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Old 06-15-2017, 08:36 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 33SW
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 32
THOR #4193
Dry Camping With A Residential Frig

Any advice to set up our coach for dry camping? Weve had to avoid some very nice state and national park CGs because of the need for electric.

Our coach is equipped with Optima Blue Top D34s 4 months old, a Xantrex Pro XM-1800 inverter with auto generator start and remote panel, and a solar panel 15W (?) - that provides a trickle charge to the batteries.

The frig has a lot to like but that one con is big.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:04 PM   #2
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Model: Challenger 37TB
State: Kentucky
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THOR #1020
Bill & Kathy - not sure how many batteries you have but we have a residential refrig and upped the batteries to 4 Trojan T105s. We can now run our Whirpool refrig, Dish Wally and CPAP for 10 straight hours. We dry camp for about 2 months each year. The only thing I believe we'll do different next year is to have a 2000 watt generator to recharge batteries during the day. Not sure about the solar but someone on here will answer for sure.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:20 PM   #3
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2016 Quantum WS31
State: Washington
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THOR #7205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill/Kathy View Post
Any advice to set up our coach for dry camping? Weve had to avoid some very nice state and national park CGs because of the need for electric.

Our coach is equipped with Optima Blue Top D34s 4 months old, a Xantrex Pro XM-1800 inverter with auto generator start and remote panel, and a solar panel 15W (?) - that provides a trickle charge to the batteries.

The frig has a lot to like but that one con is big.
We are in the same quandary as you. The wife & I just purchased our 2016 WS31 w/residential fridge, so don't know what to expect. I just changed out the dead pair of factory 12v batteries for 2 Intersate 6v deep cycle. We shall see how they hold up next week.
Something I read somewhere was, the owners were turning the fridge off at night. They said it was holding temp very well. Then starting it again during the day when they could run the generator.
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:22 PM   #4
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Model: Palazzo 33.3 34'bunkhouse
State: Alabama
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THOR #4735
any drycamping involves some 'compromise' compared to 'normal' household life, such as the fridge being 'on' 24/7, or even having incoming power 24/7...

your inverter and auto start generator are your best friends - the inverter will run the fridge as long as the batteries allow it, and the generator will recharge those batteries when needed. If you can't run the generator overnight, then you have to manage whether the fridge can, or will need, to run. Remember that the fridge does not run constantly anyway, it comes ON as needed, when the temp inside rises beyond your setting.

some options:
- when you arrive and have setup, turn the fridge setting to a higher number, it will still keep the food 'cold' but not use as much power as it will not need to run as often, especially if you don't open the door very often. You can also do this specifically at the start of the overnight hours to minimize it's run time.
- or turn the fridge cooling OFF during the overnight hours, the food will survive til the morning.
- set your AGS(Automatic Generator Starter) to run the generator when the batteries fall below a certain level, such as 12.0 volts. This keeps you from having to be concerned about the level of the batteries. You can also tell the generator how LONG to run, and you might want it to be short runs, such as 30mins... it's enough to recharge the batteries for a long time before it needs to run again.
- if local camp or park rules prohibit 'overnight' generator usage, you can also set the AGS to not operate during specific hours, such as between 10pm and 7am. That's when you want to more closely manage your fridge power needs, or even turn it off.
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:31 PM   #5
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Model: Four Winds 31W
State: California
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THOR #1414
+1 on turning the fridge off at night.... we found that really helps.

We added 4 100W solar panels... and added a few extra batteries (5 total house batteries- in one of the external storage compartments on our 31W, currently 12 volt series 27 batteries but they'll be 6 volt in a year or two when time to replace.

With those two additions, we can go pretty close to generator-less for 2-3 days during the summer in a campsite with good sun on the panels.
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:57 PM   #6
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Worse case scenario get a Yeti cooler. They can hold ice for a few days.
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:14 PM   #7
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State: South Dakota
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THOR #3761
We upgraded to 4 house batteries and 400W of solar panels on the roof so we can dry camp with our residential fridge. We only occasionally run the generator for microwave, use the AC or to recharge batteries on wet, rainy days. Otherwise we can stay off grid for days at a time.
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