Camping without power

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Camping without power

Postby JM1375 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:42 pm

Ok- feel free to laugh, but I've never camped anywhere without power before.... (so please answer this post like you are speaking to a 2 year old..... :lol: )

What do you use to run your fridge, lights, etc? ie, solar / batteries / generators?

Have the CT now, and with that degree of comfort, want to get away from Caravan Park camping.....

Thanks!
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Re: Camping without power

Postby will_deness » Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:53 pm

JM1375 wrote:Ok- feel free to laugh, but I've never camped anywhere without power before.... (so please answer this post like you are speaking to a 2 year old..... :lol: )

What do you use to run your fridge, lights, etc? ie, solar / batteries / generators?

Have the CT now, and with that degree of comfort, want to get away from Caravan Park camping.....

Thanks!

Depends on the situation and the amount of time. basic procedure for me is generator if I can, generally take a another battery, And the battery in the prado (keeping a eye on the volt meter) , tho that does mean going for a drive every day or so.
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Postby Troyk » Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:29 pm

In the CT we have 2 x 75ah batteries charged from the car. Runs lights, DVD players, battery charging etc. Have alot of trouble running them down to be honest.

We have a 3 way fridge so we would run it from gas, works well. Thinking about upgrading to a Engel with a freezer, backed up with solar panels.

Might also run a gas latern. As Scolers once said its one of the sounds of camping. :grin:
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Postby Galvin » Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:15 pm

Hi, im new to camping, but all the gear im getting is set up for un powered sites. I have gas cookers, a large gas light from colman which can be run on unleaded petrol, battery powered lights, a solar battery charger, and i just got a 3 way fridge. The fridge was real cheap, it is 45 LT, only $299 from aldi. All the good ice boxes are around @200 anyway, and you have to keep buying ice, empty the water, what a pain in the ass :-bang so i got this fridge, i tried it out last weekend, and it is really good. I put some water in it, some frozen food and some cheese and butter just to see how it went. I woke up in the morning and the food was still frozen, the water was ice cold, cheese and butter were good.
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Postby Blue Bravo » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:02 pm

Off power we run 12 volt lights via the dual battery set up in back of dual cab (twin outlets there), gas light, battery operated torch for walking and head lights for reading. Starlight for just gazing at the fire or the sky.

For cooking we use gas 2 burner stove or use a wood fire place if one available. Just got myself a portable grate for the open fire.

Run a 55 litre Waeco on the dual batteyr system.

The fridge in the camper is 3 way but I have never been able to get it started on the gas. Looking for someone who might be able to spot the problem. Had a plumber friend say there was no gas getting to the fridge.

If its only overnight then an esky or even a small cooler will suffice.
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Postby GypsyLady » Sun Mar 02, 2008 7:06 am

We have 2 x 100ah batteries in the CT which are generally charged by 2 solar panels, 205 watts all up. We then have a Honda gennie as back up if necessary.

On a weekend it is just lights, (LEDs where I can and low draw fluros) a 60 litre fridge, electric start on the stove, a water pump and depending on the weather a 12 volt fan.

On a longer stay we add a 40 litre freezer.
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Postby Troyk » Sun Mar 02, 2008 8:44 am

Galvin wrote:Hi, im new to camping, but all the gear im getting is set up for un powered sites. I have gas cookers, a large gas light from colman which can be run on unleaded petrol, battery powered lights, a solar battery charger, and i just got a 3 way fridge. The fridge was real cheap, it is 45 LT, only $299 from aldi. All the good ice boxes are around @200 anyway, and you have to keep buying ice, empty the water, what a pain in the ass :-bang so i got this fridge, i tried it out last weekend, and it is really good. I put some water in it, some frozen food and some cheese and butter just to see how it went. I woke up in the morning and the food was still frozen, the water was ice cold, cheese and butter were good.

Galvin,

3 way fridges work well if you use them properly.

