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Old 03-25-2022, 09:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2021
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View and Navion owners

Greetings folks:
A question for all you owners. How many consecutive days have you boondocked without access to shore power or water? Highlights and lowlights please...

Regards, Craig
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Old 03-26-2022, 06:27 AM   #2
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We can usually go 3 to 4 days without fresh water and 6-7 days without dumping the tanks.

We have 500W of solar and two 125Ah lithium batteries. The batteries provide enough power to run the refrigerator, interior and tank heaters overnight in freezing temperatures. Without the tank heaters, we can run longer.

In warmer temperatures, we boondocked for a weekend (3 nights) without shore power (our Auto Transfer Switch failed) - and had to run the generator for an hour or two each day to get the batteries back to full before nightfall.

So, with a full diesel tank, and using about 2/3 of a gallon per day for the generator, we should have power for several weeks.

A few months ago, we upgraded our tank monitoring system to the SeeLevel II, which provides us % readings on the water and propane tanks - and that could help us to stretch our water supplies further - since we won't be worrying if E of the fresh tank means we're close to empty or sitting at just under 1/3...

We'll feel much more comfortable boondocking now, with more accurate readings of the water tanks.

Of course, if you have less solar, standard batteries and/or a propane generator, then you'll have more constraints on power. And using the gas burner or a propane grill will help reduce power usage, instead of using the microwave or electric cooktop.
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Old 03-26-2022, 10:02 AM   #3
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Motorhomes come with pretty minimal house battery storage due to the higher cost of more capable batteries. rprochnow's experience above is likely 2 to 3 times better than a stock V/N Class C as it comes from the factory - unless you spring for solar and lithium upgrades.

If you plan to get out and do some extended dry camping a great first upgrade is adding a Battery Monitor System that uses a shunt to calculate your battery bank's state of charge in percentage. These track all power into and out of your battery bank real time and give you the info you need to know how long until your batteries are depleted at your current rate of use.

Your RV comes with a Voltage based battery meter. This device is better than nothing but not much. To work effectively you need to read your battery banks voltage when it's been at rest for many hours. At rest means, no charging and no discharging either. Since you'd need to go many hours for the true voltage to be indicated you'll find the voltage meter almost worthless.

The shunt-based battery meter has none of those limitations and will give you the knowledge you need to know when dry camping.

The BMS systems I'm referring to cost from $40 to $230 and for $130 you can get a great one that sends its info to your smartphone via bluetooth (Victron SmartShunt). Plus, this is really an easy DIY install project that takes only some planning and an hour or two of work.

The more you learn about batteries and their very real short comings the better off you'll be.

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Old 03-26-2022, 11:17 AM   #4
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We configured our 21D to allow us to boondock - and the features that didn't come from the factory were added by Lichtsinn as part of our sale.

And we're glad we did it, because we've had several periods when we've had unplanned boondocking - like when I rode out the winter storm last year in Galveston - with no power, no water, no refueling with diesel or propane...

But if someone doesn't expect to do any boondocking, the stock configuration with less solar, standard batteries and propane generator are fine - and saves $$$.
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Old 03-26-2022, 01:33 PM   #5
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I don't have a View or Navion, I have a Thor Axis which is similar with similar battery and fluids storage.

I use 30 amp hours a day in warm weather, 5-10 Ah more when running the propane furnace in the morning to warm up. No TV, limited device charging and an absorption fridge. My 200 Ah AGM bank covers that nicely for 3 days.

With a DC compressor fridge, TV watching and spending time inside vs outside you could easily consume 100 Ahs daily.

Fluids are never a problem over 3 days. I suspect we could go 4-5 days before running out of fresh water and/or filling up the grey water tank. But it is just the two of us and we take quick showers, try doing No 2 at the camp restrooms and use little water for dish washing, just a quick wipe and rinse.

If there were four of us, all taking showers, using the toilet, washing a load of dishes in the sink, I think we could run out of fresh water or grey water storage in a day or two.

So it all depends on how you live as to how much power and fluids you use.

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Old 03-26-2022, 08:23 PM   #6
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Boondocking

All:
Thanks for the info and insight to your configurations and experiences. The more I read the more I see how important the correct battery choice is.

Thanks again, Craig
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Old 03-30-2022, 09:07 PM   #7
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Our 2020 Navion, that we bought used last year, has 300w of solar and 220 A/H of lithium batteries. Last fall, we decided to test our boondocking capability. We camped for 3 days at a 9000' high Colorado campground without hookups that was open and sunny. Had plenty of power for the 12v fridge, furnace, induction cooktop, convection-microwave, TV, water pump, Truma water heater, lights, etc. Never had to run the generator or start the engine..

A week later, we camped for 3 days at a 10,000' high, no hookup, completely tree-shaded Forest Service campground. We used all the same appliances as the first trip, but had both the shade and near-freezing nighttime temps. We only made it to the second evening before the batteries ran out of juice and we had to run the generator. Interestingly, the next morning we talked to the retired single woman camper across the road. She had a portable set of solar panels set at the optimum fall sun angle in a tiny sunny clearing. She was also spending 3 days, but had plenty of power for her older camper van.

As a retired engineer, planning and testing the capabilities of these systems is really enjoyable. And lesson learned! I am now getting a portable solar panel to plug into the port in the utility bay. Then we can boondock in many other beautiful locations here in Colorado and the other Rocky Mountain states.
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Old 03-31-2022, 07:55 AM   #8
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We're also purchasing an Ego Power+ Station, which allows us to use up to 4 of their 56V batteries to provide power to 4 USB plugs and 3 110 outlets. With our 4 batteries, it will have around 115 Ah (at 12V) - almost 1/2 the total capacity of our two coach lithium batteries.

We purchased this to allow our telescope to run at a location without any power.

If we bring this on long RV trips, that could provide us additional power for our laptops, phone charging, ... - or even adding a little power back into the coach batteries in an emergency (if we're in a location where we can't run the diesel generator).

We have a 2021 View 24D with 250Ah of lithium batteries, 490W solar and a diesel generator - and now an additional 115Ah of emergency & portable power.
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