(G) Congratulations: Because of your kind responses and words of encouragement, we’ve upgraded your subscription. Actually, at the request of fellow AirStreamer Mark Hamilton, I thought I would cover some of the upgrades I’ve done to the camper to make us more self-sufficient. The goal of these changes is to make our camper more capable of living off-the-grid.” (L) So, Gary can watch more mindless TV.
So, let’s see if you are following along so far, I’ve spent a small fortune to save a few pennies on the cost of a campsite, right? I can tell that some of you are going back to the standard plan already. No discounts for you! So far, in our month on the road, we’ve averaged $34 per night to park our trailer. I’m hoping these improvements will allow us to reduce the per night costs to under $20.
Water and Sewer Department: Before I talk about power or the lack thereof, water and sewer is what I consider the most limiting factors of RV life. We have a fresh water tank that holds 54 gallons. Our “Grey tank (sink/shower) holds a mere 37 gallons and our (black) tank holds a precious 39 gallons of poop before we need to dump. That’s one to five days, tops! More, if you want to smell like a hockey player after the Stanley Cup. For Alaska, I bought two 6-gallon jugs to refill the fresh water. I also bought a poop toter for when we “dry-camp” in Key West. Doesn’t RV life sound exciting? To round out all this fun, I also carry a macerator pump and sewer hose that can send our poop flying 50ft if needed. Can we book a week in your driveway? Oh, by the way, yes, I do donate to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In practice, we’ve found that our limiting factor is our grey tank. We still don’t know how many days we can dry camp with these limits. I don’t see them as problems because after three or four days in the middle of nowhere, we’re usually ready to move on.
Propane, the fuel of the Ancient Gods: Lillian love’s propane. She needs, prefers, and demands a gas stove to cook. Our Airstream has 80 lbs. of propane, which is a lot. In comparison, your BBQ grill has one 20 lbs. bottle and lasts all season or maybe two. We use propane to generate electricity and recharge our batteries as well as fuel the stove, sink, shower and heat the camper. I also converted our Honda generator to run on propane instead of gasoline. Why carry gas when your truck runs on diesel and you have 80 pounds of power strapped to the front of the trailer? We now use our Honda, 2000-Watt generator to recharge our batteries and even power our air conditioner. This is beacuse I installed a super duper capaciter called an easy-start. This reduces the load on start-up and uses less amps ( do you need a refresher?). Now Lillian can even run her much coveted 1800-Watt hair dryer. Others have gone all-electric. For us, we prefer propane.
Not-so-Green Power Department: The formula for Watts is Volts times Amps. The formula for Volts is Watts divided by Amps. The formula for Amps is Watts divided by Volts. Relax, there won’t be a test at the end of this section. Just as a refresher, . . . Volts are a measure of the force or pressure under which electricity flows. Amps are a measurement of the current flow rate of electrons. Watts is a measurement of electrical power created. 1 watt is equal to one joule of energy per second. Aren’t you glad you stayed for the second semester?
Our trailer came with 160 Watts of solar panels and two 100 Amp hour batteries. I upgraded these with an additional 100-Watt panel and two new lithium-ion batteries. The additional solar panels mean that our batteries will recharge faster. The switch to lithium-ion batteries they can be used longer before recharging. Lithium Ion also means that we can watch more episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” reruns before we need to call it a night. Isn’t the upgraded blog fun!
I know plenty of folks who have upgraded their RV’s with +1000 of Watts of solar and a gazillion amp hours of batteries. How much Laverne and Shirley do they need to watch?
For us, 260 Watts of Solar and 200 Amp Hours of battery capacity seems about right. – We’ll let you know.
The other cool thing I did was get the biggest and baddest cell Phone Booster. Unlike the commerical, a good woman and strong signal are hard to find.
(L) So, after all these upgrades and the thousand$ of dollar$, how much are you saving?
She is really missing the point, isn’t she?