Of course you get them running on the 240v at home and when you leave transfer it over to the 12v in the car. When you get to site run it on gas ( the most efficient energy source for 3 way fridges). At home when you put stuff in make sure its already cooled. One thing about them is that they do not recover like a compressor fridge so don't introduce warm things to the fridge during the day, add them after dark when it will recover quicker. Yep that means determining how many beers you are going to have the next day. For longer trips we have a Tropical ice box which we put our food into vacuum packed and frozen, and then use the 3 way for drinks. milk etc.

You will hear people complain that they don't work properly, but that’s because they expect them to work like a compressor fridge. And yes they are fridges. Its called NH4 refridgeration and is used by the army and diaster relief groups, as they do not need power or generators to run. I know a engineer who specialises in it and he said that are alot more efficient on a larger scale though.

When running it in the car be careful your car can run it and all the other electronics. I use to drive a VZ Berlina and yep couldn't handle the fridge, had to run it off a second battery. The outlander is good and not a problem ( and has more gadgets!)

Anyhow good luck with it all. :grin:
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Postby will_deness » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:08 am

3 way fridges work well if you use them properly.

Of course you get them running on the 240v at home and when you leave transfer it over to the 12v in the car. When you get to site run it on gas ( the most efficient energy source for 3 way fridges). At home when you put stuff in make sure its already cooled. One thing about them is that they do not recover like a compressor fridge so don't introduce warm things to the fridge during the day, add them after dark when it will recover quicker. Yep that means determining how many beers you are going to have the next day.

They seem to lose effeciency for every kittle bit of unlevelness, so its a pretty important to have them level from my experiance. getting our CT level takes nearly as long to set as it does to unpack.

When running it in the car be careful your car can run it and all the other electronics. I use to drive a VZ Berlina and yep couldn't handle the fridge, had to run it off a second battery. The outlander is good and not a problem ( and has more gadgets!)

The cigerette plug in the back of our prado had to be replaced with heavier wire to run our waeco 50ltr. the auto electrician said thats what causes most problems with running frigs with a reasonable sized cars.[/quote]
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Re: Camping without power

Postby Ozzycamperboy » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:12 am

JM1375 wrote:
What do you use to run your fridge, lights, etc? ie, solar / batteries / generators?


Ice (or my 12V fridge) and fire.

Also a gas lamp sometimes but some people don't like the slight hissing noise they put out.

I do want to set up a bit of LED lighting somewhere on my car, so I can light up the area around it if I need to unpack in the dark. Something like this maybe
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Re: Camping without power

Postby embi » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:26 am

Ozzycamperboy wrote:....I do want to set up a bit of LED lighting somewhere on my car, so I can light up the area around it if I need to unpack in the dark. ....


This is my lighting setup....Its my "street light" and its great for overall lighting around the campsite at night.

Its a versa light with very little power consumption.

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Postby Liz » Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:04 am

My friend goes camping in her caravan with out power all the time..she has a gas fridge.
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Postby Troyk » Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:20 am

will_deness wrote: They seem to lose effeciency for every kittle bit of unlevelness, so its a pretty important to have them level from my experiance. getting our CT level takes nearly as long to set as it does to unpack.


Yeah another thing Galvin, they need to be kept level. The reason is that the core function of the unit is a heating element heating an ammonia (NH4) tank/pipe. If it is not level not all the heat is applied. 8)
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Postby JM1375 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:23 pm

Thanks for the answers - very interesting.

My main concern with unpowered camping is running the 50lt Waeco. I am guessing that it can be run ok for a day or two off of a dual battery set up - but that then the batteries will need recharging.... a generator would be most efficient I guess?

Cheers,
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Postby Ozzycamperboy » Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:04 pm

Don't know what batteries your using but with a dual battery setup you'd want to be expecting more than 2 days :? I've run my fridge for 2 days off my cranking battery and started fine the following morning.
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Postby steve80 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:16 pm

Blue Bravo wrote:
The fridge in the camper is 3 way but I have never been able to get it started on the gas. Looking for someone who might be able to spot the problem. Had a plumber friend say there was no gas getting to the fridge.


Gday mate regarding your fridge on gas I had the same prob with my Finch 3 way and put it in to get serviced and the gas line was blocked no probs now, Also when not in use I tape the gas line up so nothing gets in it. Hope this helps Cheers Steve
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