DC-Powered Air Conditioner

Sharp will launch its first DC powered air-conditioner later this year. Marketed to the solar home crowd, this and other DC appliances may find their way into your RV.

With the increasing use of solar panels worldwide, manufacturers are beginning to explore more and more DC devices for the home. The major advantage is a further 5%-10% increase of efficiency in locations powered by solar panels.
Ordinarily these panels produce a 12V DC current that is converted into 110V AC, to be used by the home’s appliances, which often convert it back to 12V internally. Each conversion causes a substantial efficiency loss, that can be avoided with these DC-to-DC devices.
dc air conditionerThe RV Electrical System is structurally different from the solar home, yet these future efficiency improvements will greatly enhance the off-grid lifestyle.
The announcement doesn’t include any specifications of amperage use, which, very likely will be high and in the RV environment, such an air-conditioner may be feasible only in combination with a Lithium battery bank.

Sharp aims to release an air conditioner powered by direct-current (DC) electricity in 2015.

RV Electrical System: Sizing

PREVIOUS: RV Electrical System: Batteries & Solar Panels

Sizing

Sizing the electrical system in your RV means choosing the different components and making sure they work well together, while their relationship in terms of quantity, size and number is well proportioned.
Setting up solar is fairly simple, yet involves many interdependent parts and unless done correctly, will heavily influence the final setup. There is a certain order to the chaos:

  1. Sizing solar always starts with establishing demand. This is partly an exact science (add amps from appliances), partly guesswork (how often do you use lights, heater, etc.). But try first to minimize demand by replacing old incandescent or even fluorescent lights with highly efficient LED lights. Continue reading RV Electrical System: Sizing

Are Floor Vents The Solution For A Hot Problem?

Floor ventilation for small RV’s could be an untapped resource, that has the potential to considerably reduce interior heat gain in off-grid locations and to significantly lower energy needs for 12V refrigerators.

Floor Vent Research For The Small RV

Boondocking is getting more popular as a cheap alternative for the full-time RV’er. For those of us that can handle the lack of air-conditioning, yet cannot stand noisy generators, many backcountry destinations are waiting to be discovered. Despite that Lithium battery technology may provide limited or full A/C-service in the future, currently temperature regulation in recreational vehicles is limited at best. Continue reading Are Floor Vents The Solution For A Hot Problem?

RV Electrical System: Batteries & Solar Panels

PREVIOUS: RV Electrical System: Design

Batteries

Central to the system and most visible are the batteries, which have to supply the electricity during the days when a hookup is not available. Two basic types are currently used in RV’s:

  • Lead-Acid Batteries
    Trojan T-105Types:
    • Starting Battery – Use only to start the vehicle; its plates are too thin.
    • RV/Marine Deep Cycle Battery – Used as start and house battery. Don’t use.
    • True Deep Cycle Battery – Has thick plates made to store and hold your power.

    Flooded or AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)
    Flooded batteries, need regular maintenance, but their price make it the most affordable solution. Continue reading RV Electrical System: Batteries & Solar Panels

RV Electrical System: Design

PREVIOUS: RV Electrical System: History

Two recent developments will change the future of RV living: flexible panels and Lithium batteries. Neither will benefit everybody, as the extra cost tends to favor boondockers, who receive a greater payback on their investment. Lower prices will inevitably lead to wider use and greater implementation by most, if not all, RV’ers.
Flexible solar panels are stealthy and lightweight, while their efficiency is comparable to rigid panels. A more than 75% reduction in weight is significant for cargo van converters, as they always struggle to stay Continue reading RV Electrical System: Design

The Ultimate Trip: Two Years Away And Two Minutes Long

Would you travel a 1000 miles for a two minute event and wait two years for a chance to be part of it? I’m already making plans for this opportunity of a lifetime.

solar eclipseOn Monday, August 21, 2017, the 2017 Solar Eclipse will produce up to 2m40s of totality across the nation; it won’t last very long, but if you manage to be at the right place at the right time, these two minutes will make a big impact on you.
It will be quiet and birds stop singing; you may feel a chill in the air as temperatures can drop 10°F.
As the light dims, shadows appear and at full totality, your surroundings are filled with darkness.

Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse and most of us live close enough to be able to see the total solar eclipse, as its path of totality stretches from Oregon’s coast to South Carolina’s seashore. Continue reading The Ultimate Trip: Two Years Away And Two Minutes Long

RV Electrical System: History

I started RVing in the mid-80’s with nothing more than one battery, that could keep the fridge running, was a backup for my trailer emergency brake and supply some light for nighttime reading.
trailerThings have changed since then, in a major way! In fact, the battery system’s main purpose was to enable to move from campground to campground. Few people knew about battery maintenance and boondocking was limited to an overnight stay, unless you wanted to go without the conveniences of modern life. Continue reading RV Electrical System: History

Solo RV Living: Rules To Live By!

Solo RV living or solo travel is more popular now, than it’s ever been. It follows the same route as the Tiny House movement, where people want to scale down, live smaller, have less impact on the environment and be closer to nature.

Yet traveling around solo in a recreational vehicle brings with it some specific issues, that need to be addressed. While you have the opportunity to make all the decisions and go where you want to go, you also lack the support of a partner. Nothing is as devastating as facing a disastrous event, while parked alone in the boondocks, without any lines of communication and far away from the nearest help.

Before getting on the road, we have to anticipate the difficulties we may face during our explorations, so we can avoid worrying about all bad things that can happen. Be prepared, realistic and have fun! Continue reading Solo RV Living: Rules To Live By!

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