Does anyone dry camp?

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Does anyone dry camp?

Postby kyle3450rl » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:08 pm

We primarily dry camp during the summer and set up our 2011 cardinal 3450RL with four six volt GC batteries and two hundred watts of solar panels on the roof. I had an Onan 5500 LP genset installed when I purchased the camper. this is the first LP genset that i have owned. Has anyone else used an LP genset? I have discovered that when you are about one third into your second bottle of propane that the genset shuts down because there is not enough pressure to run the generator. :( I only need the generator to run the AC during the warm part of the day... was not expecting to only get seven hours of use without having to refill 30lb bottles... Does anyone have a gasoline genset in the cardinal? I have considered converting to gasoline but have not checked on conversion kit.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Chief409 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:30 pm

I considered the conversion to gasoline, but decided to just carry a third bottle of LP. That way once I go though 2 bottles, it just fill 'em up time when I make a grocery run. I also have a adapter kit so if we were going to stay in one place for over a month or so, I can rent a large bottle (100 gallon, small residential tank) from a propane dealer and hook up to that. Actually you don't need the adapter kit, any propane dealer can fix one up on-site when they deliver the tank if you give them a heads up.

And I discovered that the street side bottle can't supply the generator as long as the curb side, too long a run of pipe, to much pressure drop with the 32# RV bottle. I checked with the propane dealer and verified the street side regulator and hose to the bottle are both high flow equipment. When I run the generator I operate off the curb side bottle only, swap in the 3rd bottle, then switch to the street bottle while I'm filling the other two. When I return I move the street bottle to the curb side, that way both spares are full. It's a bit of work, but better then getting up in the middle of the night when it's cold outside and the furnace is running. I don't use the auto switch between bottles because it's too easy for me to forget to keep track of how much gas I've used and have THREE empty bottles running without the generator. :)

Jeff
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby bfast54 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:35 pm

That is the problem with propane gens. If you run it under a heavy load (A C) it is gong to go thru a lot of propane. :-ss You should look into getting a 100 lb tank, ( or 2 ) for your use.

It almost sounds like you would benefit from a propane -to -gas conversion :thumbrt:

I dry camp a lot (state forest, Casino, etc.)..................... that is why I chose the EU3000is Honda. B-)
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby kyle3450rl » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:03 pm

Thanks for the input. The Honda 3000 IS will not power two air conditioners at the same time, but it was a consideration. The bottom line is the dealer that I purchased my Cardinal from assured me that the L.P. Onan would work just as good as the gas Onan generator in my previous toyhauler RV. I wish I would have asked more questions before I crossed the committment cone. I am going to purchase another 30lb bottle and try not to think about it any more. We love our new camper.... we will love it more when we get the bugs worked out of it :) :) .
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Chief409 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:39 pm

The Onan 5500 supplies 30 amp power. With your solar and the generator I doubt you'll have much problem. I'd like to have the space available to install a 200 amp hour battery bank, so a solar panel addition would make sense, but we deal with what we have.

The extra 32# bottle is easy, and makes a world of difference, even when you're not dry camping. We camp and travel year around, and a generator isn't the only thing that is a gas hog! Starting with the furnace, hot water heater, oven and stove, even with 50 amp shore power, you can use lots of gas during the winter.

Jeff
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby mikenmarge » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:24 pm

We dry camp ONLY when we have to. lol Sometimes when we go to the desert with friends, but otherwise, I'll take electricity anytime. I've become a WUSS in my old age. Plus, I figure we that we bought the rig with all the bells and whistles, including microwave, hairdryer, flat screen t.v.s,a/c, etc., so I want to use them. A short stay of dry camping is ok.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Squire » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:03 am

We like to dry camp when we don't need the A/C but our 3000watt Yamaha will run our smaller A/C (we have two). Running the gen-set for long periods of time is not cost effective but we can do it will we really want to be dry camping. We mostly use it to power our 55 amp battery charger to charge our four Trogan 105s and run tv, satelite, and compact freezer off our inverter.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Toot Toot » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:30 pm

i dry camp all the time in my 3450 rl and run 2 of my a/c's with it. depending on the weather i get about 7-10 hours off of one tank. i carry 5 30# bottles with me and i also had a 3rd a/c installed with a separate plug on the side of the camper and i plug my honda 3000 into that and i have a/c and don't have to run the lp generator.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby kwatson51 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:19 pm

We do about once per season. Haven't in the "new" trailer yet and probably won't this year. In the places we have dry camped before (Collegiate Peaks) we were very frugal with electric and water. Had a small gas generator to charge the batteries. The "new" unit has an Onan 4kw LP generator. I appreciate the comments here and take them as sound advice on LP management.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Gary & Misty » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:35 am

kwatson51 wrote:We do about once per season. Haven't in the "new" trailer yet and probably won't this year. In the places we have dry camped before (Collegiate Peaks) we were very frugal with electric and water. Had a small gas generator to charge the batteries. The "new" unit has an Onan 4kw LP generator. I appreciate the comments here and take them as sound advice on LP management.


Good advice. I've always had a generator in the motor home running off the main tank for days never giving it a thought.

We will be at Texas Speedway three times a year for 4-7 days at a time. Any other dry camping will only be for a day or two...as far as I know. Other than an extra 30# LP tank...or two, what other additions will help a lot?
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby teallen » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:53 pm

Unfortunate we do not dry camp, if we did would definitely need a generator, possible invest in some solar panels, increase batteries.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Gary & Misty » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:18 pm

Heading for Texas Speedway NASCAR race in a couple of weeks. My new 3850RL is factory stock as of now. LP Gen, one battery, and two LP tanks.

1. How long should I have to run the gen. to charge the battery? Also just charging battery (not running A/C or Microwave) how long should a LP tank last?
2. Would it take longer to charge two batteries...or would the charge rate make it the same?
3. With a light load (residential frig, furnace, maybe a couple hours of TV, NO A/C or Microwave) how long should I get out of 1 battery? How about if I add a second battery?

Any other tips, tricks and ideas? We should be there 5 nights, arriving Wed afternoon - leaving Mon morning. Don't know how this will workout. We've always been in a motor home...roll in with a full diesel tank, hit the gen switch, and not worry about it till we leave! I think down the road I'll check into solar, a 3rd LP tank, maybe more batteries.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Olbird » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:43 pm

Gary,

The dealer installs the battery so you will need to know the battery amps you have and use this calculation chart to determine battery drain.
I would guess that your residential refrigerator requires 700- 800 watts to run.
Click on (How long will the battery last)
http://www.inverters.com/pages/FAQ.html
The LP 5500 Onan generator uses about .8 gal per hour on 1/2 load, and 1.1 gal per hour at full load, 7-8 hours on one 30# tank in the 3850RL.
Two batteries will charge at the same time, you may want to get a rapid stand alone charger to run off the generator, solar charger will be the best thing because that refrigerator is going to pull a 27 group 500 amp battery down in a few hours.
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Rob & Cathy » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:56 pm

Olbird wrote: solar charger will be the best thing because that refrigerator is going to pull a 27 group 500 amp battery down in a few hours.


Doesn't his refrigerator run on propane?

Rob
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Re: Does anyone dry camp?

Postby Gary & Misty » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:08 am

Rob & Cathy wrote:
Olbird wrote: solar charger will be the best thing because that refrigerator is going to pull a 27 group 500 amp battery down in a few hours.


Doesn't his refrigerator run on propane?

Rob


Nope...we have a 3 door residential refrigerator with ice and water in the door...just like we have at home. We had a 2 door one in the last motor home. Once you've had one of these you'll never want to go back to a RV frig! :d
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