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Old 04-18-2020, 10:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post

......cut.... With solar also not quite at the point where it can provide air conditioning or heating, again, you'll still need some other 'option' for those - usually propane or 120v power.

Agree.

Or engine power, which is what Volta- and Xantrex-powered motorhomes are doing. Engine can charge very large battery bank quickly, which then can power air conditioner or electric heat (heat pump also).

Itís technically practical (though very expensive) to eliminate propane if you can add 6~10 kW alternator. In this case the old engine can not be retrofitted to a high-capacity 58V alternator. Weíre limited to onboard generator powering the inverter/charger. I would be OK with that since battery bank could be charged in 4~6 hours or less.
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Old 04-18-2020, 10:24 PM   #22
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I would never buy a bus without propane. Not for the heat but we boondock a lot and when you only have a "residential" refrigerator, your batteries will go dead in one or two days. Most campgrounds that we go to for boondocking will only let you run your generator for a couple hours in the morning and a couple in the evening. Propane right now is $1.70 a gallon. I can run my fridge for about a year on one tank.
When we have electric hookups, I use a couple of plug in heaters and all is toasty. I DO, however wish I had a dual fuel water heater, propane and electric.
Nuff said.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:21 AM   #23
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I want propane on-board for a variety of reasons. I prefer absorption refrigerators in an Rv to compressor, they are so much more frugal with power consumption, especially helpful if you are not where you can plug in for a period of time. The newer absorption refrigerators work so much better than those manufactured even seven or eight years ago. Much prefer cooking with propane burners, to electric, or the new elctro-magnetic cooking. Heating with propane is much faster and warming, then with electric, though I often use heat pumps for heat, at least until it gets into the lower 30's. We use our generator, infrequently, so having a propane fueled generator, from a maintenance standpoint, makes sense as not not having a liquid fuel, for an infrequently used generator creates fewer problems. Propane powered generators generate an almost odor free exhaust, kind of an advantage, IMO.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:38 AM   #24
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Current technology I will take electricity & propane. Will this technology change? Absolutely- but it is not there yet
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:51 AM   #25
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Propane-got to have it. Get the AC/DC/Propane or AC/Propane Frig. When in 'Automatic' mode, you will never know it switched. I love my 3 way frig. Set it and forget it. Are you going to run your 188HP (or more) engine to charge the battery? That does not make any sense. I never use my generator except once a month to test it and never on my battery because we have propane.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:57 AM   #26
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Propane rules!
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:25 AM   #27
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When we van camped many many moons ago we used propane for the Coleman stove, the lantern and a catalytic heater. Every unit we have owned since has been equipped with a propane source for heat, cooking, hot water and refrigeration. I can't see doing without it. It is such a convenient, dependable and cheap power source.
A rig we looked at by Winnebago before we got our ACE had 4 twenty pound BBQ bottles as the propane source. Someone already said U can swap bottles at most gas stations. Throw a cpl in your Toad head to Speedway and your full on propane!
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:44 AM   #28
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Any electrical system can be overloaded, but if designed properly/correctly it can operate just like an all-electric home.
AFIK, all-electric homes have 200 amp service.
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Old 04-19-2020, 03:41 AM   #29
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This should spark a pretty good discussion.
My opinion? I always like to carry more than "one arrow in the quiver". Give me 12 Volt, 110, and propane.
Me too. I have always liked a backup. And I have dry camped in places where there was no AC hookup and I could not use the generator after 10pm.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:20 PM   #30
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Cue the music...

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Old 04-19-2020, 04:29 PM   #31
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This should spark a pretty good discussion.
My opinion? I always like to carry more than "one arrow in the quiver". Give me 12 Volt, 110, and propane.

Having multiple systems doesnít necessarily improve reliability.

When I first started camping, we had a motorhome electrical 12V problem in middle of night in the Badlands that kept propane furnace from operating. We had plenty of propane and it did nothing towards keeping us warm. That experience taught me to never travel without at least one 1500-Watt portable electric heater as a backup.

At home we had an extended power outage in winter, and while we have natural gas, the furnace wonít run without electricity for the blower and controls. Multiple sources of energy are fine, but when it takes more than one to power equipment/appliances, Iím not sure itís any more reliable.

Anyway, thereís only so much we can do, and for me, keeping a motorhome ďas simple as possible and no simplerĒ is at the very top of the list. It may not be cheapest, largest, most energy efficient, or most comfortable/convenient, but simplicity normally leads to reliability and trouble-free performance. Thatís what I value most.
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Old 04-19-2020, 04:51 PM   #32
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Propane-got to have it. Get the AC/DC/Propane or AC/Propane Frig. When in 'Automatic' mode, you will never know it switched. I love my 3 way frig. Set it and forget it. Are you going to run your 188HP (or more) engine to charge the battery? That does not make any sense. I never use my generator except once a month to test it and never on my battery because we have propane.

Keep in mind many motorhomes are already converting to ďresidentialĒ refrigerators for other reasons even though they have propane systems onboard. And manufacturers are adapting by creating new RV-size smaller compressor refrigerators that run on 115 VAC or 12 VDC.

