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Old 06-23-2019, 11:14 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: AZ
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Engine: 7.3L Navistar T444e Diesel
Electric/propane/both???

So, I'm in the process now of planning the bus interior. Trying to decide what type of appliances to go with for the fridge/freezer, stove, etc.


Propane?
Electric?
Both?



We will hook up sometimes, but I want to be able to run my fridge, freezer, stove, etc. off the grid.



Want to avoid 220/50amp.



I have zero knowledge of electrics, solar, or batteries.



I cook, so need more than just a single burner, but don't need a large stove. An apartment size stove will do fine. Not a big fan of microwaves, though the convection ones seem OK. Still, I wonder how they compare to a regular convection oven.



Am also considering this:
https://www.amazon.com/Pizzacraft-Pi.../dp/B00FYO368K


Yes, I like pizza that much!
Says "outdoor", but I wonder if it can be used in the bus, being by the window.



Also, I want to have power to run my computer so I can also write, edit video, animate etc. while boon-docking.



We have a generator, a pull start Predator 4375 from Harbor Freight at the moment. Had great reviews and so far it starts on the first pull every time.


https://www.harborfreight.com/4375-m...ion-63960.html


May add an electric starter kit to our current gen, or get an electric start generator eventually, and have the pull start one as backup-maybe.

Plan on installing solar panels and extra batteries.


May also install a small washer/dryer, and one of those top open freezers.


Cooling and heating will be via a "Mini-Split", with possibly a mini-wood stove as backup for winter. Thinking of 8,000 or 10,000 BTU.
But maybe we can go a little higher, just to be sure the bus will be sufficiently cool or warm.


Wondering what others have experienced regarding appliances, electric, propane...



Thank you in advance for the advice!
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:43 PM   #2
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I'm using a 10cf., 110v fridge, 3 burner Dometic RV range, and a 12k BTU Mini-split on 110v ($432). I have a small diesel heater for back up.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I'm using a 10cf., 110v fridge, 3 burner Dometic RV range, and a 12k BTU Mini-split on 110v ($432). I have a small diesel heater for back up.



Does the fridge run well? Solar? Generator?


Does the oven work well? I've heard RV ranges are problematic.


Thank you!
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
Does the fridge run well? Solar? Generator?


Does the oven work well? I've heard RV ranges are problematic.


Thank you!
In the build stage right now, no personal use experience yet.
I've not heard that about propane ranges, nothing is simpler.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:55 AM   #5
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My 2 cents

If you want to run A/C and washing machine, you’re going to need a generator or shore power.

Cooking appliances, furnace, water heater, your best bet to cover yourself for boondocking and tethered living is going to be propane

I saw a video from a guy that did a quick short bus build. He had an AC fridge. He said that it really zapped his batteries and replaced it with one of those 12 volt coolers. There’s some good DC refrigerators out there. Sundanzer is a brand I’m looking at. Of course Dometic has 3-way refrigerators that might be the ticket, especially if you’re looking for something larger.

Lighting, stereo, other entertainment, all DC, USB powered devices.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:23 AM   #6
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No idea what your budget is or anything, but here's our setup. We've got 1100 watts of solar panels and 700 AH of battery storage (total of 6 golf cart batteries). As well as 2 BBQ size clean burning propane bottles. With this we run:
  • Apt. size 4 burner stove that runs on propane, which we several times a day.
  • 6 gal. water heater that can run on propane or electric
  • 7.5 cu. ft. apt. size refrigerator, runs on AC
  • Various AC outlets for television, laptops, chargers, etc.
  • 2 MaxxAir fans
  • Mr. Heater Buddy heater, runs on propane. We used this for about 30 min. every morning for several weeks.
We've not been plugged in for over a month and have never been below around 75% SOC. The water heater will even cycle through once on battery power and still stay above 80% SOC (we normally run the water heater on propane). We're probably due for a propane refill soon, I'm not sure though.

I don't know the logistics of the mini-split or the washer/dryer, as we don't have those. I suspect you'd need a generator or shore power for those. For the price of a propane fridge or a DC fridge, you can buy an awful lot of solar panels and batteries....providing you have room for them.
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
No idea what your budget is or anything, but here's our setup. We've got 1100 watts of solar panels and 700 AH of battery storage (total of 6 golf cart batteries). As well as 2 BBQ size clean burning propane bottles. With this we run:
  • Apt. size 4 burner stove that runs on propane, which we several times a day.
  • 6 gal. water heater that can run on propane or electric
  • 7.5 cu. ft. apt. size refrigerator, runs on AC
  • Various AC outlets for television, laptops, chargers, etc.
  • 2 MaxxAir fans
  • Mr. Heater Buddy heater, runs on propane. We used this for about 30 min. every morning for several weeks.
We've not been plugged in for over a month and have never been below around 75% SOC. The water heater will even cycle through once on battery power and still stay above 80% SOC (we normally run the water heater on propane). We're probably due for a propane refill soon, I'm not sure though.

I don't know the logistics of the mini-split or the washer/dryer, as we don't have those. I suspect you'd need a generator or shore power for those. For the price of a propane fridge or a DC fridge, you can buy an awful lot of solar panels and batteries....providing you have room for them.



Thanks.


So you run the fridge off of batteries and keep those charged with solar/generator?
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
Thanks.


So you run the fridge off of batteries and keep those charged with solar/generator?

Solar exclusively so far. We haven't had to fire the generator up since we got the solar finished....but we've got it as a backup power source if need be.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
Solar exclusively so far. We haven't had to fire the generator up since we got the solar finished....but we've got it as a backup power source if need be.

Thanks!

Good to know!


So running a house fridge is possible then, even with solar.

I', thinking when parked it will be plugged to the house, boondocking it will have solar and generator, and hooked up at a site, same as house.
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
So running a house fridge is possible then, even with solar.
Yes, running a residential refrigerator from battery via inverter is possible and widely done but its a question of where you want to spend your dollars. I had years of fulltime living experience in RV's (with solar) and knew that it was possible before starting my coach - which is entirely electric (Samsung residential refrigerator, NuWave induction cooktop, Samsung microwave/convection oven, and so on). However; my lifestyle and location are conducive to it (I generally move with the good weather in the west & southwest) and I have spent a good many dollars on solar and battery. This isn't always the case - either because of location (low solar insolation), lack of roof space for panels, 'need' for air conditioning, etc. An alternative is setting up your rig like a typical RV - using an absorption refrigerator (uses propane as the alternate fuel source) and a gas stove/oven. These components sip propane. Of course, there are pros/cons to every decision.

Operating air conditioning from battery/solar is also possible but not practical in most situations.
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