truck stop. And more importantly, the existing power plants are already being used for other purposes. For every 14 truck stops as described, you are going to have to build the generation capability of an average power plant. Also, not considered is the grid upgrades to accommodate such installations. Nightly charging of cars takes advantage of the grid and production already available to service the peak loads in the daytime. A trucker with flat batteries at 10am, isn't going to wait until 8pm when there is excess capacity available to recharge. If the truck stop is say 10miles from the power plant, it could easily be $10's of millions to upgrade the lines feeding a truck stop.
valhalla360 04/22/21 10:42am General RVing Issues
RE: Test charging stop for large EV’s, busses, trucks, mohos.

Not one answer to the questions that should be on everyone's mind.. How long to charge a heavy duty truck? What does it cost? If this place saves on petro chemical fuels, where does the energy come from that generates the power to do the charging? Well, the article mentions a 1 megawatt rate which is about three times faster than at currently available vehicle charge stations. But that is changing fast. So assuming the 1 megawatt is achievable probably a couple hours for a 1 megawatt pack. Who knows. Cost at current fast chargers is around 26 cents to 45 cents so multiply that by the pack size and go from there. It costs me 8 bucks to fill up at home, around 20 bucks to fill up at a supercharger. If a truck has a pack 10 times bigger than mine at those rates about 200 bucks. Where the energy comes from depends on the country, region, province, state etc. In our province it’s from Hydro. Etc etc. Not an expert. :). Assuming the battery pack can absorb that much power, Can you get a power feed that is roughly 8500amps (@120v) per charger at a rural truck stop? (Obviously, they would go to higher voltage but it gives people a feel for the amount of power required to feed such a large charger.) A truckstop with say 40 stations, is going going to need something on the order of 40MW power supply (or about 340,000amps @120v). Keep in mind, unlike a 200-300amp household service, where you almost never actually draw the full rated amps (rarely do you exceed 50%), you can expect to regularly be pulling the full rated amps at charging stations. To give an idea of how much that is, the average coal power plant in the USA can put out around 650MW. If it provided for nothing else, it could support only 14 truck stops (as described above) and nothing else. This is also different from the fast charging model for cars where most charging is slow charging done at home over night with only occasional partial charges (to keep the time waiting down) done at fast charging stations. Long haul truckers will be using this as the primary charging method and will most often need to do a full charge. I can see local delivery trucks being very viable as they cover limited miles and usually wind up at a yard with 10+hrs to recharge overnight. The result being you can overlap between the local building power that is under utilized at night with lower charge rates making it much less difficult to get enough power to make it viable. Long haul trucking is a different ballgame. They needs lots of power on demand and long charge times cut into times they can be making miles which is what translates to profits.
valhalla360 04/22/21 09:38am General RVing Issues
RE: RV travel across Canada during these lockdown times

It's probably anyone's guess how they will treat you considering the rules seem to change on the fly but.... Do you have the Canadian version of a CDL (Commercial Drivers License)? Are you being paid to make the delivery? If you have both of those, you have a strong case, that it's a commercial delivery and that you are not just using a technicality to try and get around the rules. If you are really on vacation and just got a discount on a one way trip, I could see an ornery official turning you around. PS: Odd item, I was looking on Google Maps...is there really only one road that crosses from Ontario to Manitoba? (the other provincial borders have multiple roads crossing, so you could try a different one if you get turned away)
valhalla360 04/22/21 08:59am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Coast to Coast east to west

If you are just trying to get there, plug it into google maps and pick a freeway route. If you want to see things along the way and assuming you are familiar with and have visited the states around NC...I would suggest put in a longer day to get out to around the Mississippi. Then a second longer day to get to Denver. There are lots of options with such a big area but what I might do (favoring National Parks): From that point you can wander thru Colorado (Rocky Mountain NP), Utah (Arches, Salt Lake City, Dinosaur NM) up to Grand Teton/Yellowstone with a side trip to Glacier N.P. If Canada is open, swing north to Banff/Jasper NP. Alternatively, from Arches, you could swing south and hit, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, then up thru Death Valley, Sequoia, Yosemite, and up the west coast.
valhalla360 04/22/21 08:44am Class A Motorhomes
RE: What is a “converter”?

It's a battery charger. Never made sense why RVs use a different name. Yes, you can draw off it directly but you can do that with a battery charger too. That is not entirely correct. You cannot (safely) draw directly off of a battery charger because it is not regulated. A battery charger's output varies depending on load. It can start out at 19V or higher with a very light load (or on the high-Amp charge setting) and drop to below 11V with a heavy load. IF what you are trying to run isn't terribly voltage-sensitive, then sure. However sensitive electronic devices looking for a 12V input are going to have problems on raw 19V+ from a battery charger. A converter has a regulated voltage output. It is called a converter because it CONVERTS 120VAC to 12VDC, the opposite of an inverter which INVERTS 12VDC into 120VAC. Not all converters are battery chargers, as pointed out above. If you are talking about the really old RV systems which might not have incorporated a battery...they didn't have voltage sensitive devices, so it was largely irrelevant. Any new RV has a battery in the system, so it's irrelevant. It's a battery charger for all intents and purposes. As far as the name, you could as easily say an inverter CONVERTS from 12vDC to 120vAC and it's true ...inverter is at least consistent with usage outside the RV industry. If you ask someone with a cruising boat about their "converter" they will look at you funny until you explain you are asking about their battery charger.
valhalla360 04/22/21 08:21am Truck Campers
RE: What is a “converter”?