Many buyers prefer electric over propane refrigerators for the same reasons we no longer have propane or natural gas refrigerators in houses. In an RV the advantages are essentially the same, we just need to figure out how to supply electric power to the fridge.
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:15 PM   #33
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AFIK, all-electric homes have 200 amp service.

I used an all-electric house more as an example and not as a direct comparison, and Iím not sure what point your post is making or questioning, but Iíd like to expand on it a bit for clarity. I hope Iím not taking it too much out of context.

My de facto second home in Florida is all electric, and has 150 Amp panel. Iím fairly certain that if I turned everything on simultaneously Iíd blow the main breaker. As far as I know itís never happened and I doubt it ever will. The odds of loading the range and oven 100%, along with heat, water heater, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, clothes washer, and dryer, plus miscellaneous items we use daily like hair dryer and vacuum cleaner, etc. all at same time is highly improbable.

I understand that 50 Amp service is a lot less than 200A (in my case 150A), but the 26-ft Class A motorhome in question is just under 200 square feet, will have no oven, no dishwasher, and no clothes washer or dryer. Granted, it will use a lot more air conditioning and heat than a house per square foot, but itís still a tiny space compared to a house. From my point of view, there are a lot of 26-foot motorhomes getting by with 30 Amp service, which is <1/3 as much power as the 50 Amp.

For what itís worth, MODERN all-electric van campers seem to be the first motorhomes to be expanding into this no-propane segment (except maybe the few luxury DP buses), and most are around 100 square feet or less. No doubt it comes at a very high cost when they rely on lithium batteries, but a few buyers must think itís worth the premium otherwise manufacturers wouldnít be building them. Vans with Diesel engines makes heating space and hot water much easier, so propane is frequently eliminated.

The middle ground Sportsmobile recommends is what interests me the most ó no propane ďandĒ fairly low cost, which makes do without a $20,000 lithium-battery system. My request for opinions was to see if Sportmobileís Class B design reasoning could also be applied to a small Class A thatís almost twice as large.

I appreciate all comments, and thank everyone for your feedback. Youíve given me much to think about in order to help my friend design his motorhome.
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:32 PM   #34
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Having multiple systems doesn't improve reliability: I'll grant you that!
But it DOES give you a "Plan B"; when "Plan A" turns to mush!
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:44 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Having multiple systems doesnít necessarily improve reliability.



When I first started camping, we had a motorhome electrical 12V problem in middle of night in the Badlands that kept propane furnace from operating. We had plenty of propane and it did nothing towards keeping us warm. That experience taught me to never travel without at least one 1500-Watt portable electric heater as a backup.



At home we had an extended power outage in winter, and while we have natural gas, the furnace wonít run without electricity for the blower and controls. Multiple sources of energy are fine, but when it takes more than one to power equipment/appliances, Iím not sure itís any more reliable.



Anyway, thereís only so much we can do, and for me, keeping a motorhome ďas simple as possible and no simplerĒ is at the very top of the list. It may not be cheapest, largest, most energy efficient, or most comfortable/convenient, but simplicity normally leads to reliability and trouble-free performance. Thatís what I value most.


We had an extended home power outage one winter and had the same issue. I purchased a used Honda generator and a simple manual transfer switch so that I can run my gas furnace if it happens again. And, between heating cycles,I can run my fridge or even do laundry! Of course itís been quite a few years now and Iíve not had occasion to use it.
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Old 04-19-2020, 06:03 PM   #36
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If I remember my History: Chance was trying to get rid of generators last year, and turn all of us onto lithium based power systems.
Now: he's trying to get rid of propane.
Pretty soon: we'll all be in tents again!

NOTE: this isn't meant as a personal attack. I can appreciate his "outside the box" thinking.
It's just an observation...
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Old 04-19-2020, 08:52 PM   #37
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If I remember my History: Chance was trying to get rid of generators last year, and turn all of us onto lithium based power systems.
Now: he's trying to get rid of propane.
Pretty soon: we'll all be in tents again!

NOTE: this isn't meant as a personal attack. I can appreciate his "outside the box" thinking.
It's just an observation...

Thatís funny, but no, itís not outside the box thinking ó itís already here in different formats from various manufacturers.

I enjoy discussing technical issues that I anticipate happening in near future because itís fun, not because I want to convince others on whatís best for them. When possible I prefer to discuss technical issues objectively (data and fact based), and others can then decide if it will work for their needs or not. Granted, a lot about camping is extremely subjective, which is why I requested opinions on propane. I donít want to guide a friend in wrong direction just because my personal preferences may be unusual. And apparently they are.

Iíve been camping for over a decade mostly in a van thatís barely more than a ďsteel tentĒ because thatís my preference. When I need more features and or function I rent as needed and then return to the simple van by choice. Itís all electric (no propane) and until recently we didnít own a generator. When traveling from campground to campground, an all-electric camper met our needs nicely. For more recent boondocking a portable generator powers our air conditioner.

If I had enough battery capacity to power my A/C overnight, I wouldnít haul my portable generator around at all. If I built my own van in the future it would have that capability for certain. With 7 or 8 kWh of useable battery capacity, I wouldn't need or want a generator or propane. Iíve already traveled and camped that way and it works for our needs, so I donít want much more than a larger battery bank and larger inverter.
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Old 04-19-2020, 09:32 PM   #38
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I'm glad to see that you've found the right RV... for you!
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