How do you use RV A/C?

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yellowdog
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How do you use RV A/C?

Post by yellowdog » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:55 pm

OK, I have no experience with RV's. This year we are adding an RV (stuffed with virgins) to the camp. The previous 6 years we have used solar power for the camp and home-made swamp coolers for domes and trailers. This rental RV will not have the option of adopting our tried and true technology. So, when you stay in an RV, how do you keep cool for day-sleeping? I'm assuming they have a big A/C on top and you have to run a generator or the motor to run the A/C. True? If so, how much do you have to run it? Whenever the A/C is on? How much extra gas do you bring? Is it a total oven without the A/C, or does the insulation mitigate this and hold in the coolness for a while? Do most RV's have built in generators for this? I don't remember other camps running generators all day, just periodically. I'm aware of the noise and exhaust issues associated with generators, well discussed elsewhere, and have referred them to that info.

I just want our virgin friends to be happy and prepared.

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ibdave
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Post by ibdave » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:17 pm

:shock: :shock: :roll: :roll:
Been RVing to the Playa for 12 years and I'm not even going to address any of this..... Ok maybe a little... Call the RV place and start asking them questions.. Then come back.... wOw.... :idea: :idea: :idea:
I was Born OK the 1st Time....

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Token
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Post by Token » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:20 pm

Most rental RVs do have a generator for running the AC, microwave and battery charging.

Most rental agencies also charge extra for the use of the generator. Typically a couple/few dollars per hour. This can add up pretty fast.

The generator is fueled from the main vehicle tank so if you plan on running the generator it is prudent to top off the tank in Empire or Gerlach on your way in. Having a spare gas can is also good.

If you insulate the windows on the east side of the RV with aluminume foil and some blankets, you can likely keep it cool enough for naked sleeping till about 11 am.

After that it is better to be outside in shade and breeze, unless it is a freak hot year like 2001.

It is often more economical to run the AC and keep the RV sealed than to risk opening doors and windows to cool it off. The dust and cleaning may be more costly than the gas and generator expense.

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dragonpilot
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Post by dragonpilot » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:26 pm

Most rental RV's include an on-board generator...if in doubt ask the rental agency. Before you take it off the lot they usually require a walk around inspection that includes how to run the auxiliary items like the AC, water heater, water pumps, frig, etc. Pay close attention and bring a friend along to listen in.

As far as keeping cool on the playa, they do a fairly good job, but you're not talking cold like in your car or at home. First of all, there's a lot of square footage to bring the temp down from whatever temp you start out at. Then there's the noise pollution, not to mention the exhaust fumes that you may be spewing into someone's living space.

The generators use fuel from the RV's main fuel tank...about 1/2 gal per hour. I can't imagine you're going to run the thing constantly (you certainly don't need it at night), but say you run it for 6 hours a day, that's 3 gallons per day for, what, 9 days = 27 gallons. Then you need to know the size of the RV's gas tank, and how much was burned from the last time you gassed up (Gerlach or Cedarville?). That, plus what you burn with the generator is all you got to get you back to your last gas station.

Here's what I do: I run the gennie for about 15 minutes in the morning to use the coffee maker...the gennie provides power to the electrical outlets. I don't run the gennie again to power the AC until about 2-3 PM for about 3 hours, during the hot part of the day. This does two things 1) allows us to run the AC and, 2) recharges the house batteries. I also run about 10' of clothes dryer hose from the gennie exhaust pipe away from living spaces, if necessary (try to park so the rear end of the RV is street-side). Some years are cooler than others and you don't always have to use the AC. Even during hot years I've sometimes had enough cross ventilation to make things comfortable inside. Last year was bad, tho...11 hours+ dust storm on Monday...even then, we only ran the gennie 22 hours total.

To compensate for the fuel burned I bring along 3 5-gal plastic jerry cans. I find that usually provides me with a margin of extra fuel to get me back to Cedarville (we go North) which is a good 2-hour drive, not to mention the 3+ hours stuck in Exodus!

As they say... with something like this YMMV!
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.

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Honey Bucket
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Post by Honey Bucket » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:55 pm

That was very useful information Dragon, but now all I have to do is find a place to buy 5 gallon gas jugs that aren't 29.95 each....
When the going gets tough, the tough use Tupperware!

DoriumLux
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Post by DoriumLux » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:10 pm

And some days I wonder how I've lasted so many years in a tent without air conditioning.

I still stick to my guns about rv's making the playa far too accessible and attractive to every day people. I liked the good old days when the hot desert deterred most and attracted the types tough enough to rough it.