It's a battery charger. Never made sense why RVs use a different name. Yes, you can draw off it directly but you can do that with a battery charger too. Newer/bigger RVs often upgrade to a combined inverter/charger, which can also take the 12vDC battery power and output 120vAC if not on shore power.
valhalla360 04/22/21 04:40am Truck Campers
RE: 50 Amp Usage Question

I have never owned an RV with 50 amp service so the question is if you had the choice of plugging into 220v 20 amp or 110v 30 amp, which would better serve your needs? The simple answer to your STATED QUESTION which seems to be being ignored is that the 30 amp circuit will be able to supply 3600 watts to the camper, while the 240v, 20 amp circuit will be capable of supplying 4800 watts to the camper. It's theoretically 4800w available. Since the OP has implied a jury rigged electrical system, running air/con off a 20amp circuit might be marginal, in which case running off the 30amp might work better.
valhalla360 04/22/21 04:35am General RVing Issues
RE: can a ford ranger tow trailer on steep mtns rds?

What is all this malarkey about "engine braking?" I've owned several full size pickup trucks, all with small block V8's except my '03 Chevy 3500, and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM could hold ITSELF back on any sort of incline using the engine alone. Downshift downshift downshift, rev rev rev, faster faster faster... I ALWAYS had to control the descent with brakes. The ONLY truck I've ever owned that would control itself on a hill is the '03 Chevy 3500 with the 8.1L and Allison. Turn on tow haul mode, hold the brakes for 3 seconds, and the hill would have to be EXTREMELY steep to need brakes, and then only a brief tap. However, the truck still needs frequent application of brakes to maintain speed with any sort of trailer behind. Unless you're throwing out a ship's anchor at the top of the hill, you're using brakes. Obviously, it will depend on a few factors (total weight, engine size & grade). I was shocked how good the V10 in our 2008 is as an engine brake (F250 towing around 7500lb trailer). Sure if we are doing a 8-10% downgrade, I have to hit the brakes every so often but far less than if we just relied on the wheel brakes. With a 4-5% grade, I generally don't have to touch the brake pedal at all. Of course a smaller engine will provide less engine braking but it should still be your first line of defense as it can provide it's braking power pretty much constantly and indefinitely.
valhalla360 04/21/21 02:12pm Towing
RE: Some questions on using solar.

Solar works fine...if you don't need air/con. So if you camp in the mountains or spring/fall where it's cool, it makes a lot of sense (assuming you can stay out of the shade). Once you need/want air/con, it's technically possible buy highly impractical. No secret sauce.
valhalla360 04/21/21 11:14am Travel Trailers
RE: Would you switch from Class A to Travel Trailer

Here's an idea: The MH you are looking at only has 9k miles. Buy it for your long 9k mile road trip this summer and leave the TT in the yard. As was stated that's the kind of travel where the MH really shines. When you get back from your trip, the MH will only have 18k miles on it, if you decide it wasn't any better than the TT you could probably sell it for what you paid for it. If you love it that much, then sell the TT. Anything is possible in the world of covid but I would assume a 9k miles MH is around a year maybe two old, so if you bought and held it for year you are still in prime depreciation time, so unless it's a heck of a deal up front, expect to lose money.
valhalla360 04/21/21 11:11am Class A Motorhomes
RE: EKKO

Been watching You tube videos about EKKO RV, have some questions. Some versions come with solar panels, large lithium batteries, and no generator. I'm wondering if solar panels can run the 12 volt compressor fridge, furnace blower, microwave, and other electrics for an extended period off grid. Also wondering of elderly users will be able to use bathroom and reach upper cabinets, etc. with relative ease. The examples shown are chock full of electronic items and innovations but the price tag of over 163K looks a little high for a two person rig. If you don't expect to run the air/con, 450w of solar and a good battery bank should be fine without the generator. I don't know why age would be any different from any other RV. Go check it out and see. No it's not the cheapest option for RV'ing.
valhalla360 04/21/21 07:53am Class C Motorhomes
RE: can a ford ranger tow trailer on steep mtns rds?

