Originally Posted by Brennan Lloyd
Wait a second. How did we wind back up on these debates? No comments on my build hey guys? sigh here we go.
As per propane: I guess i just can't unsee the rusty, confusing horrible mess of pipes and that I ripped out of my camperized 79' tradesman 200. Not to mention the mess of holes it left behind when it was gone. I went with a gasoline heater (airtop 2000st) and don't have enough use for hot water to be bothered with installing a whole system for it. If i want to wash some dishes i'll warm some on the cooktop. Where would i keep the tank? Where would I fill it up? I gotta cut some more holes in the van and stuff? naaaah. Cooking: maybe see jetboil conversation above.
I'm happy that FLAs have worked for you for 40 years in 4 RVs. Indeed it has for many. You spelled out the cons in the link provided:
-Maintenance required (watering, equalization charges)
-Venting of battery compartment to outside is required
-Possibility of acid spillage
I'll be relying mostly on my alternator to charge. From what I understand that doesnt work well with Lead Acids. I don't want to deal with float charges, equalization charges, sulfation, offgassing, extra space, extra weight, shorter lifespan etc. etc.
No information concerning LifePO4 other than an example of a "drop in" system from one retailer was given on your site. Every person that's advised me on LFP advocates pretty strongly against these systems. Seems like it's mostly folks trying to take advantage of those accustomed to lead acid batteries. Excuse me if i'm wrong, but this leads me to think that perhaps you haven't really looked into them. Here's some links if you're interested.
(p.s. kudos on building your own composting toilet, I think i'll begrudgingly getting a natures head)
I think we're going fairly similar routes for fairly similar reasons. I'd say $1500 for a 200AH system is high at this point, unless you're speaking in my language (CAD)
. I fail to see how a heat loss calculator is in any way on topic, but um cool i guess?
Sorry I got a bit off track on the battery/propane discussion - Here are some thoughts on your build.
We used the MaxxFan and have been happy with -- moves a lot of air efficiently. If I had it to do over, I'd move it a bit further aft in the van as it is a source of road noise even when its fully closed, and when its up front it close to your ears. I've tried a couple of inside covers to reduce noise, but not hit on a design that is very easy to use and effective.
We used a Norcold 751 fridge (same as RD I think) -- its been good. It uses the efficient Danfoss compressor, and while its our biggest electrical load by a fair bit, its well within the capabilities of our 220 AH of FLA batteries. I measured the consumption carefully -- its documented here: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/design-...ectricity-use/
Info on 751: http://www.thetford.com/product/nr751/
Our install: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-con...ersion-galley/
The Norcold makes a little noise -- its enough noise that you can hear it come off and on at night if not sleeping soundly, but not really a problem.
I've had propane fridges in past RV's, and was determined to get away from them on this conversion. They are very inefficient, touchy to get level enough to work, and so slow to cool down that its hard to tell for hours whether they are even working, and they need big holes in the van sidewalls for venting. So, I think you made the right decision on no propane fridge.
As for small AC fridges, if they have the energy label inside that full size fridges have, you could estimate the daily AH consumption -- e.g. if the label say it uses (say) 265 KWH a year, then AH per year would be (265,000 watt-hr) / (12.0 volts) = 22,080 AH/yr, or 61 AH per day. Not awful, but the inverter losses pobably make it more like 61/0.9 = 68 AH/day. About 68/42 = 1.6 times what the Norcold uses (more or less).
The 265 KWH is what the link to the 4.5 CF Fridgedare at Lowes linked to above uses.
The Energy Star site has a list of fridges with yearly KWH consumption.
This is a personal choice thing, but it would drive me crazy to not have some windows. We really like light and open, and purposely kept the furniture to a minimum and added lots of windows to get this feeling.
Maybe you are already doing this, but I'd be sure to anchor your furniture (cabinets, beds, galley,..) to the floor and walls well. If you are in a crash, you don't want to have everything in the back end of the van joining you. Its easy to bolt through the floor with half inchish bolts with big washers or plates to prevent pullout.
Like the cedar look.
Not sure what your plans for solar are, but we really like it and its been trouble free.
We made a point of minimizing electrical loads (LED lights, efficient fridge, basically no 120VAC heavy load appliances (like microwave)...) -- makes operating on 300 watts of solar easy.
Agree with you on hot water -- we decided to leave out the water heater and have not missed it. There are several small scale camper water heaters out there if a bit of hot water is needed -- or, as you say, just heat it on the stove.
Not to belabor the propane/battery thing, but on the points you raised...
I know that on paper you can talk yourself into thinking its not a good idea to charge FLA's or AGM's direct from alternator, but many people do this (including me on several RV's) and it does not seem to cause a problem in practice. If you have solar, you can leave the alternator connection to the house battery off most of the time.
Maintenance on the FLA's has been minimal -- I've added water twice in two years. Never do equalizing charges. As a practical matter, If I'd invested $1500 in LI batteries, I would be out there regularly checking their health as the investment is so large.
My total propane plumbing is a 10 ft length of 3/8ths copper with one Tee, but my tank is inside the van in a sealed and vented compartment, which makes the plumbing very simple.
Thanks for the links on the Li batteries -- will read them carefully. Adding a full, good, DIY, LI battery section on my website is near the top of my todo list including some good details on DIY Li battery installs -- so, please take lots of pictures of your install