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Sham
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Post by Sham » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:14 am

DoriumLux wrote:And some days I wonder how I've lasted so many years in a tent without air conditioning.

I still stick to my guns about rv's making the playa far too accessible and attractive to every day people. I liked the good old days when the hot desert deterred most and attracted the types tough enough to rough it.
This year may see an interesting mix of people. With a crappy economy keeping some people with tight cash from going, the place may have many more RVs and richer people there. I'm with you and will continue to use my tent. In 2008 I had a vehicle that I built a full bed with a mattress and let someone else sleep on it while I still used my tent.

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SilverOrange
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Post by SilverOrange » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:43 am

Honey Bucket wrote:That was very useful information Dragon, but now all I have to do is find a place to buy 5 gallon gas jugs that aren't 29.95 each....
Look for the blue "Kerosene only" cans. They are way cheaper due to the fact they don't have to have those crap California nozzles on them. Try Tractor Supply or something similar. Seems like I remember seeing them in the eight dollar range. I fucking hated those California gas cans. You might have to wait until you get to Nevada to fill them, but why drive all that way with them full in the first place?

DoctorIknow
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Post by DoctorIknow » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:53 am

dragonpilot wrote: I run the gennie for about 15 minutes in the morning to use the coffee maker...
I can't think of many behaviors on the playa (except for violent acts) that irritate me more than having some generator going off in the morning while people sleeping nearby will have their tents full of obnoxious fumes and noise. (yes, RV'ers have NO IDEA how far their fumes travel in the still morning air, or simply don't want to know or even care.)

I never thought I'd promote coffee at CenterCamp, but it would be great if those starting generators in the morning would just go there instead of making so many others morning wake up call so obnoxious (and noxious!)

Image

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Dr. Pyro
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Post by Dr. Pyro » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:23 am

I just bought a 5 gallon gas container yesterday from WalMart for $8.50.

yellowdog
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Post by yellowdog » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:59 am

Thanks so much for the excellent information. E-playans rock!

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dragonpilot
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Post by dragonpilot » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:14 pm

DoriumLux wrote:And some days I wonder how I've lasted so many years in a tent without air conditioning.

I still stick to my guns about rv's making the playa far too accessible and attractive to every day people. I liked the good old days when the hot desert deterred most and attracted the types tough enough to rough it.
Actually, my first trips to the playa I tented. I still set up and live in a tent outside, as do most of our riders. We just use the RV as a base camp. We are also able to haul 10-11 peeps and all their gear/food/water in one vehicle which eases the carbon footprint, if you care about those things. Group travel is a blast! We bring people along from overseas who don't want to drive or otherwise go thru hoops finding a car and camping supplies...not a big deal to some. The shower stall is nice for getting in and cleaning the crevices...some folks prefer a little privacy.

We have an RN and a doc who volunteer at the Med sites who crave a little quality sleep time when off shift (12-hour shifts). We don't wall ourselves off from the community.

I am a climber, backpacker, marathon runner, expedition sea kayaker, did 22 years in the Army in the Combat Arms. I just accept that there are those who choose different ways of experiencing whatever it is that's out there. You wanna live in a tent...fine by me...but one thing I learned in the Army is that as soon as that fox hole is dug, one starts to make it as comfortable as possible...I'm sure BM tenters are not much different.
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:22 pm

Trailer Life's technical books are excellent.
There is a lot to know about rv operation.
Don't forget a carbon monoxide detector.
http://www.trailerlifedirectory.com/Tra ... tegoryid=1

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Captain Goddammit
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:06 am

DoctorIknow wrote:
dragonpilot wrote: I run the gennie for about 15 minutes in the morning to use the coffee maker...
I can't think of many behaviors on the playa (except for violent acts) that irritate me more than having some generator going off in the morning while people sleeping nearby will have their tents full of obnoxious fumes and noise. (yes, RV'ers have NO IDEA how far their fumes travel in the still morning air, or simply don't want to know or even care.)

I never thought I'd promote coffee at CenterCamp, but it would be great if those starting generators in the morning would just go there instead of making so many others morning wake up call so obnoxious (and noxious!)

Where do you think the electricity for the coffee at Center Camp comes from?
I think you're attending the wrong festival.
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gaminwench
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Post by gaminwench » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:18 am

when I fire up the genny to make lattes in the morning (10ish, or when someone knocks!); anyone who brings a cup, gets one...
<dare I say>much better than center camp's (lines are shorter, more local, 'spresso's HOT)...javascript:emoticon(':roll:')
cafehaus can go on for hours, but it's worth it, on soooo many levels! - and all of the tenters around me agree -

-I also run a dryer hose from exhaust pipe to roof of RV(relocates fumes)_
-and bring enough- costumes, mixers, munchies - to share...
gifting and perimeter conciousness...

words to live by... :lol: :lol: :D

DoriumLux
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Post by DoriumLux » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:44 am

Honey Bucket wrote:That was very useful information Dragon, but now all I have to do is find a place to buy 5 gallon gas jugs that aren't 29.95 each....
I swear you'd have more fun spending less time in your air conditioned RV and oh, save a lot more money.