On a long steep downhill, if you use the truck & trailer brakes as the primary means of controlling speed, they will heat up (especially if you just ride them). Then when you have a situation where you need hard braking (reach a sharp curve or someone pulls out in front of you, etc...), there is the risk that the brakes overheat and lose braking power. Instead, if you use primarily engine braking to keep the speed under control, you have fresh cool brakes on the truck & trailer that have their full capability available in those situations. If the engine braking isn't enough, you want to do a short but fairly hard braking for a few seconds, then let the truck slowly gain speed before repeating. That will allow the brakes to cool off a bit between uses.
valhalla360 04/21/21 07:39am Towing
RE: Would you switch from Class A to Travel Trailer

We owned one 30 foot travel trailer with no slides. It was fine for trips to the local state parks. On the kind of extended, long-range trips you describe the MH would be our choice. Taking breaks for toilet, snacks or stretching legs is so much easier in the MH. If you are doing a long haul, it is so simple to pull into a safe place and catch a nap or even sleep a few hours. We just wound up a similar trip 6-7months and 8000 miles & 45 travel days. That's about a 3hr average travel day (there was an exception to get out of Texas during the recent weather fiasco but no real problem doing it). We might swing into a rest area halfway for a bathroom break but really not bad at all. No real need to park and take a nap but if we had to, we could certainly do it with the trailer. We can set up or tear down as fast as a MH...of course, for a long trip like this, there isn't a lot of pressure to go fast. We usually don't leave until 10-11am and are in by 1-2pm. Even so, from the time we decide to get going until the truck is in drive is only about 15min without rushing. I've yet to see someone in a MH with a toad do it much quicker. About the only way to significantly reduce that time would be to drop back to a camper van without a toad and don't set up anything. Then you can just hop in the driver's seat and go but once you have a full size MH with toad, there isn't any time savings. (plus keep in mind, I can back out of a gas station if it's tight...with a toad, you have to unhook if you can't go forward)
valhalla360 04/21/21 06:09am Class A Motorhomes
RE: Would you switch from Class A to Travel Trailer

Nope . . . We love the class A. Pull into a rest ares make lunch coffee use the bathroom then go. Can't do that with a trailer. It is more convenient for us. Have we been breaking the law? We do that with a trailer, since I was a kid.
valhalla360 04/21/21 06:01am Class A Motorhomes
RE: Solar/Inverter Question

I don't understand how Wh work with inverters. I changed my Trimetric to read watts instead of amps and the initial draw with the small MW was 700 watts but that rose to 900 watts with the voltage getting lower. The Tri only does AH so I never found out what it all came to in Wh. The inverter tries to maintain the 120v load, so it draws more DC amps or watts to try to keep up as battery voltage falls. So that skews whatever is going on. I don't think it makes it easier to use Wh instead of AH! I still have not tried that with a DC load and no inverter in the mix, to see what it says in watts instead of amps as voltage falls. Someday maybe. :) Don't worry about measuring too accurately for design purposes. It's best to add a fudge factor anyway as sometimes, you might warm up an extra cup of coffee in the microwave other times not. Plus there are inefficiencies when converting power. You lose some charging the batteries and then you lose some more pulling it out with the inverter. For these calculations, W-Hr is simply voltage times amps. Then at the end add 15-20% for losses and you should be in pretty good shape. If your inverter is on all the time, you probably want to look up what it consumes in the resting state but good ones are in the milowatt range. Lead Acid batteries do have issues when you get into large demands. - Yes, as the battery voltage goes down, it will take more amps to generate the watts demanded but if you have a 20% fudge factor, it shouldn't be a big issue. - Probably the bigger issue if you start pulling 1000w or more is the Puerket (spelling?) effect. Battery amp-hrs are rated based on how many amps are being drawn relative to size. The higher the amp draw, the lower the amp-hrs available. If you are pulling 1000amps to turn over a big diesel engine, the same battery will have a fraction of the available amp-hours. Not an issue if the diesel starts in 2-3 seconds. If you compare to a basic trailer just running some lights and maybe a furnace fan, it may be pulling under 10 amps. If you have a 200amp-hr battery, that's a 20hour rate (a common spec for batteries) or If you are trying to pull 100amps over a long period of time, that would be a 2 hour rate and the available amp-hr will be much lower. Of course, it would be unusual to pull 100amps for 2 hours straight but even 20-40amps would have an effect.
valhalla360 04/21/21 05:05am Tech Issues
RE: can a ford ranger tow trailer on steep mtns rds?

I should have added, with the tow pkg added it is rated capable of towing 7500lbs. however I am very concerned weather this truck can handle my load going up steep inclines and also going down hill. This same pkg has been used in the 2019,2020 and now the 2021 models. Tom What's the payload on the door sticker and how will the truck and trailer be loaded? Is 4500lb the empty of fully loaded weight? 7500lb tow rating is going to take a magic combination of loading. 4500lb (fully loaded), it can likely be done within the ratings but you will have to watch how you load both truck and trailer.
valhalla360 04/21/21 04:46am Towing
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