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oleg8888
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Post by oleg8888 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:57 pm

Used RV for 5 out of 6 years.
Have to admit, you see and experience way more without the RV.
But I believe it's a different topic.
We always brought extra gas and never used it.
If you going for half the week or less, you'll be fine. Just don't spend too much time in there....
Make sure to fill up in Gerlach on the way in.
Have fun

Playa Tom
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Post by Playa Tom » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:13 pm

If you are concerned about disturbing your neighbors run the generator inside your RV.

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Igneouss
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Post by Igneouss » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:12 pm

RV generators run the AC. It also provides house battery charging and juice for all the stuff like lights and water pump etc. AC is too much for the batteries.
Make friends with your neighbors and consider your generator exhaust before operating it.

Most modern RVs use fuel from the main tank to run the generator. Most cut off the generator if the fuel level falls below 1/4. This prevents unintentionally running out of gas.

Cheers

ThePaperLeaf
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making coffee on generator??

Post by ThePaperLeaf » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:13 pm

This will be my first year with my first RV. I thought I'd be able to make coffee using the battery charged by the generator. Not true?
"Sam"

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:52 pm

Depends on the coffeemaker and the batteries and how much coffee.
Stoves usually use propane though.
Battery sets and a big enough inverter can run a microwave or a coffeemaker, for a while.
Just depends.

Basic RVs and rental RVs are typically minimal except at the high end.
That may mean one battery.
Personal rvs can be upgraded.

Increase efficiency where you can like lighting and so on.
Decide what you want in the electrical system and what you will pay.

Solar is worth it for year round use.

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Token
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Re: making coffee on generator??

Post by Token » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:07 pm

ThePaperLeaf wrote:This will be my first year with my first RV. I thought I'd be able to make coffee using the battery charged by the generator. Not true?
"Sam"
as Gyre sez, unlikely you will have 120V AC from batteries.

On the drive in, stop at any of the big truck stops like Pilot or Loves. Go in and find the 12 V isle. You can find every appliance imaginable designed to run from the lighter recepticle.

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Token
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Post by Token » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:11 pm

Other options are old school camping percolator, kettle and French press. These all run on propane stove.

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mdmf007
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Post by mdmf007 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:14 pm

Remember - most engine driven AC units are meant to have air flowing through them. Every year there are engine fires from AC units reaching nuclear temperatures

Also - RV generators are usually billed a seperate rate per hour!!! Sometimes its rather steep.

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gyre
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Re: making coffee on generator??

Post by gyre » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:39 pm

Token wrote:
ThePaperLeaf wrote:This will be my first year with my first RV. I thought I'd be able to make coffee using the battery charged by the generator. Not true?
"Sam"
as Gyre sez, unlikely you will have 120V AC from batteries.
I would expect ac, just don't assume any quantity.

Campmor and camping world have a lot of 12V items too.

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Igneouss
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Re: making coffee on generator??

Post by Igneouss » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:43 am

ThePaperLeaf wrote:This will be my first year with my first RV. I thought I'd be able to make coffee using the battery charged by the generator. Not true?
"Sam"
All modern RVs have level meters for the 'house' batteries. You can likely run a coffe maker a few times before needing to run the generator to recharge the batteries. The level meter will tell you when the batteries are getting low. Even the old 1980's 'cheap' rv I once owned had this function.

A stove top coffe maker will save the batteries - as in you'll run the generator less oftem to recharge.

Also, make sure the fridge switches to propane from 12v. It will have a button and/or indicator light to tell you. It'll run all week with out being noticed on propane.

Also, unless you are in an antique or home-made RV, you will have 120v from the inverter (or close enough that it won't matter). Just check the available Wattage. You might not want to run the coffe maker and your hair dryer at the same time...

Even then it has circuit breakers just like a house. Plug in too much and the breaker will pop.

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Token
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Post by Token » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:44 am

Also, unless you are in an antique or home-made RV, you will have 120v from the inverter (or close enough that it won't matter). Just check the available Wattage. You might not want to run the coffe maker and your hair dryer at the same time...
Most RVs do not have this feature unless the owner did an aftermarket install.

There is no 120V ac unless you are plugged into shore power or running the generator.

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